The UnFROGetable Costume Party
(Doing Good Deeds)
By Marsha Strong-Smith
Available on Amazon .com for $9.95
Santa Cruz County resident Marsha Strong-Smith has authored a series of children’s books designed to empower youngsters to handle problem solving with ease and encourage dialogue with adults on a range of topics from telling the truth to assisting others and doing good deeds.
In this first volume Hoppity Frog is excited about a costume party he has been invited to attend. While he is making final preparations for the event Hoppity also finds himself drawn towards assisting some friends with their chores.
Along with the narrative that describes the frog’s actions and rationale for them, the author inserts questions into the text for the reader. For example, the reader is asked, “Should Hoppity finish his costume or paint the banner so that he would be known as Franky Frog’s special friend?”
By engaging the youngster in the story in this manner a parent/teacher/child dialogue can be opened on subjects such as procrastination, doing good deeds for the right reasons, and the elements of true friendship.
Aimed at preschoolers and students in the early grades, the books in this series feature attractive and engaging illustrations plus a manageable vocabulary. They can be either read aloud to preschoolers or children who are now reading can enjoy them on their own without assistance.
Pop-Up Paper Designs
By David Hawcock
Tango Books. $14.99
This pop-up book contains eight of the more familiar types of dinosaurs. They range from a triceratops, velociraptor and stegosaurus to a huge brachiosaurus and fierce tyrannosaurus.
Besides the pop-up rendition of each creature which greets the reader as he or she opens each section of the book, there is important information provided about each dinosaur. There’s a guide to help with the correct pronunciation of the animal’s name followed by an explanation of what that name means.
The child will also discover where the critter once lived. What it liked to eat, and a list of interesting facts about the dinosaur’s habits and physical features is also included,
Pop up books can sometimes be rather delicate and therefore not stand up to constant use, but this volume is sturdy enough that with a little care it should last a while.
By Jeanne Willis
Illustrated by Jarvis
Nosy Crow/Candlewick. $15.99
Although polar bears and penguins are not usually buddies, that isn’t the case in this adorable picture book. In fact, just the opposite is true. When the Pilchard-Brown family (penguins) head off for a picnic and get very, very lost, a friendly polar bear (Mr. White) comes to their rescue.
How the penguins manage to get 12,430 miles off course and away from their South Pole home is a bit of a mystery, but no matter. “Don’t think of it as a mistake,” says Mr. White. “Think of it as the start of a big adventure. Maybe I could help you find your way home.”
Indeed it is! With the helpful polar bear’s assistance they begin a journey that takes them to the United States, England, Italy, India, Australia, and, eventually, the South Pole.
Your preschooler will enjoy this entertaining book with its excellent illustrations which makes this unusual friendship and amusing odyssey a captivating read. So join in the journey with the penguins and polar bear and see a bit of the world!
William Heads to Hollywood
International Cat of Mystery Series
By Helen Hancocks
This cool kitty who loves to tackle puzzling mysteries is off to Hollywood to assist the glamorous feline star, Audrey Mieowski, in locatomg the statues for the Golden Cuckoo Awards ceremony that have apparently been stolen.
With the annual event just around the corner there’s no time to lose. Fortunately, as you’ll see, William is up to the task of finding the important clues that will lead him to the thief and save the day for the event sponsors.
In fact, not only will he successfully crack the case but the clever feline sleuth will be the guest of honor at the awards night and receive a nice surprise himself.
Young cat lovers who are ready for more challenging reading than the usual fare of concept books and simple narratives will find this volume an entertaining story and one they enjoy having read to them over and over again.
This is a must purchase for a school library too since it will appeal to a wide audience of children.
Let’s Look On the Farm
A Spot & Learn Stick & Play Book
By Andrea Pinnington
Illustrated by Caz Buckingham
Fine Feather Press. $ 7.99
Combining stickers with interesting material about farm animals and plants you’ll find in an agricultural setting, this activity book will introduce young children to a rural environment and farm life.
There is a page “Amazing Farm Facts” such as apples float in water but pears do not and barn owls make a screeching sound — they do not hoot. The reader will also discover the names of young animals and the sounds these animals make.
The most popular feature of the book is unquestionably the collection of thirty stickers that can be used on a fold out farm scene. The child can let his or her creativity flow as he/she fashions any type of picture imaginable and the stickers can then be reused to try a different scenario.
Because this book does carry a choking hazard for younger children, it should not be given to any youngster who still insists on placing things in his or her mouth!