KIDS FIRST! has endorsed 23 total Book titles

Below are up to 26 of them

KIDS FIRST! has linked to external websites through which you may order many of the KIDS FIRST! endorsed titles

Series: EBOOK, AGES 8-12
Description - Once you open the door to Anna Belle's bakery, you know that you have entered some place very special. The smell of freshly baked bread; the taste of double chocolate chip cookies; the vision of colorfully decorated birthday cakes and the sound of? Wait! Pastry doesn't have a sound. After you meet Anna Belle, you also know you have met someone quite marvelous. She is creative, full of energy and probably the best detective in town. Join Anna Belle and her feline assistant, Jocko, as they reveal the true identity of the culprit who has been robbing neighbors and end her light finger lifting of precious jewels in Fudge Fatale.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - The most appealing aspect of Fudge Fatale: The Marvelous Adventure of Anna Belle is the mystery. The story is comprised of two story lines and sometimes the two intersect, which heightens the overall mystery. The only thing that was unappealing for me is the repetitiveness. Often, chapters repeat the same information. I understand that this is may be intentional so children can grasp the plot easily, but I question whether it is necessary. I believe children will enjoy this e-book because it is easy to envision the characters, and each one is very well developed. For example, Doris, Anna Belle's assistant at the bakery, is zany and eccentric. Her personality compliments Anna Belle's seriousness. Of course the mystery and the funny outcome will also keep children engaged throughout.

Fudge Fatale: The Marvelous Adventure of Anna Belle is a delightful mystery story intertwined with a fun-filled bake-a-thon. Anna Belle doubles as Pine Meadows' best baker and an investigator trying to solve the community's issue with stolen pearls. The most appealing aspect is the mystery.

The story flows well. The exposition at the beginning is clear and it will definitely be easy for children to comprehend. The middle is also clear when Anna Belle and her friends finally figure out how to prep for the bake-a-thon, and find out that more pearls are being stolen in the community. The end is the resolution of Clyde winning the bake-a-thon, having all their hard word pay off, and discovering that a monkey has stolen the pearls. Although there are some challenging words such as intrepid, crestfallen, modicum and incorrigible, these words are paired with context clues and are balanced with over-explaining other aspects of the plot. There are definitely positive modeling behaviors shown, such as respect. Throughout the story, everyone has a chance to speak and be listened to. It is important for children to recognize at a young age that their opinions are relevant. There are some negative connotations about gender stereotypes. For example, one of the men assumes that no men will participate in the baking competition. At another point, he says something along the lines of "send the pretty bakers to me." Although these are both small, and Anna Belle corrects him both times, I ask whether they are necessary? A strong point is how it teaches children to question everything and, since this story is all about investigation and inquiry, that's critical. Sometimes, one needs to think outside of the realm of possibilities to reach the possibility. This book encourages children to take action on their own aspirations. If they want to be involved in their community, or run events, or be successful in general Anna Belle is a great example to follow. One of the key benefits of the story is that Anna Belle does not put on a fa�ade for the reporters that are getting coverage for the bake-a-thon. She says, "I am going to be who I always am." This is significant for children to learn because it teaches them to never change themselves for others.

This story has multiple little lessons woven into the overall message including how to successfully bake a cake, why people shouldn't eat raw eggs, and that both men and women can participate in baking competitions. The overall message is that Anna Belle does not put on a fa�ade for the reporters when speaking about the bake-a-thon. Seeing Anna Belle, her friends and family all working together to create a fun, successful community event can inspire children to do something similar.

I give rate Fudge Fatale: The Marvelous Adventure of Anna Belle 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12, perhaps older. It gives children the confidence to always question everything and promotes the idea of staying true to oneself.

Reviewed by Tor F., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - A light yet engaging read, Fudge Fatale: The Marvelous Adventure of Anna Belle will delight young readers with its lifelike dialogue, vivid details and easy-to-follow storyline.

The book by D.G. Stern follows Anna Belle's story. A talented baker, her sweet treats are to die for. Creative, full of energy and probably the best detective in town, Anna Belle is not to be trifled with. In this installment of The Marvelous Adventures of Anna Belle, she teams up with her charismatic Uncle Clyde, a police officer, to find the culprit who has been robbing neighbors of their possessions. It's a thrilling story which many will enjoy.

Each of the characters in the book has its own distinct personality. Anna Belle is kind and gentle. Doris is good-natured and a bit eccentric. Uncle Clyde is intelligent and helps keep everyone's spirits up. Sometimes the lines are blurred between the roles of each character. For example, Whiskers (Anna Belle's assistant) seems to have a smaller role than Doris, the store clerk, but is mentioned more at the start of the story. Next, the mystery angle of the story is well-thought-out, but it feels somewhat weakened by the interspersed descriptions of Anna Belle's work at her bakery. Still, he plot is gripping and the 90 page length is perfect for young readers. Finally, there are some extremely long sentences that are a bit confusing. However, they are far and few between.

Fudge Fatale: The Marvelous Adventure of Anna Belle promotes teamwork, such as when Anna Belle enlists the help of her friends to prepare for the bake-a-thon in three days, having a good work ethic and being curious (the main theme of the book), while discouraging stealing. It's a positive book that will leave you feeling as warm and fuzzy inside as Anna Belle's chocolate chip cookies.

I give Fudge Fatale: The Marvelous Adventure of Anna Belle 4 stars out of 5 and recommend it for ages 6 to 12. It is available as an ebook August 15, 2021 so look for it.

By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

Baker by day; Secret Undercover Detective by night! Fudge Fatale: The Marvelous Adventures of Anna Belle is a chapter book that makes a perfect read for young people looking for a simple and exciting adventure.

The storyline follows a small-town baker, Anna Belle, who has a secret identity as the town's undercover detective. Her initial attempt to solve a mystery of disappearing items turns into a thrilling adventure filled with action and sweet treats.

Mystery books are my favorite genre of books to read along with young adult books. If this is the case for you as well, you will definitely enjoy this! The author D.G. Stern is very specific to the point that some of the information is a bit over-the-top. Still sometimes there is very little background context, which is a result of it being part of a series. The names of the characters such as Anna Belle and her feline assistant Whiskers are common names that help give the reader a sort of familiarity. The best part is that the plot twists are absolutely phenomenal. Just following Anna Belle throughout this mystery is exhilarating to read. You won't want to place this book down. While there are very few illustrations, they really help guide your imagination in picturing the events as they unfold. I especially love what a strong female voice the author gives Anna Belle.

This book promotes positive social behavior and encourages young people to think critically and to believe they can accomplish a goal, no matter how big it may seem.

I give Fudge Fatale: The Marvelous Adventures of Anna Belle 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 12. It is available as an ebook August 15, 2021 so look for it.

By Ashleigh C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17
Juror Recommended Age: 8-12 Suggested Retail Price: $ 10.99 Media: ISBN # 173245518X

Series: E-BOOK, AGES 5-12
Description - Even Francis the Firehouse Mouse needs a vacation every once in a while. He decides to visit his brother, Freddie, who lives on a farm far from the bustling city. There are many chores that have to be done each day: caring for the animals, working in the fields, picking vegetables for the market, and planting new crops to harvest later in the season. It is really different from fighting fires.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Francis at the Farm is a 51-page children's e-book that narrates the story of a mouse that lives in the city and what happens when he decides to visit his brother who lives on a farm. The book touches on the different aspects of living in a city and living on a farm and teaches children about where some common food comes from and explores two different environments - the city and the farm. It positively portrays the farm as a healthy place to live or rest and farming as a hard-working, but very rewarding way of living. The book also does a good job explaining where some things, such as milk, come from and the processes they go through in order to reach their final destination.

I believe children will really like this e-book since children are often attracted to farms, animals, tractors and firefighters, which are all included in this book. The story flows very well and makes use of lots of detail throughout it. I enjoyed how it begins by explaining that the city mouse needs a break and considers the country as a great option for vacationing. I like how the book talks about where certain foods come from, either at the farm or in the city. I believe this helps children identify with their own lives, whether they live in the city or in a rural area. The characters Francis and Freddie are nice for the most part, hard-working, gentle and generous, except when the city mouse eats the pie alone without sharing it with his brother.

