Alyssa's Blog

Uni the Unicorn

Uni the Unicorn - Amy Krouse Rosenthal I agree with points brought up by many other reviewers. Uni the Unicorn has lovely illustrations with text appropriate for beginning readers, but the story seems half-finished. By showcasing the little girl as Caucasian with long blond hair, an opportunity for inclusion was missed. Uni could have dreamed of all the little children in the world.

Webster's Email

Webster's Email - Hannah Whaley 'Webster's Email' is a very cute book. Children encounter technology constantly, but there aren't too many books for young children which address those interactions. This books fills that much needed niche. The characters are nicely drawn. The rhyming was great for young children, although I found the meter a little bumpy at times. The message itself (that emailing and online interactions can have consequences beyond our control) was a little muddled as everything was almost too happily resolved, but as a introduction to the idea this book works well. This book also features counting to twenty, along with appropriate numerical cues. Overall I would recommend it.

Twas the Night Before Christmas on Sesame Street

Twas the Night Before Christmas on Sesame Street - Sesame Workshop Cookie Monster ate Santa's cookies!

This is a cute retelling of the classic 'The Night Before Christmas'. The Sesame Street gang comes together to help Cookie Monster bake new cookies before Santa arrives. Children will enjoy seeing all of their favorite characters in this read-aloud appropriate story.

This book also includes a basic sugar cookie recipe so that children can make and decorate their own cookies for Santa.

Sounds and Souls: How Music Teachers Change Lives

Sounds and Souls: How Music Teachers Change Lives - Ruth Bonetti Music teachers looking to become reconnected or simply looking for new ideas will find 'Sounds and Souls' to be a valuable resource. It provides practical information about dealing with students and parents, while also addressing the emotional needs of the educator. Everything from tips on sleeping well to sample lesson agreement forms is included. There are URLs and other pieces of information that could become dated, but otherwise, very useful text.

Mama's Day with Little Gray

Mama's Day with Little Gray - Aimee Reid Very cute book with lovely illustrations.
I didn't love the text font or the wavy and multicolored text, but otherwise this book would be appropriate for bedtime reading (it's a very calm story with a peaceful color palate. It is also a great Mother's Day story.
A second grader could probably read this on own with no issues. It is mostly dialogue and the images provide clear picture cues.
Kids that love elephants will enjoy this story.

The Cat, the Dog, Little Red, the Exploding Eggs, the Wolf, and Grandma

The Cat, the Dog, Little Red, the Exploding Eggs, the Wolf, and Grandma - Diane Fox, Christyan Fox A cat attempts to tell the story of Little Red Riding Hood to his friend, the dog. The dog keeps interrupting with amusing interjections and questions. The language seems appropriate for first or second grade. This is a great read-aloud book, as it is almost completely dialogue. The dialogue also provides opportunities to teach punctuation, as there are quotation marks, periods, exclamation and question marks, commas, and ellipses represented.

The illustrations are very cute. Each section of text corresponds to the adjacent illustration, so for beginning or struggling readers the illustrations provide clear and helpful picture cues.

There were a couple of changes to the original Little Red Riding Hood story in the cat’s version. Instead of a woodsman, Alice’s father saved her. Instead of the grandmother getting eaten, the authors went with the more innocuous version of the story by keeping the grandmother hiding in the closet. While the grandmother not getting eaten makes sense if the authors were trying to make the story less gruesome, the cat enthusiastically swings an axe while detailing the wolf getting his head cut off.

Overall, very clever story!

Franklin's Day with Dad

Franklin's Day with Dad - Kids Can Press Inc Franklin books are always solid additions to any children's library. This one has nice illustrations and picture cues, although they do look computer generated. It uses repetitive language and Dolch sight words which is great for beginning readers. 'Franklin's Day with Dad' would also be useful if teaching punctuation as it includes a lot of dialogue. Overall, it's a good picture book with an appropriate message.

Rascal: A Meowmoir

Rascal: A Meowmoir - Claire  Noble The best part of Rascal: A Meowmoir was the illustrations. It was a cute story overall, but felt disjointed at times.

The language was trying to be simple and straightforward, but there were inconsistently complex words and place names thrown in which would be a challenge for children just learning to read. It felt like the author ran out of things to say at the end of the book, but I actually felt like the sentence/image ratio was more appropriate in the last few pages.

There were some good themes in the book, such as how personal challenges can lead to self-discovery (like Rascal catching bees), but I wish the author had focused the idea more clearly on overcoming challenges, and less on every significant event and place of residence for Rascal.

Currently reading

Marie Antoinette: The Journey
Antonia Fraser