Hours of things to do with this book:
- Read the story. Enjoy Pirate’s adventures and the child’s imaginings,
- Before reading the answer, try to guess the source of the smell from the close-up pictures that represent Pirate’s viewpoint.
- Write and draw your answer to the question about Pirate’s last adventure.
- 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.
- Find 68 gingerbread men.
- Read the books listed. They’re great.
Here’s a video with illustrations.
Does your child love Lego movies? Be sure to check out my latest.
Click below to watch.
Lost in London
The Snow Queen
This unusual book explains the science, and more, behind soccer. It covers such topics as why the soccer ball is round, how to have healthy grass for the soccer field, languages around the world, and filming the event. There is a class schedule at the beginning that lists such subjects pertaining to soccer as biology, math, art, religious studies, psychology, business studies, and engineering. How the authors connect all of these topics to soccer is impressive and interesting.
Just in case your child resists reading an educational book disguised as entertainment, the authors have extensively discussed vomit and urine as it relates to soccer. You will learn more than you expect. Although there is a fair bit of humor interjected into the content, it is extensively well researched and written. Each chapter ends with a quiz of five or six multiple choice questions. The level of knowledge is quite high. The answers are in the back of the book.
Some tidbits that caught my attention were:
- The lawn mower was a spinoff of an invention to cut off the tufty bits of cloth from soldiers uniforms.
- Some languages have original words that exist nowhere else. For example in the Philippines they have a word for taking a bath with your clothes on. In India and Bangladesh they have a word for the sound, sight, or motion of a big person’s buttocks rubbing together as they walk.
- Since cameras broadcasting a soccer game are scattered in and around the field, they receive different lighting and so must be color adjusted to match each other.
The book also contains helpful information on meeting personal goals and motivation. It’s quite amazing how much has been packed into this 198 page book. Although the vocabulary is quite rich and some of the concepts are a bit challenging, I think kids aged eight and up who enjoy trivia, science, and soccer will love this book. More than a few adults we’ll find something interesting here as well.
Petscapade is the story of four girls and a boy, 9 years old, who form a mystery book club. When a purebred kitten goes missing they decide to use their knowledge to solve the mystery of whether the cat has wandered off or been stolen. The novel starts out quite slowly and the reader needs to show patience as this is a gently paced book. The cover fails to inform or interest the reader.
About a quarter of the way through the novel I discovered it was taking place in Sri Lanka. I’m not sure if I missed that indicator earlier on. It’s important to realize this as the way that children speak is unusually articulate and adult for 9 year olds.
“Yes, it is rather,” agreed Lal, with a grin.
There are several cultural behaviors that may strike North Americans as unusual if they are not aware of the context. For example, the children are not allowed to bring fiction books to school to read and their social interactions are strictly controlled. Once the reader realizes the environment, it becomes quite intriguing to learn new customs and terms.
The story is told in a straightforward manner with little emotion. However, There are moments of humor.
Cara laughed. “If every grumpy person is a criminal, we would all be in jail!”
The author doesn’t shy away from controversial viewpoints.I think this book should launch some interesting discussions about our abysmal treatment of animals such as supporting pet stores, eating meat, and abandoning pets.
I’m not sure political remarks belong in a book for 9 year olds though.
“And she is Tamil…” Amal broke off.
There is one beautiful paragraph that will give food for thought.
“I have taught my son that sometimes, you need to intervene to help others. I don’t believe in sitting on the sidelines watching the world fall apart. Children must be taught to take whatever action they can to make the world a better place.”
The case of the missing cat, which turns out to be cats actually, is resolved positively even though the children are discouraged and sometimes condemned for their actions in trying to locate the missing kitten. The lesson of perseverance is worthwhile.
These were my favorite books I reviewed in 2018. Click on the titles to go to the complete review.
It will give you insights into time that you never considered and strategies that will make your days more successful.
This is a robust and gruesome tale of a Spanish soldier, Abel de Santiago, a gifted sharpshooter, seeking revenge for the murder of his wife. Anything and everything horrible that can happen to this man, does.
Young Adult/Junior Grade Books
This will be a favorite with readers who love fantasy and unusual female heroes.
