Book Reviews – What are moms saying about these books?

  Hannah’s Winter – Kane Miller (My Japan)

This is an appropriate book for an average middle school level child in terms of content and vocabulary.  I do warn those thinking of purchasing this book that it requires some background knowledge in order to be able to follow along.  If they are not familiar with Japanese (or Australian for that matter) culture, then I suggest they pair this purchase with My Japan.  I would NOT allow this book to be read silently by a reluctant reader BUT this would be a fabulous read-a-loud for a classroom of such students, as most of my classes were.  As a teacher, I could be certain that the background knowledge that was needed to understand, and enjoy, a book like this would be taught before or along side the text.  The characters are very likable and the ghost story aspect is engaging.  My Japan, as an accompaniment, shows pictures of concepts that might be difficult to visualize (bathrooms, classrooms, etc.).



  True Adventure Collection –

This is a fantastic book as a read-a-loud or silent reading for children of a variety of reading levels at the middle school age.  The stories are intriguing, real-life, and can be researched by those students who want more knowledge about the topic.  I believe that the lack of difficulty, I do not mean that in a bad way, and the shortness of the stories entices students who might not normally pick up a book.  I would be certain to have multiple copies of this in a classroom.




  Why by Lila Prap (Kane/Miller)

This book from Slovenia is geared for ages four through eight.  It is a fun book to help children answer some of their questions about why certain animals do certain things.  What I like about this book is that it not only gives the real answer, it gives many fun, silly, possible answers.  The illustrations make the children want to continue to read the book.  I am glad to have this in my collection! – Angie’



   Andie’s Moon by Linda Newberry (Usborne, part of the Historical House collection)

While the Kane/Miller series Conspiracy 365 is enjoyed by both boys and girls, its protagonist is a boy.  I suggested we begin collecting the Historical House series so we would have a series especially for pre-teen girls.  Since I am enchanted by space, and especially the Apollo Lunar Missions, I selected Andie’s Moon. For those who may not be familiar with the Historical House collection, each book is a story which centers around a girl who lives at No. 6 Chelsea Walk in Chelsea, England.  Each book takes place in a different period in history, from 1764 (Mary Ann & Miss Mozart) to 1969 (Andie’s Moon).

Andrea is a young girl who loves to paint.  She especially enjoys painting imaginative scenes, like moonscapes.  At the start of the book, no one has ever been to the moon, and Andrea (Andie) is free to paint whatever she imagines the moon to look like.  But the Americans are planning to send men to the moon!  Suddenly, people will know what the moon looks like, and Andie fears her paintings will seem silly.  She also fears that she is not talented enough to become a professional artist, and although an artist is currently renting rooms at No. 6 Chelsea Walk, Andie is reluctant to show him her work.  Andie’s older sister Prudence (Prue, or as Andie calls her Prune) loves fashion, and wants to be a model, although Andie has noticed Prune is neither as pretty nor as skinny as Twiggy.

The Apollo 11 mission is not the only historic event which serves as a background for Andie’s Moon.  The Rolling Stones concert in Hyde Park is also in evidence, as is a genuine sense of 1969 in general.

Of course, the American astronauts do land on the moon, and England, like most of the world, watched the event on television.  Of course, in England it was after 3 a.m. when Neil Armstrong uttered his famous words, the first ever spoken from the surface of the moon itself.

Ultimately, both Andie and Prune are inspired by the Apollo mission:  sending men to the moon and bringing them back to Earth had seemed impossible just a few years earlier!  And the sisters discover (each in her own way) that they can pursue their dreams — they, too, can do the impossible! I would highly recommend Andie’s Moon to the parent of any pre-teen girl who feels her talents are not “good enough.”  (And, if we’re being honest, what pre-teen doesn’t feel inadaquate?)  Quoting from the last page:

“But lots of things seemed impossible, and not all of them were.  Humans had been to the moon, had left footprints, and come back again.  There were two people alive who had stood on another world.

If that was possible, who could say what wasn’t?”




  This is The Tree  By Miriam Moss and Adrianne Kennaway

A wonderfully, descriptive story of the Baobob tree and the African plain on which it can be found.  The book paints a clear, engaging and inviting picture of the tree and the animals as well as people who are drawn to it.  The story as well as the illustrations are so vivid that they transport you to the African Plains and allow you to feel as if you are there.  The book informs you of the uniqueness of the Baobob tree and enables you to see how integral this tree is to life on the African plain.




  The Big Little Book of Happy Sadness 

This is an excellent book for children of many ages.  Read aloud ages 3-7.  Read on your own ages 8-10.

