Category Archives: Books for kids under 5

Book Review: Mooncake (Moonbear Books) by Frank Asch

Mooncake (Moonbear Books)

Frank Asch

Simon & Schuster

Now that science has spoiled the game for us, and we know that moon is nothing but a land of craters, with perhaps some water lying around, we would not dream of ‘tasting’ the moon. But for the kids, moon is still something of a mystery. And on a full moon’s day, it probably looks good enough to eat!

Frank Asch’s ‘Mooncake’, a part of his Moonbear stories series, is all about the Bear wondering what the moon tastes like, when he is chatting to his friend Little Bird. And he doesn’t stop at wondering, instead thinks of ways how he can get a bite of the moon. He then decides to build a rocketship, so that he can go to the moon to taste it. Meanwhile, winter is approaching, and the Little Bird flies down south with the rest of her flock, and Bear is alone in his efforts. He does build the rocketship though, but does he get to taste the moon? Read up to find out – it’s such a lovely story.

The story is most suitable for kids around 3-6 years. There are so many new things that you can introduce to them through this book – how the animals behave differently in winter, with the birds flying away to warmer places, and the bears going in hibernation, the rocketship, the value of perseverance and the apprehension around trying something new. And it’s a simple, endearing story that would definitely appeal to them. The illustrations could have been better though. They serve the purpose, but not really exciting or attractive.

And now I want to read the other Moonbear stories too. I’ll look for them while you enjoy this one, and see if the moon is as delicious as it looks 🙂

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Book Review: Three Friends by Indu Harikumar

Three Friends

Story & Pictures : Indu Harikumar

Eklavya Publications (2013)

There’s something about the picture books that takes your breath away. No matter what you might be doing – the moment your hands fall on a picture book, you just HAVE to read it. And more often than not, the story pulls you deep in the admiration of something told in such deceptively simple way. Indu Harikumar’s ‘Three Friends’ is one such book, and you must get your hands on it.

The three friends in the story are the colours red, blue and green. How these three long for more friends, and come together to create new colours is what the story is about. Nothing that you don’t know already, but think of it from a kid’s perspective, and you’ll see how much sense does it make to tell them about the primary and secondary colours this way. There’s not one superfluous word in the story, nor has it been over-simplified. But what really impresses you is the unique way in which the book has been illustrated – the author has done it herself, creating the book on cloth with fabric paints and embroidery – marvellous! The applique, the designs and the stitches – it is all so mesmerising.

And at just Rs 45/-, the book is much, much better than a steal – go for it, pronto! The book is a wonderful starter for colors for ages 2 and above.

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Eat some laughs!

We Eat Dinner in the Bathtub

Story – Angela Shelf Medearis

Pictures – Jacqueline Rogers

Scholastic Books

There’s something about the cover of this book that wants you to pick it up, pronto. Apart from the very catchy title, there is this picture of a family who are actually sitting in a bathtub, sprinkling seasoning on their pizza slices, a jug of lemonade by their side, and relishing it as if it’s only natural that you eat dinner in the bathtub!

And apparently it is so for Harris’ family, who is inviting his friend Josh to dinner. And why do they have their dinner in the bathtub, you may well ask – and so does Josh, which makes up for a very interesting and funny dialogue between Josh and Harris, and will leave you in splits as it unfolds.

Apart from the humour, it is also a great way of telling the tiny tots about the different rooms in the house and their functions – something that they are already observing, but what better than an interesting tale for it to stick the words in their minds and speak them out loud. And to sensitise them to the fact, that everyone is different, and that in spite of the differences, you can still be friends!

The illustrations in the book are simply fantastic, and make the story come alive. You literally feel being in the woods with Josh and Harris, or see the different things the family is doing in different rooms.

Pick it up, and read it aloud, and do laugh out loud. I can guarantee the kids will have so much fun that they will want to read it over and over again, which will set them on the path of reading – after all, the book indeed is a part of the Scholastic Reader series.

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I meant what I said, and I said what I meant!

Horton Hatches the Egg

Story/ Pictures – Dr Seuss

HarperCollins Children’s Books

It was our favourite Dr Seuss’ birthday on March 2nd, and what better way to celebrate it than reading out his classics – each single one of them is a gem, and picking out one favourite is quite a task. We thought we will review one of the all-time favorites ‘Horton Hatches the Egg’ for reading aloud, as March 4th happens to be the International Read Aloud Day. Two great occasions – one great cause! Let’s read aloud – be happy, and make others happy!!

Horton is a very sweet, honest and faithful elephant, who keeps his word of looking after Mayzie the bird’s egg for her, while she can fly away for a rest. Only Mayzie is not really honest, and leaves poor Horton perched up on a tree in her nest, hatching her egg for months, while poor Horton is braving the weathers, the teasing by other animals and the hunters. He still does not leave his post on the tree in the nest when he is transported across the sea and sold to a circus – tree and nest and perch and all. What becomes of Horton and the Egg and Mayzie is truly amazing, and is sure to bring smiles to the faces of everyone reading or listening to the story.

A Dr Seuss story never fails to enthral – and is a great way of giving wings to the imagination of children. The rhythm and the poetry in the story tuck them well into the world of make-believe, and they will be gaping in anticipation to imagine what happened next. The illustrations do the full justice to the story – after all, illustrating your own story does make the pictures much more convincing!

The book is also a great pick to tell the children of tender age about keeping their word, perseverance and being faithful and how honesty and hard work do get rewarded. And when it is in such a fun way that they keep on laughing – it sure is going to hit home. Do read it aloud with your kids, even if they can read by themselves. In fact, make it a family thing – there is something magical about a family that reads together.

Do check out the pictures of the event we had here.

This review also appears on Indian Moms Connect, where we partner with them to recommend books for children every month.

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Don’t say ‘NO!’ to this book

No! / Nahin!

Story – Cheryl Rao

Pictures – Samidha Gunjal

Translation (Hindi) – Veena Shivpuri

Tulika Publishers

Fresh off the Tulika press is a very endearing picture book titled ‘NO!’, which is the story of the naughty little girl Annika, as well as the story that happens every morning (or probably at all hours of the day) in most households consisting of at least one child less than 5. Simply because, the kids take such a liking to the word that their parents have come to dread – everything starts, and occasionally ends with a resounding ‘No!’.

The story is the attempt of Annika’s father to wake her up so that they can go to her grandmother’s house. All the requests, temptations and cajoling are met with a ‘No!’, until Annika is faced with a scenario that makes her jump right out from the bed. Children will identify with the story very easily – they will be shouting ‘NO!’ with you before you know it, as you read the book aloud with them. I think Cheryl Rao will get extra brownie points from the fathers for making the story an interaction between a daughter and a father! Cheryl has chosen the simplest words, and the most familiar situations for the young ones, which makes the book an ideal pick for children in the age group of 2-4 years.  The fact that it is bilingual also makes it a good introduction to the sight words in mother tongue.

The illustrations are captivating, I love the realistic postures in which Annika is sleeping – well, realistic certainly for a young child, as any parent of a toddler will testify. They complement the story really well. The mimicking cat is a great addition, but her disappearance from the last couple of pages might lead on to an interrogation from a little older and more observant child. The translation is satisfactory except for a misspelling.

Don’t say ‘No!’ to this book – read it aloud with your child and see her smile to herself 🙂

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