Tag Archives: barefoot book review

The House that Jack Built – A Barefoot Book Review

The House that Jack Built

Illustrated by: Diana Mayo

Read Alone: Ages 4-7
Read Together: Ages 0-4
Paperback; Full-color illustrations; 24pp;
10.25 x 10 inches
I could literally memorize all the lines of this book by now! Who wouldn’t if you are reading this book every single day with your child? My daughter just loves everything about the book ~ especially all the rhyming words, repetitive lines (which are very easy to memorize) and the sounds of each of the characters in the book which it makes it even livelier and more interactive.
This book also is a good proof of the saying “Don’t judge the book by its cover.” When I first got this book from the mail, it really didn’t interest me that much. I am not sure why but the cover, despite its vivid color and the carefully designed drawing of a house with a man on it wasn’t that appealing upon its first sight. To me, it didn’t look as if the book was interesting at all. In fact, I felt like that book would just contain like some barnyard animals and the usual word-picture identification of the animals that you could see in the barn. But, boy I was wrong!
This book is totally the opposite of my first impression. As soon as I went through the first page, the lines that slowly builds up from one incident to the next give the book a sense of interactivity. The book is also predictable in such a way that the reader would be able to instantly get the series of events as it unfolds. As the events build up, so as the characters. It’s like opening a present with the best surprise at the end of the wrapping paper!
The CD is the best part of this! All the characters that are involved in each line gives out a particular sound which is beneficial for readers who are trying to associate words to sounds and vice versa. My daughter loves it whenever the words cat, dog, rat, cow, maiden and man come up because she could then make the sound that the book initially presented! It is a nice way for her to associate these sounds and remember these to connect to a particular word.

Bear Series – BEAR IN A SQUARE (Board Book Review)


Written by: Stella Blackstone
Illustrated by: Debbie Harter


This is one of the books that is included in the Bear Series that is written by Stella Blackstone (I believe there are six of them, and each of these books are also written in Spanish edition). I have seen four out of the six books in this series and each one of them is phenomenal. The four books that I have seen and read to my daughter are the following: Bear in Sunshine, Bear about Town, Bear’s Busy Family and Bear in a Square.

I remember the very first Bear Series that I read – and I saw it in my doctor’s office waiting room! I honestly got hooked on it for my daughter and wanted too buy the full series for her!  That particular book was “Bear in a Square”, which happened to be my daughter’s most-wanted book this week.

I can see why it is her favorite of the week. First, the words in each page are simple and direct. Each page asks the reader to be interactive with the text as well as the pictures. It asks the reader to find the particular shape that is hidden in the page. For her age, one direct sentence to learn and identify shapes is all that she needs to learn the concept of shapes. There are exactly 10 different shapes that are presented on this book. It goes in the order of: square, heart, circle, rectangle, moon shape, triangle, diamond, zigzag, oval and star.

Secondly, I think she is fascinated with the bold and fantastic colors that are embodied in each of the pages. The BEAR in the book is always present in all the pages as part of the search. Not only that but the scenes where the shapes are hidden are diverse. An example is, “Find the hearts in the queen’s hair” and the scene on this page is a castle with a vivid picture of a queen with two hearts on her hair. Other scenes that are used are the school, the pool, the sea and the cave.

This book can be used in so many different ways. As the book progressed to different shapes, the number of shapes is also increasing. First there is only one square to find, then 2 hearts, then 3 circles…and so on until the last shape which is the star with the last number of 10. A child can easily identify what is also asked on the text, by checking on the right hand side of the book to see what shape is being asked for. A child can also self-correct himself as to the number of shapes that are present in each page by looking and comparing the number of the shapes on the right hand side to the number of shapes the child has identified.

What I like about this book is that my daughter really sits down until the end of the book and gets to enjoy each page of the book. I guess, what goes in her mind is that the pictures are so real, they are almost “touchable” to the eye. 



My Granny Went to Market – by Stella Blackstone (a book review)


My Granny Went to Market (A Round-the-World counting Rhyme)

Written by: Stella Blackstone
Illustrated by: Christopher Corr

Read Alone: Ages 4-7
Read Together: Ages 0-4
Hardcover; Jacketed; Full-color illustrations ; 24pp;
10.25 x 10 inches


This book takes you far away to ten different locations in the world. I feel like after reading this book with my daughter, that I have taken her far away from Massachusetts! In fact, 10 different places in one sitting, isn’t that exciting – for just one book? From Istanbul (did you know that Istanbul is the ONLY city in the world that is located in two continents? Europe and Asia?), to Thailand, to Mexico, to China, Switzerland, Africa, Russia (russs-siiaa), Australia, Japan (Which state in the US means ‘good morning in Japanese’? – Answer: Ohio) and Peru, it definitely is a traveling book! My daughter loves listening to me while I read this book to her – most probably because she hears foreign languages from most of the pages. In fact, she was so excited on the page where the Granny went to Thailand, she ripped it! This particular page contains the Thai words ‘Puyin’ and ‘Puchai’ which means little little girl and little boy respectively.


As the subtitle of this book suggest around the world counting rhyme, this book presents counting in an international sense. As the Granny in the book travels from her first destination to the next, the pages accumulate the numbers of object a particular country is known for. Dig this part from the book:


First destination – from Istanbul – one flying carpet (1)

Second destination – Thailand – two temple cats (2)

Third destination – Mexico – three masks (3)

Fourth destination – China – four lanterns (4)

Fifth destination – Switzerland – five cowbells (5)

Sixth destination – Africa – six drums (6)

Seventh destination – Russia – seven dolls (7)

Eighth destination – Australia – eight boomerang (8)

Ninth destination – Japan – nine kites (9)

Tenth destination – Peru – ten llamas (10)


This book also tackled in a subtle way the different continents of the world. On the very first page of the book, there is a world map that tracked all the travel destinations that the Granny went to. On this map, the continents on where the countries that the Granny visited were in bold letters to emphasize that these countries belong to these continents. 

