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Review: A child's view of children's books

By Andrew Oglesby (age 7)
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(CNN) -- Our children's book specialist, Andrew Oglesby, has turned 7, and with age has come experience. A little, anyway -- two other stories' worth.

We asked Andrew, son of staffer Christy Oglesby, to again review a selection of titles because children's books don't always appeal to the audience for which they're intended. The voracious reader and precocious reviewer was pleased to offer his takes.

'A Dachshund's Wish'

By Joe Tavano; Illustrated by Ji Yu
Traitor Dachshund, LLC
70 pages, $13.95

This book teaches that being yourself is the greatest gift of all. It's about a dachshund. (My aunt in Arizona has a dachshund.)

It's about a dog named Paws who when he gets a new family, he wishes to be a boy. But as soon as he meets the Great Mae, Paws realizes that just being yourself is the greatest gift of all. The Great Mae asked him questions and tested him and he realized that lesson.

I've wished to be something else sometimes. Even though there are great things about being a boy, sometimes I wish I was a superhero so I would have powers.

Kids should read this because even if you have ever wished to be something else, you'll see being yourself is greater. I didn't like the rat who tried to steal Paws' wish, that's the only thing I didn't like because that's not honest.

This book takes a few days to read. I really like the pictures because the artist is really good, and some of the pictures reminded me of Monet.

(Listen to Andrew read a summary of "Paws.")

'Let's Go, Pegasus!'

Retold and Illustrated by Jean Marzollo
Little Brown and Company
24 pages, $12.99

It's a great book because it's silly and has stuff people like me would like, like heroic things. I like the owls that kept on talking at the bottom. (Editor's note: Owls at the bottom of the page serve as a Greek chorus offering commentary and smart-alecky comments. The book itself is a retelling of the Greek myth of Perseus.)

It's about this king who wants to marry this boy's mother, and the king wants to get rid of the boy so he asks him to do something dangerous. Since this boy is very brave, the king wants him to kill Medusa. The boy doesn't know that Medusa turns people into stone statues. So he asks people about Medusa, and then he goes to the gods and they give him a shield and sword and boots to fly.

As soon as he gets to Medusa's island, he used the shield like a mirror so he can get close enough to cut off her head but not look at her. It's a great storybook with nice pictures. But it doesn't teach you anything -- it's just an adventure book.

'Wilky the White House Cockroach'

By Howie Schneider
30 pages, $16.99

I really love this book! It's so so cool. One of the funniest parts was when Wilky was in the rice pudding and the French woman screamed EEEK, cockroach! I just loved that part.

This cockroach had an uncle who was an adventurer, but his uncle got squished and died. The uncle was just a stain on the wall.

Wilky decided to be an adventurer like his uncle and follow in his footsteps. But Wilky got stuck in a pizza box, which means maybe his mind was too adventurous. He goes to the White House in that pizza box and goes through all sorts of dangerous things, but the lessons his uncle taught him helped. He remembered stuff like eat when you have a chance, run fast since you have six legs, always run towards a corner because they can't squash you there and blend in with your surroundings which is normally just called camouflage.

It's a medium-size book. The length is good. I like all the pictures. It's a bit made up but some of this could really, really happen. One part that is made up is a cockroach wearing a cap and another thing is that no cockroach could do what a human could which is be an adventurer.

(Listen to Andrew read a summary of "Wilky the White House Cockroach.")

'Once Upon 1001 Stories'

Written and Illustrated by Lila Prap
Kane/Miller Book Publishers
28 pages, $15.95

The silly thing about this book is that each story goes around and around in circles. I just read the story about that frog and princess thing and then it just went right back to the story I read before that about Sleeping Beauty and the creature sleeping in the flowers. That's a kind of an in-the-middle thing, half good and half bad. Sometimes people like moving onto different stories, and sometimes they like being in the same place. Too many of the stories go back to the same page. You don't really get to pick how you want it to end like it promised.

The book does have some funny stuff like when the frog says, "I want a kiss, not a broken promise!"

This book is half good and half bad. I think the author was trying to make it more interesting, but it didn't make that much sense.

'Kali and the Rat Snake'

By Zai Whitaker; Illustrated by Srividya Natarajan
Kane/Miller Book Publishers
21 pages, $15.95

This book teaches that if you ever have been teased by people you will make friends even if they don't like you right away. Things will turn out good even if it doesn't happen right away.

It's about a boy named Kali who goes to school, and each time he goes a classmate teases him. Sometimes some kids just like to be mean. I felt a bit upset when Kali didn't have any friends.

On the first day of school, Kali told the class about his life and his dad and they laughed at him and he felt bad. He didn't want anyone to see the fried termites he ate. But then one day this rat snake was on the ceiling, and it plopped down and Kali caught it. Then he made friends after that. It's a great book because it's about snake catching and that's the kind of stuff that I like.

The best part is how Kali caught the snake. The pictures look different, like someone from Kali's country (editor's note: India) painted them. It looks very different, from things I've seen. The artist had to be from that country to know how to draw things like that.

(Listen to Andrew read a summary of "Kali and the Rat Snake.")


Andrew Oglesby, 7, is in first grade at Atlanta's Heiskell School. He loves pizza, baseball and superheroes.



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