Good Dog Carl

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The Facts

  • TITLE: Good Dog Carl
  • WRITTEN & ILLUSTRATED BY: Alexandra Day
  • PAGES: 34
  • ISBN:9780689807480
  • Available on Amazon, here.

Initial Thoughts

This book was a perfect gift when my son was born because we have a beloved Rottweiler named Stella. The first word of both of my children was dog, not momma or even dada, but DOG. Literally as soon as they could talk, they wanted to talk about dogs, so this book has been very loved in our household. We actually have two copies now. The first was so cherished that when my daughter was born 4 years later we had to buy a new one for her. It’s a board book and well constructed, but did not hold up to 4 years of love (or abuse depending on how you look at it). The illustrations are well done and realistic; with very little text they do the storytelling.

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Super Speedy Summary

This is a book with very few words, twelve to be exact. The only two pages with words on them are the first page and the last page. On the first page, the mom says, “Look after the baby, Carl. I’ll be back shortly.” Mom then leaves and mischief commences between Carl and the baby. Carl helps the baby escape from its crib, they proceed to jump on mom’s bed and then get into mom’s makeup and jewelry. After that the baby slides down the laundry chute and goes swimming in the fish tank. A dance party breaks out in the living room after which the baby and Carl eat some snacks making a huge mess in the kitchen. At 4 o’clock, Carl takes the baby up for a bath and puts him back in the crib. Carl then cleans up all their messes. Mom comes home to a clean house and baby resting in the crib and says, “Good dog ,Carl!”

Mama’s Musings

Honestly, the first time I looked at this book, I was a little horrified. What kind of parent, in their right mind, would leave a baby home with a dog as a babysitter? Once I got over the initial shock (and removed the stick from my butt), I saw how much my kids lit up at the funny antics between baby and Carl. This book has really grown on me.

From an educational standpoint, a book with few words is a really good thing for a child who cannot yet read. Sharing wordless books is a terrific way to build important literacy skills, including listening skills, vocabulary, comprehension and an increased awareness of how stories are structured. They can have the experience of “reading” before they have developed the skill. At age 4, my daughter will proudly tell me the story of Good Dog Carl just by looking at the pictures. Also because there are no words, it opens up a lot more discussion than books that may have a lot of words. On each page, I get to ask her questions instead of simply reading the text. This then leads to more questions. Reading experts will tell you to do this for any book, but let’s be honest, after I’ve read a whole page of text, I’m ready to move on (especially at bedtime!). Since this book has no text, I’m much more willing to linger on each page and ask multiple questions.

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They say a picture is worth a thousand words and that is true with this book. Once kids have “read” it a couple times they start making up stories about what the characters are feeling and other details about the story. There is one scene where Carl and the baby are having a dance party. I like to ask the Ember, “What song do you think they are dancing to?” At the beginning, when Mom leaves, I like to ask her, “Where do you think Mom is going?” The answers she comes up with are always amusing to me. Mom is always going somewhere that I’ve been recently 😉

Storytelling is a great skill to develop and this book gives kids that opportunity before they can read. It gives their creativity a boost. On each page Carl and baby are having a new, unexpected adventure, which makes the story really fun. Even if you don’t have a love of the Rottweiler like we do, I’d still highly recommend this book for it’s early literacy building potential.

About the Reviewer

Lindsay McCarthy

Lindsay is a wife, homeschool mom and author (in that order). She likes to call herself the CEO- chief empowerment officer because she empowers her husband and children to live out their dreams while she does the same. Lindsay co-wrote The Miracle Morning for Parents and Families with her husband, Mike, and their friend, Hal Elrod and blogs (when time allows) at Grateful Parent. Lindsay grew up in Pennsylvania, where she still lives with her supportive husband and two amazing children, Tyler and Ember. She was a division 1 field hockey player at James Madison University and loves to travel. One of her favorite travel experiences was hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro while four months pregnant with Tyler.

Connect with Lindsay’s Facebook community!

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I definitely shared Lindsay’s initial horror about a parent leaving their child alone with a dog (yikes!) but once I remembered the lighthearted nature of most children’s books, it was a little easier to swallow that. I agree that there is immense value in children’s books that contain little to no words, they allow for deep conversation between parent and child about what is happening within the pictures and every time the story can be different. What’s really fun is analyzing how we infuse our unique perspectives and opinions about the world into the story that is being told – how might this book be different when mom reads it compared to when dad reads it?

