Toy Review – Spuzzle Game by Disney

“The crazy racing puzzle game” Frozen by Disney

Two to four player build the characters Anna, Elsa, Hans, Olaf, and Kristoff containing four puzzle pieces each. Players take turns blindly picking up puzzle pieces. Duplicates are left behind. For added fun a player can occasionally put back an opponent’s piece. Once a four piece character is complete they are locked and safe from opponents. A “Spuzzle” card means every player gets to pick up a piece. When a player completes all five four-piece puzzles, they win.

There are other movie variations of this game.

Durability Four stars Well made heavy cardboard. Thick puzzle pieces.

Play quality Five stars. Loads of fun for small children especially Frozen fans. Rules are easy.

Safety  Five stars.

Age interest Four stars. Labeled 4+ but teens might be bored. Some three-year-olds could play this.

Storage and portability four stars. Fits into a comfortably sized box.

Price Three stars. Averages $45 to $50 on Amazon.

Recommended for children ages 4-9.

Bathtime for Biscuit by Alyssa Satin Capucilli. Illustrations by Pat Schories. Book review.

The Biscuit series of books are classed as “I can read!”. They are perfect for very beginning readers. Biscuit is an adorable puppy who does the kinds of things real dogs do. In this story, he resists getting into the bath.

The little girl wants Biscuit to get into that tub but he wants to dig instead. She struggles to manipulate him into the water but, after a short emmersion, he escapes and chases another puppy named Puddles. The two of them dig in the mud and play in the water. Then they roll in the flower bed where the girl tries to catch them with a towel. Both puppies latch on and a tug-of-war ensues. It ends with the little girl falling into the bathtub herself. Children laugh out loud at this ending.

It is difficult to find emergent reading books that have engaging, logical stories children can relate to and enjoy reading. The Biscuit stories are perfect. Capucilli captures the mischievous and endearing nature of puppies while Schories draws them with simplicity and charm.

Highly recommended for emergent readers in Kindergarten and first grade.

Pirate Smells – Interactive Fun for the Whole Family

Purchase link 

Hours of things to do with this book:

  1. Read the story. Enjoy Pirate’s adventures and the child’s imaginings,
  2. Before reading the answer, try to guess the source of the smell from the close-up pictures that represent Pirate’s viewpoint.
  3. Write and draw your answer to the question about Pirate’s last adventure.
  4. At the back of the book, you will find a list of well-known books, classic and recent. Look for images or words on the cloud-framed pages of this story that remind you of the books listed. Write down the page number of any you find.
  5. Find 68 gingerbread men.
  6. Read the books listed. They’re great.

Here’s a video with illustrations.

Food Fun

As you may have noticed, I have been focusing more on making videos and writing than on reviewing books. This is temporary as I am focusing on my creative projects before Parkinson’s makes them impossible. It is becoming a more difficult struggle and so I am feeling a time constraint. However, I am still open to accepting print books for review and will post my review other places as well if so requested. Here is the information you need to submit a book for review.

https://bferrante.wordpress.com/2016/07/09/get-featured-on-my-blog/

Check out my latest endeavor  on my YouTube channel. If you haven’t subscribed to my Channel, please do and share it with your friends.

Rhymes and Songs About Food

Traditional rhymes with a new twist using Lego and graphics.

Suitable for ages 3 and up.

Fairy in Waiting by Sophie Kinsella. Illustrated by Marta Kissi. Book Review.

 This  popular humor writer now has two children’s books. Both feature a girl whose mother is a fairy and father is  a mortal. This isn’t your typical fairy story however, as she uses a computerized wand and presents herself as a normal woman most of the time. The husband is reminiscent of the early Bewitched  television series. He’s not too crazy about her using magic.

  Kinsella  uses humor and suspense  effectively and engages a young audience from the first page. My almost six year old granddaughter listened eagerly as I read this book to her in four sittings.  This early chapter book is supplemented with many pictures.

 If you are a traveler to resorts, you’ll chuckle at the scene where two fairy mothers have a wand battle over reserving poolside seats with their towels. There is also a chapter with wacky monkeys that children will love.

All in all, this is a light-hearted romp through modern magic and family dynamics.

Pushball A Game That’s Tasty to Eat! by Thomas Leavey. Illustrated by John Buck. Book review.

 

I procrastinated reviewing this book for quite some time because I was unsure what to  say about it. I read it a few times to my granddaughter and  solicited feedback from others.

The storyline is quite peculiar. A duck tries to get a groundhog to play Pushball with a giant ball. The groundhog dislikes the game and wants to eat the ball. The game does not go very well; the groundhog thinks it is too rough. At the end the groundhog eats the entire ball which swells him to four times his natural size.

The story is written in humorous rhyme abcb. Each page has from 1 to 3 quatrains. Here’s an example.

 The groundhog was puzzled

And stopped in his tracks.

He said, *that’s what I get (sic)

 for playing with quacks!”

 There are 42 quatrains in total which seems more than necessary for such a simple story.

The author explains on the last two pages that the moral of the story is “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again.” Then he explains  each animal’s secret for success.  This felt a little awkward.

However, the other reviews on Amazon  are all five stars. But the people I shared this with felt more like I did. My granddaughter thought it was funny and strange but long and wasn’t interested in subsequent readings.

 The illustrations are great. Vivid, lively and funny.

I have mixed feelings about this book.

The Gatsby Kids and the Outlaw of Sherwood by Brian Michaud. Book Review.

This is the first book in a series of time traveling adventures.  Three Gatsby siblings, the youngest in the 6th grade, are targets of some pretty extreme bullying at school. As a  retired teacher, it horrifies me that anything so obvious could be happening but I’m sure it does somewhere. The three kids stick together but seem to be resigned to the horrific treatment they receive from older violent students. However, they show great courage, pluck, and ingenuity when they travel back in time.

The author has come up with a  unique way of having a having the kids go back to the 13th century. Here they must rescue Robin Hood before he has joined the merry-men. The story is fairly gentle and without gore. It suits children aged seven and up although some might find the vocabulary bit of a struggle.

 The story comes to a conclusion but the  school bullying is not resolved. I suspect there will be more time travel and this will help the children overcome the challenges at school.

 The best part of this book and the most enjoyable is the humor. The children are hilarious, especially the youngest. Kids will laugh out loud at their banter and behavior.

Toy Review – 48 Lego Compatible Homecoming Community Figures

Durability Four stars. They are made out of hard plastic. Only time will tell if the paint is durable or not.
 
Play quality Three stars. A big part of the fun of Lego characters is taking them apart and creating new characters. My granddaughter loves to switch heads, bodies, capes and accessories. Unfortunately, these are brutally difficult to put together and probably just as hard to get apart. Switching the pieces is not something a child will be able to do.  They are also quite stiff and it is very difficult to move the arms. Needs even more diversity.
 
Safety  Five stars. They seem pretty safe but are definitely not for children under 3 years of age.
 
Age interest Three stars. Children will definitely miss the fun of taking them apart and be frustrated by their rigidity. Accessories seem random. Where’s the torch for the statue of liberty and the paint brush for the artist?
Storage and portability Four stars.  They are small enough to put in a pocket or packsack however they should be stored in their own little bag. Small pieces would be easy to lose.
Price Five stars. At less than $2 each for the final cost they are a steal.
 
Cautiously recommended.
For pictures of all the characters and how they are assembled please go to my short YouTube video here. https://youtu.be/OBkl1I8nkGs