Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veterans Day

Image found via google

It's VETERANS DAY and we'd like to take a moment to say
THANK YOU to all who have served our country, and protected our freedoms. 
We thank you and your families for your sacrifices. 

Please take a moment today and tell a veteran THANK YOU for their service! 

If you're looking for some great material to teach your kids about Veterans Day, check out my post here

Monday, November 10, 2014

Veterans Day: Teaching References & Children's Books Honoring our Veterans

Tomorrow is Veteran's Day, and Scholastic some great tools for parents and teachers to use to teach our children about the importance of that day. Whether your child is elementary ages or middle school ages, check out Scholastic's online resources about Veterans Day. Then check out some of these great titles that honor those who have served their countries!

What are some of your favorite books that honor our Veterans?

Thursday, November 6, 2014

BLIZZARD by John Rocco, Book Review

Hello & Welcome to the BLIZZARD blog tour! I'm so thrilled to kick off Disney Hyperion's tour for John Rocco's newest release. Grab a cozy blanket, get a warm cup of cocoa and get ready to enjoy the BLIZZARD. 

By: Jon Rocco
Published by: Disney Hyperion
Released on: 10.30.14
Ages: 3 & up
Rating: 5 Owlets - Loved It!
Add it to Goodreads
Purchase it from: Amazon | B&N
Source: book from publisher to review, in exchange for my honest review

Blizzard opens with a boy’s excitement upon seeing the first snowflake fall outside his classroom window. It ends with the neighborhood’s immense relief upon seeing the first snowplow finally break through on their street many days later. In between the boy watches his familiar landscape transform into something alien, and readers watch him transform into a hero who puts the needs of others first. John cleverly uses increasing amounts of white space in his playful and nostalgic images, which include full-bleeds, comic panels, and a glorious gatefold spread of the boy's circuitous expedition to the store. 

Whether readers are all-too-familiar with blizzards or have never experienced the wonder of a winter storm, John Rocco’s BLIZZARD is as delicious as a mug of hot cocoa by the fire on a snowy day.

Rocco has created another fantastic, award worthy children's book that fans of all ages will enjoy.

A beautifully illustrated children's picture book, BLIZZARD is an autobiographical story of the 1978 blizzard that hit parts of the North East, bringing with it 53 inches of snow. Author/illustrator John Rocco drew from his own experience as a young kid during that blizzard to create a story fans old and young alike will enjoy. With what I imagine started out as fun and memorable snow day, quickly turned into one of fear and panic for some. Unlike today's technology world, back during this book's era, there were no cell phones, or internet service, making it much harder to stay connected to each other. Rocco does a brilliant job at keeping his story light and adventurous, making it easy for young readers to engage with the story.

What's a young boy to do when his family and neighbors are all snow bound, and supplies are running low, and there's no help in sight? He becomes a hero! Young John sets off to the grocery store to try and get a few things they're in need of. Escaping from his bedroom window, since the door can't open with all the snow piled up against, his trusty map in hand, and tennis rackets for snowshoes, John heads to the store. A trek that seems a little difficult at first, but thankfully he makes it, and gets all the items his family and neighbors are in need of.

I loved the illustrations in BLIZZARD. Rocco is a great story teller, and a gift illustrator. His illustrations are some of my favorite in children's literature. With Blizzard, he captured that simpler way of life during this era perfectly. He didn't leave out any details too little or too big in his illustrations. I loved looking through the book with my kids, and then reading the book with them. Like BLACKOUT, Rocco has created another fantastic, award worthy children's book that fans of all ages will enjoy.

If you're looking to curl up with a fantastic children's book on a cool afternoon, I highly recommend picking this one up! Just be sure that you're snuggled under warm blankets or near a warm fire, so you stay warm while reading it.

