children

Keep an Eye on Ivy


Author & Illustrator: Barroux
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-0-500-65253-4
Pages: 32
Price: $18.95

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It’s a boy’s birthday, and he has received a very special gift – an ivy plant. The following day the cat isn’t around, but his sister says he must be outside. The next day, his sister goes missing, but dad thinks she’s at her music lesson. The next day, dad is missing… and so it goes. Every day someone disappears until finally the boy finds himself alone.

As he looks at Ivy, a magical pop-up surprise awaits him, and he finds himself inside the plant, along with all of his missing family members. Scolding the plant, he announces that it’s not polite to swallow people, and that EVERYONE will be keeping an eye on Ivy from now on.

Keep an Eye on Ivy is a cute pop-up book with a slightly sinister houseplant. Sensitive children might be afraid of this book, but most kids will be amused by the situation this family finds themselves in. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

children, nature

Growing Pains


Author: Alison McLennan
Illustrator: Melissa Johns
Publisher: EK Books
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-1-925820-52-2
Pages: 32
Price: $18.99

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Illustrator’s website
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Finn’s family has planted a tree, and Finn begins to worry about it. Do trees get cold? He provides a scarf for warmth. Do trees get hungry? A plate of toast is placed at its base. Will his tree get lonely? He spends some time near the tree talking to it and asking it questions.

But when Finn’s night light suddenly goes out, Finn is worried that the tree is also scared of the dark, like he is. Once he realizes that the tree is not afraid, he draws strength from his tree and faces his own fears.

Growing Pains is a story of a boy who is very much in tune with nature. Finn looks after the tree’s perceived needs, and the tree gives back when he needs it most. I highly recommend this sweet and gentle book.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

children

Make Yourself at Home


Author & Illustrator: Signe Torpe
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-0-500-65214-5
Pages: 48
Price: $19.95

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People live in many different kinds of places. Their home can be an igloo, a castle, a tree house, or even a windmill. These and many other kinds of homes are featured in Make Yourself at Home.

In this charming book, children can see all kinds of homes around the world. Detailed illustrations cover fold-out spreads, and the pages are filled with fun facts. Kids will have fun exploring all the unique places that people of the world live.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

children, nature

Goodnight Great Outdoors


Author: Lucas Alberg
Illustrator: Megan Marie Myers
Publisher: Adventure Publications
Genre: Children / Nature
ISBN: 978-1-59193-888-0
Pages: 32
Price: $16.95

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A family is camping in the wilderness and is getting ready to go to sleep. But before they slip inside their tent, they say goodnight to the animals and environment around them.

This simple bedtime book repeats the word “goodnight” to all of the family’s surroundings. It also introduces the animals the family might see in the woods and provides a nugget of information on each. Goodnight Great Outdoors is the perfect bedtime book for families of outdoor adventurers.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

animals, children, fitness

Yoga Animals


Author: Paige Towler
Publisher: National Geographic Kids
Genre: Children / Animals / Yoga
ISBN: 978-1-4263-3752-9
Pages: 32
Price: $16.99

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Animals stretch, and so should we. In Yoga Animals, kids see animals demonstrating their stretches, and they’re encouraged to mimic their movements.

Fun photos of the animals in their poses show how they stretch their bodies. These poses are: Giraffe (Upward Salute), Flamingo (Tree Pose), Gorilla (Standing Forward Fold), Cat, Puppy (Downward Dog), Lion, Bunny (Rabbit), Cobra, and Crocodile. Additional details regarding each pose are provided in the appendix.

Kids will love learning about yoga from the animals in Yoga Animals.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

children

I’ll Never Get All of That Done!


Author: Bryan Smith
Illustrator: Lisa M. Griffin
Publisher: Boys Town Press
ISBN: 978-1-944882-50-1
Pages: 32
Price: $10.95

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Blake needs to sell some cookies for his team’s bake sale, and his mom expects him to bake them himself. He is overwhelmed with the thought of what he needs to do, so his mom breaks the project down into steps for each day in the week prior to the sale. He follows the plan and the sale is a success.

