Tag: claire freedman

Review: Books for Beginning Readers

Children’s books are an often overlooked genre.  There are so many on the market that it can be a struggle to know where to begin with your beginning reader.  With that in mind, here are six new children’s books geared towards pre-schoolers or other young children.

Love Monster is a clever little tale written by Rachel Bright about a “slightly hairy and a bit googly eyed” monster who lives in a town called Cutesville.  Cutesville is, as the name suggests, a town populated by cute and fluffy residents such as kittens, puppies and bunnies.  Unfortunately, there’s no one in Cutesville to love the monster, so he decides to go out into the “big wide world” in search of love.  The book follows his adventures as he looks all around for someone to love him just as he is.

Love Monster is a great way to teach kids that it’s okay to be different and that we shouldn’t judge based on looks because even a “slightly hairy and a bit googly eyed” monster deserves love.  Although written to be silly, Love Monster manages to find a nice balance of conveying a strong moral message while not falling into the ridiculous.  In addition, the storyline is interesting enough that parents will not mind reading it over and over.



How to Babysit A Grandpa by Jean Reagan is a fun story about a little boy who babysits his grandfather one day while his parents are out.  Written in a how-to style, the book lists a variety of things kids can do with their grandparents while babysitting them for a day.  Some of these activities include giving him snacks such as ice cream topped with cookies, or cookies topped with ice cream (depending on your preference).  Other suggestions consist of taking him for a walk to look for lizards or to teach him the importance of jumping into puddles.

How to Babysit A Grandpa provides an excellent jumping off point for parents whose kids might be apprehensive about having a babysitter.  Told from the perspective of the child, the book immediately reassures the reader that “Mom and Dad always come back.” In addition, it gives many ideas for the child to use to have fun with their babysitter or grandparent.

How to Babysit a Grandpa goes a little overboard on the cute and might be a little juvenile for the 5 – 8 year old age range to which it is marketed, but might also be on the lengthy side for kids younger than 5 years old.



Zombie In Love by Kelly DiPucchio tells about a zombie named Mortimer who is looking for a girlfriend.  Mortimer tries a number of different tactics to find love but is overwhelmingly unsuccessful.  He simply cannot find “the ghoul of his dreams.”  Mortimer tries several different tactics in his quest for love.  He tries giving one girl a diamond ring.  The next, he gives a heart.  He even tries to go to the gym, but unfortunately his arm keeps falling off.  Eventually, Mortimer decides to place an ad in the paper in the hopes that someone will meet him at the Sweethearts ball.

Targeted toward children aged 4 – 8, Zombie In Love is an entertaining read that will quickly become a regular in the bedtime reading rotation.  Kids who are in that “love of all things gross” stage will enjoy the zombie aspect, and the subtle visuals such as the diamond still being attached to a finger or an actual beating heart being given as a gift will keep parents entertained as they read this story to their child repeatedly.



Dinosaurs Love Underpants by Claire Freedman sets out to tell the true story of how dinosaurs became extinct.  It turns out that cavemen realized they needed clothing and discovered the wonders of underpants.  The fiercest of all dinosaurs, the Tyrannosaurus Rex, sees the new underpants and immediately wants them.  What follows is both a literal and metaphorical tug of war between dinosaurs and cavemen over underwear.  Soon the Triceratops is wearing them on every horn, and the Stegosaurus discovers he is allergic to wooly mammoth underpants.  In addition, TRex keeps tripping on them, and Diploducus’ pinch uncomfortably.

Written entirely in rhyme, Dinosaurs Love Underpants is written for children ages 4 – 7.  Though not intended as such, Dinosaurs Love Underpants could be used as a tool for parents in toilet training.  Younger children who see how much the dinosaurs love underpants might be inspired to want to wear them as well.  Older kids will enjoy the brilliant and amusing illustrations but may otherwise find the storyline on the ridiculous side.  While a cute read, the ending was too sudden, and the rhyming theme lost it’s flow midway through the story.



Mousetronaut and Mousetronaut Goes to Mars are two educational books by Mark Kelly.  Based partially on a true story, these books tell about a mouse named Meteor who travels on the Space Shuttle and participates in events such as the Mars Rover landing.  Meteor is thought too small by the other mice to be picked for the Space Shuttle mission.  Determined to prove them wrong, Meteor works hard to prove that size isn’t always what’s important.

Written for children aged 4 – 8, both books present an opportunity for parents to teach their kids about NASA, the space program, and what it’s like to travel on the Space Shuttle.  Young children who are at the stage of dreaming of being an astronaut will enjoy following Meteor’s adventures.  Slightly older children may be bored and find the story over-simplified.  Parents will enjoy the teaching opportunities presented, but it is unlikely either book will become part of the nightly bedtime routine.



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