You know where you can pretty much never go wrong as far as presents for kids goes? Books! Better yet, do you know a little nature lover? It's the perfect time of year to snuggle up with a book (or two or three!) and I have the perfect gift ideas from Dawn Publications new fall releases!
Octopus Escapes Again!
Written & Illustrated By Laurie Ellen Angus
As most of Dawn Publications books are, this was educational, but in a fun way. It couldn't have gotten here at a better time either as we have been studying the ocean for school and Myka gets a weird obsession with octopi whenever they happen to come up. (Let's just say the recent viewing of the new Finding Dory movie has reignited that flame some.)
As gross as I personally think they are, even I found Octopus Escapes Again! informative as well as fun to read aloud to my 4 year old. We learned about all of the cool things octopus are capable of as we went along a journey with one little octopus on her quest for a meal. I loved that there wasn't too much text, so my easily distracted kid didn't get bored, but it still covers the “basics” of octopi, like how they squirt ink to get away from predators (as well as use camouflage), can release tentacles if they do get caught (and grow them back!), and fit into really tight spots since they lack bones!
As always, there is further information and activities after the story, including parts of an octopus and more info on the other animals encountered in the story. Octopus Escapes Again! is recommended for ages 4-10.
A Moon of My Own
Written By Jennifer Rustgi
Illustrated By Ashley White
Ok. I have to admit that I didn't care for this title the first time we read it. I really don't know why. I think I was expecting something else...But I don't know what. We reread it again recently and I actually enjoyed it this time. Somehow, my super forgetful child, actually remembered parts of it too from only reading it once before, so I'll take that as a sign she likes it as well. (Plus, what kid isn't fascinated by the moon?)
This is a fun little story that travels through the moon's phases and around the world. Double educational value! It presents the perfect opportunity to talk about moon phases and what really happens when the moon “disappears”. Also, you get to “visit” different landmarks around the world, such as the Taj Mahal, the Eiffel Tower, the Great Barrier Reef, and more. (More info on each in the back, of course.)
What really struck me about this book was the illustrations. They're beautiful! Yes, it's a lot of shadows and silhouettes, but the sky and moon in each picture are very vivid. You'll just have to see for yourself.
A Moon of My Own is also recommended for ages 4-10. You can learn more about the moon (also includes activities), find where each landmark mentioned in the story is located on a world map, and more in the back.
Over in the Grasslands On an African Savanna
Written By Marianne Berkes
Illustrated By Jill Dubin
I can't say enough good things about the “Over in the” series from Dawn Pub. In fact, I've beat it into the ground in previous reviews, so I won't beat it to death this time. They are always fun read-alouds for little ones with the rhyming and repetition throughout the story. The illustrations are always interesting too. (Again, one of those things you just have to see for yourself.) If I remember right, I believe they pictures are made up of different types of paper. It's a lot fancier and more intricate than it sounds and makes for lovely visuals!
I love this series as well because young children get to learn more about animals they might only know about from the zoo. (Or never heard of at all! I'm not ashamed to admit I have come across a few in other stories that I had never heard of in all my 29 years.) Other than what you would expect in Over in the Grasslands..., such as giraffes and elephants, you also encounter jackals, hornbills, aardvarks, and more.
Over in the Grasslands On an African Savanna is suggested for 3-8 year old children. After the story, you can find more info on the creatures in the story, as well as some others not mentioned, activity suggestions from both the author and illustrator, and more.