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Kids' Book Reviews: August 2014

Reviews of a kids' interactive atlas and a (maybe) monstrous teacher



Children’s Activity Atlas

By Jenny Slater, illustrations by Katrin Wiehle & Martin Sanders

(Sterling; $16.95; ages 5 and up)

Learning to read a map is easier when you’ve got stickers of flags, buildings, animals and activities to show off the terrain, habitats and people who live in the places depicted. The 13 maps in this accessory-enhanced collection cover the world and make it interesting. A passport attached to the inside cover includes comments about the various continents and asks map-highlight questions that require answers in specific grid locations. The flag stickers give readers a chance to add color and national identity to the continents, and six map-quiz postcards can be sent to anyone ready to be impressed by the geographical knowledge so pleasantly presented.


My Teacher Is a Monster! (No, I Am Not)

By Peter Brown

(Little, Brown; $18; ages 4-8)

Quick, if there’s a book to read when school is not in session, it’s one called My Teacher Is a Monster! — even if its subtitle tepidly defends the title character in parentheses: “(No, I Am Not).” Needless to say, the story is about the rehabilitation of teacher Ms. Kirby when mischievous and restless Bobby encounters her on a park bench outside of school. It takes Bobby’s rescuing Ms. Kirby’s hat when a gust of wind whisks it off her head for her to warm up to the boy and even shout, “Oh, Bobby, you are my hero.” They then embark on a park adventure that transforms her into a sympathetic and even pleasant person — until Bobby acts up again in class. The lesson is unmistakable, but so are the ups and downs that both characters can take responsibility for.

Frank Lipsius is a contributing writer to MetroKids.

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