Friday, January 5, 2024

What's The Hurry, Helma? Book Review

What's the Hurry, Helma?

 

Author: Verena Zannantoni

Illustrator: Hank van der Gugten

Publisher: Marvelous Minds Press

Released: November 20, 2023

Format: Hardcover, Paperback

ISBN: 979-8-9891604-1-9

Reviewer: Ellwyn Autumn

Rating:  3 Lemon Drops

Available on Amazon.

A great story about the value of learning to follow directions, taking your time, and understanding that everyone’s actions have consequences.





I received a complimentary copy of the book from Reedsy and agreed to give an honest review.

Review:

Book Summary:

Helma is bursting with excitement to start her rescue missions and prove she's the best.

Regrettably, Helma encounters difficulty in following her instructor Bernie's directions and narrowly avoids disaster multiple times.

In the end, Helma understands the significance of taking time and listening to experienced individuals.

Opinion:

What’s the Hurry, Helma? Choppy Rescue Missions in Italy is a story that will resonate with many young children.

Like most youngsters, Helma, the main character, possesses a spontaneous nature and a strong desire to assist.

Additionally, she aims to prove her capability in accomplishing tasks similar to a more seasoned rescue helicopter.

As the story moves along, Helma’s intense focus on the rescue missions causes her to completely disregard the direct instructions from her teacher. This is something that many kids are notorious for.

Helma teaches children important lessons like patience, obedience, attentiveness, self-restraint, and understanding consequences.


A perfect cause-and-effect scenario occurs during a mission to save Bella the Cat.

Bernie asks for more time to buckle Bella in, but Helma ignores his call. In consequence, Bella the Cat drops.

Fortunately, she doesn’t get hurt after landing in a bed of croissants.

This is the perfect opportunity for parents and teachers to talk about the consequences of our actions. 

What was the reason for Bella's fall? Helma's lack of attentiveness to Bernie led to this. Bella's accident happened because Helma didn't listen. The effect was Bella falling into a bed of croissants.

I enjoyed van der Gugten’s colorful illustrations. They added a lot of pep and humor to the story.


With that said, there are two aspects that could make the story better.
Adding a section on the history of Bernese Mountain Dogs would benefit the readers' understanding of this lovable breed.

A few verses were overly wordy and could benefit from revision.

I give it 3 1/2 Lemon Drops!




Classroom Connection:

A classroom theme on transportation or Italy would benefit from incorporating What’s the Hurry, Helma? Choppy Rescue Missions in Italy, while also teaching lessons on impulse control, cause-and-effect, the value of taking your time, and following directions.





Age Range: The author recommends 3-5 years.


Targeted Vocabulary:

safety, wreck, inspection, croissant, cheeky, pounces, hovering, ignore

Resources:

Teachers Pay Teachers

Bernese Mountain Dag



Italy

Italy Unit Study {Free Sample} by Simple Living Creative Learning (teacherspayteachers.com)

FREE - Italy Map Outline by The Harstad Collection | TPT (teacherspayteachers.com)

FREE - Italy - 4 Posters by The Harstad Collection | TPT (teacherspayteachers.com)


About The Author:





Growing up surrounded by the tall mountains of northern Italy, Verena fell in love with reading at an early age.

The young bookworm wiggled her way through so many stories at her local library that one year she even set a record for borrowing the most books.

Though she's lived, worked, and studied in Germany, Australia and the US, her enduring love for storytelling and her birthplace has remained unwavering.

This mom to two helicopter-obsessed boys has now put pen to paper and written her first children’s book: What’s the Hurry, Helma? Choppy Rescue Adventures in Italy.

Fueled by nostalgia and as a way to revisit Verena’s childhood upbringing, the book takes place in South Tyrol.

This Italian region is known for its stunning natural beauty, and the mountains and lakes provide the perfect backdrop for Helma’s first day as a rescue helicopter.

Her whirlwind adventures are depicted in an entertaining way, whilst also teaching kids the value of slowing down and listening to others.

 

About the Illustrator:

At the moment Henk is a musical creative teacher at an MBO. But for as long as he can remember, he’s been drawing.


