Sunday, July 29, 2012

Llama Llama Holiday Drama - By Anna Dewdney

With only 2 years under this story's proverbial belt, Llama Llama Holiday Drama has reached the number five spot on a list of the top 10 Christmas books for kids. Best read to children of ages 3 and up, this books tells the tale of Llama Llama as he stresses over the preparation for Christmas. "Just how many days to go. Llama Llama wants to know!" He's filled to the brim with excitement, turning to impatience and anxiety over what still has to be done for the holidays. This is a book that strives to teach children a moral lesson through the perspective of a relatable creature. Rife with messages and life lessons, Llama Llama Holiday Drama educates children on the importance of patience and keeping calm.

What is Llama Llama Holiday Drama all about?

Llama Llama is a young Llama who has a problem with patience. He wants Christmas to hurry up and come -- but as it gets closer, he panics and becomes overwhelmed by all there is to do. He revels in how stores are preparing for the holidays with their, "Fluffy snow and funny elves. Goodies piled high on shelves."

He and his mother go through the usual preparations of unpacking Christmas decorations, such as stockings and special silver trays for holiday parties. Still, Christmas isn't coming fast enough as, "Llama Llama waits, waits, waits." Llama Llama eases his anxiety by making sugar cookies with his mother.

Towards the end of the book, Llama Llama's mom snuggles and cuddles her little Llama, reassuring him that Christmas will come sooner than he thinks. It's a story of love and understanding, as the mama Llama never loses her patience with Llama Llama. Instead, this book dives into the mentality of smaller children to offer kindness and a message of patience when their excitement is overwhelming.


To find this and other great picks among children's Christmas reading this year, visit:

How the Grinch Stole Christmas! - By Dr. Seuss

One of the best Christmas books for kids is Dr. Seuss's "How The Grinch Stole Christmas!" -- hands down, a tale full of everything that makes Seuss a timeless treasure. One of the go-to books for the holiday season, stories of the Grinch and his treacherous plans to thwart Christmas are available in multiple languages, encouraging children from all cultures to discover and love Seuss books. This is a book that sticks with someone through their entire lives, bridging the gap between generations as a story that parents can pass on as a beloved favorite to their own offspring.

What's so special about "How The Grinch Stole Christmas!"?

The act of some spiteful creature impersonating Santa Claus is an old story. It's been done, but never quite like Dr. Seuss did it. The Grinch is a mean, green beast of a thing who despises the seasonal holidays; all because the Whos down in Whoville have fun opening their presents and preparing for the big day.

Christmas is a big deal in that little town, and big deals can get pretty loud -- which means annoying for The Grinch. Told in rhyme, The Grinch dresses up like Santa to frolic down from his mountain in the middle of the night and steal all of the Christmas goodies from each Who's house. "He took the Who's feast! He took the Who pudding! He took the roast beast!"

In the end, The Grinch takes everything from the Whos -- all the things about Christmas that he thinks will ruin the holiday for them. As the sun rises, the Whos start singing and The Grinch realizes, "Christmas came without ribbons! It came without tags! It came without packages, boxes, or bags!" His heart fills with an emotion he never knew he had, growing "three sizes that day!" The ending is meant for warm, fuzzy feelings as The Grinch joins all the Whos in Whoville for their Christmas feast -- "And he, he himself, The Grinch...carved the Roast Beast!"

Disney's The Jungle Book - Little Golden Book

Released on October 18, 1967, Disney's The Jungle Book leapt to overnight fame in film format, amongst children and adults of all ages. In 2003, Little Golden Books condensed the movie into a shorter written version of the animated movie, allowing for quicker reading of a timeless tale at bedtime. Over the past decade (almost), The Jungle Book from Little Golden Books has become one of the best Disney books for kids; a staple on the bookshelves of every family home.

What happens in Disney's The Jungle Book?

The concept in the book version is the same as in the film, only abridged. Mowgli is a little boy who has grown up around animals in the jungles of India. He lives with a pack of wolves with whom he's grown up, after his adopted wolf mother found him as an abandoned infant and raised Mowgli as one of her own. However, he's cast out for his own safety -- his pack believes it's time for him to return to the man-village to live his path as a human.

