Friday, August 3, 2018

LUCY AND THE STRING by Vanessa Roeder / Blog Tour: Book Review #LucyAndTheString

By: Vanessa Roeder
Published by: Dial Books
To Be Released on: August 7th, 2018
Ages: 3 & up
Purchase from: Penguin Random House & other online retailers 
Add it to Goodreads

A sweet and silly tale of unexpected friendship between a girl and the bear she finds at the end of a string.

When Lucy spots a string, she can't help but give it a yank, and before she knows it, she meets Hank! But this bear isn't quite sure what to make of Lucy, especially because the string is attached to his pants, and they're unraveling fast!

 Now Lucy must dream up the perfect solution to Hank's missing pants, and hopefully win this dubious bear's heart along the way.

Vanessa Roeder's picture book debut is a heart-filled tale of curiosity, innovation, and finding friendship in unexpected places.

A charming debut. This is such a cute story about friendship. With it's simple orange, gray, black and white color scheme, and simplistic illustrations, create an engaging picture book without being over stimulating. I loved the color scheme in this picture book. The story will delight young readers. It's one that will leave you pondering the possibilities of what you can find at the end of a piece of string you find. Luckily for Lucy it was a new, and unlikely friend. This is such a fun picture book. There are endless story time possibilities, and craft time ideas that can go along with this story. This is a picture book I would definitely recommend picking it up! 


Vanessa Roeder is an author and illustrator whose work has been featured in Highlights magazine and on Apartment Therapy. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and three kids.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

JUST DANCE by Patricia MacLachlan / Book Review #JustDance

By: Patrica MacLachlan
Published by: Simon Kids
Released on: September 12, 2017
Ages: 7 & up
Add it to Goodreads
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review

A coming-of-age story about finding your own voice while learning to understand the people you love the most.

Sylvie Bloom wants to find something new and exciting this summer—at least more exciting than the cows, goats, and chickens on her family’s farm that she’s become accustomed to. Luckily, Sylvie’s teacher Mrs. Ludolf has the perfect idea. Sylvie can take over her husband Sheriff Ludolf’s column in the newspaper for the summer, reporting on all the important events that happen in their small Nebraska town. Sylvie is thrilled to have a new challenge, but she’s not sure she’ll actually see anything amazing. At least nothing like the things her mother saw when she traveled the world as a famous opera singer.

Sylvie can’t figure out why her mother would give up singing in front of thousands of people. Have she and her brother Nate been holding her mother back? And when her mother’s old duet partner James Grayson writes that he’s coming to perform nearby, will she be tempted to return to the stage, without them?

Another heartwarming story from Patricia MacLachlan about growing up, and the meaning of home, and family. Rich in friendship, this simplistic story is set in the open prairies of Wyoming. One of the things I enjoyed about this coming of age story is Sylvie's personal search and discovery of what it really means to be home. Home is where your family is at. 

With her cowboy father, and once famous opera singing mother, she wonders how her mother could just give it all up for them, and live on the farm. Having Sylvie's parents, and seeing their love and support of each other was wonderful to see. It was also what really set an example of Sylvie. Though she questioned and wondered if her mother would ever leave them and go back to singing on stage, she saw how happy they were, and how much they loved each other, as well as her, and her younger brother Nate. 

Having Sylvie take over the small town newspaper column for the summer made for the perfect opportunity for readers to get to know those that make up Sylvie's community, as well as explore her small country town. I loved the small Wyoming town setting in this book, and the farm this book is set in. I love this cover.

One of the things this story has a lot of is writing. Sylvie loves to write. I liked that some of her poems are included in this book. This book would be a great example in teaching younger kids about various poems, like the ones featured in this book. This is definitely another great beginning reader for those transitioning from true beginning readers, and picture books. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

GRASSHOPPER MAGIC by Lynne Jonell / Book Review #GrasshopperMagic

By: Lynne Jonell
Illustrated by: Brandon Dorman
Published by: Random House
Released on: May 28th, 2014
Series: Magical Mix Ups #3
Ages: 7 & up
Add it to Goodreads
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review

Chicken? Abner is not a chicken, no matter what his brother Derek says. But when it comes to giving a speech in front of the whole town, Abner is . . . well . . . he's more than a little nervous.

