Carla Loves To Read



SATURDAY MORNINGS FOR KIDS: October 20, 2018 (#2)

This meme was recently started by Rae Longest at Powerful Women Readers. As I am a grandmother, who loves to read to her children, and a retired teacher librarian, this meme really attracted me. If you love children’s books, or have a favourite from your childhood, join us in introducing them to a new generation of readers. Feel free to use my logo above, but link back to my post as well.

My plan is to highlight a book, a series or an author that I think children will love. These will not be new books, they will be books that I have recommended to parents or kids, or books that I have bought for my own children or grandchildren. There are so many wonderful books from the past that today’s children will love. Here goes.

This week, I want to highlight one of my son’s favourite books when he was growing up as well as the kids at school. This was one I read aloud every year, the voices I used were a hoot. This would make a great Hallowe’en read.


What moans at midnight in Toad-in-a-Cage Castle?

Toad-in-a-Cage Castle was filled with secrets–secrets such as the hidden passages that led to every room, the long stairway that wound down to the dungeon, and the weird creature named Igor who lived there. But it was the mysterious night noises that bothered William the most–the strange moans that drifted through the halls of the castle where he was raised.

He wanted to know what caused them.

Then one night he found out….

Bruce Coville is a wonderful children’s author. My son read almost all his books that were published while he was a kid, and he wrote quite a few. I have kept most of them (I took them to school to use in my classroom library and some disappeared, they were so well loved) for my grandchildren. If you are a teacher or librarian, he does author visits. Information is on his blog. @brucecoville


Mini-Reviews: Children’s Picture Books

Captain LaPlank: The Perfect Pirate

Captain LaPlank: The Perfect Pirate

by Flibber T. Gibbet

Published September 12th 2018 by CreateSpace

5 Stars

This was a cute story about a Pirate who is a perfectionist. He can not put up with any mistakes and ends up with a major problem due to this flaw in his personality. A great message not only for those listening to the story, but the adult who is reading it.

Captain LaPlank is a wonderfully written rhyming story with a great cadence and flow. My grandchildren enjoyed hearing this story and when we were finished, cries of “Again, again” reang out. The illustrations were great. They were large, vibrant and humourous. I would try to turn the page and have to go back as they wanted to look longer. It might have been a bit longer than other children’s books, but my grandchildren did not seem to mind. They did not get the message as they are only 2 and 5, but with older children, they will understand it better. The publisher provided me with a copy of this book to read. The rating, ideas and opinions stated are my own.


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Mini-Reviews: Baby/Toddler, Early Reader

I Like!I Like!

by Cecilia Smith

Published August 1st 2018 by Xist Publishing

4 Stars

This book is from the Reading Stars series. It is a simple book for beginning readers to build confidence when learning to read. This is a repetitive story with each page following the pattern: I like to …. . There are large, bright, simple illustrations on each page that will provide reading clues to the reader. There is also a nice note to parents and caregivers with suggestions to help their child read this book. A good book for a family library or a primary classroom where there are many beginning readers. The publisher, Xist Publishing, generously provided me with a copy of this book to read. The rating, ideas and opinions are my own.


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Mini-Reviews: Children’s Non-Fiction Books

Discover ThanksgivingDiscover Thanksgiving

by Juliana O’Neill

Published September 1st 2018 by Xist Publishing

4 Stars

This is a level 2 reader about Thanksgiving and the traditions that go with it. This book is based on the American Thanksgiving, but being Canadian, I still read this to my grandchildren, but just added the information that is different in Canada such as the dates. This is a great book to teach children the basics of Thanksgiving, from the history, decorations, family traditions and of course food. The book is filled with photos to go with the facts rather than illustrations. I loved the crafts shown and the yard decorations. Because this is a level 2 reader, this would be a great book for a beginning reader to read alone or aloud to their family. It would make a great addition to a school library or a class, especially in a unit on celebrations. The publisher, Xist Publishing, generously provided me with a copy of this book to read. The rating, ideas and opinions shared are my own.