I have always been intrigued by books like this – that require the reader to be imaginative about what the story is based solely on the pictures. It also relates to books in languages you don’t know. When we lived in Japan we bought lots of books in Japanese, even though we don’t speak or read it! In this way, we are able to make up stories about what’s happening in the book as if there were no words.

Silliness – Practicing Storytelling

I will say though that this book probably won’t make it into OUR collection because we’re not really a “dog” family – we may become one someday, but for now, we don’t really connect with the sentiment of the story. I do, however, think this is a great book if your family is a “dog family”.

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Disclaimer: The link to this book is an affiliate link. That means when you choose to purchase this book via my link, I will earn a percentage of the sale, at no extra cost to you! Thank you for your support of this blog and we hope you love this book as much as we did.

Caps For Sale

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This review is courtesy of Sherrie. Learn more about Sherrie below!

The Facts

  • TITLE: Caps For Sale: A Tale of a Peddler, Some Monkeys, and Their Monkey Business
  • WRITTEN AND ILLUSTRATED BY: Esphyr Slobodkina
  • PAGES: 48
  • ISBN: 9780439120616
  • Available on Amazon, here.

Initial Thoughts

The cover of this paperback book shows a man in a tree, hats on the ground, and a couple of monkeys. I immediately assumed this would be a book about entrepreneurship but couldn’t tell from the cover what type of “monkey business” would be involved. Scanning through the book, I liked how the illustrations stood out independent of the words by not having the text on the same pages of the pictures. This allows me to fold back the book with the illustration facing my tiny humans as I read the story to them.

Super Speedy Summary

The story is about a meticulous peddler whose caps were stolen by a bunch of monkeys while he took a nap.  When he tried to get them back, the monkeys mocked and toyed with him by imitating everything he did. This irritates the peddler to the point where he gives up, throws his own cap to the ground, and storms off. Since the monkeys were copying him, they did the same. The peddler retrieves his caps from the ground and goes on about his day.

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Mama’s Musings

This is one of those books that have quite a few bits of hidden gems of life messages in them. There are a couple of points to this story that really stood out for me which are the struggles of entrepreneurship and patience.  It’s a story I can personally relate to as a stay at home mom who also runs a business and my children are able to connect what I do by comparing me with the peddler. So if you’re looking for a book that will help explain to your child your own story as a business owner (if that applies to you), Caps for Sale is a good starting point.

With this book, I’m able to describe to them how their father and I sometimes feel after a day of work. Like the peddler in the story, we’re out there in the world letting people know we have caps for sale. It’s hard as it is tiring. The story demonstrates this point when the peddler takes a nap under the tree after not selling a single cap. This allowed us to have discussions about our own experiences and feelings about working hard and not receiving the gratification we desire like a new client or a passing grade. We were able to bond over frustrations we can all relate to regardless of our age.

When the monkeys stole the caps and toyed with the peddler, he tried everything to get what he needed back from them. We talked about situations that we can ascribe to as “monkeys.” For me, my monkeys would be investing time into something that doesn’t work for my business and for my children, that would be learning something new that may be hard to grasp. These are some of the things that makes us angry. So when the peddler lost his temper and decided to give up, we all shared the sentiment. This opened up discussions for problem solving strategies and discovered ways to keep cool under pressure to get what you need.

Overall, Caps for Sale is a great book to create conversations with your child about working hard and adversity. For me, I felt these attributes were important in helping my children understand what it’s like to be an adult which is not much different than being a kid. Like I mentioned before, there are many messages hidden in the story. Whatever your personal story is, this book can help you connect with your child.

sherrie-lanellAbout the Reviewer

I’m Sherrie Lanell, owner of Sherrie Lanell Photography and the author of Be Yourself Mom Blog. I am an introvert documentary photographer, marketing consultant, blogger, and vegan foodie. My mission is to encourage moms to be themselves and document their journeys with photographs for the sake of their children. I am a NJ mom, married with two adult children, a little dude and dudette to whom I shall call my tiny humans.

Connect with Sherrie!

