The Library Haul

First off, we apologize for being so silent this month; Mama Dino has a new job and though this doesn’t affect our reading time, it certainly affects our writing time. Because we won’t be able to review every book we read (the Littles are voracious readers!), we are introducing a new featured article: The Library Haul. The Library Haul will give a short & sweet rating to each of the books we checked out from the library before we return them. So let’s get started! Today is library day, so before we return this batch to the shelves, here’s The Library Haul.

The Library Haul 1

The Boss Baby by Marla Frazee

We were initially interested in this book because YA author John Green (Looking for Alaska, The Fault in Our Stars, Paper Towns) mentioned that he loved reading it with his Little. This book does not disappoint! It’s a delightfully witty story that parents will truly enjoy reading out loud. Other people have complained that the story isn’t really appealing to children, but I think that’s precisely what makes it a great book to read to a baby: very young babies only get as much out of a story as a parent puts into it, and sometimes it’s hard to pretend excitement at books with one word per page. This adorable story is sure to have parents in stitches, teaching babies that books are enjoyable. Win-win!

5 out of 5 Stars

Piggy Paints by Jim Benton

Little S had an okay time reading this book; the wordplay made it a little fun for her as a beginning reader. It was nothing special though.

Two out of Five Stars

The Daddy Book by Todd Parr

I often like to get books that Dinosaur Dad will specifically enjoy reading to the Littles. He spends so much time at work that his quality time with the Littles becomes very precious. We brought The Daddy Book home with that in mind, and it was fun to read, but mostly because of a page that explained that “Some daddies like to watch you sleep” and showed a really creepy illustration of a daddy looking into a dark room. Lol! The illustrations were really basic stick-figures in primary colors, which I get was trying to get down to the roots of that daddy feeling, but Little S complained that it hurt her eyes to read.  Overall we weren’t really into this book.

Two out of Five Stars

My Lucky Little Dragon by Joyce Wan

Little E LOVED this book! It’s cute, it’s rhythmic and fun to read, and has a surprise ending any baby would love! It’s not really a story so much as a description of several animals in the same format as “my lucky little dragon,” for example, “my pretty little platypus.”

4 out of 5 stars

All Fall Down by Mary Brigid Barrett

Little E honestly wasn’t that interested in this book, though in a year or so she probably would be. Better for toddlers than for babies, because it doesn’t have any attention-grabby or touchy-feely stuff.

Two out of Five Stars

BAH! Said the Baby by Jennifer Plecas

Absolutely adorable and fun for both Little S (who could relate to the story) and Little E (who enjoyed us making funny baby noises).

4 out of 5 stars

 Mia and the Girl with a Twirl (My First I Can Read) by Robin Farley

Little S brought 2 Mia books home and was absolutely enchanted by both the topic (dancing!) and the fact that she could read the books on her own with only minor difficulty. Recommend for young readers!

4 out of 5 stars

Curious George: Gymnastics Fun by H. A. Rey

Little S checked this out for reading practice. Labored through the first page, and became completely disinterested with it afterwards.


I Want to Help! by Diane Adams

Oh, Little S adored this story! She is just like the main character, and really loved reading this book on her own as well.

4 out of 5 stars

Tyrannosaurus Dad by Liz Rosenberg

We so wanted to love this book because it’s about a dinosaur dad, which is exactly the case in our home you know, but we read this as a bedtime story to the Littles and instead of walking away feeling warm and fuzzy and sleepy inside, we just felt chastised and confused. This book is about a dad who works too much and doesn’t pay enough attention to his kid. Yes, some of the illustrations and story were funny, but most of the time it just felt like a slap to the face to parents who work hard because they have no choice. After all, I didn’t see a mom in the picture here. Instead of helping children understand the necessity of working hard, this book makes a child feel as if working too much is a choice that parents can decide to change if they love their kids enough.


Welcome to Mamoko by Aleksandra Mizielinska

We would really love to do a full review on this book! It reminds us a bit of Where’s Waldo? books, but with an extra touch of storytelling that the girls just found fantastic. This book has no words; instead, it names 15-ish characters at the beginning, and allows you to choose which one you will follow through the story today. Little S absolutely loved making up her own stories about each character, and this is coming from a child who could never figure out an original story to write for her school assignments. Any book that inspires creativity like that is fine by me!

