Monday, March 2, 2015

Are Children's Books Quick Reads?

Seriously, it doesn't take long to read a children's picture book. Sometimes it almost takes longer to write a review. But then I read it again, more slowly, listening for the cadence of the words. Does that make me too serious for the job? After all, kids are just looking to feel excited, not to listen. But part of me thinks a smooth cadence will draw children in, while a jolting one might fit with childish distraction. Perhaps that means I should rate smooth reading higher for bedtime and jumpy reads for activities. Or perhaps I should just leave the reader to decide. That's what I try to do - 4 stars; a good and pleasant read. It's why reviewing picture books can take more time, and more words, than just reading them. But it's always fun. I love picture books and I love kids!

So here are a few offerings for your child's reading enjoyment (but the coffee ratings are definitely for the parent).

Oliver and Jumpy, stories 7 – 9, by Werner Stejskal, continues a series of tales involving a very suave, sophisticated cat. But this cat was once a baby, he confesses, as the stories progress. Wise lessons cover road and playground safety, and there are pleasant surprises in image and story. Computerized bright colors; fast story-telling; interesting voice; enjoy with some bright, lively 2-star coffee.

The Flamingo who loved Bingo, by Tim Zak, is a bright simple book with a wise simple lesson, perfectly created for third graders to read on their phones. Slightly forced rhymes might even invite them to make their own rhythms and words. You could ask them and see, while enjoying another lively 2-star coffee.

Sandra Novello's Clive the Clever Crow tells an intriguing story for preschool and new-schoolers, where crows reveal what sort of food they eat. It's very short though, so just grab a half-cup of 2-star coffee to enjoy it with.

Also by Sandra Novello, Silly Socks offers all the fun of a hide-and-seek book, with pairs of happy-faced socks hiding in most unlikely places. Nice smooth rhymes, each page paired with a relevant picture, it's a nicely enticing book to share with another 2-star lively coffee.

Staying with a sock theme, Derek the Dragon and the Missing Socks, by Leela Hope offers bright happy dragon pictures, some sweet princess scenes, and fun for girls and boys. Enjoy with another lively 2-star coffee and read with care.

Finally, here's a book that's maybe not really a children's book at all, but it's got a great title and great pictures; Eletunji, the Shiny Elephant, by Marcy Rae Lifavi is a richly illustrated African fable, where a shiny elephant learns to shed those layers we so love to protect ourselves with, and to listen to the empowering voice within. Enjoy with a well-balanced 3-star coffee, and let your kids enjoy the voices and the pictures.


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