Book Review: Coraline by Neil Gaiman #BookReview #Coraline

Coraline

by Neil Gaiman

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From Goodreads:

“Coraline discovered the door a little while after they moved into the house. . . .”

When Coraline steps through a door to find another house strangely similar to her own (only better), things seem marvelous.

But there’s another mother there, and another father, and they want her to stay and be their little girl. They want to change her and never let her go.

Coraline will have to fight with all her wit and courage if she is to save herself and return to her ordinary life. Continue reading “Book Review: Coraline by Neil Gaiman #BookReview #Coraline”

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum (100th Anniversary Edition)

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (Oz #1)

Written by L. Frank Baum

Illustrated by W. W. Denslow

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From Goodreads:

Journey to the spectacular land of Oz with The Wonderful Wizard of Oz! This classic tale from L. Frank Baum has enchanted readers for over a century. Now, in this stunning hundredth anniversary edition featuring the original illustrations by W.W. Denslow, new readers will learn the power of the phrase “There is no place like home.”

In this hardcover edition with high-quality reproductions of the original art, follow the adventures of young Dorothy Gale and her dog, Toto, as their Kansas house is swept away by a cyclone and they find themselves in a strange land called Oz.

Here she meets the Munchkins and joins the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, and the Cowardly Lion on an unforgettable journey to the Emerald City, where lives the all-powerful Wizard of Oz. Continue reading “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum (100th Anniversary Edition)”

Shabby Sunday: Beauty and the Beast by Marianna Mayer – Illustrated by Mercer Mayer – 1978

Shabby Sunday

I have a lot of old vintage books and one of my plans when I first started blogging was to do a post every week or so that shared one of my cherished vintage books. Then I thought there might be other book bloggers out there that have some vintage books, heirlooms, or maybe some old books from childhood that they might want to share. I decided to start a weekly meme titled ‘Shabby Sunday’ for those who would like to participate and share some of their old vintage books. Do you have some shabby books you’d like to share? If so, please feel free to participate as anyone can join. Feel free to use the picture I’ve provided if you’d like to. If you decide to do this meme, please consider linking back to me so that I can see the book you’re sharing.


Today’s Shabby Share is:

Beauty and the Beast

by Marianna Mayer – Illustrated by Mercer Mayer

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Continue reading “Shabby Sunday: Beauty and the Beast by Marianna Mayer – Illustrated by Mercer Mayer – 1978”

Book Review: A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Miserable Mill #4 #BookReview

A Series of Unfortunate Events:

The Miserable Mill #4

by Lemony Snicket

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From Goodreads:

Dear Reader,

I hope, for your sake, that you have not chosen to read this book because you are in the mood for a pleasant experience. If this is the case, I advise you to put this book down instantaneously, because of all the books describing the unhappy lives of the Baudelaire orphans, The Miserable Mill might be the unhappiest yet. Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire are sent to Paltryville to work in a lumber mill, and they find disaster and misfortune lurking behind every log.

The pages of this book, I’m sorry to inform you, contain such unpleasantries as a giant pincher machine, a bad casserole, a man with a cloud of smoke where his head should be, a hypnotist, a terrible accident resulting in injury, and coupons.

I have promised to write down the entire history of these three poor children, but you haven’t, so if you prefer stories that are more heartwarming, please feel free to make another selection.

With all due respect,

Lemony Snicket

Continue reading “Book Review: A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Miserable Mill #4 #BookReview”

Book Review: The Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo #BookReview #KateDiCamillo

The Tiger Rising

by Kate DiCamillo

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From Goodreads:

The National Book Award finalist from the best-selling author of BECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE – now in paperback 

Walking through the misty Florida woods one morning, twelve-year-old Rob Horton is stunned to encounter a tiger – a real-life, very large tiger – pacing back and forth in a cage. What’s more, on the same extraordinary day, he meets Sistine Bailey, a girl who shows her feelings as readily as Rob hides his. As they learn to trust each other, and ultimately, to be friends, Rob and Sistine prove that some things – like memories, and heartaches, and tigers – can’t be locked up forever. Continue reading “Book Review: The Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo #BookReview #KateDiCamillo”

Book Review: The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo #KateDiCamillo #UltimateReadingChallenge

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

by Kate DiCamillo

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From Goodreads:

“Someone will come for you, but first you must open your heart. . . .”

Once, in a house on Egypt Street, there lived a china rabbit named Edward Tulane. The rabbit was very pleased with himself, and for good reason: he was owned by a girl named Abilene, who treated him with the utmost care and adored him completely.

And then, one day, he was lost.

Continue reading “Book Review: The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo #KateDiCamillo #UltimateReadingChallenge”

Traveling the Blue Road: Poems of the Sea by Lee Bennett Hopkins – #NGEW2018 #NetGalley

Traveling the Blue Road: Poems of the Sea

by: Lee Bennett Hopkins (Editor)

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From Goodreads:

A 2018 Notable Poetry Book for Children (National Council of Teachers of English)

Selected for Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People 2018 by NCSS-CBC, a cooperative project of the National Council for the Social Studies and the Children’s Book Council

Traveling the Blue Road is a carefully curated collection of kid-friendly poetry about the ever inspiring subject of the ocean. Themes include pilgrimages, migration, culture, and more.

Prepare to be inspired by the sea with Traveling the Blue Road. This book is packed with gorgeous illustrations that surround a collection of poetry for children on the themes of the couragebeauty, and promise of sea voyages.

Continue reading “Traveling the Blue Road: Poems of the Sea by Lee Bennett Hopkins – #NGEW2018 #NetGalley”

Shabby Sunday: The Bremen-town Musicians – Ruth Belov Gross & Jack Kent 1974 (Including Audio)

Shabby Sunday

I have a lot of old vintage books and one of my plans when I first started blogging was to do a post every week or so that shared one of my cherished vintage books. Then I thought there might be other book bloggers out there that have some vintage books, heirlooms, or maybe some old books from childhood that they might want to share. I decided to start a weekly meme titled ‘Shabby Sunday’ for those who would like to participate and share some of their old vintage books. Do you have some shabby books you’d like to share? If so, please feel free to participate as anyone can join. Feel free to use the picture I’ve provided if you’d like to. If you decide to do this meme, please consider linking back to me so that I can see the book you’re sharing.


There’s a new participant this morning with a shabby share from her childhood! Please check out Jennifer @ jennifertarheelreader.com!