His first drawing memories is, that in kindergarten he made a drawing in his workbook.

 

But because he couldn't stop, he filled his entire book in one morning. When he was done, he proudly walked to the teacher to show her his drawings.


But instead of them being his one compliment, he got hit on the head. He wasn't supposed to make so many drawings.

 

He’s actually still that little boy who just wants to draw.

 

In addition to his work as a teacher, he has been working as an independent illustrator since October 2018.


Henk Van Der Gugten

website


Saturday, December 30, 2023

2023 Lemon Drop Book Awards





 At the end of the year, I go through the books I've reviewed and give certificates to my favorites.

Congratulations to this year's winners! 

Friday, December 29, 2023

Superhero Cowgirl Princess Book Review


 

Author: Janine Parker

Illustrator: Juliet Parker

Publisher: Marvelous Minds Press

Released: October 9, 2023

Format: Hardcover

ISBN: 979-8-9890508-0-2

Reviewer: Ellwyn Autumn

Rating:  3 1/2 Lemon Drops

Available for purchase here.



Review:

A child brimming with enthusiasm and creativity supported by a mother who happily encourages ger to explore every facet of her personality.

I received a complimentary copy of the book from Reedsy and agreed to give an honest review.

Book Summary:

As Halloween approaches, Juliet, a little girl with limitless aspirations to be anything and everything, embraces the power of her vivid imagination.

Right now, is the perfect time for her to delve into new experiences and uncover more about herself.

Under the intentional questions posed by her mother, Juliet explores the multi-faceted roles she’d like to take on. This ultimately leads to a one-of-a-kind Halloween costume of self-expression and playfulness.

Opinion:

Superhero Cowgirl Princess is a fantastic story for any child looking to express themselves in a safe environment.

In step with the thrust of redesigning gender roles, Juliet exemplifies how girls can embrace masculine roles while still maintaining their feminine identity.

I liked how Juliet's mother encouraged her with open-ended 'wh' questions.

Children can expand their vocabulary, confidence, and critical thinking skills by answering these types of questions. They also learn social norms for productive conversations with others.

Juliet's mom embodies the ideal parent who guides their child towards self-awareness without being intrusive.

She enthusiastically supports Juliet’s colorful wardrobe choices that evolves into an energetic blend of childhood ingenuity and dramatic play.   

The story was enjoyable, and it sends a positive message that resonates with girls and children everywhere. That being said, the story would benefit from another edit.

Two inconsistencies exist with the names of the characters. First, the mother is referred to as Mom and Mommy. I believe the author should use only one of these labels.

Second, the main character’s name is Juliet, but we don’t learn her name until halfway through the story. Introducing Juliet’s name on page three of the story would better serve the reader. The author could simply switch sweetheart with Juliet.   

Juliet Parker’s watercolor illustrations capture the warm palette of autumn that complement the fall themed story nicely. Children will enjoy the different scenarios the main character envisions for herself.

I would have liked to give the story four stars but refrained because of the changes I feel it needs.

I give it 3 1/2 Lemon Drops!





Classroom Connection: 

Superhero Cowgirl Princess is a perfect example for a lesson on self-image and the unique creativity we all possess as well as a Halloween Read Aloud.

Age Range: Pre-K to 3rd Grade





Targeted Vocabulary: 

spiraled, crooked, sparkly, dashing, fluttering, heroic, adventure, galloping, tiara, imagining, imagination

Resources: 

Click the picture to access the links.







About The Author:





For over 20 years, Janine has provided individual and family therapy services by creating a therapeutic atmosphere of warmth, respect, and acceptance. Her approach is to support the dignity of each person while encouraging openness, emotional awareness, and healthy problem-solving.

About the Illustrator:

When Juliet was little, she was notorious for playing dress up and throwing around wild ideas. As a young woman, she still likes to think she plays dress-up, only now she’s dressing up as herself. Specifically, she gets to wake up every day and dress up as the “myself’ that her mom helped her become.

