Children/Teen Book Reviews


I’ll admit, I’m a huge lover of children’s books – and I’m often taken by the stories, the illustrations, the humour…

And, sometimes, a children’s book is so good, it brings me to tears.

“Old Turtle” is a thought-provoking, beautifully illustrated story where the animals argue over who God is.

“God is a sound and a smell and a feeling…”

“God is a twinkling and a shining…”

“No, He is a river who flows through the very heart of things…”

Each part of nature and animal seems to put God in perpective with relation to who they are and what role they play in the circle of life.  The Old Turtle gives wisdom and understanding to the animals that God is and can be all of the things they belive Him to be, as He is everywhere.

But what happens when the people come to earth and forget their purpose?  When they too begin to argue over who ‘knows’ God, ‘where’ God is and is not… when they misuse their power to hurt eachother?

This is a moving, deeply touching story that will have you smiling, grimacing, thinking.  It will inspire us to see God in the everyday – in the grass, the mountains, the wind, even, each other.

This is a must-read and will be added to our family library.  Beautiful.

Illustrated in watercolors by Cheng-Khee Chee.

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I’m a sucker for a great comedic children’s book… and I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More!
cracks me up. 

The illustrations are very different – it’s the sort of book that kids stare at in awe because the colours, contrasts and character expressions are so engaging and interesting to take in.

The story is about a little toddler who paints, well, everything.  His Mother initially takes the paint away, but the naughty little one climbs up to her hiding spot and proceeds to paint all his “body parts” with bright colours are crazy patterns and designs.

I value literature that offers a great story but also has great rhythm and rhyme.  This one is great for teaching children rhyming words, as every page hints at what is to come.  For example: “…Still I just can’t rest ’till I paint my…”  (then on the next page) “….CHEST!”.  It is a fantastic way to casually have kids figure out what the rhyming body part will be.  Try delaying your reading of the next word to encourage them to beat you to it.  Books like these are great tools for teaching, as little ones barely figure out they are learning.

A word of warning, I wouldn’t say this one’s for the faint at heart.   There is the word “heck” and there’s also a joke about the toddler painting his “butt” (which made both my AND the kids laugh out loud).  But we’re a little more relaxed then some about humour like this. 

An all-around great book for kids toddler through early grades.  Love it!  We borrowed it from the Library but I think I’d like to add it to our home library!

Leave a Comment if you read it!!!   🙂

Our family is always on a quest for fantastic non-fiction.  Mainly, because our kids love it so much!   But through my interaction with parents I’ve found that most tend to seek fiction picture books and young literature but neglect to offer their children a full diet of engaging real-life, fact-based books.

Great non-fiction can be just as exciting and adventurous as fiction but can also teach, enlighten, and encourage kids to explore the world around them.  (We also can’t forget that boys tend to gravitate heavily towards enjoying non-fiction.)

A fantastic book we discovered this week is, “Redwoods”, by Jason Chin.

“Redwoods” invites us on an exciting journey with a young boy as he boards the subway and finds himself in the heart of the Redwood Forest among the majestic, ancient trees.  

To say the illustrations are breath-taking, is an understatement.  Every page is a colorful dreamworld where you just wish you could jump right in and join the young boy on his journey.  Ours kids stare in awe.

The book covers interesting facts spanning from the height and name of the tallest Redwood, their super-amazing fire repellent qualities, their climate, their size in relation to buildings and the Statue of Liberty, to how they can even create their own rain (wow!).

The story is followed by a two-page “Redwoods in Danger” piece that gives kids (and parents) additional information about the reality of the threats facing these amazing trees.  I love this section as it really brings home the idea of taking care of our planet, respecting God’s creation, and living green.

This is a fantastic book for kids and parents alike – if you want to learn more about the Redwoods, and if you just want to enjoy a fun, engaging read!

For more – visit Jason Chin’s site:

http://jasonchin.net/illustration/books-redwoods.php

“Redwoods” on Amazon.ca:

http://www.amazon.ca/Redwoods-Jason-Chin/dp/1596434309