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Amazon Prime Book Box, Ages 3-5 Review – December 2018

Haley Faye
ByHaley FayeJan 12, 2019 | 2 comments

Amazon Prime Books ages 3-5 box

Amazon Prime Book Box
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0 Ratings | 1 Reviews

Amazon has launched a new book subscription box for kids! Amazon Prime Book Box is a children’s subscription box exclusively for Amazon Prime members offering books tailored to your child’s age with the goal of helping families inspire a love for reading.

Amazon Prime Book Box provides hand-picked books for kids 12 and under and offers boxes for different age groups: baby-2, ages 3-5, ages 6-8, and ages 9-12.

This is a review of a box for a 3-5-year-old.

Story time just got better with Prime Book Box, a subscription that delivers hand-picked children’s books every 1, 2, or 3 months. Discover new favorites that inspire a love of reading—new adventures await in every box!

Prime Book Box saves you up to 35% off List Price, and provides the best value on books sold by Amazon.com.

My Subscription Addiction paid for this box. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)

Amazon Prime Book Box December 2018 all items

About This Kid's Book Box

The Subscription Box: Amazon Prime Book Box for Kids

The Cost: $19.99 every 1, 2, or 3 months + free prime 2-day shipping.

The Products: Each box contains 2 hardcover books or 4 board books.

Ships to: The Contiguous US, APO/FPO, Alaska, and Hawaii

December 2018 Amazon Prime Book Box Review

Here are examples of books for different age ranges:

When you sign up, you fill out a little bit of information about your child and your frequency preferences. You'll then get an email about Amazon's selections for your child's age range that month and you can swap and select the ones you want to receive.

Amazon Prime Book Box December 2018 tacky boo0k cover

Amazon Prime Book Box December 2018 tacky book premise

Amazon Prime Book Box December 2018 tacky book inside 1

Amazon Prime Book Box December 2018 tacky book inside 2

Tacky the Penguin by Helen Lester - Retail Value: $16.99 (found here for $14.26)

I chose this book because it has a ton of great reviews and the description said it "teaches children a message about being true to yourself and appreciating gifts individuality has to offer." I'm all for promoting individuality and acceptance of everyone just how they are. But, I was a little surprised after reading this book. Personally, I kind of found it to be odd. Basically, it's about five neat, pretty, perfect penguins (named Goodly, Lovely, Angel, Neatly, and Perfect), and an add penguin named Tacky who greets people too loudly, marches out of rhythm, sings silly songs, and dresses oddly. Basically, all the penguins are annoyed with him until one day hunters come to catch "pretty penguins, march them with a switch, sell them for a dollar, and get rich, rich, rich." (They repeat this rhyme multiple times.) And then all the penguins hide except for Tacky, who lets loose his loud, unkempt, un-pretty personality on the hunters. The other penguins join in acting silly and singing a weird song until the hunters realize there are no pretty penguins around to catch and run away. And then, Tacky is accepted as one of the group.

I get what this story is probably trying to convey, but it was uncomfortable to hear/say a cutesy rhyme about what amounts to human trafficking? At the very least I wouldn't want Gideon memorizing those words (which, with the repetition, wouldn't take long) and repeating them out loud around other kids, like in church nursery or preschool... Maybe I'm being too sensitive, and I'm sure my son isn't reading it from the same perspective as I am. But I think our word choices and the stories we tell children matter and are important, so it's important to critically examine the lit that we read and that we read to our kids. It just felt not quite right. The art is cute, and the general message is trying to be a good one. I want to like it, but I'm just not as enthusiastic about it as last month's books.

Turns out this book was published in 1990; I doubt a mainstream children's book published today would have a passage like that. There's also apparently a series of Tacky the Penguin books published in various years, between 1990 and 2013 from what I found. Perhaps other Tacky books are better and more endearing than this particular one, which looks to be the first/oldest one.

Oof, that was quite an extensive blurb!  Ultimately - however you feel about all of that - I personally feel that there are other children's books that more effectively and positively convey the message about the beauty and benefit of being yourself than this one does.


