Monday, August 27, 2012

The Invisible String - By Patrice Karst

Separation is a serious issue, both for parents and their children. This is the main reason why The Invisible String (by Patrice Karst) has made its way to the third spot on the list of top 10 books for 3 year olds.  It can also be a tale on how to deal with loss - specifically the death of someone a child loved, or the overall anxiety and fear that comes from the thought of being separated from a person that is an integral part of a child's life. However, this book isn't just a creative comfort for children - it's also an important tale for anyone who has ever had difficulty dealing with loss or separation.

What is this book about?

The story begins with a mother telling her twins that an 'invisible string' connects to all the hearts of people. This string cannot be cut, torn, or broken in any way - even after death. Instead, it acts as a conductor of love between the people who care about each other. This string also cannot be seen with the eyes, but it can be felt with the heart - sending the message to readers that they are never truly alone, and will never be forgotten or abandoned by those who their invisible string is connected to.

The Invisible String is self-explanatory; it's a must-have for the bookshelves of anyone who enjoys reading a tale with a positive moral and practiced life lesson. The string can be the comfort children need to get over a divorce, a death, a loss of any kind - but it can also be the one thing that makes an adult feel better about the same situations. Instead of feeling disconnected due to travel, heartbreak, or physical loss, people who "feel" their invisible string are likely to experience a better understanding and firmer grasp on their emotions and the situation they're dealing with.

Harold and the Purple Crayon (50th Anniversary) - By Crockett Johnson

Some of the best books for 3 year olds will feature stories about children (just like them) who take on the world with imagination, creativity, and fascination - such is the story of Harold and the Purple Crayon. Written in 1955 by Crockett Johnson, the 50th anniversary edition evokes a feeling of warm nostalgia in the wise hearts of decades-old readers and their descendants.

What is Harold and the Purple Crayon about?

Harold is a little boy with a purple crayon who decides to go on a walk in the moonlight; alas, there is no moon, so Harold sets off across a blank landscape. The first thing he does is draw a line to represent the horizon - then he draws the moon, walking in its purple moonlight as he also draws a tree (which is a forest to Harold, but the one tree is so he won't get lost in the forest).  Then he draws a dragon to guard the fruit of the tree, but the dragon turns out to be rude and fearsome, causing Harold to step back with his hands shaking (drawing squiggly lines all the while). 

Before Harold realizes it, his lines have become waves and he finds himself at the bottom of an ocean; fortunately, he draws a boat to save himself. The story follows Harold the rest of the way home as he searches for his bedroom. He creates a whole city, complete with numerous windows, but none of them are his. After a while of searching, Harold remembers he used to see the moon from his bedroom window; therefore, he draws his bedroom window and becomes the little boy on the inside looking out at the outside.

Harold and the Purple Crayon has evolved into a timeless classic, fit for all ages in all diverse cultural backgrounds - all presented with the same message of hope, artistry, and inspiration. Where Harold finds danger, he perseveres to make those frightful situations a little better. Where he feels lost, he creates what he needs to feel safe again.

Find a whole list of this year's top books for 3 year old children:

Pokemon: Ultimate Handbook - by Cris Silvestri

The Pokemon: Ultimate Handbook is exactly what you'd expect from reading the title and the description of the book on Rated by parents as one of the top 10 Pokemon books, the handbook offers everything a child (or die-hard) fan needs to know about Pokemon -- from characters, to specific movies and special Pokemon cards. There are also tips on how to play your best at the card games and speculation about which Pokemon would be the most difficult to catch. With the tagline of "Gotta read em' all!," the Pokemon: Ultimate Handbook is really the end all for Pokemon fans, describing every aspect of the franchise in detail for prospective players and viewers of the renowned television series.

Who is the Pokemon: Ultimate Handbook a perfect gift for?

This handbook is a great present for anyone who's ever had a real infatuation with the game, TV series, or other books. Some 20-somethings have been known to buy this handbook after years of following the entire franchise, while some parents are more interested in buying it as a Christmas or Birthday gift for their children. There's really no set target audience when it comes the who the Pokemon: Ultimate Handbook is perfect for. It's ideal for anyone who's ever had an interest in Pokemon.

Like with every book, the Pokemon: Ultimate Handbook has some faults, but it's overall an excellent reference source. There are some Pokemon that are apparently missing from the index, but they're also the rarest and the ones that most people will never find or catch. This shouldn't deter the hardcore Pokemon fans, as the book is comprehensive enough to cover other more intriguing aspects of the characters and over franchise. You (or your children) will be masters in no time, combating the greats (such as Ash) and catching the best Pokemon for your collection.