His protectors are charged with his safe journey. They include a black panther named Bagheera, and an amusing bear named Baloo -- both of whom steer him clear of enemies, such as the tiger (King of the Jungle), Shere Khan, and a squeeze-happy Indian Python, Kaa.

The whole tale is quite dramatic, with bits of humor tossed in here and there. The key elements represented in the Little Golden Books version include -- when Mowgli becomes hypnotized by Kaa, when he faces off against Shere Khan, and when he meets the jubilant and devious Orangutan King, Louie. Disney's The Jungle Book ends in a bittersweet way as Mowgli follows a little girl into the man-village, where he decides to stay. His protectors turn to leave, knowing Mowgli is content and safe within the village.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Disney Princess Collection Book - Behind The Scenes

Beginning with the first princess ever created by this timeless franchise, Snow White takes the forefront of the Disney Princess Collection Book. She's followed by Cinderella, Arielle, and Belle, to name a few -- all with different stories to tell that have never been told before. Polled as one of the top 10 Disney books since 2009, these tales feature princesses who pre-date Disney's newest additions, such as Tiana or Rapunzel.

Written for ages 3 and up, the stories represented in this book are ideal for children who don't have the patience to sit through the length of a Disney movie. It gives kids the chance to 'get-to-know' the Disney princesses outside of the animated films.

What should I expect from the Disney Princess Collection Book?

The best part about these stories is the way in which their told, directly from the perspective of the featured princess. Rife with colorful and magical illustrations, this book relies on the written word -- which compromises 80% of the pages to help kids along with their reading and vocabulary. While there are new stories told from the POV of each princess, there are also shorter versions of each film. For example, the background of Aurora is given in a condensed manner, with all of the main elements and key points conveyed without the fluff that would be in the movie. The main stories are then followed up by mini-tales, perfect to read right before bed.

For a mash-up of all Disney princesses in one convenient location, the Disney Princess Collection Book is amazing. The exterior of the book is shining with silver, gleaming with the promise of beautiful tales. The interior pages are glossy and stain-resistant, allowing kids to be their messy selves without fear of severely damaging the book. However, as with all things, this collection is best kept clean and cherished.


For more great stories for boys and girls from Disney this year, visit:

A Christmas Carol (Little Master Dickens) - By Jennifer Adams and Alison Oliver

You wouldn't expect classic literature to be lumped in with the best Christmas books for kids 2012, but Jennifer Adams thinks outside the box when it comes to babies and their board books. Told in a direct manner with simple terms and beautiful illustations, A Christmas Carol is part of the Little Master Dickens series; a group of board books for children who wouldn't yet understand the timelessness of Charles Dickens and his stories of Scrooge.

What can I expect in this version of A Christmas Carol?

This book is condensed into a board book, perfect for children 3 and up. The key elements of the larger written version are detailed through colorful pictures and few words, allowing kids to get the 'jist' of the tale without feeling overwhelmed by extensive vocabulary. The tale introduces Ebenezer Scrooge -- a crochety old man with a penchant for overworked employees, strict conditions, and no compassion. He's visited by the usual ghosts -- past, present, and future. The tale skips quickly along through creative pictures and limited word usage, detailing how Scrooge's outlook changes to reveal a remorseful and kinder man.

This version of A Christmas Carol is less morose than the original, because it's meant to entertain children -- not scare or depress them. The ghosts aren't terrifying, but they retain their reflective manner -- while Scrooge keeps his "Bah Humbug!" declaration without the mild profanity from the Dickens novel.

Clever, simple text teaches toddlers how to recognize certain words, while bold illustrations offer understanding. This is a board book of a different breed, since parents usually don't consider the lengthy versions of A Christmas Carol to be attention-appropriate for their growing children. However, Jennifer Adams believes kids shouldn't be left out of the magic of classic literature. With these easy-to-understand board books, Scrooge can become an integral part of your brilliant toddler's seasonal to-read list.

A Bad Kitty Christmas - By Nick Bruel

Nick Bruel has created a classic series with Bad Kitty, including his newest, less-than-a-year-old addition, A Bad Kitty Christmas. One of the newer tales to be dubbed one of the best Children's Christmas books of the last decade. It's also been noted as educational, humorous, and great for teaching kids how to read and understand the English language; the alphabet is covered at least four times in this book -- all in entertaining and interesting ways.

