Monday, January 25, 2016

I Am Pusheen The Cat by Claire Belton / Book Review

By: Claire Belton
Published by: Touchstone
Released on: October 20th, 2013
Rating: 5 Owlets - We Loved It!
Source: Purchased Book
Purchase from: Amazon | B&N
Add it to Goodreads

Who is Pusheen? This collection of oh-so-cute kitty comic-featuring the chubby, tubby tabby who has taken the Internet by storm-will fill you in on all the basics.

Things you should know about Pusheen.
Birthday: February 18
Sex: Female
Where she lives: In the house, on the couch, underfoot
Her favorite pastime: Blogging, sleeping
Her best feature: Her toe beans
Her favorite food: All of them

Pusheen is a pleasantly plump cat who has warmed hearts and tickled funny bones of millions worldwide with her signature GIF animated bops, bounces, and tail wiggles. Now, Pusheen is ready to make the leap from digital to print in her first comic collection! Learn what makes her purr and find out why millions of people have already fallen in love with this naughty, adorable kitty. Featuring some of the most popular stories from Pusheen's Tumblr and Facebook pages (plus a healthy serving of never-before-seen material), I Am Pusheen the Cat is a treat for cat lovers and comics fans alike.

This book is hilarious, and highly entertaining. Having never read any thing on Pusheen until I picked up this book for my daughter, I didn't realize what we were getting ourselves into. Now I get why Pusheen the Cat is such a huge craze. We're the latest victims to become addicted to Pusheen the cat. We breezed through this book one afternoon, and then re-read it again, and have many times since then. It has been a long time since we have laughed so hard reading a book together. Pusheen is a cat we wish we had, and reminds me so much of my cat I had growing up.

What's not to love about Pusheen? Her cat antics are spot on, and laugh out loudable. I'm not sure 'laugh out laudable' is a word, but I'm sure Pusheen would approve to it. Pusheen is proof that cats really do have the best lives. I now understand why Pusheen was an internet sensation prior to this book being released. Pusheen either makes you wish you could be a cat, or if you didn't already love cats, you'll love this cat. If you already loved cats prior to reading this book, then you'll wish you had your own Pusheen the Cat. We can't forget to mention her cute little sister Stormy. 

We've fallen in love with Pusheen the Cat, and we're looking forward to reading more of her books. We highly recommend picking up your own copy of I Am Pusheen The Cat! Here are some of the reasons why we love Pusheen:

Friday, January 22, 2016

The Wonderful Things You Will Be by Emily Winfield Martin / Book Review

By: Emily Winfield Martin
Published by: Random House Kids
Released on: August 25th, 2015
Pages: 36
Ages: All
Rating: 5 Owlets - We Loved It!
Purchase from: PublisherAmazon | B&N
Add it to Goodreads
Source: unbound book from publisher at TLA

From Emily Winfield Martin, author/illustrator of Dream Animals, comes a new book that celebrates the dreams, acceptance, and love that parents have for their children . . . now and forever!

From brave and bold to creative and clever, the rhythmic rhyme expresses all the loving things that parents think of when they look at their children. With beautiful, and sometimes humorous, illustrations, and a clever gatefold with kids in costumes, this is a book grown-ups will love reading over and over to kids—both young and old. A great gift for any occasion, but a special stand-out for baby showers, birthdays, and graduation. The Wonderful Things You Will Be has a loving and truthful message that will endure for lifetimes.

"I'll love you, whomever you're grown up to be." 

I have long been a fan of Emily Martin's whimsical artwork. I have a couple of her prints hanging up in my library that I purchase years ago from her Etsy shop. I absolutely love that her work is now featured in children's picture books. The Wonderful Things You Will Be not only show cases what I love about Emily's artwork, it also captures the joy, the innocence and the marvel of a child's world. To match it's beautiful illustrations, this picture book also has an equally beautiful, moving message that children can be anything they'd like to be, and can go anywhere they'd like to go. I love this book's message. As a mother that's one of the best messages that we can teach to our children. The Wonderful Things You Will Be is simply lovely. It's one of those books that belongs in every baby nursery, and on the bookshelf in every child's room. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Duncan The Story Dragon by Amanda Driscoll / Book Review

By: Amanda Driscoll
Published by: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Released on: June 9th, 2015
Pages: 40
Purchase from: Random HouseAmazon | B&N
Add it to Goodreads
Rating: 5 owlets - We Loved It!
Source: arc from publisher at TLA

A charming story about the joys of reading that is perfect for fans of Dog Loves Books and Stellaluna.