The vocabulary used throughout the book could be new for the target age. Words such as "exhausting" or "pasteurized" enrich the vocabulary of young children, especially when they are well demonstrated, which they are here. I also like the collages between real images, objects and designs such as the picture of the train station where Francis arrives. I was not particularly attracted to the appearance of the mice. To me, they look more like otters than mice. Also, I believe the tough look of the firefighter mouse is a bit harsh for a young audience. The look of the farm mouse is very stereotypical, but not in a bad way. The visual quality of the book is quite appealing, aside from the appearances of the mice. The images directly related to the story are clear and easily to identify. The cover is clear, colorful and grabs the attention due to its farm elements.

This book teaches children about the world around them as well as some of the good values one should have and practice. It has great educational content, wonderful collages of real pictures of objects and designs, great vocabulary and stimulates family reading due to its high-level vocabulary.

Based on the vocabulary used throughout the book, I recommend it for ages 8 to 12. For example, words such as "baffled" or "accustomed" would need some explanation to a younger audience. For this reason, I recommend children younger than 10 read this book with the assistance of an adult.

Reviewed by Carolina S., KIDS FIRST! Adult Reviewer
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This simple yet charming tale of an inquisitive city mouse is both informative and engaging. It weaves in details of farm life without coming off as dry or lackluster. The story feels timeless and fresh at the same time, similar to a fable. Although its target audience is much younger than me, I can very easily see how someone in that age group would enjoy it.

Francis at the Farm tells the story of its titular character Francis. He works as a firefighter before visiting his brother in the countryside. During his excursion, Francis learns about the responsibilities and perks of living on a farm. Throughout the book, he works to overcome his city upbringing and adjust to country life.

This book features the protagonist Francis and his brother Freddie, who is the owner of the farm. The juxtaposition of realistic backgrounds and illustrated characters is, while slightly jarring, an efficient way to depict life on a farm. The only shortcoming that I see are in the characters' appearances. Both Francis and Freddie's faces remain the same, without consideration of the context. I would have liked a minor change to make them more expressive. The remainder of the story more than makes up for this minute flaw. My favorite part is Francis learning about and adjusting to helping Freddie with the farm. The writer, D.G. Stern manages to portray the acclimation in a way that does not feel condescending or supercilious.

As clich� as it may be, Francis at the Farm bears an essential message. It echoes the idiom "the grass is always greener on the other side." For Francis, visiting the farm is the "grass" - it appears to be perfect and much better than his current situation. However, he soon discovers that is far from the truth. The lesson is applicable to many situations. For its target audience, it may teach them to avoid idealizing adulthood and to expect responsibilities as they age. While the message may not be a pleasant one, it is one that needs to be said. Aside from its meaning, Francis at the Farm promotes healthy behavior. When Francis displays his ineptitude at farming, Freddie does not belittle or otherwise mock him. Instead, he expresses gratitude for his help and gently guides him through the process.

I give Francis at the Farm 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 8. It is available now online, so look for it.

Reviewed by Eden T., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11
Juror Recommended Age: 5-12 Suggested Retail Price: $ 9.95 Media:

Series: EBOOK, AGES 7-15
Description - A beautiful sailboat suddenly appears at a local ship yard. Upton, his "human" father, Hank, together with Watson, Upton's feline assistant, are asked to find the vessel's owner. By the way, Upton is a Bichon Frise (that's "BEE-shon free-ZEY"), a little white dog, with uncanny canine investigative skills.

Their efforts are interrupted by the appearance of a Navy admiral, who has a very curious interest in the sloop "Sweet Pea" and her builder, August Mayer, a brilliant, but reclusive scientist.

The mystery is intensified because the boat appears to be brand new, but almost 100 years old at the same time. Join Upton, Watson and the rest of the Charles family as they search for the answers in Time Tale.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - The book, Upton Charles Dog Detective: Time Tale, is a part of the Upton Charles Dog Detective collection by D.G. Stern and published by Neptune Press LLC. This mystery and adventure chapter book is exemplified through Upton's first person point of view. This perspective adds a great, comedic twist. Aside from the comedic aspect, having Upton as the narrator allows for younger audiences to grasp more difficult concepts since it is told by a young dog. Upton navigates the world and learns in a way similar to that in which a child does.

In this well-paced chapter book, Upton finds himself in the middle of an odd mystery, pertaining to the idea of time travel. Upton and his human family discover a supposed century-old boat, named Sweet Pea, in new, pristine condition at his human father's (Hank Charles), friend's (KJ) boat slip. The characters are curious as to how the boat appeared, who the boat belongs to, and how the whole situation is plausible. The characters collaborate in order to unravel the mystery and encounter some peculiar people that help further their investigation along the way.

Not only is the action of the mystery, adventure and idea of teamwork wonderful for younger children, the underlying message of questioning and being curious is also another great additive of this book. It shows children that it is beneficial to be creative and use their imagination while learning. Other positive messages are sprinkled throughout the book as well which furthers children's thinking.

I recommend the Upton Charles Dog Detective: Time Tale to young readers, ages 7 to 10 and give it 4.5 out of 5 stars. Even though I am older than the targeted audience, I still found the tale intriguing.

Reviewed by Tor F., KIDS FIRST! Adult Reviewer.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Upton Charles-Dog Detective Time Tale is an engaging mystery novel involving a dog detective and his feline partner which is masterfully suspenseful. It is told from the perspective of Upton, the aforementioned dog detective. The unusual perspective adds an element of originality to an already atypical story. Although I am outside its targeted age group, I still find it to be a rather engrossing book.

This story introduces a detective dog named Upton Charles, usually referred to as "Upton" by his human family. He and the family's cat Watson use their amplified senses to contribute to investigations. Over the course of 22 chapters, they try to solve the mystery of a hundred-year-old sailboat in suspiciously excellent condition. Along the way, they end up uncovering a much larger mystery.

The main characters of this novel are Upton, Watson and the Charles family. The family consists of Mom, Dad and the twins Veronica and Alex. Dad is the main human detective, with the rest of the family playing minor roles. My favorite part is chapter six, when they utilize the Internet in order to help their investigation. It is a small detail, but it showcases their resourcefulness.

While Upton Charles-Dog Detective Time Tale does not have a single easily identifiable message, it contains several smaller messages. One of these is the importance of teamwork. Upton, Watson and Dad all contribute to the investigation in different ways. Instead of the typical rivalry between cats and dogs, Upton and Watson demonstrate their friendship through concern for each other.

I give Upton Charles-Dog Detective Time Tale 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 9. It is available as an e-book so, look for it.

Reviewed by Eden T., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11

I like the e-book Upton Charles-Dog Detective Time Tale because it is very interesting and full of knowledge. I like how the narrator is a dog named Upton Charles, who is also the main character. I also like how easy it is to read this book and that you can either read or listen to it.

This book is about a Bichon Frise dog named Upton, his loyal assistant cat Watson and their owners The Charles family - Mom, Dad and twins Veronica and Alex. Upton and his family discover an old sailboat at the local shipyard. The father, Mr. Hank, and a friend named KJ try to find out who made the sailboat. A Navy Seal Admiral named Bill says he has an interest in the boat named Sweet Pea. They find out that the boat is over 100 years old, but still haven't found the person who made it. Upton and Watson team up to find the person who built the boat.

D. G. Stern is the author of the award-winning Upton Charles - Dog Detective series for younger readers as well as other children's books. He has also written four adult mysteries including Hot Tea & Cold Case, There's Always Tomorrow, Stabbing Along the Straightaway and Chaos at The Concourse, as well as numerous screenplays. Ginger Marks is the illustrator and Neptune Press is the publisher. I like how the text's font is a combination of Comic Sans MS font and the Georgia font. The book doesn't have that many pictures, but the few pictures it has are hand drawn looking pictures of the main idea in each chapter. This e-book has 102 pages and 22 chapters.

