Thursday, April 28, 2016

Teachers Rock! by Todd Parr / Book Review

Written & Illustrated By: Todd Parr
Published by: Machete
Released on: April 19th, 2016
Ages: 3 & Up
Purchase from: The PublisherAmazon | B&N
Add it to Goodreads
Rating: 3 Owlets
* I received a copy of this book to review from the publisher, in exchange for my honest review

A celebration of the countless ways teachers change the world-with a free Back-to-School poster!

Teachers are amazing! They teach you new things, make you laugh, and help you meet new friends. They always encourage you to do your best. They make the classroom a great place to be! 

From admiring the way teachers foster creativity in the classroom to how they ensure all children's needs are met, Todd Parr offers an ode to everything teachers contribute to the world. Bursting with positivity about school and the people who make it special, this book is sure to become a classroom and at-home favorite. 

This coming week is teacher appreciation week. Aside from new school supplies, teachers LOVE books. Todd Parr's TEACHERS ROCK! makes a great gift to give to your favorite preschool or kindergarten teacher. 

This is a book the celebrates all the great things teachers do for their students. From the big things down to the little things, and to the things that sometimes go unnoticed. Teachers Rock! mentions all the great things that teachers do for their students every day. From reading to them, to playing games with them, helping those in need of help, making sure they're okay, and much more. Simply written, and illustrated with bold colors, the fun illustrations will easily hold young attention spans. Included with this book is a poster (under the book cover), and a page that children can write an inscription to their teacher on. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

OLLIE'S ODYSSEY by William Joyce / Book Review

By: William Joyce
Published by: Atheneum (Simon & Schuster)
Released on: April 12th, 2016
Ages: 7-12 years old
Rating: 4 Owlets - We Enjoyed It! 
Add it to Goodreads 
* I received a copy of this book to review, in exchange for my honest review

From the creator of The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore and The Guardians of Childhood comes an grand adventure of valor, friendship, and a look into the mysterious world of favorite toys.

In the secret realm of toys, there are many mysteries.

There is the Code of the Toys, which is as ancient as childhood.

There’s also the magic of becoming a child’s favorite, the highest honor in the Toy World.

Made by hand by Billy’s mother, Ollie is a special toy, “a toy who will matter.” He becomes Billy’s best friend, confidant, pal, and yes, Billy’s “favorite.”

But there are villains in the Toy World, and Zozo, the clown king, is the most feared. He and his toy henchman (the Creeps) have sworn to steal and imprison favorite toys until they forget their children and become forever lost.

When Ollie is toynapped, Billy must rescue his beloved favorite from Zozo’s subterranean lair in the old Carnival Place, past the park, through the woods, and into the night.

Never has a journey of ten blocks been more epic. 

This is a story about Billie, a boy who loves his special, ratted old toy. It's also a story about Ollie, a ratted old, special toy who loves his boy. Ollie has always been there for Billie to comfort him, and has joined him on every grand adventure he's ever been on. Soon, Billie and Ollie won't have as many adventures together. Billie is growing up, and soon Ollie won't be his constant companion. When Ollie goes missing one night, Billie stops at nothing to rescue his beloved toy. 

I love the way Joyce captures that innocence of childhood. He captures the wonder, the magic, adventure, and all the fun childhood is. At the same time, he doesn't shy away from the things that taint it. This adventure is one about growing up, and never forgetting, as much as it is about good, vs evil. True to Joyce's style, this is a story about friendship and a grand adventure. It's about bravery, and courage. It's also a story about remembering the forgotten parts of childhood, and the things that make it special.

An epic adventure! Joyce has a way of creating stories that capture his reader's heart, imagination, and attention. With vivid imaginary, and characters we loved reading about, this was a story my daughter and I enjoyed reading together. It's written so that both children and parents alike can enjoy it, and each for different reasons. It's a story that made me want to cherish my children's childhood even more so, and had me longing for the one I long ago left behind.

Ollie's Odyssey is a story about the innocence of childhood, growing up, being courageous, and always remembering. Reminiscent of childhood stories like Peter Pan, The Velveteen Rabbit, and The Little Prince, this is a story that will resonate with adults and children alike. Like Billie, no matter how old we get, and how far away our childhood may seem, there's always a part of it that will always be remembered. It might be a faint memory, but it's a memory all the same. 

Favorite Quote: "It didn't matter if something was pretend or read; if it was remembered, then it was true. If it was remembered, then it didn't go away."