Today’s Shabby Share is:

The Bremen-Town Musicians

by

Jack Kent (Illustrator)
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Continue reading “Shabby Sunday: The Bremen-town Musicians – Ruth Belov Gross & Jack Kent 1974 (Including Audio)”

The Creature of the Pines (The Unicorn Rescue Society #1) by Adam Gidwitz Hatem Aly (Illustrator) #Book Review #UnicornRescueSociety #TheCreatureOfThePines #AdamGidwitz

The Creature of the Pines (The Unicorn Rescue Society #1)

by

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From Goodreads:

Elliot Eisner isn’t exactly excited about starting at a brand-new school in a brand-new town; he’d much rather stay at home and read a book. But things take an unexpected turn when he finds out his weird new teacher, Professor Fauna, has planned a field trip for Elliot’s very first day. Along with a new friend–brave, outspoken Uchenna Devereaux–Elliot gets caught up in a secret group of adventurers, The Unicorn Rescue Society, whose goal is to protect and defend the world’s mythical creatures. Together with Professor Fauna, Elliot and Uchenna must help rescue a Jersey Devil from a duo of conniving, greedy billionaires, the Schmoke Brothers. Continue reading “The Creature of the Pines (The Unicorn Rescue Society #1) by Adam Gidwitz Hatem Aly (Illustrator) #Book Review #UnicornRescueSociety #TheCreatureOfThePines #AdamGidwitz”

The Reptile Room (A Series of Unfortunate Events #2) by Lemony Snicket ~ Book Review ~ #UltimateReadingChallenge June

The Reptile Room (A Series of Unfortunate Events #2)

by
Lemony Snicket &
Brett Helquist (Illustrator)
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From Goodreads:

Dear Reader,

If you have picked up this book with the hope of finding a simple and cheery tale, I’m afraid you have picked up the wrong book altogether. The story may seem cheery at first, when the Baudelaire children spend time in the company of some interesting reptiles and a giddy uncle, but don’t be fooled. If you know anything at all about the unlucky Baudelaire children, you already know that even pleasant events lead down the same road to misery.

In fact, within the pages you now hold in your hands, the three siblings endure a car accident, a terrible odor, a deadly serpent, a long knife, a large brass reading lamp, and the appearance of a person they’d hoped never to see again.

I am bound to record these tragic events, but you are free to put this book back on the shelf and seek something lighter.

With all due respect,

Lemony Snicket

Continue reading “The Reptile Room (A Series of Unfortunate Events #2) by Lemony Snicket ~ Book Review ~ #UltimateReadingChallenge June”

Hat by Renée Paule & G.R. Hewitt: Book Review and GIVEAWAY!

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I read The Frightened Little Flower Bud last year by Renée Paule and G.R. Hewitt. It quickly became one of the best and most essential books in my children’s library. Here we are in 2018 and their newest book HAT is now one of my personal favorites and my #1 children’s read of the year. I’m amazed with how educational this book is and the many lessons it teaches.

The book opens with Bertie, an excellent gardener who loves his old brown, floppy hat.

20180612_100206.jpg Continue reading “Hat by Renée Paule & G.R. Hewitt: Book Review and GIVEAWAY!”

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Harry Potter #1) Illustrated Edition by J.K. Rowling & Jim Kay ~ Book Review #UltimateReadingChallenge May

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Harry Potter #1)

by 

J.K. Rowling, Jim Kay (Illustrator)

 

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From Goodreads:

The beloved first book of the Harry Potter series, now fully illustrated by award-winning artist Jim Kay.

For the first time, J.K. Rowling’s beloved Harry Potter books will be presented in lavishly illustrated full-color editions. Kate Greenaway-award winning artist Jim Kay has created over 100 stunning illustrations, making this deluxe format a perfect gift as much for a child being introduced to the series, as for the dedicated fan.

Harry Potter has never been the star of a Quidditch team, scoring points while riding a broom far above the ground. He knows no spells, has never helped to hatch a dragon, and has never worn a cloak of invisibility.

All he knows is a miserable life with the Dursleys, his horrible aunt and uncle, and their abominable son, Dudley–a great big swollen spoiled bully. Harry’s room is a tiny closet at the foot of the stairs, and he hasn’t had a birthday party in eleven years.

But all that is about to change when a mysterious letter arrives by owl messenger: a letter with an invitation to an incredible place that Harry–and anyone who reads about him—will find unforgettable.

Continue reading “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Harry Potter #1) Illustrated Edition by J.K. Rowling & Jim Kay ~ Book Review #UltimateReadingChallenge May”

Blog Tour & Book Review: As Good As Gold: A Dog’s Life in Poems by Patricia Furstenberg #AsGoodAsGold

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As Good As Gold: A dog’s life in poems

Author: Patricia Furstenberg

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Synopsis:

As engaging as a tail wag

Celebrating the simple things in life as seen through the eyes of our old time favourite furry friends, “As Good as Gold” is a volume of poetry revealing the talent and humour we always knew our dogs possessed.

Dogs are full of questions, yet they are famed sellers of innocence especially when it comes to explaining their mishaps and often foolish effervescence through ponderings such as “Why IS a Cat Not Like a Dog”, “As Brown as Chocolate”, “Silver Stars and Puppy Tail” or, best yet, “Dog or Book?”

A book with an enormous heart for readers of all ages, it includes 35 poems and haiku accompanied by expressive portraits of our canine friends. Continue reading “Blog Tour & Book Review: As Good As Gold: A Dog’s Life in Poems by Patricia Furstenberg #AsGoodAsGold”

Playing Atari with Saddam Hussein by Jennifer Roy and Ali Fadhil- Book Review

Playing Atari with Saddam Hussein: Based on a True Story

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Blurb from Goodreads: At the start of 1991, eleven-year-old Ali Fadhil was consumed by his love for soccer, video games, and American television shows. Then, on January 17, Iraq’s dictator Saddam Hussein went to war with thirty-four nations lead by the United States.

Over the next forty-three days, Ali and his family survived bombings, food shortages, and constant fear. Ali and his brothers played soccer on the abandoned streets of their Basra neighborhood, wondering when or if their medic father would return from the war front. Cinematic, accessible, and timely, this is the story of one ordinary kid’s view of life during war.

Continue reading “Playing Atari with Saddam Hussein by Jennifer Roy and Ali Fadhil- Book Review”

Snow & Rose by Emily Winfield Martin – Book Review

Snow & Rose

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Blurb from Goodreads:

New York Times bestselling author-illustrator brings readers into the woods to meet two young sisters and a strange bit of magic in this reimagining of the classic but little-known fairy tale “Snow White and Rose Red.”

Snow and Rose didn’t know they were in a fairy tale. People never do….

Once, they lived in a big house with spectacular gardens and an army of servants.

Once, they had a father and mother who loved them more than the sun and moon.

But that was before their father disappeared into the woods and their mother disappeared into sorrow.

This is the story of two sisters and the enchanted woods that have been waiting for them to break a set of terrible spells.

Bestselling author-illustrator Emily Winfield Martin has created a world that sits on the border of enchantment, with characters who are grounded in real emotions that readers will recognize in themselves. Continue reading “Snow & Rose by Emily Winfield Martin – Book Review”

From the Heart of Africa: A Book of Wisdom by Eric Walters – Book Review

From the Heart of Africa: A Book of Wisdom

by Eric Walters (Compiler)
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Summary: A collection of African wisdom gorgeously illustrated by artists from Ghana, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Canada, the United States and more.

Aphorisms are universal. They give guidance, context and instruction for life’s issues, and they help us understand each other and the world around us. We use them every day, yet never think about where they came from or why they exist.

