This Week’s Children’s Books – Winter Candle – This House, once – Behind the Legend: Bigfoot – Nutik, the Wolf Pup – We Forgot Brock!

I have five new children’s books to share with you this week!

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Winter Candle

by Jeron FrameStacey Schuett (Illustrations)

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Blurb: When each family at the diverse Juniper Court apartment complex needs something to light up the dark of winter, the stumpy, lumpy candle provides a glow brighter than the fanciest taper, revealing the true spirit of each holiday it illuminates.

  • Age Range: 4 – 11 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool – 6
  • Hardcover: 28 pages
  • Publisher: Creston Books (November 11, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1939547105
  • ISBN-13: 978-1939547101

My Review

Multiple residents at the Juniper Court Apartment complex are celebrating their family traditions during the holidays. As each family begins their celebration, they realize they are missing an important component- a candle. As the candle is passed from family to family, children will learn about Havdalah, Saint Lucia Day, and Kwanzaa.

We enjoyed the vivid and detailed illustrations. The authors note at the end explains these traditions and what each holiday means as well as why they are celebrated. It’s an interesting and educational book for elementary readers. 4****

Star_rating_4_of_5

Find Winter Candle on Amazon


This House, once

by Deborah Freedman

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Blurb: Deborah Freedman’s masterful new picture book is at once an introduction to the pieces of a house, a cozy story to share and explore, and a dreamy meditation on the magic of our homes and our world.

Before there was this house,
there were stones,
and mud,
and a colossal oak tree—
three hugs around
and as high as the blue.

What was your home, once?

This poetically simple, thought-provoking, and gorgeously illustrated book invites readers to think about where things come from and what nature provides.

  • Age Range: 4 – 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool – 3
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (February 28, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1481442848
  • ISBN-13: 978-1481442848

My Review

This beautifully illustrated book is a powerful and poetic story about a house that was, at one point, only stones and bricks. Children will discover that every piece of the house came from the earth. It’s a thought-provoking and beautiful story.

We especially enjoyed the illustrations including all the little animals pictured all around in nature. This is a very simple read and I appreciated the note to readers at the end which provokes discussion. 4****

Star_rating_4_of_5

Watch Emily Arrow sing the song “This House, once” in this video:

 

Find This House, once on Amazon

 


Nutik, the Wolf Pup

by Jean Craighead GeorgeTed Rand (Illustrations

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Blurb: In an Eskimo village at the top of the world lived a little boy whose name was Amaroq. Named for the great wolf leader who saved the life of his big sister, Julie, Amaroq loved wolves as much as his big sister did.

One day Julie brings home a sickly wolf pup named Nutik for Amaroq to feed and tend. “Don’t fall in love with Nutik,” Julie warns, “or your heart will break when the wolves come to take their pup home.” Amaroq feeds and cares for Nutik, and soon the fuzzy little pup is romping and playing and following Amaroq everywhere. Amaroq and Nutik become best friends, but soon it’s time for Nutik to rejoin his wolf family. Will Amaroq be strong like the great wolf leader he was named after and be able to let Nutik go?

In this adventure-first told in Julie’s Wolf Pack, the sequel to the Newbery Medal-winning Julie of the Wolves Jean Craighead George brings the Arctic world of Julie and her family to a picturebook audience.

  • Age Range: 4 – 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool – 3
  • Library Binding: 40 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (January 9, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060281650
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060281656

My Review

A boy named Amaroq is introduced to a wolf pup named Nutik after his sister finds the sick pup and brings him home for care. Amaroq is responsible for caring for Nutik and his sister tells him from the start not to get attached because he’ll be leaving to return to his old pack once he’s stronger. Amaroq can’t help himself and Nutik becomes his best friend. Follow along in the story to see if Amaroq can remain brave when the time comes for Nutik to move on.

This book is part of our curriculum this week as we’re learning about wolves in the wild. The illustrations felt so authentic to us and it’s no wonder after reading that the illustrator, Ted Rand, traveled to Alaska to observe the arctic tundra first hand. It’s visually stunning and the story is powerful and emotional at the same time. 5*****

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Find Nutik, the Wolf Pup on Amazon

Here’s a program that we are watching below on BBC.


 

We Forgot Brock!

by Carter Goodrich

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BlurbThe importance of imaginary friends is very real in this picture book adventure from the author of Say Hello to Zorro! and lead character designer for Despicable MeFinding Nemo, and Monsters, Inc.

Phillip and Brock are best friends. Everyone can see Phillip, but only Phillip can see Brock.

A night at the Big Fair is all fun and games until Phillip gets sleepy, heads home, and forgets Brock!

Brock misses Phillip. And Phillip misses Brock. Will they reunite? With the help of another pair of pals, they just might. Because even imaginary friends get lost sometimes. Finding them is part of the adventure.

  • Age Range: 4 – 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool – 3
  • Hardcover: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (August 25, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1442480904
  • ISBN-13: 978-1442480902

My Review

A little boy named Phillip enjoys spending time with his imaginary friend named Brock. They play together, eat together, and pretty much do everything together. The strange thing is that nobody else can see Brock, so when they visit the fair, Brock accidentally gets left behind. Follow along in the story to see if Phillip will find Broch and if his parents might make an amazing discovery themselves.

The imaginary friends are drawn which gives them a different look from the other realistic characters. This is a really fun book but also scary and emotional. It’s the worst nightmare for Phillip, but we enjoyed the story and conclusion. 4****

Star_rating_4_of_5

Find We Forgot Brock! on Amazon

Continue reading “This Week’s Children’s Books – Winter Candle – This House, once – Behind the Legend: Bigfoot – Nutik, the Wolf Pup – We Forgot Brock!”

TAG: Summer Book Tag

I was tagged this week by sister book blogger Alex@coffeelovingbookoholic for the Summer Book Tag. I’d like to thank her for nominating me! As I’ve said before, please check out her blog as she has tons of content including awards, challenges, book reviews and more! I’ve never done this tag and it looks like fun so let’s get started!

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-Click the covers to add to Goodreads-

What book cover makes you think of summer?

It Starts With L by Cassandra Fear

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Much of the plot was in summer and just look at the cover!


What book has brightened your day?

Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan

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Jim Gaffigan makes me laugh, laugh, and laugh some more. I love his books and stand up shows. Much of what he talks about resonates with me.


Find a book cover with yellow on it.

Barkley Five Oh

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This is a short story by Logan Keys about a robot’s journey. You just have to read it…


What is your favorite summer beach read?

The Wing Man by Natasha Anders

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Yup. A fairly steamy romance that I enjoyed.


What action book had you running for the ice cream man?

The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult

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Another favorite by Jodi Picoult. This one I devoured and couldn’t put down…


(Sunburn) What book has left you with a bad and/or painful ending?

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

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I loved this book, but painful end. Period.


(Sunset) what book gave you the happiest feelings when it ended? 

Hearts Are Like Balloons by Candace Robinson

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I enjoyed the ending with this one. I loved reading about May’s journey throughout the book and I was elated with the ending…


What book cover reminds you of a sunset?

Perfect Match by Jodi Picoult

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This book is so twisty and even hard to read at times. It’s one of my cherished books by Jodi Picoult despite the content. She’s definitely a favorite author.


What is one book or series you hope to read this summer?

