Thursday, August 9, 2018

Police in Action (Lego City Nonfiction)

Police in Action: A Lego Adventure in the Real World. Penelope Arlon. 2018. Scholastic. 24 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Police officers are always ready for action. Stop, crooks! I've got this! They can't outrun my speedy motorcycle.

Premise/plot: This LEGO City book is part of Lego's nonfiction series. This one is about the police. It blends a nonfiction narrative with dialogue between LEGO minifigures. The nonfiction text is straightforward facts. The dialogue, well, it tends towards silliness and bad jokes. The book does feature photographs as well as illustrations.

My thoughts: I liked it okay. I like the nonfiction bits. I do. I just am not overly crazy about the joking dialogue of the LEGO figures. I think kids might enjoy both. After all, I'm not in the intended age group!

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 6 out of 10

© 2018 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Lego City: Stop That Train!

Lego City: Stop That Train. Ace Landers. 2018. Scholastic. 24 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: One day a young man rushes through LEGO City to catch his train.

Premise/plot: Will the young man catch his train? If he misses it what will he do? Where is he going anyway?

My thoughts: The young man DOES miss his train. It would be a VERY short book if he didn't. In fact, if something could go wrong, it does. That's just how some days go, right?

This one isn't great literature. But. For little LEGO lovers I do think it will be an enjoyable read. It's a paperback book that comes with a small poster. This is the kind of book that is often available at school book fairs and in book catalogs. I do think those programs are good overall.

It is the young man's birthday. The book ends with him arriving at a surprise birthday party. This book might make a great inexpensive party gift. 

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 6 out of 10

© 2018 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Board book: Have You Seen My Lunch Box?

Board book: Have You Seen My Lunch Box? Steve Light. 2017. Candlewick. 18 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Time for school. Where are my socks?

Premise/plot: The star of this one is having trouble finding things! Can you help him out?

My thoughts: I really enjoyed this one. It is a seek-and-find board book. Little ones are asked to help find an object on each page or spread. Often this is phrased as a question. (But not always). The text is simple and straightforward. The illustrations are silly and delightful. If little ones don't fully appreciate the illustrations--in all their details--perhaps parents will.

For example,
I need to find my crayon.
In this one he is looking in the bathroom. The crayon is mixed in with toothbrushes.
Is my robot here?
In this one, his robot is in the refrigerator of all places!

© 2018 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Monday, August 6, 2018

Board book: I Love the Nutcracker

Board book: I Love the Nutcracker: My First Sound Book. Marion Billet. 2018. Scholastic. 16 pages. [Source: Review copy]

 First sentence: On Christmas Eve, Clara receives a special Nutcracker toy. Can you find it?

Premise/plot: This interactive board book introduces six songs from the Nutcracker Suite to little ones. The songs are: "The March," "Chinese Dance," "Russian Dance," "Dance of the Mirlitons," "Flower Waltz," and "Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy."

The board book does not seek to share the somewhat complicated, almost surreal story of the Nutcracker ballet. This board book is not an adaptation of the ballet's story.

The text is kept very simple. And it even asks questions. For example,
Watch the pandas leap and twirl. Who is watching the teapot?
The dance gets faster and faster! How many dancers do you see?
My thoughts: The way most people feel about BACON is the way I feel about The Nutcracker. To qualify that statement I'll add: I'm talking about the music and not necessarily the ballet. I like the ballet. But I love, love, love, CRAZY LOVE the music. I listen to the Nutcracker year round. Perhaps because I don't always associate it with the ballet itself. (After all, its interpretation in Fantasia is NOT holiday related.)

Each spread has a button for little ones to press. Press the button to hear the song--there are six total songs. The song will play once through and stop on its own. But if your little one has fast fingers and wants to go through the book quickly, you may press the button again to stop the song before turning the page. BEFORE the reading experience, you will need to turn the book ON. Can I just say that I love, love, love the fact that this book has an off/on switch. I'm hoping this will help preserve the life of the battery.  I can see the pros and cons of having an off/on switch. You will need to remember to turn it off when you're finished.

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Bonus NOVELTY: 5 out of 5
Total: 11 out of 15

© 2018 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Friday, August 3, 2018

Peanut Butter's First Day of School

Peanut Butter's First Day of School. Terry Border. 2018. Penguin. 32 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Peanut Butter was scared. Tomorrow was the first day of school! Peanut Butter was new in town, but he had already made some friends.

Premise/plot: This LEVEL 2 early reader is narrated by an open face peanut butter sandwich. Peanut Butter is more than a little worried about starting school and making friends. On the day before school starts, Peanut Butter practices his walk to school, on the way he meets a few people who are also starting school: a cupcake, an egg, a bowl of soup, and Jelly (an open face jelly sandwich). He even ends up joining a soccer game. (Readers don't properly meet ALL the people on the field.) The book then shows his first day of school.

My thoughts: What a strange book. I say strange, and I mean it, yet even though I was never sure at any given time if I was "liking" it...I remained mesmerized by the illustrations. Each page proved interesting or fascinating. Even when the story was less so. The story, as you can imagine, isn't all that unique. The illustrations are.

Text: 2 out of 5
Illustrations: 4 out of 5
Total: 6 out of 10

© 2018 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Board Book: On the Go with Mother Goose

On the Go with Mother Goose. Iona Opie, editor. Illustrated by Rosemary Wells. 2017. Candlewick Press. 26 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence:
Down at the station,
early in the morning,
See the little puffer-billies
all in a row;
See the engine driver
pull his little lever--
Puff puff, peep peep
off we go!
Premise/plot: This is a themed Mother Goose collection for parents to share with their little ones. The theme is ON THE GO. There are rhymes about going, coming, and arriving. Some of the rhymes may prove familiar to adults, though don't expect every poem to be an old friend. There are SO many Mother Goose rhymes and this collection just shares a few of them that fit this theme.
To market, to market,
to buy a fat pig,
Home again, home again,
To market, to market,
to buy a fat hog,
Home again, home again,
My thoughts: It's probably best not to come to this one with expectations of what should be included. I'm not sure if the 'missing' rhymes are missing because they've been included in other board book collections by Opie and Wells OR if perhaps the nursery rhymes are not Mother Goose but come from another source. Are all nursery rhymes by 'Mother Goose'? For example, I am thinking of "This Little Piggy," "Wee Willie Winkie," "Rub-a-dub-dub."

The book features illustrations by Rosemary Wells.

© 2018 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Merry Christmas, Little One

Merry Christmas, Little One. (Board book). Sandra Magsamen. 2010/2018. Scholastic. 10 page. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Christmas comes but once a year, a time for magic, love, and cheer!

Premise/plot: Merry Christmas, Little One is a holiday-themed board book for little ones. It features a puffy fabric tree on the cover. Inside there are plenty of flaps to lift. The text is written in rhyme. It stars a couple of snowmen.

My thoughts: If this one didn't feature a soft, squishy tree....what would I think of it? I'm not sure sure. I'm just glad it does. Board books don't have to be great literature with amazing text and incredible illustrations to offer an opportunity to bond with your little one. This board book is a cozy size. I'm not sure how durable the flaps will prove over time, but it's not like a Christmas book will be read every day right?! Well, at least not so long as Elmo can be prevented from wishing for Christmas every day.

© 2018 Becky Laney of Young Readers