What happens in A Bad Kitty Christmas?

This book is 80% pictures, because as the old adage goes, "a picture's worth a thousand words." This is the case for Bad Kitty as children see she's upset about not getting everything she wants for Christmas. The tagline of, "Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the city, not a creature was stirring.... except for Bad Kitty!" starts the whole book off with a bang.

She wreaks havoc on her home before being tossed out into a snowy Christmas morning where she makes a new friend, followed by reuniting with an old friend. Together, they rediscover the true meaning of Christmas -- at least that's what Bad Kitty wants her readers to believe. It's believed that while Bad Kitty warmed up to the idea of a Christmas without greed, she'll likely return to her old ways to the delight of her readers.

If A Bad Kitty Christmas teaches children anything, it's how to have patience and be thankful for what you're given. The true meaning of Christmas is more than packages and vibrant boxes with silky ribbons -- it's about family, friends, and the love of the season; all things that Bad Kitty comes to realize towards the end of the book. Kids will appreciate the colorful illustrations that go along with each catchy rhyme, while parents will find the kitty's capers to be amusing and enjoyable.

For more top picks in kids' Christmas books this year, visit:

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Zoobooks Magazine - The Specifics

Some of the best magazines for kids will feature interesting facts, appealing activities, and amazing photography; all things that children will appreciate because of the amusing, entertaining, and accurate information within every issue. Zoobooks Magazine is just what children and their parents have come to expect from a monthly circular. Instead of filling a child's head with nonsense about nothing, this magazine strives to be informative and helpful when it comes to animal facts -- such as habitats, pet care, and culture.

What can I expect from Zoobooks Magazine?

As we've mentioned, Zoobooks is full to overflowing with animal tidbits and awe-inspiring photography. The writers and photographers have worked hard to put together issue upon issue each month. Some adults will remember these magazines from when they were growing up, complete with those 3 ring binders where all the back issues were kept for repeated reading. This is a magazine that children and their parents can read over and over again without getting tired of the information. Plus, kids can surprise their teachers and friends with how much they know about specific animals.

The one thing that parents might be concerned with is the images of predators with their prey. For example, there could be a picture of a lion engrossed in eating a zebra. While the pictures aren't intensely graphic, some parents might not feel comfortable with letting their children see that sort of thing at such a young age, especially when it comes to later answering questions about the food chain or the crueler side of nature.

Zoobooks Magazine is reading material that stays with kids as they grow up, morphing from just a great magazine to something passed down from parent to child. The price is a constant $29.95 for a year's worth of issues -- each featuring a specific theme per issue (such as Nocturnal Animals) with posters, stickers, and tear-out cards inside.


For more subscription options or a look at some other top picks in magazines for children this year, visit:

The Serpent's Shadow - By Rick Riordan

Rick Riordan is one of those authors who will always have a spot on a kid's list of top 10 chapter books. He's keen on developing amazing concepts and intriguing storylines; all of which keep kids interested in learning what's going to happen next. One example of his excellent writing is The Serpent's Shadow (The Kane Chronicles, Book 3). The final installment in the Kane trilogy, this book is packed with action, adventure, a little teen-style romance, and confidence building morals. It teaches kids the lesson of, "You can do anything your set your mind to!"

What's The Serpent's Shadow about?

This series of stories is best read in order, from first to last. Kids will have a firmer grasp on what adventures and mishaps the Kane siblings will come across, as well as why these events are taking place. In The Serpent's Shadow, Carter and Sadie Kane are on a race against time (as always) to stop Apophis, the chaos snake, from plunging the whole world into eternal darkness.

The task of destroying a creature so ancient and near-impossible to kill is daunting, but the Kane siblings build a plan of attack -- to acquire a spell to turn the serpent's own shadow into a weapon. The tale goes onto describe how the gods are divided on the subjects of Apophis -- some of them want him to rise, while others are trusting in Sadie and Carter to save the world. It's quite a large expectation to place on the shoulders of 2 teens!

The Serpent's Shadow is intense. The events leading up to the final showdown between the Kanes and Apophis are page-turning, leaving kids (and adults) breathless after finishing the book. It's a trilogy that families will want to add to their bookshelfs, taking turns reading and discussing what transpires in the Kane household.