The moral of this story is "don't judge a book by its cover." Hank, Upton, Watson, KJ and Bill are mistaken in who they think is the person that made Sweet Pea and, through their detective work, they figure out who the actual builder is.

I give Upton Charles - Dog Detective Time Tale 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 7 to 18 plus adults. This e-book was released June 1, 2020, so hurry up and look for it!

Reviewed by Ethan P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

I was thoroughly engrossed while reading Upton Charles-Dog Detective Time Tale. This book had me invested in the plot throughout the whole story! While reading this tale you experience mystery, comedy and fun along with our hero, detective Upton Charles.

Upton Charles-Dog Detective Time Tale is a mystery told from the perspective of a three-year-old Bichon Frise pup. The mystery revolves around a curious boat that was brought down to the old boatyard where Upton's human works with no sign of who made it or where it came from. Things get crazy when a Navy Admiral arrives and tells a story about the possible origin of the boat, but it doesn't seem so real as much as science fiction.

The message of this story is that little things can make all the difference when working on something. If Upton, his dad, the twins, KJ and the Navy Admiral (Bill) hadn't all worked together and followed the clues, they wouldn't have solved the mystery. If they hadn't paid attention to the little clues and listened to each other, they definitely wouldn't have solved the mystery.

In this tale, there are many great examples of descriptive writing such as when Upton describes the boat cabin - "The forward portion of the cabin forms a small v-shaped space in which anchors, ropes, and sails are stored. The sides of the cabin are lined with cabinets. A small sink is on the left as you enter the cabin, and a cooking stove is on the right." This type of writing makes it easy and paints a picture in your mind. Speaking of pictures, I especially enjoyed the illustrations throughout the book. The Illustrator, Ginger Marks, made them cartoonish, yet detailed. The only problem in the whole story is when the author, D.G. Stern, mentions Upton wanting to eat chocolate, "Chocolate chip cookies sound good to me." Dogs can't have chocolate. It is very bad for them, especially small dogs where, even a small amount of chocolate, could make them sick or possibly kill them.

I give Upton Charles-Dog Detective Time Tale 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 5 to 12. This book is available now, so look for it.

Reviewed by Allison B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

Upton Charles Dog Detective Time Tale is a spectacular book for young readers. It's about a Bichon Frise dog named Upton as he uncovers a wild mystery. He is easy to connect to. His personality is amusing which children will love. Upton and Watson are polar opposites, yet make adorable siblings. Upton possesses human qualities which are perfect for the book. He is determined to uncover the case. He's a wonderful character. Throughout the book, when the going gets tough, he works through it and never gives up. The special part about this book is seeing how much he loves his family and how much he wishes to be like humans. By the end of the book, readers will see their pets or animals differently. The descriptions used to describe the boats, locations and setting are wonderful. They are thorough and paint a clear picture for younger readers.

The storyline follows Upton Charles, his owner Hank, and his cat companion, Watson, who find themselves in a mystery. New boats appear at the ship yard, but no one knows where they came from. However the boats seem to be about 100 years old. It is up to Upton to figure out what is going on.

I really like Upton's character. His humanlike mind is adorable as he states things he wishes to do, but being a dog, he cannot do. He wants to go to school, just like his human siblings do and he says, "it's not fair." He wants to do humanlike things but he cannot. So being a detective is difficult for him. Nevertheless, he works on uncovering the case. The moral of the story about working hard until the end. Being a dog never stops Upton from working on this case. I certainly recommend this e-book for families with young children since they will like the cute storyline.

As this is a children's book, no aggressive topics are handled. The characters treat each other kindly. There is no stereotyping, since the main character is a dog. It is unlike most detective stories in that way.

The cover illustration showcase little Upton with his big bushy white fur in full color. Inside the book, the illustrations are in sketch form. On the first page we see him sleeping with his friend Watson. The reader can immediately see the friendship and love which is definitely a positive attribute.

The message is about never giving up, as we see Upton doing. He does not give up, even when the circumstances become difficult.

My favorite parts in the book are in Chapter Four, when Upton describes the ship in perfect detail. It helps young readers easily visualize what kind of ship the characters are on.

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 12. Reviewed by Heather S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14
Juror Recommended Age: 7-15 Suggested Retail Price: $ 7.99 Media:

Series: E-BOOK, AGES 2-5
Description - A quest for the perfect birthday present leads to ever grander (and ever more imperfect) gift ideas from our hero, a duck. "I wanted to get you the greatest present ever,!" our narrator tells us. But somehow, none of the best ideas seem to pan out. First, there was the pair of hand-knitted birthday socks (have you ever tried knitting birthday socks?). Then, the ten-scoop ice cream cone (a disaster to carry), the magic kit (it disappeared, just like magic!), the apple juice-fueled jet pack (still a few kinks to work out) and the dinosaur (I couldn't find one anywhere). And now, time has run out, and our narrator still has nothing to give. Or, maybe there is something after all. Something that contains all those awesome gifts in one. Something that can be enjoyed again and again, just by turning the pages.

In their debut picture book, Emmy Award-winning children's television writers Mike Erskine-Kellie and Susan McLennan have taken a metafiction approach (speaking directly to "you"). Cale Atkinson's is the illustrator. Though a book about finding the perfect birthday present is itself the perfect birthday present, it's also a simple a good read year round because it offers character education lesson on perseverance. There is also a live show.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I really enjoyed this book. The illustrations are engaging and brightly colored, which will attract young children. The story itself is a fun read with a lovely message. Also, the character is very likable.

The story is about a quest for the perfect birthday present. The main character does not know what to get a friend for his birthday explores various options and why they are not suitable. The character finally comes up with a clever solution. The story flows very well and the ending is lovely. It makes sense and is very appropriate for preschool and early elementary age children. A young child could be asked questions about birthday gifts and what to get for friends and family. One could even ask them which gift idea they liked the best.

This is an e-book with visual appealing the illustrations. They really make the book. It is primarily entertaining but also has a message about birthday celebrations with people who are special to you. It might make kids start thinking about what they want for their birthday. (how fun is that?) My only concern is the vocabulary. I am not an expert in this, but I would pass it on to someone who is, because there are some words that might not be the most suitable for the target age.

I give this 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 7. Reviewed by Denise B., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - See adult comments
Juror Recommended Age: 2-5 Suggested Retail Price: $ 18.8 Media:

Series: EBOOK, AGES 5-12
Description - My name is Francis. As you can see, I am a mouse, but I am not an ordinary mouse. From the time I was very young, I was bigger than all the other mice - and I always wanted to be a firefighter. Being a firefighter is a very rewarding job. You get to help put out lots of different kinds of fires and sometimes save people and even animals.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I feel this picture book will truly be a hit with younger children, because it is engaging and educational. The combination of cartoonlike and realistic illustrations really bring the story to life. Francis is a likable hero, because he is a firefighter. I loved the quote by Tom Hanks in the beginning: "A hero is somebody who voluntarily walks into the unknown." The storyline is simple, with vocabulary that children will understand. This story flows quite well and it does make sense. It is a simple, fun picture book that teaches about firefighters. It shows how firefighters help others, put out fires and rescue people and animals. Young children will learn what firefighters do besides put out fires. I give this 4.5 stars out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 7. I believe this story will entertain young children and includes many pro-social social and educational benefits. Many young readers may want to visit a fire station or learn even more about these amazing heroes after reading this book. Reviewed by Denise B., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - coming soon
Juror Recommended Age: 5-12 Suggested Retail Price: $ 9.95 Media:

