Children's Book Review

Children’s Book Review: The Snail and the Whale๐ŸŒ๐Ÿ‹

This is a terrific story you guys. We’ve been reading it regularly since we picked it up in Sewickley’s local bookstore last April when we were visiting family. The author Julia Donaldson also penned household favorite Room on the Broom as well as the popular The Gruffalo, all beautifully illustrated by Alex Scheffler – both stories are animated short movies as well and are so wonderful. I very much hope that this latest story is also headed for animation. The rhyming in all three stories is on point, and really I’ve come to expect nothing less from Ms. Donaldson.

The Whale and the Snail is the story of a uniquely adventurous snail and a humpback whale who shows him around the world. Without revealing too much about the end of the story, as it took an unexpected turn, I’ll say the pair runs into trouble when they come across some human activity and the snail must be extra brave to help his friend and companion. The first time I read through the story I became very upset when trouble arose but the author dealt with life’s realism with such understanding those emotions were soon soothed. Thankfully, the conclusion was a happy one, and the snail’s snail family were all very impressed and inspired.  I love how this story illustrates the diverse beauty of our planet from the perspective of the sea and it’s inhabitants. It also introduces – in a very soft way – the very real and sometimes dangerous impact humans have on our animal neighbors in even seemingly ordinary human activity. Following that concept though we see how humans and animals can interact positively and assist one another. It’s a wonderful lesson to teach a toddler. I read so many kid’s books that teach acting with compassion in one’s human or pet relationships, but I think this is the first I’ve come across that acknowledges the impact we humans have on the environment around us and our responsibility to act with mindfulness and empathy towards our wild neighbors . I’m probably over analyzing here, but I think this is an important lesson for our children to learn. Compassion for all living things, plus a little casual environmentalism on the side. Pick it up soon!!

Children's Book Review · Twins

Children’s Book Review: Iggy Peck, Architect and Rosie Revere, Engineer

It’s a twofer! The kids and I are loving these two for a few months now. They are not sequential or part of a series, but the author Andrea Beaty and illustrator David Roberts cleverly create a few correlations that are fun to pick out in the stories. So first our man Iggy Peck, Architect...  

I mean come on with these drawings, they’re terrific! I love how the dark lines look almost etched, and there are so many details to discover in each illustration. Plus the rhymes are top notch, each page has an easily discovered cadence that has a bit more pizzazz and is a little more advanced than you average children’s book. Brilliant. 

Young Ignacious we learn has a gift for designs and building from the earliest and loves to replicate and learn about the great constructions throughout history. His teacher in 2nd grade refuses to allow him to talk about his passion at school. We find she had bad experience in a skyscraper at a tender age and since has no love for architecture. However disaster strikes on a class picnic and its Iggy and a suspension bridge to the rescue and she is convinced that buildings have their merits after all.

Rosie Revere, Engineer moving on to our gal Rosie, an imaginative thinker who loves to build and invent machines and gadgets. The drawings like in Iggy Peck are so vibrant and colorful and detailed, it’s so much fun to discover what’s on every page. The rhyming text reads differently to Iggy and takes a phase or two to get it right but then flys off the page like one of Rosie’s machines. 

Rosie is a world class tinkerer and can’t help but to collect odds and ends for use in all sorts of imaginative inventions. She has a bad experience with an uncle whose laughter at an invention hurts Rosie so she hides her creations. But a relative comes to visit who inspires Rosie to overcome her fear and invent a machine to make her great great aunts dream of flying come true. Rosie discovers her aunt was a builder herself and encouraged by the “We can do it!” attitude, they work together. In the end Rosie shares her passion with her classmates and is motivated to follow her own dreams.


The message given by these two stories (I assume the new one we haven’t read yet follows suit, Ada Twist, Scientist) is the best. Be true to yourself, follow your dreams, don’t give up, and you can BE whatever you want. And I know it was refreshing to see a girl showing her creativity in a fresh medium. Just saying.