Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Royal Diaries Series: Eleanor & Catherine Kristiana Gregory

The Royal Diaries is a series of diaries written from the point of view of a famous princess.  I am reviewing two books from the series: Eleanor (France) and Catherine (Russia). Both books narrate the joyful experiences and struggles each of these girls go through for a period of one year.  Gregory wrote through the perspective of major life changes in their lives.  This series seems to be geared toward middle school girls.  Eleanor and Catherine were fast and interesting reads.  I was eager to find out what happened to both princesses.  If you child likes historical fiction this is a good book for them.
POSITIVE Both girls speak about their faith in God.  They show resilience and and courage in major life challenges.

EDUCATIONAL  I really enjoyed the historical notes at the end of the book.  They tell what happens to the girls as they grow into adulthood.  It describes their reigns as the head of their respective countries.  It also goes through their family trees.

  • research historical period - what they wore; customs etc.
  • write a chapter or diary from point of view of another major character in the story
As always any comments or suggestions welcome! 


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Disney's A Bug's Life - Flik's Perfect Gift Judy Katschke

In Flik's Perfect Gift we find Flik looking for a unique gift for Queen Atta's birthday.  As he makes complicated plans to make the ideal gift we learn that sometimes the most simple thing is the best.

POSITIVE Katschke shows Flik trying to do his best in getting a gift for the Queen.  Highlight to your children how they too can give their best in everything that they do.  A good verse to go with this concept is Colossians 3:23 "Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men". You can also see how much love and respect Flik has for his superior, the Queen.  

EDUCATIONAL This is a level 2 book so it is for readers who are more confident in their early reading abilities.  This book contains smaller type and more words to a page.  It has simple sentences that are longer but the story is a little more complex.  I really like how the first page in the book gives parents ideas on how to read to their children.  It also ends with comprehension questions.


  • other things Flik could've given
  • teach your children how to write a thank you card - they can write one to Flik from the Queen
  • teach them to read between the lines
  • what kind of gift would God want from us? 

Any comments or suggestions would be appreciated!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Blue's Clues Hello, Spring! - Alison Inches Illustrated by Ian Chernichaw

     From the well known program Blue's Clues comes the book "Hello, Spring!" In this easy to read book Blue and her friends say goodbye to winter and hello to spring.  The book starts off with everyone saying goodbye to different things commonly associated with winter.  Toward the middle of the book they begin to welcome spring.  This is a great book for children beginning to read.

POSITIVE The illustrations are colorful and appealing.  Beginning readers will enjoy the simple everyday words that they will learn to read.

EDUCATIONAL Emerging readers will become confident readers because of the repetition in this book.  This will help them to advance to a higher level.  "Hello, Spring!" is a pre-level 1 book which means it is concentrating on making sure the reader is recognizing words.  It also has simple sentences, word repetition and familiar words and phrases.

  • Since "hello" and "goodbye" are repeated in this book you can help them learn what opposite means and give examples
  • teach difference between winter and spring
  • make a mural or a painting of winter or spring
  • teach some of the words as vocabulary words
  • pick words that you ca make rhyming words to help them learn to spell and read Example: Take the word hat and write cat, mat, fat etc.  Make a rhyming story
As always comments or suggestions are welcome!

    Thursday, March 4, 2010

    Charlie Monkey - By Jo Rigg & Simon Mugford

    "Charlie Monkey" is part of the Funny Faces Series.  My 10 month old daughter loves this book.  It's a touch, feel, light and sounds book.  Each page shows a different animal with a sensory part on its body.  It also has a catchy rhyme about the animal.  Young children will love feeling the different parts of the animal and the appealing rhymes.

    POSITIVE The book is engaging and colorful.

    EDUCATIONAL This is an excellent book for any child up to second grade.
    The rhyming helps emerging readers to learn to read while it helps younger children develop language skills.  The sensory sections are good for the children to feel different textures.

    • Expand on the sensory part of the book by giving your child different objects with different textures
    • Add on to the book with different animals using the same type of rhyme and make a picture with one part of the animal a different texture
    • For older children watch videos of the animals they read about in the book

    As always any comments or suggestions are welcomed!