Series: EBOOK, AGES 5-8
Description - Sophie the Skunk is a funny, heartwarming story for young children, which emphasizes the importance of children trying new experiences and of their parents allowing them to investigate different avenues without pressure. Sophie the Skunk is written for all those who hope to give their children the opportunity to find for themselves their talents and to have confidence in themselves as they learn that trying is good and winning is not everything. In our world of competition, Sophie the Skunk stands out as a hope for simplicity and growth.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This story is quite engaging and contains many social positive elements. I believe young children will enjoy Sophie and relate to her struggles and obstacles as she searches to find her talent. The illustrations are wonderful. Sophie herself is quite adorable. The story flows very well. I could see this book develop as a series. I love how the story promotes trying new things and accepting help from others. It shows how Sophie is not afraid to try new things and that, even though she may stink at some things, she has to try new things to find out what she is good at. This book includes some wonderful questions at the end that would be fun to ask kids. Additionally, there is a free work book that the reader can download. What a great tool to help build a child's self confidence. I really love this book! The illustrations are lovely, especially Sophie the Skunk. I love how she is drawn. Without any hesitation, I give this 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 to 8. This is available online now so look for it. Reviewed by Denise B., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - coming soon
Juror Recommended Age: 5-8 Suggested Retail Price: $ 12 Media:

Series: BOOK, AGES 5-10
Description - A spent sock, puny penny, kicky key, brainy bookmark and soft spoon each have a special story to tell.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I like this e-book of different stories and found it refreshing and appropriate for the intended age group. I felt that it would inspire young children to take a more positive outlook on every day, ordinary items such as a sock that lacks a matching sock. The rhyming storytelling is fun and engaging. The colorful illustrations really add a colorful pop and makes these items even more appealing! I recommend this for ages 5 through 10 and give it 4 out of 5 stars.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult comments
Juror Recommended Age: 5-10 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:

Series: BOOK, AGES 2-5
Description - A little lovebird named Peck lives happily in Australia with his animal friends until he starts to feel like he is the only one without someone to share his life with. Peck decides he must travel to a faraway land to find what he seeks, but he learns through his many adventures that there is so much fun in the journey along the way.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This is a simple story with likable characters and engaging illustrations. Peck is a likable character and the illustrations are quite lovely. It's a simple story and appropriate for younger children who will enjoy Peck and the images. It has a nice message about meeting new people. But, the ending is bit surprising since you may think that Peck will find someone to really become his friend. The ending is not a strong which is slightly disappointing. The beginning and middle flow really well. It does make sense and is suitable for the target audience. There is nothing inappropriate or out of place. Peck feels lonely and got on a search to find someone to love. Most of the characters he meets are pleasant, except for a jealous Bee. Young children could be asked what does Peck learn by going out on his own? The illustrations fit the story and are quite eye-catching. There is a message that the main character realizes he won't be lonely because there are new creatures to meet. There is also a subtle message that you don't have to find someone just like you to not be lonely. I'm not sure if it will motivate kids of the target age to further action or inquiry. However, I think they will get the subtle message. It certainly meets and exceeds the KIDS FIRST! criteria, is appealing and engaging. I recommend this for ages 3 through 6 and give it 4 out of 5 stars. Reviewed by Denise B., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror and Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult comments
Juror Recommended Age: 2-5 Suggested Retail Price: $ 2.99 Media:

Series: BOOK, AGES 8-12
Description - Thee Book of Azbel, whispered in fable across the universe as the key to all knowledge and magic. The Book was kept safe by Galaxia on Amethyst, a world of beautiful, rare minerals and kind people. But one fateful night, Alekko, a mysterious boy and force of destruction beyond compare came looking for it and left Galaxia's planet in pieces. Now, with Alekko hot on her trail, Galaxia must assemble a team to help protect The Book and save the universe. Let the adventures begin!
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This story is wonderfully engaging. I love the descriptions. It left me wanting to read more about Galaxia and Kazar and hear more about the Muchokids that Galaxia was starting to form. The story is only the beginning, so I do not know how it will all end and whether Galaxia will save planet Earth. The two main characters are excellent role models. It has a great story line about space. Children will find it entertaining and will want to know if Earth will be saved by the Muchokids in future chapters. The story flows well and makes sense. I was a bit uncertain about Galaxia being on her own, but other than that it makes sense and has a great plot. The vocabulary and the subject matter are suitable for the target age and there is no violence or bad language.�The storyline demonstrates a keen It friendship and trust between Kazar and Galaxia. I like when Kazar could have stolen The Book from Galaxia, but decides not to do so because he realizes the consequences and makes the best choice.�I like all the characters, but especially Galaxia. It has great illustrations which add a lot to the book. I would have loved to see even more. Perhaps in subsequent volumes, the author will consider that. Ultimately, this has excellent entertainment value as well as pro-social messages about trust and friendship. I am not sure it will motivate children to further action, but I do feel very strongly that they will want to read more about Galaxia and Kazar and the Muchokids. I give this 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 thru 12. Personally, I would like to see more about the Muchokids.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult comments
Juror Recommended Age: 8-12 Suggested Retail Price: $ 5.99 Media:

Series: E-BOOK, AGES 8-12
Description - Fire engines race to a smokey house, but Upton's nose knows there is something wrong. Join Upton, his assistant Watson and the rest of the Charles family to find the answer.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Upton Charles and his family is back for yet another mystery! This is very entertaining and has an educational twist to it, as well. It flows well from beginning to end. Children will want to know how the mystery is solved. The educational art history facts make this more than a fun read. Children will learn interesting information as they read. The vocabulary is appropriate to its intended audience. The illustrations, although simple, have good visual appeal. There are positive role models in the story and it's quite clever that Upton is not a talking dog, but his thoughts are shown throughout the story. Great chapter book for children ages 8 to 12.? I give it 4 out of 5 stars.?
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult review
Juror Recommended Age: 5-8 Suggested Retail Price: $ 7.99 Media:

Series: E-BOOK, AGES 12-18
Description - The story is about a man named John Wilson, who has no talents and no aspirations. He is certain that he will never live up to his parents' expectations. He's forever stuck in the shadows of his quarterback older brother and his younger sister, a child prodigy. However, just as he comes to accept his dull existence, a series of extraordinary and devastating events changes John's life forever. John goes on a journey that turns out to be anything but ordinary as he embraces his own destiny in this adventurous and inspirational story of love, loss and loyalty. It turns out anything is possible.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This is an amazing story with well-thought out writing and wisdom. The strongest aspect are the characters and the lesson to be learned. John is just an average guy with a brother and sister who are above average, but he truly is the lucky and amazing one. It is entertaining and eye-opening and a great way to learn some important life lessons. If I had to sum this book up in one word, I would say that word would be "Wow!"

The characters are the most appealing aspect of the story. Besides that, it is different and unique and offers a whole lots of life wisdom. It is entertaining and the kind of book that is hard to put down. I found myself rooting for the main character many times. It follows the life of the main character, John and his journey from childhood to adulthood. Some may think he is unlucky, including himself but he learns a valuable lesson about how really lucky he is. This is an eye-opening revelation. I think that teenagers will relate to this story quite well.

John is a very positive role model. His being an average guy with a prodigy sister and jock older brother puts a great spin on the story. I also think that the family dynamics and the friend relationships are explained extremely well and I enjoyed reading about John, his family and his friendships. There are a couple of negative characters, but they really don't win in the end and I feel they served an important role.

It flows well from beginning to ending and it makes sense. Many times as I was reading, I just sat there in awe about how such a young author could have such knowledge beyond his years. I can imagine this on the big screen one day. The story has great visual appeal and the book's cover is amazing.

There is quite a bit of death in the story which is why it may not be suitable for every 13-year-old, but I also believe that it is dealt with in the best of ways and makes sense within the story. This would be a great book to discuss with teenagers. I can see discussing how they saw John in the beginning of the book compared to how they saw him at the end. I really feel that he was unlucky for the first half of the book and then my perspective changed.

Initially, I felt this story is purely entertaining, but as I thought more about it I see the value of the social elements about friendship, family and even morals. The story encourages one to take a better look at themselves and at life.

I give this 5 stars out of 5 and recommend it for ages 13 to 18 and believe adults will thoroughly enjoy it as well.

