Category Archives: Children’s Book reviews

Organic Mama Reads: Children’s Book Reviews

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It’s been a while since we had a book review. Of course, we’ve not stopped reading at our house. If I try to go a night without a story or 2 books (one for each girl – and sometimes more), I hear about it. And, truthfully, relaxing with my kids and some funny little books is one of the best parts of my day!  Here are a few of the recent books we’ve read.

The Chimpanzees of Happytown – Giles Andreae & Guy Parker-Rees
What I loved best about this book was the colorful illustrations and the rhythm of the text. This is a book in rhyme about a Chimpanzee named Chutney who comes home to his town, Drabsville, USA. While everyone else is used to the dreary gray architecture and dreary day in an out of an unimaginative life, Chutney changes everything by planting a tree washed in color. At first, he gets in trouble but eventually wins everyone over, one by one. The end of the book seemed a little preachy as Chutney lectures the former mayor (who liked his world dreary) about how Chutney’s way of life is better. But overall it was a good read. My kids loved it.

Quiet in the Garden – Aliki
This story centers on a little boy who loves to sit quietly in his garden and observe everything growing and moving in it. He hears the little creatures of the garden talking to each other and in the end, they all share a picnic, using food grown in his garden. I love the idea of teaching children to be still and observe all that is around them in the outdoors – finding treasures in the natural world. Incidentally, the illustrations are beautiful – and somehow – quieting. A great book for just before bedtime. Thumbs up from my girls too.
The Hair of Zoe Fleefenbacher Goes to School – Laurie Halse Anderson & Ard Hoyt
I don’t know what it is about hair books but we keep running into them. And, maybe because both my children are girls, they LOVE them. In this story, Zoe Fleefenbacher has a ton of fabulous red hair with a mind of it’s own. Instead of just sitting quietly on her head, it tends to get into everything around it in a rather incredible way. While her kindergarten teacher didn’t mind Zoe’s wild hair, her new first grade teacher insists that “School has rules”.

Unfortunately, Zoe has very little control over her unruly hair. After a series of mishaps, Zoe and her hair finally convince her teacher that after all, this crazy hair is useful and helpful! Personally, I think the whole “hair with a mind of it’s own” thing is a little creepy. But my daughters, particularly my two year old, loved this book. My smallest keeps asking, “Can we read Zoe Fleefenbachie, mommy?” I may have to buy it.

Jack and the Dreamsack – by Lawrence Anholt, Illustrated by Ross Collins
Jack is a curious little boy who thinks it’s a real bummer he can’t remember his dreams in the morning. So, he tries to capture them by placing them in a sack during the night. He has some fun and typically bizarre dreams during his midnight adventure, collecting all he sees. Will he have anything left in the morning? Guess you’ll have to read it to find out!

That’s it for today. Go read a book with your little people!!

Organic Mama Reads: Children’s Book Reviews

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If you have a small person in your life who needs a Christmas gift, why not consider a book? Here are some of the fun ones we have read lately.

Fannie in the Kitchen – Author Deborah Hopkinson, Illustrator Nancy Carpenter
If you’re thinking that Fannie and the word kitchen sound familiar together, you’re right. This is the story of Fannie Farmer – as in the Fannie Farmer cookbook. Credited by some as the inventor of the modern recipe, Fannie was among the first people to create written guidelines for cooking and baking with exact measurements. As a mother’s helper in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Shaw, she teaches their young daughter Marcia how to cook by writing her a gigantic book of recipes. Of course, she’s soon on her way to being a published author. Very cute book with old fashioned looking dresses and a bonus recipe for griddle cakes in the back. That’s pancakes, in case you didn’t know. I just like the name griddle cakes better.

The Brave Little Seamstress – Author Mary Pope Osborne, Illustrator Giselle Potter
I picked this book for nostalgia’s sake because I recognized it as a take on an old Grimm’s fairy tale – The Brave Little Tailor. When her shop is overrun with flies, the little seamstress smashes 7 in one blow. She is so proud of her accomplishment, she make a vest with the boast written on the back, “Seven in One Blow!” Of course, no one realizes she’s talking about flies and she’s soon making a name for herself across the kingdom as a kind of super-knight. What happens when she runs into the king who is intimidated by her accomplishments? Read it and find out!

