Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Picture Book Month

This month we had the privilege of taking part in the Picture Book Month, A Celebration! Through out the entire month of November my reviews were focused solely on the fabulous picture books that you can find around the book world. I'm not even sure how I came across the Picture Book Month blog, but I'm glad I did. I love what they're doing and strongly believe in the power of picture books.

I personally feel that picture books leave a profound impact on young children. I started reading picture books to my children as new borns and they've grown up with a love of readings and books. I know not every child will grow up loving books, but the importance of reading to your children while they're young does wonders for them. Aside from the developmental and educational benefits, reading picture books to your children also creates bounding moments for you and will leave a lasting impression on them.

Though the month is over, we'll continue to include picture book reviews on Mundie Kids like we have from the beginning of the site. It's the reason why I started Mundie Kids, so I could help promote the picture books I was reading with my children. You can read the more than 25 picture reviews that were featured this month on the blog here. You can learn more about Picture Book Month here.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Book Review: The Best Kind of Kiss by Margaret Allum

By: Margaret Allum
Illustrated by: Jonathan Bently
To Be Released on: December 6th, 2011
Ages: 3 & up
Source: book from publisher to review
5 stars: We Loved It
Pre-Order from: Amazon | Barnes & Nobles

A little girl likes all kinds of kisses, including a fluffy kiss from a cat and a fluttery kiss from a butterfly. And she gets a smelly-yelly brother kiss. But her favorite kiss of all is a bristly, growly, daddy kiss. Full of whimsy and charm, readers will agree: this is the best kind of book. -quoted from Goodreads

This is one of those stories that's just plain CUTE! The Best Kind of Kiss is a story about a little girls favorite kisses, from grandma kisses, to butterfly kisses, big kisses, slobbery baby brother kisses, to mom kisses and her favorite, kisses from her dad. Some of our favorite kisses mentioned are the "dandelions for a whispery kiss and snowflakes for a frosty kiss". This an adorable story with equally adorable illustrations. If you're looking for a fun, heart warming story, I'd definitely recommend picking this one up when it's released next week!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Book Review: Quincy Moves to the Desert by Camille Matthews

By: Camille Matthews
Illustrated by: Michelle Black
Published by: Pathfinder Equine Publications
Released on: June 15th, 2011
Ages: 5 & up
Source: book to review from the publisher
5 stars: We Enjoyed It
Purchase from: Amazon

Author/illustrator team Camille Matthews and Michelle Black have created a new series of children's horse books for ages 5-10.

The stories introduce a red horse named Quincy and follow his exploits. Quincy Moves To The Desert, the second book of the series, is a story of self-discovery. Quincy and his trusted friend, Beau, leave the comforts of home and go on a big trip West to find trails as far as you can see. Though hesitant at first, Quincy is soon soaking up the sights. To his amazement, Quincy discovers that Horses are everywhere. He learns about all the jobs horses do and begins to dream about his own possibilities.

Full of energy and imagination, the beautifully illustrated book includes a map of the US with highlighted states. The sensitive descriptions of Quincy s feelings and experiences provide an environment of warmth and comfort. The striking oil paintings bring Quincy and his world to life for young readers. Matthews' and Black's knowledge and love of horses and attention to details of horse life instill the series with joy and authenticity- quoted from Goodreads

This is a book horse fans will love and non horse fans will enjoy reading about. Camille Matthews introduces readers to a red horse named Quincy. Quincy and his friend Beau are off on a new adventure as they're moving from their home in NY to a new one out in the West. On their journey Quincy learns a lot about the different horses and what they do. I loved the brief history Camille gives, along with the map that shows the route of Quincy's journey and talks about the different horses found along the way.

Camille writes Quincy's story is such a unique way that I think young readers will really enjoy meeting Quincy. The story after all is told from his point of view. I love that Camille gives the right amount of information away to make Quincy's story engaging, educational and fun to the readers. Both Camille and Michelle's passion for horses shines through in their details about horses both in their writing and artwork. Michelle Black's illustrations are beautiful! Her illustrations by themselves make the book worth picking up. This is a book I'd definitely recommend picking up for elementary school libraries, class rooms and to have at home.

To learn more about Quincy, please visit his site here.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Book Review: The Three Snow Bears

By: Jan Brett
Published by: Putnam & Sons, review edition (paperback edition) by Scholastic
Released on: September 13th, 2007
Source: Bought at Scholastic Book Fair
Ages: 3 & up
5 Stars: We Loved It
Purchase from: IndieBound | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Aloo-ki glances up from fishing and sees her sled dogs floating off on an ice floe. She races after them and comes upon an igloo. Being a curious girl, she goes inside only to find no one home. That’s because the polar bear family who lives there is out walking while their breakfast cools off. Aloo-ki eats some soup, tries on their boots, and finally crawls into the smallest bed for a nap. Meanwhile, Papa, Mama, and Baby Bear see her dogs adrift, swim out to rescue them and return home to find Aloo-ki fast asleep in Baby Bear’s bed.