   Then his sister Tate has an idea--bravery lessons. And the first one? Eat a roasted grasshopper. But Abner forgot something important. There's magic in the ground under his family's house and grasshoppers hatch from eggs laid in the ground. So what, exactly, would happen if a kid ate a grasshopper that had been soaking up magic all year long? BOING!

   Lynne Jonell follows up her Minnesota Book Award finalist, Texas Bluebonnet Master List choice, and Junior Library Guild selection Hamster Magic with a third story of the Willow family's rowdy run-ins with mixed-up magic.

A fun beginning reader. Written for kids who are transitioning from basic beginning readers, and picture books, this book's story is one that simplistic, engaging and at times silly. Mixed with a little bit of magic, and some adventure, this story is one doesn't require any over thinking in terms of the story. That is what makes this story great for a transitional beginning readers. This simple, short story, includes illustrations that will keep young readers invested in this story. This book would work great for reading groups in 1st and 2nd grade. 


Magisterium: THE GOLDEN TOWER by Cassie Clare & Holly Black / Exclusive Excerpt + Release Day Event Info! #TheMagisteriumSeries #TheGoldenTower

Who is a fan of THE MAGISTERIUM series by Cassandra Clare & Holly Black? Their 5th book in the series, THE GOLDEN TOWER, will be out on September 11th, 2018! Recently Cassie shared an excerpt for the book in her most recent newsletter. You can read the exclusive excerpt below:

Exclusive Excerpt: The Golden Tower

Call took the path that led alongside one of the Magisterium’s many underground rivers. It glowed eerie blue in the light of the moss. On the way, he peered around, looking for Warren. He even called the little lizard’s name a few times, his voice echoing through the caverns. He was sure he’d see Warren during the short boat trip, but by the time he got to the far bank, he decided Warren was avoiding him.

When Call reached Rufus’s door, he tapped on it and heard Mr. Rajavi’s voice echo from inside: “Come in.” The office looked much as it always had. The same papers were tacked to the walls, covered in what Call now recognized as alchemical equations. The big couch was gone, replaced by more bookshelves, and the old workstation had been replaced by one made of a gleaming clear material — quartz, Call guessed. Tamara’s father sat behind Rufus’s roll-top desk.

Oh, God, Call thought. Tamara’s father. And he’d just kissed Tamara. Was that why Mr. Rajavi was here?

Don’t be totally ridiculous, said Aaron. Do you think he’s psychic or something?

Kimiya was grounded for making out with Evil Overlord Alex — Tamara had said so. Mr. Rajavi had a well-established policy of not liking his children making out with Evil Overlords.

You can pre-order your copy here. Don't miss an exciting release day event featuring Cassie, Holly Black and a few of their friends. Here's what Cassie shared is happening:

Holly Black and I will be celebrating the release of the last Magisterium book, The Golden Tower, on September 11th at 7pm. This epic group event will feature David Levithan and Scott Westerfeld as well as me and Holly. The celebration will be hosted by Odyssey Books in South Hadley, MA. Exact location is TBD—contact the store for details.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

THE POET'S DOG by Patricia MacLachlan / Book Review #ThePoetsDog

By: Patricia MacLachlan
Published by: Katherine Tegen Books
Released on: September 13th, 2016
Ages: 6 & up
Add it to Goodreads 
Rating: 5 Owlets 
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review

The Poet's Dog from Newbery Medal-winning author Patricia MacLachlan is a poignant story about two children, a poet, and a dog and how they help each other survive loss and recapture love.

