The past couple of weeks have given us all a much anticipated taste of the summer to come. I know I’m looking forward to long, lazy summer days when we’ll spend as much time as we can outside, explore our local parks, head out to our favourite campground to spend a few nights under the stars, plan a road trip or two, and enjoy as many books as we like.
But winter, spring, summer, or fall – any time is a good time for reading a good book! Quarto Kids recently sent us some of their new releases to read and share with you. From story books to non-fiction reference, a biography of one of our favourite authors, and a handbook to raising nature-loving kids, these are truly books for all seasons. Read on to see what we thought and scroll down to the end of this post for a chance to win all the books you see here.
Click on the titles or cover pictures to see these books on Amazon.
My Mom Always Looks After Me So Much! by Sean Taylor & David Barrow
Little Gorilla’s mom looks after him so much. She makes him eat broccoli, she makes him wear a sweater, and today she’s taking him to the doctor for his shots. Because Little Gorilla is such a brave patient, the doctor (a goose wearing spectacles and a stethoscope) gives him a “stick-thing” (a red tongue depressor) that smells like strawberries. Unfortunately, he accidentally leaves his stick on the bus. When they realize what’s happened, Little Gorilla’s mom gets back on the bus and takes him back to the doctor’s office for a new stick.
The message here is that Little Gorilla’s mom loves and looks after him, but personally, as a mom, going all the way back to the doctor seems a bit excessive to me. Little Gorilla’s mom could also have shown she looks after him by helping him cope with the disappointment of losing his stick and encouraging him in a different way.
When I read this with my 6-year-old daughter, we both really liked the warm and detailed illustrations on every page, especially the paintings showing other animal parent and child pairs. The love and warmth between mother and child really shines through.
Ella May Does It Her Way! by Mick Jackson & Andrea Stegmaier
Ella May does things her own way. When her mom suggests it’s good to try new things, Ella May decides to try walking backward, just to see how it feels. She walks backward, reads backward, plays backward, even sleeps backward! Soon she has her mom and all the townsfolk walking backward too. But once everyone else is doing it, Ella May decides it isn’t for her after all.
Independent-minded Ella May is a charming little girl, and many children will see a little of themselves in her. This picture book is a perfect size for lap reading, though you shouldn’t be surprised if your child immediately jumps up to try a little backward walking of their own.
The Big Book of Twisted Fairy Tales by Sue Nicholson & Flavia Sorrentino
Our story starts with the usual, “Once upon a time…” but things soon take a left turn. Cinderella desperately wants ballet slippers so she can join her friends at dance class, Sleepy Beauty would rather sleep in then take care of her pet, Jack lies to his mother about breaking her beanstalks, and Snow White won’t pass the ball during soccer games.
Four beautifully illustrated stories feature our favourite fairy tale characters in brand new adventures. Each story incorporates recognizable elements from the original tale while teaching an important lesson: kindness, responsibility, honesty, and teamwork. At the end of each story parents will find a discussion guide with questions to prompt your child’s critical thinking and engagement, plus an activity that they can do to further develop the lesson learned.
The Great Big Book of Life by Mary Hoffman & Ros Asquith
The latest entry in the Great Big Book series, The Great Big Book of Life is an ambitious look at life from womb to tomb. It all starts with a bundle of cells inside a woman’s body, though the text acknowledges that IVF is also an option. The first half of the book focuses on baby milestones like eating, learning to walk, potty training, and learning to talk. Babies are shown both breastfeeding and bottle feeding.
Children start school (with mention that some are homeschooled, and others don’t have access to school), become teenagers, then grow into adults. Most find work and pair up with a partner, though the book again acknowledges that not everyone chooses to get married or have children. Subsequent pages describe middle age and old age. Death is acknowledged in a matter-of-fact way, and that we remember those we love after they have died by talking and thinking about them.
Liberally illustrated with friendly cartoon drawings of diverse people in every colour, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation, the book is clearly written from a Western perspective while acknowledging that others have different experiences.
Brilliant Ideas from Wonderful Women by Aitziber Lopez & Luciano Lozano
What do car heaters, dishwashers, Kevlar, sea flares, Wi-Fi, life rafts, and e-books all have in common? They were invented by women! This hardcover book provides a brief overview of 15 different inventions and the overlooked, often forgotten women responsible for their creation. Each spread includes a couple of paragraphs about the inventor and a cursory overview of her invention.
While offering interesting glimpses into the inspiration behind the invention, I would love to have seen a little more in-depth info about the discovery process and the women themselves. This slim volume will best serve in piquing children’s curiosity and prompting them to seek out more information elsewhere.
Boss the Bestseller List Like J.K. Rowling by Caroline Moss & Sinem Erkas
This little book will introduce J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series, to young readers and writers. Her books have sold over 500 million copies worldwide, spawning a multi-billion dollar movie franchise, theme parks, toys, video games, and costumes, as well as introducing a whole generation of children to the joys of staying up all night reading.
Rowling was a single mother living on government benefits while she wrote Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, writing in short bursts while her infant daughter napped. Learn about Rowling’s humble beginnings and her dream of becoming an author, the obstacles and failures that stood in her way, and how her persistence and hard work eventually paid off.
Charmingly illustrated with cut paper collages and inspirational quotes from J.K. Rowling herself, this little book will inspire girls and future writers to follow their dreams. Backmatter includes a summarized 10 lessons from Rowling’s life for the aspiring writer, engagement questions, and a partial bibliography of J.K. Rowling’s writings.
Forest Club: A Year of Activities, Crafts, and Exploring Nature by Kris Hirschmann & Marta Antelo
Study after study has shown that spending time in nature positively impacts children’s physical and mental health. As kids spend more and more time inside and in front of screens, there’s a movement afoot to help kids reconnect with nature whether through forest schools, school gardens, outdoor education, or simply spending time outside.
Forest Club is a field guide and handbook for this project, introducing kids to various plants, flowers, berries, trees, animals, and insects commonly found in North America, as well as 22 seasonal crafts and outdoor activities using simple, easily accessible supplies. Learn to identify different trees and leaves, take a peek under the surface of your local pond, build an outdoor tarp shelter, collect berries and nuts, create a spore print, make bark rubbings, sprout seeds, identify animal tracks, and build your own bird’s nest. Organized by season, there’s something to see and do year-round.
This is one book that won’t get left on our bookshelf. We’ve already picked out some activities we’re planning to do this spring and summer!
Win All These Books from Quarto Kids
Quarto Books makes beautiful books that educate, entertain, and enrich the lives of kids worldwide, and they’ve generously offered the same set of books we reviewed to one of our readers. Enter in the giveaway widget below. This giveaway is open to residents of Canada and the US, 18+. All the winner’s entries will be verified.
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Disclosure: I received sample items to facilitate this post. All opinions expressed are completely honest and my own, based on my personal experience. Your experience may differ. This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you.