A book I should have read long ago when I bought it after it was first released, Once Upon a Time in Liverpool by Judith Kristen and illustrated by Eric Cash was published November 16, 2012. According to the copyright page, the printing of this book was limited to 1000 copies. You can still find new copies on Amazon and on Eric Cash’s website, so I sent a couple emails last week to find out if the book did go into a second printing, but I never got an answer.
Once Upon A Time In Liverpool is a 40 page children’s book that is as wonderful to look at as it is to read. After spending the past several weeks reading a lot of different children’s books about The Beatles, I believe this one is the must have for any parent introducing their children to the Beatles for the first time, or for any Beatles book collector. Between Eric’s amazing retro styled paintings & long history of painting the Beatles, matched with Judith’s skills at writing children’s books, these two seem to have found the right combination to tell the story properly! Each Beatle is introduced to the reader with their birth date, parents, where in Liverpool they were born and what schools they attended. The readers is then lead through each of their lives as they came together to be the Fab Four that we know today. They even include Pete Best and Stuart Sutcliff in their little book. Just Fab! And for that reason…
I rate this book, 4 out of 4 Beetles!
**I have a big surprise for my readers on Sunday, December 17th, so I’m posting a review a little early…
A, B, See the Beatles!: A Children’s ABC Book by Jill Davis and illustrated by Jeanne Conway was published on August 4, 2015. Jill, an elementary school teacher for 35 years, was inspired to write this book for her grandchildren after going on the Magical History Tour of Liverpool and London in 2010.
This is going to be a short review, because otherwise the review will be longer than the book itself.
Jill Davis needs to be congratulated on her very unique choice of Beatle-y words and topics to go with each letter of the alphabet and to her illustrator for doing a fantastic job of bringing the words to life through large colorful paintings. That being said, this 36 page book starts off the alphabet with:
A is for Apple, not the kind you eat.
Okay…now explain to me how you’re going to explain to your 3-5 year old exactly what she means by Apple if it’s not the eating kind? And how do you explain the letter E, which is for Epstein and Eggman?
“What’s an Eggman mommy?” Well, darling, it’s the nickname of Eric Burdon of the band The Animals because he used to break raw eggs on his sex partners.
Beautiful book, beautiful pictures, but in my opinion the choice of Beatle words Ms. Davis chose for a lot of the letters are far beyond the scope of your average pre-school child whether they are fans of the songs or not. Expect to do a lot of explaining. I do recommend it though for Beatle book collectors. And for that reason…
I rate this book, 2 out of 4 Beetles!
From Wikipedia: “Octopus’s Garden” is a song by the Beatles written and sung by Ringo Starr (credited to his real name Richard Starkey) from the Beatles’ 1969 album Abbey Road.
Ringo Starr got the idea for his song Octopus’s Garden while vacationing on a yacht in the Mediterranean sea in 1968. The inspiration came when the captain of the ship told him that octopuses live in caves and that they like to collect shiny objects to decorate around the opening of the cave like a garden.
In 2014, Ringo Starr published a children’s book named after his song Octopus’s Garden. This 10″ x 11″ book is vibrantly colored and beautifully illustrated by Ben Cort. With only 24 pages, the lyrics guide the reader through an ocean adventure with five children as they play in the fantasy garden of an octopus. The book also includes a CD with a greeting from Ringo, a new recording of the song, Ringo narrating the book (with a ‘ding’ to tell you when to turn the page) and an instrumental version of the title song.
As I said, the book is absolutely gorgeous and you’re going to wish it was longer. But it will be great for very small children and I can see where it would also be a fun book for playing “I Spy” with all the colorful objects in the octopus’s garden! My first thought upon hearing Ringo’s greeting on the CD was “Ah! The little conductor man!” (for those that remember him in the TV show Thomas & Friends). But after that came my disappointment…Ringo had recorded a new (and not very good) version of Octopus’s Garden. When I consulted my Beatles expert friends about why he did this, they believe that even as a former Beatles the licensing cost to use the original song would have been to high to make a profit on this project. Still, I’m sure the children who hear the song won’t know the difference and will enjoy singing along like we all did at one time or another in our lives. And for that reason…
I rate this book, 3 out of 4 Beetles!
Imagine my surprise when a book I ordered from Amazon showed up last week with my pre-order for Julian Lennon‘s new children’s book – Touch the Earth! Amazon still says the release date is April 11th…so I’m not sure why I got my so soon. But, I’m not going to complain and my granddaughters paid me a visit a couple days later so I was able to read it to them.
This is a beautiful book with amazing artwork and an environmental theme that we can all relate to these days. Julian sets out to teach young children about the need to clean, safe drinking water all over the world, whether it’s for plants, animals or humans. The reader takes a trip around the world via a plane called the White Feather Flier. They help by pressing a small button on each page and tilting the book in the direction the plane needs to go to provide the necessary elements for clean, safe water.
Calla and me enjoying Touch the Earth by Julian Lennon
I so wanted to really be impressed with this book, but though the story is good and teach children well, the concept of pushing buttons and tilting the book just doesn’t fly in the virtual world we live in today. The book would absolutely rock as a computer or phone app for children to play.
Now don’t get me wrong. I plan on giving my copy to my granddaughters….BUT, I did ordered a signed copy from Premier Collections for $20 (they also say the book won’t be released until April 11th). I plan on keeping a pristine copy on my bookshelf all for myself because I have always adored Julian and will always support him and the White Feather Foundation (a portion of the proceeds from this book go to the foundation).
Sorry Julian…but please move to the obvious next step and create a computer version of this terrific story. You’ll go far with it! And for that reason…
I rate this book, 2 out of 4 Beetles!
Here’s another late review since this book was published in 2005, but I just heard about ‘John Lennon: All I want is the Truth’ from a new friend who is friends with the author…so I bought a copy to check it out! This book was described to me as ‘a book about John Lennon for teenagers’.
The first thing that will surprise you about ‘John Lennon: All I want is the Truth’ is it’s large size: 10.5′ x 10″. This book looks more like a coffee table book than a book for children. Also the reader will be suprised at the wonderful photographs throughout the book…adding to it’s ‘not so much for children’ style. Don’t get me wrong…this book is absolutely beautiful to look at and page through and would be a standout book for anyone’s Beatles book collection. But (and you knew it was coming)…most Beatles Freaks don’t buy books for their looks. Beatles Freaks want facts…real facts and they want the truth.
The author does a pretty good job of telling John’s story. Some of the facts that seem to be wrong are the usual ones, such as Aunt Mimi ducking and hiding from an air raid while on her way to see John in the hospital on the day he was born. Other than those, which are few and far between, the book is a very easy read with great detail mixed with the gorgeous pictures on every page.
Now, herein lies the problem…sometimes the details are a little much for the younger generation that this book is aimed at. Ms. Partridge brings up such topics as Paul losing his virginity, ‘knee tremblers’, prellies, etc. I don’t know that I would have wanted my tweener or young teenager reading these details even if it is about the Fab Four. My opinion (and it is just that…mine) is that this book would be great for anyone over the age of 15.
This book is available on Amazon and there are some great deals for it on Half.com.
So there you have it…big, beautiful, well-written, though sometimes erroneously, book about the life of John Lennon that would look great in your collection and everyone will enjoy the great pictures!
This brings me to a very difficult decision on what to rate this book, but since this book did win a BCCB BLUE RIBBON NONFICTION BOOK AWARD and a 2006 Michael L. Printz Award, I’m going to bump my rating up to:
I rate this book: 3 out of 4 Beetles