A is for Apricat – Mauro Gatti

Everyone, please gather around and allow me to introduce you to my new obsession. It’s fruit, vegetables and other healthy yummies! It’s animals! It’s an entire alphabet of whimsical food/animal combinations and this kid in the adult suit is absolutely delighted by it. I can’t choose a favourite because they’re all so imaginative and fun. That’s fun spelled:

I wish I could spell the entire alphabet to you because this book is just so smile-inducing! It’s times like this when I need to borrow someone’s child so I can see the look on their face as they figure out what’s made me so happy. Naturally they would then fall in love with the book too. Never fear, though; in the absence of a child I read this book to my mother instead. Because … that’s how I roll apparently? Needless to say, Mum loved it too and we’re both planning to reread it tomorrow.

Oh, and if you like your educational mixed in with your cute factor, you’ll get a little fix of that too with Food Facts, bite sized (sorry, I had to get cheesy) pieces of information about every morsel you encountered as you made your way through the alphabet.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Quarto Publishing Group – Walter Foster, Jr. for granting my wish to read this book. I think I’m in need of a sequel that teaches me how to count.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Reread 24 March 2020

I’ve finally managed to get my hands on this board book (I love my library!) and it’s just as cute as I remember. My favourite letter during my reread was D:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

A is for Apricat is a fun, creative way for kids to learn their ABC’s. Combining photos of fresh fruits and vegetables with cute illustrations of animals, illustrator Mauro Gatti has created a whole new kind of critter! The Apricat has the round, fuzzy body of a real apricot, with the adorable whiskers and face of a kitten. And the Turkale may have the head and neck of a turkey, but its body is fresh and green.

Each page features a letter with a new fruit or vegetable creature, paired with simple text to help kids learn the letter, the animal, and the food. A food facts page at the back explains the health benefits of each featured food with playful, kid-geared language.

Promoting healthy eating and imaginative thinking, this unique, lighthearted take on a basic concept will be enjoyed by kids and parents alike.

50 Wacky Things Pets Do – Heidi Fiedler

Illustrations – Marta Sorte

I absolutely loved 50 Wacky Things Humans Do: Weird & amazing facts about the human body! so naturally I wanted to read about wacky pets as well.

With information ranging from gross (toads eat the skin they shed) to amazing (salamanders can breathe and drink through their skin) this book provides interesting facts and theories about various furry, feathered and scaly pets.

I think the writing style would be engaging for kids and the bite sized chunks of information get the point across without getting into information overload territory. While I already knew some of the facts, others were new to me. Then there were those that I wasn’t sure if I already knew or not but still found fascinating, including the potential for rabbits to get cavities from eating carrots.

A couple of my favourites facts were:

Goldfish use teeth in their throats to crush their food. They don’t have stomachs. Instead they break up food and absorb nutrients in their intestines.

Chameleon eyes can move independently, so they can look in two different directions at once.

Marta Sorte’s illustrations are so cute! I mean, look at this ferret dancing!

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And this baby seahorse getting ready to chow down!

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There were a few instances in this book where the answer to why animals do a certain behaviour was that we really don’t know or that it may be because of one of several possible reasons. I found this frustrating but other readers probably wouldn’t.

I enjoyed this read and would happily reread it. Overall though, I preferred 50 Wacky Things Humans Do.

Thank you to NetGalley and Walter Foster, Jr., an imprint of Quarto Publishing Group, for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Have you ever wondered why your dog chases its tail or how your cat manages to land on its feet every time?

50 Wacky Things Pets Do takes an up-close look at all the weird and funny things our pets do, from dogs snacking on poop and guppies jumping out of tanks, to cats meowing and ferrets dancing happily.

Paired with equally wacky illustrations, 50 wild and incredible facts are presented, along with educational information about each animal’s habits and personality quirks. Whether seriously strange or downright silly, these wacky facts are sure to delight kids while they learn all about pets and their peculiarities.

ABC What Can She Be? – Sugar Snap Studio

Illustrations – Jessie Ford

This colourful board book goes through an alphabet of work options available for girls when they grow up. I really appreciated the diversity in this book, in the jobs explored and the girls pictured. The jobs traverse traditional male and female jobs, from pilots and teachers to yoga instructors and quantum physicists.

Because girls from around the world are represented, young girls looking through this book should be able to identify personally with at least one girl. There are girls with blonde hair, red hair and dark hair. One girl is wearing a hijab. Another is in a wheelchair. Girls are wearing dresses, skirts, pants and uniforms.

I would have liked P to be for president but the end of the book does specify that the jobs mentioned are only some of the options so I’d be adding that one if I read this to a young girl.

O is for Optometrist. She checks our eyes to make sure we see clearly.

Because this is a board book I had hoped it would be told in rhyme and was disappointed that it wasn’t. It was written in a down to earth way that makes the different jobs easy to understand but I found it a bit too matter of fact. This is the type of book I expect people would buy for a baby shower but I couldn’t imagine myself wanting to read it over and over.

Thank you to NetGalley and Quarto Publishing Group – Walter Foster Jr. for granting my wish to read this book.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

ABC What Can She Be? explores 26 different career paths. Each page introduces a letter of the alphabet with bright artwork and highlights a career that is fun, challenging, and makes a big impact in its own way.

A boldly illustrated, fun family read, ABC What Can She Be? is a great way for parents to introduce their small children to the bright futures before them.

Learn to Draw Mickey Mouse & Friends Through the Decades – Disney Storybook Artists

Mickey Mouse made his cartoon debut in 1929 in Plane Crazy with his girlfriend Minnie. Since then Walt’s creations have made their way into so many hearts around the world, including mine. Family members have long joked that they’re going to drop me off at Disney World; promising they’ll come visit me at my new home from time to time.

