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Children's Book Reviews

Updated on August 27, 2013

Children's Book Reviews

I have 6 kids. As you can imagine, I have read a few books. Some of the books we have are not the most popular books that everyone has heard about. My goal is to show you some books that you'll love, but may not have received any publicity. Enjoy!

It's Too Soon

Every parent and babysitter that has ever put a child to bed knows that kids don't want to miss out on the action. They want to stay up and will find any excuses that they can think of to stay up. The same goes for little Anna in It's Too Soon. She starts off playing with toys when Gramps says it's time for bed. Anna tells Gramps, "It's too soon. . . I always have to pick up my toys before bedtime." Before you know it she has a long list of things she has to do before going to bed. As she lists each activity, you can see in the illustrations that Gramps is getting more and more worn out. Finally, Gramps reads her a story. When he finishes, he looks quite worn out, and Anna is asleep, "Not a moment too soon."

Kids like predictability in stories. They'll find it because most of the pages include "But, Gramps, it's too soon." My kids usually say those lines with me. They can see the emotions in the characters' faces. Even though the main characters are rabbits, kids will be able to relate to the pictures. For instance, in the picture when Anna is playing, she has a block castle with stuffed animals set up inside the way a child would arrange them.

This book is a great bedtime book. My kids ask for it quite often. Though it is 32 pages, you'll find the pictures soothing and enjoyable. The text isn't too tiring for exhausted parents- you might feel like Gramps looks at the end of the story, but you'll get through it pretty quickly.


More Recommended Books

I have read each of these books to my children. My kids especially love to read "Parts" and "More Parts" over and over again. It is so funny to read what the main character thinks is happening when his hair and teeth fall out, as well as other normal "body functions." My kids and I laugh like crazy!

The King's Highway is a story about a young man who seems to be of no significance. He sees that the fancily clad men are on their way to the king's castle to prove their worthiness to be the king's successor since he has no heir. The boy clears the highway. Long after everyone else has passed, he picks up a ring and finishes walking down the king's highway to his castle. When he returns the ring, the boy discovers that he will be the next king because a good king serves his people. The moral of the story: You don't need to be rich or wear fancy clothes to be a great leader.

I reviewed A Man Called Raven on 6 April 2012.

Please let me know what you think of these books by leaving a comment at the end of the lens.

Tuck Everlasting - By Natalie Bobbit

Before Bella Swan had to choose between mortality and eternal life as a vampire Twilight series, there was Tuck Everlasting. Winnie Foster had to face the same decision after she met the Tuck family in the woods her family owned.

Winnie Foster was about 10 years old. She lived in a "forget-me-not" cottage. Her mother and grandmother saw to it that she had perfect manners, stayed neat and tidy, and was treated like a porcelain doll. Except for school, she rarely left her house- and she was always supervised. Dreary of this existence, she made her mind up to run away and see the world for herself. At the last minute, she decided to wander to the woods her family owned.

There, she saw an attractive boy drinking water on an extremely hot August day. She was SO thirsty. She approached and tried to get this water, after all, it is in her woods. The boy told her not to and quickly took her to his mother, Mae Tuck. Before she knew it, she was on a 20 mile journey to their house.

On the way, they told her a strange tale of how they were more than 100 years old, of how they wandered through the forest before it became the woods. The Tuck family was very thirsty and stopped for some water from a spring they found. Fast forward 20 years, they looked the same, they didn't get hurt when they fell out of trees and had other life-threatening accidents. Fearful that the other people living near them might harm them because they didn't seem to age like everyone else, they left. They revisited the spring and realized that they drank water that unwillingly handed them everlasting life.

Winnie was surprised by this story and thought the Tuck family had lost their minds. As the story progresses, she realizes that the Tucks really can't die no matter how hard they try. One of the sons, Jesse, who was 17 at the time he drank the water, but is now 104, tries to persuade Winnie to drink the special water when she reaches the age of 17 so that they can be the same age and get married.

Does Winnie drink the water or does she choose to live a normal life? You'll have to read the book or watch the movie to find out.

My 10 year old son and I read this book together. The words in the book are not difficult. However, the imagery that Natalie Bobbit uses were above his understanding. I remember reading this book with a young lady many years ago while she was in middle school. This was very exciting to her and I think that she grasped the story more fully than my soon-to-be 5th grader.

However, I think that reading this book with my son gave us a chance to expand his level of understanding and provided an opportunity for a conversation between the two of us.