Check out a spread from BLIZZARD below: (click on the image to enlarge)

You can also learn more on RoccoArt.com and find John on Facebook and Twitter

About John Rocco

Rocco studied illustration at the Rhode Island School of Design and School of Visual Arts in New York City. He is the author of four acclaimed books for children: Wolf! Wolf!, winner of the Borders Original Voices Award for best picture book; Moonpowder, part of the Original Art Show at the Society of Illustrators; Fu Finds the Way, and Blackout, a New York Times Best Book of the Year and winner of a 2012 Caldecott Honor. 

Rocco also illustrated Whoopi Goldberg‘s Alice and the covers for Rick Riordan‘s multi-million copy internationally bestselling series Percy Jackson and the Olympians, The Kane Chronicles, and The Heroes of Olympus. Most recently, Rocco illustrated the fantasy fairy tale, The Flint Heart, written by Katherine Paterson and her husband, John. For many years Rocco has been an art director in the entertainment industry, both in the US and abroad. 

At Dreamworks, Rocco was the pre-production art director on the top-grossing animated film Shrek. For Walt Disney Imagineering, he designed attractions at Disney’s Epcot and served as art director for DisneyQuest, a virtual reality theme park in Downtown Disney. Rocco has worked with computer graphics pioneer Robert Abel, the creator of some of the first CGI commercials and special effects, and contributed to several museum projects including Newseum in Washington D.C. and Paul Allen‘s Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame.Rocco lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Aileen and their daughter, Alaya.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the Blizzard Blog Tour! There are fantastic author interviews, sneak peeks at the artwork inside the book, and giveaways.

Thursday, November 6  - Mundie Kids
Friday, November 7 - Kid Lit Frenzy                                                                                     
Monday, November 10 -  The Children’s Book Review        
Tuesday, November 11 - The Kids Did It                   
Wednesday, November 12 - OC Mom Media                                
Thursday, November 13 -  As They Grow Up                             
Friday, November 14 - Curling Up With a Good Book     
Monday, November 17  - Ben Spark                                            
Tuesday, November 18 - Mr. Schu Reads                                 
Thursday, November 20 - Elizabeth Dulemba                          

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Goodreads 2014 Choice Awards: Best Picture Books of 2014

Goodreads recently announced their list for the Best Picture Books of 2014 for their 2014 Choice Awards. They need your vote! Check out this year's Best Pictures Books:


 For as much I love picture books, I have to say I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I've only read a small handful of these. One of the things I love about this list, is getting some new book rececommendadatins. Be sure to head over to HERE and vote for your favorite!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Goodreads 2014 Choice Awards: Best Middle Grade & Children's Books of 2014

Happy Marvelous Middle Grade Monday!
Check out which GoodReads has picked as their BEST Middle / Children's books of 2014!
That's right, it's that time of year where you, the reader gets to VOTE on which out the list below, is your favorite! Check out the list: 


Which was your favorite? Cast your vote HERE!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

Wishing y'all a Happy & Safe Halloween!
If you're looking for the picture Halloween reads, check out some of my latest Halloween Reads reviews, here

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Monsters' Monster by Patrick McDonnell, Book Review

By: Patrick McDonnell
Published by: Little Brown Books
Released on: 9.4.14
Source: book from publisher to review in exchange for my honest review
Rating: 3 Owlets - It's A Good Read
Add it to Goodreads

Once upon a time, there were three little rascals who thought they were the BIGGEST, BADDEST monsters around. Then along came an even BIGGER monster who changed their minds. And all it took was two little words.

In this playful tale from bestselling picture book author Patrick McDonnell, a very BIG monster shows three very BAD little monsters the power of boundless gratitude.

When three monsters set off to create the biggest monster ever, I don't think they excepted to create not only one of the biggest monsters, but also one of the nicest. The monsters' monster shows them what it's like to show gratitude and be nice. Something that everything can learn to do a little more. Good story, cute illustrations, and perfect for picking up this Halloween season. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Halloween Surprise by Corrine Demas, Book Review

By: Corrine Demas
Illustrated by: R.W. Alley
Published by: Bloomsbury Kids
Released on: July 19th, 2011
Source: book from publisher to review
Ages: 3-6
5 Owlets: A Halloween Read Worth Owning
Purchase from: Amazon

Halloween is almost here and Lily wants to make her own costume for trick-or-treating. Should she be a scary ghost? Or maybe a roly-poly pumpkin? Perhaps a glittery princess! After many ideas and a few wrong turns, Lily finally settles on a costume that will be perfect for a Halloween surprise with her cuddly kittens.

