Note about my Reviews

Dear Authors: The reviews in this blog are only personal opinions. I have absolutely no background in literature, writing or reviewing. I am a Librarian (actually a Library Technician for those who care OR know the difference) with a love for a good story. The opinions in the reviews are ONLY my OPINIONS. I am not commenting on the writers ability since well -- I am not a writer and never will be. If you are the author of any of the books reviewed here, my opinion is just that and not a judgment against you!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Mom and Me Mondays: Picture Book Edition

I am seriously behind in my Picture Book Challenge, so Jake and I decided to do some quick reviews or some of her favorites.

The Butter Battle Book
by Dr Seuss
Random House
ISBN: 0-394-86580-4
Buy From Indigo

Description: The Butter Battle Book tells the story of a land where two hostile cultures, the Yooks and the Zooks, live on opposite sides of a long curving wall, fairly similar to the Berlin Wall. The Yooks wear blue clothes; the Zooks wear orange. The main dispute between the two cultures is that the Yooks, who live on one side of the wall, eat their bread with the butter-side up, while the Zooks, who live on the other side, eat their bread with the butter-side down. The conflict between the two sides leads to an arms race, each competing to make bigger and better weapons to outdo the other, which results in the threat of mutual assured destruction. (Loved this simple description from Wikipedia)

Mom's Review: Absolutely brilliant book about diversity, acceptance and the stupidity of war that is just as relevant today as when it was written in 1984 (although obviously written years earlier). Done with Seuss' usual delightful artwork and wonderful rhyme, it is one of those stories that will stand the tests of time.  This is one of my favorite books of all time ever since it was introduced to me by my professor for the Children's Literature course I took in college. I am still amazed that this book has been challenged or banned from various libraries since it was originally published.  I think they miss the whole point of what Seuss was trying to get across -- but than again anyone who bans book aren't exactly working with a full deck. (Jake: Doesn't that mean you are prejudiced against book burners Mom: Smart ass!)
Mom's Rating: 10/10

Jake's Review:
Jake: So mom these people are fighting over the way they butter their bread, isn't that kind of stupid.
Mom: You remember how we talked about Russia and the Cold War
Jake: Ohhh, I get it he's talking about the Russians and the Americans and he is teaching me a moral lesson that fighting over being different is kinda dumb -- mom Seuss is kinda like you eh?
Mom: Dude that is the nicest thing you have ever said - come give me a hug
Jake: Dad, mom's getting all girly again - make her stop
Mom: Now I am going to teach you another term - misogynistic pig

Jake: The book is pretty good with fun pictures and I like the way he rhymes everything.  I can see why mom likes it, Dr Seuss is one cool dude. It is kinda depressing and I didn't like that at the end you don't know find out if they did blow each other up.
Jake's Rating: 9/10 

Harold and the Purple Crayon
by Crockett Johnson
Scholastic Edition
ISBN: 0-439-13253-3
Buy From Indigo

Description: One night, after thinking it over for some time, Harold decided to go for a walk in the moonlight." So begins this gentle story that shows just how far your imagination can take you. Armed only with an over-sized purple crayon, young Harold draws himself a landscape full of beauty and excitement. But this is no hare-brained, impulsive flight of fantasy. Cherubic, round-headed Harold conducts his adventure with the utmost prudence, letting his imagination run free, but keeping his wits about him all the while. He takes the necessary purple-crayon precautions: drawing landmarks to ensure he won't get lost; sketching a boat when he finds himself in deep water; and creating a purple pie picnic when he feels the first pangs of hunger

Mom's Rating: Loved this one as a kid, and after reading it again, I still adore it.  It's just a lovely little story about the simple joy of your imagination and where it can take you.  This is one that I recommend all parents to get a copy of and read it over and over to their kids.
Mom's Rating: 10/10

Jake's Review:  Mom used to read this to me when I was little and it was cute. It's a little boring for me now and the pictures are way too simple, but I think the little midget will like it (Mom's note: that would be his little brother Jesse)
Jake's Rating: 8/10

Curious George Visits the Library
by Margret & H.A. Rey's
Scholastic Edition
ISBN: 978-0-439-63436-9
Buy From Indigo

Description: George is lucky to arrive at the library just in time for story hour. But it’s not easy for a little monkey to sit still too long. From selecting books to getting his very own library card, George’s day at the library makes reading fun.