Jan traveled to the far North to meet the Inuit people and see the amazing land where they live. Dramatic illustrations capture the shimmering ice, snow and deep blue seas of the Arctic, and when Jan adds a raven-haired Inuit girl and her appealing huskies, an endearing family of polar bears, and playful Arctic animals in the borders, the result is one of her most beautiful picture books.

The decorative Inuit patterns and clothing Jan uses throughout are sure to attract adult fans and collectors while children will want to listen to and look at this exciting version of a well-loved story over and over again. -quoted from Goodreads

A wonderful re-telling of the children's classic, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Jan Brett takes her readers to a beautiful Arctic world where a young Inuit stumbles upon the huge Igloo of three polar bears while looking for her dogsled team. Young Aloo-ki can't resist trying the warm soup, comfy boots and the warm beds of the three bears. The artwork in this story is beautiful! I love the way Jan paid respect to the culture and artwork of the Inuit culture. If you're a fan of Jan Brett's and story re-tellings, I highly recommend picking this book up.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Book Review: Ten on The Sled by Kim Norman

By: Kim Norman
Illustrated by: Liza Woodruff
Published by: Sterling
Released on: September 30th, 2010, released for Scholastic Book Fairs 2011
Source: Bought
Ages: 3 yrs old & older
5 stars: We LOVE This Book! It's a MUST HAVE!
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Author Kim Norman (Crocodaddy) and illustrator Liza Woodruff have whipped up a rollicking, jolly, snow-filled adventure!

In the land of the midnight sun, all the animals are having fun speeding down the hill on Caribou's sled. But as they go faster and faster, Seal, Hare, Walrus, and the others all fall off…until just Caribou's left, only and lonely. Now, a reindeer likes flying-but never alone, so…one through ten, all leap on again!

An ideal picture book for reading-and singing along with-over and over. -quoted from Goodreads

If there is one children's picture book you buy this year, this should be it! I picked this up last week while working at my son's school's Scholastic Book Fair and it's been a hit ever since! This story has been read numerous times since coming home. It's funny, it's engaging, and it can be read to the tune of "There Were 10 In The Bed". In fact, I usually sing the story to my kids to that tune.

This story is not only highly entertaining, as hysterical laughing ensues, but it's bright illustrations are great for toddlers as well. If I gave out 10 stars, this book would get that. I love the way the story rhythms, how easy to read it is and the memories that are being built each time we sit down to read this story. I HIGHLY recommend picking this book up! This year it's been re-released in paperback format to be distributed at the Scholastic book fairs, which also makes it a very inexpensive purchase.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Book Review: Hibernation Station by Michelle Meadows

By: Michelle Meadows
Illustrated by: Kurt Cyrus
Published by: Simon & Schuster
Released on: June 24th, 2010, released for Scholastic Book Fairs 2011
Source: Bought from Scholastic book fair
Ages: 2-5
4 stars: We Enjoyed It
Purchase from: Simon & Schuster | Amazon


With room for all kinds of critters from big burly bears and clamoring chipmunks to grumpy groundhogs and fidgety frogs, this train is filled to capacity and ready to go!

The final destination?
-quoted from Goodreads

Have you ever wondered what the animals do when they prepare to take their long winter naps? In Hibernation Station Michelle Meadows reveals what the forest animals do. They hunker down for a long winter's nap in the hollowed out tree log train cars. Things go wrong with the woodland animals are put into wrong cars, eventually leading them to all snuggle together in a nice warm log together.

With cute illustrations and fun rhyming words, Hibernation Stations is a story that's great for reading at nap time or bed time. This is a story my little girl enjoyed. She loves seeing the animals in their pjs. I think this is a story that's great for toddlers and pre-school ages kids. I like that the author, Michelle Meadows included a helpful note about hibernation in the back of the book.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! Thank you so much for being apart of Mundie Kids. We hope you all have a wonderful & safe Thanksgiving!