5 out of 5 Stars

The Bear’s Song by Benjamin Chaud

Here’s another Where’s Waldo?-esque book. The reader has to find Big Bear and Little Bear in each page. It’s a cute story with a delightful ending, though I recall while reading that some of the story wasn’t quite that great. We enjoyed reading it once, but didn’t select it for bedtime again.

Three out of five stars.

Not reviewed: Pocahontas (movie), Outer Space Chase, and Two Bunny Buddies. Little S read/watched these on her own so we can’t really give a fair review.

That’s it! Our library haul. Time to get a new batch of books 🙂

Have you read any of these books? Do you have any suggestions for what we should read next? Tell us in the comments!


Review of The Nowhere Box by Sam Zuppardi

The Nowhere Box by Sam Zuppardi
Could George’s escape from his pesky brothers be a bit too successful? An ode to imagination —and annoying but indispensable siblings.

George’s little brothers wreck his toys and his games and trail after him wherever he goes. Try as he might, there’s just no hiding from them. George has had enough! So he commandeers an empty washing machine box and goes to the one place his brothers can’t follow: Nowhere. Nowhere is amazing! It’s magnificent! It’s also, however, free of pirates and dragons and . . . well, anyone at all. From exciting new talent Sam Zuppardi comes an all-too-relatable story of an older brother who knows when he needs his space — and when he needs his siblings — played out in charmingly offbeat illustrations. (From Goodreads.com.)


Release date: November 12th, 2013
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Pages: 40
Source: Library book

I honestly don’t know why this book doesn’t have a 5 star rating on Goodreads. As soon as I saw it, I knew it would be a great book to show my Littles the power of imagination and creativity. And if you’re a parent or caregiver stuck at home with the little ones this summer, you know just how useful having an imagination is.

See, Little S is going through that phase right now in which every other word is “I’m bored!”. She constantly wants me to play with her, but I work from home; though I try to do one “special activity” with the girls each day, I just can’t play with them all day. The funny thing is, Little E (who is only 9 months old) is totally cool with that. She’ll play on her own all day. It’s Little S who can’t figure out what to do with herself. I don’t get that. As a 7-year-old child, I literally disappeared into the back yard from morning to nighttime, with reluctant breaks for meals. So why is my 7-year-old so bored?

The problem, I’ve realized, is that she has no imagination. None. Nada. If I ever eventually convince her to play “pretend” with her toys, she just reenacts scenes from her favorite movies. If I ask her to write a story that we then illustrate with paints, she writes her favorite books (which she has memorized). She named her new stuffed animal “Wolf.” Can you guess what he is?

So, when I saw The Nowhere Box on the library shelf, I snatched it up immediately. I loved the illustration style, which mixes doodles with ridged cardboard. I love how much fun George has, and all the different games and worlds he creates, all inside the same cardboard box. And I love that even though he hides in the box to escape his pesky little brothers, he quickly realizes that he misses them. It’s a wonderful story, not just about imagination, but also about brotherhood (or sisterhood). Little S loved it.

Don’t get me wrong; Little S isn’t suddenly Calvin from Calvin & Hobbes. But she now understands what I mean when I say “use your imagination.” Even more wonderfully, ever since we read The Nowhere Box, she has started playing with her little sister more. It’s a beautiful sight to see. So thank you, The Nowhere Box.

Our rating?

Five out of Five Stars



Hi there! This is a blog of picture book reviews for parents, kiddos, and everyone in between. As a mom of two beautiful little girls, I spend a lot of time reading and experiencing picture books. These bedtime stories stay in the minds of our little ones for a long time, so I select picture books very carefully. Before I buy or borrow a book that I’ll be showing my littles, I want to make sure it aligns with the wholesome values we are teaching them. But parents lead very busy lives, and going to the store to flip through picture books doesn’t fit in everyone’s schedule. If your littles are begging for a new book, come take a peek at Two Little Dinos. We’ll make it easy for you to find exactly what you are looking for, whether educational, nurturing, quirky, funny, creative, or what-have-you. Let me give you our honest, unpaid, agenda-free opinion on a few of our very favorite picture books.