A poignant, heartwarming story about love, grief, and friendship. When a snow storm strands two young kids, the poet's dog, Teddy finds them, and recuses them. What unfolds is a beautiful story told from Teddy's point of view. I love how the bond we can have with dogs was illustrated in this story. What I was not excepting to happen was to get a little teary eyed at the end. While this is written for beginning readers 6 years and old, this is a story older readers will find magical, and moving all at the same time. I absolutely love this book's cover.

Monday, July 30, 2018

GHOST by Jason Reynolds / Book Review #Ghost

By: Jason Reynolds
Published by: Atheneum Books (Simon & Schuster)
Released on: August 30th, 2016
Series: Track #1
Ages: 8 & up
Purchase from: The Publisher + other retailers
Add it to Goodreads
Rating: 5 Owlets
Thank you to the publisher for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review

Running. That's all that Ghost (real name Castle Cranshaw) has ever known. But never for a track team. Nope, his game has always been ball. But when Ghost impulsively challenges an elite sprinter to a race -- and wins -- the Olympic medalist track coach sees he has something: crazy natural talent. Thing is, Ghost has something else: a lot of anger, and a past that he is trying to outrun. Can Ghost harness his raw talent for speed and meld with the team, or will his past finally catch up to him?

This is one book worth picking up! Jason Reynolds is an extremely gifted story teller. He gets the art of story telling. He literally tells a story that could have easily been a real like experience. The thing I loved about this book are the important discussions that can be had. 

I absolutely love the way he tells GHOST'S story. It's realistic. It's not sugar coated. It's a story that makes you understand the character, his situation, and sympathize with the choices he makes. You can't help but want the best for Ghost. You get all the the aspects of Ghost in this story. The good, the bad, the struggles etc. I loved that as a reader, Ghosts's story made me reflect on the kind of character I'd be in this story. One thing is for sure, I would hope I'd be like Coach.

I love Coach's character. He is the perfect mentor for Ghost. He's not perfect, but his advice, and the example he is to Ghost, is. What he says, and teaches Ghost is powerful. My favorite quote from this book is from him to Ghost. He says, "Show you that you can't run away from who you are, but what you can do is run toward who you want to be." 

This book is the kind of book I wish I had along side my tiny stack of books that really spoke to me as a middle grade reader. Reading this as an adult reminded me of what I loved about reading as a middle grade student. It's no surprise this book is a National Book Award Finalist. It's so well deserved! This book is one that should be available in every school library! 

Friday, July 27, 2018

SISTERS AND CHAMPIONS: The True Story of Venus and Serena Williams by Howard Bryant / Book Review #VenusWilliams #SerenaWilliams #SistersAndChampions

By: Howard Bryant
Illustrated by: Floyd Cooper
Published by: Penguin Kids
Released on: May 29th, 2018
Ages: 4 & up
Purchase from: Penguin | Amazon | B&N
Add it to Goodreads
Rating: 5 Owlets 
MKs is a PRH partner; this book was received in exchange for my honest review

An inspiring picture book sports biography about two of the greatest female tennis players of all-time! Venus and Serena Williams: Best friends. Sisters. Champions.

Everyone knows the names Venus & Serena Williams. They’ve become synonymous with championships, hard work, and with shaking up the tennis world. This inspirational true story, written by award-winning sports journalist, Howard Bryant, and brought to beautiful life by Coretta Scott Kind Award and Honor winner, Floyd Cooper, details the sisters’ journey from a barely-there tennis court in Compton, CA, to Olympic gold medals and becoming the #1 ranked women in the sport of tennis. Here is a worthy ode to Venus and Serena Williams, the incredible sister duo who will go down in history as two of the greatest athletes of all time.

An inspiring picture book biography that focuses on the incredibly relationship the Williams sisters have, and the important role their father has always played in their lives. Serena and Venus Williams have the kind of relationship that has bonded them since they were little, both on and off the courts. One of the inspiring things about their story is seeing how these two girls have always supported each other, worked incredibly hard both on and off the courts, and made their dreams possible. Even when other people said it wouldn't happen. 

