Karate Kid (Rosanne L. Kurstedt)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Karate Kid, written by Rosanne L. Kurstedt and illustrated by Mark Chambers, a delightful introduction to the vernacular and practice of karate.

A spiritual sequel to the entertaining Yoga Frog (which features the same illustrator and a different author), this entertaining mini-manual follows Goat, a literal “karate kid”, through his karate class. Beginning with rituals that display respect for the past masters, his teacher and his fellow students, Goat practices his various strikes, kicks, blocks, and stances, learning both the form and the language of each new skill.

Like Yoga Frog before it, this clever little book does a nice job of balancing a respectful look at a practice’s cultural roots in a kid-friendly way for young readers. Each element of karate that’s covered – from the rituals of respect to the traditional garb to the various movements – are accompanied by the Japanese translation (phonetic, not kanji). This is an especially great detail for young students of the discipline, as most dojos encourage learning the traditional terminology. The illustrations, which feature Goat and his sensei on single-color backgrounds, are charming, though occasionally limiting; movement in particular is difficult to portray, and certain kicks or strikes may require more research. Still, a robust afterward provides plenty of resources for further learning. The length is great, and JJ and I had a ton of fun with this one. A fantastic companion or introduction for little readers interested in karate, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

The Cranky Ballerina (Elise Gravel)

Hello, everyone! After the disappointment of yesterday’s book, we were hoping for something fun today! And thankfully, we got it with today’s read, The Cranky Ballerina by Elise Gravel, a fun and silly story with a classic message about finding your path.

Ada hates Saturdays. Every Saturday, she has to get up early, put on her tight leotard and her itchy tutu, and go to her ballet class (which she hates most of all)! The teacher is nice, but no matter how hard Ada tries, she just can’t get the hang of it, and she doesn’t really want to. But when her disastrous attempt at a pirouette spins and kicks her right out into the hall, she runs into another teacher who just might have the perfect solution to her problem!

What a fun read this was! First, who doesn’t love a story about finding the hobbies and skills that make you feel happy and special? It’s always a great message for kids, that being bad at one thing just means that you might be great at something else. In addition, the simple, sassy illustrations are lots of fun and full of character, and the text has got humor and charm, making it a fun one to read aloud. The length is perfect for baby bookworms of all ages, and JJ really enjoyed it! We liked this one a lot! Baby Bookworm approved!