After a prolonged Christmas/New Years hiatus, Mini-Me Reads is back! I've been getting back into the swing of blogging daily and getting my house back into it's routine and I kind of let this meme stray for a bit but it's back! I am changing one thing about the meme. Since a lot of these books I read for fun with my children and rate simply on readability and their interest, I won't be assigning a numbered rating. I could never figure out where to place these little gems on the scale so I have decided to just let the reviews speak for themselves.
My Brave Year of First: Tries, Sighs and High Fives
Written by Jamie Lee Curtis | Illustrated by Laura Cornell
Published September 4, 2012 by HarperCollins
The tenth collaboration between Jamie Lee Curtis and Laura Cornell celebrates the everyday bravery of trying new things for the very first time. While our spunky heroine, Frankie, learns to ride a bike, tie her shoes, make new friends, love her first dog, borrow a book from the library, say when she's wrong, try yucky food and work with her dad, she also learns that trying new things is how she grows--and that being brave enough to do so is what growing up is all about.I will be the first to admit that what really drew me to picking up this title was when I saw Jamie Lee Curtis's name on it. I have been a fan of hers ever since her early Halloween days & finding out that she was now an author of children's books was a very pleasant surprise. What was even more intriguing was when I flipped through the book and saw that it was about getting back up and dusting yourself off after taking a fall.
Having been a mother now for a few years I have seen how disheartening it is for my children to attempt something that they see someone do, not be able to achieve it and then get pretty down on themselves. I'm constantly telling them "practice, practice, practice!" So I thought that this would be the perfect book to introduce into my house and have a great learning experience. It fulfilled that expectation that I had for it and was so much more.
Not only is this about retrying things that you have previously not had success with, but it's also about the more simple firsts in life. The first day of school, making your first friends, your first walk around the block with your friend unsupervised (Mommy was totally hiding in the bush on that page) This book is about facing new adventures in life that scare you and being "brave, true and strong."
We had many laughs throughout this book and had a good conversation after about all the new things that the character did that my children want to try out in the future. The illustrations were adorable and the message was a great one. This is definitely a great book for kids of all ages as it tackles a plethora of firsts.
The Magic Nesting Doll
Written by Jacqueline K. Ogburn | Illustrated by Laurel Long
Published September 1, 2000 by Dial Books
Katya's grandmother took a little matryoshka, a nesting doll, out of a small box. "If your need is great, open the doll and help will come. But you may only do so three times. After that the magic will be gone." A wicked spell has changed a handsome young prince to a pale glassy figure made of "living ice," and his kingdom to a frozen landscape of night without moon, darkness without dawn. Katya knows that it's up to her to rescue the prince and undo the evil spell that has banished the sun. Armed with only the magic nesting doll and her own valiant heart, she is determined to succeed. But will the combined effort of her courage and the mysterious nesting doll be strong enough to prevail? Laurel Long's radiant paintings and Jacqueline K. Ogburn's enchanting original tale were inspired by Russian folk art and stories. This talented duo has created a modern classic that honors its folklore heritage while depicting a world in which a girl can be anything, including a hero.My daughter has become pretty well-known at her school for picking out the most elusive, odd looking library books that other kids never take a second glance at. While the other kids are bring home The Magic School Bus, Dr. Seuss, and Dora The Explorer, Sloane always brings home more artsy titles, and I have to admit I am pretty proud of that. But in the case of The Magic Nesting Doll it meant that I had to read it to her, word for word, and there are a lot of words! Here is an example of a page of this book:
One thing that can not be overlooked in this story is the wonderful illustrations. They're not just illustrations but they are paintings and the detail in each and every one is absolutely breathtaking. When the kids minds started to wander we would take time to stare at the paintings and talk about the details we saw that stood out to us and it reigned their attention back in.
This is a very pretty book and a plot feels very fairytale-esque. Instead of having a sleeping beauty who needs to be brought back to life, we have a frozen prince. It felt to me as if this book was a high fantasy children's book, with all the fleshing out of details and the epic quest that Katja went on. I think there are people who will love this book, but make sure your child is a bit older when you read it to them. It's very long and very detailed, so it's definitely not for the wondering mind of a toddler!