One of the parts of the story I loved learning about, was how their father never doubted for a moment, that both of this girls would be tennis stars. Even from their young ages. It didn't matter that they grew up in Compton, or that they didn't have money, or that other people said black people didn't play tennis. He knew, and he didn't lose sight of that. I also love the quote, "but the sisters' mom and ad said differently. They said the sisters were made of special brown skin, and wonderful eyes, of big smiles, and bigger hearts and -when it came to tennis-a kind of magic. "Just wait," their day would say. "You'll see.""

This is book is one so many young kids will be read, and be inspired by. I felt inspired reading it. I've always admired by the Williams sisters have done. They broke the mold with the sport, they proved their haters wrong, they didn't give up, and they made tough girls look beautiful. They showed the world the incredible relationship they have as sisters. Theirs is one incredible story. This book is definitely worth adding to your home, classroom, and/or school library. 

Thursday, July 26, 2018

CHRISTOPHER ROBIN / A BOY, A BEAR, A BALLOON / Book Reviews #WinnieThePooh #ChristopherRobin

Photo credit @MundieMoms

Who’s excited to watch The Christopher Robin movie that will be out on August 8th, 2018 from Disney? We are. I’m excited to partner with Disney Hyperion to share two of their recent releases. A BOY, A BEAR, A BALLOON is a picture book tie-in to the movie, and CHRISTOPHER ROBIN, The Novelization is the movie in story form. Both books were provided by Disney in exchange for my honest reviews.

By: Disney Book Group
Published by: Disney Press
Released on: July 3rd, 2018
Ages: 8 & up
Purchase fromDisney & other online retailers
Add it to Goodreads
Rating: 4 owlets

Capturing the heartwarming magic of Walt Disney Studios' upcoming Christopher Robin film, this novelization pulls fans back into the world of Pooh through a book that enables them to relive the story and revisit their old pals whenever they please. Focusing on the power of love, friendship, and family, the novelization invites readers to join Christopher Robin, Pooh, and their friends from the Hundred Acre Wood on an all-new adventure that adds new depth to timeless and beloved characters old and new.

CHRISTOPHER ROBIN, The Novelization is the movie brought to life within the pages of the adorable covered book. It's a book whose story is very much how I pictured it would be like as an adult returning to the 100 Acre Woods. The beloved characters who live there are just as I had imagined they would be. While part of this story is like a homecoming, returning to characters I absolutely loved growing up with, it's also an introduction to the beloved 100 Acre Wood, for a whole new generation. Christopher Robin's daughter adds a new generation to a classic story set in current day. 

This story was a fun one to read. The charming illustrations featured at the beginning of each new chapter and the bigger print words add to this book’s appeal for readers of all ages. I loved the little quotes added from A.A. Milne and Winnie The Pooh. This is one book I'd recommend picking up either before or after you see the movie. *If you don't want to know how the movie ends, don't read the book until after you see it. 

By: Brittany Rubiano
Illustrated by: Mike Wall
Published by: Disney Press
Released on: July 3rd, 2018
Ages: 4 & up
Purchase fromDisney & other online retailers
Add it to Goodreads
Rating: 4 owlets

Retelling touching scenes from the upcoming Walt Disney Studios' upcoming Christopher Robin film, this charming picture book finds Christopher reuniting with Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, Eeyore, and the rest of his old friends when he returns to the Hundred Acre Wood for the first time since childhood. As he returns to the life he once new, Christopher sees the world through new eyes and discovers that even as everything around us seems to change, the most important things remain constant.

