Thursday, September 29, 2011

Book Review: Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver

By: Lauren Oliver
Illustrated by: Kei Acedera
To Be Released on: October 4th, 2011
Ages: 8-12
Source: ARC from publisher at TLA
5 stars: I Loved It

Liesl lives in a tiny attic bedroom, locked away by her cruel stepmother. Her only friends are the shadows and the mice—until one night a ghost appears from the darkness. It is Po, who comes from the Other Side. Both Liesl and Po are lonely, but together they are less alone.

That same night, an alchemist's apprentice, Will, bungles an important delivery. He accidentally switches a box containing the most powerful magic in the world with one containing something decidedly less remarkable

Will's mistake has tremendous consequences for Liesl and Po, and it draws the three of them together on an extraordinary journey.

From New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver comes a luminous and magnificent novel that glows with rare magic, ghostly wonders, and a true friendship that lights even the darkest of places. - quoted from Goodreads

A beautiful, heart warming story with a timeless adventure that all of us can relate it.

This poignant story starts off with a letter from Lauren talking about her journey with Liesel and her inspiration for her story. This personal letter is so moving, that it made me teary eyed, and I admire Lauren even more so for sharing it. It really set the tone for her book and often times through out the story I thought back to what I read. I really hope they keep it in the published copy. Though the story was a personal one for Lauren, it became personal for me as well. I really love that she wrote the story in that manner. It's one that anyone who's every lost someone close to them can relate to. It's story about love, heartache, despair, hope, adventure, friendship and so much more.

This story is centered on a young girl named Liesel. This sweet, compassionate, caring young girl is both friendless and lonely as she's been locked in the attic by her stepmother after her beloved father passed away. Things change for her when she meets Po, a mysterious boy who's drawn to her by her light. What ensues is a beautiful friendship founded on trust and love. Not the romantic kind of love, but the love you have for someone you start to care about them. The humor and wit really pick up in the story when Po and Will, the alchemist's apprentice meet. It made for some great laugh out loud lines. The best way to describe these two guys is to say, Po was the protector Liesel needed on her journey and Will became the friend she always wanted. These characters so richly written, in depth, and lively. I love the way Lauren intertwined their stories throughout the book.

I've not yet seen the published copy, but the ARC cover is gorgeous! I love the tattered edge pages (I know there's an actual name for it) and the illustrations are amazing! I can't wait to see what they look like in the published book, because in the arc, these whimsical illustrations really added a new depth to this story. I'm a huge sucker for illustrations in MG books and these are some of my favorites. I love the shadowing on them, the way the simple illustration mark the beginning of a new chapter and I love that each illustration captures both the feel of the story and the magic behind it. These illustrations are truly the perfect match for this incredible story.

Liesel & Po's story is charming, moving, heartwarming, enduring, and captivating. There are so many elements within this story that readers of all age will relate to it. Some of the stronger themes that I enjoyed are that of family (whether you're blood related or not), love, loneliness, grieving, finding hope and realizing happiness is truly all around us and sometimes found in the most unlikely places. This a story that kids, teens, and adults will truly fall in love with, be moved by and take comfort in. I highly recommend picking this book up on Tuesday, when it's out!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu; BlogTour: Book Review & Giveaway

Published by: Walden Pond Press
Released on: September 27th, 2011 TODAY!
Ages: 8-12
Source: ARC from publisher to review
5 stars- I LOVED It & Highly Recommend It

Once upon a time, Hazel and Jack were best friends. They had been best friends since they were six, spending hot Minneapolis summers and cold Minneapolis winters together, dreaming of Hogwarts and Oz, superheroes and baseball. Now that they were eleven, it was weird for a boy and a girl to be best friends. But they couldn't help it - Hazel and Jack fit, in that way you only read about in books. And they didn't fit anywhere else.