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

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We read the children’s book this summer and I just purchased this a few weeks ago. I’m hoping to buddy read it with my oldest daughter…

Continue reading “TAG: Summer Book Tag”

Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book – Unicorn in the Barn – See What I have Done – Dairy Free Biscuits & Gravy

Happy Wednesday everyone! I hope everyone is having a wonderful week so far. I have two new books to share and an interesting recipe for dairy free biscuits and gravy that’s quite delicious! 25-Inspiring-Happy-Wednesday-Quotes-To-Share-6338-9.jpg

This is a recipe that I can eat any time of the day or night. I’ve even made biscuits & Gravy for dinner recently and it’s always so delicious!

Let’s get started…

I learned how to make biscuits & Gravy from my Stepmother Laurie. Just a few weeks before she passed away, she told me she wanted to show me how to make her biscuits and gravy recipe so that I would always know how. I’ve made this recipe ever since and my family loves it. I’m going to give you both recipe versions so that you can choose which one you’d like to try.

Laurie’s Biscuits & Gravy Recipe

My Stepmom loved using Grand’s Butter Tastin’ Biscuits with her gravy. Her gravy recipe is as follows:

1 – TB Bacon Lard

1 tube of hot ground sausage

1 tube of regular ground sausage

1 cup of whole milk

1/2 cup of flour

Salt and Pepper

Additional milk for thickening

So, my version of the recipe is made the same way as Laurie’s biscuits & gravy, but using almond milk. I used to make this with traditional cow’s milk, and in my opinion, it does taste best with real whole milk and even a splash of cream. I’m always searching for dairy free versions when it comes to cooking because as I’ve mentioned before, I’m not supposed to be eating dairy and do much better without it.

My dairy free version…

Ingredients:

My favorite biscuit recipe which you will find HERE. (Omit the butter and use Crisco for dairy free! Also use almond milk which works great)

1 TB oil or lard – whichever you like

2 tubes of ground sausage of your choice (I like Farmland MSG Free)

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1 cup of almond milk (or milk of your choice)

1/2 cup of flour

Salt, pepper, and a dash of ground cayenne pepper to taste (Farmland doesn’t make hot sausage that I can find so I use a little dash of cayenne pepper)

Additional milk to use with thickening

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Directions: 

Heat your pan to medium and begin breaking up the sausage while frying until cooked through. I love using cast iron for this…

As the sausage is frying, prepare your milk by adding it to a jar or bowl. I like to shake my milk and flour in a jar because it makes it easy. You can also whisk it.

1 Cup of Milk

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1/2 Cup of Flour

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Shake it up real good!

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Once the sausage is cooked through – Drain the fat

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Now you’re ready to add your milk mixture to your drained sausage over medium heat. Pour it in and start stirring it up until it gets thick which is almost instantly.

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Add in more milk. I don’t measure on this. I just add a little slowly over time until I get to the desired thickness.

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Just keep stirring and adding in small amounts of milk over high heat. Once it starts to boil turn it down to a simmer. Don’t forget to add in your spices!

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This is why I love cast iron – It’s naturally non-stick as you can see in the picture below.

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After simmering for roughly 10-15 minutes, it’s done.

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Serve with your fresh biscuits!

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Delicious!

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Continue reading for this week’s books!

Continue reading “Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book – Unicorn in the Barn – See What I have Done – Dairy Free Biscuits & Gravy”

Stump The Grown-Up Book Review

Stump the Grown – Up

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In June we made a trip to the book store searching for some fun summer reads. My kids picked out this book titled Stump The Grown-Up and I was instantly intrigued. It’s chock-full of questions regarding math, science, food, history, reading, pop culture and more. The book is so much fun to read with kids because they ask you the questions to see just how smart you are! They are learning and they don’t even know it. This isn’t just fun for the kids, it’s fun for the whole family.

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Some questions are multiple choice, whereas some are matching. There are regular questions that offer no hints at all. A few examples are:

  •  What was the first food grown in space?
  • George Washington Carver discovered more than 300 uses for what food?
  • In Tuck Everlasting, what secret power does the Tuck family possess?

Other matching questions ask fun facts regarding fast food catchphrases and even cover the 50 states and capitals of the United States! Answers are on the bottom of the page and appear upside down so they’re not easy to read.

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This is a great read for anytime of the year. It’s been fun keeping our brains stimulated over summer vacation and I can still see us reading this book throughout the school year. Hands down it’s one of the most fun and best educational books we found. 5*****

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Continue reading “Stump The Grown-Up Book Review”

Wednesday’s Wordless Picture Books – Birdsong – The Adventures of Polo – Sidewalk Circus

I picked up three new wordless picture books to share with you this week. We enjoyed all three. I hope that you find a few of these interesting!

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Birdsong by James Sturm

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Blurb: Bring the thrilling story of one red bird to life. When an innocent bird meets two cruel kids, their world is forever changed. But exactly how that change unfolds is up to you, in the tradition of Kamishibai—Japanese paper theater. The wordless story by master cartoonist James Sturm is like a haiku—the elegant images leave space for children to inhabit this timeless tale—and make it their own, leading them to learn an ultimate lesson they’ll never forget.

James Sturm is the author of several books for kids including the Adventures in Cartooning series (with Andrew Arnold and Alexis Frederick-Frost) and the forthcoming Ape and Armadillo. James also helped start a college for cartoonists, The Center for Cartoon Studies, in the small railroad village of White River Junction, Vermont.

  • Age Range: 5 and up
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten and up
  • Series: Toon Books
  • Hardcover: 60 pages
  • Publisher: TOON Books (April 5, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1935179942
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935179948

My Review:

When we first started reading this book we were shocked. It begins with two children abusing some wildlife and it’s uncertain where the story is going to go. As they chase a bird far away, they are met by an angry man who wants to teach them a lesson they will never forget. The message is powerful and children will understand that there are consequences to their actions. This is a wordless picture book that can have many endings and children will have to think about what the actual conclusion means.

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What I loved most about the book was the history in the back. Readers learn about e-toki which means “picture-explaining” and kamishibai which means “paper theater.” Children learn about the importance of these picture stories from Japan and why they were started in the first place. This is a powerful picture book with detailed, yet simple illustrations that kids will certainly enjoy.

Star_rating_4_of_5

 


Sidewalk Circus by Paul Fleischman & Kevin Hawkes

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Blurb: “This delightful book will fascinate children and help them to see their world with new eyes.” — SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL (starred review)
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls! Step right up and witness an astounding assemblage of tightrope walkers, strong men, sword swallowers, and clowns. The Garibaldi Circus is coming soon, but for those with clear eyes, the performers may already be in the ring. So get ready to sharpen your vision and look very closely — a show like you’ve never seen is about to begin! The creators of WESLANDIA are back in the spotlight with a spectacular, wordless picture book that shows the transformative power of imagination.

  • Age Range: 5 – 9 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten – 4
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick; Reprint edition (May 8, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 076362795X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763627959

My Review

This picture story begins in the city streets with regular everyday people going about their day while observing others around them. The Garibaldi Circus will soon be coming to the city, but what’s really happening in the shadows might be more interesting than you think. Children will notice that our ordinary lives are more interesting than we think and all we need to do is pay attention to what’s happening around us.

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We enjoyed the book and ended up starting it over twice. You really have to pay attention to the shadows to see what’s going on. It’s a really unique book and we loved the illustrations.

Star_rating_4_of_5

 

Continue reading “Wednesday’s Wordless Picture Books – Birdsong – The Adventures of Polo – Sidewalk Circus”

Wednesday’s Wordless Picture Books – David Wiesner – Leo Timmers – Matthew Cordell

 

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I have three new wordless picture books to share this week! I hope that everyone who has children in their lives will get to read a few wordless picture books with them this year. It’s such a joyous experience! You might find a few of these interesting.


Tuesday by David Wiesner

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Blurb: A Caldecott classic celebrating twenty years in print.

