Sunday, April 06, 2014

Five New Board Books

Peppa Pig: My Mommy. 2014. Scholastic. 16 pages. [Source: Review copy]

My name is Peppa, and this book is all about my mommy, Mummy Pig! She is the best mommy in the whole wide world! And the prettiest. My mommy is very graceful--like a ballerina..except when it comes to picking blackberries. My mommy can be very serious...but sometimes she can be silly, too! 

 I love, love, love, LOVE this Peppa Pig board book. I do. If you enjoy the television show, chances are you'll be just as giddy to see this one release in time for Mother's Day. (Though I must say, it can be read EVERY DAY of the year. There's no reason to limit it!)

This board book stars Mummy Pig, Daddy Pig, and Peppa and George. Readers very familiar with the show may recognize references to certain episodes. The book is very sweet and funny.

Best Friends Pretend. Linda Leopold Strauss. Illustrated by Lynn Munsinger. 2014. 14 pages. [Source: Review copy]

I love to play with my best friend. Our favorite game is Let's Pretend...
Let's play... Ice Cream Truck!
You drive the truck.
I'll ring the bell.
"It's ice cream time!"
the kids will yell.
One scoop, two scoops, three scoops, four...
If one falls off, we'll give them more!

This book celebrates creative play and friendship. Despite the pink glittery cover, the book is much better than you might suppose. (In case you're "allergic" to glitter-y, princess-y books.) Each two page spread is a different "let's pretend." They pretend to be an ice cream truck; they pretend to be princesses; they pretend to be superheroes; they pretend to be astronauts; they pretend to be explorers; they pretend to be grown-ups.

I like this one. I do. I had my doubts. Glitter doesn't say read me, read me. It just doesn't. But I liked that this one shows two girls--two best friends--playing together. I liked the variety. Yes, they play princess which is typical or stereotypical--take your pick. But the other choices more than make up for it! And if your little one happens to LOVE playing princess, this one has some obvious appeal working in its favor.

Who Can Jump? Sebastien Braun. 2014. Candlewick. 14 pages. [Source: Review copy]

Who can jump? A cat can jump.
Who can jump? A frog can jump.
Who can jump? A squirrel can jump.

What a fun lift-the-flap board book! I really enjoyed this one. It is very simple. It asks one question, and only one question: who can jump. The answers vary, of course, spread by spread. Frogs. Dogs. Cats. Squirrels. Kangaroos. And, don't forget kids like YOU."Lifting" the flap shows the jumping action.

I like the simplicity. I like the boldness. I found the illustrations to be bright and bold and charming.

This one was originally published in the UK in 2012. It is newly published in the US this spring.

Who Can Swim? Sebastien Braun. 2014. Candlewick. 14 pages. [Source: Review copy]

Who can swim? A fish can swim.
Who can swim? Penguins can swim.
Who can swim? A seal can swim.

I think I loved Who Can Swim? even more than Who Can Jump? I definitely enjoyed both lift-the-flap books. In Who Can Swim? I love how the flap reveals the answer. The flap is the ocean on almost every page. Most of the time readers get a good hint or clue about what the flap will reveal. The whale, perhaps, being the MOST obvious. Again, the book is simple. The question is the same on each spread. Readers learn that fish, penguins, seals, polar bears, and whales all swim. The last page, you might have guessed, shows that kids (like you) can swim too.

Again, I like the illustrations. I think they make this one work. Who Can Swim? was originally published in the UK in 2012. It is newly published this spring in the US.

The Tale of Peter Rabbit. Beatrix Potter. Illustrated by David McPhail. Text from 1902. Illustrations from 1986. Board book format 2014. Scholastic. 28 pages.

Once upon a time there were four little Rabbits, and their names were--Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail, and Peter. They lived with their mother in a sandbank, underneath the root of a very big fir tree. 
"Now, my dears," said old Mrs. Rabbit one morning, "you may go into the fields or down the lane, but don't go into Mr. McGregor's garden: your father had an accident there; he was put in a pie by Mrs. McGregor.

This board book offers readers the original text by Beatrix Potter with new--or relatively new--illustrations by David McPhail. The story itself is lovely; it is everything it should be. It is a rich story. I love the writing. I love the language. It's just a good, entertaining story.

The illustrations. Well. They are not the original obviously. For readers who love and adore the original illustrations by Beatrix Potter, I'm not sure that McPhail's illustrations will satisfy in any way. For readers with less of an attachment, these new illustrations may work just as well. For readers meeting Peter Rabbit for the first time, I don't think the illustrations would be a big issue at all. Personally. I don't care for David McPhail's illustrations in this book. 

© 2014 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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