Duncan the Dragon loves to read. When he reads a story, his imagination catches fire! Unfortunately…so does his book.

Fire breath is great for roasting marshmallows, but it’s not so great for reading. Duncan just wants to get to those two wonderful words, like the last sip of a chocolate milk shake: The End. Will he ever find out how the story ends?

This bright, warm tale champions determination, friendship, and a love for books. And milk shakes!

Duncan the Dragon loves to read books. Being a dragon poses a problem for him. Duncan breathes fire, and accidentally burns his books. In his quest to find a friend who can read to him, he meets a small mouse who loves reading as much as he does. Through the stories they read, these two friends go on epic, unforgettable adventures together. 

We loved this book! It's a great story about friendship and the imaginative world of reading that brought two friends together. Duncan The Story Dragon is a must have for any children's picture book reader. With adorable, colorful illustrations that capture the magic of reading, this is the perfect book for story time, and bedtime reading.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Winnie The Pooh Day #WinnieThePoohDay

Image from Penguin Kids via Instagram

Happy Winnie The Pooh Day! Today also happens to be A.A. Milne's birthday! This beloved character is one I grew up loving, and one my daughter loves. I read Winnie the Pooh stories to my youngest sister when we were growing, and I've loved continuing that tradition with my daughter. I couldn't let the day end without posting a Happy Winnie The Pooh Day, even though it's belated, at being posted at the end of the day.

ABOUT National Winnie The Pooh Day

National Winnie the Pooh Day is observed annually on January 18th.  Author A.A. Milne brought the adorable, honey-loving bear to life in his stories which also featured his son, Christopher Robin.  National Winnie the Pooh Day commemorates Milne’s January 18, 1882 birthday.
Milne’s lovable Pooh Bear, as he was fondly called, is a fictional bear inspired by a black bear named Winnie who lived at the London Zoo during World War I. The author’s son, Christopher Robin, would visit the bear often and named his own teddy bear after her and a swan named Pooh.
This friendship inspired a collection of books starting with Winnie-the-Pooh in 1926. The books were illustrated by E.H. Shepard.
In the 1960s, Disney bought the rights to the Winnie-the-Pooh characters dropping the hyphen from Pooh’s name. The illustrations were a bit different, too.
Milne’s stories have been translated into over 50 languages and are considered classic children’s stories today. (Read more here).
To celebrate today's Winnie The Pooh Day, here are a few favorite quotes of mine, and images of Winnie the Pooh.

 *@Thomas Kinkade 


* All images property of Disney, A.A. Milne, unless other wise noted. 

Ordinary People Change the World: I Am MARTIN LUTHER KING, Jr. by Brad Meltzer / Book Review

By: Brad Meltzer
Illustrated by: Christopher Eliopoulos
Published by: Dial Books for Young Readers #8
Released on: January 5th, 2016
Series: Ordinary People Change the World 
Purchase from: HereAmazon | B&N
Add it to Goodreads
Rating: 5 Owlets - We Loved It!
*Find out more about the book here

We can all be heroes. That’s the inspiring message of this New York Times Bestselling picture book biography series from historian and author Brad Meltzer.
Even as a child, Martin Luther King, Jr. was shocked by the terrible and unfair way African-American people were treated. When he grew up, he decided to do something about it—peacefully, with powerful words. He helped gather people together for nonviolent protests and marches, and he always spoke up about loving other human beings and doing what’s right. He spoke about the dream of a kinder future, and bravely led the way toward racial equality in America.

This lively, New York Times Bestselling biography series inspires kids to dream big, one great role model at a time. You’ll want to collect each book.

Heroes come in all different shapes and sizes. They live in various places, and have over come a variety of different challenges. If we look closely, we can see they live all around us. Modern day heroes do exist. Sometimes the best heroes are the ones that make up our own modern day history. 

