Children’s Book Giveaway: Apollo.
October 19, 2010

Okay, folks.  Today I would like to introduce you to a little dog named Apollo.  This book is seriously one of the strangest, most irresistible children’s books I have ever come across.  Also, it is perfect for a child who loves dogs.  Like Charlotte.  As far as she’s concerned, every page of this book is a WOOF! WOOF! goldmine.

Apollo, written and illustrated by Caroline Gregoire, is a pretty cute way of introducing descriptive terms to kids.  The book is basically a concept-based collection of illustrations of Apollo – from the front and the back, positioned horizontally and vertically, from the right and the left, in a crowd and alone, and so on.

And it’s really pretty cleverly done, too, which is probably why I like it.  For example, when it discusses halves, it shows the front half and the back half of Apollo.  On the following page, it shows the top half and the bottom half of Apollo.  Which, let’s face it, kids love.  It’s a great way to show a child that there are multiple ways to look at and think about things.

Pros: Necessary vocabulary, fun illustrations, clever concepts.

Cons: Um, okay, there’s this one page that divides Apollo into pieces.  It’s showing pieces and a whole, and then Apollo is assembled incorrectly (his ears are wings on his back and his tail is like an antenna) afterwards.  Toddlers seem to really get a kick out of this, but I have to admit that it weirded me out at first.

Borrow or Buy: Hmm, some people might like to buy it, but I would probably borrow this one.  Apollo is a fun book and I think Gregoire did an excellent job finding a way to illustrate such abstract ideas.  Children who like dogs will love it, of course, and it is inventive - but it’s not the sort of book you want to read every day.

What to do: You can enter this giveaway by leaving a comment below or sending me an e-mail answering this: what do you think about children’s books that incorporate learning or teach a lesson?  All you need is an e-mail address.  The giveaway ends Sunday evening at 9 P.M. Pacific Time and the winners will be announced next Tuesday morning.  You can leave one entry every day, for a total of up to six entries.

For extra entries: This is on the honor system, so please be honest.  I will award you one extra entry if you vote for me at Top Baby Blogs by clicking here.  Each day you vote, I will award you one additional entry.  I am hoping to move into the top ten so that we can slowly begin to reach more parents about the joys and importance of reading with children.

To purchase this book: You can buy Apollo through Amazon.com (that link uses my affiliate code) or locate a local retailer through Indie Bound.org.

An announcement: The winner of last week’s book series giveaway was Alisa.  Congratulations, Alisa!


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  1. By Tracy Roberts on October 19, 2010

    I have not read this, but I trust you and E has to have this!!! I am pretty sure he can keep up in the woof woof competition with Char. :)
    Most books that teach lessons are preachy and boring, there are some well done like Dr. Suess books, but books with titles like, “Manners!“ Gag me with a spoon!

  2. By Tracy Roberts on October 19, 2010

    voted on both!

  3. By beyond on October 19, 2010

    i think all children’s books incorporate learning or teaching a lesson… and it’s a good think.

  4. By beyond on October 19, 2010

    wanted to say it’s a good thing, of course…
    voted for you!

  5. By on October 19, 2010

    I think the vast majority of children’s books that I know try to teach a lesson—but it is usually a moral, ethical, or character lesson.  This books sounds different in that it is trying to teach a visual and conceptual lesson.  Well, I think that is great!  I love the fact that the dog gets divided in half in different ways.  Another book I know that is very visually stimulating is called Willoughby & The Moon.  Although the story is in no way exceptional, the illustrations, all done in black, white and silver are!  They give children a different visual vocabulary from the ones they are typically exposed to.

  6. By on October 19, 2010

    I voted for you! -

  7. By on October 19, 2010

    I love books with a message. I love ‘the lorax’, ‘oh the places you’ll go’, ‘tom’s tail’ (a super cheap book we picked up on clearance that Jude LOVES) and ‘me, all alone, at the end of the world’ (thanks to you…. We are smitten).

    I have this book ‘ira sleeps over’ about a little boy spending the night at his friends house for the first time and he is faced with the decision of taking his Teddy bear or leaving it at home… And I have this vision of me reading it to Jude one last time before he goes to his friends house forthw first time… And I feel so lame. Lol

    Jude loves dogs! I hope we get this one!