Reviewed by Denise B., KIDS FIRST! Juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - See adult review
Juror Recommended Age: 13-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:

Series: E-BOOK, AGES 5-12
Description - This is about as exciting as it gets. The carnival is in town and the twins really want to go, although Upton is not too keen on the idea, until the Chief of Police calls and says that there has been a disappearance the snake lady and all her snakes are gone. Upton, who is a Bichon Frise (that's "BEE-shon free-ZEY"), a little white dog, knows his duty and joins the Charles' to sniff out the missing reptiles, although he has no idea what a snake smells like. Actually, Upton doesn't like snakes at all. Come along and enjoy the ride. Watch clues slither by as Upton solves the mystery of Tip Top.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - What an awesome find! I truly wish I had the Upton Charles Dog Detective books to read with my children as they were growing up! The Charles family, consisting of Mom, Dad, the twins and a talented Bichon Frise named Upton are called upon to help solve mysteries in their community. Readers will enjoy picturing life from a dog's point of view while being entertained with colorful details and intriguing twists to the plot.

Tip Top takes us to the travelling carnival where Amelia the Snake Lady and all of her snakes have disappeared. Clue after clue are discussed and help the readers sort out facts in order to build their own theories on the mysterious disappearance.

As a former school administrator, I applaud Florida State for including Upton Charles books in their Common Core Curriculum. In Tip Top, author D.G. Stern adds to the story's interest by dropping names of famous people such as former President Clinton and former Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev helping make the story feel more relevant to real life. If young readers aren't careful, they might increase their knowledge about topics like the Great Depression, the American Revolution and the Second World War. The author brilliantly infuses historically significant facts into the narration in a painless and entertaining manner.

Tip Top is written such that struggling readers can enjoy the storyline and avid readers will be enthralled. I wholeheartedly endorse Tip Top and the other books in the Upton Charles Dog Detective series!

Reviewed by Ruth A., KIDS FIRST! Juror
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This series of books follows a dog detective named Upton who, together with his family, helps people. In Tip Top, Upton and his family (mom, dad and twins) try to find out what happened to a snake charmer who has gone missing from the carnival. This story is topsy-turvy and you don't know what will happen next. But Upton is there to sniff out all the clues and help the family solve the case.

This story made me laugh because Upton talks directly to the reader and he is very logical and reasonable. Throughout the book, Upton and the other characters reference a lot of information. Some things I knew about and some I didn't. I think this a great thing for a kid's book because it teaches kids about new things. Or, like with me, makes them ask their parents about things they didn't know about before, like certain events in history.

This book reinforces the fact that animals have thoughts too and they are smart and have lots to say - if only you know how to listen to them. Upton's family knows how smart he is and they have learned to listen to him and understand him. This is good because Upton is definitely helpful in solving this case. Also, the book is good because you learn how not to act or behave by watching the bad guy.

The character of Upton definitely stands out. Even though he is another species, he is the most remarkable character in the book because of his brainpower and curiosities. He is a layered character with lots of different sides. Unfortunately, he sometimes doubts himself by saying things like "I'm only a little white dog." I did not like that part because it is like saying "I'm bald so I can't live my dreams as a hair stylist." But in the end, Upton comes through so I suppose he overcomes his doubts.

This books meets all the guidelines for a great kids' book: no gratuitous violence or profanity; no inappropriate sexual behavior; no bias in terms of race, gender or religion; and no unsafe behavior. The storyline is simple and easy to follow and Upton steals almost every scene.

I recommend this book for children from four to eight years of age (if you live in Madrid like I do and need more books to read in English, then from ten to fourteen). I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars because the idea of a dog detective is fun and I like the fact that Upton talks in the first person. Unfortunately, there are a lot of typos, extra or missing words, and grammar mistakes in the online edition that I read, but I'm sure that will get corrected.

Reviewed by Miles T., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

Tip Top is a fun mystery book that would be entertaining for kids. I really like how they added facts to the story so you can learn things while you read. Sneaking historical facts into the story is very clever. Kids can learn about a lot of different things about science (snakes) and history (presidents).

Tip Top follows the Charles family and their white Bichon Frise named Upton. They help solve mysteries with the police department. In this book, they are asked to find the Snake Lady from the carnival, Amanda, who is missing. The family works together really hard to find clues to solve the mystery.

The moral of this story is that, if you work together, you can achieve lots. Officer Tree, Upton and the whole family all help each other find out what happened. They all contribute to finding clues.

I also like the pictures. There aren't lots of them, but they add visuals so you know how Upton and the other characters look.

I rate this book a 4.5 out of 5 stars because it helps to teach you facts and it is entertaining for kids.

Reviewed by Mia A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12
Juror Recommended Age: - Suggested Retail Price: $ 1.99 Media:

Click to view online video of this title
Click filmstrip to view online video of
Series: E-BOOK, AGES 5-12
Description - This is a digital storybook with a soundtrack CD. The story is about a singing pony and his band who travel through the Old West, and through time, seeking adventure, knowledge, and their next gig.

Jobey is the band's leader. A true wandering spirit, Jobey has an insatiable appetite for new places and the ability to write and sing beautiful songs at the drop of a ten-gallon hat. Jobey's bandmates and two best friends are Sly, a guitar-slinging cowboy who acts as the narrator, and Rocco, a brilliant raccoon who not only plays drums for the band, but also designed the time machine that sends them soaring across space and time.

They all embark on magical adventures where they discover the meaning of life, play toe tappin' music, make new friends and learn about history. Available on the app store:
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - What a fun story with cute, creative characters, an interesting storyline and a bit of stealth learning. The artwork truly brings the story to life and entertain younger children. It has entertainment value in addition to educational value and teaches history in a fun way. The easy to read story follows a very likable singing pony and his band, including a fun raccoon. The band travels throughout the old west and through time. Children will enjoy the characters and learning about their adventures. I recommend this ages 4 to 8. The soundtrack is also fun to sing along with and features the catchy Mountain Pony theme song. It's lively, fun to dance and sing along to and is quite catchy. I also recommend the CD for ages 4 to 8 and give it 4 out of 5 stars.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - "Howdy y'all!" I'm talking like a cowboy today because I'm reviewing a storybook app called Mountain Pony and the main character is a cowboy. This book is available on the App Store for iPads and is about Sly and his friends. They are trying to get to a music festival in 1969 but they are in 1869 and they have a solar-powered time machine that's broken, so their mechanic has to fix it. They go on a very exciting adventure to get to 1969. They sing a lot of songs along the way which I found very interesting. I would recommend watching the first two or three chapters and then taking a break and coming back because, sitting through five chapters might be a little long. I recommend this for kids ages 4 to 8 and give it 3 out of 5 stars because, some parts get a little slow for older kids.
Juror Recommended Age: 4-8 Suggested Retail Price: $ 1.99 Media:

Series: BOOK, AGES 5-12
Description - There once was a boy with a blanket quite rare that his mother had told him was made with great care. It came on his birthday with colors so bright It made him feel happy all day and all night.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - A Blanket Quite Rare, written and illustrated by Lisa Geotis Ikegami is a rare gem of a book for children ages 4 to 10. A young boy receives a special hand-knit blanket for his birthday. That evening he is frightened during a thunderstorm and takes refuge in bed under the safety of his birthday blanket. Not only does the blanket calm him, but it takes him on a magical journey.

Both boys and girls will find A Blanket Quite Rare to be appealing and engaging. The story is written solely using rhymes, but there are several pages with only artwork which keeps the flow of narration from becoming trite. Using watercolors, the illustrations are attractive and children can depict the emotions of a frightening thunderstorm and the resulting joy in the peace and calm of a sunny day. Some of the drawings are very detailed and might encourage a child to linger on the page and enjoy looking to see what all has been included.

This book meets the KIDS FIRST!. Overall content of the book is good. The story is easy to follow with a clear beginning, middle and end. The production quality and the visual appeal of the book are very appealing. I recommend this book for any child who might ever be fearful during a thunderstorm.

Reviewed by Ruth A.