Rhymes are all over the book. Take for example this page, where the words ‘Japanese’ rhymes with the word ‘breeze’:

An activity that will go along with this book aside from counting and rhymes, is the identification of what people are called from these countries. If you are an educator you could start off a book walk by asking which country does the city of Istanbul belong to? Answer: Turkey. Therefore, if the country is Turkey, the people are called, ‘Turkish’. The lesson activity can move on from this first destination to the last part.

– Alpha

Elephant Dance (Memories of India) – a Barefoot Book review

 Elephant Dance

Written by: Theresa Heine
Illustrated by: Shiela Moxley

Read Alone: Ages 6-10
Read Together: Ages 4-8
Hardcover; Jacketed; Full-color illustrations; 40pp;
8.75 x 10.5 inches

 “Thank God for Granparents!” – this is we, parents usually say whenever our children ask us somethings that only grandparents can answer. i remember when I was a little child, I used to ask questions about how my grandfather lived during World War II and during the Martial Law times (in the Philippines). He would tell me in details exactly and vividly as how he could remember all his experiences both in his community as a leader, a father and an officer of the Philippine Air Force. How I used to like hearing all of his stories and gave me more insights about how he and his family lived during those times. There is nothing like hearing all these memories first-hand – it is a treasure that is passed on from his generation to mine and pretty soon, to my daughter. 

This theme of grandfather-grandchild is very evident throughout the day. Ravi, the main character of the story bombards with his grandfather with questions about India. And as I read through the book, I get acquainted about living in India – such as the map of India is shaped like the ear of the elephant (thus, the title of the book is from), the geography of India, the seasons of India – cold weather, dry/hot weather and moonsoon rains -,the religion and their culture.

Speaking of the seasons of India, I like the part when Ravi asked his grandfather if it ever snows in India. This made me laughed as I read this part, because when I was little I also used to wonder, “does it ever rain in other parts of the world?”, “does it ever gets hot across the Pacific?” – and this part of the book reinforces the answers to most of the intriguing questions that children have about the changing seasons of the world. I also like the way the grandfather uses analogy to describe the things that Ravi asks him.

I adore the way the grandfather describes a rainbow in India to Ravi and he said,

“A rainbow in India Ravi beta is seven saris hung across the sky to dry,

red as the watermelon,

orange as lentils,

yellow as saffron,

green as parakeet,

blue as kingfisher,

indigo as the deep ocean,

violet as the storm sky,

before the thunder growls.”

Throughout the book, the grandfather continues to use this similar analogy to explain to Ravi how things are different in India. I think this is a great strategy for children to absorb memories by associating things to things that are familiar to them and things that are colorful and full of live description. In addition to that the grandfather makes sure that the culture of India is also added in how he explains things to Ravi, whether it could be an Indian flower, the Indian Divaali festival, the spices, the food, the himalayans or the clothing, Ravi’s grandfather truly exalts in using these common Indian words.

The book also incorporates a lot of Indian spices. In fact, in the middle of the book, the family of Ravi needed to cook for supper time. This part reflects the Indian family tradition of preparing food and the use of Indian spices such as daal, cloves, cardamom, turmeric, coriander and cumin. Each member of the family is described as having a task to do in preparation of supper. Ravi set the table and his sister Anjali fetched the rice.

The story ends with Ravi going to sleep and before he went to bed, he asked his grandfather, “do you love me grandfather?” and his grandfather used the same strategy of answering this question by saying,

“you are as warm as a newborn kid,

as soft as a frangipani blossom,

as sweet as the juice of the mango

and I love you very much.”

I can also say that this book will be great as gifts to grandparents on their special day and writing a note to them by saying how informative they are to us, in many ways than they could ever think of.

– Alpha

“If you would like to purchase this book, please visit http://philippines.mybarefootbooks.com “


The Gigantic Turnip – Book Review

 This is a story based from a Russian folk tale about an old man and an old woman who were living in a cottage with an overgrown garden. they have all sorts of animals that they keep with them including canaries, geese, hens, cats, pigs, cow.  


They have been living just fine until one March morning when they both thought it was about time to sow their vegetables. The last one they sowed was the turnip.

Later that night rain fell and the turnip grew and grew until it became very GIGANTIC! When the couple woke up the following day they were very surprised to see how big the turnip had turned out to be…and they needed help from all their farm animals. One by one, they called out for help from their animals. Out came the cow but they couldn’t pull out the turnip. Next, they called out the 2 pigs, but again it didn’t work out. The story went on and went from one cow, to the two pigs, to three cats, four hens, five geese, then the six canaries. When all of their animals were in tow to pull out the GIGANTIC TURNIP, the old woman thought of her friend, the mouse. 

The old woman went to the kitchen and got a piece of cheese and placed it by the mousehole. Pretty soon the mouse came out and help yank the turnip. Within a few pulls, the turnip went POP and everybody fell on top of each other.

The story ends with the old man and the old woman making a huge bowl of turnip stew and guess who ate the most? The mouse!

– Alpha

“If you would like to purchase this book, please visithttp://philippines.mybarefootbooks.com “