Tag Archives: ages 4 through 8

The First Step

First Day of School by Anne Rockwell (Harper, $6.99, 40 pages)

firstdayofschoolrock

First Day of School is a charming children’s book that will help parents calm down their little ones who are about to enter a strange new world. The story by Anne Rockwell — illustrated by Lizzy Rockwell — reminds kids that they will retain their friends, even if they are not assigned to the same class. In the tale, a number of children confess their fears from the prior year about school while noting that everything turned out for the best.

Interestingly, Rockwell impresses upon the young reader that school can serve as an excuse to go shopping — for new clothes, shoes, and supplies like backpacks. And they’re reminded that the school library will likely have some of their favorite books.

One of the best things about this book is that the characters are multicultural. There’s an Anglo boy and girl, an Asian girl, a Hispanic boy and an African-American boy and girl. And parents are shown as supportive figures there to assist their children in any way possible. Finally, Lizzy Rockwell’s artwork is almost watercolor-like which further serves to foster a sense of calmness.

First Day‘s soothing message is that school is fun and people are good and kind.

Well recommended.

Joseph Arellano

A review copy was provided by the publisher. For children ages 4 though 8.

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The Big Cat Book

Leo the Snow Leopard: The True Story of an Amazing Rescue, told by Juliana Hatkoff, Isabella Hatkoff, and Craig Hatkoff (Scholastic Press; $17.99; 40 pages)

“Snow leopards by nature are survivors.   They withstand almost impossible conditions – frigid snow, harsh winds, unsteady ground.”

As a very young cat (my humans call me a kitten), I was anxious to read this book about one of my big cat distant cousins.   I look like a small gray-blue-black leopard, and this book’s about Leo, a cool spotted snow leopard.   Like me, Leo was found wandering around without his mother, an orphan.   But unlike me, Leo was located mewing and hungry in the snowy Karakoram mountains of northern Pakistan.   That’s a lot higher place than I’ve ever been!

Leo happened to be found by a goat herder, a nice man who gave Leo a new, safe home with lots of goat’s milk to drink.   (I don’t know if goat’s milk is tasty or not.)   Sadly, Leo wound up getting sick when he was just a baby cub – all of seven weeks old – so he was turned over to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) offices in Pakistan.

The WWF veterinarians (ooh, those white-coated doctors scare me) fixed him up, then got the idea of sending Leo to a zoo in the U. S. that was the first to exhibit a snow leopard.   And that was?   Yes, you guessed it, the Bronx Zoo!

Finally, Leo got lucky ’cause he was put in a big natural forest setting at the zoo where he, naturally, chose to stay high up on a man-made cliff.   That is, until he got an enclosure mate – the gorgeous female snow leopard named Shelby.   Leo and Shelby have a  lot of fun together, and they might be thinking about producing some snow leopard cubs.   (I have no idea what the process is for this…)

Anyway, this is a neat-o book for anyone who likes cats, especially the small humans in your household.   A  librarian told me that this book is recommended for young humanoids between the ages of four and eight and/or for those in Kindergarten through grade five.   What does grade five mean?

This book’s filled with four extra pages of information on endangered animals and zoos for the older kids and adults to read.   I read them and found out that I’m not endangered – whew!; but, snow leopards are.   There are only a few thousand of them left on this planet.   Anyone reading this book, human or animal, will realize that we need to save the snow leopards, especially the loveable big ones like Leo.

I’ll see you at the Bronx Zoo sometime, my furry cousin!

I loved this book as much as a bowl of Tillamook cheddar cheese.

Highly recommended.

Sasha the kitten

This children’s book was purchased by Sasha’s dad of the human persuasion.   One of the books in this series, Winter’s Tale: How One Little Dolphin Learned to Swim Again, has been made into a motion picture (Dolphin Tale).   Another, Owen & Mzee, was a #1 New York Times bestselling book.

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