Princess Super Kitty. Antoinette Portis. 2011. HarperCollins. 40 pages. [Source: Library] School's First Day of School. Adam Rex. 2016. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy] The Three Little Pigs. Michael Robertson, illustrator. 2017. Scholastic. 7 pages. ...

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"Becky's Book Reviews" - 5 new articles

  1. Week in Review: August 13-19
  2. Trucks
  3. The Hate U Give
  4. Pete the Cat: 5 Minute Stories
  5. Board book: The Three Little Pigs
  6. More Recent Articles

Week in Review: August 13-19


Princess Super Kitty. Antoinette Portis. 2011. HarperCollins. 40 pages. [Source: Library]
School's First Day of School. Adam Rex. 2016. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]
The Three Little Pigs. Michael Robertson, illustrator. 2017. Scholastic. 7 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Mr. Moon. Michael Paraskevas. 2016. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Trucks. Byron Barton. 1986. 32 pages. [Source: Library]
Five Minute Pete the Cat Stories. James Dean. 2017. HarperCollins. 192 pages. [Source: Library]
Sideways Stories from Wayside School. Louis Sachar. 1978. 144 pages. [Source: Library]
The Hate U Give. Angie Thomas. 2017. 444 pages. [Source: Library]
Hide and Seek. Wilkie Collins. 1854. 384 pages. [Source: Bought]
 
Where's The Giraffe. Ingela P. Arrhenius. 2017. Candlewick. 10 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Where's the Ladybug? Ingela P. Arrhenius. 2017. 10 pages. [Source: Review copy]
First Words Baby Signing. 2017. Scholastic. 18 pages. [Source: Review copy]
I'm Scared (My First Comics #4) Jennifer L. Holm. Illustrated by Matthew Holm. 2017. Random House. 18 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Sleepy Toes. Kelli McNeil. Illustrated by Cori Doerrfeld. 2017. Scholastic. 26 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Hey Diddle Diddle (Sing Along With Me) Yu-Hsuan Huang. 2017. Candlewick Press. 10 pages. [Source: Review copy]
 Happy Birthday (Sing Along with Me) Yu-Husan Huang. 2017. Candlewick. 10 pages. [Source: Review copy]


Exploring the Bible: A Bible Reading Plan for Kids. David Murray. Illustrated by Scotty Reifsnyder. 2017. Crossway. 224 pages. [Source: Review copy]
The Return. (Amish Beginnings #3) Suzanne Woods Fisher. 2017. Revell. 330 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Godless. (Fatherless #3) James Dobson and Kurt Bruner. 2014. 416 pages. [Source: Library]
Psalm 119 #13
Psalm 119 #14

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews
    

Trucks

Trucks. Byron Barton. 1986. 32 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: On the road here come the trucks. They come through tunnels. They go over the bridge.

Premise/plot: Trucks are useful, always working. This is a simple introduction to the working class of trucks. The intended audience is preschoolers or toddlers.

My thoughts: I like this one. The text is super simple. It is not text heavy. As a read aloud it flows well. The illustrations are bold and colorful. I'd recommend this to parents with truck-obsessed little ones. I do think that it could transition to an easy to read on their own book.

Text: 4 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 7 out of 10

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews
    

The Hate U Give

The Hate U Give. Angie Thomas. 2017. 444 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: I shouldn't have come to this party.

Premise/plot: The Hate U Give is a thoughtful, intense, compelling, relevant, and timely book. The book opens with a party. When the party becomes violent, Starr and Khalil leave quickly hoping to avoid drama and danger. Unfortunately, their car is pulled over by a cop on their way home. The situation escalates within minutes; Starr will be forever haunted by the memory of a (white) cop killing her friend right in front of her. The book is about the aftermath of that shooting, and also of Starr's difficulties finding her voice and overcoming her fears.

