Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas

October 30th, 2014 · Books


This is a cute take on the Goldilocks story set in an apartment complex in Chinatown. It tells the story of Goldy Luck, an unlucky girl, on the morning of the Chinese New Year. Goldy Luck’s mom sends her to visit the Chans, a family of Pandas that live in their apartment complex. The Chans aren’t home, but that doesn’t stop Goldy Luck from eating their porridge, breaking their chair, and sleeping in their bed. When the Chans come home, Goldy Luck runs away embarrassed.


Then comes a very nice addition to the traditional Goldilocks story. Goldy Luck immediately feels bad for what she did and goes back to apologize to the Chans, bringing a bowl of porridge from her house to replace the one she ate. They wish each other Happy New Year and invite Goldy Luck to help them make turnip cakes. Goldy Luck and the littlest Chan become fast friends. Taking responsibility for her actions will bring her good luck in the new year, and good luck starts with making new friends.

I like this modern take on a traditional story. It’s a great introduction to Chinese culture that would be nice for a Chinese American family and for others as well. There is a recipe provided at the end of the book for the turnip cakes that feature prominently in the plot. The recipe is not vegetarian. Vegan and vegetarian recipes for turnip cakes can be found online, like this one.

Recommended for ages 4-7.

The publisher sent a review copy of this book.

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Best Books for 5-Year-Old Vegan & Vegetarian Kids

October 24th, 2014 · Books

978-1-883672-54-6By JESSICA ALMY

It’s hard to believe, but it was 5 years ago that we launched Vegbooks. The website has grown and flourished thanks to the contributions of our numerous volunteer reviewers, and in the spirit of years past, we’ve come together to share with you our top picks for kids the same age as our website.

If you have a kiddo in your life who’s a different age, don’t despair! You can find our favorites for 4-year-olds, 3-year-olds, 2-year-olds, and 1-year-olds by clicking through on the links. And if you want recommendations for another age, please just ask in the comments.

Without further ado, we recommend these books for 5-year-old vegan and vegetarian kids–

First off, two contributors independently nominated Little Ant as the best book for kids this age! Here’s what they had to say.

Carolyn Merino Mullin:

When I used to work with kindergartners (mostly 5-year-olds), one of their favorite titles was Hey, Little Ant, a fun sing-song book about being nice to animals and people. They especially liked having to turn the book around 90 degrees in order to see a giant ant (he takes up both pages). The premise: if the tables were turned, you wouldn’t want to be squished by a giant, would you? So why should humans be mean to animals smaller than us?

Robyn Moore:

My favorite book for 5yr olds is Hey, Little Ant by Phillip Hoose. :) It’s a great story that encourages kids to think about things they might not have thought about before. It can create a lot of dialogue focused around compassion. A great read for parents, and also teachers!

What did everyone else pick?

Homa WoodrumJuliasHouseCov-300rgb:

I would say Julia’s House for Lost Creatures and also the Ivy & Bean books. The former is so creative and touching even though it is a picture book and the latter is laugh out loud funny and great for reading aloud at night. For ones they can read to themselves I’d say the Henry and Mudge books are adorable and great for boys and girls.

s SpinachJennifer Gannett:

I am choosing Sylvia’s Spinach. Not only is it a cute story about different kinds of veggies but it is also about the growth of a girl who learns that sometimes it is ok when we don’t get exactly what we want in school because something cool comes along anyway! It is also a nice reminder that growing veggies, even in a planter or small container, can sometimes shift a child’s perspective.

Jane Cowles:

Just Being AudreyI chose this book because I love all things Audrey. It is a great way to introduce children to this famous actress and show all the wonderful humanitarian things she did in addition to being a talented beautiful actress.

Garlic JuiceAnd me? My pick is that hysterically funny and very compassionate book with a super long name: Garlic-Onion-Beet-Spinach-Mango-Carrot-Grapefruit Juice, which is great for older kids too!

What did we miss?

Tell us about your favorite books for 5-year-old kids, or share a funny story from your kiddo’s 5th birthday, in the comments!

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Just Being Audrey

October 22nd, 2014 · Books


With the title of her book Just Being Audrey, Margaret Cardillo captures the down-to-earth character of the world renowned actress about which she writes. Perhaps this line captures the essence of Cardillo’s picture book biography: “Audrey’s life was not always a fairy tale, but she chose hope over sorrow.” As a child, Audrey was taller than the rest and her imagination was more vivid, yet her spirit endured. At the rise of World War II, she lived a life far less luxurious than her mother, a baroness, yet she did not give up hope. She had dreams, an intuitive sense of knowing her limitations and ability to change.

Audrey HC cIn this current culture of bulling, Just Being Audrey, sends an important message to just be yourself. In this life, the ability to change is amazing. As the author so aptly phrases, “And the very things that made her appear awkward as a child? They were precisely the things that made her beautiful as an adult.”

This book teaches many lessons in one with a historical context. The illustrations by Julia Denos, add a charm to this book akin to Audrey herself. As a lover of Audrey, I am giving this book to my niece to her fourth birthday, so she can learn about not only an iconic actress but an altruistic soul.

The timeline and bibliography at the end of the book are an added bonus to this delightful tribute to Audrey’s life.

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Mini Myths: Play Nice, Hercules & Be Patient, Pandora

October 1st, 2014 · Books

MiniMythsHerculesReview By JESSICA ALMY

Loosely based on Greek myths, Mini Myths: Play Nice, Hercules and Be Patient, Pandora are board books that feature cute illustrations. Geared to toddlers and preschoolers, the story lines here are so simple they can hardly be characterized as stories. In the Hercules book, for example, a little boy knocks over his sister’s blocks, she cries, he creates a pyramid of blocks for her, and they knock it over together.

MiniMythsPandoraAlthough these aren’t particularly fun books to read aloud, parents will likely will be amused by the hero Hercules depicted as a rough-and-tumble toddler and the goddess Pandora incarnated as a modern-day curious kid. A brief synopsis of each myth is included at the end.

Some parents will also enjoy these books as parables that speak to the temptations and challenges that young children routinely face. Others may find them to be a bit heavy-handed.

Ages 1 to 4.

I received review copies of these books from the publisher.


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