David Wiesner received the 1991 Caldecott Medal for Tuesday. In the years that followed, he went on to receive two more Caldecotts, and Tuesday went on to sell half a million copies in the United States and to be published in a dozen foreign countries. Now, with remarkable advances in the technology of color reproduction, the original artwork for Tuesday is being reproduced anew, for an edition even more faithful to the palette and texture of David Wiesner’s watercolor paintings. The whimsical account of a Tuesday when frogs were airborne on their lily pads will continue to enchant readers of all ages.

My review

David Wiesner is a favorite as you know from some of my previous reviews. He never ceases to amaze me and this book is such a beautiful and magical addition to our collection.

The story begins in the early evening on a Tuesday and all is quiet at the pond. All of a sudden, the frogs begin to levitate on their lily pads and travel into a nearby town. They visit a woman watching TV, a man having a snack, and a dog running through a yard.

The only text in the book is the indication that it’s Tuesday with the time. Children love the watercolor illustrations and their imaginations can run wild with this story because it’s surreal.

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The idea of frogs traveling on lily pads is so magical and mysterious. How did they do it, and will they be back again next Tuesday?

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Continue reading “Wednesday’s Wordless Picture Books – David Wiesner – Leo Timmers – Matthew Cordell”

This Week’s Children’s Books – Despicable Me 3 – Out of Wonder Poems – Luna’s Red Hat – Sleep Like a Tiger and more…

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I have a handful of children’s books to share with you this week and hope you’ll enjoy my reviews for them below. As always, if you’d like to add them on Goodreads, just click the cover to be redirected.


Despicable Me 3 – Agnes Loves Unicorns by Universal

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Blurb: The Minions are back! Join your favorite yellow friends, along with Agnes, Edith, and Margo, on a new, hilarious adventure in this beautiful hardcover picture book that is based on the highly anticipated blockbuster movie Despicable Me 3!

Agnes has two lifelong dreams:
One is to be adopted into a loving family (completed!) and the other is to have a pet unicorn. Explore Agnes’s love of unicorns inside this lovely picture book–and join her as she goes on her biggest adventure yet–to capture a unicorn!

  • Age Range: 5 – 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool – 3
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: LB Kids; Mti edition (May 23, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316507474
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316507479

My review

I was surprised when we first started reading Agnes Loves Unicorns because the story goes all the way back to the beginning of the first “Despicable Me” movie with the girls still in their orphan home. Agnes dreams of having a family and a pet unicorn too.

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Her first dream comes true and she’s adopted by Gru. Then, she gets her very own stuffed unicorn, but soon learns that she must make a sacrifice for her family. She decides its time to find a real life unicorn and the adventure begins.

We loved the full color pages in this picture book. It’s easy to read and perfect for all children because it’s told in chronological order from the first movie. I’m going with 4 stars on this one because it felt choppy at times.

Star_rating_4_of_5


Luna’s Red Hat by Emmi Smid

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Blurb: It is a beautiful spring day, and Luna is having a picnic in the park with her family, wearing her Mum’s red hat. Luna’s Mum died one year ago and she still finds it difficult to understand why. She feels that it may have been her fault and worries that her Dad might leave her in the same way. Her Dad talks to her to explain what happened and together they think about all the happy memories they have of Mum.

This beautifully-illustrated storybook is designed as a tool to be read with children aged 6+ who have experienced the loss of a loved one by suicide. Suicide always causes shock, not just for the family members but for everyone around them, and children also have to deal with these feelings. The book approaches the subject sensitively and includes a guide for parents and professionals by bereavement expert, Dr Riet Fiddelaers-Jaspers. It will be of interest to anyone working with, or caring for, children bereaved by suicide, including bereavement counsellors, social workers and school staff, as well as parents, carers and other family members.

  • Age Range: 6 – 9 years
  • Grade Level: 1 – 4
  • Hardcover: 34 pages
  • Publisher: Jessica Kingsley Publishers; Ill edition (April 21, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849056293
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849056298

My review

This story begins with Luna, a little girl who lost her mother to suicide a year ago and is still dealing with anger and sadness. Her dad tries to help her understand that her mother’s suicide wasn’t anybody’s fault, and it wasn’t her mother’s fault either. She has lots of questions she needs answered and her dad is there to help her through.

Suicide is something you hear about often and many have experienced first hand with a family member or friend. It’s never easy and explaining it to children can be challenge as they have many questions in their little heads.  Why? How? Didn’t they love me? It’s never easy to explain or understand, even as an adult.

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In the past, I lost a friend to suicide. Recently, the death of Chris Cornell became known to my family. I’ve been listening to Chris since I was a young teen and his death hit me hard. My kids, knowing who he is, had questions as well. They didn’t understand. It’s hard to explain to them, especially when they start asking questions about how he did it. Help for parents is found in the back of the book as a bereavement specialist writes to briefly explain how to handle these questions from children.

I found the book very helpful. I thought the illustrations were powerful with showing the emotions of the characters and I believe this book would be good for many parents, teachers, counselors, and children dealing with a loss due to suicide.

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Continue reading “This Week’s Children’s Books – Despicable Me 3 – Out of Wonder Poems – Luna’s Red Hat – Sleep Like a Tiger and more…”

Wednesday’s Wordless Picture Books

 

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Lights Out by Arthur Geisert

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I came across this wordless picture book and had to get it because I love Arthur Geisert’s pig stories and illustrations. If you visit my wordless picture book posts, you probably remember the book The Giant Seed that I reviewed awhile back. You can see that one by clicking HERE.

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The story begins with one page of text about a poor little piglet who is told by his parents that the lights must be out by eight o’clock. Little piglet begins to wonder how in the world he’s going to get that light to shut off after he falls asleep, rather than before. He has a big imagination and puts it to work. He devises a plan that includes an assortment of contraptions working together with the goal to turn the light off after he’s fallen to sleep. He uses a series of Dominoes, balls, bats, water, toys and pretty much anything he can use to make his plan work.

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The etched illustrations are very colorful and detailed. It’s so much fun for kids to see his experiment in action as they turn from page to page. Will it work for piglet? Follow along in the story to find out!

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Continue reading “Wednesday’s Wordless Picture Books”

Wednesday’s Wordless Picture Books

 

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I’m back this Wednesday with three more wordless picture books for you guys. I had to take a few weeks off from this post because I was running out of books! I’m pleased with these and hope you’ll enjoy them along with the children in your life too.

To add these on Goodreads, just click the cover and you’ll be redirected.

Sidewalk Flowers by JonArno Lawson & Sydney Smith

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In this picture book, a little girl takes a walk through the city with her father and while on the journey, she decides to start collecting little wildflowers she discovers along the way. Her father is busy doing his own thing and is quite distracted. By the time they’re about ready to head home, she has collected a beautiful bouquet of flowers. What she decides to do with the flowers on her way back home is touching. Follow along in this beautiful picture book to see how sweet, caring, and creative she can be.

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The story is touching and will help children understand the importance of giving and thinking about others. The illustrations were eye catching with the majority of the pages being black and white with splashes of color throughout. It’s definitely a keeper.

Star_rating_4_of_5

 

Continue reading “Wednesday’s Wordless Picture Books”

An Interview with Bret Witter – Author of Dewey – Monument’s Men – Until Tuesday and more…

Bret Witter is an author of many books including 8 New York Times bestsellers including The Monument’s Men, Stronger (Jeff Bauman’s story), Dewey, Until Tuesday and more. He’s a full-time professional writer. Children recognize Bret Witter from reading about Dewey, the famous library cat in these popular children’s books.

