When I Love You At Christmas {a book review}

When I Love You At Christmas:  a book review at RoamingRosie.com

Really, to be perfectly honest, I could talk about books every day.  But today I wanted to share with you a Christmas book that we’ve been reading quite a bit, because, you know … it’s Christmas!  :)

The picture book When I Love You At Christmas, written by David Bedford and illustrated by Tamsin Ainslie, with its brief but charming text and adorable paintings is a delightful read for young children.

It’s a cute story narrated by a stuffed lamb telling us about how much he loves his little girl.  He goes through all of the activities that the little girl engages in around Christmastime, such as when she is wrapping presents, baking cookies, writing out Christmas cards, acting in a nativity play, and getting excited about Christmas day.

The double-page spreads are decorated with bright watercolor artwork and the text itself if very simple, but also very sweet.

One of the aspects I love about the story is how the girl gets so excited about Christmas, but she’s always thinking of others.  The book demonstrates things that are sharing activities, like wrapping presents, baking cookies, and sending out Christmas cards.  Things that emphasize a spirit of love and giving.

Even though the girl has trouble sleeping on Christmas Eve because she’s anticipating the big day, and even though she rushes quickly to find her own presents on Christmas morning, she takes the time to share a present with her stuffed lamb, too.

The lyrical text is short enough to hold the attention of toddlers and preschoolers, the illustrations are detailed enough to give their eyes plenty to explore, and the underlying message is subtle but lovely.

My girls, who are about 2-1/2 and 4-1/2-years-old, love it … but so do I!  This is definitely going to be a regular for us around Christmas, but is still worth a read throughout the rest of the year, too.

*Update:  I know the picture says you can get the book from my Usborne site, but it has been discontinued.  There are, however, sometimes copies available on Amazon.

Merry Christmas!!!

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The Katie Books by James Mayhew

Katie Books by James Mayhew a book review

When I first found Katie, I was very excited.

A colorful book that is fun to read AND teaches kids about art history?

Wow.

Now, I may not be all that familiar with the specifics of art history, even being an artist myself, but I have at least a basic knowledge.  Enough to pronounce the names correctly when I read the books – but that isn’t an issue anyway since there are pronunciation guides in the back.

The point is, I was delighted that there existed this spirited little girl to introduce my kids to a culture I was desperate to try to share with them.  Then I found that she didn’t just explore the paintings of Monet and Van Gogh and Goya, but she travels to different countries and travels back in time to run around with dinosaurs, too.

It just kept getting better and better.

Now, honestly, my favorites are where she visits the dinosaurs and travels to Scotland for an adventure with Nessie.  But, honestly, my 4-year-old seems to request the Impressionists and Spanish Princess more often.  My 2-year-old likes them all.

Here are a couple of pages from Katie and the Dinosaurs: 

Katie and the Dinosaurs by James Mayhew

Katie and the Dinosaurs by James Mayhew

I love the brilliant colors in the fun artwork, but also the story.

The stories are very easy to read and great at bedtime because words flow.

Katie often jumps in and out of paintings in the stories, joining Degas’ dancers on stage or learning to paint with Jean, the son of Monet.

The interaction with the paintings in the museum is wonderful.  Below is a page from Katie and the Spanish Princess, where you can see a painting come alive.

Katie and the Spanish Princess by James Mayhew

Overall, even though I mentioned which are my favorites, I highly recommend all of the books.  We only own about half of them right now, but I plan to finish our collection this upcoming Christmas.

The books are all very well done and a joy both for my children and for myself.  The stories are entertaining, often exciting and amusing.  My girls have laughed out loud at the tales.  As have I.

Here is a list of Katie books:

Katie and the Starry Night

Katie Meets The Impressionists

Katie and the Spanish Princess

Katie and the Mona Lisa

Katie and the British Artists

Katie and the Dinosaurs

Katie in London

Katie in Scotland

Katie’s Picture Show

Katie and the Sunflowers

Katie and the Waterlily Pond

Katie’s London Christmas

Happy Reading!

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Just How Long Can A Long String Be {Book Review}

Just How Long Can A Long String Be by Keith Baker

We recently read Just How Long Can A Long String Be?! by Keith Baker.

My 2-year-old picked it out because of the bird on the cover, and both my girls liked it.

It’s a simple rhyming text about a bird and an ant discussing that they can do with a long string, such as tie up a package or make a nest.

Just How Long Can A Long String Be? By Keith Baker {Book Review}

My 4-year-old got excited about finding the ant on each page, then her sister followed suit.

So each time we read it, they point out the little bug:  “There’s the ant!”

It’s a cute book, and both girls liked it and have requested it over and over.  It was a library book, and we’ll definitely be borrowing it again.

