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The King Who Left His Kingdom/El Rey Que Dejó Su Reino

The King Who Left His Kingdom

El Rey Que Dejó Su Reino

written by Deanna Altman

illustrated by Lisa Mueller

The King Who Left His KingdomThe publisher provides this summary of The King Who Left His Kingdom: “This book is provided in English and Spanish under one cover. A story of love given by Jesus as he leaves his kingdom of light to show the way to people who are in darkness. A magnificent, simple and clear way to show children the real sacrifice God made by sending his son. This evangelistic tool can be used to show the gospel to children in a very simple, yet beautiful way making a contrast between God’s kingdom of light, and the darkness in our world.”

With this intent of the book in mind, I must say that it fell short of the mark. I really wanted to like it, but young children are very literal and I don’t think they would understand the symbolism provided by this book. It is more of an allegory than children of the intended ages can handle. For example, Jesus speaks of His Father’s kingdom and the people want to go there. Jesus tells them “ ‘No, you cannot go there without someone making a way. The darkness blocks your way. There is only one way; I must make a bridge,’ the Son-king said. He walked to Jerusalem and paid a price. He made a path with blood; with wood and nails he paved the way to make a bridge for His friends.” The illustration shows people walking across a chasm on a bridge (perhaps sprinkled with blood?) in the shape of a cross. As an adult and a Christian, I understand what the author is saying. This is an old evangelical depiction of sin separating us from God and the cross bridging the gap, but I wouldn’t have understood this when I was a child. I’m not sure there is even enough there for an unchurched adult to understand the sacrifice Jesus made to save people from their sins.

I think it is commendable to have the book in both English and Spanish, but no credit is given to the translator. Even if the author is the translator, that should have been noted. I appreciate author Deanna Altman’s efforts to share God’s incredible gift, but it is not something I would share with children ages 5-8 or grades K-3 as recommended.

I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to First Edition Design Publishing  for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 2/5

Category: Children’s Nonfiction, Christian

Notes: Publisher’s Recommended Age Range: 5-8

Publisher’s Recommended Grade Level: K-3

Publication:  April 3, 2018—First Edition Design Publishing

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My Teacher’s Not Here!–read this to your class!

My Teacher’s Not Here!

written by Lana Button

illustrated by Christine Battuz

My Teacher's Not Here!My Teacher’s Not Here! is an endearing story designed to help children adapt to change, particularly the fear of a substitute teacher in the early childhood years. In so many cases, teachers become substitute parents and much more as they guide twenty or more students through a specially designed routine and know the needs of each student.

The teachers and children in this book are adorably depicted as a variety of animals. The story is told in predictable rhyming patterns from the viewpoint of a cute, apprehensive kitten. Their loving teacher has left a note for the children saying she is counting on them to help Mr. Omar (a giraffe), and so the little kitty overcomes her fears and does everything she can to be helpful.

I highly recommend this book for reading to a classroom. It will help allay anxieties and prepare students for that inevitable time when the teacher will be absent. Although the illustrations depict a preschool classroom, students in K-2 would also enjoy the message and the rhymes.

I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Kids Can Press for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Children’s Fiction

Notes: Ages 4-8

Grades P-2

Publication:   April 3, 2018—Kids Can Press

Memorable Lines:

Smiling Miss Seabrooke should be here to meet me.

But my teacher is missing and NOT here to greet me.

 

Someone is standing 

in MY teacher’s spot.

He’s ginormously TALL.

Miss Seabrooke is not.

Dr. Coo and the Pigeon Protest–pigeons just want to be loved

Dr. Coo and the Pigeon Protest

written by Sarah Hampson

illustrated by Kass Reich

Dr. Coo and the Pigeon ProtestDr. Coo and the Pigeon Protest is a sweet but nonrealistic story for children. I don’t mean unrealistic in the sense that it is fiction. Indeed it is fiction and talking birds can be expected. My issue with the book is that its goal is to show how even those with differences can work to get along with each other…and I believe in that. The problem is that the basis for compromise is based on promises the pigeons can not keep such as refraining from “splatting on cars (and heads)” and instead use only designated compost areas for their droppings, keeping public areas clean. In exchange people will not put spikes on ledges, shoo pigeons away, or run them down with cars. These are nice sentiments but the pigeons, being pigeons, can not keep up their end of the bargain. This concept just does not translate over to two groups of people trying to live in harmony. 

 

The book is well written and the illustrations are appealing, their style going well with the text. The best part of the book is the idea Dr. Coo, a pigeon, has for getting people’s attention so they can negotiate. I would say to the team, “Give it another go with a different idea or even a different solution. I just would not buy this for my own children or for my classroom as is.

