A review of current children's books

  • Not So Wise Owl

    not so wise owl

    The Not So Wise Owl is a must read for children of all ages. It was an incredibly cute story of friendship, and not giving up on someone just because they are not wise. This is one of those books that you won’t mind reading over and over and over again.

    It is written in a rhyming, Dr Suess kind of way that is very engaging. Plus it has a great spring board to talk about other types of animals that might not be so wise during the day. With us homeschooling over here, we used it start the unit study on owls actually. The story itself has a whole host of great characters actually. And they have to figure out what is wrong with owl. 

  • Yell and Shout and Cry and Pout

    Yell and Shout 2

    From the Back of the Book:

    “Yell and Shout, Cry and Pout: A Kid’s Guide to Feelings is an essential guidebook for adults in helping children identify and understand their emotions. Each of the eight emotions is clearly defined thorough vignettes and illustrations, keeping both adult and child captivated, thus creating an opportune time for discussion. By recognizing that all humans experience these emotions throughout their lives, the book provides a true sense of comfort. Emotions are not to be shunned, but rather embraced and explained to provide a positive development environment for all children.”

    My Thoughts:

    Did everyone see the movie Inside Out? It was probably one of the best kid movies that deal with emotion. My kids loved the way that each of the emotions were shown as a person; how they work together to make you, well, you. After watching it, all three of my girls wanted (and demanded to know more about their emotions. In particular what other emotions that they have.)

    It was the perfect timing for the book Yell and Shout and Cry and Pout by Peggy Krugertietz Ph.D. to show up on in my mailbox. Immediately the girls opened it up and started to explore their emotions.

    They loved learning more about their emotions that they learned about in Inside Out: Anger, Sadness and Disgust. Then they were thrilled to learn about the emotions that they know well: Happiness and Love. Last, there were new emotions: Fear, Shame, Surprise. After the initial reading they have gone back and looked through it. Even asking each other when they have felt certain emotions.

    They really did enjoy this book. Not in a “story at bedtime” type of way. But in a “lets look through it together” type of way. With the book sitting at $13 for a paperback, I think that it is a good book to have in your kids bookshelf. At the very least, it would be a reference book for them when they are feeling something without quite knowing what it is.

    What about you guys. Do you keep reference books for your kids, or just story books? Is this something that you would have in their bookcase? What do you think of the price point ($13 for a 40 page book)?

  • Martian Girl #2

    Aoleon The Martian Girl PART 2

    From the Back of the Book:

    “Gilbert never knew that school could be so dangerous! Determined to accompany his new friend, Aoleon, wherever she goes, Gilbert soon finds himself back in school – at the Martian Space Academy.  There he’s introduced to Martian society, hears a history lesson on the Draconian and Andromedan races, and even gets invited to a psiball match.  But Gilbert soon finds out it’s not all fun and games.  Not only is Aoleon’s arch nemesis, Charm Lepton, determined to make sure that Aoleon doesn’t make it through the psiball game, but Gilbert also comes under attack when a mysterious force attempts to control him. Do our two heroes have what it takes to survive?  Find out in this exciting middle-grade science fiction adventure that’s sure to please young readers!”

    Meet the Author

    Mr. LeVasseur enjoys crafting good stories based on lovable characters designed to translate well to multiple media formats such as books, games, movies, and toys. He lives in New York when he is not commuting between Southern California and Olympus Mons, Mars. His hobbies include writing, 3D animation, musical composition, and intergalactic space travel. He also enjoys various sports such as skiing, running, and exospheric skydiving.

    Connect with Brent:   Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook  ~  Aoléon: The Martian Girl

    My Review

    If you have not read my thoughts on the first book yet, go here to check it out. As you can see we had some mixed feelings about it. While it was not a 100% hit for my girls, they were still happy to get started on book number #2. Let me say that we are so glad that we did. Number 2 was a much better book for us. My girls were way more interested in the story line of this book.

    Maybe it had to do with the fact that they were just starting a new year of school and so was the main character, Gilbert, of the story was too. One big difference, he was going to martian school. The girls were so interested in all the differences between Earth schools and Aoleon’s school.

    It has a dash of Harry Potter: with a new sport to learn, and someone trying to control Gilbert.

    All three of my girls really enjoyed this one. I think that it was a little over the head of my youngest, were she was not completely following and enjoying the story line. However, the illustrations were amazing, she fully enjoyed exploring each one.

    Overall, a great book and they are very much looking forward to book #3.

  • Aoleon The Martian Girl- Part 1

    Aoleon The Martian Girl PART 1


    From The Back Of The Book:

    “Mars wants our cows (yes, cows!), and they’re sending an invasion fleet to take them from us. Only Gilbert and Aoleon the Martian Girl stand in their way! Gilbert always longed for adventure, but now that he has it, he’s not sure that it’s everything it’s cracked up to be.

    Ever since the night he met Aoleon the Martian Girl sitting in the middle of a crop circle in Farmer Johnson’s field, it’s been nothing but one wild ride after another. From fighting off swarms of giant killer robots to dealing with strange aliens from another world – never mind trekking across the vast Martian desert and skyboarding deep into the center of a (hopefully) extinct volcano – Gilbert has had his hands full just trying to keep up with it all. And now it’s up to him and his new friend, Aoleon, to face off against the evil Martian overlord and keep our cows safe at home where they belong. The launch of this exciting and innovatively illustrated new series takes the reader deep into the heart of an unforgettable and out-of-this-world friendship in a story full of hijinks, hilarity, and good old-fashioned fun.

