Ever since I bought my Kindle, I have been searching through the free books to find some to read to my boys. They boy are enamored with Mommy's latest...moreEver since I bought my Kindle, I have been searching through the free books to find some to read to my boys. They boy are enamored with Mommy's latest toy (though more because of the apps that I have downloaded than the books). I also feel that it gives me a chance to mix it up a bit when it comes to reading to them at bedtime.
They were both familiar with some of Aesop's fables, thanks to story time and random books pulled from the library shelves. But they hadn't heard any of these stories involving Fox before. The four stories contained within are short - a page or two of writing each with a beautifully drawn picture to go with each story - so we were able to get through all four stories relatively quickly.
The first story is The Fox and the Crow, where Fox gets crow to drop some bread that he'd like to eat by complimenting her wonderful singing voice. The moral for this one is, "Do not trust flatterers."
The second story is The Fox and the Goat, in which Fox tricks Goat into coming down into a well. Fox had fallen and, rather than ask for Goat's help getting out, tricks Goat into coming in with him then climbs out over Goat's horns. This moral is, "Never trust a man in difficulties."
While the first two stories showed Fox tricking others, the second two are more humbling for the crafty being. The third story is The Fox and the Grapes, which is the only one that I was previously familiar with. In it, the Fox is trying to reach grapes that are out of his reach. When he realizes that he won't be able to get them, he leaves mumbling about how they are probably sour anyway. While the phrasing of the words - "It is easy to despise what you cannot get" - didn't make as much sense to my boys, the idea behind it was one they struggle with.
The final story is The Fox and the Cat. This was, by far, my favorite of the set. Fox is bragging how he has so many different ways to escape the hunters, while Cat admits he only has one. When they here the hunters coming, Cat hides among the trees. Fox, however, is struck with indecision on which of his escape tricks will work best and ends up getting caught and killed. The moral, "Better one safe way than a hundred on which you cannot reckon," is one that resonates with me because I'm often confronted with far too many things to that need to be done and, in my indecision over where to start, never get to any of them.
While the words of the moral are a bit above my three year old's understanding, the rest of the story is very easy for him to understand. The bite-sized portions also keep his attention better than some of the longer stories do. It's one that he has asked for repeatedly. My six year old understands quite a bit more of it, but the stories are too short for him. So this is one that is usually pulled out at nap time rather than bedtime.(less)
I'm a big fan of Bob Shea and his books. We bought Big Plans after the boys kept taking the book out of the library every chance they could. So when...moreI'm a big fan of Bob Shea and his books. We bought Big Plans after the boys kept taking the book out of the library every chance they could. So when my heart-sister, Barb, sent along Dinosaur vs Bedtime for my youngest (who is going through a dinosaur phase), I was excited to break it out and read it.
And none of us were disappointed. This book is much shorter on words than Big Plans, and for this book, it works. It tells the story in short bursts, showing scenes familiar to any parent of a toddler. Dinosaur faces off against many foes that are thrown in his way - spaghetti, bath time, talking grown-ups. In each and every case, Dinosaur is triumphant. And he has high hopes when he fights bed time. But as any parent knows, eventually, bed time gets the better of energetic little dinosaurs.
The artwork is simple and fun, bringing out the important points (from Dinosaur's point of view). And the words on the page are large, just begging to be yelled in an announcer voice. You just can't help yourself. This book is one that can't sit by and be told passively. It's a book to be experienced. And with the staccato bursts of words and multitudes of roars, it's something that kids can get involved with as well. My three year old loves to yell out the roars while my six year old loves to call out what Dinosaur is up against next. It truly is a book that we, as a family, love to read together.
If you'd like to hear Bob Shea tell the story behind how Dinosaur vs Bedtime was written, along with listening to him read it himself, you can find it here on Vimeo.(less)
Based on the title, I was expecting a far different book than what ended up being presented. I was expecting a fun search through the alphabet, findin...moreBased on the title, I was expecting a far different book than what ended up being presented. I was expecting a fun search through the alphabet, finding letters in places the child wouldn't expect them. Instead, what I was given was a pretty standard, run of the mill alphabet book.
Each page showed a single, large letter with a picture of whichever word the author was using to show off that letter of the alphabet. In smaller letters below the letter and picture it would tell what the letter stood for (For example, on the page for V, there is the letter V in the center, a vacuum to the left partially obscuring the letter and in parenthesis and small type below it, it says, "V IS FOR VACUUM").