"The time is always right to do right." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr. is a hero I've always admired. His lessons on love, standing up for something you believe in, doing good, forgiving, and being immovable in your faith and convictions, is something that has always inspired me. He is proof that when we stand together, we can accomplish great things. 

This book is a child sized history of Martin Luther King, Jr. It gives readers a look into the life of a young Martin Luther King, Jr, all the way through his adult years. Readers get to read about the experiences he had as a child growing up in a time of segregation, and how those experiences inspired him to want to make a change. Readers also learn about the events that shaped him into the man he became, and  the things he did to inspire change. He made a difference. He inspired change. His actions turned him into a modern day hero.

What I loved about how this book, is how it reads. Young Martin Luther King, Jr himself, is giving readers a brief history of his own life. The book reads as though he's telling the reader about his own life, and what inspired him. Written for children, and simply told, this is a book that's engaging, and very easy for readers to understand. It's one that will capture, and hold shortened attention spans, while teaching them a valuable history lesson.

Everyone can learn something from this amazing hero. I have done a lot of reading up on Martin Luther King, Jr. through the years, and I'm always inspired by this incredible leader, and modern day hero. I learned something from this book, and walked away feeling inspired to do better. To get up and keep going on, and to love those around me more. Something Martin Luther King, Jr, lived his entire life doing. 

I'm so happy to see that Martin Luther King, Jr.'s story has been added to this amazing book series. Ordinary People Change the World is a fantastic series for young readers. It provides them with a look into the lives and examples of extraordinary people who have helped shaped our history, and who still stand out as heroes today. 

This book is a must have for all classroom libraries, home libraries, and any school or public library!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

YODIFY Your Grammar: Talk Like A Jedi Master

Learn to talk like a Jedi Master! Alright Star Wars, you've seen the movies, and hopefully have read the books, but have you mastered the language of Yoda? The folks over at Grammarly have put together a user friendly grammar and style guide for Star Wars fans, to talk like Yoda. Check it out below:

Yodify your Grammar Infographic

Where was this when I was younger? I would have loved it. It would be a little weird if I was teaching in a class and started talking like this, although, it would be a cool feature for teachers to have in their classrooms. Hmmm I may have to start using this on my kids at home. haha

Be sure to share your new found Yoda grammar skills with your Star Wars friends. This is also a great guide to help those who may not understand the verbage of Yoda, easier to understand. Although if you don't already understand Yoda, you may have to join the Ewoks. 

Monday, January 4, 2016

THE WOODEN PRINCE (Out of Abaton) by John Claude Bemis | Read the 1st Chapter / Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

Happy Marvelous Middle Grade Monday! Today's spotlight is for an upcoming  release from Disney Hyperion, The Wood Prince (Out of Abaton #1) by John Claude Bemis. A retelling of the story of Pinocchio. I love retellings, and I'm really looking forward to reading this one! Today I've got a sneak peak of chapter 1! Before you read it, here's a little bit about the book.


By: John Claude Bemis
Published by: Disney  Hyperion
To Be Released on: March 15th, 2016
Pre-Order from: Amazon | B&N | The Book Depository 
Add it to Goodreads

A rich and fantastical reimagining of Pinocchio that that puts a fresh new twist on the classic in an enchanting, action-packed tale for middle-grade readers.

The automa Pinocchio has always been duty-bound to serve in the floating palace of Venice's emperor. So when Pinocchio finds himself locked in a trunk and delivered to a new master-a wanted criminal and alchemist named Geppetto-he is curious about everything around him. But most curious is the way Pinocchio seems to be changing from a wooden servant into a living, human boy. Before Geppetto and Pinocchio can uncover the mystery surrounding the automa's transformation, Pinocchio is stolen away. Determined to find Geppetto again, Pinocchio begins a harrowing journey across the Empire, where danger in the form of half-beast outlaws and winged airmen abounds for a lost automa.