In this beautifully illustrated collection, Eric Walters brings us classic sayings from the places where this shared wisdom began. Ashanti, Sukuma, Akan and Kikuyu: all of these cultures use the portable and easily shared knowledge contained in aphorisms, and from these cultures and more this communal knowledge spread.

This book is a celebration of art, of community and of our common history.

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My Thoughts:

From the Heart of Africa: A Book of Wisdom is a compilation of fifteen different aphorisms/proverbs compiled by Eric Walters. Each proverb includes its origin, meaning, and a vivid gorgeous artwork.

I was pleased that some of the proverbs were familiar to me while others were new. One of my favorites is “Many hands make light work” because it’s one that I discuss with my children often about teamwork and how important it is. The artwork is amazing and we enjoyed reading about the different artists in the back of the book. The note from Eric Walters along with the Foreword introduces why aphorisms are so important and why we use them. Readers will also learn about Creation of Hope, an organization founded by Eric Walters that helps orphans in Kenya. A portion of the proceeds from the purchase of this book is donated to the orphans of Creation of Hope which helps pay for their education.

This is a wonderful book to have on the shelf and It’s ideal for classrooms and libraries. Both educational and thought-provoking, this is truly a perfect book for children and adults of all ages. I was fortunate to win this on a giveaway and feel so lucky to have this delightful book full of knowledge to share with my children.

5*****

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“With great pleasure, I offer my endorsement of this book which shares the eternal wisdom of the peoples of Africa. Read, enjoy, share and remember: we are all one people.” – Kivutha Kibwana, Governor, Makueni County, Kenya

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Continue reading “From the Heart of Africa: A Book of Wisdom by Eric Walters – Book Review”

The Magic Finger by Roald Dahl – Book Review

The Magic Finger

by Roald DahlQuentin Blake (Illustrator)
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Summary from Goodreads:

What happens when the hunter becomes the hunted?

To the Gregg family, hunting is just plain fun. To the girl who lives next door, it’s just plain horrible. She tries to be polite. She tries to talk them out of it, but the Greggs only laugh at her. Then one day the Greggs go too far, and the little girl turns her Magic Finger on them. When she’s very, very angry, the little girl’s Magic Finger takes over. She really can’t control it, and now it’s turned the Greggs into birds! Before they know it, the Greggs are living in a nest, and that’s just the beginning of their problems…

My Thoughts:

The Magic Finger by Roald Dahl is a story about a girl with a magic finger. She lives next door to the Gregg family who like to hunt for fun and this makes her very angry. She doesn’t think it’s right for people to hunt animals for fun and when she gets angry, her finger takes control. Her magic finger has a special lesson in store, but the big problem is not knowing exactly what will happen when she uses it.

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The story teaches a huge lesson to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. I read this with two of my younger children and we all enjoyed it. It’s certainly thought-provoking and inspired an entire conversation with my family about eating meat and how we should be responsible and care for the animals we have. It will also get you thinking about why it’s important to control your disposition because actions always have consequences.

5*****

Find this on Goodreads and Amazon
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  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Puffin (July 2, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141346515
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141346519

Continue reading “The Magic Finger by Roald Dahl – Book Review”

The Last Panther by Todd Mitchell – Book Review & Author Interview

A few weeks ago I read The Last Panther by Todd Mitchell. I was lucky to also  get an interview with the author to share with everyone. You can see my review of the book and the author interview below. I do hope you enjoy!

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The Last Panther

by Todd Mitchell

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The Last Panther

Blurb: For fans of “The One and Only Ivan” and “Hoot, ” this is the uplifting story of a girl who discovers a family of panthers that were thought to be extinct, and her journey to save the species.

Eleven-year-old Kiri has a secret: wild things call to her. More than anyone else, she’s always had a special connection to animals.

But when Kiri has an encounter with the last known Florida panther, her life is quickly turned on end. Caught between her conservationist father, who wants to send the panther to a zoo, and the village poachers, who want to sell it to feed their families, Kiri must embark on a journey that will take her deep into the wilderness.

There has to be some way to save the panther, and for her da and the villagers to understand each other. If Kiri can’t figure out what it is, she’ll lose far more than the panthers she’ll lose the only home she s ever known, and the only family she has left.

My Review:

Kiri lives with her father, who is a conservationist, in the ghost forest near a dangerous swamp. He’s considered a waller (city dweller) and not far from their home are the fugees, the original habitants of the forest. Wallers are considered the wealthy ones and have what they need to survive while tending to preserve the environment and the species that are still living, while fugees consistently need to search for food so they won’t die of starvation or sickness. Fugees will do whatever it takes to feed their community and that includes killing whatever they can catch, including animals that are endangered, if need be. They don’t have much of a choice as the damaged ecosystem they live in has left them with little resources.

Kiri’s mother, who has previously passed away, was once a fugee and Kiri is now caught between two worlds having a waller for a father. The fugees detest the wallers and they simply don’t agree on anything. For this reason, Kiri doesn’t want to be considered a waller and would rather keep the peace between both groups. She doesn’t necessarily agree that the fugees should be hunting these ‘once-were’ creatures, but she understands them concurrently. When Kiri surprisingly discovers a panther she’s never seen before–a beautiful creature she connects with and knows she must protect–not only does she need to protect the panther, but she has to find a way to keep her cubs safe too. From this point, Kiri goes into survivor mode and does all that she can to stop the hunters and trappers from killing the panther, even it means she must go against her father’s wishes. What will Kiri do? She’s a courageous and spirited young girl, always standing up for what she believes in, but will she alone be enough to protect the last panther and its cubs?

After seeing the beautiful cover and reading the blurb, I took a chance and bought a copy for our home library. I’m always in search of stories that I can read with my children, especially those I can enjoy myself. I particularly relished the sweet parts in the story from Kiri’s companionship with Snowflake, her pet rat, to her friendship with Paulo. I found it compelling and full of action and adventure. The mystical world and rich plot that Todd Mitchell has created draws you in and makes you feel like you’re part of Kiri’s journey. It’s un-predictable and written well. I also appreciated that the story provokes questions about climate change and brings attention to the importance of caring for our environment now, as animals are experiencing high levels of endangerment as our world is ever-changing.

This is one I’m pleased to have for my family and I’m overjoyed that it turned out to be such an awesome read. This is a perfect middle-grade read for classrooms and libraries, but essentially, it’s great for all ages. I honestly can’t wait to see what other books Todd Mitchell writes in the future.

My rating: 5*****

Find this book on Amazon and Goodreads:

  • Age Range: 8 – 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 – 7
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (August 22, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399555587
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399555589

Continue reading “The Last Panther by Todd Mitchell – Book Review & Author Interview”

Shabby Sunday: Owl Moon by Jane Yolen and John Schoenherr – 1987

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Shabby Sunday

I have a lot of old vintage books and one of my plans when I first started blogging was to do a post every week or so that shared one of my cherished vintage books. Then I thought that maybe there might be other book bloggers out there that have some vintage books, heirlooms, or maybe some old books from childhood that they might want to share. I decided to start a weekly meme titled ‘Shabby Sunday’ for those who would like to participate and share some of their old vintage books. Do you have some shabby books you’d like to share? Please feel free to participate. Feel free to use the picture I’ve provided if you’d like to. If you decide to do this meme, please consider linking back to me so that I can see the book you’re sharing.


