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A child looks at children's books

Some reviews of recent releases

By Andrew Oglesby (age 6)


(CNN) -- When adults review children's books, they often focus on the simplicity of the language. Or the beauty of the artwork. Or the appropriateness of the subject matter.

A child might be excited by something else -- say, the hygiene habits of a grape. Or the ability of a story about a squirrel and a shark to conform to real life.

And sometimes, to borrow from Art Linkletter, kids say the darndest things.

With that in mind, asked 6-year-old Andrew Oglesby, son of staffer Christy Oglesby, for his take on a handful of recently published children's books. Here are Master Oglesby's edited comments.

'Raisin and Grape'

By Tom Amico and James Proimos
Illustrated by Andy Snair
Dial Books for Young Readers
$12.99, 30 pages


The grape and the raisin are together and they are a family. The book is about how families love each other. On the last page the grape and raisin are hugging too tight because they love each other so much.

I really like the part where the grape smells his armpits. He says his armpits are fresh and clean, and that is so funny. He is smelling his odor and on the picture there are squiggly lines and that means bad odor.

The pictures are really cool and funny. And the other really funny part is where the raisin says, "You saved me again." The grape saved his Grandpa, the raisin, from the prune who talked too much.

Other kids should read this book so they will know how to love their families. If grapes were alive, when they get old they would turn into raisins just like my Grandma and Grandpa and Nana.

'Scaredy Squirrel'


By Melanie Watt (writer and illustrator)
Kids Can Press
$14.95, 35 pages

(Editor's note: Andrew had an animated reaction to this book from the instant he saw the simple cover, as well as the book's "warning" that "everyone wash their hands with antibacterial soap before reading this book." The latter prompted him to recoil and take his hands off the page. Words are powerful.)

This book is about a squirrel who always stays in his nut tree, never leaves to see the unknown. That's because he's afraid of tarantulas, poison ivy, green martins [sic; Andrew means "Martians"], killer bees, germs and sharks.

But sharks are not in the woods, neither are martins! Green martins? That's definitely make-believe. There is no such thing as an alien, especially coming to a woods. Definitely fake!

The squirrel has a routine of eat a nut, look at view, eat a nut, look at view. He has a special emergency kit for dangers. I like how [the author] draws a picture of the emergency kit.

The thing that changes is a bee shows up and the squirrel drops his kit, and he jumps from the tree. Then the squirrel finds out he is not just a plain squirrel, he is a flying squirrel! He discovers that he can go in the unknown because it's not that scary anymore. He starts to feel adventurous and carefree. Scaredy Squirrel learned that there's no need to be afraid all the time.

And there's no need for you to think that you are ordinary. Everyone is special. Everyone has special meaning. There is always something in you that is good, and there's no need to be afraid of everything. And don't believe in things that are not real, like martins. Kids will learn never to be afraid, always believe in yourself.

This is an outstanding book. The author who made this was wise.

'Earth Magic'

Poems by Dionne Brand
Illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes
Kids Can Press/KCP Poetry
$14.95, 31 pages

It's a nice rhyming book, but I'm not exactly excited about it. The poems are a little interesting, but I think it's for older kids because older kids would talk like that.

I liked three of the poems -- the night poem ["Night"], the slave ship poem ["Slave Ship"] and the fisherman one ["Fisherman"]. I liked those because they were short.

To me, it's not a book for 6-year-olds. Other 6-year-olds might like it, but I really think it's a book for older people because it's like something that would have to do with history, and older kids like things like history.

This book is very imaginary -- like the Tuesday [poem]. It has playing hopscotch with the sun and that's not something that would really happen. It's very creative. Whoever wrote this book was really using their creative juices.

'My Father's Shop'

By Satomi Ichikawa
$15.95, 26 pages

It's a story about a boy, his father and their shop. There is a carpet with a hole in it, and [the boy] says, "Daddy, Daddy please can I have this carpet?" And [the father] says, "Sure as long as you speak these languages for me." So he let [the boy] have it, and once he let him have it, the boy said, "How boring!" when he was learning the languages and ran straight out of the shop.

To me, that was so funny, how he said "How boring!" After that he met a rooster. The best part is how the rooster followed him and how he said "How boring!" I just think that's funny. I don't know the reason, but I just think it's funny.

It tells how the rooster speaks in English, Japanese and Spanish.

Any age would like this book. Kids would really laugh about how the rooster followed him.

The pictures are really colorful and especially once he puts the carpet on. He looks like he's a Cyclops when he rolls up in the blanket. That's one of my favorite pictures.

'I'm a Pill Bug'


By Yukihisa Tokuda
Illustrated by Kiyoshi Takahashi
Kane/Miller, originally published as "Boku Dango-mushi!"
$7.95, 25 pages

I love the "Pill Bug" book! I really love it because the funny part is after they eat one bite, they poop. It's about a pill bug telling you about him[self]. It tells you what pill bugs do, how they protect themselves, if they are an insect or not, what animals they are related to, neighbors that are nice to them and their enemies -- things that could eat them.

When they put their antennas together that might be how they kiss, and somehow they are climbing on each other. I wonder what that's for? (Note: The book has a drawing of pill bugs mating.)

The person who wrote this book, he or she knew a lot about pill bugs. This book is amazing because the funny part is the poop, poop, poop. And the parts where it says, "If you touch us, please touch us very soft."

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