Amazon Prime Book Box December 2018 Frog book cover

Amazon Prime Book Box December 2018 frog book premise

Amazon Prime Book Box December 2018 frog book inside 1

Amazon Prime Book Box December 2018 frog book inside 2

I Don't Want to Be a Frog by Dev Petty - Retail Value $16.72

Incidentally, this book is also promoting a message about how it's good to be who you are and to be true to yourself. The premise of this book is a young frog doesn't want to be a frog "because it's too wet, too slimy, and you have to eat bugs." He goes through all the animals he wishes he could be and his dad tells him why he couldn't be those other animals because he's a frog. At the end of the book, the frogs are approached by a wolf (a "fierce hunter") who loves to eat all of the kinds of animals the frog said he wished he was, but he doesn't eat frogs for exactly the reasons the young frog doesn't want to be one ("too wet, too slimy, and too full of bugs"). It ends by saying that we are who we are, and that "at least you're not a fly!" (as the frog eats a fly).

The art is adorable, and the story can start a good conversation about how sometimes what you think are weaknesses or parts of yourself you may not love can be beneficial, and how everyone you see has their own problems, too. I like it better than the first. Unfortunately, I still have some gripes with this one as well. There's a lot of focus on what this little frog can't be - while it's true a frog can't literally become an owl, the dad consistently telling him everything he can't be creates a negative tone throughout the book and exemplifies an attitude of coming up with reasons why one can't be or do the things one wants to be or do. Also, it ends with "you can't fight nature; you are what you are; at least you're not a fly..." Which I also feel is a pretty negative way to view things. While I know it's trying to convey a good message, I feel that it emphasizes that it's good to be who you are only because "at least you're not someone else who has it worse." I'd rather a book instead share how good it is to be who you are because of the strengths and gifts you possess and have to offer and how they are important and valuable. It's silly and fun to read, and it has been one of the bedtime books we have read for the last few nights, but I am not sure we'll keep this one, either.

The Verdict: This was my third box from Amazon Prime Book Box for Kids! I chose the 3-5-year-old option for my 3-year-old. I really appreciate that I can swap out and select which two books to get each month, and I trust Amazon's customer service if I have any issues (like this month). I was actually able to easily exchange these books. This really helps to make sure we get books I know we'll like, and having new books to read has helped bedtime go much more smoothly because Gideon looks forward to it with a fun, fresh, new story. For $19.99 a month plus free Prime shipping, we received two books with a total value of $33.71. 

To Wrap Up:

Can you get this box if you sign up today? I'm not sure of exactly when Amazon swaps out their selection choices for the month, but if you sign up today it's likely that you'll get the selections for December. 

Value Breakdown: This box costs $19.99, so you're paying about $9.99 per book. 

Check out all of our Amazon Prime Book Box reviews and more kid's subscription boxes for ages 3-5 in the Kids Subscription Box List!

Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!

What do you think about the Amazon Prime Book Box for Kids?

Starting at $19.99
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"Story time just got better with Prime Book Box, a subscription that delivers hand-picked children’s books every 1, 2, or 3 months. Discover new favorites that inspire a love of reading—new adventures await in every box!"

Haley Faye
Haley Faye
Haley Faye first discovered the wonderful world of subscription boxes in 2012 and began writing for MSA in 2014. Over the years, she has found many subscriptions to love. Now a mom of three, her favorite boxes are ones that dress her kids, help her get organized, feed her family, send her snacks, and offer educational fun for her children.

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I agree with you, Haley. That rhyme from the first book made me extremely uncomfortable, especially as a black woman. That’s also why I’m not really feeling the second book either. It sounds like it’s saying there are worse beings to be than who you are (why do we have to put down the fly?) and I’m not feeling the whole “you can’t be an owl because you don’t look wise.” Way to insult your kid, Dad. I don’t feel that either of these books are teaching good things ( the first one is basically a penguin version of Rudolph the Red-nose Reindeer), but who knows how a kid would see it.

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Haley Faye

Vanessa – I wasn’t sure how hard to be on the second book, since I had read it right after the first, so I already had a bad taste in my mouth. But yes, I totally agree – it ends with “you can’t fight nature, you are what you are.” and it ends with “at least you’re not a fly” so it focuses on how it’s good to be you because at least you don’t have it as bad as someone else vs seeing how great you are because of your strengths!

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