Friday, 23 May 2008

Lottie's New Beach Towell

Lottie’s New beach Towel
Written & Illustrated by Petra Mathers
ISBN # 0-689-81606-5

Do you like chickens, the beach, picnic lunches, boat rides, weddings and beach towels? If so, then this is a book for you. Lottie’s New Beach Towel is a rectangular book that is bright red and yellow and has 20 pages. Each page has only one or two sentences along with some really cute pictures.

The illustrations are done in watercolor and are bright and lively to look at. Ummmm, they are not glossy bright, but are done in realistic colors that catch your attention.

The two main characters in this book are Lottie the chicken and Herbie the duck. These two good friends have a wonderful adventure while trying to have a nice quiet picnic. So on with the story….Oh and I tell you the whole story so do not read if you want to keep the ending a secret.

PAGES 1 & 2:
Lottie is shown making a picnic lunch. She is wearing a blue striped apron and squeezing lemons. On the table is bread spread with strawberry jam and topped with bananas. You can just make out the second slice of bread with what looks like peanut butter. A large clock on the wall shows the time to be 10:38 and looking out the window you see the postman walking away and a large package sticking out of the mailbox.

The one sentence says;
Lottie was squeezing lemons when a package arrived. It’s short, sweet and to the point. Page two shows Lottie, still in her apron, pulling out a large red beach towel with white polka dots. There are actually two pictures on this page. Each is shown in a square box, kinda like a comic book. The second square show her packing her picnic lunch up in a cooler with the beach towel on the back of a chair. A note came with the package and is shown against the first picture square. The writing is large enough to read, Dear Lottie, This might come in handy this summer. Love, Aunt Mattie

This is a good time to ask your little one what the beach towel might come in handy for. See if you get the usual answer; to dry off with. I know Brennah has come up with a few good ideas, like wearing it for a wig, or wrap it around her middle for a skirt. What can I say, my little one likes clothes and hair. She’s a princess ya know! (Giggle)

PAGES 3 & 4:
Lottie takes off to meet Herbie at the beach. Again the writing is simple and direct. It was a beautiful summer day. The sun was high and the sand was hot. Soon Lottie’s feet were on fire. Uh Oh! I think anyone who has ever been on the beach in the summer can relate to this. That darn sand can get pretty warm! Lottie is in a pickle, her feet are hot and she is stuck on the beach. The picture on page four always gets a giggle from Bren. Lottie is shown standing on her cooler amongst the sand dunes with a very large hot sun beating down. OUCH!

This is a good place to ask your little one what Lottie could do to help herself get to the water.

PAGES 5 & 6:
These show how Lottie figured out how to keep her feet from getting hot. Can you guess? I think I’ll keep this a secret; you’ll have to buy the book to find out.

PAGEs 7 & 8:
Lottie has made it to the water! Hooray! There are four squares, two on each page. Square # 1 shows Lottie wading into the sea, # 2 shows her being swamped by a wave, # 3 shows her being tumbled over and over and last #4 shows a dripping wet Lottie sitting on the beach. Again, very simple text; “Here I am, come and get me!” Lottie yells to the waves and we see from the picture that she teased the sea and lost!

Herbie finally arrives in a boat to pick Lottie up for the picnic. They head out to sea and the motor quits. Herbie is shown with a face bright pink from embarrassment. Silly Herbie, now what do they do? They are stuck with no motor and no land in sight. Ask your little one to come up with a solution. Lottie comes up with using her beach towel as a sail. Wow, and it works.

PAGES 9 & 10:
They finally make it to the picnic site and eat their lunch. ”I’m so hungry I don’t care if there is sand on my sandwich. Get it, Lottie? Brennah thinks this pun is hilarious. I feel kinda dumb; it took me longer to get it than Bren.

PAGES 11 & 12:
As they sit eating their lunch, they hear voices and then see a wedding party chasing a veil that got away from the bride. The bride is lovely gray mouse in a white dress and the groom a brown mouse in a bow tie. We also some of the other mice but the one that stands out is the flower girl. A tiny little mouse in a purple dress with a basket of spilled flower petals. You read “Gone,” cried the bride. “But darling, we can still get married,” said the groom. Very melodramatic and my favorite part!