This title is very whimsical with beautiful watercolor illustrations throughout. The pictures are unique and very colorful. The book mainly takes place in a boy's room while he is under his favorite blanket weathering a storm.This ebook may give children a new perspective on nature and how it is why it is. It may also help them cope with fear or insecurity. The main character's challenge will encourage a child to imagine and inquire in ways that maybe they wouldn't have before. Reviewed by Elizabeth B.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This book by Lisa Ikegami is a very loving story. In the story, a kid gets a beautiful blanket and loves it up. He goes through a problem and the blanket fixes it. Reading this book would help kids not be afraid of thunderstorms. The pictures are not just fantastic, the author painted them too. I love all the water colors and how she blends the colors together. The book is not a long book so it's a good length for a short story. The language rhymes sometimes and sometimes not, it can be a tad confusing but it does not make too big a difference. This is a book for little kids but also may be a good bedtime story for some older kids. I rate this book 4 out of 5 rainbow blankets because of the pictures and tale of a sweet boy and his blanket. My age recommendation is 3 to 10-years-old because it's not a scary picture book and it is a very cute, sweet story. Reviewed by Mia A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11.
Juror Recommended Age: 4-10 Suggested Retail Price: $ 12 Media:

Series: E-BOOK, AGES 5-8
Description - Not very far from the big city is a very special farm. It's special because it grows special trees...Christmas trees! The trees are able to stretch their graceful branches

covered with needles and pine cones toward the sun as they grow taller and taller--all but one.

"The Loneliest Tree celebrates themes of continuity, enduring faith and vision, and surviving loss and rejection at a special holiday season of love and peace." Midwest Book Review
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - The Loneliest Tree by D.G. Stern is an attractive picture book for children ages 4 to 7. The story follows a sapling in a Christmas tree farm and explores the tree's emotions as it makes its ultimate journey to its forever home. The illustrations by Deborah Allison are colorful, child-oriented and follow the storyline. She includes racially diverse community members among the many drawings of trees and heavy machinery. Young boys in particular might be drawn to the descriptions and illustrations of the trucks and snowplows.

The Loneliest Tree feels like a labor of love that unfortunately might have missed the mark of making the reader care about the tree. Character development is lacking, so it was hard for me to become emotionally attached to the tree or its outcome. One particular line in the beginning of the story, "Loneliness can sometimes be good" led me to think readers would be shown a depth or array of emotions which do not materialize.

This book meets the KIDS FIRST! . Overall content of the book is very good. The story is easy to follow with a beginning, middle and end, although the passing of time gets confusing. The production quality and the visual appeal of the book are very good. The story is suitable for young children. I rate this 3 out of 5 Christmas trees.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This is an excellent, fictional book. The story is about a special farm that grows Christmas trees. When Christmas comes, people leave their cities and arrive to the farm to buy a unique tree. All the beautiful trees were being brought except the smallest tree. Everybody neglected that tree. When the tree grows, guess who brought it? I can't reveal anymore you have to read it.

My favorite part is when the tree relocated to his new home. It is such an outstanding place and the tree is very happy and never feels lonely again. The tree shines with glitter and glam like a diamond, so pretty. I like this book because it is meaningful and the storyline is great. I can remember being a young child and sometimes feeling lonely myself.

The author, D.G. tells a great story about expectation and anticipation. The illustrator Deborah Allison, has created wonderful pictures with bright colors.

The message of this book is "when you think you are lonely, you are never alone. You always have a remarkable place in someone's heart."

I recommend this book for ages 3 to 6 and I give it 4 out of 5 stars because it is an easy book to read and it has great pictures to look at that are bright in color.

By Tre'ana Hickson, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic. Age 11
Juror Recommended Age: 5-8 Suggested Retail Price: $ 9.95 Media:

Series: E-BOOK, AGES 8-12
Description - When the Chief of Police calls the Charles family to report that a brand new boat and trailer are missing from the boat show, Upton is immediately recruited to apply his detective skills to the disappearance. Our super sleuth is a Bichon Frise (that's "BEE-shon free-ZEY"), a little white dog, who wastes no time in sniffing out clues that lead to a surprising discovery. During the course of the investigation, Upton is joined by a new assistant. Come along with Upton as he unravels another mystery in Ship Shape.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Water, water, everywhere, nor any drop to drink. (Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner)

This story is one of many from the Upton Charles - Dog Detective series, a series about a mystery-solving dog, a white fluffy Bichon Frize, who is a cute as can be, judging from the illustrations. Besides solving mysteries, Upton Charles can tell time (sort of), hates dry dog food and, of course, talk to us which allows him to tell about all his adventures.

The black and white illustrations are lovingly drawn and give us insight into what Upton's family is like. This adventure has Upton Charles and his family trying to solve the case of the missing boat, a 27 foot Wyman motor cruiser, from the boat show. As Upton shares his thought processes with us, we follow his logic in solving the crime. We learn about cool stuff such as how tire prints are like finger prints. Upton exerts his way upon the humans by his adept non-verbal communication and winds his way into your heart. He discovered a cat in the midst of the investigation who appears to have joined the motley group. Just when you think the mystery is solved, it takes a bit of an unexpected twist leaving us with newfound appreciation for the fine art of detecting.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This is a mystery novel with a little twist. It is from the prospective of an intelligent dog named Upton Charles. This book will make you laugh and wonder who is the culprit in the mystery. Upton Charles, Dog Detective: Ship Shape is a wonderful book that will be admired by both mystery and animal lovers.

This is a mystery story at heart, of course, with that little bit of suspense of who did it! There is also the family feel from Upton's owners which serves as a wonderful addition to the comedy.

I loved this book! It is not hundreds of pages so you feel satisfied when you get to the end. It is the perfect length at around 140 pages. It is a little predictable at times which will make kids love it, but anyone could fall in love with Upton and his family. The book does a wonderful job of showing the prospective of a dog's point of view and we see Upton's special talent. He can solve crimes, but still has dog in him.

This is definitely meant for teens and younger so I give it a age rating of 8 to15. The vocabulary is very basic so it is an easy read. I give it 5 out of 5 stars for wonderful writing that made me imagine the text coming to life but enjoying it too.

Reviewed by Gerry Orz, KIDS FIRST! Critics, Age 12
Juror Recommended Age: 8-15 Suggested Retail Price: $ 7.99 Media:

Series: E-BOOK, AGES 8-12
Description - Upton loves to dig for clues, so it's no surprise that when he and the rest of the Charles family discover some unusual old coins while touring the construction site at the twins' new school. Our sleuth is a Bichon Frise (that's "BEE-shon free-ZEY"), a little white dog and he always finds himself in interesting situations. And this time, there is something very familiar about the silver dollars he uncovers. Could they be from a bank robbery? Come along with Upton as his efforts lead to the discovery of Lost Loot.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Upton Charles is a very likable White Bichon Frise dog who loves to solve mysteries with the help of his family. The beginning of the story starts off a bit slow, but it picks up in the middle and becomes engaging until the end. Upton is quite insightful for a dog. In this mystery, he finds some old coins at a construction site of a school. The coins he first finds are dated back to 1882. This story has quite a few educational and historical information about the coins that children should find quite interesting. The middle of the story is quite intriguing as the family and the sleuth dog try to figure out where these coins came from. Is it possible they came from a famous train robbery? I found this appealing it held my interest. The story has entertaining elements as well as educational ones that teach about coin collecting. It actually may inspire and motivate young readers to want to take up the hobby of coin collecting.

Upton Charles is an insightful and interesting Character. He is unique. The story in itself a bit slow and wordy in the beginning but, once you get into the middle it picks up and is interesting, slightly educational and a fun read for kids ages 8 to 12. When reading with my 11-year-old son, it was hard to get his interest in the beginning because it has a lot of extraneous narration. However, once you get to chapter 3, the story really takes off. So, be patient.

I think Upton Charles is a unique character and one that children will really enjoy. Some kids may think the story is a bit longer than need be but I would encourage them to stick with as it will be worth their while in the end.