Book Review: The Story of Thanksgiving by Nancy J. Skarmeas

By: Nancy J. Skarmeas
Illustrated by: Stacy Venturi-Pickett
Published by: Candy Cane Press
Released on: September 1st, 1999
Ages: 0 & up
Source: bought
5 stars: It's A Fabulous Boardbook
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

This book tells the story of the first Thanksgiving-how the pilgrims came to America on the Mayflower in search of religious freedom, how they landed at Plymouth Rock, and how the Native Americans taught them to plant and then joined them in a Thanksgiving feast. Parents can use the simple text and the bright illustrations of this book to introduce a very young child to this holiday

This is a fabulous story to have for infants and young children. The Story of Thanksgiving tells the story of why we celebrate this day, as well as the history of the 1st Thanksgiving, starting with why the Pilgrims left England, their journey to America, their first year in America and the hardships they endured, meeting Squanto and how he helped them, to their first Thanksgiving. If you want to have a Thanksgiving story for young kids, I highly recommend picking up this sturdy board book. The story is written in a way that educates and teaches young children the importance of why we celebrate Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Book Review: Nothing Like A Puffin by Sue Soltis

By: Sue Soltis
Illustrated by: Bob Kolar
Published by: Candlewick Press
Released on: September 13th, 2011
Source: book from author to review
4 stars: I Enjoyed It
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

There’s nothing like this book! Bold, charming artwork enlivens a fun and clever game of compare-and-contrast for curious kids and puffin lovers alike.

A puffin is an amazing creature. It’s completely unique and one-of-akind. A ladder is nothing like a puffin. A house is nothing like a puffin. A newspaper is nothing like a puffin. . . . But wait! Who would have guessed? Could these things be more alike than you think? Young children will love following this mischievous puffin in an entertaining exercise in creative classification— and are guaranteed to start looking at everyday things in a whole new way -quoted from Goodreads

There isn't anything quite like a puffin. This cute little puffin gives a range of examples from other animals, to objects who aren't quite like him. In comparing himself to other things, he sees just how unique he is. There is nothing else quite like him. I like the message this story gives. The reader/the story's audience can easily relate themselves to the puffin, as there's no one else quite like them.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Book Review/Giveaway: The Family Storybook Treasury

Released on: October 25th, 2011
Source: book from publisher to review
Pages: 304
Ages: 4 & up
5 stars: It's A Must Have
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Family, friends, your favorite characters…bring them all together at story time! Share the book that is sure to entertain, delight, and make the whole gang laugh. The Family Storybook Treasury is a collection of your most well-loved picture books and poetry, now available in one beautiful keepsake volume with bonus audio CD! Includes eight complete picture books:

* Curious George and the Firefighters by Margret and H. A. Rey

* Martha Speaks by Susan Meddaugh

* Lyle Walks the Dogs by Bernard Waber, illustrated by Paulis Waber

*Sheep in a Jeep by Nancy Shaw, illustrated by Margo Apple

* Tacky the Penguin by Helen Lester, illustrated by Lynn Munsinger

* Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed by Eileen Christelow

* The Great Doughnut Parade by Rebecca Bond

* Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton

A beautiful treasure to give, receive, and pass down.

This is a fabulous collection of some of the most beloved children's books. When this arrived in the mail my youngest was so excited about this book that we sat down the moment the package was open and started to read it. This is an ideal read for story time and bedtime. I love that this book comes with a CD, which is great for those families who are always on the go! This CD features all 8 stories included in the book.

Mixed in with these classic stories are beautiful poems that kids will enjoy. Each poem is featured at the end of the stories. This hard cover collection of treasured stories makes a wonderful gift for Christmas, the holidays and birthdays. If you're like me, you never need an excuse to pick up a great children's story. This book will ensure hours of quality reading time with your little ones. The Family Storybook Treasury has already been a huge hit in our household, and it's one I'd recommend adding to yours.

Thank you to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, we have 2 copies we're giving away!! To enter, please fill out the form below:

Monday, November 21, 2011

Book Review/Giveaway: Can You See What I See? Toyland Express by Walter Wick

Published by: Scholastic
Released on: October 1st, 2011
Ages: 4-8
Source: book from publisher to review
5 star: We Loved It!
Purchase from: Scholastic | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

CAN YOU SEE WHAT I SEE? TOYLAND EXPRESS, the eighth title in the bestselling search-and-find series, follows the life of a toy train from the workshop to the attic, only to be rescued at a yard sale and brought to life once again in a new home. As readers search for more than 250 hidden objects, they will also notice how the train takes on various transformations along its journey.

Have you ever read a book that made you wish you could jump into it's pages? While reading this book with my kids, it made me wish I had an attic to go into to, so that I could pull out a box of toys and set up a Toyland Express train set like the one featured in the story, and allow my children endless hours of imaginary fun. Luckily Walter Wick's stunning photos and engaging story provide those hours of entertainment for my kids with his newest release.

