Jillian Jiggs – Phoebe Gilman

Cute

Energetic

Bright

I was first introduced to this book when I was a kid.  My parents gave it to me.  Probably because I (like Jillian) had a very VERY messy room.  I loved the book.  And now I’m so excited because SweetPea is finally able to sit still long enough to listen to all most of the book in just one sitting.

This is simply a whimsical story about a young girl who is forced to clean her room.  And she does!  Unfortunately (for the girl’s mom), as soon as it’s clean her imagination begins to take hold and she follows it through several stories.  Each time her room gets messier and messier.

It’s a simple book with cute rhymes and cuter illustrations (also done by Phoebe Gilman).  The story is driven by a young girl and her friends (imagine that, I like that the lead is a girl).  And it’s not too long for toddlers to stay interested in it (or adults, for that matter).

But if you’re looking for a book to teach your kid to keep their room clean, this probably isn’t it…at least, it never worked for me.  It’s more about having fun and living out anything you imagine.  Which, I think, is even better than a clean room 🙂 .

No Flying in the House – Betty Brock

Cute

Fantastical

Imaginative

What better way to entertain young kids than a story with a tiny talking dog, a girl who doesn’t know she’s a fairy, and a family reunion?  This is a very sweet and imaginative tale about a young girl who learns she has powers.  But will keeping these powers be temptation enough to keep her from wanting a mom and dad?

Annabel has a tiny, talking, trick-performing dog named Gloria instead of parents.  She loves Gloria but what she wants more than anything else are parents.  One day she learns she is a fairy (and she can fly!) soon she has to make a choice.

This is a delightful tale about love, honesty, forgiveness, sacrifice, and family.  It’s a perfect book for snuggling two to a chair and reading aloud, preferably with homemade cookies and a warm drink.  I would definitely recommend this book to readers young and old alike.

No Flying in the House, fairies, Betty Brock, family

Ella Enchanted – Gail Carson Levine

Charming (enchanting seemed too punny, even for me)

Sweet

Delightful

This is a very cute Cinderella story.  Unlike the original Cinderella story, this Ella doesn’t sit around wishing and hoping for things to happen.  She stands up, jumps in, and takes charge of her life.

I think one of my favorite things about this book is how clueless Ella is that Char (the prince) has a crush on her.  Char drops hint after hint after hint, but Ella retains her naivete until Char spells it out for her.  It was refreshing to have a female character who doesn’t spend the entire book either chasing a boy or waiting for him to save her.

Ella Enchanted, Ella Enchanted book, book, Gail Carson Levine

This is definitely a children’s book, so if you’re looking for great literature go elsewhere.  But if you (or your kid) wants to whittle away an afternoon in an immense fairy tale this may be your book.

The Family Under the Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson

Short

Simple

Boring

I’ve been delaying writing this review.  Mostly because this is the first book I’ve read (since I started reviewing) that I really didn’t like.  And I was shocked that I didn’t like it, I mean, it does have the Newberry seal on it.  How could it be bad?

But I wasn’t impressed with the characters; they were too stereotypical.  I didn’t care much for the plot; it was too generic.  A couple morals in the story are great, but others, not so much.  The best I can say about this book is, “meh.”  I won’t be reading it again, and I bet you could find any number of books to read that are more enjoyable.

family under the bridge, natalie savage carlson, paris, hobo, gypsies

Witches by Roald Dahl

Scary

Imaginative

Amazing

This isn’t so much a review as a reminder.  Roald Dahl’s books are so much fun to read.  Everybody, man, woman, and child, should read some of his books.

A quick reminder, this book, Witches, is actually quite scary.  It talks about witches getting rid of children by all sorts of horrendous means.  Make sure your child is old enough to read this without getting nightmares.  Oh, and make sure you can handle this without nightmares (I made sure to read it on a week when my fiance wasn’t leaving town 🙂 ).

witches, roald dahl

The Upstairs Room by Johanna Reiss

True

Uplifting

Courageous

This is a beautiful account of two young Jewish sisters hiding in Holland during the Nazi invasion.  The youngest, Annie de Leeuw, is the narrator and through her naive eyes we are shown two years of hiding.

I really enjoyed this book.  I found Annie’s innocent view of the war and the Nazis to be utterly charming, and I couldn’t stop reading her story.  I also loved the other characters in the book.  Annie’s story, honestly and simply, highlights the compassion and bravery of the families hiding Jews during the occupation.

This is an autobiographical tale.  The author wrote about her war experience for her kids and this book is the product.  While I was reading the book the language, thoughts, and feelings seemed so organic and natural because they were.  Annie asks certain questions in the book, and they sound so true that I know the author actually asked, word for word, those same questions.  It was during those moments I fell in love with the book.

The Upstairs Room, holocaust, book, Nazis, Holland, history

I would absolutely recommend this book.  It is a story that both children and adults need to hear. Oh, and if my recommendation isn’t enough, that Newberry Honor seal should be 🙂

Baby Bear’s Big Dreams a book by Jane Yolen

Jane

Yolen

(I only need two descriptor words, and they aren’t even descriptors)

This is an absolutely cute children’s book written by Jane Yolen.  It opens with the lines ‘When I grow up/ in about a year’ and as soon as I read that I was chuckling. How often do we hear kids talk about being grown up that quickly?

The book maintained it’s whimsical rhymes and beautiful illustrations to follow baby bear’s dreams for as he grows older.  But before you parents gets too sad thinking about the baby growing up, the story ends with him coming back home for a kiss or two (from mom and dad), cause that’s what big bears do.

Seeing as this book is hard back with paper pages, my daughter hasn’t gotten to spend too much time with it (it’s a little too fragile for those baby fingers of hers).  But in a few months (hopefully) we’ll be able to pull this out as a special bedtime story.

Baby Bear's Big Dreams

I also happen to love this book because of the sweet inscriptions left by a marvelous family who gifted this book to my daughter 😉