Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Jeff Kinney's Latest: Cabin Fever

Reviewed by He-Twin (age 10):

"I love the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, and this book, Cabin Fever, I thought was the most funny.

I don't want to spoil it, but there are very funny jokes in this book. Greg gets trapped in the house during a snow storm and is accused of a crime---which he sort of did.

If I were to give this book a rating, 10 being the best, and 1 being the least best, I'd give it a 9.75."

[*Twin-Mom's note: He-Twin received this book at 5:00pm on the day of its release, and completed it by 7:55pm...taking only a maternally mandated break for dinner. He did NOT want to put it down.]

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Curious Critters

Not a nickname for our twins, but rather the title of a stunning new text by award-winning author and photographer, David FitzSimmons.

In their wee days, both He-Twin and She-Twin were enraptured by Lost in the Woods, the tale of a young fawn's first days, photo-illustrated.

When given the opportunity to review Mr. FitzSimmons' Curious Critters, with He-Twin's long-demonstrated interest in all things zoological and She-Twin's preoccupation with beauty and form, it seemed we had two ideal commentarians in-house.

So in their words...

The pictures are are fantastic of real-life animals. The text is a little below my level (age 10/grade 4), but it would be good for younger kids.  My grade = C.

The graphics were clear and fascinating. The writing made the facts funny. I'd recommend it for ages 6-8. My grade = B+.

I genuinely LOVE this book! Granted, the bulk of the book proper is probably geared for more the 1st/2nd grade level, but at the tail (pun intended) of the book are amazing resources describing the natural history of the creatures featured, life-sized (an overlapping for comparison!) silhouettes, and a glossary with terms so detailed that even at my level (age 46/grade TBD), I learned a few things. The photographs are accessible and non-threatening. Any man that can make a Virginia Opossum seem cute has my full respect! My grade = A.
For more on the book and on Dave FitzSimmons' work, visit FitzSimmonsPhotography.com .

Sunday, June 26, 2011

States of Delight

Scholastic Storybook Treasures are without fail amongst our favorite DVDs....and the latest one we were fortunate enough to receive for review, The Scrambled States of America and More Stories by Laurie Keller, may just be my personal favorite to date.

Sarah, our in-house geography aficionado/expert, took a particular liking to this new title. Here, in her words, a review:
"I like all of the stories on this DVD, especially the two 'Scrambled States' stories and 'Do Unto Otters.' I also like 'Open Wide' a lot. My favorite state is Florida. No, my favorite state is actually Michigan in the first story, because she is a girl and she has the same voice as Sally Incisor. I also liked Mr. Rabbit and the bee in 'Do Unto Otters.' I really like the part where the rabbit was in the bathtub and the bathtub turned into a dinner table. Laurie Keller uses good colors and humor. On the side of the DVD case, South Dakota is riding a bike! This DVD gets an A+++++++++++++++++[continues repeating plusses for a few minutes]"

Mom's perspective:
"Truly, this is one of my very favorite DVDs. [Thanks, Scholastic!] Without realizing it heretofore, author/illustrator Laurie Keller's work has long been a facet of books I've repeatedly aloud to our kids. To my great pleasure, Ms. Keller has subtly weasel-ed in valuable facts not only on history, but kindness, gratitude and empathy. The added feature of an interview with Laurie Keller is a perfect inspiration for budding young authors.

As a mom largely opposed to non-stop video watching during roadcar travel ["Back when mom was little, we used to have to drive hours and hours, uphill both ways, and holding the CoolWhip container for my motion sick brother in the backseat..." ;) ], the fact that these books are true-to-the-published-original animated versions of justly lauded texts, makes this DVD beyond palatable road trip entertainment. Truth told, our two will likely want to watch it at our destination as well...with no complaints from me. My grade concurs with Sarah's, A+ !"

The lovely folk at Scholastic Storybook Treasures not only graciously allowed us a free copy in order to review this new release, they have given us TWO---count 'em TWO!---comparably high-caliber selections to giveaway to Twinfatuation's TwIn Reviews readers.

Readers with younger children will no doubt appreciate My First Scholastic Storybook Treasures ;

those with older kids may go for the aspirational The North Star and More Stories about Following Your Dreams.

Comment here with a favorite title you and your children would like to see animated, or an existing animated favorite, and be entered to win! [Random.org will select a winner this coming Friday, July the 1st...you may enter more than once, just be sure to cite different titles with each comment.]


Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Mouse, The Monster and Me

As a mom of twin 9-year-olds, when given an opportunity (and a review copy!) to check out a text designed to help growing kids (ages 8-11) handle their responses to day-to-day challenges, I readily accepted!

Here, in Darren's words, a review:

"This book deserves 4.5 stars out of 5. Reading this book, I felt it was a good book if you had some issues with your feelings; and if you do now, you should read it. The book suggests that you might give up your 'mouse' ways of letting people control you, and giving up your 'monster' ways of controlling other people. You should be yourself...let things follow naturally. When you give up your 'monster' and 'mouse' ways, you can just be YOU---not a mean or pathetic kid."

*Important addendum: As She-Twin overheard Darren verbally giving his review, she said, "I need to read that book. Where is it?" There you go.

For more information on the author, Dr. Pat Palmer, or on this and other related resources to help your kids assess their feelings and behaviors...and modify as needed...visit Boulden Publishing's website.