The Toyland Express is a fabulous book for readers ages preK through 2nd, as they take a journey with the Toyland Express from when it's first hand crafted, to it being giving as a gift for a birthday party, played with, stored in an attic, reclaimed, and played with once again. My son's a 1st grader and he loved being able to read the book and looking for the different objects in each picture. This book is the PERFECT gift for train fans. The photography is beautiful, and the story and puzzle search is entraining, as well as engaging. I highly recommend picking this book up this Christmas/holiday season.

Don't miss this behind the scenes video with Walter:

About the author:

Walter Wick has opened millions of eyes to a world of treasures big and small in his award-winning, bestselling I SPY and CAN YOU SEE WHAT I SEE? picture-puzzle books. Walter discovered his passion for building picture puzzles by accident. One day when cleaning out a drawer, he scattered odds and ends on a glass tabletop and photographed them. The photo appeared in a magazine and caught the eye of Jean Marzollo, editor of Scholastic’s Let’s Find Out. This photo inspired the first I SPY book, with riddles by Jean Marzollo, and led to their long collaboration.

In his more recent CAN YOU SEE WHAT I SEE? series, Walter’s detailed photographs convey subtle hidden stories. Walter meticulously constructs 3-D sets for CAN YOU SEE WHAT I SEE? in his Connecticut studio. For videos and more photos, visit or


Thank you to Scholastic, we have 1 SIGNED copy of Can You See What I See? Toyland Express to giveaway. To enter, please fill out the form below:

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Book Review: Ricky's Christmas Tree by Guido Van Genechten

By: Guido Van Genechten
Published by: Clavis Publishing
Released on: September 1st, 2011
Source: book from publisher to review
Ages: 5 & up
4 stars: It's A Great Read
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Ricky is wishing for a Christmas tree to light up his family’s house, but Dad has been too busy—until today. Dad tries to pick out the first tree they come across at the market, but Ricky convinces him to buy the biggest tree they can find instead. While they’re trying to tie it onto their sled, the rope snaps and they tumble backward into the snow. Rather than getting angry, Dad starts a snowball fight with Ricky, and as they play together, Dad is reminded how much fun winter can be. A touching story about the strength of a bond between father and son, this colorful book featuring the lovable Ricky delivers an important message about what really matters during the holidays. -quoted from Goodreads

Ricky really wants to have a Christmas tree in time for Christmas, but his dad has been to busy working. In hurry, Ricky's dad wants to get the tree and get back to work, but something happens along the way that causes his dad to be covered in snow. From this misfortune, Ricky and his dad end up spending a fun filled day together. I really like the message that spending time together is a gift itself. We enjoyed reading about all the fun things Ricky and his dad do, from snowball fights to making snow angels and getting home in time to decorate the tree. Fans of Ricky will enjoy this fun Christmas story.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Book Review: Birdie's Big-Girl Dress by Sujean Rim

By: Sujean Rim
Published by: Little Brown Kids
Released on: September 5th, 2011
Ages: 4 & up
Source: book from publisher to review
3 stars: An Adorable Picture Book
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

In this follow-up to Birdie's Big-Girl Shoes, our favorite pint-sized fashionista is looking forward to a very BIG day—her birthday. But when Birdie tries on her favorite party dress, she realizes that - oh no! - it's too small. Mommy takes her to the boutique, where she tries on dress after dress, but Birdie realizes that none of these gowns will allow her to run and jump, make messes, and eat cake. Only when she takes a trip up to her favorite thinking place, the attic, does she realize that all it takes the find the perfect "Birdie dress" is a little imagination.

-quoted from Goodreads

Birdie is an adorable little girl who's so excited to celebrate her upcoming party. This pint size fashionista has a problem, she doesn't know what to wear to her party. Her mother takes her shopping at a local boutique, but Birdie can't find what she's looking for. It's until she rummages through the attic does she find the perfect outfit. The attic scenes were my favorite! I can only imagine the hours that could be spent playing dress up there.

The only problem I had with the story is found on a page where the little girl won't get a dress because it would be too snug after eating cake. For whatever reason that rubbed me the wrong way, and it bothers me that this was mentioned in a children's book. It sends the wrong message to kids, especially little girls who should be able to enjoy a dress not matter their size. Aside from that page, this story has some extremely adorable illustrations, that I couldn't get enough of. I'd recommend getting it for the illustrations alone.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Book Review: Not Inside This House! by Kevin Lewis

By: Kevin Lewis
Illustrated by: David Ercolini
Published by: Orchard Books/Scholastic
Released on: August 1st, 2011
Source: unbound book from publisher to review
Ages: 4 & up
4 stars: A Fun Read
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Meet Livingstone Columbus Magellan Crouse, a curious boy who loves to explore!