The Care and Keeping of You - By Valorie Schaefer and Norm Bendell

The Care and Keeping of You is on the top of a list for the best chapter books for kids because it explains touchy subjects in a direct way. Written with girls in mind, this book takes you through hair care, the importance of facial cleansing, washing hands, and a great deal more -- covering every body part and subject from head to toe. Learning to take care of themselves is an integral part of a child's growing up process, and this book allows children to learn at their own pace about matters that may be too embarrassing to talk about with parents.

What's in The Care and Keeping of You book?

Known also as the "Body Book for Girls," the chapters covered can be used to teach boys about certain things, as well. For example, male children might be perplexed over how the menustration chapter would pertain to them, but they'll find the acne treatments and deodorant suggestions to be useful. The chapters go through the process of discussing why it's important to keep our bodies clean and well-groomed. In addition, there are 2 chapters in the back specifically for girls which features information on what a period is (and why it's 100% normal) and body hair.

While puberty and the changes of a body are covered in this book, sex isn't. That talk is best left to the parents because some adults will prefer their children not learn about sex or the act of intimacy until the right time. With the targeted audience for this book being between the ages of 9 and 12, sex might be a topic that would be off-limits; therefore, this is one pubescent book that respects the wishes of most parents on those matters.

Overall, The Care and Keeping of You is the ultimate body book for kids who are experiencing the traumatic throes of their changing appearance. Parents can rest assured that this book can be passed down through generations in their family; plus, it makes children feel more comfortable about talking these things over and asking questions with their parents.


For shopping options on this book, and to find other top-rated chapter books for kids this year, visit:

The Amazing Pop-Up Geography Book - By Kate Petty and Jennie Maizels

People once believed that the earth was flat -- that anyone who ventured too far away would fall right off the side and into the great unknown. Fortunately, we don't believe that anymore -- so, why should the earth be a 2D experience on the pages of a boring Geography book? Ranked number 4 in a list of the top 10 pop-up books, The Amazing Pop-Up Geography Book is one of a kind. The entire world is seen from new angles, complete with spinning pieces, hidden chambers, and secret flaps that reveal new and interesting tidbits about certain areas.

Why is the The Amazing Pop-Up Geography Book a great choice for kids?

It's common knowledge that pop-up books are popular amongst children... and most adults! This book extends a message of, "Take care of our world" while teaching readers about Continents, Oceans, and everything in between. Below, you'll find testimonials from real parents who thought this pop-up book would be just another non-informative piece of toddler boredom. Instead, each parent was pleasantly surprised by the amount of entertaining and accurate facts provided on every page.

"I would recommend this book to anyone (parents AND children) who wanted to learn something new while having fun in the process. There are dozens of little pop-ups hidden in each section -- some are more well-hidden than others, which means you'll find a slew of fresh tidbits with every read. The best parts? The earthquake that 'shakes,' a volcano that spews colorfully across the pages, and a hurricane that whirls and spirals."

"I expected to find the The Amazing Pop-Up Geography Book in pieces within a week of purchasing it. That's just how rough my kids usually are with their books. Fortunately, the 9 year old has taken a special interest, carrying it around and putting it on high shelves to keep the book out of the reach of the younger ones. This has become his favorite book and he seems to discover new facts each time he reads it."

Highlights For Children - The Reflective Magazine

Edmund Burke once said, "To read without reflection is to eat without digestion" -- which means reading at a slower pace is the ideal way to properly absorb information. The Highlights For Children is the best kids magazine for reflective reading and development of strong thinking skills; it’s a proverbial whirlwind of interesting tidbits, packed full of entertaining and riveting activities. However, these activities are tedious, as well as fun; each maze, riddle, or puzzle will require brain-power and moments of reflection to gain the most out of each section.

What can I expect from Highlights For Children?

This magazine is often found in classrooms, and has even been recommended to parents as a way to supplement their child's curriculum from home. Excellent and in place at doctor's or dentist's offices, the Highlights For Children is meant to engage kids, offering them a creative outlet to pass the time. One that is far more beneficial than the usual headphones, blaring pop music, and IPhone apps.

