Book & Multimedia Reviews

Stories to Satisfy Kids of All Ages

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Mommy's Best Kisses

There’s no better way to show children how much they are loved than by spending time reading with them. From toddlers to tweens and teens, this month’s selections are packed with stories that your kids will want to hear. The books are well written and wonderfully illustrated, which makes the reading even better.



For the little ones, Mommy’s Best Kisses  is a board book that demonstrates how mothers show their love to their babies, and not just human children. The story is told by a human mom in lyrical rhymes accompanied by soft illustrations showing animal babies. There’s the pig who kisses her piglet’s plump tummy, as round as can be, and a polar bear who kisses a “belly button as you grin up at me.” Author Margaret Anastas details how the expression of love through mom’s kisses starts when her baby awakens through the goodnight kiss and starts all over again the next day.



Author Andy Cutbill describes Marjorie’s quest to do something special in The Cow That Laid an Egg. Poor Marjorie, a Holstein cow, can’t ride a bike or do handstands, so imagine her surprise when she lays an egg. Through a cunning plan hatched by her chicken pals, who laid the egg and painted it with black spots, Marjorie discovers that she could be special. Her fellow cows were suspect of Marjorie’s ability to lay an egg until it hatched and cried “moo.” This silly story is matched with delightful drawings that make you think anything is possible.

 


Mazes Around the World  details some of the most interesting mazes and labyrinths around the world, including ones in Egypt, Greece, France, Sweden and South Africa. In her book, author Mary D. Lankford details some of the most famous mazes of all time from stone to hedge to turf. For example, the labyrinth at San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral draws about 200,000 visitors a year. At the Edinburgh Zoo in Scotland, Adrian Fisher designed a hedge maze that looks like a giant Galapagos tortoise when seen from above. This book has some nifty facts and is complete with mazes to trace with your finger.



The next few selections are for teens and almost-teens. Cathy’s Key, by Sean Stewart and Jordan Weisman is written like a diary of a teenage girl who loses her boyfriend. The story follows Cathy and her best friend Emma as they traipse through San Francisco. It’s filled with doodling and artwork, all presumably done by the infamous Cathy including one self-portrait she calls “Gunslinger Girl.” In that chapter, Cathy is convinced she is going to be kidnapped by “a guy in a dirty wife-beater shirt” with a tattoo on his arm that reads “Die Trying.” She threatens to pepper spray him until she finds out he is just the brother of one of her friends. This is one of Cathy’s many nonsensical antics detailed throughout the book. Visit the cool companion site www.cathyskey.com for more fun.



In Anna Smudge, Professional Shrink by Mac, an 11-year-old girl teams up with a motley crew of friends for an adventure throughout New York City’s landmarks to find the elusive Mr. Who. The book is about a juvenile sleuth who also is a very popular therapist. The story starts with Anna sitting in the chief of police’s office ready to explain how in nine days she discovered the identity of Mr. Who, a man who had successfully avoided both the FBI and CIA. This very cute story is a great read for juvenile mystery junkies (and their moms).



Finally, Nigel Hinton’s Time Bomb, set in the late 1940s, is about four 12-year-old boys and a thrilling discovery: an unexploded bomb from World War II. The book was selected as one of the outstanding international books in 2007 by the United States Board on Books for Young People and the Children’s Book Council. In the story, Andy and his buddies swear a blood oath to keep the unexploded bomb a secret. Ultimately, the bomb explodes, seriously hurting a man who finally dies from his injuries. The bonds of friendship are tested, but the truth eventually gets told.


Freelance writer Eileen Cornish lives in Santee with her husband Steve and three sons, Ben, Brad and Andrew.