Kids’ Picks: Berenstain Bears By The Sea

MM is actually just starting to get into picking out his own bedtime stories. For awhile I’d pick the story and there’d be ones he enjoyed more than others but what we read was largely my call. Now he eagerly looks forward to picking out the story and sometimes surprises us by asking for an old favorite – a book we haven’t read in awhile – which is so cool to see that he’s really been paying attention and is starting to form favorites!

Lately it’s been all about The Berenstain Bears around here – we were given a huge pile of children’s books from Dan’s aunt, a lot of which were his as a child at some point, and of course I read a lot of the same books – we were both big Betenstain Bear fans for sure! But neither of us read any of the Step-Into-Reading editions which we’ve also acquired a couple of – and one of MM’s recent favorites is one of these books, called The Berenstain Bears By The Sea.

I love the catchy rhymes in this cute story of the Bear Family’s trip to the beach house. The bear cubs are of course anxious to get out the sea and start swimming, but mama and papa bear insist on getting the beach house ready for the stay, having a snack, and then of course waiting after they eat before swimming. It’s a short read with a good rhythm thanks to the rhyming text. Both Dan and I enjoy reading this one to him and sometimes MM likes to pretend to read it to himself, too. So cute.

I think he must be just as eager to hit the beach as we are, because MM has been asking for this book at naptime and bedtime non-stop lately! Luckily it’s one we both like, too!

What books are your kids reading right now?

Friday Finds: June 12th

FF2_MdFriday Finds asks:

“What great books did you hear about / discover this past week? Share with us your FRIDAY FINDS!”

I’ve stumbled across three prospective books this week, a nice and short list, which is good because my TBR pile on goodreads.com currently has 483 books and I know it’s probably incomplete. Anyhow, here are my three finds from this week:

  1. Haunting Bombay by Shipla Agarwal – Yet another book that I stumbled across at Scrap Girl’s blog Serendipity. She and I seem to have fairly similar book interests because 9 out of 10 times if she likes it, it sounds good to me, too. So not helping the TBR pile but I can’t say I’m complaining (oh by the way – she’s giving away a copy of Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen right now – if you haven’t entered yet, there’s still time!). Anyway, about Haunting Bombay – here’s a little description: “In her stunning debut novel Shilpa Agarwal takes on the ghosts that bedevil young Pinky Mittal’s extended family and dispatches them with rambunctious wit and affection. The result is like finely wrought mirror work, a glittering tapestry of vibrant contradictions, characters, and mysteries. Haunting Bombay flirts deliciously with the true spirit of India.”—Aimee Liu, author of Flash House
  2. The Bill Martin Jr. Big Book of Poetry – This was Jennifer at Snapshot‘s pick for this week’s Children’s Book Carnival on Poetry at 5 Minutes For Books. With over 200 poems by authors like Bill Martin, Jr., Robert Frost, Langston Hughes, Margaret Wise Brown, Mother Goose, Jack Prelutsky and Judith Viorst – it just sounds like a wonderful compilation of children’s poetry and Jennifer’s son Kyle loves it – I really want to pick this up to read to MM. The collection is capped off with tributes by Eric Carle and Steven Kellogg, two of Bill Martin Jr’s best-known collaborators. This essential compilation also features original illustrations by award-winning artists, including Ashley Bryan, Lois Ehlert, Steven Kellogg, Chris Raschka, Dan Yaccarino, Nancy Tafuri, and Derek Anderson.
  3. Dear Jane Austen: A Heroine’s Guide to Life and Love by Patrice Hannon – This was the book Naida at Bookworm quoted in this week’s Teaser Tuesday. “Women have looked to Jane Austen’s heroines as models of appropriate behavior for nearly two centuries. Who better to understand the heart of a heroine than Austen? In this delightful epistolary “what if,” Austen serves as a “Dear Abby” of sorts, using examples from her novels and her life to counsel modern-day heroines in trouble, she also shares with readers a compelling drama playing out in her own drawing room. Witty and wise—and perfectly capturing the tone of the author of Persuasion and Pride and Prejudice—Dear Jane Austen is as satisfying as sitting down to tea with the novelist herself.” – book description on goodreads.com

That’s all for this week – what new books did you find for your TBR pile this week?

Review: Boomtown by Nowen N. Particular

Grade: D

I’m a details person. When I buy a product that has clever packaging, little gems in every nook and cranny, it makes me love the product more – putting in that extra effort, to me, says you care about your product. So when a copy of Boomtown: Chang’s Famous Fireworks Factory by Nowen N. Particular was sent to me from the Thomas Nelson book review bloggers program, I was immediately impressed by the little details. The author’s pseudonym reminded me of Lemony Snicket. The concept of a warm and caring Utopian society who just happen to be obsessed with blowing things up – it all sounded terrific. I couldn’t wait to devour it.

Boomtown is the story of reverend Arthur Button, who moves his family to Boomtown after accepting a job with Boomtown Church. His wife and three children are all funny and clever – the kids are always getting into trouble but escaping unscathed. These four do very well in Boomtown and hearing the story from any of their perspectives might have been a treat. But this story is told from the point of view of Arthur, who is the most boring stick in the mud you will ever meet.

I think most people would love to live in Boomtown. But Arthur Button does not. And since we are reading from his perspective, the whole thing feels boring and stuffy. Button almost dies 6 times in this story and I don’t think I cared once.

What disappoints me the most was the sheer amount of potential this book had – if it hadn’t been narrated by Arthur, it might have been great. Why was this a children’s book? I can’t imagine any kid who would want to read a story told from the perspective of their father. Most kids would rather read a story from another kid’s perspective.

Supposedly there will be a second book – I won’t be reading it. But hopefully my negative review (and others I’ve seen on the review page for Boomtown) will yield a positive result for Nowen N. Particular – you had a good idea, you just mucked it up royally. Next time, try writing from the perspective of someone we can care about.