A few weeks later, he finds himself behind in his schoolwork and once again, he’s overwhelmed at all he has to do. His teacher reminds him of the steps he needs to take – Prioritize, Plan, and Post. He follows the plan and gets his work done.

Now that Blake understands the steps, he is able to use them in getting his schoolwork done, finishing his household chores, and playing video games with his friends. He even teaches these steps to his coach!

Kids can easily become frustrated when they think they have too much to do in too little time. This book offers a helpful reminder for them that prioritizing, planning, and posting their organized list can keep them focused and able to complete the tasks at hand. I highly recommend I’ll Never Get All of That Done!.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

children

Herman Jiggle, Say Hello!


Author: Julia Cook
Illustrator: Michael Garland
Publisher: Boys Town Press
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-1-944882-51-8
Pages: 32
Price: $10.95

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Illustrator’s website
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Herman Jiggle has trouble speaking when he gets nervous around people. His words get jumbled up and he would rather just stay silent. But his mom begins to encourage him to be more social.

Although Herman is reluctant, his mom suggests taking a deep breath before speaking, so his words come out clearly. A big smile helps him relax, and he can even imagine the other person wearing funny jammies. But when Herman gets to be really good at speaking, he is reminded that sometimes it’s better not to talk, like in class when everyone is supposed to be quiet.

Social anxiety is a very real fear for children, and they may need some coaching to find their voice. Tips for parents and educators are also included to assist in working with these kids. I highly recommend Herman Jiggle, Say Hello! for home and classroom.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

children, self improvement

Pause Power


Author: Jennifer Law
Illustrator: Brian Martin
Publisher: Boys Town Press
ISBN: 978-1-944882-49-5
Pages: 32
Price: $10.95

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A boy realizes that it’s easy for people to push his buttons when he gets upset. But until a button named Preston begins to speak to him, he has no idea that HE has control of those buttons – not other people.

Now that he knows he can stop those people from getting to him, he has to learn some techniques. He needs to use “pause power” to take deep breaths, count slowly, and notice how he’s feeling. Then he can make the right decision on how to respond. As he practices, he finds he gets angry less often, knows when he needs to visit the cool down spot, and has a lot more friends.

When kids get angry with others, they don’t usually realize they’re giving their power away. Pause Power helps them take that power back, so they can gain control over their emotions. I highly recommend this book for home and classroom.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

art, children

Modern Art Explorer


Author: Alice Harman
Illustrator: Serge Bloch
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
Genre: Children / Modern Art
ISBN: 978-0-500-65220-6
Pages: 96
Price: $19.95

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Modern art is certainly… different. Visiting a modern art gallery can leave us scratching our heads, wondering what the artist had in mind. So how can we learn to appreciate it?

Modern Art Explorer offers kids a glimpse of some of the more famous pieces from the modern art era of the 1860s to the late 1960s. In the introduction, we learn a little bit about this movement in art history, and find some suggestions on how to look at the featured pieces. Then we explore 30 different artworks, which are shown along with the artist’s name, date created, and other interesting details about the piece and the artist. The final section presents a timeline of the period which includes the happenings of the day, along with a glossary and list of artworks.

Kids and adults will find Modern Art Explorer fascinating. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

children

Marvelous Magicians


Author & Illustrator: Lydia Corry
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
Genre: Children / Magic
ISBN: 978-0-500-65221-3
Pages: 48
Price: $19.95

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Magicians have been dazzling audiences for 5,000 years, but some were renowned for their spectacular tricks. Marvelous Magicians features eight groundbreaking illusionists who shaped modern magic, plus it showcases other interesting facts about magic through the years.

The magicians appearing in this volume are Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin, Richard Potter, Harry Kellar, Long Tack Sam, Adelaide Herrmann, Harry Houdini, Howard Thruston, and Dante. In addition to sharing these mini biographies, this magical book also explains the art of illusion, the role of the magician’s assistant, and why magicians guard their secrets so closely.

Children will enjoy reading about the wonderful tricks these talented magicians were able to perform. I highly recommend Marvelous Magicians.

Reviewer: Alice Berger