How to Draw Pokemon - by Tracey West

How to Draw Pokemon is one of the most well-noted and best pokemon books of this generation, teaching kids (and adults) how to sketch some of their favorite characters from the popular game. Unfortunately, as witnessed in other reviews, this book also contains some flaws that many people will find unappealing. The most complaints revolve around…

-- The level of difficulty in each drawing tutorial. Described as advanced, these sketches aren't going to be something that somebody draws perfectly the first time. The people who draw these characters on a regular basis have been doing so for years, whereas someone just starting will be disappointed if they strive to get every detail accurate the first time. It takes practice! Some of these characters are intricate and very decorated, meaning more than one evening will have to be spent on perfecting each one. However, the great thing about that is, it keeps children occupied for long periods of time -- allowing mom and dad to spend some quality time together, or get some work done without the pestering of little ones.

-- The condition of the used How to Draw Pokemon books from Amazon. This should really come as no surprise and people are encouraged to use their common sense when dealing with this situation. If it's on the used section at discounted prices, it's probably got some marks and drawings in it already. This isn't the fault of the book itself, nor is it the fault of the artist who compiled the sectioned tutorials. It's the fault of you and the seller for not being straight-forward and honest with one another. Your best bet for buying a used edition is to ask the seller what condition the book is in, being specific with questions and gaining an educated opinion and outlook from there.

Find more of this year's great choices in Pokemon books for kids:

Transformers: The Ultimate Guide - by Simon Furman

Easily one of the best Transformers books of the last 15 years, the Transformers: The Ultimate Guide is rife with information and knowledge that every Transformer fan NEEDS to know. It's a jackpot of everything Transformers, from the very beginning when the franchise had just approached the concept of robots from outer space. What are others saying about the Transformers: The Ultimate Guide?

"Every Transformers fan needs this book -- from those who are just getting into the whole concept of the spacial robots, to those who have been hardcore fans for years. With 141 pages of content, this book is a jewel among the rocks of Transformers memorabilia -- instantly becoming one my most treasured guides in my series collection. Everything you'd ever want or need to know is featured between the covers of this book, and it's not all illustrations! Sure, there are a few pictures, but not so many that it takes up the whole page and leaves nothing for knowledge. Words and tidbits far outweigh the beautiful and intricate illustrations in what is (in my opinion) the best guide book for Transformers in the last 15 years."

"I've been a Transformers fan for… a really long time. *laughs* Therefore, when my son became old enough to get into the modern animated series, I was thrilled at how they took an immediate interest in it. However, the Transformers: The Ultimate Guide is a little too advanced for an 8 year old. Recommended for children in the 6th grade and up, I realize now that this is one of those presents that will have to be held until he reaches a better age of understanding. Until then, I have no problem with reading him important passages and summarizing whatever he needs -- it gives me the opportunity to learn more about Transformers and I enjoy sharing the experience and interest with my kid."

Transformers Animated: The Allspark Almanac - by Jim Sorenson

In a review of 33 people, ranging from parents to Transformers Animated fans of all ages, the Transformers Animated: The Allspark Almanac received a 5 star rating from every person. Ranked as number one in the top 10 Transformers books parental poll, this handbook details every aspect of the animated T.V. series -- from who the characters are, to prospective plots, to theories about where some of the Transformers came from. It's the ultimate guide for anyone who has ever enjoyed the animated series. Here are a few well-rounded reviews from some of the aforementioned 33 people polled…

"This book is exactly what you're looking for. Buy it now. Books like these make having a hobby that much sweeter because they're comprehensive, well planned out, accurate, and beautifully written. The Transformers Animated: The Allspark Almanac is no exception as it houses references to some of the greats in the Transformers series -- also featuring awesome extras and FIYs for hardcore fans who enjoy finding those little "Easter Eggs" in the information they read. It's not some boring, drawn out handbook. It's creative, imaginative, and interesting to the very end."

"My children (2 boys, ages 9 and 11) have memorized the Transformers Animated: The Allspark Almanac from cover to cover. Even my husband took a peek and loved it, describing it as a "veritable goldmine of valuable Transformers information." As for me, I've never been into the series of Transformers, but this book has so far been every bit worth the $15 I paid for it. There are 220 pages chock full of information, little tidbits that you wouldn't expect, and colorful pictures that are amazingly illustrated. The author really went all out for this almanac."

"What's there more to say about the Transformers Animated: The Allspark Almanac other than it's almost too good to be true? A well-written, fantastic book that details anything about everything in the Transformers world."