 

Adult cat lovers can read about Dewey in these New York Times bestselling books…

 

I recently read Until Tuesday, Tuesday Tucks Me in, and Tuesday Takes Me There.

These stories are about Luis Carlos Montalván, an Iraq war veteran and his service dog Tuesday. To see my original reviews for Until Tuesday, Tuesday Tucks Me In and Tuesday Takes Me There, please click the links below.

Luis Carlos Montalván – A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him

Tuesday’s Promise and Tuesday Takes Me There by Luis Carlos Montalván

I was lucky to get an interview with this author to ask him some questions about himself and a few about the book Until Tuesday. You can see the Q&A with the author below.

 

Continue reading “An Interview with Bret Witter – Author of Dewey – Monument’s Men – Until Tuesday and more…”

Tuesday’s Promise and Tuesday Takes Me There by Luis Carlos Montalván

Many of you have probably seen my previous post regarding Luis & Tuesday. I’ve now finished the last two books and will have my reviews posted below. I’ve been in contact with Lu Picard at ECAD and found out that every Tuesday, they post updates on their Facebook page regarding Tuesday and what he’s doing now. I was so excited to learn this and I have the link below for those that would like to take a look.

I feel like after reading these books that I’ve been on an adventure with Luis & Tuesday and don’t want it to end. All four of these books are beautiful and I hope that more people will read them. The children’s books are wonderful as well. If you’d like to see my previous posts on Until Tuesday and Tuesday Tucks Me In, you can click HERE. 

Tuesday’s Promise by Luis Carlos Montalván & Ellis Henican

31932889Tuesday’s promise is the final book written about Luis Montalván and his service dog, Tuesday. I recently read the previous book Until Tuesday. One nice thing about this book is that people who haven’t read Until Tuesday can go right into this one as he covers his story again for new readers. I didn’t mind the repetition at all and it never became boring to me.

I found this second book to be even more heartbreaking. I already knew the outcome beforehand, but there was so much more that happened with Luis from the last book until now. Luis, broken by war, became even more courageous and started traveling more and putting himself out there for others who needed him including the wounded, those suffering from PTSD, and others. As he healed even more, he wasn’t 100 percent, but he was changing and learning to live his life in the best way possible, even with the trials and tribulations of his mental illness and injuries. The most heartbreaking part of the book for me was chapter 22, thinking about aging Tuesday. Luis had said more than once that he would outlive Tuesday. Let’s face it, dogs don’t live as long as humans do. It seemed as if he was having a difficult time coping with the thoughts of losing Tuesday and I wonder if this was something he just couldn’t take.

“When it happens, it will feel like a piece of my heart has been ripped out and handed to me. You’re never supposed to see your heart. It’s in your chest. Being handed your own heart is a thoroughly unnatural experience, so vulnerable. But it will be real, and nothing in the world can change it.”

I think about my own dogs who are considered family and the thought of losing them makes me very sad, even though I understand this is part of life. The thought of Luis losing Tuesday is almost unfathomable because Tuesday is the reason Luis was able to live again. He helped him heal and was his best friend for many years. You can feel the emotion and fear Luis is experiencing as the words pour out of him in the book.

As far as the writing and structure, the book is written well just like the first, the added photos were great, and I appreciated the afterward by Ellis Henican. It was, for the most part, told in chronological order this time. I loved the title, and readers will learn about the true meaning of the title as they read on in the book.

If you haven’t read about Luis & Tuesday yet, I suggest you read this book, or read them all. I can’t even express how much this story has touched me. I even enjoyed the children’s books. I’ve spent the last few weeks living and breathing Luis and Tuesday and they’ve been on my mind a lot. It’s a story I’ll never forget. I’m sad that the journey has ended, but I know that Luis is in a better place and I pray that he is at peace.

*Our veterans are important-they need our support, and these service dogs like Tuesday are integral in order for them to carry on with life.*

stars

 


Blurb

Luis and Tuesday are winning hearts again. With his captivating New York Times bestseller Until Tuesday, Iraq War veteran Luis Carlos Montalván furthered America’s conversation about the need to care for first responders suffering from the effects of PTSD, especially highlighting the near-miraculous benefit of service dog companionship.

Now, in this spectacular follow-up, Luis and Tuesday rescue a forgotten Tuskegee airman, battle obstinate VA bureaucrats and bring solace for troubled war heroes coast-to-coast. All this, while Luis’ personal battle intensifies; while Tuesday has helped him make immense mental strides, the chronic pain of his injuries threaten to leave him wheelchair-bound. In a grave decision, Luis opts to amputate his leg, and learn how to live with a prosthetic.

As Luis regains his athleticism, 10-year-old Tuesday enters new phase in life; due to his growing age he will soon need to retire. Together, these two friends begin the tender process of welcoming a new puppy into their pack. SINCE TUESDAY is an inspiring story with an unforgettable message about love, service, and teamwork.

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Continue reading “Tuesday’s Promise and Tuesday Takes Me There by Luis Carlos Montalván”

Wednesday’s Wordless Picture Books

I picked up three new wordless picture books this week. I can’t express enough about how much I LOVE viewing books like these with children. It really makes them think and use their imagination.

If you’d like to add any of these on Goodreads, just click the title in the review…

Carl’s Christmas by Alexandra Day

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Carl’s Christmas is a story about a dog named Carl and a sweet little baby. Carl is left to be responsible for the baby on Christmas Eve and they go on a little adventure together. This book has text on the very first page and the rest of the book is strictly pictures.

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What I liked about the story was the idea of a dog taking care of a baby. It’s unrealistic, but so adorable. Carl knows how to care for the baby and their adventure consists of strolling around town visiting stores, carolers, and finally a visit with Santa.

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We really enjoyed the classic painted illustrations and couldn’t wait to find out how the story would end. Follow along to see if Carl receives a gift of his own this year.

4-stars

 


Sector 7 by David Wiesner

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Sector 7 by David Wiesner is one of the most imaginative wordless books I’ve read. A boy takes a school trip to the Empire State Building and winds up taking a whole different trip to Sector 7, a cloud dispatch station in the sky. He’s taken there by a little cloud who becomes his friend. He has ideas of his own for what he thinks clouds should look like and he isn’t afraid to share them.

Children will love this picture book as it’s easy to follow with beautiful illustrations. We loved it and talked about it for quite a bit of time. We were surprised to see this author again as we recently read Free Fall. This is definitely a keeper.

stars


Continue reading “Wednesday’s Wordless Picture Books”

Luis Carlos Montalván – A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him

Last week I came across a children’s book titled, Tuesday Tucks Me In: The Loyal Bond Between a Soldier and a Service dog. I was intrigued as I’d never heard this story before. After reading it and falling in love with Tuesday, I had to learn more about him and his owner. I checked out the author’s page on Goodreads and saw that he co-wrote a few other books about Tuesday and couldn’t wait to read them. I just finished reading Until Tuesday and you can read both of my reviews for these books below.

18465502.jpgTuesday Tucks me In is a true story about a service dog and his owner, Luis. The story is told from Tuesday’s point of view as he explains their typical day together in NYC.

“Luis is a disabled veteran. He went to war, and he came back home in so much pain that he couldn’t live a normal life. So I do tasks for him. I even sleep with him which helps control his nightmares.”

Luis has issues like PTSD that cause him to have flashbacks. He doesn’t like crowds or being too close to people and Tuesday has the training to keep him calm and collected. He’s exceptionally smart and senses when Luis is having issues by feeling his heartbeat-he can tell when a panic attack is about to happen. They do everything together and are inseparable. They take care of each other and they even pray together.