Activities and puzzles are easy enough for children to understand, but difficult enough to keep them challenged. Each issue instills determination in a child, evoking a sense of accomplishment when the riddles and mazes are solved after an hour of concentrating and working through the problems. It's also a magazine that can bring families together. There's nothing quite like going through the mail, followed by the tangible excitement of a child who has been waiting the whole month for the next Highlights issue. It gives parents the opportunity to sit down with their kids and flip through the whole magazine, offering help when possible and talking about the information, stories, and cool facts provided.

The complaints against the Highlights For Children magazine revolve around shipping. Depending on where parents order the magazine, they might have to deal with ridiclulous shipping costs -- such as the ones seen on Instead, parents should opt for ordering directly from the Highlights website. You'll get exactly what you've ordered in shorter time with no overcharges on your bank account.


Editor's note:  "Highlights for Children" has made the list of the top 10 kids magazines for 2012.  If looking for a great magazine for kids this year, it is always a good bet.  =)

National Geographic Little Kids Magazine - For Preschoolers & Parents

The National Geographic Little Kids Magazine was polled as one of the top 10 kids magazines preferred by parents in 2012. However, staring at the aforementioned poll won't tell other parents why they should subscribe to this magazine for their preschoolers and kindergarteners. How can these parents tell if this magazine contains the right tales and fun facts for their batch of little ones?

-- National Geographic Little Kids Magazine offers a free trial to curious parents, inclusive of one detailed magazine for the month and an optional subscription sign-up form. Each issue is 24 pages long, with up to 19 of those being nothing but colorful, appealing pictures of landmarks or animals for children to awe over.

This magazine is also rife with activities, such as search & find games, riddle solving, joke telling, and solving mazes, among other things. Each issue also revolves around a theme or a certain place. For example, an issue with Africa as a focal point will offer interesting, understandable tidbits on culture, followed by whole sections dedicated to African animals and their unusual or extraordinary habits.

-- This magazine is best for kids between the ages of 3-5, because the photographs are designed to amaze and keep their interest. Fortunately, children and adults of all ages can enjoy each issue, as well. There's no age limit on learning about innovative and interesting things! Tear-out cards feature full-colored photographs of different animals in relation to their natural habitat, complete with facts on the back of each card.

-- One of the best and most important deal-sealers of this magazine are the prices for subscription. 6 issues over a 12 month period will only set parents back $15. That's exponentially less than other, lesser quality magazines targeted towards children. It's also an investment in a child's flourishing knowledge and imagination.

To find some great subscription options on this and other top picks in kids' magazines, visit:

Beautiful Oops! Pop-Up Book - By Barney Saltzberg

When it comes to the best pop-up books for kids, an ideal tale will have a moral or a life lesson. Beautiful Oops! is no exception. With the lesson of, "It's okay to make a mistake," this story alters at the turn of each page. With the tagline of, "A torn piece of paper is just the beginning," this book highlights the mistakes that some children (and adults) might make while delving into their artistic moments. Smudges, smears, and droplets of paint are among the list of 'oopses' that author, Barney Saltzberg, believes can be made into something magical with just a hint of imagination.

What happens in this book?

Did we mention this is a pop-up book? Secret panels, flippable papers, and hidden flaps add to the mystery of Beautiful Oops! Each page features what would be considered a different mistake -- such as a torn piece of paper, a crumbled newsprint, or water rings from unattended glasses. The 'oopses' become more complex as the tale wears on, with more diverse and interesting creations to fix the mistakes each time.

Every element is interactive, meaning children have the opportunity to decide what they think will fix an oops. Will the aforementioned torn newsprint make the perfect smiling dog if we added just a touch of paint? Could folded-over paper be turned into a curious penguin? Saltzberg sure thought so -- and you will too! The whole book is free-spirited, delighting in small mistakes and teaching kids that the world isn't going to end just because a drop of paint of misplaced on their projects.

The message of, "Embrace life's mistakes" is prevalent for children, but it's also an excellent reminder for adults. Noted as a book that is fun for all ages, Beautiful Oops! combines artistic imagination with interpretations -- offering readers the opportunity to make something pretty out of something not-so-pretty.


For some great shopping options on this book, and other picks among the top 10 pop-up books this year, visit:

Monday, July 23, 2012

Goodnight Moon - By Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd

Goodnight Moon is one of the best board books of the past two decades. Written and illustrated by Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd, this book follows a little rabbit who is attempting to postpone his bedtime. Composed in poetic format, Goodnight Moon holds a child's interest while utilizing humorous concept, basic easy-to-learn words, and a simple rhyme scheme.