The new book from the duo behind Valentine Surprise is sure to capture readers' hearts once again with its sweet celebration of creativity, as Lily enjoys the fun of homemade costumes and Halloween traditions. 
- quoted from Goodreads

This is a book I've reviewed here on Mundie Kids a couple years back. It's one of my all time favorite Halloween reads I've reviewed to date, and I can't help put feature it again on Mundie Kids. It's a delightful, non scary Halloween story that kids of all ages can enjoy. 

This is an adorably illustrated, cute Halloween story about a young girl who, with a little help from her two cats comes up with the perfect costume for Halloween. Will she be a princess, a pirate, a ghost, a pumpkin or a ballerina. With all the endless possibilities, Lily not only uses her imagination to come up with her costume ideas, but she creates them, until at last she finds the right one. You'll have to pick up this sweet Halloween story to find out what Lily dressed up as.

The Witch Next Door by Norman Bridwell, Book Review

By: Norman Bridwell
Published by: Scholastic
Re-Released on: 6.25.13 (originally released in 1969)
Source: book to review from publisher in exchange for my honest review
4 Owlets: I Really Enjoyed It!
Add it to Goodreads

Back in print! Norman Bridwell's funny and charming story about appreciating differences.

Someone new has moved into the neighborhood--and she's a witch! Her two young neighbors delight in how she does everything a bit differently from them. She paints her house black, walks her pet dragon around the block, and uses magic to do her shopping and send soup over to people that are sick. However, some of the older townspeople people are not happy about their new neighbor. What kind of magical surprise does the witch have in store for them?

A great story with a fabulous message about accepting others. 

This is a book Norman Bridwell fans will enjoy. While Clifford The Big Red Dog is not featured in this book, readers will enjoy meeting the Witch, one to the book's main characters. In Bridwell fashion, there is a great message for young readers found within the pages of this book. The Witch Next Door is a delightful read that teaches it's readers the important of accepting people for who they are, and not judging others. If were nice to everyone, and accepting of others and their differences, we find that there is good to be had in our difference. Just because someone is different than you, does not make them mean. 

The Witch Next Door is the perfect book to pick up this Halloween season, and a great book to read all through out the year. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Gloomy Ghost by David Lubar, Book Review: Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

Happy Marvelous Middle Grade Monday!
Today's feature is my review for David Lubar's The Gloomy Ghost, A Monsteriffic Tale. 

By: David Lubar
Published by: Starscape
Released on: 7.8.14
Series: A Monsterrific Tale #5
Source: book from publisher in exchange for an honest review
Rating: 3 Stars - It's A Good Read
Add it to Goodreads

One minute Rory is a normal kid hanging out in his backyard. The next, he finds himself walking through the back porch -- as a ghost!

A hauntingly good read! 

Rory learns the hard way that at the poisonous berries that his friend told him about, were indeed just that. Not long after he eats some, Rory wakes up as a ghost! To make matters worst, Rory learns that he has a limited amount of time to get his family to find his body. When you're a ghost, and unable to communicate with the family the same way you did before, what are you suppose to do? Lucky for Rory he finds he's not the ghost hanging around. With a little help he's able to right his wrong, though things don't go as smoothly as he'd like. 

What could essentially be really creepy, Lubar does a great job at keeping the creep factor light, and fun. It's been awhile since I jumped in and read a middle grade read, and I have to say it was nice to sit and read this one. With Halloween fast approaching, this will definitely be a book readers in 3rd/4th grade and above can enjoy. It's an easy to read book with plenty of wit, humor, and yes, there are some illustrations readers will enjoy looking at.  