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Children’s Books: Mini-Reviews

37572424Death Eaters: Meet Nature’s Scavengers

by Kelly Milner Halls

Published October 1, 2018 by Millbrook Press

4.5 Stars

When I saw the cover of this book, I thought it would be a good one for boys. I am always looking for ways to entice boys to read and what better way than animals that eat dead stuff. Death Eaters: Meet Nature’s Scavengers by Kelly Milner Halls is a middle grade nonfiction book that shows a lot about decomposition and the many animals that assist with that.

This book is not a fun read, but the subject matter is fascinating, and important. Death eaters come in all shapes and sizes, live on land, in the air and in the sea. I knew about some of them, but not all. Everyone has probably seen maggots and vultures, but I did not realize that raccoons also ate the dead. I found this book to be well written and organized. The text will be difficult for younger readers, but middle grades should be all right with it. I like how this book not only shows and tells about decomposition, but how that is helpful to other life. The ending anecdote from the author finding a dead kitten, shows children that as much as death is sad, there can be meaning in that death. The photos in the book are quite good and give some up close pictures of various death eaters. There is also a good glossary and resources at the book for further investigation. This is a good book for schools and classrooms, especially when studying animals, life cycles, habitats etc. The publisher, Millbrook Press, generously provided me with a copy of this book to read. The rating, opinions and ideas are my own.


41142357The Brightest Star

by Danielle Schothorst

Published September 1st 2018 by Clavis Publishing

3 Stars

This is a cute book with wonderful illustrations. They have a lot of detail and expression and the colours are soft and muted. It is sure to appeal to young children and their parents. This would be a great story to read before bedtime, after all, it is about stars. The message is about giving compliments to one another. Now, this book is not at all scientific, so if you are a firm believer in always being honest about facts, this would not be a book for you or your child.

Dog and Fox are looking at the stars one night when Fox asks why some are big and some are small. Dog’s answer is because they are growing, just like us. When we say nice things to others, their heart grows, so when we say nice things about them, they grow. All the animals stand around watching as more and more compliments are given to the star until …… I read this book to my granddaughter and she understood that they were being nice and the star was getting bigger, but the word compliments was a over her head. She loved the illustrations and we talked a lot about them as we read the book.

Once again, I think this is a great bedtime story for younger children that also teaches a message. The publisher, Clavis Publishing, generously provided me with a copy of this book to read. The rating, opinions and ideas are my own.


38743098Good Morning, Neighbor

by Davide CaliMaria Dek (Illustrations)

Published September 4th 2018 by Princeton Architectural Press

4.5 Stars

A cute story about the importance of collaboration, working together, friendship and sharing. It is told in the repetition mode adding something each time. My grandchildren and I had fun trying to remember each animal in order as well as what they contributed to the cake. The list of what they needed was pretty complete. Of course, my grandson was concerned that the mouse never got to make the omelette he wanted until we decided that cake tasted better. We were a little worried at the end that the mouse was not going to get a piece of cake, but the animals figured out that he should get one too. The illustrations are simple, childlike watercolors that are painted in a whimsical way. They are vibrant and add much to the story. I recommend this book to primary classrooms, family and school libraries.


40784712A Gift from Venus

by Gina Lypaczewski Marie Jane Works (Illustrator)

Published June 29th 2018 by Rosemount FARM Publishing LLC

3.5 Stars

Having recently put my dog out of his misery and my grandchildren’s cat receiving palliative care, I wanted to see if this book would be beneficial to them. They enjoyed the story about Venus growing older and getting tired and losing her sight. Their “Chief” is doing the same things. We talked about the special place for animals and the “rainbow bridge”. The only think I would have liked to see differently is someone from the family being with their cat when the end comes. My grandson commented that “Auntie Nini” would come to their house when it was time to say goodbye to Chief so they could all hug him one last time. Overall this is a very simple way to show children that there is a place for their beloved pets when they are no longer with us on Earth. The publisher, Rosemount FARM Publishing, generously provided me with a copy of this book to read. The rating, opinions and ideas are my own.


