Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Book Review: 'Santasaurus' by Niamh Sharkey

✰✰✰½ Three little dinosaurs just can't wait for Christmas. Ollie wants a dinobot. Molly wants a dinocycle. And Milo wants to meet Santasaurus and fly in his sleigh. On Christmas Eve everyone falls asleep in anticipation. Everyone, that is, except, Milo. In the dark, he hears something. Could it be sleigh bells? Milo creeps downstairs to find a big surprise waiting for him. Can you guess what it is? Check out this cute holiday tale and find out.

The Bottom Line: Illustrated in bright cheery oil paintings, Santasaurus is a colorful, holiday treat for little ones fond of dinosaurs. Enthusiastically recommended for seasonal story time or bedtime reading for kids ages 3 – 7.

Details: Santasaurus written & illustrated by Niamh Sharkey. Hardcover picture book published by Candlewick Press in 2004. 32 p. ISBN: 0-7636-2671-6 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Book Review: 'Emily's Christmas Gifts' by Cindy Post Senning & Peggy Post

✰✰✰½ Emily loves everything about Christmas. She especially loves getting presents. Now that she's older, she loves giving presents too. There are lots of awesome presents you can wrap in pretty paper, but Emily knows there are other gifts too. Gifts of kindness, caring, sharing, and helping don't cost anything, and everyone is happy to receive them. As the holiday approaches, Emily's help and consideration are just what  everyone needs including Santa.

The Bottom Line: This humorously illustrated picture book shows kids that sometimes the best gifts are free. The authors present a fun approach to holiday etiquette that is appropriate for school or library storytime for kids ages 4 – 8. It includes a note to parents at the end about instilling good manners in your child during the holidays, and while this book is seasonal, the ideas for good manners can be used throughout the year.


Details: Emily's Christmas Gifts written by Cindy Post Senning & Peggy Post & illustrated by Steve Bjorkman. Hardcover picture book published by Collins in 2008. 32 p. ISBN: 978-0-06-111703-9

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Book Review: 'Reindeer Christmas' by Mark Kimball Moulton

✰✰✰✰ With Christmas just around the corner, two children and their grandma set out to feed the forest animals. In the winter storm they spot something shimmering, and they come across a cold and weary deer. As they help him into their warm home, the deer's magical powers seem to fade. However, Gram isn't worried. She knows that with food and rest, the deer will be fine, and she's right. By morning the deer is gone. When Christmas arrives the children are in for a big surprise. Santa notices everything, and he leaves a special gift for the children who helped a very special reindeer.

The Bottom Line: This heartwarming tale about helping others demonstrates that good things come to those who do good deeds. Soft watercolor, gouache, and ink illustrations add a homespun charm to this gentle wintry tale. Enthusiastically recommended for kids in grades Pre-K - 1.

Details: Reindeer Christmas written by Mark Kimball Moulton & illustrated by Karen Hillard Good. Hardcover picture book published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (A Paula Wiseman Book) in 2008. 40 p. ISBN: 978-1-4169-6108-6 

Monday, July 3, 2017

Book Review: 'The Year Without a Santa Claus' by Phyllis McGinley

✰✰✰½ Everyone needs a little vacation now and then, including Santa Claus. After delivering presents year after year, Santa is cranky and tired. He suddenly takes time off from giving.

As the other children cry, a little boy leads an effort to give presents to Santa Claus to lift his spirits. Soon gifts arrive from around the world to give Santa a Merry Christmas from the children. Overwhelmed by the outpouring of love, it's a sentiment Santa will never forget. And to this day Santa Claus continues to visit children on Christmas Eve.

The Bottom Line: The Year Without a Santa Claus was originally published in 1956. The classic text has been refreshed with colorful and lively illustrations in gouache by artist John Manders. Now a new generation of kids can enjoy this classic tale. Recommended seasonal reading for kids ages 6 – 9.

Details: The Year Without a Santa Claus written by Phyllis McGinley & illustrated by John Manders. Hardcover picture book published by Marshall Cavendish Children in 2010. 40 p. ISBN: 978-0-7614-5799-2 

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Book Review: 'Bartholomew's Blessing' by Stephanie S. Tolan

✰✰✰✰✰ Bartholomew mouse is one of God's tiniest creatures. He is used to being ignored by the other animals. So when an angel appears one bright night and invites Bartholomew to be blessed by the newborn prince, he is honored.

Wanting to bring something special for the baby, he picks up little treasures along the way. Unfortunately, Bartholomew arrives at the manger cold, wet, and empty-handed. He worries that the baby will ignore him too. But this is no ordinary baby, and the night is filled with many blessings.

The Bottom Line: This adorable retelling of the Christmas story from a mouse's point of view is a keeper. Illustrated in beautiful watercolors, this is a picture book you will read again and again with your little one. Highly recommended for holiday reading.

Details: Bartholomew's Blessing: A Christmas Story written by Stephanie S. Tolan & illustrated by Margie Moore. Hardcover picture book published by HarperCollins Publishers in 2004. 32 p. ISBN: 0-06-001198-X 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Book Review: 'The Tiptoe Guide to Tracking Fairies' by Ammi-Joan Paquette

✰✰✰✰✰ Join the children in the book as they go exploring for fairies. Do you know where the fairies hide? Fairies can be everywhere if you only know where to look. This book teaches you about the tell-tale signs of fairies. Once you learn the signs, you and your friends can have a magical adventure searching for these delicate creatures in your own backyard.

The Bottom Line: This enchanting picture book features a colorful blend of artwork and photography. The text is engaging and encourages both children and the young at heart to discover the beauty of nature and the magic of possibilities. This book reminds me of the long, lazy, summer days of my childhood. Highly recommended for summertime reading for kids ages 4 – 7.

Details: The Tiptoe Guide to Tracking Fairies written by Ammi-Joan Paquette & illustrated by Christa Unzner. Hardcover picture book published by Tanglewood in 2009. 32 p. ISBN: 978-1-933718-20-0

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Book Review: 'A Surgeon in the Village' by Tony Bartelme

✰✰✰✰½ As a young child Dilan Ellegala was determined and driven. When he set out to become a doctor, he pursued the most challenging specialty. In fact, neurosurgery was what he fell in love with. Nevertheless, after a rigorous residency left him feeling exhaustedDilan went against tradition and took a six month break before beginning his new job.

Africa is where Dilan rested and healed. He also had the opportunity to do some easy brain surgeries. However, he wondered what would happen when he left. Who would help these people? There were no brain surgeons out in the African bush. That's when it dawned on him. There could be a brain surgeon available all the time if he taught someone to do these procedures. But who?


Dilan couldn't just teach anyone. It had to be someone special. A curious, assistant medical officer named Emmanuel Mayegga fit the bill. Dilan taught Mayegga, who taught another doctor, who taught another one. Something special had begun in Tanzania, something that would change the way medical mission work was done. 

The Bottom Line: Part biography, part love story, and part global health report, this easy to read book brings to light the plight of millions of people around the world who do not have access to quality medical care. With a worldwide shortage of doctors, especially surgeons, it is important find a new way to help those in need. This book makes a case for doctors teaching forward and establishing a system where these impoverished countries can help themselves instead of waiting for a handout. Highly recommended  for anyone interested in healthcare or considering a career in medicine. NOTE: This book contains graphic descriptions of medical conditions and procedures.

Details: A Surgeon in the Village: An American Doctor Teaches Brain Surgery in Africa by Tony Bartelme. Hardcover published by Beacon Press in 2017. 288 p. ISBN: 978-0-8070-4488-9 NOTE: I received a free copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This was made possible via the Early Reviewers Program at LibraryThing.