Tag Archives: book

Book review: White is for Blueberry by George Shannon

While searching for David Shannon’s book “No, David!” at the library, I chanced upon this book by George Shannon. The title, White is for Blueberry, immediately caught my attention. White is for blueberry? Hmm….white_isfor_blueberry Flipping to the first page, I was struck by the first statement. Pink is for crow? Well, obviously the crow was black…

Pink is for Crow

Pink is for Crow

… until I turned the page to reveal newly-hatched crow chicks. white_is_for_blueberries2.jpg George Shannon continued to challenge our preconceptions of what colours each item should be. When are blueberries white?

White is for blueberries

White is for blueberries

When they are still blossoms of course! white_is_for_blueberries4.jpg C’s review
When we read the book together, she was first amused by the title, then intrigued as we turned the pages. “Whoever thought that there were pink crows?!” We had fun thinking about how sweet potatoes could be brown and when the leaves were red.

G’s review
He was too young to know about the associations of colours to various objects, but he enjoyed pointing out the colours and naming the objects in the pictures nonetheless.

My review
I loved the simplicity of this picture book, with the words in simple black print, except for the colour-coordinated word in large capital letters. Illustrations were simple but vibrantly coloured, framed in the corresponding colour. It certainly encouraged me to view things from a different perspective!

An interesting and creative book. Highly recommended!

So… when is firelight blue?

Guess when the flame is blue?

Guess when the flame is blue?


Book review: Peek-a-Poo What’s in your diaper? by Guido Van Genechten

Peek-a-Poo What;s in your diaper?

Peek-a-Poo What’s in your diaper?

We brought G to the library last weekend. I asked him to choose a book, and he happily came back with Peek-a-Poo What’s in your nappy? by Guido Van Genechten.

I flipped through the book and it turned out to be a really interesting choice by G. The story starts with curious Mouse, who loves to investigate everything – taking things apart, poking sticks into holes and exploring every rock (does this sound familiar to anyone?)

Curious mouse

Curious mouse

This time he has decided to explore what’s inside everyone’s nappy! He starts by asking Rabbit:


Opening the flap reveals Rabbit’s poo (ok, if you are easily offended you might not find this amusing)!

Seven rabbit pellets!

Seven rabbit pellets!

He goes on to ask each of his animal friends in turn, noting the difference in shape and quantity each time he examines their diapers.

Pointy dog poo

Pointy dog poo

However, when it comes to Mouse’s turn, he reveals that his diaper is…. empty! He tells his friends that he uses a potty instead of his nappy.

Potty-trained Mouse

Potty-trained Mouse

Of course, the story ends happily with all his friends trying out their potties.

Happy ending

Happy ending

G’s review
He loved opening the flaps, going “poo” then “ewwwww”. LOL!

My review
It’s different from the usual potty-training books, and I think this was appropriate for G’s age right now. The lift-the-flap concept appeals to young kids and the cute illustrations of familiar animals kept G interested through to the end. The only risk is that your child might go examining everyone else’s diaper 😛

Do you have any interesting books on potty training for kids?

Book review: The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes by Mark Pett

the-girl-who-never-made-mistakesI chanced upon this book while searching for another title by Mark Pett (I was in fact looking for The Boy and the Airplane, but that’s a review for another day).

I was immediately drawn to the title. The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes sounded like the perfect book to read with C.

Nine year-old Beatrice Bottomwell was the perfect little girl – she never forgot her math homework, never wore mismatched socks, and always remembered to feed her pet hamster. She has NEVER made a mistake. In fact, with this record of perfection, Beatrice was known as “The Girl Who Never Makes Mistakes” in her hometown.


In contrast, she has a little brother Carl, who seemed to relish making mistakes (and having fun at the same time!)


We meet Beatrice on the day before the annual talent show in school (which she has won with her juggling act three years in a row).

As we follow her through the day, we are given subtle hints that Beatrice has maintained her record of perfection by following the same routine each time, and avoided activities like skating where there was a risk of making a mistake. Life has been smooth for her.

However, on this day, things go a little differently. She slips during a cooking class, and narrowly avoids dropping her eggs.

This almost-mistake causes Beatrice to worry for rest of the day. What if she blunders during the talent show?

On the night of the talent show, her worst fears are realized, and she makes her first mistake, a BIG mistake, in front of a large audience who expected perfection from The Girl Who Never Makes Mistakes.


