Monday, November 9, 2009

Pretty Please Press: Childrens' Book Reviews

Have I mentioned on here before how much we love books in our house? Well, we do. With a passion. We're passing that on to Lucy by building up her library which started before she was even born. Because of that I was so excited to get the chance to review four books for Pretty Please Press.

This is a young company that currently has four titles available. They were founded on the same passion for reading that we have in our home. The books were all terrific but here is a little bit about each one:

Kick Block Punch by Jacquie Hann~In this story a young boy named Sam is anxious to get his black belt in Karate. He shows up to the very first day of class expecting things to be as simple as screaming a few "Hyyyyyy-YAY's!" at his friends. He soon learns that being awarded a new color belt will be no easy task. It requires hours of extra practice, passing a daunting test, and maybe using his little brother as an unfortunate victim. By the end of the book same has a new found respect for the martial art and wins his yellow belt!

This book really struck me as a boy book at first because of the subject matter but Lucy enjoyed the colorful illustrations. The lesson in Kick Block Punch is one that every child needs to hear at some point in their youth: if you want something you need to work hard to get it.

Pynx by Jeffery Greene~Pynx is a cute little creature, very reminiscent of Dr. Suess's characters. In this book Pynx has come to far away land and is judged for being different. When she makes me home and lays her eggs Pynx sings very loudly day and night. But the inhabitants of the land don't hear singing they hear a terrible high pitched shrieking. When the hundreds of Pynx eggs hatch and the screeching multiplies it becomes unbearable for those around the new family. Pynx knew that they were angry even though she couldn't understanding what her neighbors were saying. Before they could force Pynx to leave with her babies stacked on her back, the community was attacked. The vicious Shovelsnouts had come to destroy them all. These creatures were not expecting Pynx, or her babies. When the Shovelsnouts come near the egg shells that are all around they have a bad allergic reaction and have to flee, leaving the community peaceful.

Everyone realizes they would have been in serious danger had it not been for Pynx and that her differences are ones to be celebrated. The pictures and story of this book kept Lucy entertained. She absolutely loved Pynx. But I also think older children will be able to get a lot out of this book because of its message on how we are to treat others that we view as "different."

The Scritchy Little Twitchell Sisters by Laura Aimee Garn~From the moment Lavinia met her baby sister Emmeline she knew she didn't like her. As both the girls grew so did the bitter feelings between them. They argued over everything. Who's dress was prettier? Of course Lavinia said hers was. But that would just prompt an enraged Emmeline to rip the dress to shreds. Their fighting was destructive and left the Twitchell house split. Literally. Mrs. Twitchell would take care of Lavinia on one side and Mr. Twitchell kept Emmeline on the other. They had different activities and rarely caught more than a glimpse of each other. One day when a traveling show is in town the girls are "discovered." The audience at the show roared with laughter when Lavinia jumped on stage to protest Emmeline being used as a volunteer. When the Twitchell's accept the offer to turn their daughters' behavior into a money making career the girls become famous. Everyone wants to see these twisted Twitchell sisters and their outrageous behavior. Except for the shows and rehearsals they are still separated most of the time. One sister starts to grow lonely while the other grows concerned that her stage antics may have caused her sister to get hurt.

During their final act the girls suddenly are considerate of each other. They don't throw cake at each other. Both girls wanted her sister to have the bigger piece. Their fame was over but the Twitchell's gained a peaceful household. So peaceful that they decided to have two more babies.

I think this was my favorite book. It reminded me of the books I loved when I was a kid. I think kids can learn a lot, especially about not knowing what you have until its gone, from this book.

Bella Basset Ballerina by Laura Aimee Garn~Bella is a sweet country basset who gets the chance to go to the city and see a beautiful ballet. She is immediately enchanted by the graceful way the dancers move, including the prima ballerina, Ada. In a rush of excitement Bella tells her mother that she is going to be a ballerina. Later she goes to find her inspiration, Ada, and tells her the same thing. Sadly Bella gets the same response wherever she goes. Bella is a basset. They are low to the ground and meant to run and dig in the country, not to be on stage. None of this deters Bella. She knows she is capable of leaping through the air with grace. The one person, or dog, who gives her a chance is Monsieur Boris, the best dance teacher around. After school each day Bella goes to her lessons and works with focus and determination. She goes to many auditions and finally lands a leading role.

The great finish to this book is that Bella, who became Boris' top student and a famous ballerina, goes back to Boris' studio as a dance teacher. Her class? "Aspiring Dancers of Unusual Breeds." Bella believed in herself and now passes that on to others.

I do love this book. There is some difficult (and French) vocabulary in this book that make it a great tool for improving your child's reading level. It encourages questions to be asked. And one the best parts I believe is the lesson: Don't let anyone tell you that you aren't capable of something. And when you are successful at something its a beautiful gesture to help those who find themselves back where you started.

Want to buy these amazing books? Visit Pretty Please Press and receive 20% off any books purchased through their site. They also have a special going on where you can buy 3 books and get the 4th free!

Win these books: Come back during our Merry Mommies Christmas Carnival and win a set including all the books featured in this review!


Iluska Ikeda said...

We love books over here too! Baby girl has an ever growing collection in her book shelf, and I'm constantly adding stuff to hers and mine too. Thanks for the reviews. I will probably end up getting one or two soon.

Anonymous said...

Very cute! Thanks for sharing your reviews!