Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Book Review: Pretty Please Press Giveaway

This giveaway is now closed, thank you to everyone who entered! Congratulations to
Joannof10, comment 9 who said...I follow your blog
I recently received four books from Pretty Please Press, who say their books are published for:

  • Parents who love reading aloud and who are dedicated to raising great kids
  • Educators who believe that a strong curriculum should help to build strong character
  • Kids who love to laugh and look at pictures while they learn new words and concepts

Pretty Please Press stories entertain with colorful pictures and humorous text, but these books also contain a message about life and values that adults and children can talk about together.

My household meets all three criteria, and as a educator I was especially interested to see them because teaching life and character skills is becoming more and more a part of the unofficial curriculum in schools. However, it can be hard to find suitable lessons and materials to use with students. I was very pleased with the books and online resources Pretty Please Press provides. I hope they continue to expand their collection!

I liked how the books can be used to introduce new concepts and vocabulary, stimulate conversations such as, "What would you do in that situation," or, "How would that make you feel?" The books have lively text and colorful illustrations and are about subjects that kids are familiar with, like arguing with a sibling, being told they can't do something, and starting a new class. Or ones they are interested in such as creatures from outer space.

Bella Basset is a pup when her mother takes her to see the famous Royal Borzoi Ballet for the first time. At the ballet, a dream is born: Bella wants to become a dancer! But in Bella's world, only Borzois can dance, so she has many obstacles to overcome before she can realize her dream. This is a story about dedication and perseverance, which may give children (and grown-ups) the inspiration to pursue their dreams.

This was our favorite book of the collection because it combined ER's love of dogs and dancing. Of the four, I enjoyed this one the most too and thought it had the best and most detailed illustrations. You can see from the picture above that ER enjoys looking at the pictures a lot. The story was engaging and the world created where dog dance at all was endearing. Kid learn that dream can come true, but only after hard work is put into making it happen.

The Scritchy Little Twitchell Sisters

Lavinia and Emmeline Twitchell look like perfect little angels, but their behavior is anything but angelic! They squabble constantly, and their poor parents suffer in a noisy, divided household. When the girls are "discovered" by a creative vaudeville producer, their spectacular fights become entertainment, and they are launched on a glamorous career. Battles may be part of growing up with a sister, but it helps to look at them with humor. The Twitchell Sisters demonstrate that someday the fights may yield to understanding and appreciation.

Our second favorite of the four is by the same author as Bella Basset Ballerina, and I think every parent has had to talk to their child about proper ways to resolve conflicts. It begins on a funny note by taking squabbling sisters to the limit, the parents have to resort to dividing the house in half and labeling everything, ER thought that was pretty silly.

The pen and ink with watercolor illustrations are quite engaging. Picture books are often the first way children become aware of historical time periods and since this book is set in the vaudville era the pictures can be used to discuss the differences between then and now.


Sam arrives at his first karate class all ready to receive his black belt. To his surprise, he has a lot to learn about karate, and there are many other belts to earn before he attains the rank of black belt. With the help of his patient instructor, he learns how to work hard toward his goal and to master this new skill. This story shows that patience and practice are important when we are approaching a new challenge.

This book was both relatable for young kids and well written, the author captured a young child's impatience to master a new skill and get immediate results perfectly. Of the four books this one ER was the least interested in. The photographs colored by hand and computer were unique looking but I just wasn't drawn to them immediately upon opening the book. The over all message it a good one, Sam sets a goal and practices hard to earn his yelllow belt and easily relatable to many school age kids.

In a distant galaxy, on a very colorful planet, a brilliant purple Pynx settles into her new home in the jungle. But her noisy arrival upsets the other fanciful creatures who are already living there quite happily. When the Pynx expands her family with dozens of new babies, her neighbors are very upset. The very vocal Pynx has had this problem before, but this time, with a little luck, she finds a real home. This is a story about being tolerant, learning to appreciate differences, and about finding ways to communicate.

What I really enjoyed about this title is it's fantasy setting. That's one genre often missing in children's books. Plus it teaches tolerance which is a socially relevant topic for any age. ER was a little scared by the illustrations at first, the White Fuzzbun has an angry look in one picture and the creatures are quite unusual. She still sometimes hids behind her hands when this book is being read, so I'd recommend this one for more elementary aged children.
Over all, I found Pretty Please Press to have nice collection of character building books that many parents would enjoy having in the home as teaching tools. I think they're most appropriate for ages 5/6 and up if you want to get full use of out of the books and educational materials because the character skill concepts are too abstract for ER at 3.

Even if your children are preschoolers, it can still be a good time to add their books to your library to begin reading for enjoyment. ER is able to sit through lengthy storybooks, so the amount of text wasn't a problem for her. The books certainly do introduce sophisticated vocabulary and I've begun to talk to ER about the different skills taught in each book. It's just that at this point it's rather one sided, I talk and provide possible answers.

