KeeKee’s Big Adventure in London, England is part of a series of European travel picture books starring KeeKee the cute and curious little cat. Author Shannon Jones joins up with illustrator Casey Uhelski to unfold for a small child’s eyes what sightseeing in the amazing metropolis of London is like. KeeKee has been to several big cities in Europe and now, starry-eyed and excited, she drifts with her little hot-air balloon (what a fun way to travel) over London. After going on a tour of major locations with a local, KeKee runs into a sedate little woman in a blue hat who takes KeeKee to tea—the Queen, of course. After learning a lot about England, the cheerful kitty drifts off in search of more places to explore.
This is a great way for kids to learn about some of the major tourist attractions in London. Every Londoner KeKee meets is a little animal like herself, presented as mostly her size and very friendly. Shannon Jones nailed a panoramic glance over most of the attractions you might visit during a day touring London and how fun it to be there for the first time. KeeKee feels special as she is guided by friendly Shakespearean actor Will through a beautifully illustrated medley of sleek modern subways, old stone buildings, and unique British cuisine, and she is genuinely excited and spontaneous as she learns about this great city. A happy tone of really enjoying oneself laces gently through the book and that made me have as much fun with KeeKee’s Big Adventures in London, England as KeeKee herself did.
What Makes a Bug a Bug? (Animal Classes) is a fun bedtime story book to teach small children a little science . Author Andi Cann introduces kids to a bright, happy little boy named Bucky who is reading a “magic mystery book” (a science book, of course!) with his dog Bingo. Bucky is learning all about the complicated world of insects. How can you tell the difference between a true insect and things that are just small like worms? Bucky learns the rule of 6:3:2 and isn’t in doubt any longer. The insect world can be confusing, but it’s not hard for Bucky to get it right once he knows the trick.
Andi Cann’s book is really great for cutting straight to the simple facts kids need to be learning. Scientific terminology can be a little complex, but a simple method like 6:3:2 (insects have 6 legs, 3 body parts, and 2 antennae), lined up with some large, vivid illustrations of actual insects will give kids something to latch onto and actually remember as they try to locate the 6 legs and 3 body parts. Or, of course, to find out where they are missing, making that creature not a true insect. What Makes a Bug a Bug?(Animal Classes) gets right into the action so kids can start identifying why a spider (an arachnid) is different and point to pictures of true insects and other creepy crawlies until they can spot the necessary 6:3:2 features. The conversational tone makes this spirited, cheerful little book a natural for read-aloud, and combines education and hands-on fun in a cute way.
The Kid Who Wants to Become an Engineer by Sannette Viljoen is about a child named Alvin and takes kids through a simple series of explorations of the engineering world around them—sights and sounds they see every day. Alvin is traveling to spend Christmas with his grandparents and is an observant child. He notices the bridges they cross, the airplanes and airport, the harbor from the air as they land. Like every child, he is curious about the things he sees. Once his family has arrived in South Africa for Christmas his grandmother, and his grandfather--a retired civil engineer—explain to him the different kinds of engineers and the skill and work that have created each of the things he’s noticed.
Sannette Viljoen packs a meaty amount of information into this picture book, making it a perfect introduction to engineering for little kids. I think it’s an excellent companion to a child’s natural observations—kids can be reminded of how many times they’ve seen these things as they go around their home and city. Engineering is something they’ve thought about all the time and just never been aware! Alvin’s personality jumps off the page, enhanced by light-hearted, cheery illustrations that bring Alvin’s world to life, complete with lots and lots of bridges, boats, trains, and Christmas lights. Topics covered include aviation, mechanical, civil, chemical, marine, and electrical engineers, with terse descriptions of what each one does. I found this to be pretty useful for refreshing my knowledge as well, as it is both concise and detailed. This well-handled, focused book will certainly help some kids discover that they’re The Kid Who Wants to Become an Engineer.
This is the companion for Sarah Scheele's newsletter blog. In it I share reviews for books I'd recommend/are similar to my own.