Juvenile Pile: Monsters, Race Cars, and Friends

I’ve been reviewing kids’ books rather haphazardly most Saturdays, but with all of the children’s book galleys I got at BEA, I wasn’t sure how much time I’d have to discuss the books I’ve been reading with Christopher. So, I decided to start posting a new series on Sundays. I’m calling it “Juvenile Pile”. I’ll share the books we’ve read during the week along with brief thoughts and ratings.

I realized that we have been slipping a little bit with having Christopher read at bedtime. With summer coming, I am trying to make that a part of our normal routine again. So the nights I put Christopher to bed this week (except one), I read him 1-2 books, and then he read me part of a book. Because it was a Level 3 book, I didn’t push him to read more than 4-6 pages because it was pretty challenging.

In general I kind of hate these Step into Reading books, especially when they’re based on animated TV shows or movie. But they serve their purpose, and they get kids reading. Christopher selected The Big Case off the new release shelf at the library.

It took him 3 days to get through this book, but he enjoyed it. It was a fairly decent, albeit shortened, version of the movie plot. Having seen the movie definitely helped him with some of the harder words.

He wasn’t overjoyed to keep reading it each night, but I also didn’t have to push him too much. The book was rather “meh” for me. 3 stars

I selected Stick and Stone because I thought the illustrations were really cute. This book is a story about friendship, and also kind of about bullying. Pinecone is being mean to Stone, and Stick comes to his rescue.

Stick and Stone become friends. The words are simple and rhyming, so it was a little young for my 6 year old. But I liked the subtle reference to that grade school chant: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Did you say that too when you were little?

Later in the story, Stone rescues Stick after a storm blows him into a mud puddle, and he gets stuck. It’s a good lesson in how to be a friend. At the end Pinecone apologizes and kind of becomes their friend too. I wasn’t a huge fan of the quick absolution there, but younger kids wouldn’t mind it. 3 stars

I pulled Go to Sleep, Monster! off the new release shelf, and Christopher agreed right away because of the cover and title. This story was really cute. We both enjoyed it. In the story, the little brother is afraid to go to sleep because of the monster under his bed. His sister asks the monster why he won’t go to sleep. It turns out he’s afraid of the monster under the floor, who is also not sleeping.

The story continues with monster after monster scaring the one above it. They finally end up in the center of the Earth with a giant dragon-like monster, who is afraid to go to sleep because he’s scared to be alone. All of the monsters and the two kids fall asleep together.

It’s very creative and a fun read. I think it helps make light of the common fear of the dark. 4 stars

I found How Do Formula One Race Cars Work? when Christopher was asking for “just one more book” after I’d set the library limit at 20. We don’t read a lot of non-fiction, but he has always LOVED race cars.

This book was really cool and very readable. It goes through the different parts of a race car and explains the purpose in simple, understandable terms. Even I learned something! Did you know that the “wings” on the front and back actually help hold the car on the track because of the way the air moves over them? I thought they were just for show.

We read the book cover to cover in one sitting, but I think it would be a fun book to read a little at a time, even with younger kids who enjoy race cars. Usually I take books back to the library after a single reading, but I think I’ll keep this one around in case Christopher wants to read through it again. 4 stars

I placed a hold on The Thank You Book right after BEA, where I learned that it was the last (sniff) Elephant and Piggie book to be published. We have read all of the earlier books, so we had to get this one right away.

For the first time, Christopher and I read one of these books together. I was Piggie – and he made me use a high, squeaky voice. And he was Elephant and all of the other characters. He used a gruff voice for Gerald (so cute!) and other silly voices for the other animals in this book.

Because it’s their last book, Piggie decides that he needs to thank everyone who has helped them. Gerald is convinced he’ll forget someone. All of the characters from the other books, Hippo, the squirrels, the flies, etc., make appearances. And at the end, they thank the reader. It was adorable. I know if Christopher were still younger, we’d buy this book and read it over and over again. Because he’s older, he wasn’t as into it, but we certainly had fun with the voices. I’m excited to go back and read the older books with him now that he’s reading. 4 stars

What have you read with your kids this week? Anything good?

Last year on the blog…

Book Review: Better than Before

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