My thoughts: What did I appreciate most about this one? I'd have to say the strong characterization of ALL the characters. Starr, her mother, her father, her siblings and half-siblings, her boyfriend, her uncle, her friends. A few words about Starr are perhaps in order. Well, she identifies closely with the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Though she still lives in Garden Heights, she attends a mostly white private school. She feels stuck being "the black girl" in her class. Stuck may not be the right word. Then again, maybe it is. She doesn't feel safe being her absolute true self in that environment. She filters things. In her own neighborhood, she doesn't quite fit in either. Going to that school, that rich-person school, that white-person school makes her different, not in a good way. It is only at home that she's able to authentically be her whole self all the time. What led to her being sent to that school is the fact that she witnessed her best friend being killed in a drive-by shooting: they were both ten. Now violence has again turned her world upside down...but this time she's old enough to do something in response if she's brave enough.

Is the book issue-driven? Yes. Is that a bad thing? I don't think so. Not in this case. I think any person who has watched the news in the past few years can see that this book addresses real issues in an authentic way. I think for an issue book to work, it HAS to have strong characters. Since this one does, it works beautifully.

I will say it was a difficult read for me personally. The book has (understandably) strong language. It has a good bit of profanity. This profanity includes blasphemy. I am NOT saying the book is inauthentic, that the profanity is out of place or doesn't belong. The situations in the book are INTENSE and DRAMATIC. I am also NOT saying that the book is inappropriate for readers. I think in many ways this book is a must-read. I could see this one as being a great choice for classrooms and book clubs. Books should be judged for what they are, not for what any one reader wishes or hopes they were instead. I'd be surprised if this one isn't recognized with a few big awards.

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews
    

Pete the Cat: 5 Minute Stories

Five Minute Pete the Cat Stories. James Dean. 2017. HarperCollins. 192 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Pete the Cat loves bananas.

Premise/plot: This is a collection of twelve previously published Pete the Cat stories. The stories include Pete the Cat and the Bad Banana, Go Pete Go, Sir Pete the Brave, Rock On Mom and Dad, Pete the Cat's Train Trip, Scuba-Cat, Valentine's Day is Cool, Cavecat Pete, Pete the Cat at the Beach, Pete's Big Lunch, Robo-Pete, and Construction Destruction.

The stories vary in quality. In these stories, readers get to spend more time with Pete, meet his parents, and get to know his friends. I like Callie cat!

My thoughts: My least favorite has to be Cavecat Pete. My favorite is either Pete the Cat and the Bad Banana or Pete the Cat's Train Trip. I'd read both of these early readers before. I do like storybook collections. I think they make great presents.

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews
    

Board book: The Three Little Pigs

The Three Little Pigs. Michael Robertson, illustrator. 2017. Scholastic. 7 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Once upon a time, there were three little pigs. When they were all grown up, they went off to build their own houses. "Beware of the Big Bad Wolf," Mama Pig warned as she kissed her piggies good-bye.

Premise/plot: What you should know about this book: a) it's a board book; b) it's in a novelty shape with a handle; c) there are FOUR finger puppets and a built-in stage for story retelling; d) the story is THE THREE LITTLE PIGS; e) It is not the traditional story.

My thoughts: I enjoy the story The Three Little Pigs. In fact, in college I even did an annotated bibliography of picture book adaptations. I called it a pigliography. This retelling is not traditional in several ways. No pigs are actually eaten. All three pigs are alive and doing well at the end of the story. That in and of itself doesn't make this one all that different from many retellings. But in most retellings, the wolf is punished in one way or another for trying to eat the three little pigs. Justice is served up somehow, someway. That isn't the case in this one: the three little pigs willingly OPEN up the door and extend FRIENDSHIP. The book ends with these words: "The wolf stood up and smiled with a grinny-grin-grin! The End....or is it?

I like that children (or adults) can retell the story using the built-in theatre and the finger puppets. It can be retold in any way, one doesn't have to stick to the version used in the book. The finger puppets themselves are adorable.

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews
    

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