PAGES 13 & 14:
What is a bride to do? How can she get married with no veil? It’s tragic, until Lottie offers her polka dot beach towel to the bride. Yup, you got it, the bride loves the idea and the wedding is on! WHOHOO! The picture shows Lottie handing the towel to the bride and groom. The wedding party is all smiles! After the wedding they all pig out on cake. I’d like a piece, darn it. It looks mighty tasty, pink icing with hearts and flowers decorating it.

PAGES 15 & 16:
Herbie has a tummy ache! ”Oh Lottie, my stomach feels tight. Will my feathers pop off? He asked. “Time to go home,” said Lottie. This picture is too, cute! All you see is Herbie’s big belly as he is laying flat on the beach. He ate a bit too much wedding cake! Lottie is in the background holding the cooler. I think she is smirking, but I could be wrong. It’s getting dark and the pictures are getting a bit dusky. The boat reached Lottie’s dune by moonlight.

PAGES 17 & 18:
Herbie drops Lottie off and she walks up the dunes to her home. The actual sentence is; She walked up the dune. The cool sand squeaked between her toes. I didn’t know sand squeaked, did you?

Lottie is shown on page 18 sitting at her typewriter. She is writing to her Aunt Mattie, thanking her for the beach towel. We can read the paper in the typewriter. It says Dear Aunt Mattie,
Thank you so much for my new beach towel. Without it I might be in the hospital with burnt feet or lost at sea with Herbie. There might not even have been a wedding. But let me start at the beginning. Nice touch, to let little ones know it’s always polite to write thank you notes for gifts. I did have to explain what a typewriter is to Brennah. She thought part of Lottie’s computer was gone. My baby is a techie nerd!

PAGES 19 & 20:
These two pages are only pictures. Page 19 shows Lottie’s house and you can see her through the window at her typewriter. Lots of stars are in the sky and the polka dot beach towel is draped over the clothes line. A nice quiet ending to a very cute story!

If you look at the pictures the beach towel is used in a few other ways also. I love the illustrations and the story, both are simple and sweet. The story also gets your child thinking about practical solutions to some problems they might or might not have. Regardless, it makes them think and that is always good.

I bought this book from Children's Book of the Month Club and can't remember exactly how much I paid for it, but I think it's around $7.99.

Thanks and Smiles, Charotte

Friday, 16 May 2008

Book Review! The House In The Mail

The House in the Mail
By Rosemary & Tom Wells
ISBN: 0-670-03545-9
Illustrated by Dan Anderson
32 Pages
$16.99 US dollars
Age level = 4-8 years

I bought this book for my daughter. She was fascinated from the beginning. She couldn’t quite believe a house could be ordered in the mail. The living conditions and what was thought of as“modern” amazed her. It’s a well loved book in our house.

This wonderful book is written in the form of a diary with drawing and cutouts by Emily Cartwright., age 12, Emily lives with her parents, younger brother and grandparents in a two bedroom house in Enfield, Kentucky.

However, as Emily and her younger brother, Homer, grew, the house became a bit too small.

That’s when Emily declared she was moving to live with her aunt in Chicago. Her parents dropped a bombshell on them at that point. “Emily,” said Ma, “you’re right. We do live tight as bees in a hive. But we are about to build a new house of our very own, with a room for each of you and one for the new baby.” Emily and Homer found out they would be getting a new house

and a new brother or sister. Their pa laid a catalog on the table called Modern Homes. It had pictures of houses. Pa told them every house in the book came in a put-together kit and theywould put it together with a barrel of nails. Now, they just had to agree on a house.

The houses all had names like Jefferson, Beckford, or Carlisle. Finally a house called the Lincoln was selected. It had something everyone wanted, a porch for ma, big kitchen for pa, a window onto the roof for Homer and for Emily, her own bedroom.

Pa sent a check for $2,500 dollars to Sears,Roebuck & Company which was the price of the Lincoln. Ma said it was their whole life savings.

