‘Mix It Up’ by Herve Tullet


Photo via Amazon.com. Click to be rerouted.

Mix It Up by Hervé Tullet is a wonderfully fun book for children aged 3-7 using interactive art to learn color-blending. Written in a form of giving directions that then have results on the following page, this book encourages kids to touch, count and think, and then positively re-enforces them with praise to continue on. The first time I read this book to my daughter, she asked to read it again, even though we were done with stories for the night. The easy and leading text captures kids’ attention, and fun, interactive instructions have them doing things like shaking the book and smooshing the pages closed to see what colors are produced by their actions.  The illustrations are bright circles and shapes done in paint, making color-blending and art come to life while children learn without realizing it. The extra smudges and splattering help children feel that their own propensity for messes is acceptable. The book terminates with the author encouraging chilfpdren to now go out and try mixing it up themselves. I highly recommend this book for any child, but especially for those interested in color blending and creative crafts.

I received no compensation for this review, I just really liked the book.


‘A Swim Through The Sea’ by Kristin Joy Pratt

imageA Swim Throguh The Sea by Kristin Joy Pratt is a fun and colorful journey through the alphabet. Written and illustrated when the author was only 16, this creative story follows Seamore the seahorse as he swims through the ocean, while introducing children to sea creatures and the ABC’s. The text uses a plethora of adjectives that begin with the featured letter to describe each sea creature. Newer editions include scientific descriptions of the sea creatures, while the older versions just have a short verse, such as,

“(E) He’d encounter an Eel (F) and find a few Flashlight Fish.”

The pictures are amazing, and I will admit that every time I read A Swim Through The Sea, I am blown away by the detailed watercolor paintings, which use bold colors and are anatomically correct. Honestly, I  could just sit for hours studying the detail Ms. Pratt put into each painting.

Overall, very engaging, fun to read and fun to look at. It is a great way to begin exploring the sea with younger children, but it also seems like it could be a useful tool in observing watercolor for older kids as well.

Check out Dawn Publications to find out more.

PS: Since the original posting of this review, I’ve been poking around in the publisher’s web page, and have discovered that there is also a parent/teacher guide for an ocean themed unit, or series of projects, and it’s not very expensive. Good for homeschooling or summer fun.

Please note that I am not receiving any compensation for this review.




‘Homeschooling and the Voyage of Self-Discovery’ by David H. Albert

51fz-MqyEbL[1]Hmmm, what to say about David H. Albert’s Homeschooling and the Voyage of Self-Discovery?  Thought-provoking, articulate, bold.  Mr. Albert’s book is a call to everyone to question our country’s school system, as well as a challenge to be present in life and to never stop learning no matter how old you are.   A wonderful, revolutionary collection of Mr. Albert’s speeches and magazine articles, this book will make you think about how your child is doing in school, not necessarily to wonder what kind of grades they are getting, but rather the manner in which they are being taught.  After making you wonder about your child’s school, he makes you wonder how you could support their learning more, and how you yourself need to become an active learner again.

I especially enjoyed the chapter “Flow II – The Teenage Edition,” which addresses particular stages in a child’s academic and social development, and discusses the need for non-family adult mentors in a teen’s world.  Another chapter that stuck with me was entitled “Life Companions,” which also addresses a developmental stage in a tween’s life in which they struggle with needing to let go of the activities they feel are babyish and begin or continue those that they perceive are not.  Albert gamely suggests not only letting them do so, even if they are giving up something they have long loved and that you would like them to continue such as piano lessons, but throwing a graduation party so that they can feel validated in this need.   I personally recall being twelve and having my mantra be, “I don’t play, I do.” Luckily, I was supported in my transition, and was able to find my place in activities I had previously enjoyed, as well as in new pastimes.  While I’m not anti-public school, I’ll agree with Mr.  Albert in that the current public school system could use a reform, and I found intriguing the chapters in which he goes into detail on how the system is failing today’s children.

The strongest point in his essays is really his out-of-the-box way of thinking about how to support a child’s learning, such as “social” studies while serving meals at a local soup kitchen, and acknowledging how we learn through our different deep thoughts which he calls “conversations with life.”  By far, the most important message to be learned from Mr. Albert’s book is that even teachers need to learn with their students, which is a lesson in and of its self to the young learner.

Homeschooling and the Voyage of Self-Discovery challenges us to throw away much of what the public school system has taught us about learning and living life, and encourages us to be gentle with our kids and follow their lead in where they need their schooling to take them. Though some of the dates/data are a little outdated, I highly recommend it for home schoolers and non-homeschoolers alike as a thought-provoker.

Check out Mr. Albert’s page on the web, and purchase the book, at: www.skylarksings.com.

Disclaimer: I am recieving no compensation for this review.  I just enjoyed the book. 🙂

‘Motorcycle Song’ by Diane Siebert

‘Motorcycle Song’ by Diane Siebert, illustrated by Leonard Jenkins


My daughter loves this book and it feeds her motorcycle/dirt bike addiction.  It is written in rhyme, and includes colorful pictures along with descriptive verse concerning  mechanic lingo,  motorcycle brands, and what a person could do while on a motorcycle ride.  I like that the author cuts through the stereo-type of just tattooed guys in leather jackets and chains riding motorcycles.  The paintings are full of color and depict scenes that introduce children into road signs and different kinds of bikes.  We especially enjoyed this book the day that Elizabeth rehearsed the ENTIRE thing along with me, which was on our third round of having it out of the library.  The following time we read it together, she felt inspired to change some of the words to make silly meanings.  Definitely a two-thumbs-up.  Good for girls and boys.  For ages 4 – 8.

Click on the picture to be taken to another review with a link on how to get your own copy.

Disclaimer: I am not being compensated in any way for this review. We just really love the book.