Saturday, December 23, 2023

Snowday at the Zoo Book Review

 



Author: Lauren Muskovitz Ranalli 

Illustrator: Mollie Olinyk

Publisher: Lauren Ranalli

Released: January 1, 2023

Format: Paperback

ISBN: 978-17733143318

Reviewer: Ellwyn Autumn

Rating: 4 Lemon Drops

Prepare for a snow day unlike any other. What makes this one so different from all the other snow days? It’s at the zoo!




Summary:

Have you ever wondered who takes care of all the animals at the zoo when it snows so many schools and businesses shut down? Snow Day at the Zoo offers readers a unique and playful perspective of how zoo animals spend their snow day.

Review:

Told through the little girl’s point of view, we get a firsthand look at how much this lively child enjoys caring for the animals. She turns chores into active games that even her reluctant brother revels in.

Youngsters will clamor to hear more or to visit their local zoo in the dead of winter, after reading Lauren Ranalli’s interpretation of a snow day at the zoo. For every parent’s sake, I hope their children choose the former every time! 😉

With spirited rhyming, the story takes us though the day of two siblings who help their zookeeper father tend to the animals on a snowy day at the zoo. From sledding with tigers to ice-skating with penguins, this is a one-of-a-kind snow day full of wintertime fun!

Mollie Olinyk’s colorful illustrations are charming and pleasing to the eye. I especially enjoyed the picture of the little girl celebrating snow day number two.

I give it 4 Lemon Drops!





Classroom Connection:

Age Range: 2 years and up

Targeted Vocabulary: blanketed, chores, barricades, swarmed, exhausted





Resources & Lesson Ideas:

Literacy:

After a read-aloud of the book, children and grown-ups can discuss a typical snow day they’ve experienced. Compare and contrast these experiences to those of the characters in the book.

Zoo Animals Flashcards | FREEBIE by Prestige English | TPT (teacherspayteachers.com)

Fun Animal Shadow Matching Worksheets - FluffyTots

Art:

Farm Animal Crafts | Zoo Animal Crafts | Jungle Animal Crafts Freebie - Cut&Glue (teacherspayteachers.com)

How to Draw a Lion for Kids - How to Draw Easy

Music/Movement: 

Act out the movements and sounds of each animal in the book.

The BEST Dear Zoo Activities for Preschool & Kindergarten (littleslovelearning.com)

Science:

All About Zoo Animals-FREEBIE!! by Free Falling in SDC | TPT (teacherspayteachers.com)

FREE! Zoo Animals MATCHING Activity - MONTESSORI Theme - Busy Book Binder (teacherspayteachers.com)

Math:

FREE Zoo Animals Sort by Size Kindergarten Cut and Paste Worksheets Special Ed (teacherspayteachers.com)

FREE Letter and Number Matching Puzzles Zoo Animals by The Simplified Classroom (teacherspayteachers.com)

Zoo Activities for Preschool They'll Be Wild About in Math Centers - Turner Tots

Available on Amazon

About The Author:





Lauren Ranalli is an award-winning children’s book writer and marketing coach for aspiring and self-published authors.

She is a fully-grown adult who still gets excited about the Scholastic book catalogue. She can wander for hours in bookstores and absolutely loves a freshly sharpened pencil.

She has found so much joy in pursuing her dream of being a children’s book author. Inspired by her own high-spirited children, she aims to create stories that excite curiosity and broaden our sense of community.

 

 


 

Friday, December 15, 2023

A Journey Down Under Book Review

 



Author: R.W. Starr

Illustrator: Marta Maszkiewicz

Publisher: R.W. Starr Publishing

Released: May 22, 2023

Format: Kindle, Paperback

ISBN: 978-8218955205

Reviewer: Ellwyn Autumn

Rating:  4 Lemon Drops

A charming non-fiction book for young readers that includes catchy rhymes, warm watercolor illustrations, and loads of interesting facts!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Reedsy Discovery. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.





Review:

Book Summary:

A Journey Down Under is a wonderful non-fiction resource for young children and their parents and educators.

For those of us who are not Australian, the book is a terrific introduction to Australia and its unique and diverse animal population.

