Rummanah Aasi
Just a quick note: I will be on vacation when this review posts. I may not or may not have internet access during vacation, but I will play catch-up with your blogs and comments when I get back. 

 I've got a bunch of picture books that I've read in the last few months that I still need to review. Today I have an ecclectic batch of books that range from tongue-in-cheek humor to incredibly creative to just plain adorable. Today I'll be reviewing How to Raise Mom and Dad by John Lerman, Mirror Mirror by Marilyn Singer, and How Rocket Learned to Read by Tad Hills.  

Description: With tongue placed firmly in cheek, this book follows an older sister as she dispenses advice to her brother on how to train their parents.

Review: I stumbled across this title looking for a humorous picture book to read. The title immediately grabbed my attention as did the description. A girl offers her younger brother some advice for dealing with Mom and Dad. All the admonitions parents tell their children are subverted and used in to train the adults. While I did find the book funny, I'm not sure if younger kids would get the humor as they are just learning how to behave but I do think older kids would definitely nod their head in agreement and understand the humor in the book. Pictures are of varying sizes and shapes and occasional word balloons extend the artwork. Overall, an enjoyable read that you might want to check out from your library.

Rating: 3 stars

Words of Caution: None. Recommended for K to 2nd grade.

If you like this book try: Would I Trade My Parents? by Laura Numeroff,  What Do Parents Do? (When You're Not Home) by Jeanie Ransom

Description: What’s brewing when two favorites—poetry and fairy tales—are turned (literally) on their heads? It’s a revolutionary recipe: an infectious new genre of poetry and a lovably modern take on classic stories. First, read the poems forward (how old-fashioned!), then reverse the lines and read again to give familiar tales, from Sleeping Beauty to that Charming Prince, a delicious new spin. Witty, irreverent, and warm, this gorgeously illustrated and utterly unique offering holds a mirror up to language and fairy tales, and renews the fun and magic of both.

Review: Mirror Mirror is incredibly innovative with marrying both poetry and well known fairy tales to create something completely new. The book contains reversos, or poems which have one meaning when read down the page and perhaps an altogether different meaning when read up the page. The reversos not only make the poems come to life, but also allows the reader to read from a different character's point of view of the same story. The 14 pairs of poems easily distinguished by different fonts and background colors allow changes only in punctuation, capitalization, and line breaks, as Singer explains in an author's note about her invented poetic form. I thought the book was challenging, stimulating, and fun. It was like playing a game with people I already know. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and give it to big thumps up.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Curriculum Connection: Great for Poetry and/or fairy tale unit. 

Words of Caution: None. Recommended for Grades 3 and up.

If you like this book try: Orange Pear Apple Bear by Emily Gravett, Clever Jack Takes the Cake by Candice Fleming

Description: A little yellow bird teaches Rocket the dog how to read by first introducing him to the "wondrous, mighty, gorgeous alphabet."

Review: How Rocket Learned to Read is such a cute book! Rocket is an endearing white dog with black spots loves chasing leaves and chewing sticks. He loves napping under his favorite tree, but his sleep is interrupted one spring day by a tiny yellow bird that designates him her first student. Rocket wants no part of her lessons, but the bird is determined to teach him to read. She ensnares Rocket by telling him a story that ends in a cliffhanger and he has to return each day to find out what happens next. Slowly, Rocket becomes the reluctant student and the tiny bird teaches him the alphabet. The two characters have a great time using the "mighty, gorgeous alphabet" to spell out all the things in Rocket's world. The bird leaves as winter approaches, but Rocket continues practicing, spelling everything in sight. And when Bird returns the following spring, a tail-wagging, eager-to-read student greets her with joy.
  The illustrations, rendered in oil and colored pencil, offer full pages, spreads, and oval vignettes. They are heart warming and depict Rocket in all his various moods. I loved the bird's enthusiasm but also related to Rocket's reluctance of interrupting his routine. I definitely think kids would relate to Rocket as they themselves are beginning readers too, plus the cast of characters are adorable and irresistible.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: None. Recommended for K to 2nd grade.

If you like this book try: How to Teach a Slug to Read by Susan Pearson, Reading to Peanut by Leda Schubert, Hooray for Reading Day! by Margery Cuyler
3 Responses
  1. All of these picture books sound like they'd be great for children. Mirror Mirror would probably be my favourite but I think How to Raise Mom and Dad would be the funniest.

  2. Too bad How to Raise Mom and Dad is only decent. It's a fabulous concept. Have you read Bailey? The picture book about the dog that goes to school.

  3. Awwwww! Every time I read your reviews for picture books, I think, I can't wait to have kids. But then again, I don't have to wait to read these. I think you hit on something that definitely shouldn't be overlooked with kids and humor. I mean how much are they really going to get? Then again, my little cousins are constantly telling me joke that they find hilarious, but are way over my head. LOL

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