Thursday, May 9, 2013

Review: Barefoot Books for Spring

When I was offered a chance to review some new Barefoot Books recently, I jumped right on it. I've been a fan of their products since Nico was a baby. Our library has lots of their titles available and the first book character Nico learned to identify by name was Cleo the cat. We received a bundle of four Spring titles:

The Barefoot Book of Earth Tales by Dawn Casey and Anne Wilson

This is a collection of seven folk tales from different cultures that emphasize taking care of the planet and our resources. Each story is followed by instructions for a kids' activity, such as planting tomatoes or making a pinecone bird feeder. As the mom of a kid with a peanut sensitivity, I was pleased to see they recommended vegetable shortening instead of peanut butter for the bird feeder craft. This is a book to grow into for us, as the recommended age level is 5 - 11 years. I'll definitely be pulling this one out again as the boys get older.

I Took the Moon for a Walk by Carolyn Curtis and Alison Jay

This sweet bedtime story about a little boy who takes the moon for a walk is written in an easy rhyme scheme. I really like reading books that rhyme smoothly, especially for bedtime. I love the illustrations in the book, which were done by the same artist who illustrated a favorite ABC book we got from the library a lot when Nico was younger. The illustrations are done with oil paints and a crackling varnish, which gives the book a lot of texture and depth even on a flat page. The animals depicted are utterly charming, and my favorites may be these inquisitive cows:

Over in the Meadow by Jill McDonald and Susan Reed

This is another book with really wonderful illustrations. I squinted at them for a long time trying to figure out if they were paper collages that had been photographed or digital illustrations, then found the author / illustrator info at the back of the book. Apparently they're both - digital illustrations created with the use of painted papers. They reminded me of my very favorite Barefoot Books illustrator, Claire Beaton, who creates scenes using felt. This story is based on an old nursery rhyme and has a very nice, easy rhythm to it. We've read it for a few bedtimes already and Nico loves to count the baby animals on each page. I love the variety of animals depicted, which includes muskrats and lizards…not your every day storybook characters! The book also has a page in the back with facts about each animal depicted, which will be really nice as Nico gets older. (I Took the Moon for a Walk also has a page with animal facts. Very cool!)

Kids' Garden card deck by Whitney Cohen and Roberta Arenson

As a parent and a professional outdoor educator, I think I'm most excited about this item. It's a book-sized set of cards with activities and games meant to spark children's interest in the outdoors. (Similar sets are available for in the kitchen and for creating a fun kids' yoga practice.) I'm always looking for new ways to get Nico interested in the world around him, as well as for ideas I can use to inspire kids at work. Two of my favorite suggested activities from the deck are planting a pizza garden and using socks to collect seeds on a walk through a meadow:


If you'd like a chance to win a book of your choice from Barefoot Books, please leave a comment on this post with the title you'd choose before 11:59 PM CST on Saturday, May 18. You can view their entire catalog here. Be sure to include your email address! I'll use to select a winner. US and Canadian addresses only, please, and no PO Boxes.

Disclosure:  I was given these items free of charge to review. The words and opinions in this post are my own.