I enjoyed the end note from Luis which explains more about service dogs and the organization that trains them. This book will help children understand roles that service dogs play as well as an understanding about people with disabilities. They will also gain insight into the sacrifices that people make for their country. I loved it.

stars


 


Until-Tuesday-Book-Cover.jpgI recently read Tuesday Tucks Me In which was the first time I’d heard about Luis and Tuesday. After seeing that he co-wrote more books on Tuesday, I couldn’t wait to read more. Until Tuesday was just the book I was looking for to to gain insight into the relationship he built with Tuesday, his service dog, while learning more about Luis and his experiences in the military and after.

The book begins with Tuesday and describes his training and first few years of his life before he met Luis. He started his training at just 3 days old and spent time in a prisoner puppy training program as well as ECAD. Tuesday made bonds with a few different people that he had to let go. This made him sensitive and he’d developed issues getting close with people.

Luis, a captain in the U.S. Army, had multiple tours in Iraq and received awards including two Bronze Stars, the Purple Heart, the Army Commendation Medal for Valor, and the Combat Action Badge. During the time he was stationed at a border crossing at Al-Waleed, he was injured after an attack by two men that left him with multiple injuries including a traumatic brain injury. After 17 years of service he finally came back to the U.S., and he had a hard time adapting to civilian life. He was suffering from PTSD, anxiety, flashbacks, you name it.

“This is especially true for PTSD. Most soldiers spend years denying they have it, or being told by loved ones it’s all in their heads. It is in their heads, but it’s a real wound nonetheless. Even if they accept the diagnosis, most veterans assume PTSD is temporary. I’m going to beat this, they say. In a year, I’ll be fine. Everyone knows you don’t grown back a leg that’s been blown off by an IED, but everyone assumes you can heal a brain that’s been scarred. You can’t. You can restore trust. You can reconnect with the world. You can live a full life. But the experience is with you forever.”

He also had a balance disorder that caused him to have horrible migraines as well as vertigo which resulted in easy falling. The trauma and violence of war were still upon him and the future was looking Grimm for Luis until he met a service dog by the name of Tuesday. Little did Luis know, Tuesday would help him live again.

I couldn’t wait for the weekend so I could read this book uninterrupted. I devoured it and it nearly tore my heart out. I was shocked at all Luis had been through and yet, he was still so courageous. He was relentless giving to his country and wanted to stay in Iraq where he felt he was needed. Once back in the U.S., even with the disabilities and troubles he experienced, he went on to obtain a masters degree. Not only that, he was involved in public speaking including appearances all over the place while dealing with grief, anger, anxiety, sorrow and a host of other emotions. I was amazed with his bravery and fell in love with the relationship between Luis and Tuesday. The work that Tuesday put in for Luis is remarkable. He never left his side. It was as if they were healing each other.

Overall, this is one of the best books I’ve read in 2017. It’s written well and kept me engaged from beginning to end. I thoroughly enjoyed looking at all the pictures in the back. It was nice to see Mary, Rick, Lu Picard (founder and director of ECAD where Tuesday was trained), and some of the pictures of Luis while in Iraq. Luis was someone willing to give everything he had for his country and sacrificed everything.  I’m glad that I read it and I’m reading Tuesday’s Promise next.

stars

I’m not sure why, but at around 72% of the book I decided to check out his author page again because it seemed like a fairly active page when I’d first looked at it. I wanted to see what he was doing now being that another book was just released in 2017. I happened to notice up at the top by his name that he had passed away in December 2016 at the age of 43. I was shocked and saddened and had to find out why. It turns out that he left Tuesday with some friends and committed suicide. He was found in his hotel room with drugs in his system. I just couldn’t get over the tragedy. I instantly thought of Tuesday. He had to let go of others before, but all I could think about was how bad this must’ve been for him and wonder how he’s doing now. I did read that Tuesday’s being cared for by loved ones.

Luis had Tuesday from 2008 to 2016, the majority of Tuesday’s life.  I pray that after all Luis endured, he is at peace and that Tuesday is able to find some happiness even with the loss of his best friend, Luis. Our veterans are important-they need our support and these service dogs are integral in order for them to carry on with life.

Continue reading “Luis Carlos Montalván – A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him”

The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires

My review

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The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires is a children’s book about a girl with an imagination and teaches about the importance of never giving up on yourself.

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A girl has a vision of creating something magnificent. She starts building things with her little dog assistant. As she builds one thing after another, she isn’t happy with any of her new creations. They just didn’t come out like she imagined they would. Disgusted, she walks away from all of her creations to take her dog for a walk and finally she realizes that there’s something great about each and every one of them.

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Children will stay engaged with the story while viewing and enjoying the colorful illustrations on a black and white background. The author does an amazing job with teaching children about the emotions that we feel and how sometimes it’s good to take a break and rehash it at a later time. I love the message that it sends and think every child should read it. This is a perfect character building book for schools and even for reading with a child.

I’d like to thank Netgalley, the publisher, and the author for sharing this book with me.

5*****

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stars


Blurb

Award-winning author and illustrator Ashley Spires has created a charming picture book about an unnamed girl and her very best friend, who happens to be a dog. The girl has a wonderful idea. She is going to make the most MAGNIFICENT thing! She knows just how it will look. She knows just how it will work. All she has to do is make it, and she makes things all the time. Easy-peasy!? But making her magnificent thing is anything but easy, and the girl tries and fails, repeatedly. Eventually, the girl gets really, really mad. She is so mad, in fact, that she quits. But after her dog convinces her to take a walk, she comes back to her project with renewed enthusiasm and manages to get it just right.

For the early grades’ exploration of character education, this funny book offers a perfect example of the rewards of perseverance and creativity. The girl’s frustration and anger are vividly depicted in the detailed art, and the story offers good options for dealing honestly with these feelings, while at the same time reassuring children that it’s okay to make mistakes. The clever use of verbs in groups of threes is both fun and functional, offering opportunities for wonderful vocabulary enrichment. The girl doesn’t just make her magnificent thing — “she tinkers and hammers and measures, she smoothes and wrenches and fiddles, she twists and tweaks and fastens.” These precise action words are likely to fire up the imaginations of youngsters eager to create their own inventions and is a great tie-in to learning about Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. –Goodreads

Continue reading “The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires”

Wednesday’s Wordless Picture Books

This week I have four different wordless picture books to share with you that we really enjoyed. Like most, these are all perfect wordless picture books for parent child reading and enjoyment.

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You can read on to see my reviews on each. If  you’d like to view last weeks picture books and learn some benefits to reading wordless books, you can see my previous post HERE. If you’d like to add some of these wonderful books on Goodreads, just click the title.


The Snowman by Raymond Briggs

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Blurb: Illustrated in full color, this is a wordless story. The pictures have “the hazy softness of air in snow.” A little boy rushes out into the wintry day to build a snowman, which comes alive in his dreams that night. The boy invites him home and in return is taken on a flight high above the countryside.

My review

The Snowman is a wonderful wordless book for children. The story starts with a young boy who sees the snow outside and rushes out of his home to build a snowman. As the boy sleeps, the snowman comes alive and is welcomed into the boy’s home to discover what it’s like inside. In return, the snowman will show him his home as well. A dream to be remembered forever.

This book is packed full of sketched illustrations in color. This is a beautiful Christmas book that can be read by all ages and any time of the year.

stars

Check out this short movie based on The Snowman by Raymond Briggs. It’s introduced by David Bowie!