You'd expect a boy with a name like Livingstone Columbus Magellan Crouse to explore. But Livingstone Columbus Magellan Crouse doesn't stop there. He comes home with specimens from his travels! First a bug, and then a moose-what will Livingstone Columbus Magellan Crouse show up with next? Curious readers are in for a fun adventure.

"Livingstone Columbus Magellan Crouse,

why is that hog inside this house?"- quoted from Goodreads

Livingstone Columbus Magellan Crouse is like many young boys, he's curious, and in search of the perfect thing to bring home from his various adventures. From a moose, to a whale, to a pig, to bugs and everything in between. Livingstone can't help himself. His poor mom sure has an awful mess to clean up each time he brings something home.

This is an extremely fun book to read it. It's written in an easy to read way that my first grader could read a lot of the book himself, and the rhyming makes the story that much more engaging. This is a great book to have at home and in the classroom.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Book Review: A Starlit Snowfall by Nancy Willard

By: Nancy Willdard
Illustrated by: Jerry Pinkney
Published by: Little Brown Kids
Released on: November 7th, 2011
Source: book from publisher to review
Ages: 5 & up
4 stars: It's A Good Read
Purchase from: Amazon

"My cave is big enough for two!" a bear declares to a rabbit, inviting his small friend to share his den through the longest, coldest season. The rabbit readily accepts the bear's offer, but no sooner have the two curled up than the lively rabbit jumps up to wonder: Wouldn't it be better to be out in the crisp winter air, free to leap through the starlight and the sparkling snow?

In this paperback reissue of a long out-of-print winter tale (originally titled A Starlit Somersault Downhill),Caldecott Medal winner Jerry Pinkney's rich watercolors create a cozy winter world that perfectly complements Newbery Medal winner Nancy Willard's charming poetry.- quoted from Goodreads

This is a beautiful illustrated story that follows a hare who wants nothing more than to run and hop through theapproaching winter, rather than laying in a cave with his friend bear. While I was reading this, I swear this is a story I read when I was younger, and in looking into this story I found this is a re-issue of a long out of print classic tale. It's a wonderful story with some fabulous illustrations.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Book Review: Every-Day Dress-Up by Selina Alko

By: Selina Alko
Published by: Alfred A. Knopf
Released on: October 11th, 2011
Source: book from publisher to review
Ages: 4 & up
3.5 stars: It's A Good Read
Purchase from: Amazon

It's no secret that little girls love playing dress up, but the little girl in this book ditches her princess duds in favor of costumes inspired by great women in history.

Now dressing up is an adventure
When, every day of the week,
I am a daring new dame!

From Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor to chef extraordinaire Julia Child to queen of jazz Ella Fitzgerald, our protagonist pays homage to the women who came before her and imagines herself in their shoes. Maybe someday she'll inspire little girls with her own gown of greatness.
-quoted from Goodreads

Being a mother of a little girl who loves to dress up, I loved the concept of this book. The little girl dresses up each of the week and pretends to go on the adventures of the prestige women she's pretending to be. While as I grown up, I knew who these amazing women are, they were totally lost to my little girl. Young girls would know more about these women than young preschool aged girls. I do love the concept that dress can be more than just Disney princesses. I'm a little torn on how to recommend this book. It's geared towards preschool aged kids, yet the content of the book is more of girls in elementary school. I like that the respected women through out history who are mentioned in this story are included in a biography in the back of the book.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Book Review: Kevin's Christmas by Liesbet Slegers

By: Liesbet Slegers
Published by: Clavis Publishing
Released on: September 1st, 2011
Source: book from publisher to review
Purchase from: Amazon

It is Christmas time and Kevin is discovering all of his family’s holiday traditions. He wonders why Mom put a tree inside the house; she tells him that it’s a Christmas tree for decorating with shiny ornaments, little lights, and a golden star at the top. Then Kevin helps Mom prepare Christmas dinner for all of their relatives and is excited to exchange presents with everybody. Even though he loves the special food and is grateful for his presents, Kevin learns that his favorite part of Christmas is getting to spend time with the people he cares about. With simple language and bright illustrations, this festive story focuses on the joys and delights of experiencing a holiday through the eyes of a child. -quoted from Goodreads

I like the brightly illustrated pages, and the simple illustrations, but I'm a little torn on my feelings with this story. Normally we're huge fans of Christmas/holiday stories, but this one didn't quite win us over like I had hoped. I liked how Kevin introduces readers to his family's traditions, but I think if the story had been written a little bit simpler, it might have been a bit more engaging for kids. Not saying it's written bad, it's just not one that captured the attention of my kids.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Book Review: Snowflake Baby by Elise Broach

By: Elise Broach
Illustrated by: Cori Doerrfeld
Published by: Little Brown Kids
To Be Released on: December 5th, 2011
Source: book from publisher to review
Ages: 2 & up
5 stars: We Loved It
Pre-Order from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Snowflake baby
Winter day

Snowsuit baby
Out to play!

