Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The “O, MY” in Tonsillectomy & Adenoidectomy: How to Prepare Your Child for Surgery

The “O, MY” in Tonsillectomy & Adenoidectomy: How to Prepare Your Child for Surgery (Second Edition)           
By: Laurie Zelinger, Ph.D., R.P.T.-S 
Published by: Loving Healing Press   Date: 2010     
ISBN: 978-1-61599-053-5 (paperback); 978-1-61599-054-2 (hardcover)
Price: $19.95 (paperback); $32.95 (hardcover)
Ages: Adults
Rating:  4 stars
Reviewed by: Nancy Messmore

Synopsis: When a child has to have surgery, concern may overwhelm caregivers.  In this guide to preparing for tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy, Dr. Zelinger has gathered information to help caregivers remember what the doctor may have said, prepare themselves and their children for the surgery, and be ready for post-surgery needs.

The book covers everything from making the decision to have surgery to scripting a discussion about surgery with a child.  A bibliography is provided at the end of the book to help caregivers answer any questions that may not have been answered in the book.  Also, a checklist and caregiver’s organizer are provided.

Overall thoughts: Dr. Zelinger is thorough in every aspect of preparing caregivers and children for surgery.  I especially appreciated the fact that both the physical and psychological comforts of the children were considered.  Tips for minimizing worry are especially helpful.  Scripting discussions about what the tonsils are and what to expect after surgery are particularly helpful—I always wonder if I’m telling my kids too much or not enough about things that impact them, like an impending surgery.

On that note, I think the book would have been more effective had the scripts been presented as mini-books, such as a few pages illustrated and written to be read to the children.  Illustrations are so effective in expressing concepts that may be too advanced for younger children.  Additionally, I wonder if the text-heavy pages would be overwhelming for caregivers who are already distracted with worry.  For example, the paragraph listing what to pack on the morning of surgery is awfully long and hard to read.  It might be more reader-friendly as a bulleted list.

Overall, I am impressed by the thorough coverage of the topic.  From personal experience, I know that listening to a doctor recount the why’s and when’s and how’s of a surgery for my child is overwhelming and I do not hear or recall the majority of the information.  Laurie Zelinger has taken all that information and put it into an easy to read, accessible resource to calm caregivers and children before surgery.


Monday, November 29, 2010

Do Witches Make Fishes? Book Review

Do Witches Make Fishes?
By: Jason Mayo; illustrated by Justin Wolfson         
Published by: AuthorHouse    Date: 2010
ISBN: 978-1-4520-6944-9
Price: $12.99
Ages: 4-8
Rating:   4 stars
Reviewed by: Nancy Messmore

Synopsis: There once was a boy who was tired of carrots and fishes.  He went on a hunger strike, holding out for candy and sweets.  His frustrated mother transformed into a kichen witch who offered him a choice: eat dinner or never, ever have the chance to eat any sweet treats again.  His choice was clear.  So with one last wish, he chose his mommy’s carrots and fishes with the option for treats and sweets in the future.

Overall thoughts: Jason Mayo’s rhyming tale of an all-too-familiar mealtime ritual reads aloud wonderfully well.  The rhythm is perfect and his words almost force the reader into using narrative voices and deep drama. Many preschoolers will find themselves drawn into the story that mirrors their own mealtime dramas.  Justin Wolfson’s illustrations capture the story well.  Changes in perspective from page to page encourage children to keep their eyes on the book during the story telling.  Often there were interesting details to discover in the pictures as well.

As I read the book through the first time, I found myself stumbling with the sentence structure.  The irregular pattern to the rhymes makes it difficult to read silently.  While it is remarkably easy to read aloud, I think emerging readers may struggle with the structure if they read to themselves.  Additionally, I thought the ending was abrupt.  I think I wanted the illustration of the happy mother and child reunion to occur after the boy makes his wish.  As for the illustrations, my only complaint is that the duotone fleck pattern on each page was often distracting, especially on the pages with great detail or extreme close ups.

Overall, this is a wonderfully entertaining read aloud book.  I am impressed by this author’s debut picture book.


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Mummy Mazes: A Monumental Book

By: Elizabeth Carpenter         
Published by: Workman Publishing    Date: 2010
ISBN: 978-0-7611-6074-8
Price: $10.95
Ages: 6-12
Rating:   5 stars
Reviewed by: Nancy Messmore

Synopsis: Professor Archie Ologist needs help!  He has collected 28 oversized mazes that need to be solved.  Once each maze is worked out, an ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic is uncovered; collect them all and solve the whole puzzle!