36748607P Is for Pterodactyl: The Worst Alphabet Book Ever

by Raj Haldar Chris CarpenterMaria Beddia (illustrator)
5 Stars
Expected publication: November 1st 2018 by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
My grandchildren love alphabet books, and dinosaurs, so I though this would be right up their alley. Well there was only one dinosaur, but this was an incredibly silly book and my grandson loved it. It poked fun at the way the English language does not follow rules, especially all the silent letters in the language. It’s written quite sarcastically and would probably be appreciated by older children who struggle with pronunciations and spelling as well as younger children who will just enjoy the illustrations and fun text. The art is fun to look at and I enjoyed seeing a book that has fun with the ridiculousness of the English language. I would not recommend this book to early readers as it would probably frustrate them very much. A great addition to a school library. The publisher, SOURCEBOOKS Jabberwocky, generously provided me with a copy of this book to read. The rating, ideas and opinions are my own.

38743101Up the Mountain Path

by Marianne Dubuc

Published October 2nd 2018 by Princeton Architectural Press

5 Stars

This is a beautiful story about the circle of life, friendship, learning from elders, and enjoying life and nature. Each Sunday Mrs Badger walks up to the top of the mountain, a place where she can sit and see the world, Along the way she makes friends with various animals and helps when she can. One day, Leo the cat spots Mrs Badger, and, even though he is afraid and doesn’t think he can make it, Mrs. Badger helps him reach the top. The journey repeats itself every Sunday, until Mrs. Badger is too tired and can’t make it anymore. When Lulu heads up the mountain alone, she brings back items and stories to Mrs. Badger. Eventually, she meets a reluctant friend and the tradition continues.

Dubuc’s story is simple, poetic and told through illustrations and text. I love the depictions of the mountain, nature and the panorama they see at the top of the mountain. This is a great story about life, encouraging one another, taking the first step, and so much more. A story for families everywhere. The publisher, Princeton Architectural Press, generously provided me with a copy of this book to read. The rating, ideas and opinions shared are my own.

Children’s Books: Mini-Reviews

Who Will Roar If I Go?

Who Will Roar If I Go?

by Paige Jaeger, Illustrated by Carol Hill Quirk

3.5 Stars

“Who Will Roar If I Go” introduces 13 different animals from around the world, that are in danger of extinction. This book also describes what the specific causes for their endangerment is. The book is written in a rhyming verse format, which tends to attract children to the “story”. There is a lot of text on each page, which is a bit of a downside for the age this book is intended for. Some of the animals presented will be familiar, some might not.

Many children are big animal lovers and are eager to learn about the animals in our world. It is unfortunate that we are still talking about this problem after all these years. The beautiful, watercolour illustrations were wonderful. They were realistic and showed the habitat of the animal they were describing. They stole the show for me. There were some resources included at the back of the book for further reading and research. I read this book to my 5 year old grandson and he really enjoyed the illustrations, but does not quite understand the idea of endangerment of what we can do to help. I think this book would be good to use with students to introduce them to endangered species and to open a discussion about what they can do to help. I would recommend this book to children in the primary grades, especially those in grade 2 and 3. The publisher, Boutique of Quality Books, generously provided me with a copy of this book to read. The rating, opinions and ideas are my own.

