Plenty of Books for Kids: September 2017

The OkeeDokee Brother’s Thousand Star Hotel musical CD and book illustrated by Brandon Reese

Certain books of song stand out from my childhood by artists like Raffi and Fred Penner, but rarely does one take me back. Thousand Star Hotel is worth taking the CD into your car and listening during trips to and from school. It’s that good. But even if you stick with the hardcover story for bedtime reading, the characters pop from the page right into your heart.

Big Little Hippo by Valeri Gorbachev

This sweet story about a little hippo finding his way in a big world came into our life at the perfect time. My youngest son had just come off a fresh round of tears lamenting his position as “last” in our family. Much like little hippo he finds it frustrating that (in his mind) he will always be the “last” and the “smallest”, but little hippo soon finds out that by looking outside his family there are many other creatures that he is bigger than, and that he can help. In our case younger cousins will have to do in place of tiny beetles.

Elly and the Smelly Sneaker, A Riches to Rags Story by Leslie Gorin, illustrated by Lesley Vamos

I am a Cinderella fan and I love any incarnation of the fairytale, even the fractured variety. This is the ultimate anti-princess book where Cinderella dreams of ditching her ball gown for a ball glove. Visited by her fairy god-father, Lefty Lou, she’s granted her wish of playing baseball with the caveat that she must be home by noon or else her uniform will turn back into a dress! Swap out the glass slipper for a cleat and you’ve got yourself a twisted take on a classic tale that is sure to win many hearts.

Ally-Saurus & the Very Bossy Monster by Richard Torrey

Learning to play as a group and retain your own identity isn’t an easy thing when you’re a child – I know adults who still struggle with this! Richard Torrey introduces readers to neighbourhood children who are learning to navigate the intricacies of play, how to be a leader without being a bulldozer and most importantly, how to forgive in this smartly illustrated story.

Almost Everybody Farts by Marty Kelley

I have yet to meet a family that isn’t at some point in the day reduced to talking about poop or its hilarious, off-putting, equally foul cousin, farts. Needless to say Marty Kelley’s book Almost Everybody Farts, with its playful verse and funny illustrations even had this self-proclaimed manners police trying to hide my smirk from a doubled-over little boy!

World Pizza by CeCe Meng, illustrated by Ellen Shi

What this world needs more of is fun, light-hearted stories and . . . pizza! Imagine if an accidental wish for world pizza instead of world peace was granted? That’s exactly what happens when Mama lets out a sneeze mid-sentence, and the ensuing antics are delightful and simply fun.

Rocket Science for Babies
General Relativity for Babies
Quantum Physics for Babies
Newtonian Physics for Babies
by Chris Ferrie
Don’t leave babies out of the back to school spirit!  Check out this hilarious Baby University series from Sourcebooks.  Physicist and father Chris Ferrie knows it’s never too soon to learn Newton’s three laws of motion or Einstein’s theory of general relativity.  His board books are illustrated with eye-catching graphics for baby geniuses and written with a tongue in cheek humour for their adult friends, who might also learn a thing or two about aerospace engineering.
Release Your Inner Drive: Everything You Need to Know About How to Get Good at Stuff by Bradley Busch and Edward Watson
September is our default time to talk about setting goals and establishing new routines and structures, and this is a great book to help tweens and teens learn how to set goals and how to achieve them.  This book is a quick yet thorough look at the science behind our best behaviours.  With chapters on the benefits of failure, on how to recognize and reduce stress, on how to perform under pressure, it hits all the talking points of current research on attitudes, mindsets and habits that add up to success.  It`s also very up to date on the pressures on today`s kids.  I particularly liked the discussion of the science behind not being a slave to technology and social media.  Designed to appeal to different kinds of learners, each chapter has illustrated bullet points of the main ideas, followed by text that offers more details.  It can be pitched to readers at various levels of ability and interest so that they can skim the bits that don’t apply and read in more depth about the sections that do interest them.  It’s engaging and helpful and may just put some extra pep in their step at the beginning of the new school year.

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