This book is a charming and heart warming story of a young boy who goes to visit the animal pound looking for a new pet.  As he looks at each animal in their cage, they are jumping and wagging tails- surely this would be the type of pet this boy would chose.  As he gets nearer to the back, he spots this scraggly, little dog with only 3 legs.  He inquires about this dog and is told the closer they get to back door, the closer to heaven they are……the young man looks intently at the dog as he wags his forlorn tail and the boy runs home to his grandma to tell him of the perfect pet he found.  The grandma agrees to take the dog in and the story shows all of the fun and laughter they all have.  The boy even “builds” the dog a wooden leg and the adventures are endless!  This story is about love and looking beyond what we first see in something.  A must have for any child who loves animals!




    Are We There Yet?

This is one of my favorites from the Kane Miller line. Written from a pre-teen girl’s viewpoint, it reads like a diary of her family’s trip the whole way around Australia. With the continent’s various rock formations (like the Twelve Apostles), and other landmarks, included in the story, it’s an easy geography lesson! At the bottom of every other page little brother, Billy, asks the familiar question, “Are we there Yet?”



  The Usborne Little Book of Flowers

This adorable purple volume is packed with information for flower lovers. It’s small size is misleading…there are stories about flowers, what different flowers communicate when you give them, and so many different crafts and activities! Just a few are: “Growing a Miniature Garden”, “Pressing Flowers & How to Use Them”, and “Making Paper Roses”.




   “Wind-Up Plane Book”

Abram turned 4 on Sunday and was thrilled to get this book, Wind-up Plane Book, as one of his gifts.  He actually received 4 books (2 Usborne, 2 non-Usborne) and he didn’t even look at the non-Usborne books, but the plane book had him squealing with delight.

This book has a double page spread of information and adorable illustrations and then a double page spread with a track for the airplane to travel on. it alternates in this format and there are three tracks in this book. Two are the runways and one is a world map which has the time and distance from different international airports..

One other note about this book, the Tractor book had pop-up people that you could use to decorate the scene, but my kids just lost those people. The airport book does not have those pop-ups and so I think that makes this book even better than tractors.




   The Complete Book of First Experiences

A book about the first experiences of young children. It covers subjects like moving, going to the doctor, going to the dentist etc… It has brightly colored illustrations with a duck hidden on each picture. I feel like the book helps to prepare children for new experiences, and I highly recommend it.




   “Fix-It Duck”  by Jez Alborough

Want a book with humor, rhyming words, and colorful pictures for children? This has those and more. This sturdy board book is great for a child aged 1and a half to 6 years old. Older children will enjoy reading it to their younger siblings.  For very young children, talking about what they see in the pictures is a good start to telling the story.  Ask them questions about what they see, what is the duck doing, what is going to happen next.  Talking about the title page is very important.  It starts out with Fix-It duck running water for his bath. He decides to go have some tea. Then he hears the drip that drops into his tea and thinks that he has a leak in his roof. So, Fix-It Duck has to go borrow a ladder from Sheep. While at Sheeps, he decides to fix Sheeps window.  That is the start of his great adventure. It is a must read.  It is simply hilarious. The pictures tell the story.  Children love to see the chain of events and hear the rhyming easy sounds.  If they are starting to read, they love being able to add the “Fix-It Duck” part.  This is a book that they will ask to read over and over again.



  “Entertaining and Educating  Babies and Toddlers”, a Parent’s Guide by Carolina Young.

Looking for a great baby shower gift or gift for a new mom? Look no further.  This is a book that will calm a new parent who does not know what to expect.  It discusses the different stages of a baby’s life from the first 3 months up to the age of 2 and a half.  This book goes into what they are able do at each interval, gives suggestions for toys, books and activities that will be great to do at each stage.  There are over 100 easy fun activities, games, and things to do with them and at what stage to do them.  This includes rhymes, songs, and other educational fun things.  Packed with great tips.  You will look forward to being able to do these with your child.  Enjoy!




   “Will You Carry Me?” 

I love this book because my little ones are always asking me to carry them.  In this book, Thomas has been playing at the park and when it is time to go home, he is too tired to walk so he asks his mom to carry him.  Rather than just telling him no and making him walk or picking him up, she says “well, if you’re too tire to walk, maybe we should try…” and she comes up with all these different ways of traveling such as jumping, swimming and flying and before Thomas knows it, they are back home and he got there on his own two feet.  The illustrations are very cute in this book and the kids just love it.




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Let me know if you need some suggestions for the children in your life.

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Usborne Books and Kane Miller Books are the best children’s books for infant, toddler, up to young adult. Also, includes parent’s guides. If you value the education system, teach them early. Read to them and talk to them in regular conversation as early as after birth. A parent raising a reader is the first teacher. Check the book reviews, the sales, the job opportunities for extra income from a home business. I am an education consultant who can help you, your school, library, or teacher find the best books to get a message across. Children who learn in bits and pieces retain more information and learn things easier. Learning can be fun and reading is educational.  All found here at our store. Schools and libraries can check call to set up an account and order.


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Happy Valentine’s Day « Suesbooks's Blog
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