Upton Charles is a positive character, the family members are appealing and the story is engaging. The illustrations are quite simple and the story's historical facts give it extra depth
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This book is for a younger audience but I still enjoyed it. The book tries to get across a lot of facts and include them in a story to make it more interesting.

This book is all about a dog named Upton Charles who is 3 years old and finds some silver dollars at a construction site. He and his family, along with a new family they met on their trip around the beach, go to a construction site where a school is being built. There, they discover a lot of cool coins and share the history of them. A lot of kids will probably like this story because it is educational and fun.

The main characters in this story are Upton, Veronica, Alex, Mom, Dad and the Keenan's. My favorite character is, of course Upton because he is a cute little dog, always obeys and if, he didn't find the silver dollar coins, there would be no story.

My favorite part in the book is when they tell the history of the coins because I learned a lot more things that I never knew before. It's really cool to learn about coin history.

I recommend this book for ages 8 to 12 because it is well written and includes quite a lot of history. It will teach you things regardless of what age you are. I like the book and I bet you will too! Reviewed by KIDS FIRST! Critics Anthony Aranda, age 11.
Juror Recommended Age: 8-12 Suggested Retail Price: $ 8 Media:

Series: E-BOOK, AGES 8-12
Description - Upton Charles and his family are in New Hampshire for a weekend ski vacation and our canine investigator meets three Saint Bernards. But it would not be an Upton Charles adventure without a mystery. Our sleuth is a Bichon Frise (that's "BEE-shon free-ZEY"), who is quickly on the trail of a long-lost treasure map, buried gold, and the papers of Daniel Webster. The fire is warm, but the case is never cold. Come along with Upton as he considers two-hundred-year-old clues to solve the mystery in Winter Wonderland.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Upton Charles is a likable, and not your average every-day Detective. For one thing, he is an insightful dog that doesn't talk but narrates this story as he looks for clues and solves a mystery with his family. The mystery starts off as the family goes on a ski weekend trip to New Hampshire. The beginning of the story shows that Upton is not only insightful but has a sense of humor - canine humor that is! The mystery takes off a bit slow but there are interesting historical facts about Daniel Webster (not to be confused with Noah Webster and the Dictionary). And, the story teaches us that! The middle portion of the story speeds up when a stranger arrives. Is he good or bad? This is the most interesting part of this story. The story also has missing treasure and a valuable lesson to be learned about what treasure really is. Is treasure always something of monetary value? This is a great lesson for kids to learn. There is a twist in this story which makes it very entertaining as it leads to solving a mystery. This story is entertaining and educational with historical facts and valuable social lesson to be learned. The messages inherent in the story is that things do not always have to be worth a lot of money to be valuable.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - After all of his adventures, the one and only Upton Charles (Dog Detective) receives his rightful spot in being the guard dog of his beloved family. Though he is small, he will detect any case and will always protect his family. Upton Charles knows by now that a hero like himself can always take a vacation at any time but he always has to be prepared for whatever life will throw at him. He and his family go on a skiing trip and Upton judges the Inn by its cover and does not feel welcome at first. Then, two St. Bernards, Hans and Fritz host him and do an excellent job. While Upton and his family are having fun, a mysterious presence arrives and is urgent. There seems to be missing treasure. While Upton the mastermind dog and his assistants try to solve the case, Upton gets closer and closer to his new friends and family.

I admire how the author allows Upton to be more courageous and tough but at the same time playful and sweet. I also enjoyed that the setting in each of these e-books is different every time. I also like this specific setting because it is winter which causes the setting to have calm auras. Throughout each book, the author escalates in cutting out any unnecessary scenes. Also, the level of difficulty in each book doesn't increase very much in terms of vocabulary and context. This could be interpreted beneficially or negatively, depending on the reader. Upton's character is very curious and Upton can be interpreted as a role model for kids. I also love how new characters are introduced as it gives the reader the opportunity to favor different characters. In every new book, more characters are introduced which makes each novel more interesting and hooks the reader. The author also is very good at relieving the intensity of tension and suspense unlike the first and second books.

I almost feel as if each book is a bit too similar and has the same plot to some degree. Also, the situation Upton has to detect is not necessarily realistic but, could be possible, which is not bad but it is a bit clich�. The second book is a little more of a fantasy. Some concepts are almost too difficult to grasp, not because it is a general difficult book but because of how they are written.

The moral of the story is "no matter what shape or size you are, you can achieve anything if you are determined and work hard for it." I recommend this book ages 6 to 10and rate the book 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Juror Recommended Age: 8-12 Suggested Retail Price: $ 8 Media:

Series: E-BOOK, AGES 8-12
Description - Upton and the rest of the Charles family are on vacation in a small coastal town in Maine and something VERY fishy is going on. Along with his new friend, Storm, the dog detective discovers an abandoned boat near Shell Light. Upton puts his nose to work sniffing out clues...which lead to the secret of the lighthouse. Our inquisitive canine, a Bichon Frise (that's "BEE-shon free-ZEY"), helps answer a tricky question: What's real and what's fake? Follow Upton as he gathers evidence and puts together pieces of the puzzle to solve the mystery in Something Fishy.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This is a story about Upton Charles, a dog detective, and his family as they head out on a family vacation that turns into solving a mystery. Upton Charles is a likable dog who tells this story from his dog point-of-view. He is also a solver of mysteries. It's fun to follow Upton as he finds the clues and solves this mystery.

After some sibling squabbles, the family heads to Maine. The friends they stay with have a dog named Storm. They explore the beach and readers will learn lots about boats and parts of boats. The mystery starts out a bit slow and then, around the middle of the story, it takes off when the family finds an abandoned vessel. The middle and ending flow together as the mystery unravels and they discover the clues to solve the mystery.

This story is entertaining. There is humor and action and it is very appropriate for school-aged children. Younger children may want more visual appeal and not as many words but for older kids, it's perfect. It is fun to follow the mystery of the abandoned (stolen) vessel through to its ending. There are some educational elements such as learning about different types of boats and houses.

One of the appealing aspects of this book is the mystery. The other is that the main character is a dog who thinks out loud as the narrator of the story. Upton Charles is an intelligent and insightful character that children will enjoy. Note, he is not a talking dog, just a dog whose thoughts we can hear. Children will easily relate to the characters in this story, particularly the mom, dad, boy and girl. But, Upton Charles is, without a doubt, the most entertaining of them all.

The language is most appropriate for ages 8 to 12. It is somewhat believable that a real dog may be thinking some of the things that Upton Charles thinks. The brother and sister do not always get along which is quite realistic. Overall, the family members are very respectful of one another and the other characters as well. There is also a display of teamwork.

It may stimulate conversation with younger readers with questions such as: What were the clues that Upton Charles found? How did they know there was a mystery to be solved? How did Storm help Upton solve the mystery?

Visually, I would have liked a more colorful cover. But then, you can't always tell a book by its cover. It is a chapter book but it is a short chapter book. Most important is that it is fun to read and engaging. Upton Charles is very entertaining. I'm sure kids will want to seek out more stories about him.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Every hero needs a vacation, so dog detective Upton Charles and his family set off to visit Maine. Upton Charles makes a new furry friend named Storm on this adventure. All is well but, there is a boat anchored nearby for a couple days and nobody knows what or who it is yet alone why it is anchored there. Upton Charles and his new assistant, the dog Storm, step into the mysterious case. Though Upton Charles is small, he is capable of handling the big world.

The vocabulary and content of this story is a bit more difficult than in the first book of this series. I like that Upton makes a new friend who helps him on the case and keeps him company while everyone else is very busy. This gives the viewer the opportunity to explore a whole new personality. I like how the author makes the situation that Upton is investigating very unusual. In the first book of this series, the story was a bit too predictable. In this one, it's much more interesting. The author describes each scene so that I can visualize exactly what it looks like and I could really understand what was going on in the story. I like that the book goes into more depth describing each character's personality, especially Upton's.