Mom's Review: Obviously you know why I picked this one out for Jake when he was little. I read it to him at least once a week and he enjoyed it -- as well as the rest of the Curious George stories.  It seemed to work as he really enjoyed going to the library -- so far hasn't worked for Jesse, he still doesn't like the library. It's a cute little story, but a wee bit dated. As well the patrons of the library and the library staff are a little too stereotypical for this modern library worker. One of the patrons even shushes George -- I know, it made me mad too LOL!  The library workers are nice though, so the Rey's are forgiven.  This story has the usual storyline of George getting into mischief, learning a lesson and cleaning up after his mistakes.  It teaches kids a good moral lesson without being too preachy and George is so adorable to read about. Parents, teachers, Librarians and kids will all enjoy.

Mom's Rating: 9/10

Jake's Review: Mom says I loved it as a kid, but I think she must have been exaggerating. It is a funny story and I love how much trouble George gets into.  He's not a bad monkey,  he just is very curious and doesn't like to stay still (Mom's note: hmm reminds me of my boys).  The pictures are kinda old fashioned and I think it is definitely written for younger kids, but I still did like it -- though not as much as mom. She is a nerdy librarian after all
Jake's Rating: 7/10

The Backyardigans: Race to the Tower of Power
Adapted by Catherine Lukas
Illustrated by Dave Aikins
Simon Spotlight/Nick Jr
ISBN: 978-1-4169-0799-2
Buy From Indigo

Description: Super-villains Pablo and Tyrone plan to use their powers to take over the world! To do that, they have to capture the Key to the World in Tower of Power. Will the superheroes -- Uniqua and Austin -- be able to stop them?

Mom's Review: Cute retelling of the Race to the Tower of Power episode of the Backyardigans.   All the major parts of the episode are included and the writing level is perfect for the beginning reader. This is also a good one for encouraging a reluctant reader (hint hint Jesse) to read.  My little book hater actually let me read this to him as he is a huge fan of the show.  Parents will enjoy reading this one to their kids too and these stories are perfecting for keeping in the car for long drives -- this particular copy has been camping at least 3 times. The whole family enjoy reading and watching The Backyardigans. Always fun stories that showcase the importance of play, using your imagination and always being there for your friends.
Mom's Rating: 9/10

Jake's Review: Loved this when mom and dad first got it for me and still do.  The characters are funny and the story is exciting.  I can even read this to the little midget and not be bored.  I wish they would make longer books about the Backyardigans for me, cuz they are so much fun,
Jake's Rating: 9/10

Russel the Sheep
by Rob Scotton
ISBN: 978-0-545-07273-1 (Scholastic Edition_
Buy From Indigo

Description: What happens when a sheep can t sleep? That s the question in Rob Scotton's adorably winsome first picture book about a woolly insomniac named Russell, who tries everything to fall asleep. Captured in Scotton's humorous, playful illustrations, Russell finds that counting his feet and the stars doesn't work...until he thinks of a plan that does the trick. If you re looking for a bedtime book with sweet-nature d laughs and a memorable character, this is a surefire treat

Mom's Review: The artwork is worth the price of the book alone, I dare you not to fall in love with his adorable face. The prose is simple, sweet and the storyline perfect for the young and old alike, as we have all suffered the difficulty of not being able to get to sleep.  Russell has a charming personality and kids will enjoy his silly antics & maybe at the same time learn some ways of helping them get to sleep -- if they can stop giggling that is. This one is a must for all parents and absolutely perfect for story-time at school or the library.  A classic I tell you.

Mom's Rating: 10/10

Jake's Review:  Russell is hilarious and I understand what it feels like to not be able to get to sleep.  The pictures are cute and it is a very easy read. I think Jesse would like the pictures, if he can sit still long enough to look at them - I think that midget has ants in his pants.   Maybe I will get him some more Russell books, mom says there are a few others.

Jake's Rating: 9/10

These books are all from our personal library


  1. I love Harold and the Purple Crayon! It is such a cute story with simple but beautifully imaginative illustrations. His other adventures are pretty cute, too - I love the one where he goes into space :)

  2. Love all of them they are so adorable

  3. Awesome recommendations. Can you believe I've never read Harold and the Purple Crayon? And I love Dr. Seuss but don't remember this one. Going to a library book sale today so maybe I'll find one :)

  4. Stacy - seriously never read Harold and the Purple Crayon -- hope you find it, its so much fun and Gage will really enjoy in a year or two

    Good luck finding the Seuss -- I had a hard time finding it a couple of years ago

    Hope you had fun at the library book sale - I love those!!!