In My Library Tote: August Children's Book Reviews and Recommendations

Superhero and Lego books are on (heavy) repeat around here, but I managed to sneak in some variety in Jona's reading life as well. I also found a few superhero-themed stories that play on the idea of a superhero without being overly commercial. I need a break from Hulk, Iron Man, and Black Panther every now and then.

{children's books we read in August}

{365 Things to do with Lego Bricks by Simon Hugo} Surprising no one, this was Jona's favorite for the month. For his birthday he got a big tub of classic Legos, and so we checked out a couple of books for some building inspiration. This one is fun because, as the title reveals, it gives you hundreds of ideas for things to create. So far Jona has only built one of the ideas, but I like how this book gets him thinking of some outside-the-box ideas for Legos.

{Awesome Lego Creations with Bricks You Already Have by Sarah Dees} This book has a wide variety of ideas for building, from robots to animals. I like that it has a combination of step-by-step ideas and "creative challenges" that are more open-ended. Jona was content to just read this one, although if he took apart some of the creations he's already made he would likely have the pieces to make a lot of what's in there.

{The Original Adventures of Hank the Cowdog by John R. Erickson} This is the first in an abundant series of books about Hank and his adventures in "security" on the ranch where he lives. It's funny and entertaining, and both Jona and I loved it. I read this one aloud but we picked up the audiobook for the next book in the series and just started listening to it--the audio version is hilarious.

{Superhero Instruction Manual by Kristy Dempsey} This one is a great example of a superhero book of the non-commercial variety. A young, aspiring superhero reads the manual and follows all the directions, but it turns out being a superhero isn't as easy as he thought. Luckily he has some help from an unexpected sidekick. Jona loved this one.

{You Wouldn't Want to Be a Ninja Warrior! by John Malam} Along with Legos and superheros, Jona has also been loving all things ninja-related lately (which meant a ninja-themed 5th birthday party). While at the library last month we came across this one in the non-fiction section, and it was a hit. Written like an instruction manual (see a theme here?), this book goes into LOTS of detail about the role of ninjas in Japanese history, what ninjas wore, where they lived, etc. There is a lot of information, but it is accompanied by cartoon-like illustrations to break it up. It wasn't my favorite, but Jona couldn't get enough.

{Super Manny Stands Up! by Kelly DiPucchio} Another aspiring superhero, Manny is great at saving the world from the zombie bears and cloud monsters of his imagination. However, when he sees a real-life person who needs saving, will he be up for the task? I loved this adorable yet empowering message about standing up for what's right. Jona loved the superhero theme and the creative ideas and illustrations. Win win.

{The Water Hole by Graeme Base} A favorite of mine last month, The Water Hole is a counting book that's done in a very creative way. On each page, we count the animals drinking at a water hole, but with each turn of the page, the hole gets smaller. With beautiful illustrations, die-cuts, and hidden pictures within the pages, this is one that holds everyone's attention.

{Foxy by Emma Dodd} I picked this one up from the "Back to School" display at our library, and although we didn't read it as often as some of the others, Jona did like it. Emily is worried about going to school, so she asks her friend Foxy for help. Foxy can magically make things appear, although sometimes he doesn't get her requests quite right. Jona thought it was pretty funny when Foxy gave Emily an elephant instead of an eraser. This was a cute story.

{Leroy Ninker Saddles Up by Kate DiCamillo} I needed an audiobook for a car trip and planned to listen to the next Mercy Watson installment, but the library didn't have it available. I remembered that Anne mentioned Kate DiCamillo's Tales from Deckawoo Drive series so we gave this one a try. I should have gotten a couple in the series, since this one was pretty short (less than an hour) and the car trip was... not. I think he would have happily continued to listen. I think I like the Mercy series better, but this one was entertaining too!

Have you read any good children's books lately? Any audiobooks you recommend? 

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