Meanwhile, Princess Lazuli, the daughter of the ruler of a magical kingdom called Abaton, is also on a quest through the emperor's territory. Her father, Prester John, has been captured by the Venetian Empire, and Lazuli is desperate to rescue him. With the emperor's airmen closing in fast, Lazuli learns the only hope for saving her father-and her beloved home-lies in Pinocchio and Geppetto.

In a masterful reimagining of Pinocchio, John Claude Bemis weaves an enchanting, thrilling adventure for middle-grade readers in the first installment in the Out of Abaton duology.

I can't wait to read this one. I love that it's part of a duology. This chapter 1 sneak peak has me hooked! Get a sneak peak into John's upcoming release, The Wooden Prince. 


The Elongated Nose

By the time Pinocchio arrived in the village of San Baldovino, he was bursting with impatience to get free. Being locked in a trunk shouldn’t have bothered him. He was an automa, after all. Back in the palace where he came from, Pinocchio had been locked in closets and stored away in cupboards with the other mechanical servants all the time. It had never bothered him before.

But since he’d been locked in this trunk, he was changing. Pinocchio shouted and tried again to kick the inside of the trunk, but with his wooden knees pressed into his wooden chest, he was too cramped to make much of a kick. He wriggled and twisted, tangling his smock shirt and tearing his leggings, until he became aware of muffled voices outside the trunk.

“Let me out!” he cried.

A moment later came the sound of squealing nails being pried from the lid. Then the trunk was opened. Pinocchio stretched out his legs and sat up with a puff of relief. Two figures stared at him. The closest was an automat butler with chipped paint on his wooden face, wearing a moth-eaten black suit. The automa butler held the ax that had been used to open the lid. The other was an elderly man with a bright red nose and watery red eyes that struggled to focus on Pinocchio.

“Otto, give us more light,” the old man wheezed.

The automa butler tipped back the crown of his head, exposing a gas flame that hissed to life from his skull. The orange light illuminated racks and racks of wine bottles filling a cobweb draped cellar.

“It’s just an automa, Captain Toro,” the old man called. “Put down your gun. It’s no danger to us.”

Pinocchio realized that a third man was in the cellar. He turned to see an imperial airman in dingy armor, great mechanical wings folded against his back. He had a long-barreled musket aimed at Pinocchio.

The airman lowered his gun. “But, Don Antonio, why would someone try to sneak an automa into the village in the dead of night?”

“I have no idea,” Don Antonio said, his breath wet and raspy.

“Outlaw vermin, most certainly. Why else would they have run when I came after them? Something suspicious is going on with this puppet.”

Don Antonio held a goblet of red liquid in his shaky hands. Pinocchio recognized this as wine. He had served it plenty back
in the palace, but the guests usually sipped it. They didn’t guzzle it the way Don Antonio was doing.

Don Antonio wiped his mouth on his sleeve. “What scoundrels delivered you here, automa?”

As an automa, Pinocchio had to answer people honestly, even if they weren’t his master. Unless, of course, his master had given him orders to lie, but that wasn’t the case now, so he replied, “I don’t know, signore, I never saw them.”

“Then where is your master?” Don Antonio asked.

“I don’t know that either.”

Captain Toro gritted his teeth. “Do you even know who your master is?”

“Yes,” Pinocchio said with an eager smile, glad to be able to answer this question. “Geppetto is his name.”

Don Antonio gasped, sputtering some wine. “Your master is Geppetto? Geppetto Gazza the traitor to the empire!”

“I don’t know,” Pinocchio said. “I’ve never actually met him. But before I was locked in the trunk, I was told I was being sent to my new master and that his name was Geppetto.”

“Is this Geppetto here in San Baldovino?” Don Antonio asked, his eyes wide.

Pinocchio was feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the questions and the strange faces Don Antonio and Captain Toro kept making. He had never been any good at interpreting human expressions. No automa was—it wasn’t part of their design. Otto, thankfully, just stood placidly over by the wine racks with the ax, the flame flickering atop his head.

“I don’t know where Master Geppetto is,” Pinocchio said.

“Please forgive me, signore”

“Traitor, eh?” Captain Toro said. “If I’m not mistaken, this Geppetto is our lord doge’s high alchemist.”