Would I recommend this story for kids between the ages of 10-14, certainly. I think it gives them some perspective about the dilemma that Winnie Foster faced. It's only 133 pages, so it would be a great summer read- especially since they're always talking about the unrelenting heat, fishing, and other summer related experiences children face.

Disney's Tuck Everlasting
Disney's Tuck Everlasting
The movie. Starring Alexis Bledel, Johnathan Jackson, William Hurt, Sissy Spacek, Scott Bairstow, Ben Kingsley, Amy Irving, and Victor Garber

Thomas Jefferson Education for Teens

This is a great book for teens and their parents because its goal is to encourage teens to pause and think about what they want out of their education. They are directed to ask their parents before applying any of the principals, so parents would benefit from being on the same page as their kids.

Oliver DeMille and Shannon Brooks are the authors of this book. They start off by telling the reader that they are a genius in their own right and that they can be like the great people in history once they study the subjects that they are interested in. They shouldn't study just anything, but the classics and the primary documents in that field. For instance, if someone was interested in space travel, a biography of an astronaut would be a great place to start.

The reader learns how to study the classics by taking notes, discussing it with other people, then teach it (you know teachers learn most from the lesson while they're preparing it- not the students). There is a list of suggested 100 classics with approximate ages that includes a place for the reader to mark off which books they've read and how in depth they read it.

Mentors, not teachers, are important. The reader learns how to recognize a great mentor and how to work with them so that they can learn the most.

As a parent, I like how the authors encourage me to study along with my kids so we can have meaningful discussions. I also improve my education as we go.

Some people do not like the style of writing in this book because they think it is "dumbed" down for kids. I think it is written to encourage, excite and uplift them as they read. I think it's important to remember that kids in their young teens, possibly even pre-teen (11 or 12), are the target audience.

A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the Twenty-First Century
A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the Twenty-First Century
This is the first book that most people considering the Thomas Jefferson Education as the basis for their home school and/or classroom model read. I like this book because it introduces the concept of leadership education as well as how to apply it at home and in the classroom.

eReader vs Books - How my son got his Paperwhite

As a parent who grew up using only books, I prefer books when I read. My kids, on the other hand, love to incorporate technology in their learning.

About a month before my 12 year old son turned 13, he asked about getting a Kindle reader. I was surprised. The year before, he was all about playing computer games, wanted an iPAD so he could use the internet and play more games, and was looking forward to turning 13 so that he could be "connected" via social media.

I should have seen this new request coming because he reads and studies between 4-8 hours per day without being asked. When he can't sleep at night, he reads.

I started researching the basic Kindle. I liked what I saw. I liked that I can prevent him from playing games and using the internet. The cost was great.

My husband and I decided that our son had to earn the Kindle. We set up an agreement that my son didn't refuse.

So, I bought him the basic Kindle. I tried it out. It was much easier on the eyes than a regular tablet or smart phone when I sat down to read the Prince and the Pauper. It was pretty easy to navigate and set up Parental Controls (we have a family rule in place that prevents kids from using phones, TVs, and the internet in their room).

While setting it up, I kept trying to use the touch screen. No, the basic kindle doesn't have one.

I went back to the computer and looked up the information about the Kindle Paperwhite. It has a touch screen, it's back lit (easier on the eyes for those who like to read at night), and more.

I found a refurbished Kindle Paperwhite and we changed the terms of our agreement together. Needless to say, my son became VERY excited to get his Paperwhite. I'm excited that I did not pay full price!

Another bonus: the features. He can highlight and take notes for each book. He won't have to worry about losing the notebook with his notes. The notes will be accessible more easily when he writes a paper about the book when he is done.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite , 6-Inch, Wi-Fi, With Special Offers [Previous Generation - 5th]
Amazon Kindle Paperwhite , 6-Inch, Wi-Fi, With Special Offers [Previous Generation - 5th]
If you like to save money, choose the Kindle Paperwhite with special offers. I found that the recommended books in the ads were similar to the books I already owned and I knew what the special book of the day was. The ads didn't interfere with reading.
Kindle Paperwhite, 6" High Resolution Display with Built-in Light, Wi-Fi [Previous Generation]
Kindle Paperwhite, 6" High Resolution Display with Built-in Light, Wi-Fi [Previous Generation]
Do you like to avoid ads? Spend a little more and you'll be able to avoid them. This will come in handy if the Kindle is going to an impressionable youth or child because you won't have to screen the ads.
Amazon 5W USB Charger (also compatible with other android and iOS devices)
Amazon 5W USB Charger (also compatible with other android and iOS devices)
I use my charger when I am away from the computer. Example: on vacation.

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