Today’s shabby share is:

Owl Moon 

by Jane YolenJohn Schoenherr (Illustrator) 

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Blurb: Late one winter night a little girl and her father go owling. The trees stand still as statues and the world is silent as a dream. Whoo-whoo-whoo, the father calls to the mysterious nighttime bird.

But there is no answer.

Wordlessly the two companions walk along, for when you go owling you don’t need words. You don’t need anything but hope. Sometimes there isn’t an owl, but sometimes there is.

Distinguished author Jane Yolen has created a gentle, poetic story that lovingly depicts the special companionship of a young child and her father as well as humankind’s close relationship to the natural world. Wonderfully complemented by award-winning John Schoenherr’s soft, exquisite watercolor illustrations, this is a verbal and visual treasure, perfect for reading aloud and sharing at bedtime.

My Thoughts:

I chose this book because it’s one of my personal favorites from when I was a child and now its cherished by my children as well.

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Owl Moon is a striking story that takes you on a journey through the winter woods in search of owls. The little child has been waiting to go owling with Pa for a very long time. The story rather reads like poetry.

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Our feet crunched over the crisp snow and little gray footprints followed us. Pa made a long shadow, but mine was short and round. I had to run after him every now and then to keep up, and my short, round, shadow bumped after me.”

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John Schoenherr’s illustrated imagery paints the perfect winter impression and this is a ideal book for bedtime that highlights the companionship between parent and child.

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Our copy is an old Scholastic paperback edition from 1988. It’s in fairly good shape with clean pages.

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This is surely one we’ll keep…

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Continue reading “Shabby Sunday: Owl Moon by Jane Yolen and John Schoenherr – 1987”

Animals at Night by Anne Jankeliowitch and Delphine Chedru: Children’s Book Review #NGEW2018 #2

Animals at Night

by Anne JankeliowitchDelphine Chedru (illustrator)Eve Bodeux (translator)
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BlurbWhat do animals do at night?

For humans, the setting sun marks the end of the day and signals to us that it’s time to go to sleep. But while people are quietly dreaming in their beds, there’s a whole world of animals that’s just waking up! Who are they, what do they do until morning, and how do they move, see, and hunt in the dark?

Features glow-in-the-dark content on all 32 pages!

 My Thoughts:

Animals At Night is a glow-in-the-dark book about nocturnal animals and their activities at night. It covers nocturnal animals in the forest, rivers, beaches, ponds, mountains, fields and orchards, and even animals you might find in your local neighborhood, on country roads, or on a farm.

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This is a perfect bedtime book due to the glow-in-the-dark pages. It’s also jam-packed with facts about animals with short descriptions for each. Kids will learn about the mysteries of some of these animals like why birds sing when they do, why these animals like the night in the first place, how they see in the dark, and why owls are such good hunters.

The book has an interactive feel as each section asks a question about something in that section and the answers to those questions can be found in the back of the book.

The age level for this book is listed at grades 3-7 which seems about right. The text is pretty easy to read, but might be more difficult for preschool through first graders to read all by themselves depending on their reading level. We loved the illustrations and using the book in the dark. Because I’m reviewing this one late, we were able to get a hardcover version to enjoy.

Thanks to Netgalley, the publisher, and the author’s for a review copy in exchange for a review.

4****

Continue reading “Animals at Night by Anne Jankeliowitch and Delphine Chedru: Children’s Book Review #NGEW2018 #2”

Halloween Reads for Children #3 – Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman and S.D. Schindler

Every day until Halloween I’ll post one of our favorite children’s reads for the fall and Halloween season which will end with a grand finale on Halloween!

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Today’s pick is:

Big Pumpkin

by Erica SilvermanS.D. Schindler (Illustrator)

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Blurb: The witch has grown the biggest pumpkin ever, and now she wants to make herself a pumpkin pie for Halloween. But the pumpkin is so big she can’t get it off the vine.

It’s so big the ghost can’t move it, either. Neither can the vampire, nor the mummy. It looks as if there’ll be no pumpkin pie for Halloween, until along comes the bat with an idea to save the day.

How can the tiny bat succeed where bigger and strong spooky creatures have failed? You’ll be surprised!

Book Details:

Format: Paperback Publication Date: 9/1/1995 Pages: 32 Reading Level: Age 4 and Up

  • Age Range: 4 – 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool – 3
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Aladdin; Reprint edition (September 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689801297
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689801297

Find on Amazon and Goodreads


My Thoughts:

As soon as we saw this on the Halloween table at Barnes and Noble, we had to grab it. It a book about a witch who grows a giant pumpkin! She plants the seed and watches it grow with plans to make a pumpkin pie, but the pumpkin is so gigantic, she can’t even remove it from the vine. The ghost thinks he can help, then the vampire, then the mummy, but not one of them is strong enough. Will a little bat be the answer? Follow along in the story to see if they can devise a plan as a team and finally enjoy some delicious pumpkin pie and good company.

We loved the story and colorful illustrations which aren’t scary at all. It has the perfect amount of text per page for young readers. It’s great with or without the audio and if you’d like, you can see and hear the book on YouTube. The ending is a wonderful surprise.

My rating on this one is 4****

4-stars


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Continue reading “Halloween Reads for Children #3 – Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman and S.D. Schindler”

Halloween Reads For Children #2 – Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark 1-3

Every day until Halloween I’ll post one of our favorite children’s reads for the fall and Halloween season which will end with a grand finale on Halloween!

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Today’s pick is:

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark:

Books 1-3

1- Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark: Collected from American Folklore (Scary Stories #1)

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Blurb: This spooky addition to Alvin Schwartz’s popular books on American folklore is filled with tales of eerie horror and dark revenge that will make you jump with fright.

There is a story here for everyone — skeletons with torn and tangled flesh who roam the earth; a ghost who takes revenge on her murderer; and a haunted house where every night a bloody head falls down the chimney.

Stephen Gammell’s splendidly creepy drawings perfectly capture the mood of more than two dozen scary stories — and even scary songs — all just right for reading alone or for telling aloud in the dark. If You Dare!

Find on Amazon and Goodreads

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Series: Scary Stories Scary Stories
  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: HarperColl; 1st edition (January 24, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0397319266
  • ISBN-13: 978-0397319268

My Thoughts:

This is a great collection of short scary stories for kids to enjoy. It’s a book that I enjoyed as a child and can now share with my own kids. Some of the stories are pretty scary and best for older readers, but a few of them can be read to younger readers as well. There are plenty of traditional ghost stories, retellings and folklore to enjoy. The black and white illustrations add even more eeriness!

A few of our favorites include The White Wolf, The Guests, The Wendigo, The Girl Who Stood on a Grave, and The Attic.

I really enjoyed reading the references in the back of the book which explain the tales and where they originated.

