children

Stress Stinks


Author: Bryan Smith
Illustrator: Lisa M. Griffin
Publisher: Boys Town Press
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-1-944882-46-4
Pages: 32
Price: $10.95

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Amelia is seriously stressed out. School homework and tests, friend issues, and softball practice are upsetting her and she’s ready to snap. Her mom realizes she’s feeling too much stress, and encourages her to do something to change her thinking from negative to positive. Counting to ten, having a healthy snack, listening to some good music, and tensing and releasing are some of the methods she shows Amelia. Soon Amelia is handling stress so much better and she can demonstrate these helpful ideas to her classmates.

Stress Stinks shows children positive ways to manage the stress in their lives. Tips for parents and educators are included in the appendix. I highly recommend this helpful book for kids.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

children, history

So You Want to be a Roman Soldier?


Author: Georgia Amson-Bradshaw
Illustrator: Takayo Akiyama
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
ISBN: 978-0-500-65183-4
Pages: 96
Price: $14.95

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If you’ve dreamed of being powerful, earning lots of money, traveling the world, and retiring rich, the life of a Roman soldier might be for you. But are you sure you really want to be a Roman soldier? This handy illustrated guide shows kids exactly what’s involved in this dangerous warrior life.

Kate, Eddie, and Angus are in a museum, looking at the display on ancient Rome. Soon they are transported back in time to the year 100, and are advised by Junia, who explains what they can expect if they really want to be Roman soldiers. First they’ll need to fill out their application form, pass the entrance exam, and take the military oath. Military gear needs to be selected and cleaned carefully, along with their weapons. Finally they’ll need to decide on joining the cavalry, the auxilia, the navy, or the Praetorian guard. Avoiding punishment and knowing their enemies will be useful skills to ensure survival on military campaigns.

The Roman military life comes alive in this tongue-in-cheek look at how to be a Roman soldier. I found it highly entertaining, and it will be a big hit with kids – especially boys – who will enjoy the gruesome humor. (Spoiler alert: yes, there are cartoon severed body parts and smelly things.) I highly recommend So You Want to be a Roman Soldier?

Reviewer: Alice Berger

children

Little Fish



Author & Illustrator: Emily Rand
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-0-500-65162-9
Pages: 10
Price: $24.95

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Two tiny orange goby fish are frolicking in the waves when suddenly a giant shoal swims by and sweeps one fish away. Little fish is alone on an adventure, visiting a turtle, avoiding a hungry grouper, darting quickly away from a shark, and finally arriving safely back at his home.

This unique carousel picture book actually folds out completely, anchored by a ribbon that holds the two covers together, inside out. Children can follow the scenes in 3-D, as animals and scenery pop out from the page. (See image above.)

Bright colors, a happy ending, and a fun cut-out pop-up book will delight small children, as they follow the little fish around and around each scene. I highly recommend Little Fish.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

children

Button & Popper


Author & Illustrator: Oili Tanninen
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-0-500-65201-5
Pages: 32
Price: $16.95

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Button and Popper live in an apple tree with their parents and ten siblings. But the weather is turning colder and there are no more apples to eat. The pixie family must find a new home. Mother and Father try to find a new place to live, but no one wants to let a pixie family with twelve children stay there.

Taking matters into their own hands, Button and Popper set out to tackle the problem themselves. After nearly exhausting all the possibilities, they spy Professor Prilli at the fish market. A basket switcheroo lands them in Professor Prilli’s home – a very nice home that would make the pixies happy. They’re shocked when the Professor announces he’s going on a long journey, and the pixie family is most welcome to stay there while he’s gone.

Button & Popper was originally published in Finland in 1964, during a time the author despaired of finding a suitable place to rent with two small children. She only used three colors in illustrating it, so it would be cheaper to print, and therefore more affordable to people who wanted to buy it. The cute story and happy ending will leave children smiling.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

children

The Great Compromise


Author: Julia Cook
Illustrator: Kyle Merriman
Publisher: Boys Town Press
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-1-944882-44-0
Pages: 32
Price: $10.95

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Cora June is having a very bad day. She wants to make spaghetti for Fantastic Flavor Feast, but her partner, Wilson wants to make tacos. She wants the class to take their field trip to the zoo, but they voted along with Wilson to see the state capitol instead. She wants to play dodge ball at recess, but Wilson wants the class to play soccer. These two children have very definite ideas of what they want, and neither one is willing to give in.

Finally, as they bicker over blue and red ice pops, their teacher steps in. It’s time for both of them to learn how to compromise. She explains how they should have handled each of the situations they found themselves in that day in a mature and respectful way. But she also reminds them that they should never compromise if it will place them in a harmful or dangerous situation.

The Great Compromise would be a great tool for home and classroom, showing kids how to handle situations when they won’t be able to get their own way. A guide for parents and educators provides additional tips.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

children

1001 Ants


Author & Illustrator: Joanna Rzezak
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-0-500-65208-4
Pages: 32
Price: $16.95

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1001 ants are off to explore the world. Leaving their hill, they visit plants, mushrooms, trees, a pond, bugs, and animals. In each nature frame, the ants learn about the creatures and vegetation around them. One little ants wears red socks, and children are encouraged to find her in each scene.

While counting the ants is certainly possible, kids might find it a little overwhelming. But they will find it fun to see what each is doing in these busy scenes. Text is placed around the items kids should take note of as they read.

1001 Ants is a great introduction to the natural world around us. Kids will enjoy this fun read.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

children

The Diggers


Author: Margaret Wise Brown
Illustrator: Antoine Corbineau
Publisher: Silver Dolphin Books
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-1-68412-742-9
Pages: 32
Price: $12.99

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Moles, dogs, worms, rabbits, pirates, and mice are all digging holes. And so is the man with a plan. But he feels like a mouse or a mole because his digging is taking far too long. Finally, he calls for an excavator – the digger – that will dig the big hole he needs.

The digger goes under the city, under the river, and into the green country beyond. A train goes through the hole and through the green country, until it stops at a mountain. Then the digger is called on, once again, to dig through the mountain and let the train through.

Rhyming, repetition, and silly images fill the pages of this classic whimsical book. Kids will love reading The Diggers over and over again.

Reviewer: Alice Berger