The Giant Seed by Arthur Geisert

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Blurb: In this follow up to the magnificently inventive Ice, Arthur Geisert once again charms us with his porcine world. This time his pigs must get creative when a volcano destroys their home. Fortunately they got busybefore trouble hit by planting a huge mysterious seed, for it’s the seed plus imagination, as well as a good dose of can-do spirit, that save the day! Illustrated with inventive, sensitive, and unusually lovely etchings that seem to come from an old cherished album, The Big Seed is a worthy successor to Geisert’s Ice.

Award-winning children’s book author Arthur Geisert‘s pigs are legendary in the world of children’s books. They carve ice sculptures, teach Roman numerals, create ingenious machines, and get up to all kinds of antics. Did Arthur grow up on a farm? No. He grew up in Los Angeles and claims not to have seen a pig until he was an adult. Trained as a sculptor in college, Geisert learned to etch at the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles. He has published just about a book a year for the past thirty years and every one of his books has been illustrated with etchings. In 1996 (as well as once previous to that) he won The New York Times Best Illustrated Award. Geisert lives in Bernard, Iowa.

My review

The Giant Seed by Arthur Geisert is a story about a community of pigs that live near a volcano. They are blessed with the arrival of a giant dandelion seed which they decide to plant and grow. Little do they know, this seed that will soon grow into a new plant just might be a life saver for them all.

We loved the author’s adorable pig illustrations. The ending was left wide open which made me think there might be another book to continue the story, but I haven’t found one yet. This is the first book we’ve read by this author and I’m definitely interested in reading more about this pig community. This one strikes up a lot of conversation!

4-stars


Here I Am by Patti Kim – Pictures by Sonia Sanchez

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Blurb: Newly arrived from their faraway homeland, a boy and his family enter into the lights, noise, and traffic of a busy American city in this dazzling wordless picture book. The language is unfamiliar. Food, habits, games, and gestures are puzzling. They boy clings tightly to his special keepsake from home and wonders how he will find his way. How will he once again become the happy, confident kid he used to be? Walk in his shoes as he takes the first tentative steps toward discovering joy in his new world. A poignant and affirming view of the immigrant experience.

Because this book is based on the author’s experience, here is some author information: Patti Kim was born in Pusan, Korea, and immigrated to the United States on Christmas of 1974 with her mother, father, and older sister. At the age of five, she thought she was a writer and scribbled gibberish all over the pages of her mother’s Korean-English dictionary and got in big trouble for it. Her scribbling eventually paid off. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Maryland. She lives with her husband and two daughters who give her plenty to write about every day.

You can visit her blog HERE

My review

Here I Am is a wordless children’s picture book of one incredibly inspiring story of a child’s immigration to the United States.

A child and his family leave their home and move into a busy city in the United States. This is difficult for him and he struggles getting used to his new life in the city. He has a new school, new house, and is surrounded by new people. In his hand he carries a keepsake from his homeland which helps him along the way. He accidentally drops it out of a window and down into the street. He realizes in order to get it back he’s going to have to go outside and explore which might just be the best thing for him.

This is a story about starting a new life and overcoming fear of the unknown. We enjoyed all the rich, detailed illustrations and the author’s note at the end.

stars


Continue reading “Wednesday’s Wordless Picture Books”

Wednesday’s Wordless Picture Books

I really love reading wordless picture books, especially with children. Children love them and it really sparks their imagination while giving them a break from reading. Here are a few benefits to reading wordless picture books.

Some Benefits to reading Wordless Picture Books

  • helps the reader gain an understanding of story structure
  • develops new vocabulary
  • aids in creative writing expression
  • increases vocabulary skills
  • inspires storytelling
  • helps struggling readers gain confidence
  • helps teach sequencing and narration

In this post I will highlight five wordless picture books that we read this week. You can read my reviews for each one below.


Chalk by Bill Thomson

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Chalk by Bill Thomson is a story about three little girls out and about on a rainy day. They stumble upon a T-rex in a large paved area. The T-rex has a bag in his mouth and the children soon discover that the bag contains an assortment of colored chalk. They decide to draw pictures on the pavement and their drawn pictures begin to come alive! Each child creates their own art on the pavement until another little boy shows up. He decides to draw a gigantic T-rex. Follow along in the story to see if the children can figure out what to do with this giant creation!

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The book illustrations appear animated while the children have lifelike features. The illustrations have the characteristics of creation by digital computer equipment, but they’re not.  Bill Thomson used painting techniques and each illustration is created by hand, using acrylic paint and colored pencils.

stars


Hank Finds An Egg by Rebecca Dudley

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Hank is strolling along the forest floor when he comes upon a little white egg. He’s very curious and begins searching for where the egg came from. After finding that the egg’s home is high in a tree, he must get creative to return the egg to it’s nest. Will Hank succeed?

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I was thoroughly impressed with the illustrations. Each page is a diorama of handmade creations. Rebecca Dudley creates every single item with precise detail. This is one of my favorite wordless picture books this year.

stars


Spot, the Cat by Henry Cole

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Spot, the Cat, is about to embark on an outdoor adventure when he suddenly leaps out his apartment window and into the world. Each page takes the reader on a exploration of the city and Spot is located on each page if you only look. Follow Spot’s journey through a farmer’s market, across a bridge, through a park and beyond as he weaves through the city. Spot’s owner is worried. Will he ever return?

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This is very similar to a Look and Find book in that you have to search for Spot on each page. All the illustrations are black and white and Spot is somewhere new each time. Children will spend a little time finding him as some pages are more difficult than others with trick illustrations added in. It’s a great book for conversation and children love it. I think it’s great for parent-child reading.

stars


Flashlight by Lizi Boyd

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Flashlight by Lizi Boyd is a wordless picture book highlighting a journey through the dark. A child has his flashlight and will make new discoveries in the dark while camping in the forest. There’s a lot to discover in nature if you’ll only take the time to look.

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We enjoyed the dark illustrations with the hidden objects in the stream of the light beam. The boy finds all sorts of night-time creatures, plants, trees, insects and streams which offers insight to everything that’s going on in the dark of night. Children will learn that nighttime offers the opportunity to discover nocturnal creatures while getting a calm feel of nature. This is a perfect bedtime book.

4-stars Continue reading “Wednesday’s Wordless Picture Books”

Lessons from Grandpa #1

My grandfather was a very prominent figure in my life as I was growing up. He was a teacher, school principal, and father to five children. Everyday I learned something from him whether it be something I should eat, something I should do, how I should act, or how I should think. He always had something interesting to say.

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Me and GP just before my baptism

My grandfather was a serious conservative. He lived by the saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and if it is, just put some duct tape on it!” I’m not even joking. Have you seen “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” and witnessed how Toula’s father would put Windex on everything? Well, that’s my grandfather, except with him it was simply, “Put some duct tape on it.

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I remember one day he came home from the golf course and when he pulled up in the driveway, his car was missing the driver’s side mirror. I asked him what happened and he told me, “I think I sideswiped a truck.” I couldn’t believe it and I know that if he had that mirror in his hand, he’d be duct taping it back on.

Another repair was on his left boot. He had visited a doctor for hip pain and learned that one of his legs was longer than the other. He brainstormed about how he could fix the issue without having to wear a brace of some sort. He wound up making a platform for the bottom of his boot and duct taped it on. Voila! When the zipper broke on one of his other shoes, he taped that too. He would put duct tape on vacuum hoses, tools, shoes, furniture, and even books. He didn’t care what anyone thought either. When I was a kid I thought it was silly. Now that I’m older, I love that he was like that and wish that I could be more carefree about what people think.