5 Sterne


2- More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (Scary Stories #2)

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Blurb: All those who enjoyed shuddering their way through Alvin Schwartz’s first volume of Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark will find a satisfyingly spooky sequel in this new collection of the macabre, the funny, and the fantastic.Is it possible to die — and not know it? What if a person is buried too soon? What happens to a thief foolish enough to rob a corpse, or to a murderer whose victim returns from the grave? Read about these terrifying predicaments as well as what happens when practical jokes produce gruesome consequences and initiations go awry.Stephen Gammell’s splendidly creepy drawings perfectly capture the mood of more than two dozen scary stories — and even a scary song — all just right for reading alone or for telling aloud in the dark. If You Dare!

Find on Amazon and Goodreads

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Series: Scary Stories Scary Stories
  • Library Binding: 112 pages
  • Publisher: HarperColl (August 21, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0397320825
  • ISBN-13: 978-0397320820

My Thoughts:

Here’s another scary story collection that’s perfect for this time of year. Some of these are downright horrifying, but so much fun.

A few of our favorites are: Something was Wrong, The Cat’s Paw, Ba-Rooom!, which includes the simple sheet music we enjoy playing on the piano, Wonderful Sausage, and One Sunday Morning.

One of my favorite sections in the book contains the sources which explain the tales, adaptations, retellings and even different variations. Some even have a little history with them which explains where these tales were heard and when. The illustrations by Stephen Gammell are perfect and never disappoint!

5 Sterne

Irish Washerman Tune – “Ba-Room”

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The Cat’s Paw

Continue reading “Halloween Reads For Children #2 – Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark 1-3”

Halloween Reads For Children #1 – Creepy Pair of Underwear!

Every day until Halloween I’ll post one of our favorite children’s reads for the fall and Halloween season which will end with a grand finale on Halloween!

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Today’s pick is:

Creepy Pair of Underwear!

by Aaron ReynoldsPeter Brown (Illustrator)

 

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Blurb: Jasper Rabbit is NOT a little bunny anymore. He’s not afraid of the dark, and he’s definitely not afraid of something as silly as underwear. But when the lights go out, suddenly his new big rabbit underwear glows in the dark. A ghoulish, greenish glow. If Jasper didn’t know any better he’d say his undies were a little, well, creepy. Jasper’s not scared obviously, he’s just done with creepy underwear. But after trying everything to get rid of them, they keep coming back!

My Thoughts:

We loved Creepy Carrots, so when we saw that Creepy Pair of Underwear came out, we couldn’t resist and had to grab it!

The story begins with Jasper Rabbit as he heads to the store with his mom to pick up some new underwear. He notices a new underwear section featuring creepy underwear and mom agrees that he can purchase them. He’s feeling so grown up and can’t wait to wear them to bed that night.

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When his mom shuts off the light, he notices that the underwear actually glows in the dark. He realizes that they are a little TOO creepy and becomes afraid! Jasper is a big rabbit and convinces himself that he’s not scared, or is he? He tries to hide the creepy underwear with the ghoulish glow in multiple places and even sends them to China, but they keep coming back.

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Follow along in the story and discover if Jasper can find a way to overcome his fear of the creepy pair of underwear.

We loved the illustrations and the story is adorable. Our rating on this one is 5-stars.

5 Sterne

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Continue reading “Halloween Reads For Children #1 – Creepy Pair of Underwear!”

Shabby Sunday: Frankenstein by Ian Thorne – Monster Series 1977

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Today is my 8th Shabby Sunday! To see all the Shabby Sunday books that I’ve chosen, please click on ‘Shabby Sunday’ under categories.


Shabby Sunday Meme

I have a lot of old vintage books and one of my plans when I first started blogging was to do a post every week or so that shared one of my cherished vintage books. Then, I thought that maybe there might be other book bloggers out there that have some vintage books, heirlooms, or maybe some old books from childhood that they might want to share. I decided to start a weekly meme titled ‘Shabby Sunday’ for those who would like to participate and share some of their old vintage books. Do you have some shabby books you’d like to share? Please feel free to participate. Feel free to use the picture I’ve provided if you’d like to. If you decide to do this meme, please consider linking back to me so that I can see the book you’re sharing.


 

Today’s shabby share is:

Frankenstein (Monsters Series)

by Ian Thorne

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The cover on this one features Lon Chaney Jr. as the monster in “Ghost of Frankenstein.”
Blurb: Briefly discusses the origin of the Frankenstein legend and the portrayal of Dr. Frankenstein and his creation in films. Also presents a synopsis of the 1931 film starring Boris Karloff.

I chose this book because it’s a childhood favorite from 1977, my birth year. This entire series is actually quite rare and expensive to build. As of now, I only have two of the entire set which includes King Kong and this Frankenstein book featured here. I’m not even sure how many there are in the set, but so far, these are the titles I’ve located online.

The Blob
Frankenstein
Frankenstein meets wolfman
The Wolfman
King Kong
Mad Scientists
The Creature from the Black Lagoon
Dracula
The Mummy
The Deadly Mantis
It Came from Outer Space
The Murder in the Rue Morgue
The Invisible Man
Godzilla

My Thoughts:

The Frankenstein installment in the “Monsters Series” begins with a fairly complete summary of the very first “Frankenstein” movie from 1910. There are many photos from the original film with captions that explain what’s happening in the picture and also gives the character names. It even explains facts about the original creator of “Frankenstein” –  Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin aka Mary Shelley, and how the story came about.

As the story moves on, readers learn about subsequent Frankenstein movies, the actors who played the roles in the films, and even a little bit about “The Munsters” – one of my favorite shows when I was a kid. It ends with a synopsis of the 1974 TV version “Frankenstein: The True Story.”

Overall, I love this “Monsters Series” edition and I’m happy to have it. My edition is really shabby with markings and stickers as it was a previous library book that I picked up at a sale. I can still remember reading this series in grade school and we always called them “the orange monster books.” I hope to complete the entire set in the future. My rating for this edition is 5-stars.


Add it on Goodreads or find this edition on Amazon

  • Series: Monsters Series
  • Library Binding: 46 pages
  • Publisher: Crestwood House; Library Binding edition (June 1977)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0913940666
  • ISBN-13: 978-0913940662

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Continue reading “Shabby Sunday: Frankenstein by Ian Thorne – Monster Series 1977”

The Frightened Little Flower Bud by Renée Paule and Godfrey R. Hewitt – Book Review and Author Interviews

I had the pleasure of reading The Frightened Little Flower Bud last month, a children’s book by Renée Paule and Godfrey R. Hewitt. Below, you can see my thoughts on the book and also read the interviews with  Renée and Godfrey.

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The Frightened Little Flower Bud

by Renée Paule (Author/Illustrator)G.R. Hewitt(Author/Illustrator)

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Blurb: The story begins with a seed landing in a pretty garden where it begins to grow and eventually forms a little flower bud. But, the little flower bud becomes frightened of things she ‘hears on the wind’; such as the sun that might scorch her petals, the rain that might spoil them, the wind that might blow them away – so the flower doesn’t want to bloom. However, all flowers must bloom, and as the little flower bud opens her petals she overcomes her fears one by one.

The more we think about our fears, the more they overwhelm us. This book teaches children (of all ages) that fear is just a feeling that holds them back from living their lives to the full.