And then, one day, it was over. Jack just stopped talking to Hazel. And while her mom tried to tell her that this sometimes happens to boys and girls at this age, Hazel had read enough stories to know that it's never that simple. And it turns out, she was right. Jack's heart had been frozen, and he was taken into the woods by a woman dressed in white to live in a palace made of ice. Now, it's up to Hazel to venture into the woods after him. Hazel finds, however, that these woods are nothing like what she's read about, and the Jack that Hazel went in to save isn't the same Jack that will emerge. Or even the same Hazel.

Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen," Breadcrumbsis a story of the struggle to hold on, and the things we leave behind.

A breath taking story about friendship, magic, imagination and growing up, Breadcrumbs is a story that will capture your heart, your mind and your imagination. Anne Ursu's writing is inviting, beautiful and vivid. This story is one that will leave you yearning for that moment in time when the world was your play ground and you were free to run around and pretend, allowing your imagination to take to you to far off places, and on exciting adventures.

What a magical, beautifully told story about two fifth grade friends who have grown up as best friend, playing pretend and being there for each other when no one else has been. Their imaginations allow them the freedom to just be and to escape the harsh realities of their young worlds. Like most childhood friendships, thinks start to change between them, and what ensues is a journey about change, growing up and learning that the magic that lies in our imagination is something we choose to either embrace or let go of all together. Anne has create characters that readers of all ages will be able to relate to and identify with, and fall in love with.

Anne has a beautiful way with words and her incredible story telling really came to life for me. Her writing is vivid, layered and enthralling. Being a huge fan of the classic fairytales and fairytale retellings, I commend Anne for being able to keep the classic fairytale feel with her unique story. All the fairytale elements molded together perfectly to create a story I am absolutely head over heels in love with. I connected with this book on so many levels, as an adult, as a parent and my former childhood self. It reads like a classic, it's full of classic literature references and it's a book that simply reads like an ageless story.

This is one of the this year's best MG books that I've read. I HIGHLY recommend picking this book up. There are so many elements and topics within this story that teachers and parents can discuss with their children. Not only that, this is a story that kids and parents can really enjoy being whisked away in together. It's an astonishing story filled with wonder, heart, magic, and it's one I can't wait to pick it up and start reading with my kids.


Thank you to Walden Pond Press we have a SIGNED copy of Breadcrumbs to giveaway!

Additional Breadcrumbs Blog Tour Stops
Monday, 9/26- Guest Post at The Book Whisper
Tuesday, 9/27 - Review and Book Giveaway at Mundie Kids
Wednesday, 9/28 - Review and Skype Giveaway at Great Kid Books
Wednesday, 9/28 - Book Giveaway at 5 Minutes for Books
Thursday, 9/29 - Interview at Bildungsroman
Friday, 9/30 - Review, Guest Post, and Book Giveaway at Bookalicious
Saturday, 10/1 - Interview and Skype Giveaway at Kid Lit Frenzy
Sunday, 10/2 - Review, Interview, and Book Giveaway at The Reading Zone
Monday, 10/3 - Guest Post at Galleysmith
Tuesday 10/4 - Review at Galleysmith
Tuesday, 10/4 - Guest Post, Review, and Book Giveaway at The Book Smugglers
Wednesday, 10/5 - Review and Illustrator Interview at A Backwards Story
Thursday, 10/6 - Guest Post at The Mod Podge Bookshelf
Friday, 10/7 - Interview at Book Rat

Giveaway: Walden Books Press is celebrating the release of Breadcrumbs with a giveaway! They're giving away an iPad and an iPad cover with Breadcrumbs cover art on Twitter! Be sure to visit their blog for more details.
Author Chat: On Tuesday, 10/4 at 8pm EDT Breadcrumbs author, Anne Ursu (@anneursu) and Bigger Than a Breadbox author Laurel Snyder (@LaurelSnyder) will participate in a chat hosted by my #titletalk co-host, Paul W. Hankins (@PaulWHankins), called "Magic is Real: Magic, Fantasy, and Realism in Middle Grade" under the hashtag #magicisreal.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Book Review & Giveaway: You Will Be My Friend!

