Four Books to Enjoy With Your Child on the 4th of July!

Independence Day snuck up on me this year, but thankfully I had time to make a quick library run to find a 4th of July book to share with my littles. We ended up having to pick between a few options, so I thought I’d share with you some of the finalists:

The Night Before the Fourth of July
It’s the night before the Fourth of July and all across the United States people are getting ready for hot dogs and fireworks. Decked in red, white, and blue, a family heads to a parade, hosts a backyard BBQ with friends and family, dodges an afternoon thundershower, and of course, watches a fireworks show. The Night Before the Fourth of July captures all the fun, excitement, and pride of the best summer holiday!
(From Goodreads.com.)


The 4th of July Story
What happened on the Fourth of July long before there were fireworks and parades? Alice Dalgliesh takes young readers back to revolutionary times, back to the colonists’ desire for freedom and the creation of the Declaration of Independence. Simple text captures the excitement of the era, telling how word of Independence travelled up and down the thirteen colonies, touching the lives of everyday people throughout the land. Like all of Alice Dalgliesh’s work, “The Fourth of July Story” remains an American classic.
(From Goodreads.com.)


Fourth of July Mice
It’s the most patriotic of all holidays-Independence Day! The Holiday Mice take part in all the activities that make the Fourth of July fun: a parade, a picnic, a baseball game and sack race, and a refreshing dip in the stream. Even Mr. Mouse, the littlest mouse’s special toy, joins in the festivities. The best part of all comes at the end of the day: a spectacular fireworks show!
Packed with plenty of red, white, and blue and featuring the four Holiday Mice at their most adorable, this story about our nation’s birthday will delight readers young and old alike.
(From Goodreads.com.)


Fireworks and Freedom: A Fourth of July Story and Activity Book
This brand-new title in the ” Let’s Celebrate ” series tells the story of America’s Declaration of Independence and its signing by representatives of the 13 original colonies on the Fourth of July, 1776. Full-color illustrations capture the atmosphere of eighteenth-century America–the meetings in Boston of the Sons of Liberty who protested British taxation. . . the meeting of the Continental Congress in Philadelphia. . . the call to battle and the birth of the Continental Army commanded by George Washington. Boys and girls also read about how the Fourth of July has been celebrated in the ensuing 230 years. Sidebars present brief facts related to the Fourth of July, and an extensive activity section suggests fun ideas for crafts, picnic foods, games, and songs appropriate to Fourth of July celebrations. Kids can make super-safe balloon “fireworks” with balloons and confetti. They’ll also find directions for doing a fireworks dance with bubble wrap, a recipe for making chocolate flags, and lots more. Color illustrations on every page.
(From Goodreads.com.)


Which one would you pick?


Review of How Do Dinosaurs Say I’M MAD? by Jane Yolen & Mark Teague

How Do Dinosaurs Say I'M MAD?
Everybody gets angry sometimes. Kids do. So do parents. Sometimes we get angry when we’re scared, or want something we can’t have, or are feeling mean or feeling sick. Anger can be very frightening, and it can make people sad. But there are lots of ways to learn how to control anger, just as the dinosaurs do in this book. Some of them count to ten, some of them have a time out, and some of them take deep breaths. Then, when the dinosaurs are calm again, they clean up any mess they’ve made, they say, “I’m sorry,” and they give big hugs. Just as you do.
(From inside description.)

Release date: September 2014
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Pages: 40
Source: Library’s summer reading program prize

As you may have guessed, we have a soft spot for dinosaurs around here. Little S couldn’t resist picking this book as her prize for being part of the library’s summer reading program, not with that awesome dinosaur on the cover. I, however, was a little hesitant after flipping through it because it had an awful lot of pages depicting bratty behavior. I didn’t want Little S to get any ideas! She has a very sweet nature and hardly ever gets mad, and we’d like to keep it that way. So while she was engaged at the arts & crafts table making a superhero mask (how cool is our library’s summer reading program?), I sat down and read How Do Dinosaurs Say I’M MAD? with Little E to make sure this was the book we wanted to take home.

And I have to say, I loved How Do Dinosaurs Say I’M MAD?. Little E wasn’t too thrilled, but that’s because I kept dancing the big beautiful fragile pages out of reach of her grabby little hands. We have the paperback edition, and it’s a 12-inch-tall book, with absolutely gorgeous illustrations of all sorts of dinosaurs in all stages of temper tantrums. Lovely for older kids, not great for babies or toddlers, who need to be able to touch and grab books to experience them.