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My oh my, this book review really got my wheels turning! First and foremost, I hadn’t read this book before (but after I read Sherrie’s review I was compelled to order it). As a small business owner myself, I know the struggles and frustrations that come along with growing a business – and the nagging desire to just give up. It’s tempting to throw your cap and walk away, but it’s those who are patient and willing to endure hard times that are really successful. So when it comes to hustling to run a successful business, this book speaks volumes about the struggles of entrepreneurship. As Sherrie mentions, if you are a fellow business owner, this book may be just the thing to help your children understand how taxing and difficult that journey can be.

I also think this book relates heavily to the ideas of determination and perseverance despite society mocking you and trying to beat you down. The peddler in this story is an example of what not to do, we shouldn’t just give up when we face adversity. Rather, we need to rise above, be patient, be strong in our convictions and continue doing what we feel is right. If you have an opinion, or have a dream or a desire to do something in the world, there will always be people fighting against you. It’s those that are strong that will prevail! This book will help you teach your children amazing lessons about:

Determination – Patience – Perseverance

We love including books like this about these topics, another book we love that is related is Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty

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Disclaimer: The link to this book is an affiliate link. That means when you choose to purchase this book via my link, I will earn a percentage of the sale, at no extra cost to you! Thank you for your support of this blog and we hope you love this book as much as we did.

Teal

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The Facts

  • TITLE: Teal
  • WRITTEN & ILLUSTRATED BY: Renee Galvin
  • PAGES: 26
  • ISBN: 9781682738900
  • Available on Amazon, here.

Initial Thoughts

Just quickly flipping through the pages of this book, I was blown away by the illustrations and detail! The book is about a crayon so it makes perfect sense for the artwork to be in crayon (or a crayon-like digital rendering, I’m not sure). It’s so pretty. Our version is a complete paperback which makes it a little more fragile for reading sessions, we read this book together right now because Addison cannot exactly be trusted not to rip the pages apart. Regardless, it’s super cute and a nice size to lay the spreads out and really look at all the detail.

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Super Speedy Summary

The book opens by introducing the reader to the main character, Teal – a crayon – and all the things that make this particular crayon so great. Teal is happy, until it’s clean up time. He doesn’t like clean up time because he doesn’t have a true “place”, he doesn’t necessarily fit in with the green or blue crayons. Instead of wallowing in his sorrow, he takes matters into his own hands to create a more inclusive clean up time, where the crayons are not separated but rather come together in a wheel. Lucky for Teal, the other crayons are receptive to his idea and join him all together in a giant wheel, creating the color wheel where the colors blend and fuse together, instead of being separated.

Welcome all colors!

Mama’s Musings

I had a feeling after reading the first few pages what this book would be about, and we were definitely not disappointed. The calls to the ideas of loving yourself and embracing community and inclusivity were clear.

To start, most of us have probably felt at one point or another that we don’t quite fit in – especially as children. Maybe our ears are a little pointier than other kids and stick out under our hair (that was me). Maybe we go to a school that is predominantly one race and we are another and it makes us feel like we don’t quite mesh. Maybe we have interests that most kids our age don’t share and we feel left out. Regardless of the thing that makes us different, we typically feel pretty rotten about it. That’s what makes this book so relatable, teal experiences this feeling of loneliness and exclusion.

But what makes this book so good is what he decides to do with these feelings – instead of just accepting his fate he decides to take matters into his own hands and change things for himself and for the other crayons. Why do they have to be segmented by color? Why can’t they all just be together?

This is what brings me to my second favorite thing about this book, the ties to historically significant events regarding race – specifically the segregation of people by color. How clearly these crayons reflect those events! Teal is so much like those inspiring men and women from those times that decided they were fed up with feeling lower than others, and decided that they wanted to shake things up. That’s why the sign Teal creates “Welcome all colors” is so crucial to the story and to those ties.

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of “interposition” and “nullification” — one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

– Martin Luther King Jr.

Teal’s courage to go against the norm and try something that brings people together makes him a heroic character and a role model for kids who want to do the same in their community.

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Core value addressed: love & accept yourself and others despite differences

Final Review

Being sensitive about differences and also standing up for your unique self are values that are very important to our family. This book belongs on our bookshelf and if you share these values with us, I strongly encourage you to add this to your collection as well. We give this book 4 1/2 stars!

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Disclaimer: The link to this book is an affiliate link. That means when you choose to purchase this book via my link, I will earn a percentage of the sale, at no extra cost to you! Thank you for your support of this blog and we hope you love this book as much as we did.