Posted in Book Review

REVIEW: I Got You A Present by Mike Erskine-Kellie & Susan McLennan

Title: I Got You A Present

Author: Mike Erskine-Kellie & Susan McLennan | Illustrator: Cale Atkinson

Publisher: Kids Can Press| Published: April 7, 2020

Theme: Friendship and Perseverance

Character Origin: Animal

Book Type: Picture Book  | Pages: 32

Ages: 3-7 | Book Level: — | Lexile Measure:

Book Synopsis…

A quest for the perfect birthday present leads to ever grander (and ever more imperfect) gift ideas in this clever metafiction story that’s hilarious any day of the year.

“I wanted to get you the greatest present ever, our narrator tells us. But somehow, none of the best ideas seemed to pan out. First, there was the pair of hand-knitted birthday socks (have you ever tried knitting birthday socks). Then, the ten-scoop ice cream cone (a disaster to carry), the magic kit (it disappeared, just like magic!), the apple juice-fueled jet pack (still a few kinks to work out) and the dinosaur (I couldn’t find one anywhere). And now, time has run out, and our narrator still has nothing to give. Or, maybe there is something after all. Something that contains all those awesome gifts in one. Something that can be enjoyed again and again, just by turning the pages…

In their debut picture book, Emmy Award-winning children’s television writers Mike Erskine-Kellie and Susan McLennan have created a laugh-out-loud story filled with heart. The metafiction approach (speaking directly to “you”) and fun story together with the antic exuberance of Cale Atkinson’s bold and colorful illustrations make this a lively read-aloud that will keep even the youngest children engaged. Though a book about finding the perfect birthday present is itself the perfect birthday present, it’s also simply a delightful read for any time of year. It also offers an excellent character education lesson on perseverance.

My overall thoughts…

If you are looking for an adorable book to share with your little ones, you’ve just found it. The reader goes on a humorous yet delightful adventure on every page. There is the sweetest message of perseverance and friendship that will melt your heart.  I felt all warm and fuzzy on the inside while reading this and even more so at the end. I imagine that you’ll have a similar visceral experience as well. The overall story is engaging and entertaining. I bet you’ll enjoy a snicker or two. You’ll close the book reminded of the true value of friendship.

The illustrations and text…

The illustrations were beautifully drawn in Photoshop. I loved how the pages had very little white space, and the background colors complimented the artwork nicely. The font size made the text easy to read. I enjoyed the flow of the book. The word choice was appropriate, and a new reader could handle it with ease. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be anticipating a sequel.  I Got You A Present will soon become a family favorite and have the biggest pessimist anticipating their birthday. 

I’ll give it…

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Posted in Book Review

REVIEW: Rosie the Dragon and Charlie Make Waves by Lauren H. Kerstein

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Title: Rosie the Dragon and Charlie Make Waves

Author: Lauren H. Kerstein | Illustrator: Nate Wragg

Publisher: Two Lions | Published: June 1, 2019

Theme:  Friendship and Patience

Character Origin: Animal & Human 

Book Type: Picture Book  | Pages: 40

Ages: 4-8 | Book Level: — | Lexile Measure:

Book Synopsis…

It’s summertime, and you’re invited for a rollicking day at the pool with Charlie and his pet dragon (and best friend!), Rosie. But be careful—swimming with a dragon can be, um, challenging. As Rosie and Charlie blow bubbles (don’t forget your umbrella!), practice flutter kicks (watch out for tidal waves!), and offer shoulder rides (hang on tight!), Rosie proves that dragons make the most fun pets ever. Now if only Charlie can keep Rosie’s attention focused on the rules at the pool and NOT on her gummy snacks (you know, the ones that cause stinky dragon breath!)…Grab your towels and sunscreen and join Rosie and Charlie for a fun-filled summer adventure!

My overall thoughts…

As we bid summer adieu, there’s still time for one more splash with this heartwarming book of friendship and patience. Rosie’s exuberance can be overwhelming at times, but Charlie is there to calm her and the situation down at every turn. Charlie’s love for Rosie is evident in his handling of her and his encouragement throughout the story. It is in his thoughtful planning that they were able to have a fun, yet eventful day at the pool. If your family has pets, this book reinforces the responsibility that comes along with them.

The illustrations and text…

Wragg’s illustrations were executed digitally. His eye for detail caught my attention with his execution of Charlie’s faded edges hairstyle, commonly referred to as a temp fade. Nice touch! The color palette throughout this work is warm and playful. The illustrations themselves seem simple, but the thoughtfulness of the colors and execution brings them to life. I love the character diversity in this story. I’m not a fan of the font size as it’s smaller than I like for new readers. The font type is appropriate for a children’s book. The text had a nice flow to it; the overall message was clear. The copyright page, on the kindle version, was jumbled and the print overlapped. Hopefully, that is corrected in the printed version of the book.

I’ll give it…