Children’s Guide to Writing a Book Review

 After you return home from a vacation or a trip, you are either excited to tell friends and family about your awesome adventure, or you are aching to complain of the disappointments. The activities that you were involved in, the food you ate, the sight-seeing and the sceneries are a few details that you may include. Your review of this trip may have an influence on your audience. Your friends may not want to experience a trip if you described how filthy the hotels were and how horrible the food tasted. They may not want to do any of the activities that you expressed as boring. If you had a great time and everything on your trip or vacation went well, your friends and family will share in that excitement, influencing them to want to take that trip. Writing a review for a book you have read is a lot like giving your ideas and opinions for a trip.

Without spoiling the outcomes, including hints of the main details and events will give your audience an overview and subtle insight on what to expect from the text. Book reviews are to convey opinions, not facts. It is a type of criticism in literature that breaks down and surveys the content and its style, along with its worthiness.

What Should Be Included in a Book Review?

Title, Genre, and Author.

Mentioning other titles by the author or in the genre may give your audience some notion as to what other literature can be compared. Providing your reader with familiar titles will lessen their need to do further research the book in question. Did you feel this book fit in with the intended genre? Does the author make the reader feel included or pulled in? Also, be fair to the author by balancing compliment and criticism. Do some research and include the author’s previous accomplishments and works.

Narrator and Tone.

No matter what point-of-view a story is told from, there is an emotional charge in the narrator’s tone. It may be positive, negative, or indifferent. There are a few things to consider when explaining narration and tone in your book review. Who narrated the story? What point of view was the story told from? What is the narrator’s attitude toward the audience and/or the characters?

Main character(s), Setting, and Plot.

Present the main character(s) and the setting without giving too much away. Remember to sparsely use direct quotes from the author’s text. Give your outlook of how you felt the character was depicted. Create an image of what the time-period was and a brief guideline to the plot, avoiding all key events or details that will ruin the reader’s curiosity.


What was the message? What can or may be learned from this book? Again, without giving away key information, grace your audience with your understanding of the book and its meaning. Also include your view on what type of audience this book is meant for and include the author’s purpose.

May include publication information, edition, ISBN, book list price, special graphs, maps, or illustrations.

Where to Begin

Here are some tips that will help get you going on the right foot:

  • Take some time and read a few book reviews from the New York Times, Amazon, or a bookstore that provides reviews.
  • While reading the book, take notes as you go along.
  • After reading the book, dissect and divide the good and the bad. A cons and pros list may be very helpful. This is a way to make sure you not only critique, but give praise where due.

Although you are the reviewer and not the author, you still need to set your own tone for your review. Your attitude towards the author, the narrator, the characters, and any other elements, play well into giving your opinion. Your beginning sentence should make your audience eager and ready for a preview. A successful book review should grab like a movie trailer. When giving your opinion, you want to express why you did or did not enjoy the book or parts of the book. Point out places where you thought the story could have been better or what you felt the author missed. You are the critic, but stay fair. Are you discouraging or encouraging the audience? Would you suggest this book to others? Would you suggest reading more from this author? Elaborate thoroughly by answering why. This opinion piece is persuasive and influential, and your audience will appreciate the heads up.

Guidelines provided by book review writing company which helps students with writing academic papers.

Jack Hanna’s Big Book of Why

I received a copy of Jack Hanna’s Big Book of Why for review. 

jack hannas big book of why

At some point in every child’s life they go through an animal phase. It makes sense that most children will eventually enter this phase because as soon as our toddlers can talk we start teaching them animals sounds, and of course animals are awesome. Nothing makes me smile faster than a litter of adorable puppies.

My son fell in love with animals as a toddler, but he never really outgrew that phase. When he entered elementary school he would come home and tell me about the birds he saw at school that day, and he knew everything about them. He could name any bird we saw while out in town and he could even tell the males from the females. I have to admit, I was impressed. I don’t personally find birds that interesting so to see how much he was learning at such an early age caused me to take notice.

It wasn’t long before we were watching Animal Planet at all hours, and Shark Week was like a weeklong celebration that led to lots of online research.

My son is now in Middle School and his love for animals hasn’t waned. He’s quite a dramatic character so I often tell everyone that my dream job for my son would be an animal show host. He has both the personality and the knowledge and love of animals.

If your son is anything like mine, chances are he devours all books on animals. I can’t even tell you how many books we own. We could start our own animal library. One of the newest books we have added to our collection is Jack Hanna’s Big Book of Why.

Jack Hanna’s Big Book of Why will take you and your child on a journey through the animal kingdom answering the questions children love to ask about animals. With 176 pages, this hardcover children’s book is organized by habitat—deserts, grasslands, forests, rainforests, the ocean and poles. It features close-up beautiful color photographs and illustrations. It also contains amazing animal facts and quizzes about your child’s favorite creatures from around the world.

