Quick Kids Reviews #8

Title: Tree Song
Author: Tiffany Stone
Illustrator: Holly Hatam
Source: Free ARC from Annick Press

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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

Tree Song is a sweet, somewhat lyrical children’s book that walks the reader through the cycles of a tree, from the acorn that manages to survive potential predators, winter weather, and curious children to eventually sprout and then root, growing into a tree over many seasons – to the older trees that eventually give way to age and the ravages of nature and man. Along the way, we see all the beautiful things trees have to offer, why they are so precious. It is a great introduction to the ways of nature. And, naturally, I couldn’t go without commenting on the illustrations, which are unique and lovely. A wonderful book to share with little ones.

Title: Dictionary of Dinosaurs
Author: Natural History Museum
Illustrator: Dieter Braun
Source: Free ARC from Wide-Eyed Editions

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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

Whoa. I just added this to my kids’ wish list. ‘Nuff said?

Dinosaurs are a mainstay in this house. We have dinosaur encyclopedias that have been read so many times they’ve fallen apart and been replaced several times over. We search far and wide to add out of circulation dino documentaries to our burgeoning collection. I’ve learned more about dinosaurs in the past eight years than in the entire 35 years before that. My kids are paleontologists in training…

My point? This Dictionary of Dinosaurs stumped me. I haven’t gotten it in front of my kiddos yet, but I feel strongly that there are dinosaurs in this book that they haven’t heard of. The beauty of it being a dictionary (rather than say, an encyclopedia) is each entry provides basic information – name, meaning of their name, pronunciation, time period in which it lived, length, diet, and where it was found – so there is room for every dinosaur ever discovered. Every. Single. One. Amazing, right?!?

There are colorful, fun illustrations throughout (though not of every dinosaur), and some dinosaurs got a little more page space due to extra information, but the winners of this glory were not just the usual suspects (lookin’ at you Tyrannosaurus). Gilmoreosaurus got a whole page to herself! So did Janenschia. And countless others that aren’t part of everyday dinosaur conversation (you talk about dinosaurs every day, right?). So exciting!

What more can I say? I am besotted. Every serious dinosaur lover should have this in their collection. End of.

Title: Dictionary of Dinosaurs
Author: Natural History Museum
Illustrator: Duncan Beedie
Source: Free ARC from QEB Publishing

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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

The illustrations are very cute with a warm and inviting color scheme and hidden gems if you keep an eye out (look for the lost mole on the first page!). The concept of traveling the world is one that is near and dear to my heart. My personal experience has taught me that seeing different parts of the world leads to a more informed and empathetic perspective, something that children would benefit from hugely. This book is a wonderful way to expose children to different parts of the world and maybe spark their travel bug just a little.

In addition to introducing many countries, the book incorporates little bits of foreign language (mostly in the form of signs) and talks about similarities between countries. For instance, while taking a tram in Istanbul, they talk about trams in other foreign cities. The wonderful food trucks in Mumbai spark an idea about doing a food-inspired vacation one day.

One of the features I especially appreciate is it helps set realistic expectations for travel. Sometimes there are traffic jams. Sometimes it’s overwhelmingly busy! People can get frustrated in these situations and not always behave well. It can take a long time, and many different forms of transport, to get from one place to the other. Traveling is amazing, but it isn’t all fun and games. It can be frustrating and exhausting. Like any other person, a child will handle the bumps better if they are prepared for them ahead of time. Kudos to the authors for addressing this!

As a grown-up who has been to a few of these places, I still learned something! While I knew of the “Chunnel” (the Channel Tunnel between England and France), I didn’t know they had a car train! Adding it to my bucket list NOW.

And finally, the book was especially inclusive, including trips to all the continents except Antarctica (for obvious reasons). The shortcoming of covering so much in a children’s book is a profound lack of depth, but I acknowledge that this is unlikely to be a complaint a child would have. 😉

Overall, a fabulous way to introduce children to the concept of foreign travel, in a fun and realistic way. If I were preparing my kids for a lengthy trip of any kind, I would absolutely read this book with them and use it as a tool to stir excitement and set realistic expectations.

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