The one duct taped object that I have from my grandfather is his Bible. He read his Bible every day. Once the binding started to break down, he fixed it so that he could use it for many years to come.  It’s a large print and fairly big Bible. Here’s a picture of it here with his tape repairs.

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Continue reading “Lessons from Grandpa #1”

A Tale Dark & Grimm (#1) by Adam Gidwitz

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My review

I have a thing for fairy tales, especially Hansel and Gretel. So when I saw A Tale Dark and Grimm at the library a few weeks ago, I couldn’t hesitate. I needed to read this book.

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Firstly, I thought the story was incredibly creative. It’s like the classic Hansel and Gretel  except in addition to the witch, they deal with many other scary beings and they move through different fairy tales. They decide they must choose their own fate and they’re trying to locate caretakers that aren’t dangerous and brutal toward them. In a nutshell, they’re trying to stay alive. In between certain tales and sections we have a narrator that lightens the mood and warns before something violent is about to happen. I liked that, but at times it was also distracting.

Secondly, is this seriously Juvenile Fiction for 3rd grade+? It seems way to gruesome for 3rd graders to be reading, but in a way the story is fairly simple which makes me have a love hate relationship with it as far as the reading level. I would put this into the 5-6th grade level, but not 3rd grade and that’s based solely on the content. The author is covering Grimm’s fairy tales here with added twists and I don’t necessarily feel that readers should be spared on the details, but maybe this should be listed for an older audience. It’s fairly sadistic at times. I’d say for younger readers it’s best to read with an adult.

Overall rating on this one is:

4-stars


Blurb

In this mischievous and utterly original debut, Hansel and Gretel walk out of their own story and into eight other classic Grimm-inspired tales. As readers follow the siblings through a forest brimming with menacing foes, they learn the true story behind (and beyond) the bread crumbs, edible houses, and outwitted witches.

Fairy tales have never been more irreverent or subversive as Hansel and Gretel learn to take charge of their destinies and become the clever architects of their own happily ever after.

Continue reading “A Tale Dark & Grimm (#1) by Adam Gidwitz”

This Week’s Children’s Book Favorites

This week I came across some great children’s books and can’t wait to share them with you. You can see all of my reviews below. If you want to add them on Goodreads, just click the cover.

The Bear Report

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This is such a cool book that teaches kids about polar bears in a fun way. It reminded me so much of The Polar Bear by Jenni Desmond.

Sophie has to do a book report on polar bears and all she can come up with is that they’re big, mean, and they eat things. After a visit with a real polar bear who takes her on a journey through its habitat, she learns much more.

The illustrations are amazing and the story is engaging and educational.

stars


The Secret Life of a Snowflake: An Up-Close Look at the Art and Science of Snowflakes

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The Secret Life of a Snowflake has to be one of the most beautiful children’s science books I’ve seen. The author, Dr. Kenneth Libbrecht, is a professor of physics and studies crystals. Not only does the book contain many photographs of Dr. Libbrecht’s snowflake finding’s, it also teaches facts about them. Many of these facts I never knew as an adult which makes this a book for everyone. Some of them include:

-Why is snow the color white?
-How are snowflakes made?
-Why are they all so different?
-Why do snowflakes all have 6 branches?

The author even covers the different states of water, clouds, the birth of a snowflake, and provides a pattern for cutting your own paper snowflake.

This is a wonderful book that would be perfect for applying in a science curriculum for kids. If you simply can’t wait to read this book, you can visit his website at www.snowcrystals.com. Here you will find countless photos of close-up snowflakes. Simply Amazing.

stars


Dormouse Dreams

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Dormouse Dreams is a children’s book about a little dormouse who is hibernating for the winter. There are so many things happening out in the snow. The fox will ski, the chickadees chitter, and the snow piles high, but the little dormouse is fast asleep. He dreams of adventures with his little dormouse friend, but will she ever arrive?

Fairly short sentences and an easy read makes this book perfect for younger readers. It works well as a read aloud book too. We loved the illustrations most.

4-stars Continue reading “This Week’s Children’s Book Favorites”

Carol Buckley’s Elephant Stories

I few months ago I read a book about Tarra the elephant and the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee. I recently read two more books by Carol Buckley and one of them covers Tarra’s life before she was sent to the Elephant Sanctuary. The other discusses a different elephant’s journey. You can see my reviews for both books below. If you’d like to see the original post on Tarra and Bella, you can click HERE.

Travels with Tarra by Carol Buckley:

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My review

Carol Buckley is the founder of the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee. In this book she talks about Tarra, the Asian elephant who was brought to America in 1974. Tarra was purchased to live at a tire store and the owner specifically purchased her in hope of increased sales. It was sad reading just the first page of this book because you start to realize the horror of a baby elephant being torn away from its mother in the wild and the loss of security that Tarra will now experience.

The story takes us through Tarra’s journey and how Carol Buckley meets her for the very first time. She instantly had an interest in Tarra and became a permanent fixture in Tarra’s cage. Carol began studying her and wanted to know everything about her. Children will learn about how Tarra learned how to skate, how Carol begins training her, and how she becomes part of the circus making her famous. Readers will also learn about Tarra’s relationships that she had with other elephants and dogs before her arrival at the Elephant Sanctuary.

The photography in this book is amazing and insightful. I learned so much more about Tarra that I never knew before. She had many  experiences and relationships in her life.  I would recommend this book to anyone who has a love for elephants or just want to know more about Tarra.

This book does have a series of links and information for classroom use.

stars

Here’s a video of Tarra at the Elephant Sanctuary. She can really make some different sounds!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsHz2v2Bi9U Continue reading “Carol Buckley’s Elephant Stories”

Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book

Today’s breakfast was simple and comparable to last week’s Breakfast and a Book in that I had strawberries again. :/ It’s common for me to have strawberries on Wednesdays because I pick up my local organic produce boxes on Tuesdays. I’ll try to make it more interesting next week, but today I do have a smoothie recipe for you!

Did you ever have those ice cream pops when you were a kid that tasted like pudding, but were a mix of chocolate and banana? They’re like these:

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Well that’s what this smoothie tastes like. It’s also a fairly healthy smoothie! You can either drink this smoothie, or you can freeze it into popsicle molds for summer. They are so good. We like these silicone type molds here on Amazon. Kids love these and in turn you can feel good that you’re giving them something healthy!

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Ingredients in this order:

1 cup almond milk (or 3/4 cup water and a handful of almonds)

5 bananas – preferably frozen but NOT required (line them up on a cookie sheet and freeze for 8 hours, then put them into a plastic bag)

2 heaping Tablespoons of cocoa powder

Stevia to taste

A large handful of ice (if you’re using frozen bananas, you don’t need much ice at all.)

Optional – If you have Blend it Up powder, a scoop of it is great in this smoothie. You can find it here or at Costco – https://www.blenditup.com/ It’s expensive, but worth every penny…

Load it all in the blender in this order… If using a Vitamix as pictured start on low and gradually move to the highest power and blend until smooth.

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I don’t like it super sweet so I normally use 2 packets of stevia. This recipe makes enough for roughly 4 people.

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I love my Vitamix and use it for so many recipes, even soup. If you want to get into smoothies I highly recommend the Vitamix or Blentec blender. I’ve had many blenders and the Vitamix is NUMBER 1 hands down. I know what’s good for one person isn’t necessarily good for another, but that DOESN’T apply here. Get a Vitamix! I’ll have a post soon on smoothies and equipment that I use.

20170510_085529.jpg Continue reading “Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book”

Guardians of the Galaxy: Beginnings Book Review + update

 

Guardians of the Galaxy: Beginnings is a book about the Guardian’s of the Galaxy from the very beginning. You can see my review below as well as the new “Guardians of the Galaxy” movie trailer which is in theaters TONIGHT!

