April 24, 2024

TDmonthly Magazine

October 2007 | Vol. VI - No. 10

TDmonthly's Book Expert

One Educated Bookworm's Opinion

By Amy Downing
October 2007

If you want to know which books to sell in your toy store, find out what the kids have to say. Each month, children's book author Amy Downing reads new titles to children, gives her educated opinion on positioning and sales to TDmonthly Magazine readers, and rates them with 1 to 5 TDs (for TDmonthly!), with “5” as the highest rating.

This month, she helped a little girl sleep soundly in a “big kid” bed, learned about sharing alongside Little Rabbit, opened up to artistic expression with dinosaur drawings, and much more.

Title: Sophie’s Big Bed
Author/Illustrator: Tina Burke
Gender: Boys and Girls
Age: 2 to 5
MSRP: $4.99

TDmonthly rating:

What It Is: A charming story of a little girl worried about making the transition from a crib into a “big kid” bed. Just before reading this book, my sister told me about her almost-3-year-old daughter who did not want to leave the security of her crib. “Sophie’s Big Bed” is the perfect book for her and any child like her.

Why You Should Carry It: Because changing beds is a real fear for some kids, parents will search out this book to help their own child adjust to this transition.

What Kids Think: Sophie is a little girl with whom children will identify. The young ones who read this story loved her little stuffed animal friends they met along the way.

Title: Let’s Play!
Author/Illustrator: Deborah Niland
Gender: Boys and Girls
Age: 3 to 6
MSRP: $4.99

TDmonthly rating:

What It Is: A fun-to-read story with simple text and bright colors. Grown-ups and their little ones will love the surprises they find along the way.

Why You Should Carry It: While the title is pretty generic, the content of the book is creative. “Let’s Play!” can be used as a read-aloud to a toddler or preschooler and can also be read by a beginning reader.

What Kids Think:
They loved this title! This would be a fantastic title to share with a bookstore crowd of kids.

Title: Little Rabbit’s Christmas
Author/Illustrator: Harry Horse
Gender: Boys and Girls
Age: 3 to 7
MSRP: $15.95

TDmonthly rating:

What It Is: Another title in the Little Rabbit series, “Little Rabbit’s Christmas” shows its readers the true meaning of friendship. All Little Rabbit wants for Christmas is a red sled. When he receives it, he is unwilling to allow any of his animal buddies near it. He soon discovers that even the best present is not much fun if it can’t be shared with friends.

Why You Should Carry It: It’s a sweet title for Christmas, and the art and story are appealing to children and adults alike.

What Kids Think: I shared this title with a group of kids of mixed ages. Its art was charming and simple, which especially appealed to the 3- and 4-year-olds. The older kids loved the story and the red sled, which even California kids wished they had!

Title: Santa’s Eleven Months Off
Author: Mike Reiss
Illustrator: Michael G. Montgomery
Gender: Boys and Girls
Age: 5 and up
MSRP: $16.95

TDmonthly rating:

What It Is: This silly and entertaining picture book describes what Santa does every other month of the year when he is not delivering presents in December. Told in rhyming verse, “Santa’s Eleven Months Off” is a fun tale to read aloud.

Why You Should Carry It: While the name “Santa” may be in the title, this is not just a Christmas book. It can be read and thoroughly enjoyed at any time of the year. With the cover of Santa snoozing at the beach, it also looks enticing as a summer reading book.

What Kids Think: This is a book that 10-year-olds enjoyed as much as 5-year-olds. The art is friendly enough for little ones, but sophisticated enough for older kids to appreciate. Each illustration is so well done that even nonreaders can pore over the book and love it.

Title: Christmas Princess
Author: Cathy Hapka
Illustrator: Heather Hill and April Roush
Gender: Girls
Age: 2 to 6
MSRP: $4.99

TDmonthly rating:

What It Is: Another title in the Picture Me series, this book allows every little girl to be that princess she dreams of being — all during Christmastime. It’s a photographic board book, where the adult slips in a small photo of the child’s face at the back of the book. Then the child “stars” in different Christmas scenes as each page is turned.

Why You Should Carry It: This series is everywhere! Parents and grandparents love to have keepsakes of their little ones, and this is a title the kids will love as well. Its board book format makes it an affordable treasure to last for years to come. “Christmas Princess” is a perfect addition to any holiday display.

What Kids Think: One of the reasons this series is so big is because children love to look at pictures of themselves. This book is especially popular with the 3- and 4-year-olds — they adored it.

Title: Color, Paint, and Draw Dinosaurs
Illustrator: Nathalie Deneux
Gender: Boys and Girls
Age: 5 to 8
MSRP: $4.99

TDmonthly rating:

What It Is: This 16-page activity book has an upscale feel with its heavy cardstock cover and funky design. “Color, Paint, and Draw Dinosaurs” gives children freedom to express themselves artistically.

Why You Should Carry It: For young dinosaur lovers, this book would be a fun addition to their collections. Eight dinosaurs are featured, along with a different activity for each one. Originally published in France, this book stands out from many of the other dinosaur books on shelves today.

What Kids Think: All six youngsters wanted to get their hands on this title. It could have been the invitation to paint, but they were all eager to use the book. When the kids sat down to actually draw the dinosaurs, it was pretty difficult. There are no step-by-step instructions, only a simplified pencil drawing for the kids to imitate.

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