Always

Image Credit: Templar Books (Candlewick Press)

Image Credit: Templar Books (Candlewick Press), Emma Dodd

Okay, I might get some flack for this but here goes; I think Love You Forever by Robert Munsch is overrated and slightly creepy. Even though I personally feel this way, it’s one of the top selling books for baby showers and because it has been around for a long time, many people have an emotional connection to it. That’s fair, but I always try to introduce Emma Dodd’s books in place of Love You Forever because I believe they are better books.

Always is my favorite. Just look at that precious cover! The story is told by a momma elephant to her mischievous little elephant. She tells her child about all the things she observes about his or her personality and all the silly things he or she does! She lets her child know that no matter what, she will always love them. Well, I absolutely love Emma Dodd’s art style. She really knows how to do cute, and bold and sweet. The digital illustrations in this book also include silver foil which adds an extra level of shiny beauty.

This is a nice gift book not only because of the story and art, but also because the gender of the baby elephant is not specified and cute baby animals are great fill-ins if you’re looking for and can’t find characters that match the ethnicity of the child (it can be hard finding quality baby books that feature children of color but a really good one is Ten, Nine, Eight by Molly Bang).

Be sure to check out the rest of  Emma Dodd’s “Love You” book series: Forever, Everything, When You Were Born, More and More, When I Grow Up, Happy and Wish.

Recommended for: Babies, Toddlers and Pre-schoolers
Great for: Animals, Opposites, Bedtime, Baby Shower, Gift, Colors, Family
Book Info: Always by Emma Dodd2014 Templar Books (Candlewick Press), ISBN: 9780763675448

Good Crooks: Missing Monkey!

Image Credit: Egmont USA, Mary Amato/Ward Jenkins

Image Credit: Egmont USA, Mary Amato/Ward Jenkins

In Good Crooks: Missing Monkey!, Billy and Jillian Crook just want to do something nice for someone; you know, a good deed. This is no easy task because their parents are crooks and expect the worst from them!!  >_<  Early one morning, Billy is lured to the zoo for Volunteer Day and his sister catches up with him. Unfortunately, mom and dad find them…and steal a monkey! Before they know it, their parents have taught the monkey the art of pick pocketing and he’s a natural, a little too natural and causes all kinds of trouble!

This book is fast paced and hilarious. The humor is so clever and dry. I love the relationship between the twins; it may seem that Jillian is the brains of the pair but don’t count Billy out, he has a few tricks up his sleeve! Jenkins’ art is very cool and compliments the story well. Though they aren’t color illustrations, they add an extra element to the story and might convince reluctant readers to pick up the book!

Good Crooks is a beginning chapter series and beginning chapter books are great transitional books for kids who are becoming more confident in their reading yet aren’t quite ready for longer chapter books. This is the first in a series and I highly recommend it for a family read-aloud and for young readers who love humor and unconventional stories…oh and crazy monkeys. There are even activities in the back of the book! If you get hooked on Good Crooks (trust me, you will), be sure to check out the next two books in the series, Dog Gone! and Sniff a Skunk!

Recommended for: 1st/2nd Grade and up
Great for: Siblings, Friendship, Twins, Humor, Animals, Adventure, Read Aloud
Book Info: Good Crooks: Missing Monkey! by Mary Amato/Illustrated by Ward Jenkins2014 Egmont USA, ISBN: 9781606845097