Wondering what kind of questions Hanna’s new book answers?  Hanna says  “This book answers some of those tough animal related questions—Why don’t fish sink?  Why can’t penguins fly?—in a format that makes learning fun and easy for children!”

Those are some pretty tough questions, and I think any child would love learning the answers to them. I know my son did!

Jack Hanna’s Big Book of Why is $19.99 and you can purchase it here. What’s your child’s favorite animal book?

Thanks to Shasta over at Faithfully Free for guest writing this post for me. 

2015 Holiday Gift Guide: Children’s Books from Quarto Children’s Publishing USA

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I received books from Quarto for this post. 





When my children where babies and toddlers, I read to them every day. Their favorite toy when they were pre-school age was a record player that came with books on record. They could play the record, and follow along in their book. All three of them could read before they went to kindergarten. Books have always been on gift lists at our house–for birthdays, holidays, and other important days. Giving a child a book sets them off on an adventure, and expands their world. There are books from Quarto Children’s Publishing USA for every age group, some are story books, some are picture books, some are “how to” books for kids. Here are just a few of the titles available:  (scroll down to the bottom of this post to see the fab giveaway!)

Quarto Children's Books

Quarto Children’s Books

The School of Art
Learn How to Make Great Art with 40 Simple Lessons
Teal Triggs, Daniel Frost
Wide Eyed Editions  $19.99

23 Things To Do Before You are 11 1/2
A practical step-by-step guide for things to make in your backyard
John Haslam, Mike Warren
QEB Publishing  $14.99

101 Movies to See Before You Grow Up
Be your own movie critic: the must-see movie list for kids
Suzette Valle
Walter Foster Jr  $12.95

Crazy, Zany Cartoon Characters Drawing Book & Kit
Includes everything you need to draw crazy cartoon characters
Dave Garbot
Walter Foster Jr  $8.95

Learn to Draw Disney’s Frozen
Featuring Anna, Elsa, Olaf, and all your favorite characters!
Walter Foster Jr  $9.95

How to Cook in 10 Easy Lessons
Learn how to prepare food and cook like a pro
Wendy Sweetser
Walter Foster Jr  $12.95

How to Code in 10 Easy Lessons
Learn how to design and code your very own computer game
Sean McManus
Walter Foster Jr   $12.95

First Wheels: Colors
Features 22 vehicles and showing ten different colors  (My 2.5 year old grandson loved this book!)
Susan Steggall
Frances Lincoln Children’s Books  $17.99

Field Guide: Creatures Great and Small
35 prints to color
Valeries Davies, Lucy Engelman
Wide Eyed Editions  $19.99

How to Look After Your Puppy
Find answers to all your questions
Helen Piers, Kate Sutton
Wide Eyed Editions    $9.99

How to Look After Your Kitten
Find answers to all your questions
Helen Piers, Kate Sutton
Wide Eyed Editions  $9.99

My Little Book of Sharks
Packed full of cool photos and fascinating facts! (My 8 year old grandson loves this book!)
Camilla de la Bedoyere
QEB Publishing  $15.95

My Little Book of Animals
Packed full of cool photos and fascinating facts!
Camilla de la Bedoyere
QEB Publishing   $15.95

Welcome to the Greatest Show on Earth
Adrienne Barman
Wide Eyed Editions  $22.99

Ancient Earth Journal: The Early Cretaceous
Notes, drawings, and observations from prehistory
Juan Carlos Alonso, Gregory S. Paul
Walter Foster Jr   $19.95

Tell Me a Picture
Adventures in looking at art
Quentin Blake
Frances Lincoln Children’s Books  $18.99

A Journey Through Space
Take a journey through the solar system and beyond
Steve Parker, John Haslam
QEB Publishing   £9.99

Atlas of Adventures
A collection of natural wonders, exciting experiences and fun festivities from the four corners of the
Rachel Williams, Lucy Letherland
Wide Eyed Editions  $30.00

One Thousand Things
Let Little Mouse introduce you to this collection of first words to see and say.
Anna Kovecses
Wide Eyed Editions $16.99

The Wonder Garden
Wander through the world’s wildest habitats and discover more than 80 amazing animals
Jenny Broom, Kristjana S Williams
Wide Eyed Editions  $30.00

The 50 States
Explore the U.S.A with 50 fact-filled maps!
Sol Linero, Gabrielle Balkan
Wide Eyed Editions  $30.00

How to Build a Car
A highspeed adventure of mechanics, teamwork, and friendship
Martin Sodomka, Saskia Lacey
Walter Foster Jr  $14.95