By: Peter Brown
Published by: Little Brown Kids
Released on: September 5th, 2011
Source: book from publisher to review
Ages: 4 & up
4 stars- I Really Liked It
Purchase from: Amazon| Barnes & Noble|

Today is the day the exuberant Lucy is going to make a new friend! But she finds it's harder than she had thought—she accidentally ruins the giraffe's breakfast and is much too big for the frogs' pond. Just when she's about to give up, an unexpected friend finds her, and loves her just the way she is.

This heartwarming story offers a unique and humor-filled spin on the all-important themes of persistence and friendship.- quoted from Goodreads

Lucy is looking for a friend. Some who will do cartwheels with her, have a picnic and climb trees with her. But what Lucy doesn't realize is trying to force someone to be your friend never works. Neither does yelling, "You Will Be Mine Friend". Will Lucy's over enthusiastic ways get the better of her or will she find a friend?

This is my first Peter Brown book and after reading about Lucy, I'm definitely looking forward to reading more of his books. His illustrations are fabulous, his writing is engaging, humorous and teaches kids an important lesson about making friends. I enjoyed a few laughs with this book and getting to meet Lucy. I'd definitely recommend picking this book up!

Thank you to Little Brown, we have 5 copies of You Will Be My Friend to giveaway!

To Enter, please fill out the form below.

Giveaway Rules:
- This is open to all residents in the US
- You must have your parent/guardian's permission to enter this giveaway if under the age of 13 yrs old
- 1 entry per person please
- This giveaway ends on October 5th, 2011

Friday, September 23, 2011

Liesel & Po by Lauren Oliver

I am SO excited about this upcoming release by Lauren Oliver! I was lucky enough to pick up an ARC of this at TLA and let me just say, this is a book I'll also be picking up when it's out on October 4th! It's FABULOUS and I love it when some of my favorite YA authors also write MG books.
Here's a little bit about the book:

Liesl lives in a tiny attic bedroom, locked away by her cruel stepmother. Her only friends are the shadows and the mice—until one night a ghost appears from the darkness. It is Po, who comes from the Other Side. Both Liesl and Po are lonely, but together they are less alone.

That same night, an alchemist's apprentice, Will, bungles an important delivery. He accidentally switches a box containing the most powerful magic in the world with one containing something decidedly less remarkable

Will's mistake has tremendous consequences for Liesl and Po, and it draws the three of them together on an extraordinary journey.

From New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver comes a luminous and magnificent novel that glows with rare magic, ghostly wonders, and a true friendship that lights even the darkest of places. -quoted from HarperCollins

To find out more information about Liesel & Po, be sure to visit Lauren's website, Harper Teen's site and the official website Liesel & Po.

You can preorder the book from Amazon| Barnes & Noble| Indie Bound

Watch the video here:

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Book Review: Possum Summer

By: Jen K. Blom
Published by: Holiday House
Released on: March 11th, 2011
Ages: 10 & up
Source: from author/publisher to review
4 stars- I Really Enjoyed It

Possum Summer is a heartbreaking novel about a girl and her father whose fractious relationship is healed by the hard lessons they learn about love and letting go. Eleven-year-old P (short for Princess, a name she loathes) longs for a pet, but her father insists that all animals on their Oklahoma farm must earn their keep. While he's away on combat duty in Iraq, P tries to turn his cattle dog into her pet—with disastrous results. Then P rescues an orphaned opossum that she names Ike. She hand-feeds the beguiling critter, smuggles him into school, and teaches him to follow her everywhere. But when her father is reported injured, P knows that before he is shipped home, she must betray Ike's trust and force him to survive in the wild.-quoted from Goodreads

This is a heartwarming story with a realistic portrayal of growing up on a rural farm in the heart of the midwest. Eleven year old P's adventure during one heartbreaking summer are relatable to anyone who's grown up in the country and has learned to deal with love, lost, and growing up.