To add to the fun and develop observational skills there’s a ‘Did You See’ activity page at the back with objects from the book that children may not have noticed whilst reading it. There are also some simple questions that can be asked of children, encouraging them to think about what they’ve read. The skill level required is ‘easy’.

My Thoughts:

The story is about a little flower bud who is afraid to bloom because of the rumors she’s heard “on the wind” about how she might be scorched by the sun, drenched by the rain, blown by the wind, and stung by bees. She also worries if she’ll be good enough and asks herself, “Will I be beautiful like the other flowers?” As time moves on and she continues to change, everything that she worried about becomes a thing of the past and she blooms into a beautiful flower until it’s time for her to pass on her seeds for new flowers the following season.

The book’s crucial message couldn’t have come at a better time. In this day and age, our children are becoming more influenced by their peers, the media, and even family. Passing some of our own negative fears and beliefs to our children is also possible as we ourselves, at times, are dealing with our own set of stresses and negative emotions. The story reminds us that we don’t need to harbor these negative thoughts at all. By the time I got to the end of the book, I realized this has to be one of the best children’s books I’ve read with powerful messages for all ages. What were some of the messages we took away from the book? Don’t ever be afraid because of something you hear. No matter what somebody else says, don’t let it get in the way of your goals and live your life to the fullest. Most importantly, be yourself!

The book can be read by children entirely on their own, but really strikes up good conversation and for younger children, I believe it’s best read with an adult. It’s very thought-provoking and children will begin to think about some of their own fears. I think school teachers can incorporate this into their curriculum as well. My children who are ages four, six, nine, and eleven, all enjoyed it and even my 17-year-old enjoyed discussing it with us.

We thoroughly admired the bright, colorful, and detailed illustrations. These illustrations give us a nice sense of nature which is something many of us have lost touch with as our lives have become electronic and sometimes disconnected from Earth. There’s even a section for young readers to go back throughout the book with a ‘look and find’ list of animals and children will learn about a what type of flower the frightened flower bud is.

I appreciated the addition of the authors’ notes in the back of the book where you can read about the authors’ thoughts on the book and also learn a little bit about them. I’m so pleased to have this added to my home library and believe this book should be in every school and library so that all can enjoy it, not just children, as it’s a book for all ages!

My rating for this book is 5*****

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You can find this book on Goodreads and Amazon. There are two different spellings. Find the British spelling book HERE and the American spelling HERE.

  • Paperback: 40 pages
  • Publisher: RPG Publishing; American Spelling edition (September 27, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0993509843
  • ISBN-13: 978-0993509841

A few illustrations from the book:

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Did you enjoy reading as a child? What are some of your childhood favorites?

Renée I never read much as a child – I found the task tedious and preferred to remain with my own thoughts.

Godfrey I enjoyed reading Enid Blyton amongst others. My favourite children’s books have always been ‘The Wind in the Willows’ by Kenneth Grahame and ‘Winnie the Pooh’ by A. A. Milne.


What influenced you to write this book?

Renée Like with most people, the idea just popped into my head and Godfrey and I developed it from there. There are some beautiful places to see in Co. Leitrim and lots of flowers coming and going. The symbology is always clear (life is a cycle).

Godfrey I was invited to co-write and illustrate it – so I thought ‘Why not?’


What was the hardest part about writing this book?

Renée – As you know, I usually write for adults so had to start thinking about how a child would receive this book and whether or not the ‘bees’ or ‘dying’ image would scare them.

After speaking to teachers, we were reminded of the horrors that our children read all the time – such as ‘The Three Little Pigs’ and ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ – so what we were tackling was mild in comparison.

Godfrey– Knowing when it was finished and needed no more tweaking.


How long did it take you to write it?

Renée – It took six months to get it just the way we wanted it – the illustrations are intricate.


What message would you like people to take away from The Frightened Little Flower Bud?

Renée – Never be afraid of anything, particularly your own thoughts.

Godfrey– Things are never as bad as they appear to be.


What do you think makes a great children’s book?

Renée One that can reach them and encourage them to think for themselves – better still, a book that encourages them to think for themselves and leaves them feeling happier than they were before.

Godfrey– One that children can get lost in – the return to reality is a disappointment. One that stays with you all day and you look forward to getting back to reading it. One that leaves you with a great sense of loss when you turn the last page.


Was anything edited out and did you have alternate endings for the book?

Renée – An image of a mole was removed because we wanted to keep the book Irish and there are no moles in Ireland – we replaced it with a rabbit.

Godfrey– There was no possible alternative ending.

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Who designed the illustrations and cover?

Renée – we worked on the illustrations together. Godfrey did most of the landscapes but also helped me with expressions and ideas. We work very well together. Godfrey designed the cover.


Do you have future plans to write more children’s books and can we expect more illustrations?

Renée – Yes … saying no more at this stage. I am, however, also working on another adult’s book so time is precious right now.


Do you have any favorite children’s book authors and do any influence your writing?

Renée – We’re influenced by everything we read whether we want to be or not.

Godfrey– As I said above, I always loved Enid Blyton’s books – also Roald Dahl, Kenneth Grahame, Philip Pullman and others too numerous to mention.


How do you publish and market your books?

Renée – We are taking it into garden centres, schools and book shops – and anywhere else we can think of – and pushing it ourselves. It’s a hard slog and why time is precious right now. This book was rejected by 16 odd publishers and also by distributors, even though they enjoyed reading it. We still have a lot to do.


Do you have any advice for others on publishing and marketing?

Renée – Never give up. Never take ‘No’ for an answer. If you believe in what you’re doing don’t allow others to reject it in your own mind.

Godfrey– I agree with Renée. It’s also important to have your book edited. If you self-publish be prepared to work hard and get your book known – there’s a lot of competition!


Do you have anything else you’d like to add?

Renée and Godfrey – Thanks for the chance to talk about our book. We had a lot of fun putting it together.

I’d like to thank Renée and Godfrey for taking the time to complete this Q&A.

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Continue reading “The Frightened Little Flower Bud by Renée Paule and Godfrey R. Hewitt – Book Review and Author Interviews”

Shabby Sunday: A Child’s Garden of Delights – 1987

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Today is my 7th Shabby Sunday! To see all the Shabby Sunday books that I’ve chosen, please click on ‘Shabby Sunday’ under categories.


Shabby Sunday Meme

I have a lot of old vintage books and one of my plans when I first started blogging was to do a post every week or so that shared one of my cherished vintage books. Then, I thought that maybe there might be other book bloggers out there that have some vintage books, heirlooms, or maybe some old books from childhood that they might want to share. I decided to start a weekly meme titled ‘Shabby Sunday’ for those who would like to participate and share some of their old vintage books. Do you have some shabby books you’d like to share? Please feel free to participate. Feel free to use the picture I’ve provided if you’d like to. If you decide to do this meme, please consider linking back to me so that I can see the book you’re sharing.


Today’s shabby share is:

A Child’s Garden of Delights

by Bernard McTigue

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Blurb: Eighty-five selections from the collections of the New York Public Library. Includes Mother Goose, “Wind in the Willows,” Pinocchio, fairy tales, Mark Twain, Tolstoy, Blakely, and other treasures.