So how did Beatrice react? Did she cry? No. She laughed, and the audience laughed along. Mistakes were not bad afterall.

At the end of the story, we see Beatrice enjoying her freedom after shedding the label “The Girl Who Never Makes Mistakes” – wearing mismatched socks, having inside-out PB&J sandwiches, going skating with her friends, having fun 🙂

C’s review
I had a feeling that C would be able to relate to Beatrice. I was right. C was engrossed in the story. When Beatrice stood drenched in front of the audience, C was near tears. When Beatrice laughed, C laughed along. At the end of the story, C told me, “Everyone makes mistakes, it’s ok not to do it right all the time.”
C requested to keep the book for a longer period of time because she wanted to re-read it (I had borrowed it from the library). I’m happy to note that she did read it again by herself.

My review
I had initial concerns that the illustrations might not appeal to C, but they proved to be unfounded. The storyline is simple, but got the message across very effectively. After reading the book with C, we got to discuss the fear of failure, risk-tasking and perfectionism.

Recommended for all little perfectionists!

Do you have a little perfectionist at home?

Book review: Oh Dear! by Rod Campbell

Oh Dear! by Rod Campbell

Oh Dear! by Rod Campbell

I came across the book Oh Dear! while browsing at the bookstore. Written by Rod Campbell, the author of the classic children’s book Dear Zoo, it follows the same formula of bringing us on a hunt. However, instead of searching for the ideal pet (in Dear Zoo), we are now on the hunt for eggs.

In the story, Buster, the little boy, is tasked to find some eggs for his grandmother. However, he has forgotten where they should be found, and so the search begins….

So he went to the barn

So he went to the barn…

Buster shows the way around the farm, and on each page, there are flaps that open to reveal the animal found there.

He asks the sheep

..and he asks the sheep

Of course, there is a happy ending, when Buster finally remembers where the eggs should be found. There is also an additional bonus flap to open in order to reveal the eggs.



G’s review
G loves lift-the-flap books, and he loved reading Dear Zoo. So when he was introduced to Oh Dear!, it was not surprising that he took to the book almost immediately. He enjoyed identifying each animal, and imitating the sound each animal made. Of course, the repetition of the phrases, “No eggs here! Oh dear!” in the book had him echoing in no time.

G asked to be read to three times, then he proceeded to bring it to a corner to read it by himself (it’s amusing to hear him mooing, then going “oh dear!”)

My review
It’s a good introduction to farm animals and where they can be found on a farm (barn – cow, stable – horses, etc). The repeated phrases also encouraged G to point out the words and read along. There was one part where I had some issues – at one point Buster asked the duck for eggs. Of course, ducks lay eggs, but I suppose Grandma was looking for chicken eggs (ok, I’m nit-picking here).

Overall, a good book for young toddlers. If your child enjoyed Dear Zoo like G did, I’m sure they will find Oh Dear! equally interesting.

Have you read any books by Rod Campbell?

Book review: How Many Bugs in a Box? by David A.Carter


Here’s the book that started the Bugs phenomenon!

As I’ve mentioned in earlier reviews, I’ve a soft spot for pop-up books. So when I came across How Many Bugs in a Box? A pop-up counting book by David A. Carter, I couldn’t resist ordering it.

The blurb on the book’s back cover mentioned a bug phenomenon, but frankly speaking, I had no idea that this was such a popular book prior to reading the reviews. When I opened the book, I understood why 🙂

The content of the book was simple -readers get to count bugs from one to ten. I’m not a big bug person, but take a look at the drawings of the super cute bugs:


What do you think you’ll find?


Bug doing weight-lifting?

Who would have expected to find a weight-lifting tough bug?


A striped box this time…

Bugs of all varieties are found in the book. From the mundane pretty bugs…

…to imaginary frog-bugs!

C’s review
C loved opening the flaps and exploring how the book was constructed. Being older, she was also able to appreciate the humour in the names of some of the imaginary bugs (noodle bugs anyone?)

G’s review
It’s stated that the book is meant for 3years and above, due to small parts (from the pop-ups), but G enjoyed it under supervision. He was thrilled that we allowed him to open the flaps and touch the bugs, and kept going “more,more” even after we finished reading. His favourite part was the frog-bugs. 🙂

My review
It’s a relatively simple book, with cute illustrations that will be appreciated by  young and the young-at-heart.  Toddlers learn about counting, adjectives, and bugs. Older kids will appreciate the humourously named bugs (C drew an imaginary bug after reading the book – a guitar bug). On the downside, I would have preferred a board book version with sturdier flaps.