Young P's summer adventures start when she and her family's dog Blackie, take to the creek bottoms to explore. After all, that's the fun part of living out in the country as a kid even if it's a place she shouldn't be going. This exploration will forever change P's summer, making it an unforgettable one as she ends up adopting a baby possum. That wouldn't be so hard if one, she knew how to care for it and two, there wasn't an epidemic of rabies going on. This young girl isn't one to be deterred and she does whatever she can to save this little guy and what ensues is a bond of friendship.

I enjoyed seeing how P and Ike's relationship bloomed. I for one think baby possums are adorable, but I wouldn't have the drive that P does to take care of it and raise him. There relationship is one that reminded me of my childhood pet and the bond I had with her. By creating this realistic bond of trust and friendship, Jen really pulled at my heartstrings when P has to make the tough choice to protect Ike. Young P is a strong, stubborn character whom I enjoyed getting to know. Her adventures reminded me of ones I took when I was younger. Though I didn't grow up in the heart of Oklahoma like she does, she's a character who's easy to relate to. I admired Young P for her bravery and for taking responsibility for chores and other things that happen around her farm. While her father is at war and her mother works long hours at the hospital, this young girl learns to grow up fast.

P deals with a lot of things in a short amount of time, and without giving much away, I'll just say she made a little teary eyed towards the end of her story. Lucky for P she's got a great support group around her and I adored her best friend and her grandmother. While I'm a little sad P's story is over, I can honesty really enjoyed getting to meet her. I'd definitely recommend picking it up! It's a quick read and one of those stories that reads like the classics we grew up with.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Book Review: Marsipity

By: Barbie McConnell
Illustrated by: Rusty Gregory
Published by: Olive Leaf Press
Released on: May 1st, 2010
Source: from author to review
Ages: 5 & up
4 stars- It's A Great Read
Purchase from: Amazon

Marsipity is an bewitching young lady with bad luck who after a bite of a Halloween pumpkin pie becomes enchanted. She is able to transform into objects and creatures that delight and surprise her neighbors, as well as her best friend, Marlin.- quoted from Goodreads

If you're looking for that perfect children's book to get you into the Halloween spirit, than I recommend picking up Marsipity. Nothing can be more charming for Halloween than eating a special piece of pumpkin pie that leads to an unforgettable, magical Halloween adventure.

This cute story is written in rhyme which makes it really engaging for younger readers. Bringing this story it life are some simply adorable illustrations that will captive both young and old readers alike. These whimsical pictures have Marsipity changing from a witch to a flower, teddy bear, a comet, apple and more as she and her best friend Marlin going trick or treating.

Don't miss out on Marsipity! With Halloween just around the corner, I highly recommend picking this book up!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Book Review: Half Upon A Time

By: James Riley
Published by: Aladdin
Released On: September 7th, 2010
Ages: 8-12
Source: book from author to review
4 stars - I Really Enjoyed It

Life’s no fairy tale for Jack. After all, his father's been missing ever since that incident with the beanstalk and the giant, and his grandfather keeps pushing him to get out and find a princess to rescue. Who'd want to rescue a snobby, entitled princess anyway? Especially one that falls out of the sky wearing a shirt that says "Punk Princess," and still denies she's royalty. In fact, May doesn't even believe in magic. Yeah, what's that about? May does need help though--a huntsman is chasing her, her grandmother has been kidnapped, and Jack thinks it’s all because of the Wicked Queen . . . mostly because May’s grandmother might just be the long-lost Snow White. Jack and May's thrillingly hilarious adventure combines all the classic stories—fractured as a broken magic mirror—into the first of an epic new series of novels for the ages- quoted from Goodreads

James Riley does a brilliant job at throwing in numerous beloved fairy tales and twisting them into an engaging, fast paced plot that both middle grade and adult readers will enjoy. There's action, there's adventure, betrayal and of course plenty of sarcasm and wit that make this a one of kind story.