Before solving the maze on each 12” x 17-1/2” page, the professor has important background facts to read.  Each page can be colored and torn out to hang as posters.  Solving all of the puzzles is only half the fun.  When the final message from the mummy is decoded, readers will have learned about ancient Egypt. 

Overall thoughts: Combining a history lesson with enormous mazes is a fun way to support what children are learning in school.  In fact, this book supplements lessons on ancient Egypt by reinforcing information in an entertaining format.  Once complete, each page can be removed from the book and hung on the wall as reference.  Teachers and homeschoolers will appreciate this aspect of the book.  Parents will also want to have a copy at home to reinforce lessons from school in an entertaining format.

This is not just a coloring book or a simple book of puzzles.  The mazes are challenging and children will need to use their best problem-solving skills to work through the book.  But do not fear—if a puzzle is too hard, answers are tucked in the back of the book!  Additionally, following the story of Professor Archie Ologist will engage readers; the tale is as entertaining as it is educational.  For entertainment with an educational twist, this book is the complete package that will engage readers and problem-solvers for a long time!


Friday, November 26, 2010

Review of Gulliver's Travels

Review By David Broughton

Title: Gulliver's Travels
ISBN: 978-0-14-311911-1
Published by Penguin Group
Suggested Retail: $14 USD $19 CAN
290 pages, trade paperback

On the eve of a new movie release based on Gulliver's Travels I was asked to review the book being re-released to coincide with the new Jack Black movie. I accepted the challenge fully expecting to receive a modernized, cannibalized carcass of the original work. When the book arrived, I was surprised and delighted to see it's the entire work in its original form.  However, now I had a dilemma on my hands: What does one say about a true classic masterwork that has survived for centuries? As I began re-reading the book I hadn't read in better than thirty years, I was still in a quandary as to what this usually less than humble reviewer could say about a brilliant masterwork that hadn't been said hundreds of times before. The fact is, I can't improve on what was said before, but I could remind people of the enjoyment such a book can bring to the reader. In this soundbite world, I imagine few have read and enjoyed the original work. Avid readers know what the rest of the world seems to have forgotten, the pure joy of a brilliant masterwork. Granted, I have enjoyed the many previous movies based on Gulliver's Travels and fully expect to enjoy the new Jack Black movie, but having been on movie sets, and in the cutting room, I know that a movie can rarely do a complete novel justice, unless they want to make a movie six to eight hours long. For time reasons, it simply isn't possible to include everything in a movie that's in a book. I urge everyone that enjoys a great story to both get and enjoy the book version of Gulliver's Travels, and go see the movie, but not necessarily in that order. Enjoy the book for the literary masterwork it is, and the movie for the comedic genius that is Mr. Black.

Ten Hats Book Review

Ten Hats
By:  Carolyn Mott Ford   Illustrated by:  Jack Gordon
Published by: E & E Publishing Date:  2009
ISBN-10:  0979160626
Price:  $15.95
Ages:   3-6
Rating:  4 1/2 stars (1-5)
Reviewed by:  Kris Quinn Christopherson

Synopsis:  An illustrated picture book that counts down through the various ‘hats’ people wear in their professions, Ten Hats confirms to children that they have choices in life. They will enjoy discovering who might be wearing the hats. 

Overall thoughts:  Children love to guess and love to see animals doing things that humans do.  This fun picture book allows children to do both.  The illustrations are charming, and the prose is appropriately repetitive for a pleasurable reading experience for younger readers.  Readers will find themselves giggling at the animals, and will probably not realize they are also learning counting skills. The delightful guessing and finding out about careers concludes with an inspiring message for children, for anyone. 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Pilgrim Village: Thanksgving Diorama Review

Pilgrim Village Thanksgiving Diorama: Captivating Color and Cutout Construction
By:  Kevin Ludgate, author and illustrator
Published by:   Schiffer Publishing Ltd., 2010
ISBN: 978-0-7643-3563-1
Price: $9.99
Ages:  Grades K-8
Rating:  5 stars
Reviewed by:  Wayne S. Walker