A BOY, A BEAR, A BALLOON is a retelling of the movie & features touching scenes from the movie. Paired with classic Disney illustrations, this picture book brings all of The 100 Acre Woods beloved characters to life as they help a grown up Christopher Robin look for his silly old bear, Winnie The Pooh. This is a charming read that felt very much like how I would except to would be like returning to the 100 Acre woods as an adult. We really enjoyed revisiting our childhood favorite Disney characters.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

MIGHTIER THAN THE SWORD: Your book. Your Pencil. Your world. by Drew Callander & Alana Harrison / Book Review #MightierThanTheSword

By: Drew Callander & Alana Harrison
Illustrated by: Ryan Andrews 
Published by: Penguin Workshop
Released on: July 10th, 2018
Series: Mightier Than The Sword #1
Ages: 8 & up
Purchase from: Penguin | Amazon | B&N | BoW
Add it Goodreads
Rating: 5 Owlets
We are a PHR Parnter and a copy of this book was provided in exchange for my honest review

Wildly funny and inventive, this interactive book pulls you, the reader, into the action. Yes, YOU!

You wake up in the fictional land of Astorya, where stories from our world come to life. You're a real human being (we assume), and in this fictional world, that makes you a superhero. Armed with your trusty pencil you have the power to create: what you write, draw, or scribble in the book becomes part of the story!

Only you can rescue Prince S. from the evil Queen Rulette. Aided by the Couriers--a French stoat with dangerous dance moves, a giant dung beetle, a fire ninja, a Pegasus-centaur-cowgirl and a super-intelligent femalien chameleon--you must write, draw, and puzzle your way through a hilarious adventure that is unique to every reader! And most importantly, you must prove that the pencil is mightier than the sword.

This is a hilarious, play your way through the story, kind of book. It takes the 'Choose Your Own Adventure' books I grew up with, to a whole new level. It's a funny, clever, interactive book that literally pulls you into the story. Yes! You the reader become part of the story. It even encourages you draw and write (when promoted) in certain parts of the book. I loved the Mad Lib style prompts in this book. What you write and draw become part of the story. 

This is the kind of book that encourages readers to keep reading. Reluctant readers are going to find there is nothing reluctant about jumping into this book, and it's unique world. It's a story that is literally told as you interact with it. This is a book readers will breeze right through, and than they'll want to read it again. At least they'll want to re-read that ending again. Now we need the sequel! I'm not even part of this book's demographic reading age, and I had a blast reading this book for review.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

THE SORCERER'S APPRENTICE: A Classic Mickey Mouse Tale / Book Review #TheSorcerersApprentice

By: The Disney Book Group
Illustrated by: Disney Storyboard Art Team
Released on: January 2nd, 2018
Ages: 6 & up
Purchase from: Amazon | B&N
Add it to Goodreads

Mickey Mouse is an apprentice to a great and powerful sorcerer. When Mickey tries on the Sorcerer's magic hat, he casts a magical spell to finish his boring chores. But things start to go very wrong. Will Mickey be able to stop the magic he's unleashed? This beautifully illustrated, deluxe retelling of The Sorcerer's Apprentice, based on Goethe's original poem and one of the most beloved stories from Walt Disney's classic film Fantasia, is a must-have for any Disney fan!

A must have for Disney fans of all ages. This beautifully illustrated book retells one of Disney's classic stories, The Sorcerer's Apprentice, from their movie, Fantasia. What makes this book one for all ages, is that it pays homage to Disney's classic illustration and storytelling. Whether you're a fan of Fantasia, or just a die hard Disney fan, this book is worth picking up. The illustrations alone are worth it. Plus there's a foldout poster included in the book. 

Also worth checking out:

By: Dana Amendola
Published by: Disney Press
Released on: September 1st, 2015
Ages: 6 & up
Add it to Goodreads

It's usually said that it was "all started by a mouse" but did you know that iconic mouse was invented while on a train ride? Since its inception, The Walt Disney Company has often ridden the rails to tell its stories, whether in a theme park, live-action movie, or animated film.

All Aboard explores the wide variety of trains in Disney's history, accompanied by rare photographs from the Disney Archives and heretofore unseen conceptual artwork behind the trains in the movies and theme parks. Never before has such a comprehensive focus been exclusively trained on this fascinating topic. Fans of Disney history, rail history, and armchair travelers alike will be captivated by this museum-quality book.