What's not to enjoy about Jack, the story's main character who's failed his training in how to save princess. He's goofy, funny, clumsy and really just a fun character to get to know. He's someone who's relatable and I really enjoyed the way he grew into the story's hero. Then there's May, the princess who literally fell from the sky and landed in front of Jack and can't remember much other than her Grandmother was kidnapped and she was being chased. This princess isn't your normal damsel in distress, nor is she wearing the normal princess get up. This princess is introduced in style complete with a "Punk Princess" t-shirt and all.

There's a huge cast of fairy tale characters that are introduces through out the story, and they're definitely not the characters I remember reading about when I was younger. I really enjoyed their twists and creative touch James gave to this fun mesh up of stories. One of the best twists is with May's Grandmother. She's not the dear old sweet lady May remembers her to be, and let me just say this granny knows a thing or too about being evil. Or maybe I should say she takes evil to a whole new interesting level.

Half Upon A Time is a fabulously, humorous story full of twisted fairy tales, a grand adventure mixed with two relatable characters that makes for an unforgettable read that will make you laugh out loud and leave you wanting more. I'm really looking forward to reading the sequel, Twice Upon A Time, and I definitely recommend picking this book up!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Book Review: The Familiars, Secrets of The Crown

By: Adam Jay Epstein & Andrew Jacobson
Released on: September 6th, 2011
Ages: 8-12
Source: ARC from authors/publisher to review
5 stars- I Adore This Series

A curse befalls Vastia, eliminating human magic. Only animals are able to cast spells, and it is up to Aldwyn, Skylar, and Gilbert to save the queendom from the evil threatening it. In addition, Aldwyn discovers the truth about his past, embarking on a journey that brings him closer to the father he never knew.- quoted from Goodreads

The Familiars are back, and this time their adventures is even more exciting than the last. On a quest to restore the power of human magic, The Familiars set off to find the snow leopard's crown. Aldwyn, Skylar and Gilbert's unforgettable adventure is full of magic, danger, and has a few surprises a long the way for them. One of the things I love about this group is their friendships and bond. This time there's a stronger sense of family unity between them, especially for Aldwyn, who discovers some shocking family secrets.

I love the writing for this series, because each book introduces readers to fabulous characters, contains a great message and with each adventure there's action, danger and of course humor, which is added into the story at all the right times. When my kids are old enough to read this and ask me if we can get a black & white cat, an adorable green tree frog and blue jay I'll of course say yes, especially if they can talk, and use magic. This is such a great read and one I recommend for fans of all ages!

Be sure to follow The Familiars on Facebook and don't miss our interview with Aldywn, Skylar and Gilbert here.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Book Review: Freckleface Strawberry: Best Friends Forever

By: Julianne Moore
Illustrated by: LeUyen Pham
Published by: Bloomsbury Kids
Released on: September 13th, 2011
Source: book from publisher to review
Ages: 6 & older
4 stars: I Really Enjoyed It

Freckleface Strawberry and Windy Pants Patrick are as different as can be-but that doesn't stop them from being the best of friends. After all, they have a lot of important things in common, like having families and liking recess and loving books. But the rest of the kids don't see it that way. They think that girls and boys are just too different to be friends. So one day, Freckleface decides NOT to play with Windy Pants Patrick. And he decides not to play with her. And nothing really changes . . . or does it? She still eats lunch and plays and reads books-and so does he. So why don't those things feel fun anymore?

Witty, warmhearted, and brought to life with LeUyen Pham's gentle hilarity, Julianne Moore's latest book celebrates the importance of recognizing-and keeping-a true friend (quoted from Goodreads).

Freckleface Strawberry and her best friend Windypants couldn't look any more different, she's a girl, he's a boy. She's short, and he's tall. She has red hair and freckles, and he doesn't. She has a mom & dad and he has two moms, and yet despite these differences these two have so much in common. They love to read, go to the museum, play games and do a lot of things most young children enjoy doing. Once they're at school they learn a wonderful lesson about being true to yourself and loving your friends for who they are.