Little ones will love playing along with baby during a day full of wintry fun, from snowballs to sledding. This interactive novelty board book features large lift-the-flaps on each spread, hiding charming surprises underneath. With acclaimed author Elise Broach's delightful rhyming text and playful illustrations by Cori Doerrfeld, this is the perfect read-aloud to share after fun-filled snowy day! -quoted from Goodreads

An adorable, chunky board that's perfect for little hands. This brightly colored, cutely illustrated book has the perfect size lift the flaps, making it harder for them to ripped. This sturdy board book follows the story of a snowflake baby and her puppy as they venture out to play in the snow, and end their adventurous day snuggled under their warm winter quilt. If you're looking for the perfect book for your little one this Christmas/holiday season, I'd recommend picking this one up. It makes a great stocking stuffer.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Book Review: Duckling Ducklings & Baby Animal Friends by Aaron Zenz

By: Aaron Zenz
Published by: Bloomsbury Kids
Released on: February 15th, 2011
Ages: 3 & up
Source: book from publisher to review
4 stars: It's A Cute Read

Here's a puppy, there's a kitten . . . a yawning fawn and chuckling ducklings

The perfect introduction to animal names and animal groups, Chuckling Ducklings features baby animals of every variety. The bouncing text and adorable illustrations will become a favorite with kids as they learn the special baby names that match all the grown-up animals they know and love. -quoted from Goodreads

Cute, bright illustrations introduce young readers to a variety of different baby animals found in the animal world. Who would have thought tadpoles would be cute?! If you're an "awwer" than this book will have you awwing on every page. With it's simply wording and "aw" so cute illustrations, make this an adorable read.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Book Review: Mouse & Lion by Rand Burkert & Nancy Ekholm Burkert

By: Rand Burkert & Nancy Ekholm Burkert
Published by: Scholastic
Released on: October 1st, 2011
Source: unbound book from publisher to review
Ages: 4 & up
4 stars: I Really Enjoyed
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

A wonderful re-telling of the classic Aesop Fable- Lion & the Mouse story. I enjoyed this beautifully illustrated story, as Rand pays tribute to the courageous, little mouse. This story proves that no matter how big or little you are, you can do anything you set your mind to as long as you're brave enough to try.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Book Review: Lily Hates Goodbyes by Jerilyn Marler

By: Jerilyn Marler
Illustrated by: Nathan Stoltenberg
Published by: self pub
Released on: March 8th, 2011
Ages: for any child who's parent is in the armed serves
Source: book from author to review
5 stars: It's a Touching Read
Purchase from: Amazon

Sometimes Lily has to say goodbye to her Daddy for about a billion days. She feels a swirl of unhappy emotions that can be scary. And she aches to feel connected to her Daddy during his long deployments. Join Lily as she learns how to cope with her emotions and to be happy in her daily life while she looks forward to joyfully saying hello when Daddy gets home. "Lily Hates Goodbyes" is helpful for any child who suffers separations from a loved one. The charming illustrations will draw your child's interest immediately. Children appreciate the affirmation that scary emotions are normal and that they don't last forever. Parents appreciate the opportunity talk with their children about the scary emotions in a safe, non-volatile way. - quoted from Goodreads

A personal story for the authors grand-daughter, this is a touching story about a little girl who hates to say goodbye to her father, who's in the Navy and currently deployed away from home. Lily's story is a touching one, as Jerilyn allows us to connect with Lily on an emotional level as she goes through the daily routines of not having her father there. From looking at the moon at night to writing him letters, Lily is anxiously counting down the days when she will see her father again.

This is a great story for children who have a parent or parents currently serving our country and are away from home. Through Lily they will be able to identify with similar feelings of worry, fear, sadness, being upset, happiness and the joy when their parent/parents arrive home. The vivid illustrations do a great job at portraying all Lily is feeling and experiencing. Lily's story is one I highly recommend picking up. To learn more about Lily's story, please visit Lily Hates Goodbye .