While the author didn't do traditional words for each letter (on Q using quetzal and on U using underwear), several are ones that I'd come to expect through the many, many, many alphabet books that I've read to my boys over the years. There are so many other A's out there beyond Apple and Ant. I enjoy finding different ones.
The artwork wasn't bad. Each page is a golden background with a large, lighter shade sunburst in the middle. The letters are in Times New Roman font and colored a brick red. Each item that is chosen as an example of the letter has eyes and a mouth (including the underwear, which is slightly disturbing). The only change beyond the example is where on the page it's placed. Sometimes it's the the side of the letter, sometimes above, sometimes behind. But for the most part, the elements are the same. In some ways, this is good - it provides continuity for younger children just learning their ABCs. But it also borders on the boring. The whimsical examples really are the only thing that saves it from being so.
All in all, it wasn't a bad ABC book, but it was far, far from what I'd expected. I was hoping for fun with the alphabet and instead got the same old, same old.(less)
Two shoes, Finn and Maya, live inside a dark box at a shoe store. Their whole world is that box until one day, a little girl comes and opens the lid....moreTwo shoes, Finn and Maya, live inside a dark box at a shoe store. Their whole world is that box until one day, a little girl comes and opens the lid. Then they find a whole new world outside, with different sensations and different experiences. Oh, how their lives will change.
Little Shoes was another book that I picked up for free on Kindle. As much as my Kindle is mineallmine, I do want to share some books with my boys on it. So I went looking for freebies. And this was the first one I came across.
It wasn't the best children's book I've read to my boys, nor was it the worst. But it's one that I don't think my boys are going to be asking for more regularly. It doesn't seem to flow as well as many of the other books do, and some of the images that it brought to my mind, at least, were disturbing (the feeling of someone's foot sliding into Finn... shudder). I was also slightly annoyed at the author for having it be natural for Maya to recognize a mirror and then preen in it, all because she was a little girl.
Still, it did have a few redeeming qualities. It was a good look at change in your environment and trying to figure out the answers (though I'm still not sure how the shoes came up with some of the answers they did). I did enjoy the last line as well - "And Finn added, "Yes, and it's our new home." - because it feels... comfortable, I guess. The thought of a new home for anyone is just a warm-fuzzy.
The artwork was cute, with very big eyes and round faces. The colors are bright and vibrant. In eBook format, though, it doesn't seem to mesh too well. There will be a page or two of text, then a single page of a picture. It wasn't bad, but sometimes it threw off the rhythm of the story. Still, they were enjoyable to look at.
As I said above, it's not a bad book, but it's not phenomenal either. At free, I'd suggest checking it out yourself and see what you think.(less)
When a little egg rolls down from the mountain, an unusual creature emerges at the bottom. Is it a fish, like the first creature he sees? Or a snake l...moreWhen a little egg rolls down from the mountain, an unusual creature emerges at the bottom. Is it a fish, like the first creature he sees? Or a snake like the second? The problems the creature has moving like either points toward no. But when an eagle flies by and tells the creature to follow him, it is only then that she finds where she belongs.
I picked this up as an eBook freebie through my Kindle, thinking to have something new to read to my kids. Pete is dinosaur crazy, so reading anything involving dinosaurs would be a big hit. But I didn't know just how much I would enjoy the story.
Yes, I had to suspend my disbelief a little to think that a dragon and a T-Rex would mate, but if I can believe in a T-Rex living with a family of pteronadons (Dinosaur Train), then pairing a dragon and a dinosaur wasn't too much of a stretch.
Peter stayed engrossed through every sentence, curious about this little creature and what it would be. He pointed out various things he saw in the pictures with excitement. And, even better, when we were finished, he wanted to hear it again.
Being a children's book, it is an incredibly quick read. And while I would have liked to have seen some parts of it go into a little more depth (such as the creature following a few more animals in it's search for who it was), I could understand that being a side-point to the story rather than the main part.
The illustrations were nicely done - not too childish, yet not too elaborate for young minds and attention spans either. It's also not an illustration heavy book, so each one has the job of telling a bit more, and it does that beautifully.
There is also an important lesson in here - whether the writer intended it or not. You are who you are, and that is very special. Your parents don't have to be the same (in the "real" world, they don't both have to be the same race, the same religion or - dare I say it - the same sex) to love you and think you're special. And if you try to be someone that you aren't, something will always get in the way of making it feel "right".
If you have little ones that love dinosaurs or dragons, I highly recommend picking this one up and reading it to them. Because I think it's a story they'll enjoy.(less)