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Mini Reviews of Children’s Non-Fiction Books

Georgia O'Keeffe (Pequeña & Grande, #12)Georgia O’Keeffe (Little People, Big Dreams)

by Mª Isabel Sánchez VegaraErica Salcedo (Illustrator)

4.5 Stars

Published April 4th 2018 by Alba Editorial

New in the Little People, Big Dreams series, discover the incredible life of Anne Frank. The text and illustrations show Anne as a child in Frankfurt until Hitler comes to power when she is four. Her family flees to Holland to start a new life. Unfortunately Hitler and the Nazis move into Holland and the family if forced into hiding. Anne receives a diary from her parents on her 13th birthday where she records the events in her life. The author, Isabel Sanchez Vegara has penned a child friendly biography that shows a young woman striving to achieve her dream to become an author. Her father publishes her diary after her death, thus making her dream come true. This book could be used to teach young children how to write a biography, show that it is important to have a dream and strive to achieve it as well as to introduce the horrors of WWII and the holocaust in a non-gory way. This could impart just enough information to get someone curious to investigate further. A good book for a school library. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book to read via netgalley. The rating, ideas and opinions are my own. 4.5 stars rounded up to 5 stars.

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Children’s Books – Mini Reviews

Discover NestsDiscover Nests by Juliana O’Neill

Published September 1st 2018 by Xist Publishing

4 Stars

This is a cute non-fiction book for young children as well as beginning readers. Each page has beautiful photographs and a sentence describing the picture. The words throughout the book are repetitive to develop some confidence and fluency in the young reader, with some of the content words more difficult (i.e. hummingbirds, termites, wasps, alligator etc.) These works might be able to be figured out using picture clues. I like that not only does the author include different types of bird nests, but pointed out that other animals live in nests as well. I read this book with my grandchildren (ages 2 and 4) and they both enjoyed it very much, although the four year old asked a lot more questions.

I really like the Discover Reading series. Everyone I have shared with my grandchildren has been enjoyed by them. I can see my grandson learning to read using some of these books. I requested and received a copy of this book from the publisher, Xist Publishing. The rating, opinons and ideas stated are my own.


40605549If a Dog Could Wear a Hat by Elizabeth Maginnis. Internicola Annie Dwyer (Illustrator)

Published June 1st 2018 by Xist Publishing

4 Stars

Erin is sick at home and bored. Lucky for her, she has her dog, Simon to keep her occupied. Simon puts up with her playing dress-up and has a lot of fun along the way. As she places one hat after another on Simon, we see him in various roles (firefighter, police officer, pirate and more) as imagined by Erin. My grandchildren really liked the illustrations and thought Simon looked pretty funny dressed up. As Erin tires, out and falls asleep, Simon gets his revenge.

This is a cute, rhyming picture book that could be read to young children to start various discussions about occupations, what to do when you are sick, pets and more. It is perfect to read at story time in a pre-school or kindergarten classroom. The illustrations are colourful, whimsical and simple to support the text. A great book for a home, classroom or school library. I requested and received a copy of this book from the publisher, Xist Publishing to read and review. The rating, ideas and opinions are my own.

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Children’s Books – Mini Reviews

Bye Bye Pesky Fly

Bye Bye Pesky Fly 

by Lysa MulladyJanet McDonnell (Illustrations)

Published May 14th 2018 by Magination Press

4 Stars

Bye Bye Pesky Fly is a cute book to teach children how to deal with situations that frustrate or annoy them. In the story Pig is going about his usual day minding his business when along comes Fly disrupting his peace and comfort. Pig wants to react in a negative way, but when he stops and thinks about it, he realizes that will not work. He considers his possible actions and weighs out the potential consequences of each one before making his decision. Of course there are various options to consider such as aggressive, passive and assertive responses and then shown why assertive behavior is best. Fly then has to decide how he will respond. I like that they show both sides of the situation, and that the action and reaction both have consequences. It is not a hit over the head lesson, in fact, some children may not get it if a discussion does not follow. I really liked the artwork in this children’s book. They were soft, colorful, and had me smiling while reading this story with my grandchildren. My granddaughter loved the pig, even though she is a bit young to understand the message, she enjoyed the story. The publisher, Magination Press, generously provided me with a copy of this book to read. The rating, ideas and opinions are my own.


Continue reading “Children’s Books – Mini Reviews”

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