This set of books are ones that I read with my 5 year old grandson. We love reading together and he is not shy about sharing what he thinks about a book. Each of these books was received from Netgalley upon request. The rating, ideas and opinions shared are my own.

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Hooray for You! by Marianne Richmond

3 Stars

This book celebrates individuality or “you-ness” It is a self-affirming book which talks about what makes you special. It will help teach self-esteem and that it is not just okay, but expected that you are unique and different. I have to say that there are a lot of books out there that do this, and this was not my favourite. The illustrations are large, done with big paint strokes and sponging in bright colors that show nice texture. The children throughout are racially diverse. The text was done in a rhyming pattern that gave a nice cadence or rhythm to the story, until it didn’t and that caused me to stumble in my reading aloud. I did like that the author stressed that the way you look is only one teensy part, which I think is a very important message. Unfortunately, my grandson was really not impressed with this one. I do think it would make a good addition to a preschool or kindergarten classroom. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book upon request. The rating, ideas and opinions shared are my own.

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Baby Bird by Andrew Gibbs

3.5 Stars

Baby Bird is an adorable character. He is the fourth bird in the nest, but he was born with a difference. One of his wings did not develop and when all his siblings fly off, he can’t go with them. No matter how hard he tries, he is not able to fly. Even as he falls and falls again, he keeps trying. When he meets a goose, they develop a friendship and “Cooter” tries to help him. Finally, Baby Bird and Cooter accept that he will never fly. Fortunately Cooter knows what to say and do to help Baby Bird realize that there is more than one way to fly. This was one that my grandson listened quite intently to, but didn’t have much to say about it. I think he might have been comparing himself to Little Bird, but wasn’t too sure what to think.

Of course there are a couple of wonderful messages in this book. Baby Bird learns that sometimes we need a little help from friends as well as our own acceptance that we can overcome difficulties that we have no control over. Baby Bird realizes that he is wonderful even if he can’t fly. The wonderful message about friendship, helping and encouraging one another as well as acceptance is an important one. A great addition to a home, school or public library.

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Bim, Bam, Bop . . . and Oona by Jacqueline Briggs Martin

4 Stars

This is a story about finding what you are good at and using that to overcome what you might not be so good at. Bim, Bam, Bop and Oona are duck siblings. Every morning the three ducks built for running and speed beat Oona to the pond. She really wishes that one day she could beat the others to the pond to see the smooth water. Oona’s friend Roy encourages her to use what she is good at, making gizmos, to reach her goal. She tries different inventions (gizmos) until she gets it right.

I absolutely loved the illustrations in this story. They are beautiful watercolours done in muted shades. They are large and extremely detailed. We talked about the illustrations and what we saw more than the story itself. I found reading the text difficult to get into a rhythm. It had some short rhyming phrases, then full sentences, then thoughts that didn’t seem finished. All good techniques, but not necessarily when they are in the same book. There are some good messages in this book about not giving up even if plans go awry or don’t work the first time, being a good sport, accepting limitations, being a good friend, looking for strengths etc. I recommend this one for children who are struggling with something or need some help with perseverance. Of course, it is also a fun story about problem solving and animals. My grandson enjoyed this story and was cheering for Oona to get to the pond first.

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That’s for Babies by Jackie Azúa Kramer, Lisa Brandenburg (Illustrator)

4.5 Stars

My granddaughter says she is a big girl, so I thought I would read her this little book. Well, she listened very carefully and enjoyed the illustrations, but didn’t seem to really connect with the story, perhaps because she is only 3. I read it to my 5 year old grandson and he loved it. He made comments about, still liking things that Prunella didn’t like and saying she was still a little girl.

Prunella wakes up on the morning of her birthday and announces, “I’m a big kid now.” She doesn’t want to do any of the things she usually loves. “That’s for babies!” she announces over and over again. Her doll is put away, no more bubble baths, animal crackers or even heart shaped pancakes! Those are for babies and Prunella is a big kid now. Just looking at Prunella she can tell she is a bit sassy. She is dressed in her own style, has her hand propped on her hip and thumb up. Can that sass help her when she is afraid? What happens when a big scary thunderstorm happens at night? Do big kids get scared? An sweet story about growing up, for little kids and big kids. This book would make a great addition to any family library. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book upon request. The rating, ideas and opinions shared are my own.

Dragons in Love

Dragons in Love by Alexandre Lacroix, Ronan Badel (Illustrations)

2 Stars

This is a cute story about a dragon and young girl sharing a kiss and how it makes them feel. I am not sure about this story. I read it to my grandson and he kept telling me that you’re only supposed to kiss people in your family. Other people want their space and don’t like being hugged and kissed without asking first. As we continued to read, he said that Drake would get in trouble for hurting the other kid. So, I can not recommend this one. I think he is just parroting what he has been told in school, but it made for an unenjoyable read aloud for us. I will say the illustrations are wonderful though.

I hope you enjoy Graham’s and Grandma’s comments on these books.

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