Another must have for Disney fans, and those who love trains. This book gives it's readers a look into the history of Disney's trains with it's mixed of never before seen pictures, artwork, and photos. It's like looking through a Disney vault into the history of it's park trains from the past and the present. Definitely worth picking up.

By: Richard M. Sherman 
Illustrated byFloyd Norman
Published by: Disney Editions
Released on: August 22nd, 2017
Ages: 4 & up
Add it to Goodreads

A Kiss Goodnight is a valentine to Walt Disney from the legendary songwriter Richard Sherman. Opening with a touching story about what inspired Richard to write the song, A Kiss Goodnight tells the story of how a young Walt Disney was enchanted by fireworks and how he kept his promise to send all his guests home with a special kiss goodnight. Beautifully illustrated by Disney legend Floyd Norman A Kiss Goodnight will be the must-have picture book for families to enjoy together and for Disney fans to treasure. The book will feature a CD with the song sung by Broadway star Ashley Brown along with a download as well

A must read for Disney fans. This is the illustrated story of Walt Disney, and the story that inspired the song. Hidden through out the book are various Disney easter eggs fans will enjoy seeing.

* Thank you to Disney Hyperion for providing a copy of each book, in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, July 23, 2018

WE DON'T EAT OUR CLASSMATES by Ryan T. Higgins / Book Review #WeDontEatOurClassmates

Written & Illustrated by: Ryan T. Higgins
Published by: Disney Hyperion
Released on: June 19th, 2018
Ages: 3 & up
Purchase from: Disney & other retailers
Add it to Goodreads
Rating: 5 Owlets
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review

Penelope the dinosaur starts school, but it’s hard to make friends when her classmates are so delicious!
It’s the first day of school for Penelope Rex, and she can’t wait to meet her classmates. But it’s hard to make human friends when they’re so darn delicious! That is, until Penelope gets a taste of her own medicine and finds she may not be at the top of the food chain after all. . . . Readers will gobble up this hilarious new story from award-winning author-illustrator Ryan T. Higgins.
Another great laugh out picture book from Ryan T. Higgins. Penelope Rex is a fun, lovable character who learns to over come her first day of school jitters. As she does, she begins to make friends. At first it's hard for her, because she's different from everyone, but by the end of her first week of school she's learned how to make friends. The humor part of the story has to do with Penelope being the only T-Rex in the classroom. It's also part of the story that provides a teachable moment to readers that being different makes you pretty cool. We enjoyed this story, and all the laugh out loud moments it provided This book is one that will definitely help ease those first day of school jitters. 

Other books by Ryan T. Higgins we recommend reading:

Friday, July 20, 2018

BE QUIET! by Ryan T. Higgins / Book Review #BeQuiet

Written & Illustrated by: Ryan T. Higgins
Published by: Disney Hyperion
Released on: April 4th, 2017
Ages: 3 & up
Purchase fromDisney BooksAmazon | B&N 
Add it to Goodreads
Rating: 5 Owlets
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review

All Rupert the mouse wants is to star in a beautiful, wordless picturebook. One that's visually stimulating! With scenic pictures! And style! He has plenty of ideas about what makes a great book, but his friends just WON'T. STOP. TALKING.

Children and adults alike will chuckle at this comedic take on bookmaking from acclaimed author-illustrator Ryan T. Higgins.

A fun, laugh out loud kind of read! We're big fans of Ryan T. Higgins's books featuring Bruce, that grumpy black bear you can't help but love. Be sure to look for him in this book as he makes a small cameo one of the pages. Just like Bruce's stories, there's plenty humor in this book for both kids and adults. Ryan's a great story teller. Much like his stories, Ryan's illustrations are just as fun, and entertaining. Be Quiet! is a picture book you'll definitely want to add to your reading lists. 

