Monthly Archives: January 2014

Grumpy Bird

Title: Grumpy Bird

Author: Jeremy Tankard

Age Group: 1-4 years

The Plot, in three sentences or less: Bird wakes up in a really grumpy mood – so grumpy, in fact, that he can’t even fly. As he stomps past various friends (other animals), they decide to join him on his walk. In the end, Bird has such a great time on his constitutional that he forgets all about his bad mood.

The Good:
When we first got this book, The Grumpkin wasn’t feeling it, to be honest. Recently, though, it has become her go-to book. She loves the different animals (and the fact that each one has its own silly voice, courtesy of my husband and I) and she absolutely adores the page where Bird finally looks happy. She points at his face and smiles every time. Aw.

The Bad:
There really isn’t anything bad about this book; I love the art and the rhythm of the text and the story itself. It’s a great one to read (and read and read).

Extend it:

* We always talk about what each animal says (the noise they make).

* We also talk about the moods in the book; mostly Bird’s.

* Finally, we like to poke at the worm on the last page and discuss why a raccoon, sheep, fox, beaver and rabbit might not be so enthusiastic about having it for a snack. Great life lessons all around.

My Overall Opinion:

You need this one for your collection. Your little one will love it, trust me. Here’s a little link!


Are You a Cow?

Title: Are You a Cow?

Author: Sandra Boynton

Age group: 6 months – 2 years

The plot, in three sentences or less:
The reader is asked whether they happen to be any one of a number of animals. Of course, the answer is always no. The final page declares that if they’re not an animal, they must be themselves – and that’s awesome.

The good:
As in all Sandra Boynton books, the simple pictures are adorable and fun. The Grumpkin especially likes the penguin and the hippos. The rhyming is charming and cute and after having read this book at LEAST fifty times (today), I can honestly say two things: one, I have the whole thing memorized and can’t get it out of my head. Two, I still really like the book.

The bad:
The only thing that drives me nuts about this book is the repetition of the chicken. The chicken starts the book and makes another appearance later. Why? I have no idea. Why not just use a different animal instead?

Extend it:

* When we go through the book, we name the animals and point out their features. The Grumpkin enjoys this very much.

* We also do a little tummy tickle at the end when the text says “YOU!”  The Grumpkin anticipates this and giggles every time.

* We practice saying (or in my daughter’s case, shaking her head) “No” after each question.

* We have talked about what each animal ‘says’ (as in, the noise they make). I admit, I had to make something up for the hippos.


My Overall Opinion:

This is a super-fun book for the little guys. If you don’t have it, get it.

Here’s a little link to get you started:

So what’s all this then?

Hi! I’m Jess and I’ll be your book reviewer. Not just any old books, either! Children’s books. Kid lit. Picture books, middle readers, novels – the works!

I have absolutely no credentials to speak of, save for the fact that I taught elementary school, worked for 8 years on a children’s website as a writer, and aspire to have my own works published one day.

OK, so I have a few credentials.

Helping me along the way will be my little daughter who (for the purposes of internet anonymity) will be called “The Grumpkin.” She is presently 13 months old, but you better believe she has an opinion about what constitutes a good story (hint: it has rhyming words and colorful pictures).

I take requests, love to hear any kind of feedback, and would be more than happy to review your novel or accept large shipments of free books. Mostly the last one.

So, without further ado, let’s get started!