I chose this book because it’s a childhood favorite from 1987. It seems to be quite rare and not very popular. I think anyone who has children around or who are interested in children’s literature would enjoy this book.


My Thoughts

A Child’s Garden of Delights: Pictures, Poems, and Stories for Children is an anthology of children’s stories and more from the collections of the New York Public Library.

“The Charm of the anonymous early English and American selections proves that in the field of children’s literature there was a genius shared by all its practitioners, from the humblest to the most illustrious. To browse through this collection will be a voyage of discovery for young readers and a happy voyage of rediscovery of beloved favorites for older ones.”

This treasure trove has over 80 stories, poems, fables, and nursery rhymes with original illustrations. The illustrations are a mix of color and black and white. It’s an enchanting book. I love that it begins with selections for the youngest readers and progresses on to more difficult readings for older children.

There are tons of authors and great artists including: Rudyard Kipling, Alexander Calder, Charles Kingsley, Leo Tolstoy, Oscar Wilde, Mark Twain, Nathanial Hawthorne, Clement Clark Moore, Louisa May Alcott, William Blake, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, Pushkin, and many more.

Stories include some of our favorites like: Pinocchio, Old Mother Hubbard, Humpty Dumpty, The Elephants Child, The Ugly Little Duck, Millions of Cats, Aesop’s Fables, A Visit from St. Nicholas, The Wolf and the Dog, The Lion and the Puppy, The Selfish Giant, The Woodcutters Dog, and so many more.

I know well that only the rarest kind of best can be good enough for the young. – Walter De La Mare

This is a book I’ll never part with. It’s such a gem. I feel so lucky to have it!

My rating on this book is 5*****


 

Add it on Goodreads or find this edition on Amazon

  • Hardcover: 271 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N Abrams; First Edition edition (September 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810907917
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810907911

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Continue reading “Shabby Sunday: A Child’s Garden of Delights – 1987”

The Unicorn in the Barn by Jacqueline K. Ogburn – Book Review and Author Interview

Last month, we took a trip to Barnes and Noble and picked up The Unicorn in the Barn. We were instantly attracted to the title, cover, and blurb. I had the pleasure of reading The Unicorn in the Barn with my younger children and you can see my review and author interview with Jacqueline K. Ogburn below.

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The Unicorn in the Barn

by Jacqueline K. Ogburn, and Rebecca Green (Illustrations)

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   For years people have claimed to see a mysterious white deer in the woods around Chinaberry Creek. It always gets away.
One evening, Eric Harper thinks he spots it. But a deer doesn’t have a coat that shimmers like a pearl. And a deer certainly isn’t born with an ivory horn curling from its forehead.
When Eric discovers the unicorn is hurt and being taken care of by the vet next door and her daughter, Allegra, his life is transformed.
A tender tale of love, loss, and the connections we make, The Unicorn in the Barn shows us that sometimes ordinary life takes extraordinary turns. – Goodreads

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 My Review

Have you ever seen a Unicorn? Eric has, and now his life may be changed forever.

Eric’s grandmother isn’t well and has been put into a nursing home. Her house is now being occupied by someone new, a girl named Allegra, and her mother, a veterinarian. One day, Eric stumbles upon Allegra pounding in a “No Trespassing” sign on the tree where his treehouse resides: his favorite place to be. They don’t seem to like each other, but Eric doesn’t know yet that Allegra may not be as awful as she seems.

As Eric spends more time around the woods and farmhouse, he begins to discover magical creatures, including a white and glowing animal he first thinks is a pony. Soon, he realizes this beautiful pony-like animal is a unicorn: the most beautiful thing he’s ever seen. He soon observes that she’s living in the old barn near the farmhouse which has been converted into a vet practice by Allegra’s mother. The unicorn was meant to remain a secret, but Eric is inquisitive and must find out everything he can about this magnificent creature.

We absolutely loved all the magical creatures in the book, especially Moonpearl, the majestic unicorn. The talking animals reminded us of another favorite children’s story-Charlotte’s Web. The human characters are memorable and even though it’s an imaginary story, it felt real. The relationship between Eric and his grandmother is heartwarming and we admired how Eric and Allegra’s friendship developed over time.

There were a few events in the book that we needed to stop and discuss that dealt with loss and mourning and not everything unfolded the way we wanted it to. Overall, this story was beautiful and something I would’ve loved reading as a child. We fell in love with all of the illustrations and found ourselves wanting more. My kids did enjoy it and I’m happy to have it as part of our home library.

My rating on this book is 5*****

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You can find this book on Goodreads and Amazon as well as many other bookstores.

  • Age Range: 10 – 12 years
  • Grade Level: 5 – 7
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (July 4, 2017)
  • ISBN-10: 054476112X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0544761124

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Author Interview with Jacqueline K. Ogburn

 

Q: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

A: I didn’t really start calling myself a writer until after about my third picture book. By then I began to believe it was something I was good at, not just a fluke. I had always written things – poetry, journals, letters – starting when I was around 8 or 9.

Q: What made you decide to write children’s books?

A: My path was a bit unusual. I had moved to New York City in my early 20s because I wanted to work in book publishing. My first job was in children’s books, and it made me remember how I fell in love with reading. I wrote my first picture book when I misunderstood a book title. I thought it was The Noise Lullaby, but it turned out to be The Norse Lullaby. Not nearly as intriguing a title, so I wrote a manuscript to go along with the incorrect one.

 

Q: What is your favorite childhood book?

A: Lots of favorites: From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and A Wrinkle in Time, also Harriet the Spy and It’s Like This, Cat were some I read and reread. Looking at that list, it is not surprising I moved to New York City. I also loved Black Beauty and Bambi, both which had very sad and harsh scenes. And lots of fairy tales, mostly the one from the Grimm Brothers. I hated most of the Hans Christian Anderson stories. I especially loathed The Little Match Girl. His stories seemed so cruel.

Q: Have you always enjoyed writing? 

A: Like many people, I started with poetry. I like playing with the rhythms and how intricate they could be. Writing a poem can be like solving a puzzle, finding how the pieces fit.

Q: What influenced you to write The Unicorn in the Barn and are any of your books influenced by your childhood?

A: My daughter sparked the idea, when she mentioned that unicorns might be hard for a vet to treat. The setting of the story is based on the farm in North Carolina near Charlotte where my grandmother and my mother grew up, and my uncle still lives. I tried to give it a Southern feel, but not in a stereotypical way.

My book The Jukebox Man was based on my grandfather, who had jukeboxes and pool tables at bars and restaurants throughout North Carolina. The illustrator, James Ransome, also used my house in one of the pictures.

Q: How does writing make you feel and does it come easy for you?

A: I hate starting a piece. Starting is so hard, trying to find a way in. Those first fewwriting-center-1024x692.jpg sentences set up so much. Once I get past that, it is very absorbing. Picture books are so short that I can usually write a full draft in a day or two. I can hold the whole picture book in my head while I research and work out the plot or the structure.

