Quick Kids Reviews #13

Title: Kahlo’s Koalas: 1, 2, 3, Count Art With Me
Illustrator: Grace Helmer
Source: Free ARC from Andrews McMeel Publishing

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Note: As stated under the Source (above), I received this book for free from Andrews McMeel Publishing via NetGalley. I pride myself on writing fair and honest reviews.

What a wonderful little board book! Geared towards the preschool set, this gorgeously illustrated book covers the basic skill of counting to ten while introducing little ones to the artistic stylings of ten famous artists. From Kandinsky to Van Gogh, each new number is accompanied by a picture done in the unique style for which that artist is known. At the end of the book, a paragraph of basic information about each artist is included. Lovely!

Had this book been available when my children were of the right age, I most certainly would have purchased it. Instead, I’ll be buying it for my grandson’s 1st birthday next month!

Title: Ella Fitzgerald (Little People, Big Dreams)
Author: Isabel Sanchez Vegara
Illustrator: Barbara Alca
Source: Free ARC from Frances Lincoln Children’s Books

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 1/2

Note: As stated under the Source (above), I received this book for free from Frances Lincoln Children’s Books via NetGalley. I pride myself on writing fair and honest reviews.

Isabel Sanchez Vegara does it again! Another wonderful entry into the Little People, Big Dreams series.

This is the second children’s book I’ve read and reviewed about Ella Fitzgerald’s life. This book is fully focused on how Ella knew she wanted to be a singer very early in life and took risks, even as a young girl, to pursue her dreams. She did her best, seized opportunities as they arose, and had a gift the likes of which none had seen before. The illustrations are wonderful – bright, colorful, and lively. And I’m even more interested in her life now than I was before.

The reason for the .5 star deduction: at the end of every book in this series to date, there has been a more detailed recap about the subject’s life in the back of the book, including photographs. In the digital copy that I received, this final section was lacking, and it’s a feature of the series that I have learned to look forward to. It is, of course, entirely possible that it didn’t make it into the digital galley version. The next time I’m at the bookstore, I’ll be sure to check, and if it’s in the print copy, I will gladly revise to a 5 star review.

Title: The Woods
Author: Rob Hodgson
Source: Free ARC from Frances Lincoln Children’s Books

Rating: ⭐⭐

Note: As stated under the Source (above), I received this book for free from Frances Lincoln Children’s Books via NetGalley. I pride myself on writing fair and honest reviews.

Three foxes are in the woods hunting for rabbits to eat, but the rabbits are nowhere to be found. Even with a sign pointing them in the right direction, they cannot find them anywhere. But the truth is, the sign was put up by the rabbits who have been stealthily following them all along the way, doing what they can to avoid being dinner.

I want to start out on a positive note, so I’m going to say that I enjoyed the illustrations. They were very bold and colorful and incorporate a lot of orange (like, a lot, a lot) which is one of my favorite colors. However…

I had a few issues with this book. The foxes had angry expressions on their faces the entire time, giving the strong feeling that the foxes were bad. Mean. That pursuing their natural prey was a cruel thing to do, instead of an innate and necessary thing for their survival. It was suggested they could eat donuts or acorns instead (seriously???). I’m all about stretching a child’s imagination, I just don’t think this stretches in the right direction.

What I really disliked was the name calling. The foxes call each other numbskull and the rabbits refer to the foxes as stupid. Now, as a parent, I spend a fair amount of time reminding my children that it is never, ever ok to call someone a name. We don’t say people are stupid. We don’t call people morons. It isn’t kind or helpful, and it hurts people’s feelings. So it goes without saying that I’m not going to read a book to my children, or recommend a book for other children, that uses name calling for any purpose other than to provide an example of why it’s wrong.

Needless to say, this is a hard pass for me.

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