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August Kids Books ARC Review Roundup

The Rainbow Fish and His Friends by Marcus Pfister

Publication Date: October 11, 2022


Five Rainbow Fish titles in one collection! 

Five Rainbow Fish favorites are now available in one place in this collection that includes—The Rainbow FishRainbow Fish and the Big Blue Whale; Rainbow Fish Discovers the Deep Sea; You Can’t Win Them All, Rainbow Fish; and Good Night, Little Rainbow Fish. The Rainbow Fish and his friends experience the happiness of sharing, discover how to resolve an argument, and how to be a good sport. It is these everyday but important situations that every child experiences and from which they can emerge strengthened.

My Review:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I had previously read some of the rainbow fish books to my 8-year-old when he was younger (and to my younger brothers growing up), but I hadn’t encountered all of these stories and it was nice to have them all in one volume for ease of reading.

The stories have great messages (that only occasionally shade towards being a bit heavy-handed) and are perfect for introducing many difficult concepts to young children in a fun and memorable way. Messages like sharing and being a good sport and being willing to reach out instead of attacking others out of fear and misunderstandings.

The illustrations are colorful and cheerful and do a great job conveying the message and mood of each story. The text is perfect for reading aloud to children, and also great for kids with a 2nd-to-3rd-grade reading level to practice reading, though they may need help here and there.

I really enjoyed reading through this collection of stories and sharing them with my child. I also really liked the included activities and author’s note at the end, where the author talks about the inspiration for Rainbow Fish.

*Thanks to NetGalley and NorthSouth Books for providing an e-arc for review.

Rainbow Fish and the Storyteller by Marcus Pfister

Publication Date: October 11, 2022


A sparkling book about tall tales!

When Rainbow Fish meets a new friend, Humbert, he isn’t sure what to think. Humbert tells all kinds of strange stories: Somewhere at the bottom of the ocean there’s a plug!

There’s a blue whale living near here . . . and he’s going to eat up all of our food.

But before Rainbow Fish and his friends panic, they realize that Humbert just likes to make up tall tales. Rainbow Fish and his friends soon come up with an idea that might make them all happy—even Humbert. 

My Review:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This was such a cute book! It had a great message about making friends and not telling lies to get their attention. The illustrations were beautiful and I absolutely loved all the bright colors. It was a really fun read and I think it would be great to have in a classroom library.

Kiddo (8) read it with me and enjoyed it a lot. He thought the illustrations were beautiful. He read the text out loud to me and had no problems with understanding it. He also found the idea of a plug at the bottom of the sea very funny.

I especially liked how Rainbow Fish realized Humbert was lonely and worked with him to find a way for him to use his storytelling abilities for good to make friends rather than pushing them away with lies.

*Thanks to NetGalley and NorthSouth Books for providing an e-arc for review.

Mouse and Mole Have a Party by Joyce Dunbar

Publication Date: August 31, 2021


Every day holds a new surprise for Mole. He just can’t help getting into scrapes – whether picking the first daffodil of Spring, or trimming his lopsided whiskers. But with the help of his friend, Mouse, things generally turn out for the best – especially when he least expects it!

My Review:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This was really cute and funny. I read it with my 8-year-old, and he found it amusing. It reminded me a lot of the Frog and Toad books – it has that same bumbling silly vibe. In fact, many of the adventures were reminiscent of ones that Frog and Toad would have gone on. It’s a perfect quick and entertaining read for kids.

The reading level isn’t difficult either, and my 8-year-old had no trouble reading it aloud. So I would recommend it as a fun read-aloud for a 2nd-3rd grade reading level and also as a fun story to read to younger kids.

The illustrations have a sketchy, old-fashioned feel reminescent of the original Winnie the Pooh books, with warm colors that draw you in. There is a lot of humor in the expressions of the animals as well as in the movement of the lines of the illustrations. The illustrations match the tone of the text perfectly and enhance the impact of the story being told.

*Thanks to NetGalley and Star Bright Books for providing an e-arc for review.

Let’s Draw Dragons by How2DrawAnimals

Publication Date: August 16, 2022


With Let’s Draw Dragons, you can learn to bring your mythological drawings to life, guided by realistic illustrations and step-by-step instructions for a variety of these amazing fantasy creatures.

The easy-to-follow visual and written instructions in this book make it achievable and fun to draw lifelike dragons. Each drawing lesson begins with basic shapes and progresses, step by step, to a finished piece of artwork, making it easy to follow along. You just need to grab a pencil, a piece of paper, and your copy of Let’s Draw Dragons, and then flip to the mythological beast you want to draw. The drawing projects include:

Dragons in different poses
Elemental dragons
Fire-breathing dragon
Flying dragon
Swimming dragon
Sleeping dragon
And more!

The detailed written instructions in this 48-page book also provide tips for placement of details, how to create realistic scales and wings, how to shade, and much more. If you’ve never drawn before, don’t be intimidated. Just start with a few basic shapes and follow the illustrated steps—you’ll be creating your own amazing mythological masterpieces in no time at all! And each time you draw, you should see an improvement in your artistic skills.

Also available from the Let’s Draw series:Let’s Draw Cats, Let’s Draw Dogs, Let’s Draw Favorite Animals, Let’s Draw Wild Animals, Let’s Draw Birds & Butterflies, Let’s Draw Sea Creatures, and Let’s Draw Dinosaurs.

My Review:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

My experience with how-to-draw books has always been along the lines of “draw 3 circles. Now draw the rest of the dragon and shade it” – resulting in much frustration and a tendency to distrust other how-t0-draw books.

This book, in contrast, has detailed steps that make sense and actually break down the entire drawing process so I feel like I could actually draw the dragons and have them look like … well, dragons.

That doesn’t sound like much – ‘it does what it says on the tin’ and all that – but for me it’s a revolutionary concept. I’m actually very excited about it because I LOVE dragons but have always had difficulty visualizing them and drawing them.

This book breaks the entire body down into easily managed pieces in a way that makes sense to me. I will most definitely be using it and am looking forward to lots of dragon art in my future.

*Thanks to NetGalley and Quarto Publishing Group – Walter Foster Jr for providing an e-arc for review.


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