  8. By Lauren @ In the Pudding Club on October 20, 2010

    As long as I agree with the lesson then of course I think it’s great.  And of course off the top of my head I cannot think of a lesson in a children’s book I have not agreed with. 

    and I voted for you too!

  9. By Parenting Tips Guru on October 20, 2010

    I find that books which try to teach lessons can be dry and dull. I think that when a book can teach a child a lesson while making it entertaining for both the parent and the child, it has accomplished something special.

    I voted for you! I think your site is great!

  10. By Mallory on October 20, 2010

    I love books that teach a lesson as long as they’re not preachy. I think the lesson needs to be fun and well incorporated.

  11. By Tracy Roberts on October 20, 2010

    voted for both today.

  12. By on October 20, 2010

    I would agree with the other commenters who said that the message(s) in a children’s book should not be so preachy as to hit you over the head or just be plain dull.  A good story always has some sort of lesson, doesn’t it?  And part of learning to read and appreciate stories is thinking about what the lessons in them might be.  Usually, it’s not all black & white.  And I still love the fact that this book’s lesson is about conceptualizing parts and wholes (& putting them together) in different ways.

  13. By on October 20, 2010

    I voted for you on Top Baby Blogs!  I hope you head straight to the top!

  14. By Michelle on October 20, 2010

    I think that children’s books that incorporate a lesson are great!  Kids love books, and it’s always great when they’re favorite things teach them something!  It’s got to be craftily done, though…otherwise it seems contrived, when the truth is that most of the time we learn lessons in the small things, not the big ones.

  15. By Tracy Roberts on October 21, 2010

    voted for you on both today.

  16. By on October 21, 2010

    I love Aesop’s Fables, and they always teach a lesson!  And the lesson is always pretty well spelled out, so I guess that sometimes lack of subtlety is good, too!
    Also, I just recently heard about a book called “Alphabet City”.  It shows kids how they can find the forms of letters in everyday objects.  So it sounds like another book that teaches a visual lesson!

  17. By on October 21, 2010

    -I voted for you on Top Baby Blogs!

  18. By Tracy Roberts on October 22, 2010

    voted for both today!

  19. By on October 22, 2010

    Incorporating learning is key! Most of my favorite books incorporated learning and my family is full of teachers (including myself, my hubby, my sister, and both of my in-laws), so we’re all about the books that teach shapes, colors, words, lessons, etc.

    I voted for you on Top Baby Blogs.  Hope it helps push you back into the top 50!

  20. By on October 22, 2010

    Books that “incorporate learning or teach a lesson” is a pretty broad topic.  But you’ve got me interested in searching out other books that try to teach a visual-conceptual lesson or encourage kids to look at things in a new way.  Another book I’ve found (I haven’t read it yet but have read about it online) is called Zoom by Istvan Banyai.  It’s a wordless picture book that apparently presents scenes from increasing distances, each page zooming out enough on the scene to change how we understand the overall setting.  Sounds really neat!

  21. By on October 22, 2010

    -I voted for you on Top Baby Blogs!-

  22. By on October 23, 2010

    I have to admit that when I look for books that teach a lesson, I’m not usually looking for alphabet, counting, or color books.  It’s fun to have a few of these on hand, but let’s face it, kids who have parents who love to read to them are probably going to learn their letters, numbers, colors, etc, even if they don’t have a book that explicitly teaches those things.  I’m usually looking for books that do a bit more than that or teach a more challenging or more significant lesson.

  23. By on October 23, 2010

    I just voted for you!

  24. By on October 24, 2010

    One Leaf Rides the Wind by Celeste Mannis is a counting book set in a Japanese garden, but it is much more, too.  It teaches the numbers 1-10, but it also introduces kids to haiku, and teaches them a little about Japanese gardens and other elements of traditional Japanese culture.  I love how it incorporates learning on multiple interconnected levels.

  25. By on October 24, 2010

    I cast my vote for you on TBB today (as usual)!

  26. By Tony on January 10, 2011

    My little girl LOVES this book. Like you said, for any kid that likes dogs at all, they’ll love this book.


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