Children's Book Reviews / GIVEAWAYS

We Still Know How to Read! and a Giveaway!

Whoa! We still know how to read in this house. Yes, it’s true. Despite not posting a book review in months the OWTK household still receives and reads (and thinks about reviewing) dozens of books each quarter. Here are some of the best that we’re flippin’ through right now. And at the bottom, there’s a little giveaway. One lucky OWTK reader will end up with some cool kid’s-lit.

Manfish: A Story of Jacques Cousteau
by Jennifer Berne
Illustrated by Eric Puybaret

A story of conservation and passionate exploration centering around the young Jacques Cousteau. Manfish utilizes flowing, conversational text that sounds brilliant read aloud (at least when the Mrs. reads it) and pairs that with striking paintings that invite children (and their parents) into Cousteau’s France and under his sea. We swim along with Rays, Sharks and Turtles as we learn about Jacques love of both film and the ocean’s underworld. A very useful Author’s Notes section at the conclusion of the book points interested readers to other avenues where one can learn much more about the famous Cousteau, his books, films and conservation efforts. It would’ve been swell to include a DVD with the book to see some of his footage. I know that the Bear would have jumped at the chance to immediately follow up the reading with some real underwater scenes starring the Manfish himself. One tiny drawback is the dark text on a few dark pages in the center of the book which makes it tough to read at bedtime when the lights are dimmed. Otherwise, this is a quality work that is capable of makeing both 4 year olds and 32 years olds want to learn more about the great oceanographer Jacques Cousteau.

by Barbara McClintock
I found Dahila through a serious of clicks after the new Adele & Simon book (also a McClintock work) teased me with it’s prominent placement on my cookies-enabled personalized page. Dahlia was a classic internet impulse purchase but one that has ended up being so rewarding, much more so than the slightly perverse brick and mortar equivilant of picking up the latest US Weekly while you check out at the grocery store
Dahila is, just like Adele & Simon, a tremendous period-piece-esque work of childhood fiction. The story is a must own for anyone with a young daughter. Whether a fairy princess or not, your little lady will fall hard for this charming tale of Charlotte, a Victorian-era tomboy (she still appears dressed to the nines as per the time, which makes the story work so well) who prefers bird’s nests to tea parties and would rather her hands be covered in mud than silk. When a fragile, frilly doll arrives unexpectedly Charlotte explains the way she and her stuffed teddy Bruno operate before they embark on their normal day of tree climbing and stone planting. Dahlia is illustrated with such care and grace – the art alone is worthy of a gallery showing. This is the perfect edition for grandmother’s, especially those who fondly recall a more proper era, to read to their precious granddaughters…but really this is, much more simply put, a nearly perfect children’s book.

Little Pea

Little Hoot
by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Illustrated by Jen Corace

A garden pea that is forced to eat candy to grow big and strong. A young owl made to stay up far too late in order to become old and wise. Clever turn-the-table tales that has the makings of a mini-franchise that, hopefully, can stick to it’s formula without becoming a mind-numbing money grab (see:
If You Give A Writer A Dollar). These are two cute little stories, even the size and square shape of the books is neat, with fun & simplistic (not at all in a bad way) illustrations that match the playfulness of the text perfectly. It’s really cool to watch the mind of a young child as he or she navigates the play on themes here – eat your candy before veggies and play a bit longer before bedtime. To see them work out how backwards that is rather adorable, because it inevitably ends with a wry smile and a “what a gosh-darn minute” glance up at you while you read to them.

The OWTK Spring Book Giveaway
Leave a comment here before 11:59pm ET on Tuesday June 17th, 2008 and you’ll have a good chance to score all four of these fine books. Yes, that’s right…all 4!!

How cool is that? Just a little summertime reading love from your friends at Out With The Kids.


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