     Can you imagine what the Pilgrims, their fort, their houses, and the Native Americans all looked like during the traditional first Thanksgiving in 1621 at Plymouth, MA?  Pilgrim Village is not so much a reading book but rather an activity or craft book in which youngsters will find wonderful Pilgrim and Wampanoag characters to color, cut out, and glue, along with a house, fort, wigwam, and other items to make a Pilgrim village.  In addition to a general history of early American Thanksgiving celebrations and instructions for the book, there are educational sidebars with information about Squanto, the Burial Hill Fort, the Pilgrim’s feast, Indian canoes, Pilgrim houses, and Wampanoag wigwams.
     Children can enjoy hours of coloring and cutting out these wonderful Thanksgiving characters, figures, and buildings.  This book by author and illustrator Kevin Ludgate would make a great addition to either a classroom or homeschool study of the Pilgrims.  Or it could just be a fun and educational Thanksgiving-related activity that a whole family might enjoy together.  I especially liked the comment by the author, “For the British Pilgrims, the celebration in 1621 was more than a celebration—it was a recognition to God that they had made it through a very hard winter.”  Schiffer Publishing has a big 218-page catalogue that contains a whole section of children’s books, including other activity books such as U. S. Life Saving Coloring Book, Windmills Activity Book, and Saltbox House: Color ‘n’ Build Activity Playset.
     Links: www.Schifferbooks.com

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is the time to express gratitude for the blessings of the past year.  How do you go about helping children to understand that same concept of being grateful?

Following these tips may help your child to see and feel the concepts of gratitude:

1.Show gratitude in everything all year including being grateful for your children. Make it so much a part of who you are that it shines as the best example for children on what gratitude means. Some days it may not be easy to feel grateful especially when things are not going so well. Lack of money, a flat tire, over sleeping the alarm, or any number of inconveniences make us agitated rather than grateful. Stopping to find one thing in the mess of a situation  and to be thankful for  it will demonstrate to children that life is never that bad.

2. Be generous to others. Have kids gather outgrown clothing or unused toys to donate to a shelter. Let kids pick a few items to donate to the food pantry. Blessing others always leads to being blessed and there is no better way than to include children in your family giving.

3. Celebrate Thanksgiving at other times of the year. Celebrate birthdays and other special occasions all year with gratitude. 

4. Read books to your child about early pioneers and pilgrims, Native Americans and the discovery of America. Remind children through books, conversations, mini-field trips, current news stories, and other media just what freedom means and where the concept of The First Thanksgiving originated from.

5. Express joy daily. Kids learn from example and experiences. Parents who express gratitude and thankfulness in every area of life will have children who are thankful and joyful.

6. Start a gratitude journal with your children. Begin this holiday season or start it for 2011. Have family members write down one or two things that they are grateful for. You can do this weekly, monthly, or even daily as part of a new tradition. It gives a tangible look at your family blessings.

 We celebrate Thanksgiving and offer many blessings for the readers and visitors to this blog.  You give us much to be grateful for and we appreciate the time you spend here. Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Amazing Math Projects You Can Build Yourself

By:   Laszlo C. Bardos   
Illustrated by:  Sam Carbaugh
Published by:  Nomad Press      Date:   2010
ISBN:   978-1-934670-57-6
Price:  $15.95
Ages:  9 and up
Rating:  4 ½ stars (1-5)
Reviewed by:   Kris Quinn Christopherson

Synopsis:  From prime numbers to paraboloids, Amazing Math Projects You Can Build Yourself introduces readers to the beauty and wonder of math through hands-on activities including projects about number patterns, lines, curves, and shapes.  Learning through examples of how we encounter math in our daily lives, children will marvel at the mathematical patterns in snowflakes and discover the graceful curves in the Golden Gate Bridge.  Readers will never look at soap bubbles the same way again.  A companion website includes video instructions for many projects in the book and provides additional activities. 

Overall thoughts:  Math was not my favorite, nor my best, subject in school, so I was a bit apprehensive about reading this book. However, it was an interesting read and allowed this hesitant math student to enjoy the idea of making a geodesic dome big enough to sit in. 

The book jumped right into the simplest arithmetic and moved its way to higher mathematical concepts. Filled with illustrations, ‘did you know’ blurbs, and ‘words 2 know’, it allows even the mathematical novice to be engaged in the concepts.  I appreciated that the projects were written in clear and easy-to-understand formats, and included supply lists with on-hand items to implement concepts such as the Pythagorean Theorem and platonic solids.  With this book, you can definitely build projects to enhance your math skills and classes if enrolled in school, but it is not a text book. 



*Stories for Children Publishing, LLC. (SFC) and its divisions do not receive any compensation for product reviews beyond a sample and/or limited access to a paid website. SFC donates all books sent for review to a charitable organization. SFC may do a contest or giveaway of samples we receive.