To find other great Transformers books for kids, visit:

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Tales of Beedle the Bard (From Harry Potter) - by J. K. Rowling

In December 2007, J.K. Rowling regaled Harry Potter fans with The Tales of Beedle the Bard; a book designed to be the fictional stories gathered in the midst of Potter's wizarding world. It was the equivalent to reality's the Brothers Grimm tales and ranked as one of the top 10 fairy tale books of all time. Below, you'll find a brief overview of several stories featured in this book, along with how each tale would apply morally in essential life lessons.

-- The Tale of Three Brothers.
About three brothers of step-ladder ages, this story begins when they meet death. Instead of dying, they ask death to bestow a gift on each of them to give them power over death for a few more years. They're given the Elder Wand, the Resurrection Stone, and the Cloak of Invisibility. These items prove to be chaotic, and have all become integral parts of the Harry Potter series. The moral? Every man can avoid an inevitable death for only so long, but in the end, we're all equal in dying.

-- The Fountain of Fair Fortune. Three witches accompany a luckless knight across multi-adventurous terrain in search of a fountain that's said to grant all who find it their wishes and small fortunes. The premise of the story is self-explanatory, as the witches and knight face many challenges, overcoming each obstacle in turn. The moral? The fortunate life isn't important because of the reward at the end -- it's important because of the journey getting there. It's a tale that attempts to instill an appreciation of life in children and adults.

-- The Warlock's Hairy Heart. This story is morbid, much darker than the other tales, and more sophisticated in theme. A warlock decides that love is useless and foolish, so he cuts out his own heart, puts it in a box, and lives his life as a cold person until he meets a Maiden. She's everything he's ever dreamed of and he feels the stirrings of love, but when he tries to literally give her his heart, he discovers it's grown hairy and worthless. The moral varies from reader to reader; therefore, this one is up to the reader to decipher.

Grimm's Fairy Stories - by Nate Turner

Rated as one of the best fairy tale books of all time, Grimm's Fairy Stories (by Nate Turner) is a timeless collection of stories spanning every genre -- from the dark and morbid, to the light-hearted and morally uplifting. Unfortunately, not all stories from the original Brothers Grimm anthology are represented. This book is like a grab bag of old and (somewhat) popular favorites, told in a manner that may be unfamiliar to most children. They'll learn that not all stories originally had happy endings, and some of them were better that way. A couple of the 25 stories featured here are…

-- The Goose Girl. The Goose Girl follows a young woman who wants nothing more than to please the royal family of her betrothed. She comes from a peasant background, but is one of the most beautiful women in her village. As the story progresses, the Goose Girl finds solace in speaking with the King's geese about her troubles and it's through the ventilation of her anger to the geese, she finds the courage to stand up to the ones who seek to put her down, eventually falling head over heels in love and marrying regardless of what her new husband's family thinks of her.

-- The Six Swans. The basis for the movie "The Swan Princess," this story is about six brother and their sister. The six brothers are turned into swans by an evil woman who wishes to take away everything that is dear to their sister. Instead of giving up on saving them, the girl finds help and a way to turn her brothers back into the young men they were. She must create cloaks of stinging nettles to throw over their feathers, all the while never uttering a sound. In the end, she completes each cloak after a year of nonstop hard work and silence. All is successful and she gains her six brothers back, while the witch is never seen or heard from again.

For more info on top fairy tale books for kids, visit:

Giant Sticker Activity First Words Book - The Teacher's Instant Favorite

The Giant Sticker Activity First Words Book's title is self-explanatory, and the pictures on the book's cover go a long way to detailing what parents and teachers can expect, as well. Voted a teacher's instant favorite and one of the top 10 sticker books for children under 6 years of age, this book is chock full of learning opportunities for flourishing children.

What will children learn with the Giant Sticker Activity First Words Book?

This activity book features over 600 stickers and the same number of silhouettes (or outlines, if you'd prefer). These outlines are exactly designed as the sticker they match to, encouraging children to find the correct sticker to fit the silhouette in an effort to improve hand-eye coordination. From there, kids will also notice there are words under each outline, letting them know what kind of item they've just paired with the accurate picture. This can drastically improve their vocabulary, as the process is methodical to lead children to feel comfortable while keeping their own learning pace. It's the key to effective education.

Some of the activities are coupled with the stickers -- such as, there are several items that will instruct a child to draw their own, matching it exactly to the picture. Other items will ask kids to write what an object is, while counting, sorting, and learning new words are also apart of the joys in the Giant Sticker Activity First Words Book. Parents and teachers will find comfort in the fact that kids are learning AND having fun, instead of sitting there so bored that they're not picking up any of the information. It's an ideal way for children to learn new things while working at their own pace, advancing in levels of vocabulary and counting as they progress through each stage of the book.