As a parent reading this to me kids, I not only admire the way Julianne wrote the story, I loved how my kids reacted to it. Freckleface Strawberry's message of the importance of being friends and embracing the differences we have is powerful for young readers. The message is simple. It's knowing/learning that despite what other people may say about our friends or us, it's important to love yourself and your friends, because no matter what we look like or what we like or don't like, we're all the same.

This is a really great story that I think children will be able to relate to and take something away from. Especially those who are learning to adapt in elementary school for the first time. I'd definitely recommend picking it up.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Book Review: The I'm Not Scared Book

Written & Illustrated by: Todd Parr
Released on: August 3rd, 2011
Source: book from publisher to review
Ages: 3 & up
4 stars: I Really Enjoyed It
Purchase from: Amazon| Barnes & Noble

Sometimes I'm scared of dogs.

I'm not scared when they give me kisses.

Sometimes I'm scared I will make a mistake.
I'm not scared when I know I tried my best.

With his signature blend of playfulness and sensitivity, Todd Parr explores the subject of all things scary and assures readers that all of us are afraid sometimes.

A fantastic, brightly illustrated book that cheerfully identifies a variety of fears children have, while also showing them how they can over come them. Todd Parr's simplistic words make this a story that's easy to understand for really young readers, and makes it easy for beginning readers to read. It's a fabulous story for parents to read to their kids.

I loved the way Todd told only told the story, but his illustrations are great. My kids really enjoyed this book. They connected with some of the fears that are mentioned in the story and laughed at some of the ways they are able to over come them. For example, one of the pages illustrates how scary it can be to go underwear shopping and the neighboring page illustrates it's not scary when you put the underwear on your head. Every time I read this page, non stop laughing ensues.

I love Todd's message at the end of the book where he says, "Sometimes we are scared of things because we don't understand them. When you are afraid tell someone why and maybe you won't be scared anymore."

I highly recommend picking this book up. It's one that can be used in Kindergarten & 1st grade classrooms as well as preschool and at home. I'm looking forward to reading more of Todd's books.

The Unwanteds Book Trailer

I am so excited that The Unwanteds's book trailer is out! Lisa tweeted about it yesterday and I had to post it on the blog! This is such an awesome MG read and one I highly recommend it. You can read my 5 star review here.

Released on: August 30th, 2011

Every year in Quill, thirteen-year-olds are sorted into categories: the strong, intelligent Wanteds go to university, and the artistic Unwanteds are sent to their deaths.

Thirteen-year-old Alex tries his hardest to be stoic when his fate is announced as Unwanted, even while leaving behind his twin, Aaron, a Wanted. Upon arrival at the destination where he expected to be eliminated, however, Alex discovers a stunning secret—behind the mirage of the “death farm” there is instead a place called Artime.

In Artime, each child is taught to cultivate their creative abilities and learn how to use them magically, weaving spells through paintbrushes and musical instruments. Everything Alex has ever known changes before his eyes, and it’s a wondrous transformation.

But it’s a rare, unique occurrence for twins to be separated between Wanted and Unwanted, and as Alex and Aaron’s bond stretches across their separation, a threat arises for the survival of Artime that will pit brother against brother in an ultimate, magical battle.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Giveaway Winners!

Congratulations to our recent winners!!

#8- Michelle N
#15- Candy H

#2- Vivien

Book winner- #5 Kelsey D
Audiobook winner- #12 Jessica B

All winners have been notified via email. Please be sure to check out our other giveaways we have going on, in our right hand side bar.

Book Review: The Fearsome Beastie

By: Giles Paley- Phillips
Illustrated by: Gabriele Antonini
Published by: Maverick Arts
Released on: May 18th, 2011
Ages: 5 & up
Source: ebook from author to review
4 stars- I enjoyed it
Purchase from: Maverick Arts| Amazon| Amazon UK|

The fearsome beastie is searching for something to eat and the children are at the top of the menu.

Will they be fooled by the fearsome beastie and his clever tricks?

