Monday, December 30, 2013

The Day The Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt, Book Review

By: Drew Daywalt
Illustrated by: Oliver Jeffers
Published by: Philomel Books
Released on: June 27th, 2013
Ages: 4 & up
5 Owlets: We Loved It!
Purchase it from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Add it to Goodreads

Poor Duncan just wants to color. But when he opens his box of crayons, he finds only letters, all saying the same thing: We quit!

Beige is tired of playing second fiddle to Brown. Blue needs a break from coloring all that water, while Pink just wants to be used. Green has no complaints, but Orange and Yellow are no longer speaking to each other. 

What is Duncan to do? Debut author Drew Daywalt and New York Timesbestseller Oliver Jeffers create a colorful solution in this playful, imaginative story that will have children laughing and playing with their crayons in a whole new way.

A must have! This picture book is simply AWESOME! It's one we've already read numerous times since reading it from the publisher. In fact it sits one our "favorite" books shelf. Normally in my reviews I like to talk about the things I liked about the book. This time around all I can say I HIGHLY RECOMMEND PICKING THIS ONE UP! 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

(Image found via Google)

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays! 
With all the hustle and bustle of the season, we'll be spending time with our families this week.
We're wishing each of you a fabulous Christmas season. 
We hope this season brings you happiness, peace, love and lots of books. 
Most importantly we hope you have a joyous holiday season.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Happy Winter Solstice!

Happy Winter Solstice!
There's something enticing about those fabulous cold, snowy days. 
They lead to warm fires, cozy blankets and lots of reading. 
Happy first day of Winter and here's to a Happy Christmas/Holiday season!

*Picture found on Google

Friday, December 20, 2013

Unicorn Thinks He's Pretty Great by Bob Shea, Book Review

By: Bob Shea
Published by: Disney Hyperion
Released on: June 25, 2013
Ages: toddler & up
Source: book from publisher to review
4 Owlets: We Enjoyed It!
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Add it to Goodreads

Hi, I'm Goat. 
Things were just fine around here until UNICORN showed up.
So what if he can fly?
Or make it rain cupcakes?
And turn stuff into gold?
Big deal. 
I can do some cool stuff too, like...
Hey! What are you doing? Why are you opening the book?
He's just going to tell you how great he is. Blah, blah, blah.
Go ahead. Just don't say I didn't warn you.
Dopey Unicorn.

Unicorns are real! Well at least in this story they are! Not only that, this Unicorn is totally awesome because HE can make it rain cupcakes, among many other totally awesome things! I'm just saying, how much more cool can you get?! Well Goat doesn't think he's so awesome. Why would he? Goat can't do any of the things Unicorn can. Instead of enjoying cupcakes raining down from the sky and loving all the cool things Unicorn can do like everyone else does, he becomes jealous. Funny thing though, Goat doesn't realize that Unicorn wishes we could do some of the things Goat does, like make cheese and climb mountains. 

What a fabulous children's story about friendship, differences and acceptance. Bob Shea does a great job at telling a story that kids of all ages will enjoy, and learn something from. Through Unicorn and our jealous story teller Goat, readers see just how cool it is to have differences. Like Unicorn and Goat, they'll learn to embrace those differences with their friends. I give huge kudos to Bob for keeping the humor in this story. Unicorn and Goat are quite a fun pair to read about. I loved seeing how they learn to enjoy the difference they both have. 

I highly recommend picking this one up! 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Fall Ball by Peter McCarty, Book Review

By: Peter McCarty
Published by: MacKids/Henry Holt
Released on: 9/3/13
Ages: Toddler & up
Source: arc from publisher to review
4 Owlets: We Really Enjoyed It!
Purchase it from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Add it to Goodreads

Bobby and his friends wait all day for school to end and for their chance to play outdoors in the fall weather. Flying leaves, swirling colors, and crisp air make the perfect setting for a game of football with Sparky the dog.

The kids are surprised by how quickly it gets dark, and even more surprised when it begins to snow. But there’s no need to worry—the chilly nights ahead will mean watching football on the couch with family, tucked under a cozy blanket.