Add Pretty Please Press to your home library!
Save 20% off the list price for books purchased through prettypleasepress.com and get a “buy 3 books, get 1 free” offer, both valid through December 31st.

Giveaway:
Win a set of books from Pretty Please Press, with all four hardcover titles reviewed in this post.

Enter:
Visit Pretty Please Press and tell me which book you are looking forward reading with the special child or children in your life and why.

Extra Entries: leave an extra comment for each additional method of entry
Publically follow my blog using the Google Friends Connect gadget.
Post my link button.
Post about this giveaway linking to my post and Pretty Please Press
Follow me on Twitter, tweet about this giveaway. Leave me a direct link to your tweet.
Tell me which one of the character skills featured in a book by Pretty Please Press, you think is the most important or leave a suggestion for a character skill you'd like to see a book focus on.

Giveaway open to US residents now through November 24th Midnight EST. Good Luck!

Disclaimer: Thank you to Pretty Please Press for providing the review and giveaway books. This review relates my own personal and unbiased opinions and experience, with the books. Yours may differ.

37 Friends Said:

Annette said...

I think M would relate to Pynx the most.

Annette said...

I am a follower through Google reader.

Annette said...

I have your button up.

Annette said...

I think obedience is something that we need addressed more in our home, so that is a recommendation for a book.

Rebecca said...

I think Pynx sounds so cute!

Anonymous said...

I think my little girl would really like Pynx. Thanks for the chance to win.
Brandi H
lawyer180@yahoo.com

Jane Jeffress Thomas said...

I would love Bella Bassett Ballerina to read to my great-granddaughter. Love the alliteration.

Joannof10 said...

I think we will enjoy Pynx--I will read it with my 3, 4, 8, and 9 year olds.

Joannof10 said...

I follow your blog

Ticia said...

I love the Ballerina Basset one, that looks way too cute.

Ticia said...

I follow you.

susan said...

I follow you Susan

susan said...

M children picked Pynx as they thought he was cute and wanted to learn more about him Susan

Jo Shabo said...

I have two little girls that really, I mean really LOVE to read. The book Bella Basset Ballerina looks especially charming and is just up my girl's alley- ballerinas are what they love! These four books all look fabulous! Thank you!
sunshine12345678@hotmail.com

Jo Shabo said...

I have your button! Love your site! thanks!
sunshine12345678@hotmail.com

Tara said...

My 6yo dd would love Bella the Bassett Ballerina. She is an animal fanatic and a ballet student. It's perfect!

Tara said...

My 6yo dd would love Bella the Bassett Ballerina. She is an animal fanatic and a ballet student. It's perfect!

Tara said...

I follow with Google.

Tara said...

I have your button on my blog.

Tara said...

I would love to see a focus on responsiblity.

Rob and Sierra said...

I would love the Bella Basset Book. My daughter has two aunts who are professional dancers, to this would be fun.

snhodgers(at)yahoo(dot)com

Rob and Sierra said...

I would love a book that focuses on honesty and integrity.

snhodgers(at)yahoo(dot)com

Jaime said...

The first one we would read would be Bella Basset, my grand daughter is so into animals and dancing
copperllama at yahoo dot com

Jaime said...

follower
copperllama at yahoo dot com

Jaime said...

have button
http://copperllamastudio.blogspot.com/
copperllama at yahoo dot com

Bombtastic Belle said...

I think my niece and nephew would like Pynx :)
eod_army_wife04(at)yahoo(dot)com

Patricia Carlson said...

Hello,
Pynx for sure... I'd love to give it as a gift!
Thanks,
Patricia
www.talesofan-almost-mommy.blogspot.com

Julie said...

I think C would like Pynx the most, but M would probably like Bella Basset Ballerina.

Julie said...

I follow you.

jillykat07 said...

The Pynx book is the book I'd love to read to my daughter. I think she'd be fascinated with him!

Jill Kathan

jillykat07 said...

I follow you using jillykat07@gmail.com

Jill Kathan

jillykat07 said...

I think that patience and practice are important when we are approaching a new challenge - is an important skill right now for my daughter & I to focus on considering we are learning to pee pee on the potty!

Jill Kathan

YouthfulTips said...

I'd pick Pynx because my girls are fascinated with books so the more I can read to them, the better! Thank you!
staying_younger@yahoo.com

YouthfulTips said...

I'm a new follower! Thanks for being a teacher even if on hiatus!

staying_younger@yahoo.com

Clemencia said...

I would love to read The Scritchy Little Twitchell Sisters to my daughters, reading about sisters it would be fun for them :) thanks

Clemencia said...

I am following publicly, thanks

Joannof10 said...

I have your button on my blog
www.tenkidsandadog.blogspot.com

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