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Book Review: My Rhinoceros by Jon Agee

By: Jon Agee
Published by: Scholastic
Released on: September 1st, 2011
Ages: 4 & up
Source: unbound book from publisher to review
4 stars: I Enjoyed It
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Watch Jon Agee win over a new flock of fans—the toddler set

If you should ever get a rhinoceros for a pet, you're in for a surprise. It won't chase a ball. Or a stick. Or a frisbie. In fact, according to the experts, a rhinoceros does only two things: pop balloons and poke holes in kites.

But don't be discouraged. As you'll discover in Jon Agee's hilarious picture book, rhinoceroses can do more—so much more—than that! -quoted from Goodreads

A really cute story about a boy who chooses a pet, but this pet isn't quite what he had excepted. This rhinoceros surprisingly proves just how great of a pet he is! I never thought a rhinoceros would make a great pet, but after reading this hilarious story I can see just how useful this pet could be. This is a fun story with some great illustrations.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Book Review: The Vole Brothers

By: Roslyn Schwartz
Published by: Owl Kids
Released on: September 15th, 2011
Ages: 2-5
4 Stars: It's We Enjoyed
Purchase from: Amazon

From the creator of the beloved Mole Sisters comes an irresistible tale about two ravenous rodents, wanted for snacking on too many strawberries, daisies, tulips, and other vegetation. And after these rodents chomp and chew all the plants they can find around their home — a drainpipe in an urban alley — they’re still hungry! So hungry, in fact, they could even eat a cat!

Using an imaginative paper bag disguise and a natural talent for tunneling, this mischievous pair sets off in pursuit of a feline-sized feast — and finds a slice of pepperoni pizza. But the vagrant voles are left empty-handed — and empty-tummied — when a greedy crow and an army of ants invade their picnic.

Chock full of silly antics and suspense, young children will root for these insatiable characters as they continue on their quest for food. And readers will celebrate along with them when the Vole Brothers’ perseverance pays off when they are tossed into a garden full of luscious strawberries — a very happy ending if you’re a hungry vole!

What a fun, entertaining read. The Vole Brothers are off to find something to eat, but their misfortunes almost have them ending up as dinner. This is a simple, easy to read, well illustrated that book that we really enjoyed. Having little words on each page not only makes it an engaging story, but it's perfect for preschool age kids and beginning readers.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Book Review: Whooo Loves You?

By: Sandra Magsamen
Published by: Little Brown & Company
Released on: August 3rd, 2011
Ages: toddler
Source: book from publisher to review
3 stars: It's a Cute Read
Purchase from: Amazon

The birds resting on the clothesline sing...
You're my little tweetheart! You're my little tweetheart!

The little puppies snuggled in their home bark...
We ruff you! We ruff you!

Babies will love playing peek-a-boo with this interactive board book, featuring fun-shaped lift-the-flaps on each spread. This adorable new addition to the "Made with Love" series invites little ones to discover messages of love through Sandra Magsamen's signature heartfelt text and sweet new hand-stitched illustration style. - quoted from Goodreads

A cute lift the flap, board book for toddlers. The bright colors and simple words make for an engaging read. Each page incorporates the way each animal expresses how they love.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Book Review: Just Fine the Way They Are, From Dirt Roads to Rail Roads to Interstates

Illustrated by: Richard Walz
Published by: Boyds Mills Press
Released on: March 1st, 2011
Source: book from author/publisher for review
3 stars: A Good Read

Change. Who needs it? We do! Mr. John Slack, the keeper of a tavern beside a rutted dirt road in the early 1800s, thought things were just fine the way they were. So did Lucius Stockton who ran the National Road Stage Company in the mid 1800s. So too, did the owners of the railroads when the first model T appeared in 1908. Yet with each new innovation, Americans were able to move around the country more quickly, efficiently, and comfortably. Connie Woolbridge offers an informative, yet light-hearted look at how the dirt roads of the early 1800s evolved into the present-day U.S. highway system. Richard Walz's gorgeous paintings capture both the broad sweep and the individual impact of change and progress - quoted from Goodreads

This book is a good for kids to learn about the history of transportation and the worries about change that come with them. The book spans the early 1800's through now and discusses the history of change and how roads, the railroad and such were created and why. The illustrations are great, the history of transportation is fascinating, but the wording was a bit much for kids. There's a lot mentioned on each page that didn't hold my kid's attention long enough for them to want to sit and listen to the whole book. While the book seems like it's geared towards kids K-2nd grade age, the wording is written for kids whom are older. I'd recommend it for kids in 2nd grade & older.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Book Review: Everything Goes on Land By Brian Biggs

By: Brian Biggs
Published by: Balzer & Bray
Released on: September 13th, 2011
Source: book from publisher to review
Ages: preschool- 1st grade
4 stars- My Kids Loved It
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Cars and trucks and bikes and trains!