Opinion:

I like that the book shows a map of Australia inlaid with native type images that are very pretty and easy to discern.

It left me wondering, “Is this Indigenous art or just the illustrator’s creative expression?” Other curious minds may also want to delve into this and explore it further.

Because of its educational nature, the story is appropriate for both home and classroom libraries in various ways.

As a bedtime story, it will introduce children and parents to the many varied animals that inhabit Australia.

The author introduced each animal with a catchy rhyme, followed by an interesting, fun fact that is very informative.




In the classroom, teachers can use the book to introduce students to the continent of Australia, along with its unique and diverse animal population.

The author also references the Aboriginal people of Australia, which is another important topic educators can include in their lesson plans.

Another feature of the book I enjoyed is the resource page at the end. 

The author provides links and references readers can check out to learn even more about the animals discussed in the book.

There is even mention of a YouTube channel where you can listen to a lyrebird and a kookaburra.

Marta Maszkiewicz’s watercolor illustrations are warm with earthy tones perfect for a book about Australia’s wildlife.

Each illustration appears accurate and is very pleasing to the eye. I appreciated the purple and pink color scheme used for the bandicoot’s page.

It’s obvious the author cares deeply about Australia’s rich history, its animal kingdom, and his readers.   

I gave it 4 Lemon Drops!





Classroom Connection:

Age Range: 3-6 years old

Targeted Vocabulary: distinguishing, features, Eucalyptus, snooze, permanent, marsupial, curious, secure, perched, consistent, ventures, majestic, pant, accuracy, mimics, absorb, roosting, echolocation, prehistoric, waddles





Lesson Ideas & Resources:

A research project on the continent of Australia, one of its many animals, or the aboriginal people who live there.

Australia | TPT (teacherspayteachers.com)

Literacy:

Australia Booklet (A Country Study!) by Emily Bynum | TPT (teacherspayteachers.com)

Australian Animals Bingo plus Printables for Preschool and Pre-K by KidSparkz (teacherspayteachers.com)

Art:

28 Australia Activities for Kids - Taming Little Monsters

24 Amazing Australia Day Crafts for Kids - Happy Toddler Playtime

Music/Movement:

Move like the animals that live in Australia. Hop like a kangaroo, swim like a platypus, climb like a Tasmanian devil, dig like a wombat, squawk like a kookaburra, run like an emu.

Gorgeous Animal Movement Dice for Kids - Mother Natured

(2) songs about australia for kids - YouTube

Australia Song | Song for Kids | Countries of the World (youtube.com)

(2) Follow the Animals | Sing and Dance Along | Australian Songs for Kids | Music for Kids - YouTube

Social Studies:

Australia: An Introduction to the Art, Culture, Sights, and Food (teacherspayteachers.com)

Australia (country study) by Thematic Worksheets | TPT (teacherspayteachers.com)

"Trip to Australia" Power Point & Activities Pack! by Ashley McKenzie (teacherspayteachers.com)

Science:

Australian Animals preschool theme activities - KIDSPARKZ

Math:

Australian Animals Free Activity Pack - Taming Little Monsters

Australian Animals Graphing Printable - Life Over C's (lifeovercs.com)

Available on Amazon

About The Author:





I have always had an interest in writing children's books, but life always seemed to get in the way. However, after retiring from professional life, I now can pursue my passion.

I love animals and my fiancée, and I currently have three dogs, two of which we recently adopted from a local shelter. I must thank my fiancée for her gracious inspiration and support.

She is my editor, sounding board, and constant companion. I am a cancer survivor and appreciate the time I have been given and want to bring some joy into the lives of children.

I remember when my mom and dad read to me when I was little, and I shared this tradition with my own daughter when she was growing up.

Books have always played an important part of my life. I forget who said it, but those who read can live a thousand lives, but those who don't only live one.

About the Illustrator:





You can find Marta Maszkiewicz on Instagram.