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Hansel & Gretel illustrated by Sybille Schenker, Book Review

By: The Brothers Grimm
Illustrated by: Sybille Schenker
Published by: Minedition / Michael Neugebauer
Released on: 10.1.11 (UK edition) / US edition published 12.1.2013 *reviewed this edition
Source: from publisher to review
5 Owlets- I Loved It!
Add it to Goodreads

Once up a time, near a great forest, live a poor woodcutter, with his two children, Hansel and Gretel....

So begins this classic tale of two abandoned children and their encounter with the fearsome witch.

Sybille' Schenker's evocative and exquisite illustrations bring a quince beauty to this enduring fairy tale.

This is one of the most beautifully illustrated children's books I've read. I am a huge fan of illustrated children's book, and fairy tales, and this book is one I was shocked I hadn't seen until it arrived in the mail for a review. Based on the stunning illustrations, I am really surprised this has not been awarded anything. I would frame some of the illustrations if I could, but I can't fathom taking this book apart to do that.

The story comes to life with the illustrations. I loved feeling like I was walking through the middle of the woods with Hansel & Gretel. Set on beautifully detailed paper, and interwoven together to that each page is layered, and stands out, it felt as though you could almost reach out and touch the illustrations. I also liked the story itself did not deviated from the one The Grimm Brothers told. I can hardly wait to see what other fairytales Sybille Schenker illustrates. This book is definitely a must have!

This book is easily one of my favorite illustrated books I've read this year!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Great Halloween Books for Disney Jr Fans: Sofia's Magic Lesson

Celebrate Halloween with Disney Jr!
This week I'll be posting reviews for some of Disney Jr's recently released Halloween themed board books, which make the perfect treat for little readers.

By: Walt Disney Company
Published by: Disney Press
Series: Sofia The First
Released on: 5.6.14
Ages: 4 & up
Rating: 4 Owlets
Source: book from publisher to review, in exchange for my honest review
Add it to Goodreads

When Cedric makes Sofia his apprentice, she doesn't suspect that he is after her magical amulet yet again. But the magic of friendship is the true lesson to be learned when Sofia helps Cedric out of a "tricky" situation.

Another great Disney book for children, that was taken from an episode of Sofia The First. My daughter loves this series, and I love that again, Disney has created a book based on an episode of this beloved character. Though Sofia's Magic Lesson isn't Halloween themed, this story does make a great addition to those looking to add some cute story's with a great message to their collection of Halloween themed children's books.

Like each of Sofia's story, there's always a lessoned to be learned. This time Sofia teaches Cedric the important of friendships, and trust. When is having troubles learning new spells she turns to Cedric to help. Although Cedric is out to get Sofia's special purple amulet, Sofia learns there's more to Cedric than anyone knows. She helps him over comes his insecurity and not feeling like he'll ever measure up to how great his father was. Not only does Sofia prove Cedric is a great sorcerer, she always does something nice for him, that no one else has ever done. 

Fans of Sofia the First will enjoy reading this story. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Great Halloween Books for Disney Jr Fans: Mickey's Spooky Night

Celebrate Halloween with Disney Jr!
This week I'll be posting reviews for some of Disney Jr's recently released Halloween themed board books, which make the perfect treat for little readers.

By: Walt Disney Company
Published by: Disney Press
Released on: 7.22.14
Ages: 4 & up
Rating: 3 Owlets
Source: book from publisher to review, in exchange for my honest review
Add it to Goodreads

Mickey Mouse has decorated his whole house for a Halloween party. But when Minnie, Donald, and the others show up, they can't find Mickey. Instead they just find one scary thing after the next! This gently spooky storybook is perfect for Halloween. Plus, download the Mickey's Spooky Night Puzzle Book app!

Mickey Mouse is getting ready to host a Halloween party. When a storm comes, he and his friends realize things that look normal with the lights on, can look spooky when the lights are out. One of the things my daughter liked about this story, was seeing each of the characters dressed up in Halloween costumes that were other Disney Characters. With sturdier pages, and a application download code for Mickey's Spooky Night Puzzle Book, this is a Halloween book younger fans Mickey Mouse fans will enjoy. 

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 ~