What happens in the poem?

Each page features something the young bunny will say Goodnight to. He begins with objects around his room, followed by the "quiet old lady whispering hush," and ending with the moon -- all alone and gleaming on a page of its own.

Goodnight Moon is a board book that all parents have heard of, but they won't understand the magic of the tale until they read the book for themselves. There's something in the poem that children could relate to -- such as being exhausted but refusing to go to bed. The soothing words and odd rhyming patterns allow children to relax through the story, enough to go to sleep. Parents are guaranteed to be greeted with a yawn or two when the poem ends, as this book is magical when it comes to evoking feelings of calm and comfort. It repeats and relaxes in much the same way a meditation mantra would, except it's designed for sleep-evading toddlers.

The illustrations in Goodnight Moon are intricate with little details for children to delight in -- such as the pictures on the walls inside the rabbit's room or the dollhouse with the lights on. Each image is an integral part of the tale because it gives children something to focus on, offering them a pictoral grasp on the story as it's being read. From there, their imaginations take hold and it's not unusual for those aforementioned children to have a "Goodnight" ritual after reading the poem.

Happy Birthday to You! - By Dr. Seuss

Happy Birthday to You! is a classic; a treasured tale from the amazing and humorous mind of Dr. Seuss, so long ago. Ranked higher each year on the list of the top 10 board books, this particular story is in a pop-up style that will appeal to young children and toddlers alike.

Deemed one of the best ways to wish a growing someone a Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss takes us on a tour of cakes, streamers, and hilarious rhyme schemes where the focal point is the person reading. "Today is your birthday! Today you are you! ...There is no one alive more you-er than you!" It makes children feel especially special, as if Dr. Seuss is speaking directly to them.

Some customers of this board book were more than satisfied as proclaimed in their revealing reviews and testimonials.

"This book isn't just a gift for children. It's for anyone who loves and appreciates the timeless stories of Dr. Seuss. One idea that I had was to get this book for my mother when she turned 50. It was accompanied by a Princess wand and crown in a small box that had been signed in crayon by everyone at the party. We went around the room and everyone read a line out of the book, while she wore her crown and displayed her wand the entire time. She loved it! It made her feel like a kid again... which is something all adults should have the pleasure of feeling once in awhile."

"My children love this book, even when it's not their birthday! I can recite it rhyme for rhyme based on how often I've read it to them for a bedtime story. Led through the tale by a Birthday Honk Honker, several places are visited, with cakes eaten and grills fired up for delicious mustard-covered hotdogs. The poem ends with Dr. Derring's Singing Herrings serenading the reader and spelling out, "Happy Birthday!" This is definitely a book that belongs on every child's bookshelf."


To find more great board books for kids, and to find the top 10 for the year, visit:

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Zombie-Kids - By Julia Dweck and Mark Draisey

Zombies are winning the battle when it comes to their odds with other monsters -- which is the main reason why books about things that go bump in the night are ranked high on the list of the best kids Kindle picture books. One in particular is a favorite must-read amongst children in the age range of 7 and up -- it's called Zombie-Kids; an adolescent tale that's riddled with strange happenings and, of course, zombies. Lots of them!

What makes Zombie-Kids so special?

Written in June of 2012 by children's book authors Julia Dweck and Mark Draisey, Zombie-Kids is new on the scene of Kindle books. These zombies are different because they're of pre-teen age -- therefore; this story follows the habits and myths of zombies through the eyes of children for children. Instead of craving all manner of gross things that are left on the living (Brrrraaaainnnns!), these zombie kids just want to "live" their undead lives in normal ways -- such as going bowling, to the movie theatre, or roller-skating. The only problem is their bodies won't cooperate the ways a living kid's would -- leaving these zombies to their own devices, accomplishing goals in their own unique ways. Hilarity ensues!