The World Famous Cheese Shop Break-in
Daddypops says it will be as easy as 123 to get into the Cheese Shop…
Sean Taylor, Hannah Shaw
Frances Lincoln Children’s Books  $17.99

The Crow’s Tale
Courage and kindness are what really matter
Naomi Howarth
Frances Lincoln Children’s Books  $18.99

The Wild Swans
A beautiful and lyrical extended version of the fairy tale ‘The Wild Swans’ by Hans Christian Andersen Jackie Morris
Frances Lincoln Children’s Books $16.99

I Love Hugs
Hugs, cuddles, snuggles all are wonderful to share
Camilla de la Bedoyere
QEB Publishing $12.95

Dreams of Freedom
In Words and Pictures in association with Amnesty International UK
Amnesty International
Frances Lincoln Children’s Books   $18.99

My Big Book of Christmas Coloring, Songs & Activities
Holiday games, puzzles & activities for kids of all ages!
Walter Foster Jr  $9.95

150 Fun Christmas Things to Doodle
An interactive adventure in drawing holiday fun!
Christmas Crafts
Everything you need to get into the holiday spirit
Danielle Lowy, Kate Riley
QEB Publishing  $14.95

Spot the Reindeer at Christmas
Packed with things to spot and facts to discover!
Tasha Percy, Krina Patel
QEB Publishing  £4.99

Elliot’s Arctic Surprise
One little boy realizes that Santa Claus’s home is under threat from oil drilling.
Catherine Barr
Frances Lincoln Children’s Books  $17.99

With few exceptions, these are really nice hardback books that your child will treasure, and will be proud to pass on to their own children someday. The exceptions are the Christmas activity books and coloring books.

BUY IT: You can purchase any of these books and more at the Quarto Children’s Publishing USA website.

WIN IT: One lucky reader will win TEN CHILDREN’S BOOKS of their choice from the ones listed in this post. To enter the giveaway, use the Giveaway Tools form below. Good luck!

Get Caught Reading With Association of American Publishers and Jim Henson Company

The Get Caught Reading campaign was devised by the Association of American Publishers (AAP) to remind people of all ages how much fun it is to read!  Member organizations of the AAP participate in a variety of ways to encourage everyone to enjoy books and magazines and to share that pleasure with the young children in their lives. I read to my children from the time they came home from the hospital, and enrolled them in a children’s book club so we always had new books to keep them reading. It’s no wonder that one of my daughters is a teacher, and one is a librarian.

Enchanted Sisters

Enchanted Sisters

The new chapter book series, Enchanted Sisters, targets newly independent readers—girls ages seven through nine—and tells the stories of the four sisters – the Sparkles: Autumn, Winter, Spring and Summer who come together every three months to join their Mother Nature in a ceremony that changes the seasons in our world. Their world is magically different from our own, yet the Sparkles are completely relatable. They are confidently themselves, even when that’s the hardest thing to be. Continuing the longstanding Jim Henson Company tradition, the message in these stories about strong girls making bold choices are clear: embrace and celebrate our differences; anyone can be a hero; and families come in lots of different packages.  The books are co-authored by Elise Allen, author of the book Anna’s Icy Adventure (Disney Frozen), and Halle Stanford, eight time Emmy-nominated children’s television producer and senior vice president of children’s entertainment at The Jim Henson Company.   Paige Pooler, whose artwork can be seen in American Girl magazine, and the Liberty Porter, Trading Faces, and My Sister is a Vampire middle grade book series, is the illustrator.

Three additional Enchanted Sisters books in the series are available: Autumn’s Secret Gift, Winter’s Flurry Adventure and Spring’s Sparkle Sleepover.  PLUS – Keep a lookout also for NEW books coming in August featuring Doozers.

As part of the Get Caught Reading campaign, two NEW posters are available from the AAP beginning today,May 11Enchanted Sisters and Doozersfeaturing adorable characters that are “caught reading” in these fabulous FREE posters made available to teachers and parents for use in classrooms, libraries and other locations.

poster1  poster 5  poster 4 poster 3 poster 2

The posters are available for everyone, and can be ordered at Get Caught Reading .  Posters are FREE plus a $5.00 charge per set (1 – 12 posters each of the same title) for shipping and handling! Click here for the order form.

A great way to improve the reading achievement of low-income children is to increase their access to books. Communities ranking high in achievement tests have several factors in common: an abundance of books in public libraries, easy access to books in the community at large and a large number of textbooks per student.

Anyone can get together to help increase reading achievement and literacy by organizing a book drive. This tool kit provides the basics to run a book drive, organize your group, and make an impact.

Jim Henson’s Enchanted Sisters: Summer’s Friendship Games suggested retail price for hardcover is $15.99, softcover $5.99. You can purchase it at

Win a copy! Just use the Giveaway Tools entry form below to enter.