Monday, February 5, 2018

Books for Children (#1)

I became a Godmother a few months ago and since then have been avidly looking for children's books to add to my little Godson's collection.

I went ahead and requested a few books from Netgalley thinking that I would start posting my thoughts on children's books once in a while here on my blog.

As my Godson grows I hope we will be spending more and more time reading books, so the frequency of these posts will likely increase then.

But without further rambling, here is the first batch of books! If you have any recommendations, please leave them in the comments -- I would love to hear which books you've been reading with the little ones in your life.

Caillou Plays Hockey by Anne Paradis (adapted) and Mario Allard (illustrations) 

As some of you might know, ice-hockey is a BIG deal for me. Luckily, it happens to be quite a big deal for the mother of my Godson as well, which means that he will be raised to be a hockey lover. I even bought a hockey jersey for him as a christening present.

In Caillou Plays Hockey Caillou wants to play with the bigger kids but quickly realizes that the game is too fast for him. By teaming up with a kid of his own age Caillou practices his skills and develops into a much stronger player. 

The lesson is simple: do not compare yourself to others but rather develop your skills through practice. We are all different and that is what makes the world so wonderful. 

I loved that Caillou's father takes Caillou to buy hockey equipment from a secondhand store. Every page on the book has a purpose, so deciding to use the secondhand store as a setting clearly had a purpose. 

I will definitely be reading this one to my Godson once he gets a bit older and starts his own hockey career (yes, I am determined that he will be a professional hockey player.)

Polar Bear Postman by Seigo Kijima

Polar Bear Postman focuses on Mr. Milk, the Postmaster at the Polar Bear Post Office. When Mr. Milk gets a letter from red-crown cranes asking for his help in searching for their baby chick, Mr. Milk rushes for help.

The illustrations on this one are quite simplistic and yet they manage to be engaging in many different ways. The main visual complaint I have has to do with the stylization of the text. The text looks really simple and kind of plain and I while reading this one I kept thinking of all the visually interesting and engaging things that could have been done.

There is a clear dichotomy of the good vs. bad present in the book in the form of animals -- there are bad animals that don't help Mr. Milk on his journey to find the little chick as well as good animals that decide to offer their assistance. The lesson is, naturally, that good always wins. 

No One Else Like You by Siska Goeminne and Meryl Eyckerman (illustrator)

"People come in different colors, shapes, and sizes. There are people with wiggly toes or skinny legs, with freckles in the summer and goosebumps in winter, with short arms or very long ones that can reach anything."

I really liked this one. Especially the illustration following the quote above featuring people of different colors, ages, and sizes spending the day at the pool, left an impression on me.

"People are fragile. You shouldn't drop them because they might fall to pieces. They love a little care: food and drink, but also hugs and sympathy. Or pay them a compliment -- that makes them glow inside."

As you can probably sense from the title alone, No One Else Like You is all about our unique aspects and the fact that we are all different -- even just a little bit. The illustrations in the book are wonderful and I loved the approach it takes to simply, yet effectively, illustrate the fact that we should respect different beliefs, styles of dress, and so on. 

I am definitely ordering this one to my Godson with my next book purchase. 

Look for Ladybug in Plant City by Katherina Manolessou

Look for Ladybug in Plant City comes with more than 500 things to spot. 

Looking for the little details in the illustrations is fun and I can imagine they could ignite a lot of conversations with children. Also, a lot of time could be spent by asking the child to look for certain things, count certain things, and so on.

The colors on the book are beautiful and vibrant -- I read this one of my iPad and I can just imagine how impressive the detailed illustrations look on paper. 

The only thing I found kind of strange about this book was the ending as Daisy, the main character of the book, doesn't end up finding her ladybug. The ladybug is right next to them though, so maybe it is the task of the reader to realize that the ladybug was safe and close to them after all the search. 

Home Sweet Home by Mia Cassany and Paula Blumen (illustrations)

"Peek inside apartments, houses, and backyards as our friends lead you on a journey around the world. Where would you choose as your home sweet home?"

This one was definitely my favorite of the bunch! 

Home Sweet Home introduces different homes around the world through animals. For example, there's Dash, an old dog living in Cape Cod, a cat called Arun from Myanmar, and a cat called Mimi from Toronto. 

The illustrations are wonderful -- the style, the use of color and the clear distinctions between the different homes are impressed me. I also loved how many little details every single home includes since I believe those little details will ignite conversations with the little reader about different places, customs, and so on. 

Please share your children's book recommendations in the comments below! 

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