“Former high alchemist,” Don Antonio corrected. “He’s been on the run since his betrayal. You need to better keep up with the news from the capital, Captain Toro.

Captain Toro made one of those strange expressions that Pinocchio was struggling to understand. Did lowering one’s eyebrows and gritting one’s teeth mean he was glad to get Don Antonio’s suggestions? Pinocchio was determined to figure it out.

“I keep up with news from Venice,” Captain Toro growled. “And I can assure you, I will get reassigned to our capital and away from this dusty backcountry one of these days.

“I’m sure you will, Captain,” Don Antonio said. “Possibly sooner than later. Don’t you see? These weren’t half-beast outlaws who delivered the automa, not if it’s for the traitor Geppetto. They must have been Abatonian spies! And if you foil their attempts, then I suspect our lord doge will be very pleased with you, Captain Toro. Especially if, in fact, the traitor Geppetto turns out to be hiding in our very midst.”

Captain Toro jerked upright. “Yes, I should search for him now. ” Don Antonio held up a hand. “And risk failure? You are but one airman.”

“I can handle one former high alchemist.” Don Antonio shrugged, a gesture that Pinocchio decided he liked. He tested the movement out a few times while Don Antonio spoke.

“Are you sure, Captain Toro? Would it not be more prudent to deliver the news to Venice and return with reinforcements?

Captain Toro grumbled.

Pinocchio tried to mimic the noise. Both Captain Toro and Don Antonio looked at him with raised eyebrows. He decided to stay quiet.

“What about the automa?” Captain Toro asked.

“I’ll hold it here in my cellar,” Don Antonio said. “And just to be safe, I’ll order the guards to seal the village gates. No one will enter or leave until you get back.”

Captain Toro nodded approvingly. “It will take several days to reach Venice and return.”

“Then fly swiftly, good captain,” Don Antonio said, lifting his now empty goblet.

Captain Toro picked up his musket and hurried up the stairs. Don Antonio poured another glass of wine. “Well now, my little automa friend, let’s see what we can do with you. Come over here so I can get a better look.

Pinocchio climbed out of the trunk. Don Antonio wasn’t his master, but there was no reason not to obey his orders. He vaguely remembered that before he was locked in the trunk, back when he served in the palace, he had been given all sorts of orders: Bring the tray of spiced meats to the ballroom. Fetch the guests’ luggage. Wave the feather fan for Her Ladyship

Pinocchio stood before Don Antonio. The old man broke into a wet cough that nearly doubled him over. Don Antonio wiped his knuckles across his mouth and wheezed, “Aren’t you just a mystery? I’ve never seen such a finely constructed automat. You’re no crude Hungarian model, like my Otto. No, you came from one of the great workshops of Florence or Milan, I’d gamble. Perhaps you are one of Master da Vinci’s Vitruvian designs. Just look at your frame.”

Something made Pinocchio suspect that Don Antonio wasn’t actually asking him to look at himself. But he decided that orders were orders, and held out his hands to inspect them. He’d never really noticed how he was designed before and certainly had no idea what workshop he’d come from

“Mahogany for strength,” Don Antonio said. “And if my eyes don’t deceive me, there’s holly, too, for lightness. You must be geared inside with the most delicate of machined parts. The alchemist who designed you was a master. And his elementals, who transmuted your wood and metal to flex like muscle and skin . . . Oh, fine work indeed. And such rich clothes. You must be quite expensive, eh?”

Pinocchio shrugged.

Don Antonio gave a laugh that became the sickly cough again. “Funny expressions they’ve given you! Shrugging your shoulders. Ha! I’ve never seen an automa do that. Oh, to have an automa like you . . . But alas, there are better things than a princely servant.”

Don Antonio was eyeing him up and down in a way that made Pinocchio’s gearworks feel strange. He’d never felt this before. In truth, he’d never felt any sensation before his whole ordeal with the prisoner and the trunk. What was going on with him? Whatever it was, at that moment Pinocchio desperately wished he could get away from the old man. But he was an automa, and automa had to do as they were told.

“Yes, there is a better use for you,” Don Antonio said, reach ing a gnarled hand toward Pinocchio’s chest.