This is a 8X10 picture book that tells the story of a fascinating and unique individual, Elsa Schiaparelli. It begins in early childhood where we learned that Elsa was a disappointment to her parents because they wanted a boy and she wasn’t as pretty as her sister. This compelled Elsa her to examine the concept of beauty.
I knew I’d like this author the moment I read the dedication. Simple words with a powerful, important message.
This is a delightful picture book for the imaginative child. There are only a few words on each page; the detailed and intriguing gardens filled with secretive hidden fairies dominate.
This is a delightful picture book about missing a friend.My granddaughter found this book very engaging and loved the humorous bits as well as the emotional moments. Highly recommended.
Kameko is told by the Buddha statue that in order to cure her seriously ill mother she must obtain the jewel from the Monkey-king’s crown. On her way to The Monkey-king’s Kingdom she meets and befriends several characters. They warn her not to drink, eat, or sleep in The Monkey-king’s Palace or she will wake up a monkey herself.
She pretends to go to sleep but creeps in and steals The Monkey-king’s jewel. He pursues. In spite of being helped by her new friends, the monkey regains the jewel. Kameko returns home heartbroken but the magic from the jewel has saturated her hands and her touch cures her mother. She grows up to be a renowned doctor and healer.
The story has a lyrical quality as though it is being told by an oral Storyteller of old. The print illustrations suit the story line perfectly. The illustrations seem simple at first glance but are actually quite complex for lino cuts. They are black and white with touches of red giving it an historic Japanese flavor.
Kameko’s interactions with the people she meets are positive especially when she takes time from her trip to help an elderly woman gather wood. However, as a Buddhist myself, I find the fact that her only strategy was to steal disappointing. I’m not sure if this is based on a traditional story or original, but to be cross-culturally relevant I think it needs to be updated.
The Monkey-king has a right to be enraged. We have no proof that he is actually going to bring harm to Kameko and, even so, Kameko goes there by choice. I had hoped she would use her wits to gamble and win the stone or win a challenge from the Monkey-king. Simply stealing it in the night does not comply with true Buddhist ethics. Neither would I want a child to go away with the idea and stealing is the first and best response.
Check out my video with your child.
A Christmas wonderland made from Legos tells short visual stories while the music for We Wish You a Merry Christmas plays. Words appear on the screen. Then the music takes a more lively twist while the history of the song is revealed. Lego enthusiasts will be inspired to make their own winter town.
Notice that the carollers have the actual words to the song on the booklets.
This is the second book I have reviewed by Lucia Greene. Her five star review for A Tunnel in the Pines is available here. https://bferrante.wordpress.com/2016/10/03/a-tunnel-in-the-pines-by-lucia-greene-book-review/
This book is written in the same easy-to-engage style. However, it is less intense and suspenseful than A Tunnel.
Madison goes to summer camp for the first time. Her cabin has a mixture of girls, nice, shy, bully, and bystander. I expected Madison to be an advocate for respect among the girls but she is preoccupied with her own experiences. When Nancy, the ostracized girl runs away, I expected a connection to the title of the book “crazy moon.” This refers to aggressive behavior of animals in breeding mode. There are tales, in my northern community, of hikers and campers attacked relentlessly by moose in heat. But Nancy spent the night safe and sound in a tiny pine hideaway.
I thought the counselor would intervene and have the girls discuss and work on the group dynamics at several points in the book, but there was no real resolution. Madison’s take away from all this was to advise Nancy not to take things so seriously.
This could have been a book on personal and social growth wherein the reader gained perspective and empathy for the bullied girl and some strategies for dealing with put downs and other anti-social remarks. This could have been, like A Tunnel in the Pines, a nail-biting emotional roller-coaster ride for the reader. It was an enjoyable read but not of the truly high-caliber of Greene’s first book. It will appeal to girls who love riding as Madison falls for Mouse, one of the camp horses. That, too, could have been a theme to expand upon. Why is this horse so afraid? What happens to them when they no longer can be ridden.
While I love Greene’s writing style, I think this particular book had some unfulfilled potential.
It is truly an eye opener when we lose our childhood innocence and learn the meaning behind many Mother Goose rhymes. Here’s a few darker ones in time for Halloween.