We just received the latest children’s books in the mail to review and thought we’d share. Read our thoughts on them, and then enter for the opportunity to win copies for your family. Nothing is better on a cold winter day then to curl up with your kids or grand kids and share the joy of reading!
My Yellow Balloon
Suggested for ages 4-9, retails for $18.99, www.myyellowballoon.com
I’ve been a big fan of the short French film “The Red Balloon” since I was a kid so the title of this book had me at ‘hello.’ (If you don’t know about The Red Balloon check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Red_Balloon)
With beautifully life like illustrations by former DreamWorks “Shrek” artist Erwin Madrid, this hard cover book follows a little boy who loses his best friend – a bright yellow balloon. What will he do without his special friend? Using simple words and concepts, the author helps kids understand the emotions that accompany a loss.
Here is an excerpt that I felt did a good job helping the reader understand their feelings without minimizing or sugar coating them. “The rest of the summer Joey missed his yellow balloon all of the time. Then one day he was sad most of the time instead of all of the time. As time passed, he was sad a lot of the time instead of most of the time. Then the day came that Joey felt sad only some of the time.”
Loss is a hard topic for families to grapple with together. But rather than avoid it, this book could help parents put into simple terms a complex topic for young kids.
As an aside I also appreciate that the book creators choose to select a different time period to place this story, the drawings depict maybe the 1920’s is my guess based on the clothing and toys drawn in the book. It didn’t distract from the story but it did engage our family in a conversation about how people lived and dressed differently a long time ago.
The Principle Gang Series of Books
Suggested for ages 4-11, $14.95 each, www.theprinciplegang.com
Book 1: Don’t Judge a Lizard by His Scales
Book 2: Wizard Lizard Rides the Subway
This new book series teaches anti-bullying lessons using cute lizards and their animal friends. Questions at the end of each book encourage kids, parents and caregivers to engage in thought-provoking conversations about family, friendship, community and fairness.
Although the illustrations seem to appeal to the younger age range (4-5) I think the text would be better understood by ages 6 on up. For example, a fly and a lizard are becoming friends at school and on the computer (based on the illustrations) and the fly’s mom is worried. “I think your mom is pre-judging me based on all the other lizards out there.” I’m a fan of stopping to define words while we read but it just seems to get through to my 7 year old on a deeper level than my younger sons. The books are silly and written with lots of updated references, such as seat belts, dietary restrictions, etc, that every kid seems to know about these days.
The series is authored by a husband and wife who are also work together as a Physician and Physician assistant team. Dr. Dan and Bli Dugi wrote the books when they saw a need as they book shopped for anti-bullying books for their young daughter. They are also launching a “No Bulllies Allowed” campaign for elementary schools.
As a mom I am greatly concerned with bullying and I like that the books identify bullying behavior. Many times I find my kids get their feelings hurt, but are still trying to figure out who hurt them and why. Calling out behaviors that help you both become and select your friends is key for elementary school kids today.
* Jill received the titles in this post for editorial purposes. Her opinions are her own.