I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Kids Can Press for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 3/5

Category: Children’s Fiction

Notes: Ages 4-8

Grades P-2

Publication:   April 3, 2018—Kids Can Press

Memorable Lines:

The conversation started out as it normally did.

They cackled about the supply of corn kernels in the park.

They nattered about the nearing of winter.

They prattled about new perches.

The Most Magnificent Thing–experimentation

The Most Magnificent Thing

by Ashley Spires

The Most Magnificent ThingThe first thing you will notice about The Most Magnificent Thing is the quirky art style. The main character, a little girl, is drawn with a large head and body and pencil thin arms and legs. Her “best friend in the whole wide world” is her dog, drawn in the same style without any softness. The background is mainly black and white line drawing. This is not an art style that typically attracts me to a picture book, but it is the perfect backdrop for this story.

The main character is described as a “regular girl” and remains unnamed. This is the story of how she makes the most magnificent thing ever. Her project turns out to not be as easy as she anticipates, but she perseveres through various versions to the point of total frustration. She works through her anger, redirects her experimentation, building on her past failures, and in the end is satisfied with the results.

I really enjoyed reading this story and wished I had a child with me to share the experience. The Most Magnificent Thing opens up a wealth of opportunities for discussions about creativity, experimentation, success, failure, and persistence. It would be fun to read to a classroom or an individual child.

I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Kids Can Press for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Children’s Fiction 

Notes: Ages—3-7 years

Grade Level—Preschool-2

Publication:   April 1, 2014—Kids Can Press

Do Not Take Your Dragon to Dinner–fun picture book

Do Not Take Your Dragon to Dinner

written by Julie Gassman

illustrated by Andy Elkerton

Do Not Take Your Dragon to DinnerAlmost any child will enjoy Do Not Take Your Dragon to Dinner; its predictable rhyming patterns and repetition will charm. Its descriptions of all the rude behaviors a dragon might engage in are sure to disgust to the delight of children. Dinosaur lovers will be particularly happy reading this book. The illustrations are bright, colorful, large, and seem to jump off the page. The illustrator worked hard to be inclusive of children of both genders and many ethnicities. The best part of the book’s structure is that after showing all the annoying and disgusting things a dragon might do at a restaurant, the author suggests that the child teach the dragon dining etiquette at home so he will be welcome in a restaurant with the child.

This book bears a strong resemblance to How Do Dinosaurs Eat their Food by Jane Yolen. The focus of Do Not Take Your Dragon to Dinner is, of course, dragons, but these dragons strongly evoke fanciful dinosaurs. If your child enjoys Yolen’s “How Do Dinosaurs…” books, then he or she would probably enjoy Do Not Take Your Dragon to Dinner. My ultimate test for a good children’s book is to decide if the adult will enjoy reading the book with the child as read-alouds should always be a time of pleasure for all involved. In the case of this book, I personally give it two thumbs up!

I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Capstone Young Readers for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Humor, Children’s Fiction

Notes: suggested for ages 3-7; fun for home or school

Publication:   September 1, 2017—Capstone Young Readers

Memorable Lines: 

A rude guest like a dragon disturbs everyone.

He barges right in. He spoils the fun.

A wing in your face! A tail in a drink!

And worst of all, that distinct dragon STINK!

Argyle Fox–what can the little fox play on a windy day?

Argyle Fox

by Marie Letourneau

Argyle FoxArgyle Fox is a cute children’s book about a little fox who wants to go outside to play on a windy day. He has fun, creative ideas for things to play, but other animals warn him that each activity can’t be done in the wind. Argyle Fox takes on various roles, such as spider and pirate, in his efforts at make believe, and the dialogue reflects these characters.

This story would make a good early childhood read aloud with lots of discussion opportunities. Argyle Fox has a simple, predictable story line that is reassuring to children, It encourages vocabulary development and creativity. The illustrations are fun and appropriate to the story. This picture book could be enjoyed in the classroom or at home.

I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Tanglewood Publishing for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 4/5

Category: Children’s Fiction

Notes: recommended for ages 3-7

Publication: March 14, 2017—Tanglewood Publishing

Suggested Discussion Questions (Things to talk about while reading this book):
1. What fun things did Argyle Fox want to play? Have you ever pretended or played those things?
2. What animal friends gave Argyle Fox advice about the wind? Can you find them in the book?
3. What do these words mean: burrow, castle duel, pirate, plank?
4. Can you act out the story with me?
5. What other things can you play in the wind?
6. What nice thing did Argyle Fox do for his friends?
7. What is argyle? (Search the Internet for “argyle pattern” to share some great examples and for younger children contrast argyle with dots, stripes, plaid, etc.)

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