Stories for Kids: 10 Children’s Books We Read in May
I wasn’t sure whether to title this children’s books review as May or June, as it overlapped both months. Either way, here is our review of the 10 stories for kids that we recently borrowed from the library.
As I’ve mentioned before in the previous children’s books review, I love to use kids’ picture books to support concepts that are important for or interesting to my little one and my preschool classes, and to encourage early literacy. You can watch the video at the end to get a better look at each of the books as I flip through them and share a verbal review of each of the stories for kids.
I also want to mention that the links I have included for each book are Amazon Affiliate links. This means if you click on one of the images or hyperlinked words (the clickable blue book titles) you will be taken to the page on Amazon.ca where you can check out the books there. If you purchase through these links, I will gain a small commission (not paid for by you) on the sale. This helps me to both support my post with further information about what I’m sharing with you, and to have the possibility of making a little bit of money to help cover the costs and time that I put into this blog, my little labour of love.
Alright. Let’s get to sharing our reviews of these awesome stories for kids.
10 Stories for Kids
Lottie’s New Beach Towel
This was a surprise favourite last month. Looking at the cover, I never would have guessed Z to want to read this one over and over. I suppose that’s why they say “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.” I think the content was engaging for my little one as we often go to the beach in this warmer weather, and our beach towels are an important piece of our own adventures.
In Lottie’s New Beach Towel by Petra Mathers, Lottie the chicken receives a new towel in the mail from her aunt, and takes it to the beach. Throughout her day there, the towel comes in very handy for a variety of uses, from making her way across the hot sand, to becoming a sail for a boat, and even to save the day as a replacement for a bride’s veil. The pictures will not wow you, but the story may just grab your little one the way it did mine.
Listen to Our World
My toddler (who I’ll have to start calling a preschooler pretty soon here) also thoroughly enjoyed this book while we had them at our home. The imagery was beautiful in colour and design, and the text was short and calming. This made for a lovely bedtime book. The basis of this children’s book is taking a peek at different animals and their sounds all over the world. (You can check out some more books with animal sounds and actions that we like here.) I really liked how Listen to Our World changed orientation several times throughout the story, which my little Z is slowly becoming accustomed to. At first she was upset by my turning the book to see the picture in the intended orientation (that’s not the way it’s supposed to be!), but soon she came to see that changing our viewpoint could be an interesting way to look at a book. An important lesson in flexibility, change, and different viewpoints that I believe can be carried over to other parts of life as well.
Tap the Magic Tree
Tap the Magic Tree by Christie Matheson took the reader through the changing of one tree over the different seasons. This was an interactive book in that it asked the reader to tap the tree with their fingers to encourage it to change, such as dropping it’s leaves or growing some flowers. The images were very simple and clear, with uncluttered illustrations that made it ideal for this toddler age, and the text was short and sweet. This would be a perfect kids’ book to bring out when discussing change, seasons, trees, and growth.
Bee Dance by Rick Chrustowski is a children’s book that was appropriate for our timing as we’ve been taking a lot of notice of the bees that visit the flowers in the garden and parks we visit. This book goes through the experience of a bee who finds a flower patch, collects nectar and pollen, and flies back to the hive to tell the other bees where to go for the flowers with the dance that bees use. I found this book to be the perfect mix of science and story for young readers, sharing the parts and behaviours of bees in a simple and interesting way, and with images that were full of colour and detail without being overwhelming. A picture book for kids about bees and how they live is a big positive in my books, as we cannot care about or for something we don’t know, so becoming more involved in the life of a bee may be helpful in teaching children to protect and support the bees.
Whoever You Are
Whoever You Are by Mem Fox is a soul-touching picture book that always gets me. I’ve used it several times in my preschool classes as a way of talking about difference and acceptance (a topic I feel strongly about and have written on previously to share how to handle the concept of difference with children and 4 stories for kids that I regularly use to broach this topic in a positive way). In this story, children are led through different lives and parts of the world to see how we all may have very different experiences, but we are also all similar in some ways. We all have hearts, we all feel different emotions, we all get hurt and bleed. Inside we are similar, while on the outside we may look and act very differently. The tone of this book is somewhat deep and serious, and the images are drawn with much colour and detail.
