Tuesday, March 20, 2018

PIXAR: A Pop-Up Celebration by Matthew Reinhart / Book Review #Pixar

Written & Illustrated by: Matthew Reinhart
Published by: Disney Hyperion
Released on: December 12th, 2017
Ages: 12 & up
Purchase from: Disney | Amazon | B&N
Add it to Goodreads
Rating: 5 Owlets 
Thank you to Disney for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review 

Featuring five spreads with over 30 pop-ups from New York Times best-selling author, artist, and pop-up master Matthew Reinhart, this breathtaking work of art revisits Pixar's impressive history. Like each Pixar movie, each pop contains Easter eggs to other Disney*Pixar films. Disney*Pixar: A Pop-Up Celebration is a vibrant tribute to the beloved canon of Disney*Pixar films and characters.

Be still my Disney/Pixar, fangirl heart! This book is a must have for Disney Pixar fans. It doesn't matter if you're a kid, or a kid at heart. Featuring all of Pixar's beloved classics from Toy Story, all the way through to Coco, this book is like a mini museum of Pixar movies from the beginning, all the way through 2017. It also gives a brief history of Pixar itself. This book will make the perfect gift for that Disney / Pixar fan you're having a hard time buying a gift for. 

We love these pop-ups and the way this book is put together. Each movie is featured with a book cover that when opened, is a pop-up. An added bonus to this book are some of the Pixar shorts. Those too are a walk through Pixar short history, beginning in 1984 and ending in 2017. I will say that while we love this book, and all the pop ups, this isn't a study board book, and the pop ups, and items you can pull down on each page, can by ripped, and will not be suitable for all younger aged children. 

Monday, March 19, 2018

BABY MONKEY, PRIVATE EYE by Brian Selznick and David Serlin / Book Review #BabyMonkeyPrivateEye

Written by: Brian Selznick & David Serlin
Illustrated by: Brian Selznick
Published by: Scholastic Press
Released on: February 27, 2018
Ages: 4 & up 
Purchase from: Scholastic | Amazon | B&N
Add it to Goodreads
Rating: 4 Owlets 
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review

Bookmaking maverick Brian Selznick and children's book debut author David Serlin create a dazzling new form with all the hallmarks of a Selznick classic, this time for a younger audience! 

Who is Baby Monkey? 

He is a baby. 

He is a monkey. 

He has a job. 

He is Baby Monkey, Private Eye! 

Lost jewels? 

Missing pizza? 

Stolen spaceship? 

Baby Monkey can help… 

if he can put on his pants! 

Baby Monkey's adventures come to life in an exciting blend of picture book, beginning reader, and graphic novel. With pithy text and over 120 black and white drawings accented with red, it is ideal for sharing aloud and for emerging readers. 

Hooray for Baby Monkey!

A fantastic beginning reader. Selznick and Serlin have created a truly fun read with Baby Monkey. Baby Monkey will entertain readers of all ages, as he solves each case. With it's laugh out loud humor, easy to follow along storyline, and easy to read words, this is a chapter book worth picking up! This book makes reading fun. It easily engages readers, and is perfect for new readers, as well as long time readers alike. 

Baby Monkey, Private Eye is the perfect blend of early readers, graphic novels and picture books all mixed together. I would have loved to have this book when I was teaching my kids to read. There needs to be more books with this blended format! This book is great for classrooms, and personal libraries. 

Friday, March 16, 2018

THE MAD WOLF’S DAUGHTER by Diane Magras / Blog Tour: Meet The Characters #TheMadWolfsDaughter

We're so thrilled to be the next stop in THE MAD WOLF'S DAUGHTER blog tour, hosted by Penguin Kids. Today's stop includes an introduction to the book's characters. Before I introduce you to them, here's a little bit about the book, which was released last week. 


By: Diane Magras
Published by: Kathy Dawson Books (Penguin)
Released on: March 6, 2018
Ages: 8 & up
Purchase from: Penguin | Amazon | B&N
Add it to Goodreads

A Scottish medieval adventure about the youngest in a war-band who must free her family from a castle prison after knights attack her home--with all the excitement of Ranger's Apprentice and perfect for fans of heroines like Alanna from The Song of the Lioness series.
One dark night, Drest's sheltered life on a remote Scottish headland is shattered when invading knights capture her family, but leave Drest behind. Her father, the Mad Wolf of the North, and her beloved brothers are a fearsome war-band, but now Drest is the only one who can save them. So she starts off on a wild rescue attempt, taking a wounded invader along as a hostage.

Hunted by a bandit with a dark link to her family's past, aided by a witch whom she rescues from the stake, Drest travels through unwelcoming villages, desolate forests, and haunted towns. Every time she faces a challenge, her five brothers speak to her in her mind about courage and her role in the war-band. But on her journey, Drest learns that the war-band is legendary for terrorizing the land. If she frees them, they'll not hesitate to hurt the gentle knight who's become her friend.

Drest thought that all she wanted was her family back; now she has to wonder what their freedom would really mean. Is she her father's daughter or is it time to become her own legend?


DREST, the only daughter of the Mad Wolf of the North, is as tough as any of her brothers in the war-band they serve. She’s tall for her 12 years, muscular for her youth, and has the stamina of a soldier. Drest cares little about what she looks like. She wears her brothers’ hand-me-down tunics and hose and cuts her brown hair short with her dagger. Climbing slick cliffs, swimming through rough seas, and winning practice sword battles with her favorite brother are what’s meaningful to this Scottish lass.

She knows who she is: a warrior. And she knows what her family is: a war-band who never lose a battle. She’s so certain of her and their identities that when enemy knights capture her family and drag them away to a castle to be hanged, it doesn’t take her long to go after them.

And yet Drest isn’t just a warrior: She is capable of pity, and of great love. That starts with her brothers and fearsome father, but extends to others as well, as long as they don’t disappointed her ideas of justice and honor. When she meets Emerick, an enemy knight, she can’t help but to like him, at least a little bit; he reminds her of one of her brothers. Though his insults and manner eventually test her patience, she knows she needs him—and he’s so wounded and so helpless that it’s clear how much he needs her. It feels good to be needed, to be important.

Brave, fiercely loyal, deeply affectionate, and brutally honest with those she trusts, Drest will always stand up for anyone who needs help. She’s starting to become a legend, after all.

EMERICK, a 16-year-old knight from Faintree Castle, has grown up in a world of battle, responsibilities, rules, and secrets. Deep inside, he’s always known that he can trust no one, but he never fully understood that until a knight from his castle attacked him and left him for dead. Haughty with strangers, Emerick has a sharp sense of what it means to be noble and good, and strives to be both. Drest’s father is his worst enemy, but he soon spots Drest’s own instinctive chivalry. While they’ll never agree about her father’s crimes, he can tell that she’s a kindred spirit.

Tall, graceful, and handsome, Emerick expects deference from the world. Yet when he finds himself abandoned, badly wounded, and in need, he quickly adapts to his situation. Too proud to try to win Drest over with sweet words, Emerick says what words he thinks he must to gain an upper hand in their relationship. He swallows his frustration when it doesn’t work. But soon she is more than his enemy’s daughter; she reminds him too much of a noble girl he knew when he was small—a girl he worshipped, a girl who died in violence by Drest’s father’s hand.

Proud, stern, noble, and capable of strong friendship, Emerick has led a privileged yet cold life, barren of love and tenderness after the death of that noble girl. He has lived most of his life with that missing part. Perhaps this journey with his worst enemy’s daughter will help to fill it.

TIG tries not to think of his past; it doesn’t him do any good to remember what happened to his mother when he was only six years old. And he’s lived another life for six years in the home of a loving foster-family: a gruff father, a tender brother, and a strong sister who always protects him when he gets into trouble with the other village boys. 

Tig also has more: Mordag his trained crow. The two of them have an uncanny relationship: She knows when he needs her, and he trusts her utterly.

Since the tragedy that marked his young life, Tig has taught himself to observe and to control the people around him. Part of it is his storytelling skill: He can weave just about anyone into his way of thinking. He knows what motivates people, what buttons to push, and how much to push them—usually. Quietly proud, intensely clever, and very good at trickery, Tig rarely misjudges his abilities.

Tig is capable of great kindness himself, and sees in Drest the most extraordinary person: a warrior whom he thinks he can strengthen with the power of suggestion. He’s flattered that she listens to him. She is, after all, a lass unlike any person he’s ever met, a hero from a legend, a friend worthy of great sacrifice—and perhaps more. (Though who knows if his courage will ever allow him to tell her that.)


Diane Magras grew up on Mount Desert Island in Maine. The Mad Wolf's Daughter is her debut novel. She is the editor, writer, and chief fund raiser for the Maine Humanities Council. She volunteers at her son's school library, and is addicted to tea, toast, castles, legends, and most things medieval. Diane lives in Maine with her husband and son and thinks often of Scotland, where her books are set.


March 5 – Xpresso Reads – Review
March 6 – The Review Room – Review
March 7 – The Book Deviant – Review
March 8 – Pop! Goes the Reader – Author Guest Post
March 9 – Rhythmic Booktrovert – Review 

March 12 – Megan Write Now – Q&A
March 13 – Tween Librarian – Review
March 14 – The Quirky Book Nerd – Review
March 15 – Vicariously & Voraciously – Review
March 16 – Mundie Kids – Character Profiles
March 20 – Lu and Bean Read – Review

Thursday, March 15, 2018

LADYBUG GIRL and the RESCUE DOGS by Jacky Davis and David Soman / Book Review #LadybugGirl

By: Jacky Davis
Illustrated by: David Soman
Published by: Dial Books for Young Readers
To Be Released on: March 20th, 2018
Ages: 4 & up
Purchase from: Penguin | Amazon | B&N
Add it to Goodreads
Thank you to Penguin Random House for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review 

Ladybug Girl and her friends help at a dog-adoption fair and discover that even the littlest things can make a big difference in this tenth hardcover in the New York Times bestselling Ladybug Girl series.

Lulu is excited to meet all the rescue dogs when the pet-adoption fair comes to her local farmers’ market. She wants to take all of them home–but she already has Bingo, and Mama says one dog is enough for their family. That doesn’t mean Lulu can’t help, though. It’s time for Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad–her friends Grasshopper Girl and Bumblebee Boy–to step in! The Bug Squad can do all kinds of little but important things, like brush the dogs, play with them, and bring them water and food. And then Lulu comes up with the perfect plan to help the dogs find their forever homes. Her idea is such a success that the Bug Squad knows they’ll be back again next week. Together, they can help every dog get adopted.

This beloved series is celebrated for its gentle, authentic, and imaginative exploration of kid-emotions and truths. 
Another fantastic addition to the Ladybug Girl series. Ladybug Girl and the Rescue Dogs has a wonderful message about how one person's actions, no matter how young they are, can make a difference. Even if the good deed they're doing seems small, their actions can have a ripple effect. Like Ladybug Girl's did when she realized she couldn't adopt all the rescue dogs she saw with her mom at the Farmer's Market in need of new homes. So she decided to take action and do something for them. 

Not only did we love this story, and seeing all that Ladybug Girl did to help the rescue dog volunteers out, we enjoyed the message that everyone can make a difference. Even if you're just helping get water and playing with rescue dogs, like Ladybug Girl did. Her actions of volunteering and helping out, got her friends involved too. They even helped one dog find it's forever home. Ladybug Girl and her Bug Squad helped save the day! 

This is definitely another cute story to add to your Ladybug Girl picture book collection. If you've not yet checked out the other books in the series, we highly recommend that you do. Each story is written in an engaging way, and with a younger reader audience in mind. With cute illustrations, great stories, and imaginative, and easily identifiable characters, have made these stories ones readers have continued to love for over ten years. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

WHEN SPRING COMES by Kevin Henkes / Book Review #WhenSpringComes

Written By: Kevin Henkes
Illustrated By: Laura Dronzek
Published By: HarperCollins Publishers
Released On: Feb 6, 2018
Ages: All Ages
Purchase From: Publisher l Amazon l B&N
Add it to Goodreads
Rating: 5 Owlets-We loved it!
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review

From Caldecott Medalist and Newbery Honor author Kevin Henkes and the acclaimed painter Laura Dronzek, the bestselling and award-winning creators of Birds and In the Middle of Fall, this sturdy board book edition of When Spring Comes is perfect for the very youngest readers. Watch the world transform when spring comes! In a starred review, School Library Journal called this delightful picture book, “A must-have, joyful seasonal title for the youngest listeners.”

Before spring comes, the trees are dark sticks, the grass is brown, and the ground is covered in snow. But if you wait, leaves unfurl and flowers blossom, the grass turns green, and the mounds of snow shrink and shrink. Spring brings baby birds, sprouting seeds, rain and mud, and puddles. You can feel it and smell it and hear it—and you can read it!

In this beautiful board book edition for young children, Caldecott Medalist and Newbery Honor author Kevin Henkes uses striking imagery, repetition, and alliteration to introduce basic concepts of language and the changing of the seasons. And acclaimed artist Laura Dronzek’s gorgeous, lush paintings show the transformation from quiet, cold winter to the newborn spring. In a starred review, The Horn Book said, “This joyful reflection is as welcome as spotting the first brave crocus.”

Before Spring comes, the trees looks like sticks, the snow mounds get smaller, the grass is brown and the garden is just dirt. Once you wait for spring, the seeds start to grow, things turn green, flowers show up and there is rain. When Spring Comes is a wonderful contrasting book of life before spring and life during spring. The beautiful illustrations are full of life and color that reflect life the wonderful springtime descriptions.

We loved the pictures and sounds and phrases found in this book. The descriptions and the way the story flows is great for little readers. You will feel spring, smell it and hear it when you read this book. Now that it is available in board book format, it is perfect for all ages.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

SO MANY BUNNIES by Rick Walton / Book Review #SoManyBunnies

Written By: Rick Walton
Illustrated By: Paige Miglio
Published By: HarperCollins Publishers
Released On: Jan 23, 2018
Ages: All Ages
Purchase From: Publisher l Amazon l B&N
Add it to Goodreads
Rating: 5 Owlets-We loved it!
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review

A sweet, rhyming, bunny-led introduction to ABCs and 123s!
Little ones can count along with Mother Rabbit through her rambling house and garden as she tucks in a whole alphabet of baby bunnies, from Abel through Zed. This cozy bedtime book has the comforting familiarity of a lullaby combined with the basic concepts toddlers enjoy exploring.
Rick Walton and Paige Miglio's sweet tale has charmed readers throughout the years. This board book edition is perfect for small hands.

Old Mother Rabbit must lay all 26 of her children down for sleep. Follow along as she not only numbers her children, but calls each one by name working her way through the alphabet.

This a wonderful book that is a multi-faceted teaching tool. Not only does it help children to work on numbers, but also helps them learn the alphabet and it teaches them rhyming. It's also a great easy reader for beginning readers, but readers of all ages will love this bedtime story. The illustrations are very fitting for a nursery rhyme, which is perfect for a mother bunny that lives in a shoe. We loved this sweet story and it is definitely one we will read again and again.

Friday, March 9, 2018

DAD and THE DINOSAUR by Gennifer Choldenko / Book Review

By: Gennifer Choldenko
Illustrated by: Dan Santat
Published by: Putnam 
Released on: March 28th, 2017
Ages: 5 & up
Purchase from: Penguin | Amazon 
Add it to Goodreads
Rating: 4 Owlets
Thank you to Penguin Random House for provided a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review 

A heartwarming father-son story about bravery and facing fears. 

Nicholas was afraid of the dark outside his door, the bushes where the giant bugs live, and the underside of manhole covers. 

His dad was not afraid of anything.
Nicholas wants to be as brave as his dad, but he needs help. That’s why he needs a dinosaur. After all, dinosaurs like the dark, bugs are nothing to them, and they eat manhole covers for lunch (and everything under them for dinner).
With his toy dinosaur, Nicholas can scale tall walls, swim in deep water, even score a goal against the huge goalie everyone calls Gorilla. But when the dinosaur goes missing, everything is scary again.
Luckily, his dad knows that even the bravest people can get scared, and it’s okay to ask for help facing your fears. It’s just guy stuff.

A family classic in the making from the dream team of Newbery Honor-winner Gennifer Choldenko and Caldecott Medal-winner Dan Santat.

Bravery isn't something Nick has without his small toy dinosaur by his side. After a great soccer game, his beloved toy, and comfort gets lost. With it's loss, his feeling of bravery and confidence gets lost too. Thankfully his father understands his young son, and does his best to help him find it. With some determination, Nick and his father retrace their steps and find his toy dinosaurs right where he first got lost. 

These illustrations are great! Dan Santat's illustrations are the perfect touch to this story, and bring it life perfectly. The illustrations alone are worth picking up this book. 

One of the things I really liked about this story, is the fact that the dad acknowledges his son's fears and worries, and helps him find his dinosaur. In having his father's help, and his acknowledging his son's feelings, it helps create a bond of trust between them. The dad knows his son has the courage, he just has to find it in his own way and time. I think that's a wonderful message for young kids. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Big and Little Are Best Friends: A Story of Two Friends by Michael Garland / Book Review

By: Michael Garland
Published by: Orchard Books
Released on: May 9th, 2017
Ages: 3 & up
Purchase from: Scholastic | Amazon | B&N
Add it to Goodreads
Rating: 4 stars
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review

Big is an elephant, Little is a mouse. Big enjoys soft music, warm weather, and small bites of savory foods. But Little prefers a loud drum jam, icy skiing weather, and mass quantities of sweets! Can two who are so different be best friends?

This charming, rhyming concept book about opposites reminds us that in the end, best friends can be different as night and day--and they don't need to change for anyone!

A really cute story about opposites, friendship, and what it means to be a friend. Elephant and Mouse are the best of friends. They have a lot of differences, but that doesn't stop them from being best friends. They know that even when they have disagreements, they'll still be there for each other. 

Told in rhyming, Garland's story is one that will easily entertain the younger audience it's intended to. It's written in a way young kids will easily understand the message of friendship, and have fun learning about opposites. The illustrations are great! They capture the character facial expressions perfectly, and make the characters feel realistic. 

This is a book kids will enjoy spending time looking through the pictures, as much as they will enjoy having this book read to them. It's perfect for preschool age readers and up. 

Monday, March 5, 2018

PAW PATROL: RESCUE TIME by Nickelodeon / Book Review #PawPatrol

By: Nickelodeon
Published By: Studio Fun International
Released On: October 2017
Ages: 3 and up
Purchase From: Publisher l B&N l Amazon
Add it to Goodreads
Rating: 4 Owlets- We Enjoyed It!
A copy of this book was provided by Studio Fun International in exchange for my honest review

Join the PAW Patrol team on two fun-filled adventure in this hardcover book that includes a removable communicator! Pretend to contact the rest of the team while projecting images from the story directly onto the wall!

Whether it's Alex's first tooth that gets misplaced before he can put it under his pillow for the Tooth Fairy, or a flock of Symphony Songbirds that have gone missing from their nests, the PAW Patrol is ready to rush to the rescue! Read these two pup-tastic adventures, and use your wrist projector to display ten images on the wall that extend the action!

Wherever there is trouble, they will be there on the double! Our favorite puppies are back in action in this great 2-story combo action book. Whether helping Alex find his missing tooth or helping Mayor Goodway solve the missing Symphony Songbirds, Ryder is up to the challenge. Of course he has Chase, Rocky, Skye, Zuma, Marshall and Rocky to help him with their talents and special equipment.

The best part of this book set is the wrist projector! With 10 different images that follow along with the book, your child will love retelling the story using their projector. Although the book is rather large, the watch is very transportable and will fit onto your child's wrist. We liked that the watch was not cumbersome with extra parts or slides that could easily be lost. It is all assembled and fairly easy to use. Younger children may not understand how to use the focusing ring to adjust the picture focus, but they will still love playing with it. The quality of the projected pictures is great, but only a few images actually contain the main Paw Patrol pups.

If your child is a fan of the tv show, they will love this book (especially the watch projector)! We love when we can find new ways to tell stories and read books, and the projector is a great way to making reading fun.

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 ~