Monday, January 28, 2008

Hermie and Friends: Buzby and the Grumble Bees-A Review....or.... The thing that kept my daughter from going to bed tonight

Article by Scott Tingley, January 28, 2008

It has been a common theme on this blog for me to use some cute little story involving my three year old daughter. It is a hook that comes in handy for these kinds of reviews and I think it ads a nice touch. That was then. Now all that I can think about is the hour I just spent sitting on my daughter’s bedroom floor trying to convince her that she, in fact, did not need to “read” me the book again after I had just read it three times; and NO, she did not have to call her Grammy to thank her for the book again [Note to self: all new books are to be given in the morning so that the girl has time to get used to it. No new books at supper time!]

In summary, I would like to thank Superstar Christian grown-up book writer Max Lucado for keeping me from getting to my marking and planning. Thanks a lot for a series of books that keeps my daughter interested and excited about reading. Thanks a lot!

Review redo:

Remember those episodes of The Cosby Show where the whole family goes into “Lesson Teaching Mode”? You remember the ones – when someone needs to be reminded about what kind of person they really are so the rest of the family play-acts to draw attention to a certain quality a family member is forgetting they have? Great stuff.

Now picture that instead of comic genius Bill Cosby and an ensemble cast of talented actors you have the talents of comic geniuses Tim Conway and Don Knotts (together again!) providing the voices for a couple of odd looking caterpillars (now picture that you can’t actually hear them because this is a book. Remember? They do the voices for the videos, but I’ll get to that). In my daughter’s favorite new obsession – I mean book - the two friends help Buzby Bee teach his niece and nephew about manners.

Hermie and Friends: Buzby and the Grumble Bees is a lot like all of the other Hermie books and videos I have come across in the last couple of years. It has a very clear lesson that gets taught in a not very subtle way. The first time I saw one of the books I thought that there was no way it was going to be any good – just a money grab by a company that thinks they know what parents want their kids to read. Then I watched one of the videos and realized to my joy that one of my favorite comedy teams was providing the voices. That allowed me to have an open mind and I realized that I was looking at the series all wrong. I was not doing what I am able to do with most books. I was not able to keep in mind that these books and videos are not written for me. They are written for 2 year olds up to maybe 4-5 year olds [note that the videos are fun for older kids as well and the Christmas Fruitcake one has a great Deputy/Landlord joke). My daughter does not need subtlety in her morality plays. The value needs to be presented and the misbehavers need to learn the lesson. The behaving lesson of this book is the only reason that I was able to convince her to go to bed.

This is a Christian book, but I don’t think it is only for devout, or even practicing church goers. The uncle bee prays for help on one page. It is right there but to me it does not feel in-you-face. If you don’t have a problem with someone praying then you should be alright with it.

The 3D art is not a style I tend to enjoy, but kids love it, so what do I know?

Would I be a bad father if I hid this book tomorrow? Never mind. I know.

By the way, this board book comes with “an interactive CD-ROM with read-along story, song,coloring pages, computer game, wallpaper, and screensaver for use onWindows® PCs. The read-along story is also playable on a CD player.” (from I haven’t checked it out yet, but it sounds like something my kids will really enjoy.

Be sure to visit us at for your all ages comic book needs.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Ma! There's Nothing To Do: a Review.....or...."Mommy. What's That?"

Article by Scott Tingley, January 20, 2008

Quote #1
My ambition is to interview Neil Armstrong without mentioning the moon landing and observe his reaction. - Ardal O’Hanlon

Quote #2
Every mother would love to get this book at her baby shower. – Comics in the Classroom Kid’s Book Blog contributor Nancy T.

Quote #3:
I wouldn’t read it to a three year old unless you want some questions – like about the chord. – Comics in the Classroom Kid’s Book Blog contributor Nancy T.


Quote #1: You will either get it or you won’t (and I really don't mean for it to sound like an in-joke, because it isn't really)

Quote #2: I might as well stop there, because it can’t get any better than that.

Quote #3: Yikes!

Ma! there’s nothing to do here!” complains the precocious protagonist of this rhyming tale set entirely in utero. It’s not exactly a scintillating experience spending nine months in your mother’s womb. You’re just stuck there at the end of that dumb bungee cord (a.k.a. the umbilical cord), with nothing whatsoever to do but slosh around. But, oh, the endless joys you have to look forward to as you listen to the tick-tock of ma’s happy heart clock and await that happy day when you finally come out to play. (from

Yes, this is a book about a yet to be born baby stuck hanging a round a boring womb. It is not hard to understand the sentiments of my wife in that this is a book any mother would love to have right before the little bundle of joy is born. What expectant parents wouldn’t chuckle at the sight of a baby canoeing around the uterus, or attempting to play tag alone in such a confined space?

But the big question is: Will kids like it?

Well, I know that my daughter liked it. She is three and even though she watched her mother’s belly get bigger and bigger for nine months; and even though she can tell you that her baby brother came out of that tummy, she doesn’t get it. Of course she doesn’t. She’s three! But she knows what she likes, and she thought Ma! There’s Nothing To Do Here! was hilarious. BUT, please refer back to quote #3.

Also, this would be a fine book read to grades five or six, whichever grade is about to begin sex-ed (I know! Can you believe it? And not a moment too soon for some). Sort of deals with the whole baby issue in a silly, fun and real way.

Veteran children’s writer Barbra Park and illustrator Viviana Garofoli have done a very nice job on a special book that will likely be around for a long time and be given to new mothers as a companion to Munsch’s Love You Forever.

This will be available on January 22, 2008 - get it for the expectant moms and the confused preschoolers in your life.

Written by Barbara Park
Illustrated by Viviana Garofoli

  • 40 pages
  • On Sale: January 22, 2008
  • Price: $18.99 (hardcover)
  • ISBN: 978-0-375-93852-8 (0-375-93852-4)


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Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Princess Baby: 30 Reads and Counting

Article by Scott Tingley, January 09, 2008

My daughter is clumsy. I was going to name the article that, but my wife wouldn’t let me. However, the fact remains that my daughter is clumsy – she is a lot like her dear old dad that way. Fortunately I got the new children’s book Princess Baby on Friday, because on Sunday my daughter fell down pretty hard. The only thing that would get her to stop crying was to show her the book for the first time and twenty minutes and five readings later she had stopped crying, but I was not allowed up. We had to read it again.

“Poor baby, no one calls her by her real name! “I am not a buttercup, or a giggly goose. I am not a cupcake. Please don’t call me Little Lamb, and never ever Gum Drop,” she insists. With a curtsy and a twirl, again and again our protagonist makes it abundantly clear who she is.” (from

My wife and I have read this book at least thirty times this week so far (It’s only Wednesday!). I was thinking of calling this review “Don’t Buy This Book If You Know What’s Good For You” but I thought that might be misleading to you an therefore a little annoying to author / writer Karen Katz. My three year old daughter loves this book so much – we actually have to keep it out of sight so we can get something done around the house without her demanding to have it read once again. If you as a parent have to read a book over and over again, at least you hope that it is a well crafted and clever book. As I said in an earlier review on this blog, “there are only so many times a man can read Care Bears What Makes You Happy? before contemplating the positive merits of book burning.”

Princess Baby is one of those well crafted ones that you won’t mind reading over and over and over and over. Or, at least won’t mind so much.

The book’s topic is relevant to little girls, the art is appealing and the pacing is perfect. I highly recommend this book. And Mariah gives this one 544 out of 544 “read it again”s

Be sure to visit us at for your all ages comic book needs.