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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Carole P. Roman Book(s) Review

We love books, especially books that help us learn. We recently had the opportunity to review four books from Carole P. Roman. Two of them, If You Were Me and Lived In... Peru, and If You Were Me and Lived In... the American West, were great for our geography and history studies! We were lucky to receive two of her story books, Rocket-Bye, and Oh Susannah: It's in the Bag, which were a fun addition to our leisure reading time.

Books by Carole P Roman   Books by Carole P Roman

Each book is paperback, and three have full color pages. The artwork is colorful and hand drawn, giving each book a unique story-telling feel. I've noticed how much my children enjoy looking at the pictures as they read, they pause to study them before turning the page.

We've reviewed books from Carole P. Roman's cultural and historical series before. In fact, we were mistakenly sent the book If You Were Me and Lived In... the American West (it's one that we received for our previous review.) This book teaches about a family's journey on the Oregon Trail, and how they settled into their new life. It's a great story to help children understand how different life was for the early settlers of the west.

If You Were Me and Lived In... The American West

If You Were Me and Lived In... Peru is from the cultural series and describes daily life in that South American country. It talks about names, money, landmarks, history, food, sports, games, and holidays using Spanish terms (though it never states what the language is). It includes a pronunciation guide right in the text, as well as in the back of the book. It's a nice little introduction to Peruvian culture, and a great book for us to use as we study South America this year.

If You Were Me and Lived In... Peru

The only thing that bothered me about this book is the font. It's large and not a typical font for reading, without much space between the lines. All of that makes it hard to read.

Oh Susannah: It's in the Bag

Oh Susannah: It's in the Bag is an early reader chapter book. It's one of two in this new series from the author. Susannah encounters many problems and rather than dealing with them, she stuffs them in her backpack. Susannah is a typical child, with struggles that most children have - 3rd grade math homework is hard, adults that constantly demand things, an immature ability to deal with complex problems, and a lack of communication skills. That makes it sound very grown-up, but it is not. I wouldn't personally classify this as a beginning chapter book, but I would say it's appropriate for middle to upper elementary age children, especially children who feel overwhelmed with what is required of them.

The story is full of imagery - raspberry carpet, cellophane book covers that crinkle, the smell of wet cardboard and pizza when dinner is ordered - that makes it more interesting to read.

Her parents are busy, busy, busy! But when Susannah has an awful nightmare after a day of not knowing how to deal with her problems, she tells her parents, "my head feels too full!" Her dad says that everyone feels that way sometimes, and he and her mom talk with her, teach her what she is feeling, and help her get through one task at a time. It's a good story for parents too, because in the end Susannah's parents realize they may be forgetting that she's just a little girl. As parents sometimes we need that reminder!

This book does not have color pictures in it, and the drawings it does have are very few. I feel like that is a good quality in a chapter book, it encourages the child to read and understand each word while using their imagination to see what is happening. The book is only 34 pages long. My first grader could read it with very little help, but she reads above her grade level.

One of the books we received is from the Bedtime Stories series. Rocket-Bye is a cute and short bedtime poem about two children who take a journey through space in their dreams. They zoom past planets and constellations, and many of them are named and pictured, including individual stars. It's a nice introduction to astronomy for young children!


The illustrations are soft and full of muted color, reminding me of images in a dream. The way the words weave across the page encourages the reader to explore the image and see all the little details. The artwork is perfect for this story!

My kids enjoy all of these books. They like the history and culture books best, as they teach you what life is like in other places and time periods. One said it was interesting to learn about life in Peru. The older ones did say they could tell Rocket-Bye and Oh Susannah: It's in the Bag are for little kids, but would be interesting to that age group. But my 4th grader felt that O Susannah: It's in the Bag was appropriate for her age. My son said he had a hard time telling what the moral of Oh Susannah: It's in the Bag was, but he did say that kids would learn that parents are there to help you and you don't have to hide your troubles. I think he picked out the moral quite well!

Where to find Carole P. Roman:

Carole P Roman Blog
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Oh Susannah, Bedtime Stories, Captain No Beard, If you were Me ... {Carole P. Roman Reviews}

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