The Fearsome Beastie is a brand new title by poet Giles Paley-Phillips. Written in rhyme, this story is reminiscent of the cautionary fairy tales of the past but with a happy ending! (quoted from Marevick Arts's site)

The Fearsome Beastie is a fun read that both children and parents can enjoy together. It's a silly read written in rhyme, and brought to life with bright, colorful illustrations, making it appealing to younger readers.

The story is about a fearsome beastie who wonders into a villages acting like he's sad so he can lure children to him and than he eats him. The beastie meets his match when he wonders into the wrong village and meets his doom with a fabulous axe wielding Grandma who not only frees the kids Beastie has eaten, she makes soup out of him.

The illustrations and the wording through out the book make it one that it's fun and engaging. It's a story that has humor and silly horror mixed into it, making it a book I'd recommend for children who aren't easily scared. It's one my son laughed at a lot and my little girl thought was okay. I personally enjoyed the humor in the story. To those who are really worried about it, the ending isn't much different from the real ending to Little Red Riding Hood. It's a story I've read a couple times now and one I'd recommend it. It's a scary, fun read, and I can see why it's so widely talked about. I'm looking forward to reading more books from Giles.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Freebie Friday- The Man In The Moon Giveaway

I LOVE this new children's book by William Joyce and I recently had the chance to review it here. Thank you to Simon & Schuster Children's Books, I have two copies I am giving away! First, here's a little bit about the book.

Written & Illustrated by: William Joyce
To Be Released on: September 6th, 2011
Purchase from: Simon & Schuster| Amazon|

Up there in the sky.

Don’t you see him?

No, not the moon.

The Man in the Moon.

He wasn’t always a man.

Nor was he always on the moon.

He was once a child.

Like you.

Until a battle,

a shooting star,

and a lost balloon

sent him on a quest.

Meet the very first guardian of childhood.

MiM, the Man in the Moon.

The Giveaway Rules:

* This is open internationally (internationally winners are required to cover the shipping costs)
* You need to be a follower to enter
* If you are under 13 yrs of age, you do need to have your parent's/guardian's permission before entering
* Please fill out the form below to enter
* This giveaway will end on October 9th, 2011

Book Review- Truth with a capital T

By: Bethany Hegedus
Published by: Delacorte Press
Released on: October 12, 2010
Source: ARC from author to review
Ages: 9 & up
5 stars- I really enjoyed it!
Purchase from: Amazon| Barnes & Noble

Lots of families have secrets. Little-Known Fact: My family has an antebellum house with a locked wing—and I’ve got a secret of my own.

I thought getting kicked out of the Gifted & Talented program—or not being “pegged,” as Mama said—­was the worst thing that could happen to me. W-r-o-n-g, wrong.I arrived in Tweedle, Georgia, to spend the summer with Granny and Gramps, only to find no sign of them. When they finally showed up, Cousin Isaac was there too, with his trumpet in hand, and I found myself having to pretend to be thrilled about watching my musical family rehearse for the town's Anniversary Spectacular. It was h-a-r-d, hard. Meanwhile, I, Maebelle T.-for-No-Talent Earl, set out to win a blue ribbon with an old family recipe.But what was harder and even more wrong than any of that was breaking into the locked wing of my grandparents’ house, trying to learn the Truth with a capital T about Josiah T. Eberlee, my long-gone-but-not-forgotten relation. To succeed, I couldn't be a solo act. I’d need my new friends, a basset hound named Cotton, the strength of my entire family, and a little help from a secret code.With grace and humor and a heaping helping of little-known facts, Bethany Hegedus incorporates the passions of the North and the South and bridges the past and the present in this story about one summer in the life of a sassy Southern girl and her trumpet-playing adopted Northern cousin.

Maebelle T Earl is a southern ray of sunshine! This lovable character is feisty, outgoing and so fun to get to know. The story is centered on her spending the summer, like she always does, with her heartwarming, eccentric grandparents, and her adopted cousin Isaac. I adored her grandparents and fell in love with Isaac. This poor kid broke my heart. He's a character I really came to admire, and though he's only a secondary character, he really stole the show for me.