Monday, April 25, 2016

Celebrate #WorldPenguinDay With These 9 Books From Harper Collins

It's World Penguin Day! 

Harper Collins Children's Books has a great list of books to celebrate today's World Penguin Awareness Day! Check out the list below:

Happy Penguin Awareness Day to one of our favorite furry animals! Be sure to head over to here to find out more about each book featured above. 

Saturday, April 23, 2016

OUR GREAT BIG BACKYARD by Laura Bush and Jenna Bush Hager #TweetsForTrees

From Harper Collins Children's books (see their post here), celebrate Earth Day and the upcoming publication of Our Great Big Backyard by Laura Bush and Jenna Bush Hager and 100 years of the National Park Service, we’re encouraging you to join us and tweet for trees! 

Share why you are looking forward to reading Our Great Big Backyard, your favorite thing about our national parks, or why you love the outdoors using #tweetsfortrees. For every tweet and retweet between today, Earth Day, and April 29, Arbor Day, HarperCollins will work with the National Park Service to plant a tree 
in parks that need them.* 

Preorder your copy of the book here

Promotion Details

  • Share anything related to Our Great Big Backyard, national parks, or the outdoors on Twitter!
  • Don’t forget to use #tweetsfortrees so we can track your participation.
  • HarperCollins will make a donation of $1,000 to the National Park Foundation to plant up to 1,000 trees, regardless of how many tweets are received.
  • This promotion runs from 4/22/16–4/29/16, so act now!
  • Tweet as many times as you like—and retweets count, too!
  • Follow @HarperChildrens to stay updated with all things Our Great Big Backyard and upcoming appearances by Laura Bush and Jenna Bush Hager.
To learn more about the National Park Service, click here!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Happy Earth Day! #EarthDay

Happy Earth Day! 
Check out this great list of books and activities that Harper Collins put together that helps children celebrate Earth Day, here.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Nocturnals: The Mysterious Abductions by Tracey Hecht / Blog Tour: Guest Post

Hello and welcome to today's blog tour for The Nocturnals: The Mysterious Abductions by Tracey Hecht, hosted by Fabled Films Press. Today's post features a guest post from Tracey, and introduces readers to Tobin, one of her book's main characters. First, here's a little bit about The Nocturnals, which released earlier this week. 


Written By: Tracey Hecht

Illustrated by: Kate Liebman
Published by: Fabled Films Press
Released on: April 19th, 2016
Add it to Goodreads

The Nocturnals features three unlikely friends: Dawn, a serious fox, Tobin, a sweet pangolin and Bismark, the loud mouthed, pint sized sugar glider. The stories all play out in their nighttime world with teamwork, friendship and humor in every adventure.

In The Mysterious Abductions, the animals form a brigade of the night after a random encounter with a blood-thirsty snake, and just in time because something is threatening their night realm. Animals are disappearing without a trace. Together with the help of a wombat, a band of coyotes and many others, Dawn, Tobin and Bismark journey to the depths of the earth in a wacky, high stakes game that will determine all of their survival.

Praise From The Book

"The characters are delightful and the nighttime landscape is captivating. It was just as I expected—because the best stories always take place in the dark!R.L. Stine, author of Goosebumps 


Tobin is a sweet, bumbling pangolin with a big appetite and a bigger heart. His short-legged, anteater-like body is covered in a tough layer of scales that fit together like the petals of an artichoke. When scared, which happens rather often, he releases a defensive odor from the scent glands on his rear end. His unconditional love for Bismark and Dawn is always enough to override his fear of the unknown, and he is fiercely loyal to his friends and the mission of helping others.

Here are some interesting facts Tracey learned about real pangolins while researching Tobin:

*P angolins are the scaly anteaters of the night.  Their scales are keratin covered giving them the appearance of animals with smooth plated armor.  They look like live-action-artichokes, their 'finger-nail' like scales hinging with movement as they trundle through the night.  
("Mammals." Animal Encyclopedia: 2,500 Animals with Photos, Maps, and More! Washington, D.C.: National Geographic, 2012. 47. Print.)

* These scaly creatures are surprisingly fast runners and swimmers. 

* Pangolins live primarily in deep burrows which they dig up to 10 feet below ground.  Some pangolin like to live in hollowed out trees. 



Visit the Nocturnals via their Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads accounts. 