 

Saturday, December 9, 2023

I'm A Lion On The Prowl


 

Author: Rebecca Atanassova

Illustrator: N/A

Publisher: Popsicle Publishing

Released: June 19, 2023

Format: Kindle, Paperback

ISBN: 978-1960746191

Reviewer: Ellwyn Autumn

Rating:  4 Lemon Drops

An easy-to-read rhyming book chock full of animal sounds, adorable illustrations, and childish imagination. Great for toddlers and babies! 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Reedsy Discovery. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.





Review:

Book Summary:

A terrific story about a young child’s imaginative play as they pretend to be various animals both domestic and wild.

Opinion:

I’m a Lion on the Prowl (And Other Things, Too!) has a lot to offer young children and their parents and educators. The story is appropriate for both the home and classroom settings in various ways.

As a read-to-me story at home, it will introduce young readers to different animal sounds, rhyme patterns, and joyful dramatic play. There is tons of fun to be had mimicking the animals’ characteristic sounds and distinctive movements.

It may even inspire them to play with their own stuffed animals in a similar fashion. Don’t be surprised if you find your child emptying their toy chest as they hunt for their favorite friends to join them in a bout of imaginative play.

In the classroom, teachers can introduce onomatopoeia to students through the sounds the various animals make and rhyme through the playful rhythm of the text.

This book has the potential to be used as an interactive read-aloud and a shared reading experience as well. I’m sure after hearing the story a few times, students will be reading along with their teachers (or in the case of older children, reading on their own in no time at all).  

I enjoyed the playful tone presented through the text and the adorable illustrations. As soon as I opened the title page, I knew I was going to love this book.

Seven of the cutest little button-eyed animals are lined up as if a child has intentionally placed them there in a neat row. The perfect audience to watch over the child as he performs his boisterous animal renditions.

The illustrator’s watercolor illustrations are a cheerful ensemble of sweet images sure to capture the attention of young readers.

I give it 4 Lemon Drops!



Classroom Connection:

I chose to focus on zoo animals, but the book has a variety of different creatures.

Age Range: Baby to five years old

Targeted Vocabulary: rhyme, onomatopoeia



                               Image by Mihail_fotodeti from Pixabay


Resources & Lesson Ideas:

Literacy:

After a read-aloud of the book, reread the rhyming and sound words and make a list of them. Think of other rhyming pairs and words that represent onomatopoeia.

Zoo Animals Flashcards | FREEBIE by Prestige English | TPT (teacherspayteachers.com)

Fun Animal Shadow Matching Worksheets - FluffyTots

Art:

Farm Animal Crafts | Zoo Animal Crafts | Jungle Animal Crafts Freebie - Cut&Glue (teacherspayteachers.com)

How to Draw a Lion for Kids - How to Draw Easy

Music/Movement:

Act out the movements and sounds of each animal in the book.

The BEST Dear Zoo Activities for Preschool & Kindergarten (littleslovelearning.com)

Science:

All About Zoo Animals-FREEBIE!! by Free Falling in SDC | TPT (teacherspayteachers.com)

FREE! Zoo Animals MATCHING Activity - MONTESSORI Theme - Busy Book Binder (teacherspayteachers.com)

Math:

FREE Zoo Animals Sort by Size Kindergarten Cut and Paste Worksheets Special Ed (teacherspayteachers.com)

FREE Letter and Number Matching Puzzles Zoo Animals by The Simplified Classroom (teacherspayteachers.com)

Zoo Activities for Preschool They'll Be Wild About in Math Centers - Turner Tots

Available on Amazon

About The Author:





Rebecca Atanassova is a longtime children’s author and mother of three living in the heartland of America. With a keen eye for capturing the essence of childhood, she breathes life into simple moments by infusing them with a touch of magic.

Recently, she has become a wildlife rescue volunteer. Rebecca draws upon this opportunity to further explore her love for nature. She also is currently an active member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.

Rebecca enjoys traveling with her husband, a university professor, and their young son. They are as likely to be found hiking in National Parks as they are on adventures in exotic locations.

Her work is often spurred on by the beauty and lessons of the natural world she encounters on her travels. Rebecca and her family also support charitable organizations dedicated to nurturing Bulgarian orphans.