Jack and Jill’s Treehouse – Author Pamela Duncan Edwards, Illustrator Henry Cole
The illustrations are what drew me to this book. They are colorful and, I think, pencil drawn. The words have a rhythmic quality and follow the pattern of “There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly”. Jack and Jill build a lovely little tree house with simple tools and proceed to invite their friends over to play. The story was simple enough but the pictures made it was one of my daughter’s favorite books this week. She keeps telling me she wants to build a tree house and I keep explaining that a quarter-mile tall pine tree is not an ideal spot. Regardless, if you like the illustrations in this book, check out Henry Cole’s site at

The Boy Who Cried Fabulous – Author Leslea Newman, Illustrator Peter Ferguson
The star of this book is a little boy who possesses a unique joie de vivre. He is so captivated by the wonder of life around him that he tends to be late to everything. His parents decide he needs to quit dawdling so they tell him he can no longer say his favorite word, “Fabulous!”. He only mopes for a moment before he realizes there are plenty of other words to express his delight at the world around him. Thankfully, his parents realize how wonderful he is and pronounce him, “Fabulous!” The illustrations in this book are nostalgic and remind me of the movie, “Up.” Very cute.

What a Good Big Brother – Diane Wright Landolf, Illustrator Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher
Another book whose illustrations captured my attention. Big Brother Cameron’s face covers the front of this book and he is darling with earnest brown eyes, wide lips and a freckled nose. He loves his new little sister and spends his time helping mom and dad change diapers and feed her. In the end, he is the first to make her laugh. This is a great book for those of you who are either getting ready to welcome a new baby into the family or might be experiencing a little jealousy over a baby whose already arrived. Nothing like reading with your toddler-preschooler to let them know they’re still important after the baby arrives!

Children’s Book Reviews

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As long as I can remember, I’ve loved to read. Well-written books have always had the power to transport me from wherever I am into the world of make-believe. As a young girl, I spent hours imagining myself the hero of my favorite stories – like Anne of Green Gables or Frodo in Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings. In school, I was sent to the Principal’s office more than once for reading in class instead of listening to my teacher. What can I say? The topics I chose were more interesting than hers!

It’s just my luck that my girls love reading as much as I! We read at least a book or two every night and usually a bit before naps. It’s a great “winding down” activity. We go to the library every two weeks or so and max out our checkout limit. We’ve found some great ones lately and I want to pass them on to those of you who love reading with your kids as much as we do!

Here are five for Friday. You’ll notice I’ve listed the Illustrators along with the Authors. In children’s books, the power pictures have to grab the attention of little people is just as important as the words until their vocabularies increase enough to realize the awesomeness of the stories themselves. So, I try to pick a variety of art styles when choosing books for my kids and the text has to be good enough to retain their attention. Also – regarding age level… My toddler is just as fascinated by the pics in these books as my four year old is with the words.

If you are interested in buying them,  you can click the book titles to visit I am an Amazon affiliate and buying through my link doesn’t cost you any extra but helps to support my site.  Amazon has great prices and used options so it’s kinda like thrift store shopping (one of my favorite kinds of treasure hunts). Have fun!

 Eleanor, Ellatony, Ellencake, and Me – Author C.M. Rubin, Illustrator Christopher Fowler
The story opens on darling little Eleanor, whose family’s penchant for nicknaming gets so ridiculous they finally settle on calling her the letter “E”. Part of the reason they can’t decide what to call her is that they all have different ideas of who she should be someday. The rhyming language and funny, colorful illustrations bring Eleanor to life as she realizes if she ever wants to have a normal name, she needs to take matters into her own hands.

 Just One More – Author Wendy Silvano, Illustrator Ricardo Gamboa
 A funny little romp through the Andes Mountains in a bus driven by a driver who just can’t say no! The bus is soon filled with all sorts of crazy characters and animals. Will they make it down the mountain? You’ll have to read it to find out! Funny illustrations with a “rustic” feel.

Most Perfect Spot – Author & Illustrator Diane Goode
The little boy in this book wants to take his mother on a picnic and says he knows the “Perfect Spot”. But as they get to the park they are met with all sorts of crazy scenarios that make a picnic seem impossible. Maybe the perfect Spot isn’t really a picnic place – but something better!

In English, of Course – Author Josephine Nobisso, Illustrator Dasha Ziborova
Josephine Nobisso, the daughter of Italian immigrants who grew up in the Bronx, is very familiar with the reality of learning to tell a story in two languages. Her book highlights the experience of little Josephine, whose teacher helps her learn the vocabulary words she needs to tell her class a little about herself and a hilarious visit to a farm. Very cute book and not bad for helping native English speakers learn a few new words!

Willow – Author Denise Brennan Nelson and Rosemarie Brennan, Illustrator Cyd Moore
Willow is a lively, free spirited little girl who just doesn’t fit the mold in her school’s art class. Her teacher is  forever annoyed with her for not drawing her pics the right way. While the other kids fear the teacher, Willow shows courage in making her art as she sees it in her heart. Most importantly, she treats her teacher with a kindness that transforms her teacher into a version of her best self. My kind of story. Cyd Moore’s beautifully colored illustrations really capture the spirit of the characters and draw you into the story.

Do you read with your kids? What are some of your favorite books?