Oscar the Pig goes to China! Ooops, that's not right, but since I live in China, I do love that part... before I give away the rest of the book, here's my review.

Last week, I got to read Megan Calhoun's new book, Oscar the Pig: Mommy Goes to Work. It's the first in an upcoming series and is full of cute piggy illustrations like the one above.

Who's it For?

Megan wrote Oscar the Pig for both kids and parents. Kids whose Moms are returning to work will identify with Oscar, and kids and parents alike will giggle at the cute artwork, including "piggy kisses" shared by Oscar and his Mommy pig. It's also good for people like me who love China, thanks to a special visit and introduction to a Chinese Panda whom Oscar befriends (I'm only partly joking)!

What's it Teach?

Oscar's panda friend, Chow Chow, reminds Oscar and your kids that even though Mommy's gone at work, she'll always come home and always loves her little piggy (or, kiddie :-D). Megan also wants the book to give moms practical techniques to help ease the transition, but I think a supplemental page in the book or online would better help us make the jump from 'what Oscar's mom did in the book' to 'what I should do every day.'

Is it Simple?

I love to see kids' books that are just that: kids'. Oscar the Pig teaches and comforts kids without any jargon (well, except one humorous reference for the parents about "bringing home the bacon"). The illustrations, apparently pencil and watercolor, are colorful but simple, the kind of art you could use to inspire your child to get creative: suggesting, "draw for me what fun things you will do while I'm gone!," could result in a beautiful, magical scene like Oscar experiences with his caretaker.

That said, and though I realize that books take a lot of work to produce and materials to prepare for publishing, I feel that this, like most new children's books, carries a bit of a high price tag for a 32-page story. It's still a great idea for families who are about to go through Oscar's situation, but I personally (who am not in that situation) would wait to buy it until some more books come out in the series; as a set, Oscar could become a child's favorite character.

Mom's Perspective

Pamela Kramer, whose little one is struggling with separation anxiety right now, wrote about the book on BabyCenter and shared that it's exactly what her family needed. Read her review here and draw your own conclusions!

...and you?

A few questions:
1) what's your favorite educational childrens' book?
2) what topic do you wish you could find a book on to help your kids?
3) is it just me, or are children's books really expensive!?

If you do purchase Oscar the Pig: Mommy Goes to Work, buy from Amazon through one of my links, and you'll be helping support Simple Makes while you're at it!