There are copies of pictures from Modern Home along with some blueprints to view. The
illustrations in this book are all on a background of parchment yellow. (think old newspaper) One of my favorites shows a modern kitchen, for the 1920’s. It looks like a child’s play kitchen. A modern washing machine which is a huge round tank with a foot pump to drain the water out which proclaims “fastest in the world!”

Each page is set up like a journal filled with photos, drawings, dried flowers, sequins, buttons, or cut-outs. One could just look at the illustrations and understand exactly what the story is about.

On November 5, 1927, not long after moving into the new house, Joseph Cartwright was born. Emily is proud that her brother is going to grow up in the modern house. He will never know how it was in the old days.

What about the rest of the story? What other secrets do Emily and Homer reveal? You will have to read this book and find out.

Website = Rosemary Wells

Rosemary Well's Biography
Rosemary Wells (1943-) Biography - Personal, Career, Honors Awards, Writings, Adaptations, Sidelights

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

The Slimy Book, A Book Review!

The Slimy Book By Babette Cole
ISBN 0-09943426-1
Published by Red Fox a division of Randomhouse
Paid UK 5.99
(british pounds at

The Slimy Book by Babette Cole is a wonderfully cute rhyming about slimy things. I bought this for my daughter mainly because there is a picture of a snail on the cover and she loves snails.

Length of Book: Typical picture book- 32 pages
Illustrations: Looks like watercolor.

The pictures are adorable from the snail dripping slime on the front cover to the Fat Ladies rubbing slime on their skin to make them thin. This also happens to be my favorite picture. Four chunky ladies dressed in belly-dancing outfits…Each has a sparkly bra-like top on. Oh La La! Very round bellies hang over their skimpy pants and bells dangle on matching belts stretched around their hips. Each is dressed in a soft shade of green, pink, blue or yellow. Oh, most importantly, they are each holding a bottle of “SlimSlime” in one hand while rubbing it on their tummies with the other. This picture makes me snicker each and every time. I suppose if I was gullible enough one of these lovely ladies could be me.

My bookworm loves reading this and having me read this to her. It is a fun book with lots of words that feel quite like what they are describing. The book starts out… Sticky, sludgy, slippy slime the sloppy, ploppy, creepy kind. And goes on to… Maybe it’s lurking in the loo. Careful! It could pounce on you! Or I wonder how it really feels, slurping slimy jellied eels…. See what I mean. You just have to drag the words out…Ssssliiimy, Sssslurping…. This is a fun, silly book which will produce many giggles as you read it.

Product Details: ISBN: 0099434261
Format: Paperback,
Pub. Date: August 2003
Publisher: Red Fox
Barnes & Noble Sales Rank: 216,371
Age Range: 5 to 8

Babette Cole's Website -

This book is one of those that will be read over and over and over again.

Smiles, Charlotte

Monday, 12 May 2008

Book Reviews- New and Old- Don't Miss This!

Hi all,
I'm very excited to be doing a book review on Kim Chatel's new book, Rainbow Sheep and have decided to start the countdown to this review by posting my previous book reviews from a site called I'm not a professional reviewer, these books are all ones I own and love. I've chosen to review them because I wanted to share these wonderful books with others.

However, this may be the start of something new. I'm more than happy to take a look at anyone's book. I can't promise a glowing review but I will give a honest one. If you are interested, e-mail me for details.

Make sure you pop back and read more reviews in the coming days AND the upcoming review of RAINBOW SHEEP by Kim Chatel. What day will it be reviewed? That's the surprise! You will have to come back and see. RAINBOW SHEEP will also be reviewed on under the user name char.mike.

Smiles, Charlotte

The Baby's Bedtime Book by Kay Chorao

This book is a treasure! Kay Chorao has collected together poems from many great poets, such as Rudyard Kipling, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Robert Louis Stevenson and Jane Taylor. There are many more poems with no author listed and I'm not sure if the author is unknown or if Kay Chorao has written these herself.

The illustrations are eye-catching, filled with color yet manage not to be harsh or over stimulating. They catch children in many different realistic poses and bring a smile to your face with the memories of your children in like situations.

The title of this review actually comes from one of my favorite poems in this book. This poem is called CRADLE-SONG by Sarojini Naidu and is found on page 46. Here is the first verse:

From groves of spice,
O'er fields of rice,
Athwart the lotus-stream,
I bring for you,
Aglint with dew,
A little lovely dream.