Novels are hard because they have so much middle. Some many possible blind alleys and it seems to magically expand. Or you get stuck and aren’t sure how to keep it building towards the end.

Q: How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

A: That’s like asking who is your favorite child. I love them all. I have published 10 picture books and one middle-grade novel. I love The Reptile Ball because it was a collection of poems. The Magic Nesting Doll was an original fairy tale. The Bake Shop Ghost because it is about cakes and a cranky ghost. Also because I got to write a musical based on it and see it performed, and it was made into a short film, which I got to see being made.

Q: What makes a great children’s book?

A: It’s easier to say what makes a bad one – a didactic approach, condescending tone, sugary sweet sentimentality, not respecting that children are people, stories that rote, routine and boring.

Q: Why don’t you illustrate your own books and what’s the process like for finding illustrators?

A: While I like to draw, I haven’t developed that talent. There are so many incredible artists out there, and I have been lucky in the ones who had illustrated my books. I don’t find the illustrators, the publisher does that, because they give a separate contract to the artist. I usually discuss the style of art the story needs with the publisher. Lots of artists have turned down my stories, for all sorts of reason – they didn’t like it, didn’t fit their schedule, etc. Once I met an illustrator years after he turned down my story. He did wonderful, realistic illustrations of children that were beautiful and intense. He remembered my story. He explained that he didn’t do it because the action took place inside, and he hated drawing interiors. He loved illustrating outdoor scenes.

 

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Illustrations from The Unicorn in the Barn by Rebecca Green

 

Q: What’s the publishing process been like for you and how do you market your books?

A: I have been very lucky in my publishing career. I don’t have an agent, but have worked with several editors at three different houses. I have had several books rejected, and probably don’t market those enough. I do some online marketing for my published, but that is changing so rapidly that it is hard to keep up. I do some school visits, but I have a day job, so I’m not a true road warrior.

Q: Do you like to read a lot? If so, who are some of your favorite authors and are there any that heavily influence your writing?2839.jpg

A: I read constantly. I’m the type of person who reads the cereal box if there is nothing else around. For picture books, Margaret Mahy was an influence – she is very funny and whimsical and playful with language. For a novel, The Bridge to Terabithia was an influence.

Q: When it comes to writing, what tools do you use?

A: Pen for poetry, computer for prose.

Q: How long did it take you to write The Unicorn in the Barn?

A: More years than it should have – about 10. I didn’t work on it consistently. I would put it away for months at a time, then find myself thinking about the characters and work on it until I got stuck again.

Q: What was the most difficult part of writing this book?

A: The middle kept growing, that there were more things I realized I needed to put in that weren’t part of the original outline.

Q: Will there be any other books regarding Moonpearl or the characters in this book in the future?

A: I have some chapters of a sequel, told from Allegra’s point of view. The main magical creature is a griffin, because I love the hybrid of lion and eagle.

Q: How did you come up with the character names in the book and are any characters or events based on anything true?

A: My daughter who gave me the spark, her middle name is Harper, so I used that for Eric’s family name. I did research by volunteering at the Piedmont Wildlife Center, so some of the details about the clinic are drawn from that, and the farm is based on the one where my grandmother and mother grew up.

Q: I appreciated that the book dealt with some harder topics like aging, death, and mourning which can be difficult for children to cope with. Did you make any major edits to the book or have other endings for the story?

A: I changed an important scene. Originally Eric tried to take the unicorn to his grandmother and Moonpearl ran away after being frightened by a car. My editor and husband thought it made Eric seem too selfish and unsympathetic. So I had to change a lot and ended up with the wampus cat.

If you tell a story about a hospital or a doctor, about healing, then death is always a possibility. I called a friend crying once, because I realized I needed to include the death of an animal if it was going to be a fantasy grounded in reality.

Being the parent or grandparent of a children’s book protagonist is risky business – they die off at an alarming rate. The loss of a grandparent or a pet are frequently a child’s first experience of death, and the initial setting I created made them almost inevitable. I tried to do it in a way that was emotionally true, but not crushing. To show that these things can be faced, especially with help.

Q: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?images.jpg

A: Read a lot, and be persistent. Dr. Seuss was famously rejected over 30 times before he found a publisher for his first book, And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street.

Q: Do you have any advice for parents who are dealing with struggling readers?

A: That is a bit outside my expertise, but modeling reading is one. Anything that appeals to an interest they have, don’t worry about if it’s “good” just something that they want to figure out. Reading out loud, just as sharing, not as pressure.

Q: Are you working on anything now and do you have any future projects planned?

A: The possible sequels and I have an idea for a series, maybe a bit younger than this.

Q: What else do you like to do outside of writing?

A: I live in Durham, North Carolina, which is now a foodie town. I like to cook and eat well. I grow herbs and flowers and tomatoes, because not even the farmer’s market has tomatoes as good as the ones in your own backyard.

I’d like to thank Jacqueline K. Ogburn for her time in completing this interview.

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Continue reading “The Unicorn in the Barn by Jacqueline K. Ogburn – Book Review and Author Interview”

Shabby Sunday: Thidwick The Big-Hearted Moose by Dr. Seuss – 1948

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Shabby Sunday Meme

I have a lot of old vintage books and one of my plans when I first started blogging was to do a post every week or so that shared one of my cherished vintage books. Then, I thought that maybe there might be other book bloggers out there that have some vintage books, heirlooms, or maybe some old books from childhood that they might want to share. I decided to start a weekly meme titled ‘Shabby Sunday’ for those who would like to participate and share some of their old vintage books. Do you have some shabby books you’d like to share? Please feel free to participate. Feel free to use the picture I’ve provided if you’d like to. If you decide to do this meme, please consider linking back to me so that I can see the book you’re sharing.


Today’s shabby share is:

Thidwick The Big-Hearted Moose

by: Dr. Seuss

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My review:

Thidwick spends most of his days munching on tender moose-moss, until a Bingle Bug comes along and expects a ride. Of course, Thidwick can’t turn him down and offers him a home on his antlers. Then comes a tree spider, Zinn-a-zu Bird, a squirrel family, and many more creatures expecting a ride. Thidwick’s virtue of kindness takes over.

“A host has to put up with all kinds of pests. For a host, above all, must be kind to his guests.”

Thidwick is stuck in a dangerous situation and must go it alone, but his guests don’t want to leave. What should Thidwick do?

This story reminds me of Aesop’s Fables and has a moral lesson of kindness. Children will ask, “Why did Thidwick toss his antlers with all the creatures still on them?” They’ll learn that kindness can only go so far. When kindness starts to hurt you, the kind-hearted person, physically or emotionally, you may need to walk away from the situation and start caring about yourself.

My hardback copy is the 1948 edition and a previous library book stamped in Chicago, IL. I bought it at a used book sale years ago. The book is colorful and written with the familiar rhyming poetry as other Dr. Seuss books. This is a great book to add to your children’s collection!

My rating on this one is 5-stars.

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Continue for more book information and where to find it…

Continue reading “Shabby Sunday: Thidwick The Big-Hearted Moose by Dr. Seuss – 1948”