Well, folks, another semester has come and gone, and, after reading children’s resources, I am happy to say that this reading log is now complete.
Willems, M. (2004). Knuffle Bunny. New York: Hyperion Books for Children.
Trixie and her father venture through the city to the laundromat. But as they’re leaving, Trixie realizes that she has lost the most important thing in the world: Knuffle Bunny.
This classic Willems tale features his signature humour and silly storytelling that children love. Any child who has ever lost their favourite stuffed toy or blankie will relate to this story. In fact, even adults who remember their special toys will enjoy the tale.
Because of how relatable and humorous this story is, I give Knuffle Bunny a 5 out of 5.
Adderson, C., & Bisaillon, J. (illustrator). (2015). Eat, Leo, Eat! [e-book]. Toronto: Kids Can Press.
Leo doesn’t want to eat lunch when his family goes to Nonna’s every week. So Nonna tells him a story about a little boy venturing to his grandmother’s house, continuing the story a little every week.
This cute story combines the repetitiveness of a fairy tale with a new take on traditional tales by incorporating both pasta and Italian vocabulary. The illustrations are charming and the story is heartwarming.
The e-book version can be opened in your browser. While there are no interactive features, the story is narrated. As the narrator reads along, the words are highlighted so that readers can follow along. Compared to some mechanical and robotic read-along stories, this one was natural and enjoyable. The narrator sounded human instead of artificial.
Overall, I give this adorable story a 4.5 out of 5, especially for young children!
Segel, J., & Miller, K. (2014). Nightmares! [audiobook]. New York: Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group.
After his mother dies, Charlie Laird’s life changes too much. His father remarries Charlotte and forces Charlie and his younger brother Jack to move into the spooky purple mansion at the top of the hill. To make matters worse, Charlie starts to have nightmares about a witch and her cat. But then, Charlie realizes that the witch reminds him of someone…. Charlotte.
To be completely honest, I chose this audiobook because it’s narrated by Jason Segel, and I’m a fan of his work. I went in with low expectations, and they were met. The story is written well-enough and the plot makes sense. But, what I found the most challenging aspect of the story was how dark it was for a children’s book. Charlie experiences disturbing nightmares, and he must battle the darkness that overcomes him as he fears Charlotte more and more. Unlike A Tale Dark & Grimm, though, which I loved, there isn’t the comic relief to help balance out the serious plot, making this an emotionally draining read.
I’m sure that there’s a reader out there who would enjoy this book, especially if they’re a fan of spooky or scary stories. I’m just not that reader, so I give this book a 3.5 out of 5.
Proimos, J. III, & Proimos, J. Jr. (illustrator). (2015). Apocalypse Bow Wow. New York: Bloomsbury.
One day, dogs Brownie and Apollo wake up to find that all of the humans have disappeared, leaving the animals behind. The pair must team up with other dogs to figure out where the humans have gone.
This humorous comic book looks into the minds of dogs in a realistic manner that anyone who has loved a dog will appreciate. Although it is over 200 pages, the plot moves quickly and the frames are large enough to make reading easy. Before they know it, readers will have flown through the story and will be salivating for the sequel Apocalypse Meow Meow.
I see this book being quite popular with young readers, especially those aged 6-10. It combines animals and humour into the popular comic book format, and with few words it is simple to read. Overall, because it was a cute read, I give this book a 4 out of 5.
Kunter, S. (2016). EcoKids [website]. Retrieved from https://ecokids.ca/
This Canadian website helps to teach children about the environment and the role that they can play in sustainability.
Children can play online games and take quizzes which can help them to learn about the environment. The main emphasis of the site, however, is not the virtual games, but encouraging to play outside and plan activities that help them engage with nature. Under the Get Outside tab are over twenty examples of activities to do outside, with a list of necessary materials and instructions on how to do the activity. There are also resources for teachers and parents, and the website is available in English and French.
Unlike some websites, EcoKids is visually appealing, up-to-date, and child-appropriate, especially for audiences from age 7-13. This is a great resource to promote to children to give them the tools they need to learn about the environment, whether for school or just for fun. I give it a 4.5 out of 5!
Google. (2013). Build with chrome [website. Retrieved from https://www.buildwithchrome.com/
In this interactive website, Google pairs with Lego to bring our favourite building blocks to the internet.
The simple user interface that is characteristic of Google lets users choose three options: Explore All Builds, in which users can see what other users are building; Master Your Skills, in which users can attend the Lego Academy to challenging their building skills; or Start Building, in which users can free build. In order to save work, users must make an account. However, they can still access the features without an account.
In the Academy, users work with characters from the Lego Movie to build familiar structures from the movie.
This website is addicting and nostalgic. While it may be lacking the tactility of the classic toy, it is realistic and evokes the same excitement of making something from blocks. It fosters creativity, and I like the idea that it is free, especially since the toy itself can be quite pricey.
Considering I just wasted an hour and a half playing in the Academy and didn’t notice the time go by (and the fact that the site is easy to use), I give this website a 4.5 out of 5 and a strong caution that it is addicting.
Her Interactive. (2010). Nancy Drew: Shadow at the water’s edge [computer game].
Follow Nancy Drew as she travels to Kyoto, Japan to teach English with her best friends George and Bess. But once they arrive, Nancy realizes that strange things are happening at her ryokan. Help Nancy try to figure out what is happening so that she can help to save the ryokan.
This mystery game introduces players to the Japanese culture and invites them along Nancy’s adventures. Users must solve puzzles, gather clues, and interrogate suspects to help solve the mystery. Some of the puzzles and tasks players must complete can be a little challenging, especially for younger players. There are also some scary scenes which many not be appropriate for players under the age of 10.
Overall, though, this is a fun game which challenges players to put on their detective caps and solve the mystery! It’s also a great tie-in with the Nancy Drew books. Based on the fact that this game kept me up into the wee hours to solve the crime, I give it a 4.5 out of 5!
Hruby Powell, P., & Robinson, C. (illustrator). (2014). Josephine. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books.
In this free verse biography of Josephine Baker, young readers are taken along a colorful and rhythmic trip through the star’s life.
This biography is informative and educational, while also being artistic and poetic. The verse may have been slightly challenging to get into in the beginning, but I soon found the rhythm and was able to really get into the book. The images are simplistic and almost childlike, yet they work with the more complex rhymes to make the story accessible for children.
This book effectively combines poetry and biography which makes this a great book for a project or for pleasure reading. It does not shy away from complex themes like racism and highlights what Josephine’s life was actually like. Because of this, I give it a 5 out of 5.
Cazet, D. (2005). Minnie and Moo: The Case of the Missing Jelly Donut. New York: HaperCollins.
When Minnie’s jelly donut goes missing, Moo is certain that something suspicious has happened. The only clue that they have is a blue feather, sending Minnie and Moo on a goose chase, or rather a chicken chase, to figure out who stole Minnie’s donut.
This fun, silly, and humorous book will captivate young readers learning to read. The story is engaging and entertaining, and the characters are funny and likeable. It is a great beginner book for young readers who like animals and, of course, jelly donuts.
This book gets a 4.5 out of 5!