Category Archives: Read To Me Dad

Book Review: Olivia


Today I read Eva Olivia by Ian Falconer. Ian wrote and illustrated the book. This is a fun book for parents to read to their rambunctious kids because Olivia is a precocious little pig who likes to wear people out. Do your kids often try on everything they own before they go out for the day, how about trying to recreate a Jackson Pollack painting on the living room wall. These and other things are what Olivia excels at, however she is still cute and fun so we can’t get too mad at her. The writing is simple and the illustrations are very well done yet retain a very simple look. Eva kept trying to pick up the book over and over. So since it was a board book I let her go to it. And then I picked up my camera for a few shots.

Read to Me Dad Ratings

  • Story – short, not many words. The illustrations tell a great tale. And you can describe the illustrations to add to the story.
  • Re-Read-ability – Very good, I think Eva will like the Olivia books more and more as she gets older.
  • Illustrations – Excellent – Where Jan Brett is amazingly detailed Ian Falconer tells a tale in so many fewer lines.
  • Message – Good – Not much of a message here. The story is cute however.
  • Plot – Fair – Not really a plot however we are introduced to Olivia for future books in the Olivia Series. There are a few more books.
  • Characters – Great – Your kids will love Olivia and her precocious nature.
  • Does Eva Like It – Eva wants to eat the book and touch it more than hear the words and the things I say about each illustration.
  • Recommended Ages4 to 8

Book Review: The Umbrella

Jan Brett is a pretty amazing woman. Her stories and artwork are so captivating. She is one of the foremost author illustrators of children’s books in the country. She has over 33 million books in print. That is an amazing accomplishment. My mother actually is the one who introduced me to Jan Brett’s work. One of her favorite books is The Gingerbread Baby. We will have to read that one to Eva around Christmas time. Jan has a ton of books and one that we like to read to Eva often is The Umbrella (This is a “rain forest version of Jan’s book The Mitten). This book is about a young boy named Carlos goes into Monteverdi Cloud Forest in Costa Rica on a quest to see animals of the Cloud Forest. Carlos brings his woven leaf umbrella with him on his journey. He decides that he’s do better finding animals if he was higher so he leaves his umbrella at the base of a giant tree and climbs up.

While Carlos is in the tree a series of animals find the umbrella a fun place to spend their time. First we have a tree frog and then a toucan, a kinkajou, a baby tapir, a Quetzal, a monkey, a jaguar and finally a tiny hummingbird. As each animal climbs into on upon the umbrella it becomes a tighter and tighter fit for everyone. The umbrella is tossed into the river by the monkey and finally when the hummingbird sets down umbrella sinks into the water and all the animals bail out. Carlos climbs down from the Giant Fig tree none the wiser.

What I really love about the story is that it introduces Eva to animals that she wouldn’t hear about otherwise. And with the lifelike illustrations she knows exactly what these animals are supposed to look like.

Read to Me Dad Ratings

  • Story – Cute and entertaining.
  • Re-Read-ability – Excellent, I read it often and can enjoy the illustrations over and over such incredible detail.
  • Illustrations – Excellent – One of the most detailed and amazing illustrators ever.
  • Message – Good – Not much of a message here, just an entertaining and educational story.
  • Plot – Good – Easy to follow and children are apt to enjoy that Carlos misses all the action while he goes up a tree. Each animal has a distinct character and seeing the group get bigger and bigger is fun and builds a wonderful tension for the outcome.
  • Characters – I love the Character of the frog and how the Baby Tapir only makes a Blaat sound.
  • Does Eva Like It – She is mesmerized by the wonderful colorful images and settles down to enjoy the story.
  • Recommended Ages5 to 8