The illustration with this poem is of a mother holding her child in a wicker chair. They are on a patio looking out over a field with the sun going down, cattle grazing and poppy's blooming. It is a peaceful, tranquil scene.

Another poem that is a little more upbeat and lively is THE LAND OF NOD by Robert Louis Stevenson. (pg 41) It starts out like this:
From breakfast on all through the day
At home among my friends I stay;
But every night I go abroad
Afar into the land of Nod.
All by myself I have to go,
With none to tell me what to do-
All alone beside the streams
And up the mountainsides of dreams.

This poem talks about all the strange, frightening and delightful things he see while in the land of Nod, aka dreamland. Again the picture is worth looking at again and again. It shows a little one asleep at the top of the page and shows the dreams and the land of Nod as you look down the page. With frightening monsters and yummy looking berries and ice cream. Note, that while they show monsters they are cute, cuddly looking monsters, not scary at all.

Brennah's favorite poem is very simply titled STARS and there is no author listed. This is a very short poem and one of the first she memorized. Let me share this sweet little poem with you. (pg 10)
I'm glad the stars are over me
And not beneath my feet,
Where we should trample on them
Like cobbles on the street.
I think it is a happy thing
That they are set so far;
It's best to have to look up high
When you would see a star.

And yes, again the picture is just plain great to gaze at. It show a quaint cottage with bear walking down a path of stars. There are smaller details that Brennah loves to pick out, like the pig peeping out the cottage window.

This book is 64 pages long and that includes the table of contents and index page. It is filled with many familiar poems too. Such as TWINKLE, TWINKLE, LITTLE STAR (pg 25) by Jane Taylor, Rock-a-bye, Baby,(pg 29), no author listed and LULLABY AND GOOD NIGHT,(pg 45), from the German. Each of these we know best as a lullaby song. I'm sure we have all sung these to our children.

There are many different types of poems, ones when read fill your head with images, you see the poem as you read it. A good example of this would be TREE SHADOWS on page 12. This poem is from the Japanese.

All hushed the trees are waiting
On tiptoe for the sight
Of moonrise shedding splender
Across the dusk of night.

Can you see the trees waiting with branches spread for the moon to rise?

Ah, now the moon is risen
And lo, without a sound
The trees all write their welcome
Far along the ground!

The moon is filling the night sky and the trees shadows are the moons welcome. Close your eyes, can you see this? Isn't this a lovely picture?

Another type is music in poetry and a good example of this would be SWEET AND LOW by Alfred, Lord Tennyson on page 52. As you read this poem it is almost like making music. Here is the first verse.

Sweet and low, sweet and low,
Wind of the western sea,
Low, low breathe and blow,
Wind of the western sea!
Over the rolling waters go
Come from the dying moon and blow,
Blow him again to me
While my little one,
while my pretty one Sleeps.

You can feel the music of the wind and the sea in this poem and the longing of a mother for her child's father. Close your eyes and softly say this poem, you almost want to whisper the words, feel the rise and fall of the sea, when you say, Sweet and low, sweet and low. Then feel the rushing of the wind when you say, Over the rolling waters go, come from the dying moon and blow. Can you feel the music? I hope you can, this poem is truly beautiful.

As you can tell, I love poetry and I'm happy to say my youngest one does too. We have read this book soooo many times, the binding is coming loose and the pages are worn. Yet, we still enjoy it, even with knowing most of the poems by heart.

The pictures are still delightful to look on as the day we first set eyes on them. A few others we really like are AT NIGHT on page 16, My Bed is a Boat, page 21, How They Sleep, page 32, Good Night on page 38, Gaelic Lullaby, page 42 and The White Seal's Lullaby on page 48. I will leave you with one more little tidbit and hope this review has given a small insight on a wonderful book, that hopefully you will enjoy with your little one.

SLEEP, BABY, SLEEP no author listed (pg 50)
Sleep, baby, sleep
Thy father watches the sheep.
Thy mother is shaking the dreamland tree,
And down falls a little dream on thee.
Sleep, baby, sleep!

Shush now, good night!