The author marginally describes the case that Upton is investigating and the clues escalate a bit too quickly for my taste. The author takes too long on the introduction and then squishes all the clues together. There isn't as much suspension as in the first book but, in many ways, I like this one better.

The moral of this story is that if you work really hard and are determined then you can achieve anything. I recommend this book for the ages 7 to 10 and rate it 4 out of 5 stars. By Hailee H., KIDS FIRST! Critic, age 12
Juror Recommended Age: 8-12 Suggested Retail Price: $ 8 Media:

Series: E-BOOK, AGES 8-12
Description - A Dog-Gone Good Book Upton Charles is a lot like you and me. He likes to be with his family, play with his friends and go on nice walks. Except Upton isn't like you and me...because he is a little white dog, a Bichon Frise (that's "BEE-shon free-ZEY"). Upton is also very smart and knows an important clue when he smells one. Our dog detective is recruited to help find the Van Camp diamonds that have disappeared from the local museum. Join Upton as he sniffs out evidence to find a valuable missing necklace in Disappearing Diamonds.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Upton Charles the Detective Dog is an intriguing dog who solves mysteries with the help of his owners. His family consists of a mom, dad, a brother and sister. I like that this mystery gets off to a quick start when the dad receives a phone call from a friend who works at the museum. A valuable Van Camp necklace is missing! This necklace is part of an exhibit and is quite valuable. So, off to the Museum they go. The middle is simply entertaining to read and educational as well due to the historical facts about artists such as Pierre-Auguste Renoir. The story is not just fun to read, children can learn about art and the artists known as the Impressionists. This actually could motivate children to want to learn more about art from this time period. It's both an entertaining and educational story to read. Children will enjoy reading as Upton finds the different clues and pieces them all together to solve the mystery. I also like that the mystery is not predictable and it teaches some facts about real and fake diamonds. The beginning, middle and ending flow well together to make this a good story with educational and entertaining elements. It's perfect for school-aged kids.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The first book of the series called Upton Charles is Disappearing Diamonds. This series is told from the perspective of a dog named Upton Charles who is underestimated not only by his family but by everyone else around him. Later in the book, he begins to be honored. This story revolves around a case of a stolen diamond necklace from a museum. The case can not be cracked by anyone else, so Upton Charles steps in to solve the mystery and, along the adventure, he gets closer to his family than ever before.

I like the book because the author describes the storyline in an interesting way. The vocabulary is first to third grade level. Upton Charles has an adorable and curious personality which is a good personality for a main character. Though many books have a plot of a dog, I have never before heard of a book about a dog that is a detective. That makes it creative. Another think I like is how the author thoroughly introduces a descriptive background of Upton Charles in the first book of the series.

Though the book has good sides, I have some issues with it. One is that there are some scenes that seem unnecessary and can be confusing. Also, the book is intended for 6 to 9 and I am older than that so, I'm not the perfect audience. I also thought that the author could have been more creative about the diamond necklace's whereabouts. It seems a bit too realistic and predictable. After all, this is a children's book so why not add more creativity and imagination into the crime scenes.

The moral of the story is that no matter what shape and size you are, differences do not matter. As long as one puts their mind to it, they can achieve whatever they want, whenever they want. I recommend the book for 6 to 9-year-olds and rate it 3 out of 5 stars. Overall, the book is good but I'm a bit older than the targeted age. By Hailee Hutton, KIDS FIRST! Critic, age 12.
Juror Recommended Age: 8-12 Suggested Retail Price: $ 8 Media:

Series: BOOK, AGES 5-12
Description - The e-book, 25 Days of a Tropical Christmas is a celebration of the holiday season incorporating beautiful illustrations with a variation of a classic melody. Similar to the 12 days of Christmas but extended with a tropical theme, this is a fun and entertaining read with beautiful beach- themed illustrations. Written by D.G. Stern and Illustrated by Susan Lane.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Similar to the 12 days of Christmas but extended with a beach / tropical theme, this is a fun and entertaining read with beautiful tropical beach themed illustrations. It makes me think of a warm Christmas instead of the traditional snow covered Christmas (which I have personally only seen once) and it will be easy for children to relate to that live in warmer climate places. Being a native of SoCal, I can relate to the reality of a sunny warm Christmas and so I really enjoyed this book. It is simple and easy to read and the illustrations remind you of beautiful water color beach images. I would recommend for all ages but is best for ages 5-18. 5 stars!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Kids loved this. It sparked giggles and comments about Christmas on the beach. Those in SoCal could relate to it in particular. They loved the illustrations and said they would share it with friends. "I think this would make a cool Christmas present for kids." And, they loved the $1.99 price point.
Juror Recommended Age: 5-12 Suggested Retail Price: $ 1.99 Media:

Series: BOOK, AGES 2-8
Description - Krista-link-a-la is a precocious 8 year old immigrant girl from Eastern Europe. Her family settles in a remote town in Northern Ontario to make a better life for themselves. Surrounding herself with friends and family, she finds a clever way to build a bridge between her old life, and the new. She writes a hysterical homage to the classic Cinderella story- casting herself as Cinderella replacing the glass slipper with her oldest brother's Sze. 13 Red Running Shoes.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This children's book is the true story about the author and one of her favorite memories when she was a little girl.

This enchanting tale is very cute. I found it to be inspirational. It is great to read a story about an adult who started out with a dream when she was little girl. Lucky for her she continues that passion and now has a job she loves.

I really enjoy how real pictures and illustrations are combined together. It gives you the overall feeling of the setting. The illustrations are well done and match what I would picture in my head. They made me laugh as they told a story in themselves.

This book portrays the true nature of little girls, and what great imaginations we have. My favorite part of the story is when Karlko tries to put a shoe on Krista-Link-a-La. I love trying on my Mother's shoes and walking around the house in them. The giant red tennis shoes are very funny and I wish I had a pair of them.

When Krista-Link-a-La makes a stage and costumes out of her Mothers dirty clothes, I found it hilarious. I will have to try this sometime.

Although she has a big problem for a child - big feet - she finds a way to find humor in it.

The moral of this story is, "If you have a passion, you should follow it and see where it leads you. Be adventurous." Krista-Link-a-La has an idea and comes up with a plan and follows it through. Even as an adult, she still remembers this special time of her childhood.

This book is suitable for ages 2 to 9 as it will make them laugh. There are complicated words so I would recommend the self- reader for ages 9 and under. I give Krista-Link-a-La four out of five golden book marks. Remember to keep reading, it always a fun adventure with KIDS FIRST! Reviewed By Morgan Bertsch, age 9, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic
Juror Recommended Age: 2-9 Suggested Retail Price: $ 3.59 Media:

Description - A child's ability to play does more than provide for fun and diversion; it is critical for his or her emotional and intellectual growth, and teaches everything from social skills to analytical thinking. Stevanne Auerbach, Ph. D., has dedicated a lifetime to the importance of play and gives you specific advice on which toys to buy and what kind of games to play to empower your child's overall development.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Dr. Stevanne Auerbach's new book, "Dr. Toy's Smart Play Smart Toys: How to Raise a Child with a High PQ* (Play Quotient)" is an ideal gift for a new parent or one with older kids who's interested in expanding their child's interests and play opportunities. What Dr. Toy has created is a simple, easy-to-follow guide for selecting age-appropriate toys or play opportunities for your child or grandchild that addresses specific needs of children at different stages of their development. Dr. Toy is not some "ivory tower" sort of child psychologist whose experience is learned from books. She is practical, down-to-earth, and a seasoned mother and grandmother. She explains, in lay terms, the role of play in developing a well rounded, resilient child. She helps parents understand a child's developmental stages and what's needed at each one: how to direct a child's play into new areas; how to use toys wisely; how to purchase smartly; and why playing together helps strengthen relationships between parent and child. I loved this book and recommend it for all parents, especially new ones.
Juror Recommended Age: Adult-Adult Suggested Retail Price: $ 15 Media: ISBN # 1567676529


All content ©Copyright 1991-2021 by Coalition for Quality Children's Media

Database search interactivity by NET MAN