Rvs and construction vehicles too!

Everything goes

Ride along with Henry and his dad as they visit the big city and check out all the amazing vehicles around them.

Full of mini-story lines, endless seek-and-find activities, and hundreds of funny details, Everything Goes: On Land is an interactive book that provides hours of fun! -quoted from Goodreads

A fun, read that teaches kids all about different means of transportation. Each of the busy, brightly colored pages shows a variety of ways we can get around the city, from the subway, to trains, taxis, motorcycles, cars, trucks etc. One of the engaging things about this story are the captions found on each page by each different car, truck, motorcycle etc. This made if fun for the kids to find the different vehicles and learn what they do.

This is a great book to pick up. You can even have your child count the different vehicles found on each page, point out colors, and look for silly things pictured on each page. I highly recommend picking it up!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Book Review: Wildfire Run by Dee Garretson

By: Dee Garretson
Released on: August 31st, 2011
Age: 10 & up
Source: book from author to review
5 star: A Thrilling Read for MG Readers
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

Just once Luke Brockett would like to do something slightly dangerous, but when your father is the President of the United States, that is not an option. Always surrounded by Secret Service agents and kept in a bubble of safety, Luke sees Camp David, the presidential retreat in the woods of Maryland, as the only place where he can almost normal. For one week in August, Luke's mother has arranged for Luke to have a 'summer camp' experience, if summer camp had only three kids and the counselors carried automatic weapons. The experience comes to a quick end when a forest fire surrounds Camp David. Luke and his friends are trapped inside, left on their own, the Secret Service agents incapacitated, forcing the three to outwit security systems designed to be unbeatable before the fire gets to them -quoted from Goodreads

What an awesome, fast paced, action packed, thrilling adventure! This story is one that just grabs ahold of it's reader and doesn't let them go until the last page. The story centers on Luke, the son of the President of the United States. While on a trip to Camp David with his dad, an destructive earthquake hits MO, causing his father to promptly return to the White House leaving Luke behind with his own secret service men, and his best friend Theodore. While there, a frightening wild fire breaks out and heads straight for Camp David.

This book really played out like watching an exciting movie. One thing after the other happens during this story, from natural disasters, to an accident, that leave part of the team either hurt or separated from each other. Oh wait, I also forgot the run ins with wildlife. Not to mention the fact that one of the big problems is the security that's meant to keep the "bad guys" out, is also keeping the team from leaving. The details of the lay out of Camp David are intriguing and the facts about the camp itself that Dee includes at the end of her story are fascinating. It was so easy for me to imagine what the grounds of this camp look like, as well as the surrounding woods where part of the story takes place.

Wildfire Run is such a high energy, engaging story with fabulously developed characters. The three tweens, Luke, his best friend Theodore and Callie, the chef's daughter we so fun to meet, and as were Luke's own Secret Service men. I loved the ideas that Luke and his friends come up with to help them all escape. Despite how daring and dangerous this mission is, their bravery, intelligence and teamwork are needed to help them figure out away around a high security system. This is a book I highly recommend picking up. I think it's one that even the most reluctant reader will end up enjoying.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Book Review: Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star by Jerry Pinkney

Written & Illustrated By: Jerry Pinkney
Published by: Little Brown Kids
Released On: October 10th, 2011
Source: book from publisher to review
Ages: 3 & Up
5 stars: A beautifully illustrated book
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

One of the most acclaimed children's book illustrators of our time now takes his legendary skill with watercolor to new heights in this lavish visual adventure. As a curious little chipmunk leaves his nest to greet the twilight, he gazes at the glittering sky above him. He can't help but also notice the sparkling dewdrops on a spider's web, the lights of the fireflies, and the shimmers of moonlight on the water. "How I wonder what you are!" marvels the tiny creature, launching a dreamlike quest to reach for the stars.

Inspired by one of our most popular children's lullabies, Jerry Pinkney's gentle world--where the loving arms of nature embrace us despite darkness or uncertainty--is perfect for easing little ones into dreamland. -quoted from Goodreads

This is my first Jerry Pinkney book, and what a fabulous first book of his it was to read. This is such a beautifully illustrated book. I was not only mesmerized with it, but my kids were as well. I love that this story was not only inspired by, but uses the words for Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. I think fans of Jerry's will be pleasantly surprised with his latest release. I loved his beautiful artistic touch to this classic, as it created a timeless feel for both the song and the story. This richly illustrated book is perfect for bedtimes! I highly recommend picking it up.
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 ~