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Children’s Picture Books by David Wiesner {Book Reviews}

Children's Picture Books by David Wiesner {a book review}

I recently sat down with my daughters and “read” some of David Wiesner’s books to them.

I put “read” in quotes because most of these books have little or no words.

But the pictures… well, the illustrations are breathtaking.

I was a little nervous when I first saw them.  I was afraid maybe the illustrations were too intricate to hold a preschooler’s and a toddler’s attention.

I was wrong.

My 4-year-old would ask me to tell her the story, and then we’d flip through the book again and she’d tell me the story.  My 2-year-old would point out all the little details as we read.  They both requested the books over and over.

I’d borrowed as many as I could find from the local library, because I didn’t know yet if they were worth the investment to purchase them.  But now I know my girls love them.

I narrowed down my daughters’ favorites to two:  Flotsam and Sector 7.

Flotsam by David WiesnerFlotsam

Flotsam is a tale of a young boy who discovers an old camera while exploring the shore.

He digs it out of the sand and develops the film.

What he finds in the photos is, quite simply, amazing.

There are sea turtles with tiny cities growing on their shells.  Sea horses watching tiny aliens play.  And so very much more.

I enjoy this book at least as much, if not more, than my girls.

Here are some images from Flotsam:

Children's Picture Books by David Wiesner:  Flotsam

Children's Picture Books by David Wiesner:  Flotsam

Sector 7 by David WiesnerSector 7

Sector 7 is the story of a young boy visiting the Empire State Building on a school field trip.

While on the observation deck, he meets a curious character:  a mischievous cloud.

They become fast friends and the cloud takes the boy to on a trip up into the sky.  They visit Sector 7, the Cloud Dispatch Center, where clouds receive their instructions about how they should be shaped and where they are to go.

The boy happens to be an artist, and the clouds happen to love his sketches.  The clouds decide to replicate these sketches, and mayhem ensues.

Here are some images from Sector 7:

Children's Picture Books by David Wiesner:  Sector 7

Children's Picture Books by David Wiesner:  Sector 7

While those two are our favorites, Wiesner has some other gems as well.  Similar books include:

Tuesday by David WiesnerTuesday

On Tuesday, strange things happen.  This Tuesday, lilypad-riding frogs take to the skies, exploring the town by air.

Free Fall by David WiesnerFree Fall

In Free Fall, a young boy falls asleep with a book in his arms and visits magical, far-away lands and the knights, castles, and dragons within.

Hurricane by David WiesnerHurricane

In Hurricane, two young brothers see a tree fall to the earth during a storm.  It becomes their playground, representing everything from a pirate ship to an exotic jungle.

June 29 1999 by David WiesnerJune 29, 1999

In June, 29, 1999, a young girl’s science project of vegetable seeds is launched into the atmosphere, has an extraterrestrial encounter, and we find out what happens when lima beans loom over Levittown and artichokes advance on Anchorage.

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The Incredible Book Eating Boy {Book Review}

The Incredible Book Eating Boy by Oliver Jeffers

We loved this book.

I loved the illustrations and the words and the story, and my daughters seemed to love all of it.

As soon as our first reading of it ended, my 3-year-old said, “Can we read it again?”

That’s always a good sign.

So, The Incredible Book Eating Boy by Oliver Jeffers instantly made our list of favorites.

It’s a fun and slightly absurd story of a young boy named Henry who accidentally discovers that he likes to eat books.  All kinds of books.  And the more he eats, the smarter he gets.  Until he eats too many, and things begin to get a bit jumbled and confused.  Suddenly, it doesn’t seem like such a good idea to eat books anymore.

This makes Henry sad, until he realizes that – rather than eating them – he could read them instead!  And he finds that he enjoys reading them even more than he enjoyed eating them.  Although, when you read it yourself you’ll see that sometimes, quite by accident, Henry still takes a bite or two … as evidenced by the big chomp taken out of the back cover.

The gorgeous illustrations are so much fun.  I find them to be delightful, as do my children, who scour the pages as I read.  It’s definitely a book to be read by adults or older children, though, as it may be a bit too busy for emerging readers.  But that’s the trade-off for the charm.

It’s recommended for kids 4 and up, but my 3-year-old loves it and my 20-month-old enjoys it as well.  They are both engaged during the story.  It spurs conversations and questions with my preschooler and my toddler likes to point out different objects, like the red books that Henry favors.

The Incredible Book Eating Boy by Oliver Jeffers

The Incredible Book Eating Boy by Oliver Jeffers

Oh – and don’t worry, on the back of the book is this “Disclaimer:  Do Not Try to Eat This Book at Home.”

I completely recommend The Incredible Book Eating Boy.

So fun to read.  Easy to devour.  :)

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