This is a collection of books that are designed for reading aloud, and are fun to read. Each of the four books teaches a different concept through the characters and the story.
Bella Basset Ballerina by Laura Aimee Garn (founder of Pretty Please Press), Illustrated by Valerie Sokolova
This is a great story of a Basset hound who aspires to be a ballerina. Bella, the Basset, hears from many people that she is not going to be a ballerina - she is too short, low to the ground, etc - and that there are paths that each dog is supposed to take. Because Bella was willing to work hard and make some sacrifices, she was able to defy all odds in this heartwarming story, giving the reader encouragement to follow their dreams. A great book to teach perseverance!
The Scritchy Little Twitchell Sisters by Laura Aimee Garn, Illustrated by Erik Brooks
This is a story of two sisters who cannot get along to save their lives! It gets so bad that the parents literally divide the house in half and label everything with one of the sisters' names. One day, Mr and Mrs Twitchell take the girls to "Travelstead's Variety Show" and when Emmeline was picked to assist the magician, Lavinia immediately caused a scene and the girls began throwing water, eggs, and anything within reach at each other. The magician saw how the crowd reacted to the girls' "performance" and they sign a contract and go on tour doing what they do best - fighting with each other. After a while, the girls realize that they love each other and want to have a sister to play with rather than fighting all the time. The character building theme in this book is conflict resolution, and as my daughter Emily says - being nice to your sister.
Kick Block Punch written and illustrated by Jacquie Hann
This was actually a really good book, and my girls enjoyed it - wasn't so sure at first since it is about karate. Through this book, Sam (a beginning karate student) learns that it takes practice, discipline, and respect to advance in karate. Sam showed up the first day, kicked one of his friends and punched another and then asked for his black belt. His instructor tells/shows him that only through practice, will he be able to get what he wants - a black belt. I was impressed with this book because Sam went from a rambunctious kid who hits/kicks his friends and brother when he firsts starts karate, to a respectful boy who learns that he is not trying to hurt other people but discipline himself (through practice) to attain his next belt. There is also a glossary of karate terms at the end of the story, and a great statement: "YOU NEVER USE KARATE TO START A FIGHT!" Kick, Block, Punch has a few character building themes that I can see, but the one that is developed through the additional resources on the website is setting goals.
Pynx written and illustrated by Jeffrey Greene
From the Pretty Please Press website:
In a distant galaxy, on a very colorful planet, a brilliant purple Pynx settles into her new home in the jungle. But her noisy arrival upsets the other fanciful creatures who are already living there quite happily. When the Pynx expands her family with dozens of new babies, her neighbors are very upset. The very vocal Pynx has had this problem before, but this time, with a little luck, she finds a real home. This is a story about being tolerant, learning to appreciate differences, and about finding ways to communicate.The creatures on this far away planet learn to appreciate the new, loud Pynx when she saves the colony from Shovelsnouts. It is a good book, totally fictional, imagination inspiring, and tolerance teaching. The character building theme of this book is tolerance.
Each of the books also has wonderful FREE downloadable tools from the Pretty Please Press website to accompany the book:
■Download Free Vocabulary Building Cards
■Download Free Concept Building Cards
■Download Free Character Building Lesson Plan
My thoughts:I think that this would be a great set of books for a homeschooling family to use, or for extra reinforcement of any child's vocabulary, reading ability, concept and character building skills. For now, we mainly just enjoy reading the stories and we talk about each of the character building themes - a little. I plan to utilize all of the extras as my children get to an age where it is more appropriate.
Buy it These books are for sale directly from Pretty Please Press at a 20% discount on the cover price. They also have a great offer - buy 3 books and get 1 FREE!
The wonderful people at Pretty Please Press is offering one reader a chance to win a set of all four of these books!!
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**Mandatory Entry: To enter, go to the Pretty Please Press website and tell me one of the tips they give for parents; or if you are an educator, a tip they have for educators.
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This giveaway is open to legal US residents, age 18+. Giveaway will close at 12 NOON PST on 11/27/2009 and winner will be chosen using random.org then notified via email and will have 48 hours to get back with me or another winner will be selected.
I was sent a copy of each of these books for review purposes, all opinions are my own.