Yes We Can
Yes We Can by Sam McBratney was another favourite for my Little Z of the stories for kids we got this time. This book broaches the subject of different abilities and how we all have strengths and weaknesses, and that we should celebrate our different talents rather than trying to outdo each other. It was also a lovely way to gently talk about how it can be hurtful to laugh at someone when they are struggling and can’t do something they’re trying to do, which is something we’re beginning to encounter in our own life. The story follows a kangaroo, a mouse, and a duck as they challenge each other to try doing the things that the other animals are skilled at. When the animals cannot do the tasks, the others laugh while they watch their friend’s struggle, and the animal trying gets upset and says not to laugh at them. The story ends with the animals each cheering for each other while they each get a turn to show what they’re good at, instead. Again, this was a children’s book with some very beautiful imagery, and the shorter text was on par with where my 2.5 year old is at developmentally.
A Book of Babies
I picked this one out, especially for Little Z because of her intense love for babies of all varieties. A Book of Babies by Il Sung Na was a sweet and simple look at different animal babies in a variety of environments, and how their lives differ. Some babies can walk when their born, and others need to be carried. Some babies have many siblings, and others have no siblings at all. (Speaking of, if you have or are considering sticking to having an only child like our family, here are a bunch of benefits to raising an only child.)
The Yoga Game by The Sea
I thought this children’s book would be more interesting for us, being that my toddler is very interested and engaged with yoga (you can read about the benefits, tips, and some awesome materials I’ve found to support yoga with my toddler and preschoolers in this Yoga for Kids post). However, it didn’t quite grab us the way I imagined, and sat unread most of the time it was in our home. I think we may have to try this one again some other time.
Each page of The Yoga Game by the Sea by Kathy Beliveau gives a hint about what pose is coming up, and shows an image of a child doing the yoga pose on the next page. I found the poses weren’t explained very clearly, but was more of a gentle way to introduce children to yoga and body movement, and the children could look at the drawings and try to imitate the poses.
This was another serious favourite children’s book borrowed this month, and I can see us getting it again,or maybe even buying it to keep for continual reference. Wow! Ocean! by Robert Neubecker is a highly visual picture book that introduces the young readers to a girl named Izzy and her sister, who leave their mountain home one day to go to the ocean. After the first introductory page, the book becomes more about looking at the different items and creatures in and near the ocean, with a simple text on each double-page spread of “Wow! Sharks!” or “Wow! Whales” or whatever the topic of the page spread is showing. Most of the objects and creatures on each page have the names beside them so you can answer the inevitable “What’s that?” that will come as you peruse each stunningly detailed visual.
I really love stories for kids like the Wow! Ocean! one I just mentioned, that have little to now words. These wordless books encourage the readers to really look at a picture and discuss what’s going on, rather than simply listening to what the author is telling you through the text. Inside Outside by Lizi Boyd is one of these conversation starters as there isn’t a single word of text in the entire book. Instead, each page spread alternates between a view of the inside and outside of a child’s home, with interesting images to explore the different happenings and objects inside and outside. Each page has small cutouts to give views of the inside or outside that can be seen in full on the next or previous pages. The pictures paint a variety of stories to wonder on, with small details to notice as the days carry on and the seasons change, showing in both the inside and outside environments. I found that this book had too many pages to get through in one sitting with my Little Z. This didn’t matter, however, as the story line can stop and start on any page without being confusing as there is no text and no single, concrete story to follow.
Stories for Kids May Video Review
Well, that’s all for this episode of the stories for kids that we borrowed form the library this time. For more ideas on awesome stories for kids, you can check out the previous children’s books review here. What have you read and enjoyed with your little ones lately? I’d love to hear your favourites and suggestions. Please comment in the space below this post, or connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube. If you liked what you read, I’d be tickled pink if you’d sign up here for my short weekly newsletter that let’s you know what’s been freshly posted to the blog. That way you don’t miss anything awesome, like ECE-approved early learning activities and ideas for living an eco-friendly life, and exciting family-friendly giveaways.
Happy reading! Let’s promote early literacy and spend some time bonding over stories for kids with our babes!