Other books by Ryan T. Higgins I recommend reading:

Thursday, July 19, 2018

THE ITSY BITSY SCHOOL BUS by Jeffrey Burton / Book Review

By: Jeffrey Burton
Illustrated by: Sanja Rescek
Published by: Little Simon 
Released on: July 3rd, 2018
Ages: 2 & up
Purchase from: Simon & Schuster, and other retailers
Add it to Goodreads

A fun and playful back-to-school twist on the popular nursery rhyme “The Itsy Bitsy Spider”!

The itsy bitsy school bus was ready for the day.
Backpack was full with lunch and books, hooray!
Dropped off at school, it was time to learn and play,
The teacher said, “Hello, nice to meet you all today.”

The itsy bitsy school bus is ready for the first day of school! Whether it’s a first day to Pre-K or back-to-school, little ones are sure to love this classroom twist on the classic nursery rhyme “The Itsy Bitsy Spider”!

This entertaining book will make going to school fun. Written to the tune of The Itsy Bitsy Spider, means this is one book you can sing as you read it. That will definitely making reading time a playful one! The sturdy board book pages, and fun, brightly colored illustrations make this book perfect for little hands. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

OFF & AWAY by Cale Atkinson / Book Review #OffAndAway

Written & Illustrated by: Cale Atkinson
Published by: Disney Hyperion
Released on: June 5th, 2018
Ages: 3 & up
Purchase from: Disney | Amazon | B&N
Add it to Goodreads
Rating: 5 Owlets
Thank you to Disney Hyperion for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review

How would you get mail if you lived in the middle of the sea? It's Jo's dad's job to deliver it, taking bottles wherever they need to go. He always comes home with exciting stories to tell-but Jo is far too afraid to go out on the ocean herself. Until Dad gets a bad sea cold, that is. With no one but Jo to deliver the bottles, she must find her courage and set sail alone. As she embarks on her mission, her fears just might be replaced with new friendships . . . and grand stories of her own.

With beautiful, atmospheric art and endearing new characters by author-illustrator Cale Atkinson, this picturebook is a treasure.

A high seas adventure about over coming one's fear. Jo's story will make you wish you could climb aboard her boat, and travel the seas with her.

When Jo's dad gets sick, he can't deliver the messages in the bottles. He travels the seas to deliver the bottles, and comes back with grand stories of adventures, something Jo loves. Now, it's up to Jo to faces her fears and travel the ocean alone, even to the parts she has feared to go, to get deliver the bottles. What she discovers on her quest is the incredible courage she has, and the power that lies within her to overcome her fears. Along the way Jo discovers new friendships, and help from the most unlikely of places. Not only that, she has one grand high seas adventure story of her own to tell her father. 

This book is an absoutely treasure! This is such a fun story with an empowering messages about having courage. The story is one that will resonate with kids, and adults. I loved how encouraging it is. And now we know where all the messages in the bottles go. I've always wondered what happened to them... I loved that creative touch to the story. 

The illustrations are absolutely adorable! When it comes to picture books, Cale's illustrations are some of our favorites. The illustrations alone are worth picking up this book. OFF & AWAY is perfect for bedtime and story time reading. This book can easily be incorporated into fun interactive story time for pre-k and younger elementary school classes. 


Other books by Cale Atkinson we highly recommend checking out; Explorers of the Wild and To The Sea. Find out more about both books here

Friday, July 13, 2018

I WISH YOU MORE by Amy Krouse Rosenthal / Book Review #IWishYouMore

By: Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Illustrated by: Tom Lichtenheld
Published by: Chronicle Books
Released on: March 31, 2015
Ages: all 
Purchase from: Amazon | B&N
Add it to Goodreads
Rating: 5 Owlets - Loved It!
Source: purchased book

Some books are about a single wish. Some books are about three wishes. The infallible team of Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld have combined their extraordinary talents to create this exuberant book of endless good wishes. Wishes for curiosity and wonder, for friendship and strength, laughter and peace. Whether celebrating life's joyous milestones, sharing words of encouragement, or observing the wonder of everyday moments, this sweet and uplifting book is perfect for wishers of every age.

