Friday, July 3, 2015

Children's Books Reviews

A little while ago, I was able to spend the day with the two children I was a nanny for in the past. Since I was asked to review these two books before I spent time with them, I figured this would be the perfect opportunity, especially since one of them is getting ready to start kindergarten (Morning Magic), and I was interested in reading My Warp Speed Mind since I have ADHD and I work with children with ADHD as well. So, here are my reviews of two of the books I read with them:

By Donalisa Helsley

Do you have trouble paying attention and being still? Do you feel like everyone is always mad at you? Drake knows how you feel. With some help he will learn how to control his impulses. A spaceship that can go warp speed is great, but only if you know how to make it slow down too!

My Review:
3 stars

I read this with the 3 year old and the 5 year old I work with and had to stop reading it partway because they absolutely lost interest in the book. Though the book is a helpful way to talk and explain ADHD to children, I had some trouble with the formatting and age demographic. It states that the age group for this book is 3-9 year olds (and I’ve worked with children professionally in that age range), and I felt like the book format didn’t really fit well with any of the age demographics.

The biggest problem was the wordiness. The book is 32 pages long, which wouldn’t be that bad, except for the fact that there was so much text. I felt like I was reading a chapter book, not a picture book. Plus, some of the ideas and explanations in the book were two complex for 3-5 year olds, which are part of the age demographic this book is aimed towards. I felt that there were parts that could have been omitted that would have improved the story, while making it more “kid-friendly” for 3-5 year olds.

On the other hand, while the explanations would be great to use with say 7-9 year olds, I think it would have been better had this been written as a chapter book rather than a picture book. I tried reading this to two of my neighbors’ children, aged 8 and 10, and they didn’t want to read it with me because it was a “baby book”. Plus, ages 7-9 is about when you want to start transitioning your children to reading chapter books, not picture books. Also, while the explanations work, the book is sometimes very simplistic which works well for 3-5 year olds, but not so much for 7-9 year olds.

I think the people who would find this book most useful would be parents and teachers looking to explain ADHD to the children they work with, since the book includes many useful ideas that I would use with my children. However, I don’t think it’s very well-written for a child’s point of view.

While the book does have some great ideas, as well as a great section at the end of calm down exercises to use with your children as well as parent and teacher tips, both of which I thought were the best part of the entire book, it doesn’t fit well into the demographics it says it does. I think if you wanted to read this book with your children, you would need to break it down for younger children.

The other book I read was Morning Magic by Giles Smith.

It's the first day of a new school year for Emily, a trainee witch. After a hasty breakfast she rushes to her room to get dressed. After all, she doesn't want to be late on day one! But her clothing seems to have other ideas. Her chest of drawers is feeling grumpy and won't open. Her socks don't want to be worn and make a mad dash for freedom. And her witch's hat is simply missing in action. Despite these delays, can she figure out the 'Get Dressed' spell and still make it to school on time?

Morning Magic is Book 1 of the new Everyday Magic Series. This series will be the basis for a new programme of sight-word tools for kids aged 5-7, where the main stories will be developed into small self-readers packed with sight words.

My Review:
4 stars

I loved this book! It was such a fun book to read, and the kids absolutely loved it. Though the story was slightly  The illustrations were plentiful and fun, and I liked how there were extra illustrations without words showing the continuation of the story, yet also leaving it open for interpretation. I had a fun time with the kids coming up with our own stories about what Emily did next based on the illustrations. I also liked that there was a rhyming scheme throughout the book. The rhyming scheme and the story (getting ready for school) makes this a great book to read with your 3-6 year olds, as my two (3 and 5) loved it.

The book was also very sturdy, a highly appreciated quality, especially with children who like to turn the pages themselves but haven't quite learned to be careful when doing so. The pages were thick and easy for the little one to turn, and they hold up since they're not just made of paper.

All in all, this was a great introduction to this series, and I would highly recommend this book, and I cannot wait to see further books in the series.

*I received both these books in exchange for honest reviews.*

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