I have zero artistic ability but a Disney book was always going to pique my interest. I was expecting the step by step instructions to recreate Mickey, Minnie and the rest of the gang but I didn’t realise I’d also find such an interesting history lesson about the introduction and progression through the decades of my childhood friends.

I loved the animation timeline shown at the bottom of the information pages and I adored the layout of the entire book. You can really see the progression of Mickey and his pals throughout the years in the frames from classic cartoons. There are also tips on the illustration pages that will help bring out the characters’ expressions and personalities.

I didn’t think for a second that I’d have a chance at replicating any of the step by step masterpieces and chuckled to myself when I thought about the scary monstrosities I could come up with from trying to attempt just Step 1. However, when I looked at the illustrations objectively, I could see how they would help someone who can already draw turn their pencil strokes into something that would make Walt himself proud. I do think this would be too advanced for most kids though.

The projects begin with 1920’s Mickey and Minnie, along with Pete from Steamboat Willie (who was actually first drawn as a bear three years before Mickey was born).

In the 1930’s audiences were introduced to Pluto, Goofy, Donald Duck and his nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie, Daisy Duck and Mortimer Mouse. Goofy and Daisy originally had different names. The 1930’s projects teach you Pluto, Goofy, Donald, Huey, Dewey and Louie, as well as 1930’s versions of Mickey and Minnie.

The 1940’s & Beyond section includes my favourite illustration; Mickey as The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. There are also other more modern Mickey’s and Minnie’s to draw, as well as Goofy, Pluto, Donald Duck and Daisy Duck.

Fun Fact: Did you know that 1943’s Pluto and the Armadillo was the last time Mickey wore his iconic red shorts until 1995?

While this book will certainly appeal to artists, the additional information about Mickey and co. along with the promotional posters and photos of such Disney awesomeness like the desk where Mickey was drawn for 45 years elevates this book to Disneyana status. I loved it!

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Quarto Publishing Group – Walter Foster for the opportunity to drool over this book.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Learn to Draw Mickey Mouse & Friends Through the Decades is a must-have collector’s item that celebrates the world’s most beloved mouse and his pals through step-by-step drawing projects and vintage artwork from the Disney archives.

On November 18, 1928, Walt Disney unveiled a cartoon character who would soon become one of the most recognisable global icons: Mickey Mouse. Since then, Mickey has touched the lives of fans of all ages, all around the world. For more than 90 years,Mickey has undergone several transformations, changing in appearance from his premiere appearance in “Steamboat Willie” in the 1920s to the modern mouse we know and love today. A collection of vintage artwork from the Disney archives reveals early designs, sketches, and poses of Mickey Mouse, as well as other classic characters, such as Minnie Mouse, Goofy, and Donald Duck.

This book celebrates Mickey and his friends with 128 pages of art instruction and animation history, making it a covetable collector’s item for any Disney enthusiast or aspiring artist interested in learning to draw in vintage cartoon style.

Featured projects include the evolving looks of Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Goofy, and Pluto. Each section of drawing lessons is categorised by style and decade in Disney history. Artists and fans alike will find interesting anecdotes and facts sprinkled throughout Learn to Draw Mickey Mouse & Friends Through the Decades, for a well-rounded collector’s experience that is sure to entertain and enlighten. 

50 Wacky Things Humans Do: Weird & Amazing Facts About the Human Body! – Joe Rhatigan

Illustrations – Lisa Perrett

I’m all about the weird and the wacky, so between this book’s title and the cover illustration I was in! 50 Wacky Things Humans Do is such a fun book! Suitable for children and adults alike, this quick read is entertaining and informative (and yes, you will learn about farts and snot). Joe Rhatigan’s book gives plenty of answers to questions you won’t admit you didn’t know the answer to … until now!

  • Why do your fingers and toes get wrinkly when you’ve been in the pool for a long time?
  • What causes brain freeze?
  • Why can’t you tickle yourself?
  • Why do bruises change colour?
  • Why does your nose get stuffed up when you cry?

Each wacky thing is explored over two pages, one with just enough information to make it seem as though you’re smarter than you really are and the other with quirky illustrations by Lisa Perrett. The facts are suitable for impressing your friends with, and some that will gross them out. You’ll gain a whole new appreciation for how extraordinary your body is.

Lisa Perrett’s illustrations are wonderful. With bold colours and humour, Lisa brings the facts to life. Her people and animals are very expressive, as are the sun and moon, and plenty of the images are giggly worthy. There are such delights as fart clouds, irritable knees and a completely adorable teddy bear.

Fact of the day:

“your brain can perform 38 quadrillion operations per second”

For those unfamiliar with quadrillions, that looks like 38,000,000,000,000,000. That’s a lot of zeroes!!!

I’d love to receive this as a gift book and it needs to be in public and school libraries. It’s the kind of book I’d have fun sharing with a child, using it to teach them about how remarkable their body is and to trick them into learning some cool anatomy facts. The only downside of this book was that I was enjoying myself so much that I wanted to learn more than 50 wacky things.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Walter Foster, Jr., an imprint of Quarto Publishing Group for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

50 Wacky Things Humans Do describes 50 weird, wild, and unbelievable things the human body is able to do. Science has never been so much fun!

Did you know that when you sneeze it rockets out at over one-hundred miles per hour? How about that the average person sheds about five hundred million skin cells every day? What about the fact that most of the cells in your body are not even human?!

50 Wacky Things Humans Do gives you the dirt on 50 unbelievably weird things about the human body that seem too crazy to be true, but are! Whether amazing, silly, or just plain gross, these peculiar and fascinating things about the human body will surprise and delight fun-fact lovers of all ages.