How Do Dinosaurs Say I’M MAD? is actually a book about how kids say they’re mad. Having huge, friendly dinosaurs enact all the crazy inappropriate things kids do during temper tantrums makes it easy for kids to identify, “Oh no! You shouldn’t do that!” Our Little S immediately pointed out how silly the dinosaurs looked when they were mad, too. When we reached the point where the book explains how dinosaurs actually handle their anger, she was also excited because the dinosaurs did what we do: time out, take deep breaths, and make up.

So even though I was initially worried about the content, How Do Dinosaurs Say I’M MAD? is clearly meant to teach kids the proper way to handle anger, disappointment, and other difficult feelings. Aside from being delightfully funny and beautifully illustrated, this book prompted a really useful discussion between Little S and me about anger: How does Little S say she is mad? Which dinosaur is she most like? Is this really an appropriate way to show her feelings, or does she look just as silly as some of these dinosaurs? What would be a better way to handle moments when we are angry?

The only thing I do wish the book included was talking over the reasons why you are mad with the person who made you mad, which I think is a crucial step in letting go of anger. But maybe this way the book agrees with more parenting styles.

Our rating? 5 out of 5 Stars


Review of The Very Lazy Ladybug by Isobel Finn

The Very Lazy Ladybug by Isobel Finn
Ladybug is so lazy that she doesn’t know how to fly. She wants to find a new place to sleep and decides to ride on passing animals. But Kangaroo’s pouch is too bumpy, and Crocodile’s tail is too wet. When she hops onto Elephant’s trunk, she gets a big surprise! Ages 2-5
(from Amazon.com)

Release date: March 2014
Publisher: Tiger Tales
Pages: 32
Source: Gift from grandma!

This book is part of a Tiger Tales collection we received as a gift from grandma. They are all as beautifully constructed as The Very Fidgety Fish (review here), with thick spongy covers, shiny metallic cover art, thicker than usual glossy pages, and absolutely gorgeously colorful illustrations. The book covers are sturdy enough to be handled even by Little E, our 8 month old, though I don’t recommend letting a little one close to the inside pages, as she has already torn a few pages in her excitement. They are good quality, but not a board book.

On to the story! My littles found The Very Lazy Ladybug super entertaining, partly because it showcases a bunch of cool jungle animals and actions that they do, like scratching, sneezing, swinging on vines, etc. It’s a good book to teach your kids animals, but more importantly, as a parent I found the story of The Very Lazy Ladybug valuable because it teaches that if you are lazy and don’t make an effort to learn new things, you can miss out on big things. Ladybug is so lazy, she never learned how to fly. Even a kid can understand how sad that is.

The Very Lazy Ladybug is part of a collection called “My First Storybook,” and I’ve decided that’s a very appropriate label: Little S, our 6 year old, is reading through the books with little to no trouble, and enjoying herself immensely! I love seeing her reading self-esteem boosted like this. If you have a little reader, or an older reader who is struggling a little, I definitely recommend Tiger Tales’ “My First Storybook” collection. Oh, and don’t forget to check back in to see what we think of our other three Tiger Tales books!

Our rating?

5 out of 5 Stars


Review of The Very Fidgety Fish by Ruth Galloway

The Very Fidgety Fish by Ruth Galloway

Tiddler is always fidgeting. “Go out into the sea & swim until you’re tired,” says his mother, “but watch out for the Big Fish.” So Tiddler heads out & meets jellyfish, a starfish, a crab, & other creatures. Then he sees a big, dark cave & decides to investigate… Ages 2-5
(from barnesandnoble.com)


Release date: March 1st, 2014
Publisher: Tiger Tales
Pages: 32
Source: Gift from grandma!

Both my girls absolutely love this book. Our 6 year old, who struggled through 1st grade reading, was able to read this book fluently. This made her very happy and really boosted her confidence. She loved the story of a traveling fish kid, too, and re-read the book to her little sister three times in a row. Little sister, by the way, was completely enthralled by the shiny cover and the bright colors on the pages, which really complemented the story of a fish exploring his reef home. She also loved that the cover of the book is spongy and soft, so she was allowed to hold the book, though the pages are regular book pages (not thick kiddie cardboard).

My opinion as a parent: The book is of very good quality, which doesn’t come across in the picture. The story is not exactly warm and fuzzy, but it is one that kids will recognize, since it sure happens a lot at home: kids get fidgety, so parents send them outside to work off the excess energy. It does take a bit of a scary turn though. While exploring, Tiddler gets eaten by the big fish. He eventually makes it back home safe and sound, but if you have a sensitive child, this may not be the book for you.

Our rating?
4 out of 5 stars