“Your fantom. What I would give for that! Let’s just open you up and take a look—”

But before the old man could touch his chest panel, Pinocchio’s hand shot out and grabbed Don Antonio’s wrist. He hadn’t meant to do this, and it surprised him completely.

“ARGH!” Don Antonio cried out. “You’re crushing my bones! Let go of me, you fiend!”

Pinocchio couldn’t let go, no matter how much he wanted to.

Something about Don Antonio reaching for his chest panel had caused him to grab the old man. Watching with horror as Don Antonio struggled to pull free, Pinocchio realized how strong his earworks made him—so much stronger than a human, especially an old one.

“I’m sorry,signore. I don’t know why I’m doing this. I can’t help it! Really I can’t.”

His nose began to grow. Little by little it inched out from his face. Pinocchio knew what this meant. Automa weren’t supposed to hurt any person, unless their masters ordered it. And the mark of an automa who caused harm or wasn’t following orders prop erly was an elongated nose. Oh, why couldn’t he let go? Why couldn’t he be an obedient automat?

Don Antonio wailed in agony and dropped to his knees. “Otto, help me!”

The mechanical butler was there in an instant, struggling to pry Pinocchio’s grip from his master’s wrist. But it was no use. Pinocchio couldn’t get free.

“The . . . ax!” Don Antonio managed.

Otto picked up the ax and reared back with it. Pinocchio furiously tried to get his fingers to let go of Don Antonio, but they wouldn’t obey. Otto swung. The ax bit deep into Pinocchio’s arm. Naturally it didn’t hurt, but as the iron blade lodged into his wood, Pinocchio felt his gearworks go slack and his vision dim. Direct contact with iron—or with lead or any other base metal disrupted an automa’s functions. Pinocchio knew that well enough.

The blow from the ax finally allowed him to release Don Antonio. Pinocchio fell with a clatter on the stone floor. His vision came back into focus. He stared dimly up at the ceiling,past his horrid long nose. All sorts of feelings flooded through him, feelings that he had no name for, feelings that made the wooden surface of his face seem to burn and made his gears feel mangled.

“Are you injured, my master?” Otto asked in his monotone voice.

Don Antonio whimpered. “My arm . . . I think I can move it. Nothing seems broken.”

“Very good,” Otto said. “What should I do with the automat?”

“Lock that thing back in the trunk,” Don Antonio snarled.

Pinocchio wanted more than anything not to go back in that dark, cramped box. But he couldn’t disobey. His nose was long enough already.

Movement was beginning to return to his gears, but Pinocchio allowed Otto to place him inside the trunk. As Otto began to hammer the nails back into the lid, Pinocchio heard Don Antonio say, “After you’re finished, send for Signore Polendina.”

“The shopkeeper?” Otto asked.

“Yes, the shopkeeper” Don Antonio said with what almost sounded to Pinocchio like a chuckle. Why would he laugh? That was puzzling. “I’ve been wondering about our village’s new shop keeper,” Don Antonio went on. “If we are properly persuasive, Otto, I suspect Signore Polendina might have much to reveal about the traitor Geppetto’s whereabouts.”

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!! I can't believe it's already 2016! I love the beginning of a New Year. It's the perfect time to reflect on all the things I'd like to do this year, and then challenge myself to do them. One of those is reading more MG books this year. 

I started substitute teaching a year ago (and I love it!), which took away from my free time, including reading time. I've learned how to re-adjust to working again, while still fulfilling all my mama duties. During that time, activities on my blogs wasn't as much as I had wanted them to be. I am finally feeling like I'm getting into a new groove. With my kids becoming avid readers, and feeling like I've finally got working, and everything else down, we'll be featuring many more kidlit reviews on the blog this year. Although, I have to say I really loved the picture books I read last year too. We'll still be reviewing those as well.

You're never too old to read kidlit books! The moment you start thinking you are is the moment you should pick up a book and read it. 

I'm looking forward to a new year, with new goals, and new book features to share on Mundie Kids. There are a lot of exciting upcoming releases happening this year. I hope each of you has a Happy New Year! Thank you for your continued support of Mundie Kids and sharing our love of kidlit! 

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 ~