My grandchildren spent a day with me last week and we had a lot of time to play and read together. I read several books with them, some over and over. We read some off the bookshelf and some new releases on my computer. Here are our reviews of some of the toddler books we read. All these books were provided by the publishers. The rating, ideas and opinions shared are our own.
The Classic Munsch Concept Series by Robert Munsch features all those wonderful illustrations from his books, but are used to teach and share a concept. This one talks about moods. The book opens with the question, “How do you feel today?” Each page that follows features an illustration from one of Munsch’s stories depicting a feeling. The text is one word per page describing the feeling. This is a board book which is geared to toddlers or young children, but when I shared this book with my grandchildren, I think my 5 year old interacted with it more. They both loved the illustrations as they have heard these stories over and over. My grandson would often recognize the story the original illustration came from so we would talk about what was happening and why the characters felt a certain way. My granddaughter (3) enjoyed the illustrations and identified several of the feelings based on facial expressions and body language, but that was about it. I can see kindergarten and preschool classrooms using this book to discuss feelings, the idea that it is okay to have feelings, using cues to identify how someone feels etc. I do like these books and if you are a Robert Munsch fan, you will want to add these books to your collection.
Panda Opposites by Suzi Eszterhas
This is an adorable book full of photographs, taken by wildlife photographer Suzi Eszterhas, of panda cubs in their natural habitat doing exactly what panda cubs do, mostly playing. Each page also features one large, bold, words that describe the photos and are opposites (i.e. up/down, near/far, big/little and so on). This is a very simple book which is exactly what I like when teaching concepts such as opposites. My granddaughter had me read this one several times until she was able to add the second word to each pair. My grandson listened once, looked at the illustrations, named the opposites and was ready to move on. He waited somewhat impatiently as we read this over and over to satisfy the three year old. This is one I highly recommend to families of toddlers and preschool classrooms.
Llamas with Lemonade: An Unusual Animal ABC by Ariana Koultourides
I love ABC books and try to pick up different ones to read with the grandchildren. I love the ones that are a bit different, especially if they add vocabulary to their language and have a different theme. This one is animal themed, but with animals the kids were not always familiar with and they thought it was pretty funny when they saw some of the things the animals were doing (i.e A hedgehog with a hat, a jaguar with a jump rope, a vampire bat with a violin. an x-ray fish with a xylophone). Both kids were interested in this book, even the 5 year old who knows all his letters and sounds. He made the sounds and asked his sister questions which I loved. A great book for them to share together, grandma read the words through once, then they looked at the book together a few times naming the animals and what they were doing. I definitely recommend this one to families, libraries and kindergarten classrooms.
Hide and Seek, Little Chameleon by Anita Bijsterbosch
This is a simple, sweet, hide and seek book that I read to my two grandchildren. They both enjoyed the book for different reasons. The 3 year old liked the counting aspect and all the colours, the 5 year old loved looking for the chameleon understanding what camouflage is and how chameleons use it for protection. The second reading had my granddaughter also looking for the chameleon and laughing when she found it, talking about what colour it had turned. The illustrations are absolutely adorable, vibrant, colorful, large and eye catching. Kids never tire of hide and seek books even as they get older. This is a great little book for pre-school, kindergarten and early primary classrooms. There are a lot of uses for these concepts in science, math, art and language development or early reading skills.
Caillou is growing up and like all children he wants to do it himself. Often parents, older siblings, teachers and yes, even grandparents get impatient and want to help or do things for them, but Caillou and my grandchildren want to do it without help. I hear my granddaughter saying, “grandma, I do it” quite often. In this story, Caillou’s dad lets him try doing things himself and using praise, prompts and some simple assists Caillou is successful. I know this book is meant to show kids that they can do these things by themselves with practice and that it will make them feel good and build their confidence when achieving these goals but I think it was also a good reminder for me as I read it and realized that I need to back off a bit and let my grandchildren do more for themselves. I like that Caillou is a good role model in this story and my grandson informed me that he didn’t get in trouble in this story. As always the illustrations are bright, colourful and eye-catching. A good book for families and preschool classrooms. Both of my grandchildren (ages 3 and almost 6) enjoyed this story.