Tracey Hecht, founder of Fabled Films, is a writer and entrepreneur who has written, directed and produced for film. Tracey has launched several start-ups including DoughNet, an online company promoting savings and social responsibility for kids. Fabled Films brings together her passions and interests: writing, creativity, teamwork, and entrepreneurship. When she isn’t writing and managing a business, she can be found hiking, reading or spending time with her family. Tracey currently splits her time between New York City and Oquossoc, Maine with her husband, four children and three pets—none of which are a sugar glider.


Kate Liebman is an artist who lives and works in New York City. She graduated from Yale University, contributes to the Brooklyn Rail, and has shown her work at multiple galleries. She grew up in Santa Monica,  California. This is her first children's book.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

EXPLORERS OF THE WILD by Cale Atkinson / Book Review

Written and Illustrated by: Cale Atkinson
Published by: Disney Hyperion
To Be Released on: April 26th, 2016
Ages: 3-5 
Rating: 5 Owlets - It's A Must Have!
Pre-Order from: Amazon | B&N | The Book Depository
Add it to Goodreads
* I received a copy of this book from the publisher to review, in exchange for my honest review

Boy and Bear both love to explore the outdoors. There are so many neat things to see, and so many strange things to find. These explorers are prepared for anything . . . except each other!

When Bear and Boy meet in the woods, they're scared at first. Really scared. But soon these kings of the wild realize that no mountain is too big to conquer if you have a friend to climb it by your side.

Perfect for young explorers who love stories about out door adventures and friendship. With it's frame worthy illustrations, and unforgettable story, EXPLORERS OF THE WILD is a book that captures the heart of being an explorer, and making new friends. 

What happens when a young boy, and a bear cub cross paths while exploring the same woods? An unlikely friendship that leads them to finding new discoveries and trying new things. I loved the way the story is told. While this may be a story about exploring, at it's heart is a story about friendship and over coming fear. 

EXPLORES OF THE WILD is hands down one of my favorite children's books I've read. Not only is the story one that will easily capture the attention of young readers, it's one that visually comes to life with vibrant illustrations that Cale Atkinson's books are known for. This is definitely a must have for explorers of all ages. It's the perfect book to read at story time, or bedtime. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

GOOD NIGHT OWL by Greg Pizzoli / Book Review

Written & Illustrated By: Greg Pizzoli
Published by: Disney Hyperion
Released on: April 19th, 2016 - TODAY
Purchase from: Amazon | B&N
Add it to Goodreads
*I received an arc from the publisher to review, in exchange for my honest review

Owl is ready for bed. But as soon as he settles in, he hears a strange noise. He'll never get to sleep unless he can figure out what's going on! He looks everywhere-in his cupboard, underneath the floorboards-even in his walls. But while he's busy tearing his house apart, he doesn't notice one tiny, squeaky, mouse-shaped detail. . . . Will Owl ever get a good night's sleep?

A fun bedtime story! What's an owl to do, when every time he says good night to himself, and nestles down in bed, he hears a squeak? Searching high and low, and all through out his house, Owl can not figure out where that sound is coming from. If Owl wants a good night sleep, he has to find that noise. GOOD NIGHT OWL is a fun read that is sure to bring on a fit giggles, as readers watch Owl search tirelessly for the source of the squeak that's keeping him up. Hidden on each page is the mouse, who's squeak is keeping Owl up. Simple, warm colored illustrations set the perfect mood for this bedtime story.  

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Happy 100th Birthday Beverly Cleary

Happy 100th Birthday to one of the most influential children's authors, Beverly Cleary! 

What an amazing women! Growing up she was not only someone many of us thought was amazing (because we were from her home state), she was one of the most popular children's authors! We loved her books. I still do. Some of her books still grace my bookshelves now. While her books may not be required elementary school reading like they were back when we were growing up, I love that her books still exists. Along side one of my all time favorite childhood books, Charlotte's Web, was some of the Ramona Quimby books. I still have some of these books today for my kids. Thank you Ms. Cleary for all the wonderful stories you have shared with us, and the characters who meant something to us! Here's to celebrating another 100 years of unforgettable characters, stories, and children's books. 

Check out the collection of children's books Beverly Cleary has written, here.

Monday, April 11, 2016

THE KID IN THE RED JACKET by Barbara Park / Book Review

Today I'm thrilled to share another book review, written by our second grade guest reviewer, Gavin G. Today Gavin shares his thoughts on one of Barbara Park's classics, The Kid In The Red Jacket.