Overall, I would still recommend How Many Bugs in a Box? A pop-up counting book. Both kids and myself enjoyed reading it!

Have you read any of the bug books?

Project: Puppet theatre – Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see?

After the success of the felt playset based on an Eric Carle book, I decided to start another project, inspired by a popular title: Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
brown bear

For those who are not familiar with this book (a collaboration between Bill Martin Jr and Eric Carle), it’s targeted at preschoolers, and introduces a list of different brightly coloured animals (including a purple cat and a blue horse) using catchy repetitive text. I love this version on Youtube read by Bill Martin.

To bring Brown Bear alive, I decided to make a mini puppet theatre, complete with the various animals introduced in the book. The “theatre” was a recycled cardboard box from a previous book purchase, decorated with coloured construction paper to form a backdrop. C and G chipped in to make the backdrop, with C painting the paper plates for the trees and bushes, and G fluffing and pasting the cotton wool for the clouds.

I had initially wanted to make handpuppets, but decided to make my life easier by printing and laminating the various animals instead. To make the animals stand on the stage, I used a piece of cork, and pasted a piece of magnet underneath (I’ve these left over from old magnetic toy pieces). With a magnetic strip below the stage, the show begun!

I see a red bird looking at me.

Brown bear, brown bear, what do you see? I see a red bird looking at me.

With a bit of practice, I was able to control the movement of the puppets so that they turned and moved on cue as I read from the book. The kids were amazed to see the animals come alive on the stage! To quote C: “They are moving by themselves! It’s magic!” Of course, she found out about the magnets later, and wanted to try it herself (the magic of magnetism will be explained to her in due course).

The whole cast

The whole cast

I decided to velcro the tree stump and tree so that the “theatre” can be easily folded and kept (with puppets stored neatly inside). This can be reused for the next story telling session, with different props and puppets.

Judging by the looks on the kids’ faces during the performance, I think they liked it 😉

Have you read Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see? Which is your favourite Eric Carle book?

Book Review: My Head-to-Toe Body Book by Okido

As I’ve mentioned in an earlier post, C is learning about the human body this term. I’ve already bought the Squishy Human Body as a visual aid, and wanted to supplement it with some fun reading on the topic.

I did a search at the library, but most of the books were wordy and not too interesting. Then, I came across My Head-to-Toe Body Book by Okido.


What got my attention: It is a big and colourful book, with snippets of information scattered on large two-page spreads. Secondly, it had cute illustrations that would appeal to C. Thirdly, it had games and experiments included. A sure-win formula!

When googling more about Okido, I found out that it’s actually a children’s arts and science magazine from UK. They even have a Youtube channel and an iphone app (I didn’t download the app as it’s not free – if you did, let me know what you think of it!)

As suggested by the title, the contents cover the parts of the human body from head to toe – including the brain, the circulatory system and the digestive system. Topics such as emotions, sleep and health are also included.

Besides covering the usual parts of the human anatomy, I was pleased to find that they included a section on vocal cords, complete with a small demonstration on why voices sound different (I didn’t have much success with the paper whistle though).

Vocal cords

Vocal cords

We had fun playing the various games, such as the busy body game where we had to move tokens around the board, learning about how food is brought to the different parts of the body, and the process of waste elimination (favourite topic among kids!) There is also a page where we match the poo to the correct owner (don’t worry it’s not as gross as it sounds!)

Busy body game

Busy body game

Okido did not forget to add information on the life cycle of a human, and even touched on sperm and eggs (I spent quite a bit of time explaining this, and had to bring out my ultrasound scans of C. Needless to say, she was fascinated ;))

Where babies come from

Where babies come from

At the end of the book, there was another fun game where we got to explore the different sounds we make with our bodies (G joined in with gusto!)

Body noises

Body noises

While it is not meant to be a detailed book on anatomy, I found this book to be a good supplementary read. It covers a wide range of topics, complete with interesting facts, and interactive activities. I would recommend it as an excellent book for pre-schoolers to kick-start discussions and studies on the human body. Just be prepared to answer a lot of questions on poo, pee and babies. 😉

Do you have any recommendations for books on the human body?

