KIDS FIRST! has endorsed 19 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 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:

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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


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