By: Barbara Park
Published by: Random House Children's Books 
Released on: 8/28/88
Ages: 8-12 years old  
Purchase from: Scholastic | Amazon | B&N
Add it to Goodreads

The kids in Howard's new town act as if he's totally invisible, except for his six-year-old neighbor, Molly Vera Thompson. True, Howard could use a friend, but an annoying little girl who talks nonstop and looks like a miniature Bozo isn't exactly what he had in mind! Of course, when you're really lonely, you'll be friends with anyone.


Howard is moving to Massachusetts and is scared he will not make any friends. I like the author's writing style because it is funny, a little sad and as some fun names. As I read when Howard get invited to a football game, it made feel excited, because Howard was making some new friends. Like when Molly called Howard, Howard Jeeper, instead of Howard Jeeter. I like it because it is funny and I almost laughed out loud.

Something that surprised me was when Howard started liking Molly, because he did not like for her a long time. I think the genre of this book is realistic fiction, because it could have happened, but did not. I think the author wrote this book to teach that even though you might be older, you can be friends with anyone. 

* Guest review written by: Gavin G., 2nd grade

Friday, April 8, 2016

THE ALMOST TERRIBLE PLAYDATE by Richard Torrey / Book Trailer Reveal

Hello and welcome to today's book trailer reveal for Richard Torrey's THE ALMOST TERRIBLE PLAYDATE! Being moms, we can totally relate to the theme of this book! In fact, we may have witnessed a playdate or two similar to this one... This book sounds like a must read. After seeing this book trailer, I'm definitely going to be picking up this book soon! 

Check out this adorable book trailer!

Per Random House Children's Books: Ideal for any parent or caregiver who's ever said the words "Why can't you both JUST GET ALONG??!", here is the story of two young children with VERY different ideas of what they want to play. In a humorous mock-epic battle staged with crayon illustrations of each child's increasingly elaborate ideas of what they want to play, Richard Torrey taps into the volatile emotions of childhood that every parent and child will recognize with a smile.


By: Richard Torrey
Published By: Random House Children's Book
Released on: February 16th, 2016
Purchase from: Random HouseAmazon | B&N
Add It To Goodreads

Here is the story of two young children with VERY different ideas of what they want to play. What starts with an innocent question (“What do you want to play?”) soon veers hilariously toward chaos, as two children engage in the age-old struggle of princesses, ponies, and ballet vs. dinosaurs, dragons, and race cars. Which child will win? Or will both find a way to play nicely together?

I'm looking forward to reading this book soon!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Dig In! By Cindy Jenson-Elliot / Book Review

By: Cindy Jenson-Elliott
Illustrated by: Mary Peterson
Published by: Beach Lane Books (Simon Kids)
Released On: March 1st, 2016
Purchase from: Amazon
Add it to Goodreads
* I received a copy of this book to review from the publisher, in exchange for my honest review

Dig in to this vibrant picture book that celebrates all the surprises found down in the dirt!

I dig in the dirt...and find a seed.
Seed waits.
I dig in the dirt...and find a spider.
Spider runs.

Explore all of the creepy, crawly, dirty, muddy, green, and growing things that can be found outside in the garden. From pill bugs to worms to leafy green sprouts, young readers will love discovering the muddy garden habitat within the pages of this book—and outside in their own backyards!

Explore the fun of the outdoors, and digging in the dirt, with this cute picture book. Dig In! is a great book for kids who love getting their hands dirty, and exploring the outdoors. Young readers will love discovering what they can find when they dig in and play in the dirt. With cute illustrations, and an easy to read story, readers will find a worm, a seed, a rock, a potato bugs (pill bugs), and more. DigIn! and discover the fun adventure of the outdoors with this adorable picture book! You never know what you will find until you Dig In!

With simple, easy to follow words, and simple, bright illustrations, this story is great for children with both short or long attention spans. Dig In! is perfect for reading out loud, story time, preschool and kindergarten lessons on gardens, and/or outdoors. Being that April is National Garden Monthit's also a great time to pick up your copy of Dig In!

Friday, April 1, 2016

The Illustrated Edition of “Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets” Gets a COVER!

It's finally here! The cover for the illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets has been revealed!! I love this cover! The book won't be released until October 4th, 2016, but BuzzFeed has an early sneak peak for fans! Check out this artwork found inside the book of the Phoenix. 

I love that both Bloomsbury and Scholastic have teamed up to publish an illustrated edition for each of the Harry Potter books. Each book will feature the artwork of Jim Kay. Here's the cover of the first illustrated edition of Harry Potter (it's a must have!):

Be sure to pre-order your copy of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets now! If you haven't already, pick up your copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone!

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 ~