Project: Felt playset – A House for Hermit Crab

Last week I borrowed a copy of Eric Carle’s A House for Hermit Crab from the library, intending to read it with C and G. Eric Carle books are very popular with my kids, and I’m sure the popular children’s author needs no introduction.

House for hermit crab

In this simple tale, we follow hermit crab as he looks for a new house, and proceeds to add various creatures to his shell for decoration and protection. Reading this story, the kids get to learn about the hermit crab and other marine lifeforms in its habitat as well as the different months in a year.

Besides the usual lapbook and crafts, I wanted to try something more interesting (and slightly more ambitious). Inspired by the internet, I made a felt playset, complete with hermit crab, shell, and the various marine lifeforms that appear in the story. This could be used with my existing felt story book to re-enact the story.

I’m glad to say that it turned out pretty well, and the kids loved it! Especially C, who wanted me to recite the story while she acted it out for G on the felt story book (we did this three times!). I think the effort and time spent was well worth it, looking at the joy on their faces. 🙂

DIY felt playset

Have you read A House for Hermit Crab ?

Book review: Beautiful Oops! by Barney Saltzberg

When you think you have made a mistake think of it as an opportunity to make something beautiful

When you think you have made a mistake, think of it as an opportunity to make something beautiful

This is another favourite on my children’s bookshelves. In Beautiful Oops! Barney Saltzberg show us that it’s ok to make mistakes. With just a bit of creativity, accidental spills or tears can be turned into a work of art!

A torn piece of paper…

A torn piece of paper...

A torn piece of paper…

can be turned into a smiley crocodile!

... is just the beginning!

… is just the beginning!

Accidental drips of paint…

A little drip of paint...

A little drip of paint…

turn into purple piglets on wheels!

Let's your imagination run wild!

Lets your imagination run wild!

I found this picture book to be a useful reminder for a perfectionist like C, who used to get upset when there were accidental drips or tears on her artwork. With a curious (and destructive) G around, it was common to find scribbles or little chew-marks on her artwork. Thankfully with this book, I get to remind her that mistakes or “imperfections” can be beautiful too!

G especially likes the sensory approach in the book with lots of opportunities for touch and feel, and the colourful graphics. There is even a crumpled piece of paper hidden in the later pages of the book! 😉 The sturdy board book concept means that I can leave the book safely with the two kids without having to worry much about tears or missing pages.

A beautiful book with a great message behind.

How do you tell your kids that it’s ok to make mistakes?

Book review: Press Here by Hervé Tullet

Press Here cover

“Press here. That’s right. Just press the yellow dot. And turn the page. The single touch of a finger sparks a whimsical dance of color and motion in this joyful celebration of the power of imagination”

I chanced upon this book while browsing in Amazon for recommended children’s books. Given the glowing 5 star reviews, I figured that this would be a book worth buying. The reviewers were spot on! This book is currently at the top of my children’s favourite books list.

For those who have not heard of the author Hervé Tullet, here’s a short introduction – he’s a french author/illustrator who started off as an art director before he began writing and illustrating books for children. Known as the Prince of Preschool Books in France, he has written multiple award winning children’s books such as Faut Pas Confondre (Should not mix up) and Le Grand Livre du Hasard (The Big Book of Chance).

Press Here was originally written in French, titled simply “Un Livre” (which translates to “A Book” in english). Similarly, in the English version, the cover states “Press Here”, with a yellow dot placed strategically right in the middle of the cover. Boring? Too plain? Well, looks can be deceiving 😉

This simple invitation opens up the magic contained within the covers.

With nothing more than dots in bright primary colours and simple instructions, the author succeeds in creating a true interactive experience for the reader. “Interactive?” You might ask. Well, you have to read it to understand what I mean. 🙂

Here’s a sneak peek:

Press here and turn the page

Press here and turn the page

Great! Now press the yellow dot again

Great! Now press the yellow dot again

When I read it with C (actually, she read it to me), I saw her eyes open wide as we went through the pages. She was completely fascinated by the contents. It was amazing to see a child who was familiar with interactive technology pressing, clapping and blowing along as we flipped the pages (yes, it involves blowing too!). At the end of the book, the only question she asked: “Can we read this again?” This is the only book that has been read ten times in a row in a single sitting.

Highly recommended for all ages. If you are looking for a book that encourages the imagination, this is it! My only grouse is that it is not a board book so I’ve to be extra careful while reading it with G.

Get the book here!=> Press Here

What is the title of your child’s favourite book?