Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Five 2013 Picture Books

 Ribbit. Rodrigo. Folgueira. Illustrated by Poly Bernatene. 2013. Random House. 32 pages.

Once upon a time there was a pond that was home to a family of frogs. It was their pond. And they were very happy living there. But one morning they discovered a surprise visitor...

I enjoyed Ribbit! I loved the illustrations of this adorable pig. This is the 'surprise visitor' who decided to visit the pond and make some new friends. The frogs didn't quite understand why the pig was there. They were very suspicious and extremely hesitant...at least at first. Really liked the ending of this one--with the pig up in the tree making new friends!

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 6 out of 10

Toys in Space. Mini Grey. 2013. Random House. 32 pages.

That summer night, for the first time, the toys were left outside. The sun went down, the sky grew dark, and, for the very first time...the toys saw THIS. Everyone was quiet for a while. 

Toys in Space is silly and creative. I'm not sure if it would work for a group read-aloud, it was quite text-heavy. But I think it would definitely work as a read-aloud for parents to read to their own children. (They might want to read it first, however. I didn't like some of the language in this one: dang, stupid, ninny, etc. But every person has a comfort level of course! So what works for one might not work for another.) 

Text: 2 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 5 out of 10

Good Night, Sleep Tight. Mem Fox. Illustrated by Judy Horacek. 2013. Scholastic. 32 pages. 

One Friday night, Bonnie and Ben were being looked after by their favorite babysitter. Skinny Doug leaned against their bedroom door and said: 

"Good night, sleep tight.
Hope the fleas don't bite!
If they do,
squeeze 'em tight
and they won't bite
another night!"

I enjoy the premise of this one. A babysitter telling nursery rhymes to two children as he tries to put them to bed at night. (I'm not sure he was trying too hard at the beginning!) After each rhyme he says: "I'll tell you another I heard from my mother..." I appreciated the fact that it wasn't a book about a babysitter reading these rhymes to the two kids. I liked the fact that these were rhymes that had stayed with him and were a part of his life, his memory. The book celebrates imagination, language, and childhood itself perhaps.

Text: 4 out of 5
Illustrations: 2 out of 5
Total: 6 out of 10
The Story of Peppa Pig. Scholastic. 2013. 32 pages. 

Once upon a time, there was a lovable, slightly bossy little piggy named Peppa. Grunt! Grunt! More than anything in the whole wide world, Peppa loved jumping up and down in muddy puddles. 

If you or your little one LOVES Peppa Pig, then this one is one to consider. I do love Peppa Pig. I love Peppa's whole family. The show is just so much fun: the music, the characters, the silly stories. The book isn't quite as much fun as the show itself, but it captures some of the magic.

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 6 out of 10
Snippet the Early Riser. Bethanie Deeney Murguia. 2013. Random House. 40 pages. 

In many ways, Snippet was an ordinary snail. He drew on the sidewalk. He made leaf sculptures. He played soccer. He especially adored piggyback rides. At bedtime, he would snuggle inside his shell and fall fast asleep. But while his family loved to snooze all morning, Snippet did not. 

Snippet loves to wake up early. His father, mother, and sister DO NOT like to wake up early. Snippet does everything he can think of to make them wake up. He really wants to play! But still, his family stays asleep. Other insects offer advice on how to best wake them up, but it is the caterpillar's advice that works--at least this one morning! Snippet is a lovable character. Very charming! And I definitely enjoyed the illustrations! 

Text: 5 out of 5
Illustrations: 4 out of 5
Total: 9 out of 10
© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

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