This book is my absolute favorite of the late Amy Krouse Rosenthal. I'm a huge fan of each of her children's books. Beautifully written and illustrated, I WISH YOU MORE is a book that's filled with positive uplifting messages, and so much love. This book is all about wishing all the good and love for that special child in your life. 

This is the kind of book that makes bedtime reading that much more meaningful. It's also the kind of book that makes the perfect gift with it's message of love when your child heads off to college or out on their own. This book is one that leaves me wishing there were many more like it. I highly recommend picking this timeless story up! 

Wednesday, July 11, 2018


Written & Illustrated by: A.N. Kang
Published by: Disney Hyperion
Released on: September 5th, 2017
Ages: 3 & up
Purchase from: Disney & other book retailers 
Rating: 4 Owlets
A unbound copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review

Papillon, the kitty so fluffy he floats, is back! Only this time, he’s grounded. Literally. Weighed down after swallowing a toy and beset with hiccups, Papillon is miserable! Miss Tilly takes him to the vet, but will he ever float again?

Papillon is back! This adorable, fluffy cat is back in all new adventure. Papillon just isn't himself in this story. That's because he accidentally swallows a toy, and ends up with the hiccups. Feeling down because he can't fly, or get rid of the hiccups, Papillon ends up at the vet. While there he realizes that the things that make him different from all the other cats, make him special. We really enjoyed that message in the story. The illustrations are definitely our favorite part of Papillon's story. Papillon definitely is a one of a kind cat, and we sure enjoy his stories. 

Monday, July 9, 2018

NIGHT NIGHT, GROOT by Brendan Deneen / Book Review #NightNightGroot

By: Brendan Deneen
Illustrated by: Cale Atkinson
Published by: Marvel Press/ Disney Hyperion
Released on: April 4th, 2017
Ages: 3 & up
Purchase from: DisneyAmazon | B&N
Add it to Goodreads
Rating: 5 Owlets
An unbound copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review

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!

Who can resist baby Groot? He's just SO CUTE! Cale Atkinson's illustrations are some of our favorite, and he definitely upped his game with this adorable bedtime story. Brendan's story is even more appealing with the rhyming kids will enjoy, and including the family of Avenger's characters into the story. Definitely a bed time book worth picking up!

LUCY & ANDY NEANDERTHAL: THE STONE COLD AGE by Jeffrey Brown / Book Review #LucyAndAndyNeanderthal

By: Jeffrey Brown 
Published by: Random House / Crown Books For Young Readers 
Released on: August 29th, 2017
Ages: 8 & up
Purchase from: Publisher | Amazon | B&N 
Add it to Goodreads
Rating: 4 Owlets

From the author of the New York Times bestselling Jedi Academy books comes book two in the laugh-out-loud graphic novel series about Neanderthal siblings Lucy and Andy. Fans of the Big Nate, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and Terrible Two series won’t want to miss it! Now available in paperback!

Every day is a snow day for Lucy & Andy! But life in the Ice Age isn’t all fun and games. These Neanderthal siblings are back to their paleo pranks, and they have to put up with more than just each other–the cave is feeling awfully cramped since the humans moved in. It’s the Ice Age, and legroom comes at a real premium!

Jeffrey Brown skillfully blends humor and history with paleontologist sections: Timeline of Key Discoveries, Ice Age Fact vs. Fiction, Silly Cavemen Myths, and more.

Lucy & Andy Neanderthal make going back into time an exciting, humor filled adventure. The Stone Cold Age is the second book in the series and like the first book, this is a fast paced, funny read. 
Brown mixes scientific-facts, historical references, and humor in a way that even the most reluctant reader will enjoy. Who knew that stepping back in time to over 40,000 years ago, could be so fun. Our favorite part is the 'did you know' section. If you haven't picked up the first book, you can still easily jump into this book and enjoy the story. 

I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. ~ Anna Quindlen

Good children's literature appeals not only to
the child in the adult, but to the adult in the child.
~ Anonymous ~