From the point of view of a parent concerned with life lessons and moral value, Zombie-Kids encourages understanding and acceptance of the unknown. Zombies are something children can relate to in some contexts -- especially these zombies. Why? Well, kids are growing and their hormones are taking control of their minds, turning them from the sweet and innocent toddler to the raging teenager. Zombie-kids are misunderstood creatures because they're not in complete control of their actions, much like what's happening in the real lives of the children who are reading the tale. It shows kids that they can be who they are -- it also teaches them to be less judgmental of their peers because those kids are going through the same changes.

Overall, Zombie-Kids is a book that is sure to turn into a classic. It's rife with everything children could possibly want on their Kindles -- from zombies to humorous situations and fascinating illustrations. Adults might even feel compelled to read a page or two, if not the entire book. It's a story that takes the traditional horror of a movie monster and transforms it into a creature that kids can feel empathy for -- while laughing their butts off.

The Paper Bag Princess - By Robert Munsch and Michael Martchenko

When Robert Munsch created the tale of The Paper Bag Princess, he had no idea it would morph into one of the top 10 Kindle picture books for kids. Of course, there were no e-book readers back then, so it's doubtful he anticipated how far technology would ascend and how many new readers he would gain as it did. The premise of The Paper Bag Princess strays from the usual submissive nature of the women in most fairy-tales -- presenting the lesson to little girls to, "be responsible for your own happiness."

What happens in the story?

Princess Elizabeth is a classic archetypal example of royal-blood. She's vain -- always primped and dressed to impress, especially when it comes to her love interest, Prince Ronald. When a dragon attacks her castle and kidnaps her beloved after setting fire to her wardrobe, Elizabeth is forced to don a large paper bag to go save him. When she finds her Prince, she defeats the dragon with a slew of interesting antics along the way. However, Ronald is less than grateful -- stating, "Come back when you're dressed like a real princess." Instead of being heartbroken, Princess Elizabeth uses the lessons she's learned and the confidence she's acquired to set off on her own -- sans the unappreciative Ronald. In doing so, she finds happiness she never experienced and her appreciation for the smaller things doth flourish.

Most moms will recommend this tale based on the fact that Princess Elizabeth is somewhat a feminist -- discovering through the pages that she doesn't need violence and negativity to outsmart a fire-breathing dragon. Although, those same moms may dispute that Elizabeth brings herself down to Prince Ronald's shallow level when she angrily retorts, "You're a bum!" after his comment about her less-than-royal attire. The theme of a strong female protagonist allows young girls to know they have the power over their own lives -- the ability to choose their own paths and make independent decisions. It's a fable that parents pray will stick with children through the rest of their lives.

Essentially, little girls will find Princess Elizabeth especially endearing. Albeit, it's a great moral and message for ALL children who will eventually venture into the ups and downs of adulthood. It's a tale that has morphed into a timeless bedtime story -- and with the use of the Kindle, children can experience technological e-readers at their best while basking in the classic glow of brilliant illustrations and enchanting words.


To find some more great picks among kids' Kindle picture books this year, visit:

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Very Hungry Caterpillar By Eric Carle

In the last 2 decades, Eric Carle has evolved into a master of the children's books. Several of his stories have made it onto the top 10 baby books list -- offering parents the guide to toddler stories on the "best of all time" level.

One example would be the The Very Hungry Caterpillar; a story that centers on a newborn caterpillar as he discovers the rumbling in his tummy continues page after page. The entire tale follows this caterpillar until he has literally gnawed holes into the book's pages -- up until the very end, when he wraps himself up in a tight cocoon. The hunger is explained to kids as the caterpillar's way of becoming ready to transform -- to transition from one stage of his life to the next. The end of the book features a beautifully colorful picture of a butterfly with the caterpillar's tell-tale body between the wings.

This book acts as a multi-educational tool. Small words are appropriate for children learning to read, while detailed illustrations allows kids to guess what the tale is about before they read the following pages. It's also a great way to get children interested in the process of science from a young age. More than likely, when a child finishes this book (whether on their own or as a bedtime story), they'll likely have questions about the process the caterpillar went through in changing. It also teaches the life lessons of "real beauty is only skin-deep" while incorporating the message of "don't judge someone based on what they look like."

Eric Carle created a classic baby book with the release of The Very Hungry Caterpillar in 1981. It's the type of story that's passed on -- giving new parents the chance to retell a traditional, educational tale that they were familiar with as children.

Check out the ten best picks in baby books for the current year: