Book Reviews: My Think-a-ma-jink & The Pirate and the Penguin

If you’ve been following This West Coast Mommy for a while, you probably already know how important books and reading are to me and to my children. I cannot pass by a book store without stopping in “just to take a look”, and I love browsing through garage sales or kids swaps for a pile of bargain books to take home. When I was a child, books filled my life with magic and furnished an escape from the humdrum. My goal is to help my kids develop that same lifelong love of reading.

That’s why I enjoy checking out and reviewing children’s books. I recently received a couple of books from Owlkids Books for review. I’ve worked with Owlkids Books before, and I love that they’ve been a proudly Canadian publisher of children’s magazines and books for over 35 years now.

My Think-a-ma-jink

My Thinkamajink book review #kidlit

In My Think-a-ma-jink, Jack receives a mysterious birthday present from his even more mysterious Uncle Doug. With the magic words, “Think, think, think-a-ma-jink, hulla-ba-loo, razza-ma-doo…” Jack and his sister use the think-a-ma-jink’s powers to meet aliens, go time travelling, and visit Lollipop-palooza where everything is made of candy. But when the machine breaks, what happens?

Any parent of young children can relate to the magic of a cardboard box and the power of an unrestrained imagination. This is a fun book to read aloud, and even Kay loves to sit with us and look at the bright, colourful illustrations. I like the final message that the power to imagine and transform was inside Jack all along.

The Pirate and the Penguin

The Pirate and the Penguin book review #kidlit

The Pirate and the Penguin is a loose adaptation of the classic The Prince and the Pauper story. Pirate is tired of the non-stop adventure and exploits of his pirate crew, and all he wants is peace and quiet. Penguin, on the other hand, is bored of icy Antarctica and longs for excitement. Thanks to some poor navigational skills, the two meet up and decide to switch places.

Tee has been studying Antarctica and penguins in preschool, so this book was very timely in capitalizing on her interest. The story is a bit reminiscent of a comic book, and much of the story is told through the drawings. I thought the illustrated endpapers were a nice touch, with a “Map of the really boring (and cold!) South Pole by Penguin” at the front, and a “Map of the hot and itchy Caribbean by Pirate” at the back. We drew inspiration from these maps and had a lot of fun making our own maps of the living room last week.

This simple story was a nice springboard into a conversation about how different people might like or want different things – the beginnings of empathy!


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Both these books can be purchased through Owlkids Books. You can browse their catalogue by grade level, format, or series.

Disclosure: I received sample items for review.  All opinions expressed are completely honest and my own, based on my personal experience. Your experience may differ.

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  • I applaud you!! I believe that one of the best things parents can do for their young children is to teach them to love books!!
    Its so neat now, at bedtime, sometimes our grandkids read to US! and I’ve learned things from them, cuz we get them the Owl, Chirp and Chickadee magazines every year, and they love them!

  • There is nothing better than watching your child read to you and that’s a pleasure I’m having now–my little guy is in Kindergarten and I’m loving it –we read out loud each and every day–thanks for the review–love to find new books to put on the list

  • Thanks for sharing these books. With so many choices for children’s books, it’s sometimes difficult to figure out which books are good!