Beach Sticker Activity Book - Dover Little Activity Books

Dover Little Activity Books is renowned for making amusing distractions for children who need something to rapt their attention during long car rides or plane trips. The Beach Sticker Activity Book  is one of their creations from 1997; a time when children were a little more apt to be inspired by stickers and simple scenarios. While this book didn't make the grade for one of the best sticker books for kids, it's still a fan favorite simply because it's a beach scene -- and what child doesn't love an idea of playing in the sand with the gentle ocean waves lapping lazily behind them?

What does the Beach Sticker Activity Book consist of?

This sticker book is best reserved for distraction bags of 3 hours or less in trip time -- which means, if you're going to be on the road for longer than 3-4 hours, the Beach Sticker Activity Book isn't for you. There are only 4 pages and the entire book is around 4 inches in length and width. The cover acts as the stickers' background scene, while there are around 30 different stickers of various beach-related items. Children older than 4 years will have this done in no time, which is why it's mostly suggested for toddlers and kids just beginning to exercise their imagination in scenario formats.

Overall, the Beach Sticker Activity Book is a fun, short distraction method. Perfect for 18 months old or generally children under 3 years but older than 8 months, this book has a knack for being a kid's instant favorite. Plus, the stickers are easy to remove, which means different scenes can be captured on the same small background until your child's creativity is spent. But parents beware! It also might evoke some repetitive questions and requests for a venture to the nearest beach.

To find this and other top picks in kids' sticker books, visit:

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Disney's Beauty and the Beast - Little Golden Book - The Lifetime Treasure

One of the best presents a parent can give to their child is the gift of a beautiful and timeless tale, such as the one told in Disney's Beauty and the Beast (now available in Little Golden Book edition). A generational treasure, this story has been told multiple times with the incorporation of numerous different characters. However, no one told it quite like Disney did; a way more suited for the sheer enjoyment of children -- something that could be passed down through the years. Little Golden Book has taken the initiative to turn one of the top 10 Disney Princess books into a vintage piece of memorable literature, fit for children and adults of all ages.

What happens in the Little Golden Book version of Disney's Beauty and the Beast?

It's all apart of the experience to write a child's name on the name plate on the inside cover of a Little Golden Book, and Disney's Beauty and the Beast is no exception. This act designates the book as theirs, giving kids a further reason to treaure the story and protect the book as a whole. The cover of this particular book is straight from the Disney's Beauty and the Beast film, making it easier for children to associate the scenes from the movie with the telling of the story.

As per usual, beautiful Belle is whisked off to a strange and forboding castle as a debt to her father. She meets the mean-spirited, but misunderstood Beast, who eventually warms up to her, and she to him. Unfortunately, there are those in the nearby village who would prefer to see the Beast as a trophy on the wall of Gaston; a cruel and arrogant man with passion in his eyes for Belle. From beginning to end, children can watch as the relationship between Belle and the Beast blossoms into a slow romance, eventually coming to a head at the end of the book. It's a story that will warm the heart of the toughest child every time.

Disney's 5-Minute Princess Stories - Instant Bedtime Classics

Every little girl seems to go through a point in her life where she's absolutely enamored with the thought of being a princess, if only in secret. It doesn't mean she always dreams of frills and pink lace, but she might yearn for the freedom and independence that comes through in some of the best Disney Princess books 2012. These tales are abundant in happy endings, life lessons, and positive moral values that allow a child to feel good about herself. Numerous examples can be seen in Disney's 5-Minute Princess Stories; a book overflowing with 250 pages of interesting and unique stories and illustrations for the royal sweetheart in every parent's life.

What are the Disney's 5-Minute Princess Stories about?

The cover of this book is designed to relax and intrigue a child, with every princess in her pajamas, awaiting the tales that Belle has brought to them. The pages are silver-edged, creating a mystical appearance that will have children wondering in awe about the possibilities that await them in each inside story.

There are 18 stories told about the princesses -- including the recent addition of Tiana, but predating the popular Rapunzel. The tales are ones that we've all heard several times, only with Disney princesses as the leading characters. For example, Little Red Riding Hood gets a magical twist when a favorite princess is introduced, while The Gingerbread Man has a hard time outrunning a certain royal beauty in the revised story.

The outer cover of the Disney's 5-Minute Princess Stories has been dubbed "very sturdy" by parental reviews from around the world; however, their one complaint seems to lie with the pages. Many buyers have experienced problems when it comes to how their books were glued together. It is for this reason that parents are urged to shop around for this particular book -- to ensure their child gets the very best in outward appearance and inward stability.


For some great shopping options on this book and others among the list of the best Disney Princess books this year, visit: