Friday, December 31, 2010

Book Review & Giveaway- Bob Books For Your iPhone & iPad

By Bob Books Reading Magic
Released on December 6th, 2010
Ages 4 yrs +
Source- Bob Books
5 Stars- I Highly Recommend This

I am a HUGE supporter and fan of Bob Books. These books were instrumental in me teaching my son to read and what I'm using to teach my daughter how to read now. I was so thrilled when they contacted me to let me know they have applications through iTunes for my iPhone & iPad. Now I can take the books and games with me where I go.

I know, that sounds lame, but I'd much rather have my kids doing something educational in the car or while we're waiting in line somewhere. The Bob Books Reading Magic application is an all in one package as it has games and it teach kids how to read, which they do learning the sounds of letters as they sound out the words, and they learn how to spell. The game reads the words with them and as your child puts the words, the picture (right out of the Bob Book) comes to life in color, like this picture here-

You can view & purchase the application here

I'm not sure how is more excited to have this, me or them. This is already a hit with my kids. I highly recommend adding this affordable down load to your iTunes collection. Thank you to Bob Books, we are giving away a iPhone FREE down load to the application linked above!!
Please fill out this form to enter-

For more information about Bob Books, visit
For more information about Learning Touch, visit

Book Review- Happy 100th Day

By Susan Milord
Illustrated By Mary Newell DePalma
Published By Scholastic
Ages 4-8
Source- Scholastic
3 Stars- It's A Good Read

Birthdays meet 100th Day in a school celebration unlike anything you've seen before!

Graham doesn't like school. He really doesn't like reading. And he's not impressed by his teacher's excitement about the 100th Day of School. The one thing he looks forward to? His class birthday party. But as the school year ticks by, he realizes his birthday will be the SAME DAY as 100th Day celebration! Will anyone remember Graham's special day?

This sweet and funny story by Susan Milord is accompanied by vibrant multimedia illustrations by Mary Newell DePalma -- each one incorporating 100 of some object for readers to count and find! (quoted from Goodreads).

Happy 100th Day is a fun story and easily relatable to younger kids who are K and 1st. Graham is the little boy in the story, and we see all the he accomplishes within in first 100 days of schools. He over comes his struggle of learning to read and be accustom to being in school. By his 100 days Graham's confidence in himself has grown a lot and he's able to celebrate how much he's learned, and the fact that he's learned to read.

The wonderful illustrations make this book one that kids will enjoy, as each picture goes along with what Graham and his class have learned through their 1st 100 days of school.

A Year In Picture Books- 2011 Reading Challenge

I'm so excited to have Mundie Kids take part in a fun challenge hosted by An Abundance of Books. Here's what the challenge is:

A Year In Pictures reading challenge will run for all of 2011, but sign ups end December 1, 2011 (so you have plenty of time).

Participants can sign up to read 12, 16, or 24 picture books throughout the year.

For more challenge details and the sign up, please click here. (quoted from Jennifer's site)

Jennifer has it set up so that our reviews can be unique. Each book's reviews can focus on the story, the illustrations or what your children think of the book, which I really like. If you're a fan of children's book, go sign up!!

I'm signing up to read 24 picture books! I've not yet made my list, but I'll add my list to this post as I go, as I've got some great picture books sitting here waiting for me to review and other's my Children are looking forward to reading.

  1. Chicks Run Wild by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallan
  2. Tony Baloney by Pam Munoz Ryan
  3. Quick, Slow, Mango by Anik McGrory
  4. Moo Pie in the Moonlight by Beth Olmo
  5. Lucky's Little Feather by Peggy van Gurp
  6. Look! A Book by Bob Staake
  7. Ribbit, Rabbit by Candace Ryan
  8. One Magical Morning by Claire Freedman
  9. Birdsong by Ellie Sandall
  10. Fifo "50 States" by Hayley Rose
  11. LaRue Across America by Mark Teague
  12. Armadillo Rodeo by Jan Brett
  13. The Underpants Zoo by Brian Sendelbach
  14. The Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad by Jacky Davis
  15. Quiet Bunny's Many Colors by Lisa McCue
  16. Me....Jane by Patrick McDonnell
  17. The Easter Egg by Jan Brett
  18. When The World Was Waiting For You by Gillian Shields
  19. My Daddy by Guido Van Genechten
  20. The BIG Baby Book by Guido Van Genechten
  21. Playing by Liesbet Slegers
  22. Bathing by Liesbet Slegers
  23. Ricky Is Brave by Guido Van Genechten
  24. Thankyouplease by Pierre Winters
  25. The Sleepless Little Vampire by Richard Egielski
  26. Please and Thank you! by Jill Ackerman
  27. Uh-Oh! I'm Sorry by Jill Ackerman
  28. The Very Fairy Princess Take The Stage by Julie Andrews & Emma Walton Hamilton
  29. Razzle-Dazzle Ruby by Masha D'yans
  30. Wiener Wolf by Jeff Crosby
  31. Love You Back! by Umesh Shukla
  32. Eddie Gets Ready For School by David Milgrim
  33. Hugo The Happy Starfish Wants To Be Different by Susanne Lehmann
  34. Get Happy by Malachy Doyle
  35. Race The Wild Wind by Sandra Markle
  36. Pirates Go To School by Corinne Demas
  37. Bulldog's Big Day by Pascal Lemaitre
  38. Bailey by Harry Bliss
  39. Detective Blue by Steve Metzger
  40. Ladybug Girl at the Beach by Jacky Davis
  41. Prudence Wants A Pet by Cathleen Day
  42. Blue Chicken by Deborah Freedman
  43. The Great Race by Kevin O'Malley
  44. The Man in the Moon by William Joyce
  45. Llama Llama Home with Mama by Anna Dewdney
  46. The Fearsome Beastie by Giles Paley-Phillips
  47. The I'm Not Scared Book by Todd Parr
  48. Marsipity by Barbie McConnell
  49. You Will Be My Friend! by Peter Brown
  50. The Leaves on the Trees by Thom Wiley
  51. Halloween Surprise by Corinne Demas
  52. The Not So Scary Monster Handbook by Dave Ross
  53. The Night Before Halloween by Natasha Wing
  54. The Apple Pie Tree by Zoe Hall
  55. Where is Baby's Pumpkin by Karen Katz
  56. The Runaway Pumpkin by Kevin Lewis
  57. Frangoline and the Midnight Dream by Clemency Pearce
  58. Happy Halloween by Lisebet Slegers
  59. I Am Small by Emma Dodd
  60. Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star by Jerry Pinkney
  61. Everything Goes on Land by Brian Biggs
  62. Whoo Loves You? Sandra Magsamen
  63. The Vole Brothers by Roslyn Schwartz
  64. My Rhinoceros by Jon Agee
  65. Lily Hates Goodbyes by Jerilyn Marler
  66. Mouse & Lion by Randy Burkert & Nancy Ekholm Burkert
  67. Chuckling Ducklings & baby animal friends by Aaron Zenz
  68. Snowflake Baby by Elise Broach
  69. Kevin's Christmas by Liesbet Slegars
  70. Every Day Dress Up by Selina Alko
  71. A Starlit Snowfall by Nancy Willard
  72. Not Inside This House! By Kevin Lewis
  73. Birdie's Big-Girl Dress by Sujean Rim
  74. Ricky's Christmas Tree by Guido van Genechten
  75. Can You SEe What I See? Toyland Express by Walter Wick
  76. The Family Storybook Treasury
  77. Nothing Like a Puffin by Sue Soltis
  78. The Story of Thanksgiving by Nancy J Skarmeas
  79. Hibernation Station by Michelle Meadows
  80. Ten on the Sled by Kim Norman
  81. The Three Snow Bears by Jan Brett
  82. Quincy Moves To The Desert by Camille Matthews
  83. The Best Kind of Kiss by Margaret Allum
  84. Here Comes Jack Frost by Kazuno Kohara

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Book Review- Quest For Merlin's Map (The Jumper Chronicles)

By W.C. Peever
Published by Savant Books & Publications LLC
Released on December 25th, 2010
Ages 10 & Up
Source- Author & Publisher
4 Stars- A Great Book To Read

Charlie is an awkward twelve-year old living a normal life till he is abducted and thrust into a world of ever-looming danger, a world of Magic, of Angry Gods, and Creatures that are should only exist inside of fairytales.

Charlie and his three friends must unravel the mysteries of their new found abilities, save the father Charlie has never known, and uncover a secret that will change their lives forever (quoted from Goodreads).

Quest for Merlin's Map was such a fun, magical read. I didn't except to be so swept up in the fantasy, adventure and lore than made up the story. It's a book that has very minor similarities to other books out there, but enough that it will draw fans of magic, and fantasy in.

Twelve year old Charlie Burrows has a gift that he inherited from the father he never knew, World Jumping. In finding his talent, Charlie is suddenly whisked away from his mother and home, and brought to a magic school in England where kids with special powers attend. Luckily Charlie has his best friend Bailey with them, as the two are about to learn about their father's past, a whole another magical world they never existed and about the powers that they have, and never knew existed until now.

Charlie is a brilliant witty character, and his best friend Bailey is one a character I also really like. She's this bigger than life character, who deep down has a fear for losing Charlie, as she too grew up without a father. Through Charlie and Bailey's dangerous adventures, they learn more about their fathers, their quest and the war that's taken place both in the new world that once laid just beyond their imaginations.

Along with Charlie and Bailey is a cast of great characters who's powers range from a World Jumper to, Shape Shifters, Guardians, Elementalists, Influencearians, Telecons and Seers. Lord Grayson and Joelle (the shape shifting were cat who lives in the library), are two more characters I really enjoyed getting to know. They added a rich history to the story and in getting to know little bits and pieces of their ancient characters. I got to know more of Charlie's destiny, while learning along side Charlie about the history of the new world he's now apart of.

I really liked the way W.C. Peever molded together a fun adventure full of paranormal characters, lore, magic, and a well known historical character like Merlin and gave it his own spin. The Quest for Merlin's Map is a unique and richly detailed story that both middle grade and young adult readers will enjoy. I can't wait to read the next book in this series.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Book Review- Story County Here We Come!

By Derek Anderson
Published by Orchard Books
To Be Released on January 1st, 2011
Ages 4-7
Source- Scholastic
3 Stars- It's A Good Read

An adorable and silly new farm series with an utterly lovable cast-from New York Times bestselling illustrator Derek Anderson!

Welcome to Story County!

More than anything, Farmer wants a farm. His friends Dog, Pig, Chicken, and Miss Cow are eager to help. Together they build the barn, spread the fields, plant the crops, and more until voilĂ !-the farm is complete. Or is it?

Silliness abounds as Derek Anderson takes readers from white page to colorful farm in this charming tale of friendship (and teamwork) as five friends come together to create Story County-a special new home for young readers where anything can happen (quoted from Goodreads).

Ever wonder how a far is built? Well you're about to find out. Story County's wonderful illustrations capture the fun these farm animals and farmer have when they get together to build their own farm. It's a fun read and made us laugh out loud a few times. My kids really enjoyed looking at the pictures and laughing at what was happening in the illustrations. I think this is a great book to have for story time for preschoolers and Kindergarteners.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Book Review- Shoe-la-la!

By Karen Beaumont
Illlustrated by LeUyen Pham
Published by Scholastic Press
To Be Released on January 2011
Ages 4-8
Source- Scholastic
5 stars- A Must Have

Meet four girls who love shoes: SHOE-LA-LA!

"Shoes with zippers, Shoes with straps,

Shoes with buckles, Shoes with taps." (quoted from Goodreads).

This is a fantastic book for young readers! My little girl absolutely loves this story, as it's full of cute illustrations, shoes, glitter and has colors she loves. This fun quick read engages little girls as 4 friends go about dressing up and can't find the right shoes, that is until they discover they can make their own just the way they like them. With it's wonderful rhyming words, girls playing dress up and pink cover, make it a must have!

What I love about this fantastic read is that the little girls are in search of the perfect shoes, and in the end realize the best pair of shoes they can find are the ones they decorate themselves. I think this sends a powerful message to young minds to be proud of their uniqueness and creativity. It's a fun read to whisked away into with it's make believe, dressing up with friends and being crafty. This is a must have for all little girls!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Book Review - A Tale Dark and Grimm

Author: Adam Gidwitz
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Reading Level: Ages 9 to 12
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Description from GoodReads:
Brooklyn schoolteacher Adam Gidwitz offers imaginative new slants on children's classics in this new collection inspired by nine Grimm Brothers fairy tales. Never before have Hansel and Gretel had an adventure like this!

If anyone is looking for a way to squeeze in another Debut Author book before the end of the year, may I suggest the dark and gruesome A TALE DARK AND GRIMM by Adam Gidwitz? This book is oh so good. Gidwitz channels the original Brothers Grimm in this variation of Hansel and Gretel. This is no Disney version of a Grimm story. In this version, Gidwitz maintains the original feel but does so with a modern day voice and a unique layering of Grimm tales into one story.

As the narrator of A TALE DARK AND GRIMM cautions "if there are little kids...why don't you go hire a babysitter.." Gidwitz's A TALE DARK AND GRIMM will appeal to children who love Lemony Snickets or Pseudonymous Bosch thrown in with a generous dose of R.L. Stine. I have to admit that the narration was part of why I loved this book so much. The interaction between the narrator and the reader seems to assist the reader in processing the story and in understanding some of the more intense sections of the book. With that said, I do realize that some children may not handle scary stories well or do best when reading them aloud with an adult. Rather than limit who should read this, I would encourage parents to read it with their child if there are concerns. I would also remind parents that children love scary stories. And they love stories with happy endings and where children turn out to be the heroes.

If you are in doubt about this book, I would encourage you to check out Gidwitz's Frequently Asked Questions (click here). He does a much better job of explaining the reason and purpose for the blood and gore. Understanding that for some children, it might be better if they wait some before attempting to read this book.

As I read through the book, I appreciated Gidwitz's ability to create a richly developed story and means of holding the attention of readers through the various journeys that Hansel & Gretel find themselves on. Characters seemed well fleshed out and the pacing of the story never seemed to bog down. This was particularly impressive in light of the fact that Gidwitz is a new author but one who obviously has a strong ability to tell a story.

If you are interested in checking out a short story by Gidwitz, author Pseudonymous Bosch had him as a Guest Ghost over on his blog. Here is the link to his version of Cinderella, click here.

Book Review- How To Raise A Dinosaur

By Natasha Wing
Illustrated By Pablo Bernasconi
Published by Running Press
Released on October 2010
Ages 3-8
Source- Natasha Wing
4 Stars- A Must Have for Dinosaur Fans

Just about every youngster at one point or another desperately wants a pet. Little do people know that just like cats, dogs, and hamsters, dinosaurs make great pets, too! How to Raise a Dinosaur is a unique novelty book complete with a die-cut jacket, dino-bites, sturdy cardstock pages, and lift-the-flaps on every spread! Perfect for any dinosaur lover, it also serves as a way for children to understand the importance of caring for a pet (quoted from Goodreads).

If you've wanted to have a dinosaur as a pet, then you need to get this book! This how to guide tells you all you need to know about taking care of your pet dinosaur. With a price tag of $8-$200, dinosaur lovers of all ages can easily purchase their own pet (be sure to ask your parent's permission first).

This is a cute, fun read that my kids and I enjoyed. Really, any book that makes my kids laugh out loud deserves a great recommendation. The fun illustrations make this book one that kids ages 3-8 will really enjoy. As a parent I enjoyed the thicker pages, the easy to read story, the couple lift the flaps and how each page had something unique on it. This is story I recommend for young dinosaur fans!

In My Mailbox

This was a meme we started participating in on Mundie Moms, which was started by The Story Siren. It's a post were we share the latest goodies we've receive in our mailbox. Where's what we've received the past two weeks for either review or bought.

From Scholastic:
* Bulldog's Big Day by Kate McMullan, Illustrated by Pascal Lemaitre, published by Scholastic, to be released on February 1st, 2011.
* Tony Baloney by Pam Munoz Ryan, Illustrated Edwin Fotheringham, published by Scholastic, to be released on January 1st, 2011 (not pictured).
* My Glitter Castle by Lily Karr, published by Cartwheel Books, to be released on January 1st, 2011.
* Easter Bunny Basket by Lily Karr, Illustrated by Kyle Poling, published by Scholastic, to be released on January 1st, 2011.
* Clifford Takes a Trip by Norman Bridwell, Published by Scholastic
* I Spy An Egg In An Nest by Jean Marzollo, Illustrated by Walter Wick, published byCartwheel Books, to be released on January 1st, 2011.
* Penny and Pepper by Jeanne Betancourt, Illustrated by Kellee Riley, published by Scholastic, to be released on January 1st, 2011.
* The Civil War, One Event, Six People by Aaron Rosenberg, published by Scholastic, to be released on January 1st, 2011.
* Ways to Live Forever by Sally Nicholls, published by Scholastic *new cover release*
* Dear America-Like The Willow Tree by Lois Lowry, published by Scholastic, to be released on January 1st, 2011 *not pictured*

From Natasha Wing:
* How to Raise a Dinosaur by Natasha Wing & Pablo Bernasconi, published by Running Press, released on September 28th, 2010.

From Bloomsbury:
* Another Whole Nother Story by Cuthbert Soup, Illustrated by Jeffrey Stewart Timmins, published by Bloomsbury USA, released on December 7th, 2010.

From SourceBooks:
* Real Mermaids Don't Wear Toe Rings by Helene Boudreau, published by Sourcebooks, released on December 1st, 2010.

From Del Shannon:
* Kevin's Point of View by Del Shannon, published by Flatiron View Books, released on October 26th, 2010.

What goodies have you recently received?

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Books My Kids Enjoyed Getting for Christmas

One of our Christmas traditions is to give the kids a new book along with new pj's on Christmas Eve. Recently I received some wonderful books from Scholastic to review, and I put aside two of the books knowing my kids would love them. To me, a book is a priceless gift for kids (one of a few gifts that's priceless). Here's the two fantastic books that we read (one is being released next week and the other was released two weeks ago).

By Lily Karr
Published by Cartwheel Books
To Be Released on January 1st, 2010
Source- Scholastic
Ages- 3-6
4.5 stars- This Is A Fun Read

This pink, glitter-filled, castle-shaped board book with lift-the-flaps throughout is perfect for every little princess.

Join the adventure as the glitter princess searches through her castle to find her lost puppies before the royal party begins! (quoted from goodreads).

This is a wonderful book for every little princess. It's a great hide & seek, lift the flap book that will keep toddler's entertained as they help the Princess find her lost puppies in the castle and get ready for her birthday party. My only compliant is that some of the flaps are hard to lift and can tear, but it's still a wonderful read and a book I highly recommend picking up, as my daughter loves having this story read to her.

By Scholastic Books
Published by Scholastic
Released on December 10th, 2010
Source- Scholastic
Ages 6 & Up
5 Stars - Great for Star Wars Fans Of All Ages

The first and only guide to the galaxy's most fascinating weapons. Each lightsaber is as unique as the Jedi (or Sith) who wields it. Design techniques, hilt length, power source: all of these choices can add up to very different results, suited to particular applications. From Obi-Wan's modification of his Padawan lightsaber to Darth Maul's double-welded model, this book examines each lightsaber in detail, revealing the secrets of its construction (quoted from Goodreads).

This is a fantastic must have for Star Wars fans of all ages. As my son says, "This is the coolest book!" This Star Wars collectible gives a detailed history of light sabers, telling how they are made, which characters use which weapons and shows the difference between the various light sabers. The pictures are great, the explanations intriguing and the details are awesome. Honestly I had no idea there were different designs. I knew about the different colors, but that was it. It's a book I enjoyed reading with my son who's a young, Stars Wars fan. I recommend this book for Star Wars fans of all ages.

MERRY CHRISTMAS! I hope you are all having a wonderful holiday and are able to spend some time reading!!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

(image found on google)

We want to take a moment to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas! Thank you for being apart of Mundie Kids! We hope you all enjoy the weekend with your families. We look forward to sharing more book reviews with you next week.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Book Review- A Picture of Freedom (Dear America Series), The Diary of Clotee, A Slave Girl

By Patricia C McKissack
Published by Scholastic
To Be Released on January 1st, 2011
Ages 8-12
Source- Scholastic
5 Stars- I Highly Recommend It

Coretta Scott King Award winner and Newbery Honor author Patricia McKissack's inspiring A PICTURE OF FREEDOM is now back in print with a gorgeous new cover! It's 1859 and Clotee, a twelve-year-old slave, has the most wonderful, terrible secret. She knows that if she shares it with the wrong person, she will face unimaginable consequences. What is her secret? While doing her job of fanning her master's son during his daily lessons, Clotee has taught herself to read and write. However, she soon learns that the tutor, Ely Harms, has a secret of his own. In a time when literacy is one of the most valuable skills to have, Clotee is determined to use her secret to save herself, and her family (quoted from Goodreads).

This is one of the most fascinating books I've read in the Dear America series. Twelve year old Clotee is a true heroine in every sense of the word. Her journal gives a vivid detail of what slavery is like in the year 1859 and what it's like for those trying to free those who are forced into a life serving others.

What I found most fascinating about Clotee, is her quest for knowledge and an education. She yearns for Freedom and in so doing, she helped saved the lives of other slaves and become a conductor, as part of the Under Ground Railroad.

Clotee's story is heart wrenching, hopeful and one that transforms the reader back to a time that divided our nation and paints a very vivid picture of slavery in the reader's mind. Like the other stories I've read in this series, it's one that needs to be in a classroom setting. It's a brilliantly written historical fiction, that shares facts and historical truths from this era at the end of the story. The pages of this story give everything a student needs to gain an understanding during this time in our nation's history and for those who already know the history, it allows us to gain a different perspective from the eyes of a 12 yr old girl who's lived it.

Mixed with fiction and nonfiction alike, Clotee's story, like the rest of the books in the Dear America series, will keep readers both young and hold captivated by the history presented in each of these unique stories.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Book Review - Voyage of the Dawn Treader (I Can Read editions)

By: C.S. Lewis/Jennifer Frantz
Published by Harper Collins Childrens
Release Date: October 26, 2010
Ages 4 to 8
Source: Bought
5 Stars - I highly recommend this book!

Synopsis (from Harper Collins):
When Edmund, Lucy and Eustace are pulled into Narnia through a painting, they find themselves aboard the Dawn Treader, the ship of their friend King Caspian. Together, they must find and rescue the seven lords who were exiled by the tyrant Miraz, King Caspian’s uncle.

I loved The Chronicles of Narnia as a child and I first started reading them around Third Grade an since then, I've read them over and over again. It's truly one of my favorite parts of being a mom -- the sharing of cherished stories with my children.

With the opening of "The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader" in theaters this past week, my youngest has been curious about the books and the Dawn Treader story in particular. I loved that Harper Collins issues their I Can Read! versions just in time for the movie's release.

My five-year-old and I sat down to enjoy these installments from the story and she was surprised that she could easily read along with a little help. She loved the particular plot lines that were picked out especially because we read it after we watched the movie.

For those parents, who like me adore The Chronicles of Narnia, these books are a wonderful way to share the story with your preschooler/Kindergartner. And I hope that they will encourage her to pick up the actual books in a few years. Because that's the best part of Narnia -- you can return to it whenever you like.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Teacher Curriculum Guide for Teri Hall's The Line

I totally love that teachers have started using middle grade and young adult books in their class room curriculum's. I firmly believe that books are a powerful tool for young minds and when a teacher helps promote reading, it empowers the reader and opens their minds to so many possibilities.

I have friends who are teachers who have mentioned how successful it's been for them implementing a current release into their classroom settings. I know a lot of hard work goes into putting together the curriculum for their selected book. If you're using Teri Hall's, The Line in your class, I've got a treat for you. Teri has sent me her book's classroom curriculum, which is available for middle grade teachers!!

This is FREE, and the class guide is available for teachers who are using The Line in their classes by going to Dial's website here and Terri's site here

Don't forget, the paperback copy of The Line will be released April 2011!!

Book Review - Pinkalicious: Pink Around the Rink

By: Victoria Kann
Published by Harper Collins Childrens
Published Date: October 5, 2010
Ages 4 to 8
Source: Bought
5 stars - I highly recommend this book!

Synopsis (from Harper Collins) : After Pinkalicious colors her white ice skates with a cotton candy pink marker, she feels ready to spin, glide, and soar with the best of them. But as the color starts to run off of her skates, she is embarrassed. When Pinkalicious thought she was going to leave her mark on the skating rink, she didn't mean it so literally. . . .

Ah, more adventures of Pinkalicious! My 5 year old daughter and I love these books and we were so glad when we found an I Can Read! version that my daughter could read with a little help from me.

In this installment, Pinkalicious receives skates as a gift, paints them pink and notices the reactions around her:

Mommy did not smile. Daddy smiled a little, I think.

I found myself giggling with my daughter because Victoria captures a preschooler/Kindergartner's observations perfectly. The illustrations are bright, colorful and most of all, yes, PINK. And the prose the story is one where, as usual, there's a bit of a lesson in it for the reader.

If you're looking for a great stocking stuffer for your little Pinkalicious reader, be sure to pick up this latest story in the series. As for my Kindergartner, she and I are looking forward to the next picture book, Silverlicious which comes out on February 1, 2011. Here's a link to that synopsis and the release date may be just in time for my daughter to lose her first tooth.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Book Review - Amelia's Family Ties

By: Marissa Moss
Published by American Girl Publishing
Release Date: March 2000
Ages 9 to 12
Source: Bought
4 out of 5 stars - I really liked this book. Go pick it up.

Synopsis (from Marissa's site): Amelia and her notebook are back. She has finally written to her father, whom she has never met, and received a reply asking her to come meet him, her stepmother, and her half-brother at their home in Chicago. This is a big step for any child, but Amelia, feisty as ever, takes the plunge. She predictably loves baby George, hates Clara, and is unsure about her father until he finally says he's loved her all along.

I picked this book up at our local used bookstore. I love those types of stores because you never quite know what you will find there. In the case of Amelia's Family Ties, I found a gem for my 8 year old daughter.

These days most kids have a blended family and in fact, that was the case in my childhood as well. And for me there's nothing better than reading a story which is centered around family bonds even when they're not immediately present. Marissa creates a story where Amelia's never met her dad and then suddenly he's back in her life. Can you imagine the confusion and emotions that go through Amelia's head? Well, they're presented in an easy to read format both graphically and in prose. My daughter loved the illustrations, the thought bubbles and the side stories. One of my favorite Amelia stories starts off with these sentences:
There was a girl who had three different families, all in her apartment building. On the first floor lived her father and brother, on the second floor lived her mother and sister and on the third floor lived her grandma and grandpa. She ate breakfast with one family, lunch with another and dinner with another. It was all very confusing. So the girl had an idea. She sawed holes in the floors and ceilings and put a long pole like they have in fire stations.
Divorce complicates relationships but it's captured moments like these that make all the hardships worthwhile:
He opened his arms and I walked into the first Dad hug of my life.
Amelia's Family Ties is a wonderful story that is well worth picking up. For children who like a DORK Diaries or Diary of a Wimpy Kid format, these books are a must have.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Book Review- Real Mermaids Don't Wear Toe Rings

By Helene Boudreau
Published by Source Books
Released on December 1st, 2010
Ages 9 & up
Source- The Publisher
4.5 Stars- A Fun Read

Freak of nature takes on a whole new meaning...

If she hadn't been so clueless, she might have seen it coming. But really, who expects to get into a relaxing bathtub after a stressful day of shopping for tankinis and come out with scales and a tail?

Most. Embarrassing. Moment. Ever.

Jade soon discovers she inherited her mermaid tendencies from her mom. But if Mom was a mermaid, how did she drown?

Jade is determined to find out. So how does a plus-size, aqua-phobic mer-girl go about doing that exactly? And how will Jade ever be able to explain her secret to her best friend, Cori, and to her crush, Luke?

This summer is about to get a lot more interesting...

Real Mermaids Don't Wear Toe Rings is a great coming of age story, mixed with a little mystery, for middle grade readers. It's fun, it's quirky and Jade's voice is one of realism as she's coming to terms with things that are going on around her and humorous. Jade had me laughing out loud more than once. Helene does a brilliant job at merging reality with fantasy, as Jade herself is a 13 year old girl who's not only coming to terms with her mother's mysterious drowning, but she's coming to terms with hitting womenhood and finding out she's also a Mermaid.

Helene wove together her mermaid mythology with that of a young girl growing up, having her first crush, coming to terms of who she is both as a young teen and a mermaid, and discovering her family's secret. Jade's voice is one that I connected to and really fell in love with. She's so hard not to like. I really liked her Dad's character. He's there for her and does his best to help her through her tough situations. Her BFF Cori is a great character as well. I loved the little twist Helene throws in at the end with Jade's crush Luke.

This is one book I would definitely recommend for tweens. It's a fun, charming, witty story and one teen girls and women can definitely relate to in some sense. Not many books can deliver the humor of the "you know what" all girls get and deal with for the first time, like Helene did with Jade. I hope I get to read more about Jade. Her voice is one that will be hard to forget. This is a coming of age story with humor.

Be sure to visit Helene's site here-

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Author Interview with Lauren Baratz-Logsted, author of Sisters 8

I am very excited to have Lauren on our blog today! She's written some fabulous books for Children and Young Adults alike. Recently I had the chance to interview her about her newest Children's series, Sisters 8.

What is the inspiration behind The Sisters 8 series?

In December 2006 my novelist husband Greg Logsted and I were visiting friends in Colorado with our daughter, Jackie, who was six at the time. A blizzard closed Denver Airport and our stay was extended to 10 days. Our friends have no TV and there were no other kids around, so by the last few days we were looking for fresh ideas to entertain ourselves. So what did we settle on? We did what any other family would do: We began brainstorming a nine-book series about octuplets whose parents go missing one New Year's Eve.

I love that this series was a family affair for you. What did you enjoy most about having your family be a part of the writing process for the series?

It's impossible to pick one thing I love most. I've been writing for a long time - at least it seems that way - and have had many books published for adults and teens as well, but nothing has compared to the joy and sheer fun of creating something with my own kid. We do the brainstorming together but I do the physical writing so I'd have to say one of the most enjoyable things is when, at the end of the day, I read what I've written and get to see the look on Jackie's face when she realizes that I didn't just hear her ideas for what should happen next but that they're actually in the story. Oh, and last year we were at a performance of The Nutcracker and a little girl and her mom kept staring at us. During the intermission they came over and asked if we were the authors of The Sisters 8 - that was pretty cool too. Our rock-star moment!

In one word, how would you describe each sister?

Annie: authoritarian; Durinda: nurturing; Georgia: cranky; Jackie: nice; Marcia: observant; Petal: terrified; Rebecca: mean; Zinnia: sweet.

Which of the sister's power would you want to have and why?

Annie's, which is the power of being able to think like an adult when need be. I say that because: 1) it's the only answer I can give without giving away secrets to people who haven't advanced very far in the series yet; and 2) at 48, I still haven't mastered the power of consistently thinking like an adult.

Which sister would you have been friends with growing up?

Jackie. How could I pick anyone over her???

What is one book each sister would recommend reading to our followers?

They would all heartily recommend anything by Roald Dahl - Roald Dahl is like a king to the Eights! - except for Petal. Petal is scared of nearly everything you can imagine, and several things you can't, so she just can't handle all that satire. I guess that leaves Petal to recommend Dick and Jane, which is only OK until Spot enters the picture because then Petal begins to wonder what will happen if Spot goes rabid. Come to think of it, Petal finds Baby pretty terrifying in those books too. Perhabs Baby is concealing hand grenades in those chubby cheeks?


Thank you so much Lauren for visiting with us today!! You can find out more about Lauren's books by visiting her site here:

Books make the perfect Christmas & Holiday gift! Be sure to visit the Sisters 8 site here to find out more about the series and where you can purchase the books at:

Meet that authors of Sisters 8:

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 ~