This story has a rich setting and equally rich back story. Sit in Georgia, Bethany includes the history of slave ownership, the underground railroad, the cost of freedom and so much more into her story. She takes actual facts and events and elegantly makes them apart of Maebelle's family history, and I love how she unravels it. Maebelle is a very bright young girl, but her curiosity gets the better of her when she discovers there's a locked wing in the family mansion her grandparents have recently inherited. She'll do whatever it takes to find out what's in there, and what she finds is a story about love, faith and a quest for freedom.

Mixed with fabulous facts and fun trivia Truth with a capital T is a really fun, engaging read. Not only are the characters well written, and relatable, but each chapter includes a "Little Known Fact" like this one,

"The Truth with a capital T can't always be proved. But for it to be real, it's only got to be believed." - pg 248

Bethany has done such a beautiful job at writing a story that centers around love, friendship, and the true meaning of family. The way she handles the topics of racism and prejudice is truthful and well written so that kids who are reading this story will understand it. It's a story about innocence, finding truth and loving blindly, as in being color blind and seeing people for they really are. It's also a story a historical story with a secret that ties together a family and town.

I highly recommend picking this book up. There are so many wonderful layers to this story that parents and teachers can discuss with their children and students. It's a heartwarming story. It's a fun read that follows the adventures of two kids who are spending the summer together with their grandparents and in the process learn something more about themselves and their family's history. I have to mention the cover, I love it! I'm so glad the artist included both Maebelle and her cousin Isaac. The cover is a perfect match for the story.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Book Review & Giveaway: Llama Llama Home With Mama

By Anna Dewdney
Published by: Penguin
Released on: August 23rd, 2011
Ages: 3-5
Source: book from publisher to review
5 stars: I Loved It

Llama Llama, morning light.
Feeling yucky, just not right.
Down to breakfast.
Tiny sneeze.
Sniffle, snuffle.
Tissues, please!

Ah-choo! Uh-oh, Llama Llama's nose is feeling tickly, his throat is feeling scratchy, and his head is feeling stuffy. Back to bed, no school today for Llama Llama! Instead, he's home with Mama. By lunchtime, though, he's beginning to feel a tiny bit better. But now someone else has the sneezes . . . Mama! And who will help her feel better? Why, Llama Llama, of course! Anna Dewdney's fun-to-read rhymes are sure to help children and their parents get through those under-the-weather days.

This series is a huge hit on our house. This is one of those series that's fun, easy to read and just an all around enjoyable book. Anna's newest release is llama llama home with mama, and it's just as heart warming as the rest of the books in the series.

Little llama is home sick from school. His mama does all she can to make him feel better. After lots of loving from his mama, some rest and some yummy food, he starts to feel better. Just as he gets his energy back, he finds his mama isn't feeling too good. Little llama does the one thing he can thing of, he takes care of his mama.

This is such a cute book. It's a story that I sighed and laughed with. As a mom, it's one that I've related to more times that I would like to admit. How many of us parents have spent a day taking care of our little ones only to find them feeling better and full energy before the end of the day, to in turn find ourselves feeling horribly sick. Little llama's reaction to his mama being sick are both sweet and comical. I couldn't help but snicker when he thinks it's boring that he's feeling better and can't do anything, because his mama is sick. He's definitely not being insensitive, because he ends up reading stories and doing things for his mama that she did for him. That of course is what makes this story so heartwarming.

Thank you Penguin, I've got two copies for this story to giveaway, but before you enter, please be sure to check some really great sites for llama llama:

The Websites:

Play Games, Watch Videos & more on the Llama Mama website.
Decorate and Print your own Llama Llama cards here

The Giveaway:

We are giving away 2 copies of llama llama home with mama. This is open to residents of the US. If you're under 13 yrs old, you do need a parent/guardian's permission to enter. To enter, leave us a comment w/ your email address and let us know what's the nicest thing someone has ever done for you when you were sick.

This giveaway will end on September 21st, 2011
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 ~