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    Llama Llama Mess, Mess, Mess by Anna Dewdney Blog Tour

    Published by Penguin Kids Format: Hardcover
    Source: Penguin Kids

    Disclaimer: I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  As always, all opinions expressed are my own.

    About the Book
    Age Range:
     2 – 5 years
    Grade Level: Preschool – Kindergarten
    Hardcover: 40 pages
    Publication Date: August 27, 2019

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    Synopsis
    Anna Dewdney’s Llama Llama is growing up, but he still loves to play with all his toys! When Mama Llama says it’s time to clean up, Llama responds like any child more interested in playing than cleaning . . . by ignoring her! But Mama has an imaginative response of her own. What if she never cleaned? What would happen then? Well, Llama Llama is going to find out! Here is a truly funny take on a childhood chore that all children will relate to and laugh at! And it is sure to be helpful to get kids cleaning up!

    Reflection
    I’ve always loved cleanliness and organization ever since I was a kid.  I guess today I would be categorized as having a bit of OCD and I’m totally okay with that.  I was taught that “there is a place for everything, and everything should be in its place.”  I still believe this today and teach it to my kids now that they’re older.

    When the kids were younger it was hard to keep up with having the house as tidy as I usually like it to be.  It wasn’t worth it for me to keep picking up after the kids when it would get messy again within minutes.  I learned to just let things go.  However, now the kids are old enough to know better and understand what it means to have a messy house or a messy room just like Llama Llama.

    It’s cleaning day in the book Llama Llama Mess, Mess, Mess and all Llama wants to do is play with his toys instead of helping his mom clean up.  In order to teach Llama good cleaning habits Mama Llama shows him what would happen if she stopped cleaning the house.  Llama sees his mother taking the clean clothes out of the dryer and throwing them in the air, wearing blankets on her head, and making forts with mops and brooms.  Pretty soon, everything’s in disarray and Llama has no place to play.  That’s when he decides to work together with Mama Llama to clean up the mess.

    I love how Mama Llama taught Llama the importance of keeping the place where you live clean by pretending to have bad habits herself.  It wasn’t until Llama witnessed his mother’s messiness that he understood there was no space left for him to play.  Mama Llama did a great job teaching Llama the basic concept of “everything in its place” and working together as a team.

    I believe once children can see everything in its place they are able to understand where something belongs.  Llama quickly understood this which helped get one step closer to keeping his own room clean. Half the battle for a child is not understanding where things should go and how to keep them organized without having it demonstrated for them.

    If you’re having trouble teaching your kids how to keep their rooms clean, be sure to check out Llama Llama Mess, Mess, Mess for some inspiration.  Ages 2-5.

    About the Author
    Anna Dewdey passed away in September 2016, at the age of fifty from cancer. A teacher, mother, and enthusiastic proponent of reading aloud to children, she continually honed her skills as an artist and writer and published her first Llama Llama book in 2005. Her passion for creating extended to home and garden and she lovingly restored an 18th century farmhouse in southern Vermont. She wrote, painted, gardened, and lived there with her partner, Reed, her two daughters, two wirehaired pointing griffons, and one bulldog. Anna was a warm-hearted, wonderful, wise soul who will be forever missed, but whose spirit lives on in her books.

    Your turn: What are some of your tips to teach children to keep their room clean?  Feel free to share in the comments.

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    book reviews, children's books, diverse books

    Hands Up! by Breanna J. McDaniel (A Book Review)

    I received this book for free from Penguin Kids in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

    Hands Up! by Breanna J. McDaniel
    Published by Penguin Kids Format: Hardcover
    Source: Penguin Kids
    Buy on AmazonBuy on Indie Bound
    four-stars

    A young black girl lifts her baby hands up to greet the sun, reaches her hands up for a book on a high shelf, and raises her hands up in praise at a church service. She stretches her hands up high like a plane's wings and whizzes down a hill so fast on her bike with her hands way up. As she grows, she lives through everyday moments of joy, love, and sadness. And when she gets a little older, she joins together with her family and her community in a protest march, where they lift their hands up together in resistance and strength.

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    Hands Up! by Breanna J. McDaniel, illustrated by Shane W. Evans

    If you look up the phrase “hands up” in many dictionaries, you’ll likely see a negative definition written.

    For example:

    ▪️an order given by a person pointing a gun.  Source: Collins dictionary
    ▪️to admit that something bad is true or that you have made a mistake. Source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary
    ▪️to deliver (an indictment) to a judge or higher judicial authority.  Source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary (By the way, do you know the history behind raising your right hand to testify in court? Look it up, I found it quite interesting.)

    This book shows a little Black girl named Viv putting her hands up in various everyday situations like: greeting the sun, playing peek-a-boo, raising hands in defense during a basketball game, raising hands in class, picking fruit off trees, and raising hands during praise and worship at church. In the end, readers see Viv a little older raising her hands in resistance and strength with a group of friends at a community protest march.

    With sparse text and lively illustrations, Hands Up! cleverly shows readers lifting your hands doesn’t always imply negativity. It gently encourages children to feel happy and confident to raise their hands. It also supports reticent kids in speaking up or standing up for what’s right.

    It was interesting and refreshing to be reminded of all the times we raise our hands throughout the day from stretching in the morning when we wake to reaching for something high on a shelf like a library book.  My personal favorite page is little Viv raising her hands in church demonstrating joy and praise to God through worship. Viv sets her power aside and praises God by physically and publicly demonstrating to Him that she needs Him which empowers her.

    The back matter has notes from the author and illustrator which explain why this book was written.

    I worry that this world casts Black kids as victims, villains, or simply adults before they’re grown up. – Breanna J. McDaniel

    This brilliant reminder from Breanna helped guide me back to lifting my hands in joy. – Shane W. Evans

    Hands Up! is available now online and where books are sold. Ages 4-8 and up.

    Your turn: Have you read this book yet?  Feel free to share in the comments.

    four-stars
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