    Join Gilbert and Aoleon in this exciting middle-grade science fiction adventure today!”

    About the Author:

    Mr. LeVasseur (love this name btw) enjoys crafting good stories based on lovable characters designed to translate well to multiple media formats such as books, games, movies, and toys. He lives in New York when he is not commuting between Southern California and Olympus Mons, Mars. His hobbies include writing, 3D animation, musical composition, and intergalactic space travel. He also enjoys various sports such as skiing, running, and exospheric skydiving.

    Connect with Brent:
    Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook  ~  Aoléon: The Martian Girl

    This is a quick read, my girls and I finished it in about 3 nights. It is right around 150 pages, but there are lots of graphics and illustrations. So the good and the not so great.

    It entertained all three of my girls. They did look forward to hearing about Gilbert’s adventures with the martian girl. My youngest was captivated with the way the illustrator captured Aoleon, and could not get enough of her. (As a side note, she has even started making her own stories about Aoleon. Telling them to Belle and having Belle write them down. It is very cute.) The story line moved along at a steady pace, and while there is a cliff hanger at the end, it is does not just drop out mid sentence. A huge pet peeve over here in the Ryan house.

    So the not so great. We had a hard time figuring out who it was written for. My oldest would be age wise what this book claims to be aimed for, but there was not enough meat to keep her fully engaged in the story. While my middle princess was more entertained, the verbiage used was over her head. And she often had to ask what words meant. To me the book would have been better, if they made it closer to a 4th to 5th grade reading level as opposed to shooting for that middle grade read. HOWEVER, that being said….. I have girls and they most want to hear about princess falling in love with a prince. Or the nerd girl winning the heart of the jock (for my oldest). There is a chance that this book, being so outside of what they want to hear about, never really stood a chance.

    While they were good, and everyone enjoyed part one of this story; we did not immediately jump into part 2.  My recommendation would be to get part one, it is only $1.00 on Amazon; you can’t go wrong at that price point. See if YOUR kids like it and go from there.

  • Squishy Face


    Need a new bedtime story for your little ones? Then you need to add this to your must read list! My girls just loved this book. We are big moon peeps over here. Any book about the moon is going to be golden in our eyes, then add that it is actually a really good story with lots of real information. And it just makes it over the moon. (hehe pun intended)

    Squishy Face and the Moon starts with Squishy Face scared and alone in her room. She is afraid of the moon. Her mama comes in and shows her that the moon is nothing to be afraid of. She tells her all about the moon. At first I thought that she would have gone the fable way of moon stories. Not the case, it is actually very scientific. Mama not only teaches her about the moon, but about over coming your fears.

    Over all we loved this book. The only improvement that we would suggest are the illustrations. Maybe we are just spoiled, having professional artists illustrate our books now a days. And while my hat is off to her for writing and drawing it. I think that having some more umph in the pictures would have really tipped it over the top. That being said. At only $6.99 on Amazon, you can’t go wrong.

    What are your kids favorite types of books? Are the illustrations a deal breaker for you? Do you prefer stories that are just stories or do you like them to teach about something too?


  • Mimi’s Adventure In Baking



    My daughters (well Tink in particular) LOVE to cook. They would help with every meal if you let them. Here is the issue: I don’t cook. It makes it hard to teach them how to cook, when I don’t do it. Just this year alone (yes as in the month January and only January) I have exploded a turkey dinner (as in one of those heavy glass dishes), set a pan on fire (while just boiling water), and dropped more then a few finished dishes. So not only don’t I cook, I am a danger to be in the kitchen with. Sadly for them, this means that even when I do cook. They often don’t get to cook with me.

    My daughters just loved this book. It is an incredibly sweet story about Mimi baking chocolate chip cookies with her grandma. Not only is it a great story, it walks you through how to make chocolate chip cookies in a way that ANYONE (even myself) can bake them. It is step by step directions all dressed up like a story.

    If you have kiddos that are interested in baking, then Mimi’s Adventures in Baking will be a must have book for your collection. It would make a perfect first cookbook.

    What are your thoughts, would you like a book that mixes storytelling with a recipe? Have you read anything like this before?

  • This House Needs A Mouse


    This House Needs A Mouse has to be one of the cutest books out there. It starts:

    “This is the story of a house. An ordinary house with ordinary windows and ordinary doors. Ordinary ceilings and ordinary floors…. and three families.”

    But even before we started to read it, they loved it. When I got it out of the mail I placed it on our coffee table, before I could go get my cup of tea, the girls were fascinated with the illustrations. Every page was full of color, and more then that… life. There is not an inch ANYWHERE in this book that is dull, or not filled with amazing drawings of what is going on. It immediately sparked the interest and imagination of my little girls. They were making up stories to go along with each page before I was back with my cup of tea.

    Then once we started into actually reading this book, they were hooked. They simply fell in love with this little mouse. (They were very upset though, no where in the story did he get a name. So we named him Pip) They were happy when we found a house, they boo-ed when the family was mean, and cheered at the end.

    It was wonderful to see my girls so excited about a book. And even last night, when we went to read a bed time story, they didn’t want the princess books, they didn’t want to re-read Frozen.. They wanted to read……. This House Needs A Mouse.. WIN!!

    What are your kids favorite books? What kinds of things do they like to read?



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