18774185.jpgWe loved Guardians of the Galaxy: Beginnings. The book starts out explaining all about Peter Quill as a child and his origins. It explains about his father and how he had to leave Earth. Peter quickly determines he must journey to space to find his dad.

The illustrations were great and the reading wasn’t too complicated. It’s a very happy story and I didn’t find anything wrong with that. It’s perfect for any Guardians of the Galaxy fan.

Follow along and learn about Peter’s determination to find his father and how the Guardians of the Galaxy are formed with Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Groot, and Rocket.

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baby-groot.gif Continue reading “Guardians of the Galaxy: Beginnings Book Review + update”

The Star Thief by Lindsey Becker

I grabbed a copy of The Star Thief from Netgalley earlier this year after reading the blurb. I’m always looking for interesting reads for my middle grade readers. This one is quite long- a little more than 400 pages or so, but very adventurous and never boring. You can see my review below.

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The Star Thief by Lindsey Becker

Age Range: 9 – 12 years

Grade Level: 3 – 7

Hardcover: 416 pages

My review

 

The Star Thief by Lindsey Becker is a fantasy chapter book for middle grade ages but can be read by anyone who enjoys a good fantasy, including adults.

We loved all the characters, especially Honorine. The story moves fast and becomes an exciting adventure. The author is so imaginative to have created this story and the way she incorporated living constellations along with the detailed steamship makes it so fantastic and magical. This is a book I would’ve loved reading when I was in grade school.

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We loved the few illustrations that were included, but wanted more.

Looking forward to more from this author.

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Thank you Netgalley for sharing a copy of The Star Thief with me.

Blurb

Honorine’s life as as maid at the Vidalia mansion is rather dull, dusting treasures from faraway places and daydreaming in front of maps of the world. But everything changes when she catches two brutish sailors ransacking Lord Vidalia’s study, and then follows a mysterious girl with wings out into the night….

Suddenly, Honorine is whisked into the middle of a battle between the crew of a spectacular steamship and a band of mythical constellations. The stars in the sky have come to life to defend themselves against those who want to harness their powers. Much to her surprise, Honorine is the crux of it all, the center of an epic clash between magic and science, the old ways and the new. But can this spirited young girl bring both sides of a larger-than-life fight together before they unleash an evil power even older than the stars?

Continue reading “The Star Thief by Lindsey Becker”

Night Night, Groot by Brendan Deneen

The moment I saw that Marvel came out with a children’s story about Baby Groot I had to grab it. I love Guardians of the Galaxy and being that Baby Groot is my favorite character, my review may reflect that a little. 🙂

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Night Night, Groot is a picture book about Baby Groot’s busy day. Gamora is reading a night time story to him as he snuggles into bed.

Night Night,

Groot,

it’s time for bed.

Time to rest

your sleepy head.

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Children who like super heroes will love this book. It contains many Marvel heroes in addition to the Guardians characters. Baby Groot plays with Captain America, Captain Marvel, Black Widow, Hawkeye, and Rocket. Then, he battles villains with the Hulks, Thor, and Black Panther which even  includes a visit from Nova! What’s not to love about this book?

The illustrations by Cale Atkinson are super vibrant and perfectly detailed. It’s a simple read for early readers and a great read-aloud book for younger children. This would also make an awesome gift for any Marvel fan.

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It’s been a long day for baby Groot and he’s ready to be tucked in for bed. Just as his eyes start to close, Rocket Raccoon bursts onto the scene! Groot can’t go to sleep yet, there’s a whole galaxy that needs to be defended and they must work together to save the day! Then maybe, just maybe, Groot will finally get the rest he deserves!

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Continue reading “Night Night, Groot by Brendan Deneen”

Woolvs in the Sitee by Margaret Wild

I may be a little obsessed with Margaret Wild books here lately. I picked up another one the other day due to it’s interesting title which is misspelled along with an eerie looking cover. After starting the story I realized that many of the words are misspelled in the book which really adds to the darkness. You can read my review below…

My Review:

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The story takes place in a post-apocalyptic world and a boy named Ben is stuck in a house with barely any food or water. He’s scared of the outside world and believes that there are Woolvs waiting outside to get him.

“And soon they will Kum. 

They will Kum for me and for yoo

and for yor bruthers and sisters.

yor muthers and fathers. yor arnts and unkils.

yor grandfathers and grandmuthers.

No won is spared.”

He lives in an apartment building with an elderly woman named Mrs. Radinski and once saved by her, he now must return the favor and conquer his fears by leaving the building in which he resides to locate her.

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The misspelled and sketched words along with the black and watercolor illustrations add to the dismalness of the story.

Once again, Margaret Wild never ceases to amaze me with her powerful writing. The message this book sends is to be brave and overcome your fears. Never be afraid and take control of your life. This book is best suited for older children 6 grade and up. It’s content is too difficult for younger readers.

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Mother Bruce (Bruce #1) by Ryan T. Higgins

I picked up Mother Bruce at a book sale recently. It has such a cute cover and as soon as I read the blurb I could tell this would be a great book for kids to enjoy. You can see my review and some author information below…

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Mother Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins is a children’s book about a bear who loves to eat eggs and keep to himself. He’s sort of a grump and doesn’t seem to like anybody or anything, except for eggs.

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He enjoys heading out to find eggs and other ingredients that he can bring back home and use in new recipes that he finds while exploring the internet. He finally gets home with all of his ingredients and starts preparing his eggs for cooking until…

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Instead of hard boiled eggs, he’s now the mother of four brand new baby goslings!

Children will love the story because it’s so adorable and the drawn illustrations are cute and colorful. It’s any easy and engaging read. How will Bruce deal with caring for 4 baby goslings? Follow along in the story to find out how an unwelcome surprise can change everything.

This is one of my favorite children’s books that we’ve read in 2017 and I’m happy to have it added to our collection.

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Continue reading “Mother Bruce (Bruce #1) by Ryan T. Higgins”

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – The Movie Storybook

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – The Movie Storybook by Paddy Kempshall is a retelling of the first Hobbit movie An Unexpected Journey.

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The book retells the movie in a simple summary that even children can understand. It’s loaded with beautiful full page photographs and smaller ones in between. A few of the photographs look like paintings which offers a nice feel.

I haven’t read the original Hobbit story yet, but plan to this year. I personally loved The Hobbit movies which are continuously playing in our house. This book is certainly one to keep around. One of my favorite characters in The Hobbit movies is “Kili” played by Aiden Turner.

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I’m really looking forward to picking up the other two movie storybooks, Desolation of Smaug and The Battle of the Five Armies. (Natasha Hughes)

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Toby by Margaret Wild

I picked up a few more Margaret Wild books this week. She’s one of my favorite children’s book authors and this one really touched me. I seem to be picking some really emotional children’s books here lately. You can read my review below and see some author information as well.

My Review:

Toby by Margaret Wild is a book about a family dealing with an elderly dog named Toby. The book starts out explaining Toby at the age of fourteen and how he’s been big sister Sara’s dog his whole life. Sara is twelve now and is having a hard time dealing with the fact that old Toby just can’t do what he used to. She’s getting older too and dealing with her own stress at school, etc. It’s hard for her younger brothers to understand her as well. The children wonder why Toby can’t live forever.

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This has to be one of the most emotional children’s books I’ve read this year. The story feels genuine and anybody that’s gone through it can understand how difficult it is to say goodbye. Dogs become family and it’s hard to let them go. This story highlights the dynamics of a family dealing with loss. Each one of them deals with it differently.

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