With Fall winding down, and Football season still going on, FALL BALL is the perfect book to pick up. With it's simplistic story, and simply fabulous illustrations, Peter McCarty has created book that kids of all ages will love. Full of fun, friendship, football, and a cold snowy night, this is a book I would highly recommend picking up.

My little girl LOVES this book. It's silly, fun, and has illustrations not too commonly seen in children's books, which I absolutely loved. This is a book that will easily hold the attention of a toddler, and one that older children will enjoy. My first grader has even enjoyed reading this story with me. As I mentioned earlier, I love the illustrations in this book. It's one you can simply look through without even reading the story itself and still enjoy it.

If you're looking for a book to add to your shelves I'd recommend picking up FALL BALL!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

I EVEN FUNNIER by James Patterson, Giveaway

James Patterson's I Funny is a hugely popular middle grade read, and one I had a hard time keeping on the shelves at my recent Scholastic Book Fair I chaired. His sequel, I Even Funnier hit shelves on December 9th, just in time for Christmas and the holiday season! You know, books are the perfect gift. *coughs*

I'm thrilled to be spotlighting James's upcoming release today on the blog! Thank you to Little Brown I also have a copy of both I Funny and I Even Funnier to giveaway to one lucky US reader!! First, check out what this book is about.

I Even Funnier is the side-splitting second installment in James Patterson’s hilarious #1 New York Times bestselling series for kids!

Middle Schooler Jamie Grimm has big dreams of being a stand-up comic and he’s not about to let anything get in his way of making his dreams come true! In this second book in the series, Jamie is off to the state finals in the Planet’s Funniest Kid Comic Contest, but there’s another kid who thinks he’s a million times funnier than Jamie…who will win?

Filled with hilarious jokes and plenty of heart, this is the perfect book for boys and girls (psst…even those who don’t like to read!)

Read a sample of the book HERE. Check out the  Official Site
Follow author James Patterson on Twitter and Facebook

The Giveaway

Thank you to Little Brown, 1 lucky winner can laugh out loud with James Patterson! 1 winner will receive a copy of both I Funny & I Even Funnier! To enter, please fill out the form below. *US residents only*
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, December 9, 2013

Christmas From Heaven: The True Story of the Berlin Candy Bomber; Read by Tom Brokaw, Book Review

I absolutely love this time of year. One of the things that we do as a family each year is add a Christmas book to our already vast collection of books. In recent years I've been looking for books that have a meaningful message. Christmas from Heaven has just that. 

Read by: Tom Brokaw
Illustrated by: Robert T. Barrett
Published by: Shadow Mountain
Released on: October 15th, 2013
Source: from the publisher to review
Purchase it from Deseret Book Store
5 Owlets: We LOVED IT!
Add it to Goodreads

Christmas from Heaven is the story of the humble beginnings of what became a beacon of hope to a war-torn land, the story of Gail Halvorsen, a young pilot in the US Army Air Corps who was assigned as a cargo pilot to the Berlin Airlift, in which US forces flew much-needed supplies into a Soviet-blockaded Berlin.
As he performed his duties, Lt. Halvorsen began to notice the German children gathered by the fences of Tempelhof Air Base. Knowing that they had very little, he one day offered them some chewing gum. From that small act, an idea sprang: He would "bomb" Berlin with candy. Fashioning small parachutes, he and his crew sent them floating down as they approached the Berlin airport, wiggling the wings of their C-54 as a signal to the children that their anticipated cargo would soon arrive.
Lt. Halvorsen became known by hundreds, if not thousands, of children in Berlin as "Uncle Wiggly Wings" or "The Candy Bomber." Word soon spread, and donations of candy and other supplies poured in from sympathetic Americans. Lt. Halvorsen's small idea became a great symbol of hope not only to German children in a bombed-out city but to all those who yearned for freedom.
I love Christmas books, but most importantly books that capture the true meaning of the season. This is a true story about WWII veteran Hal, aka "The Candy Bomber" who wanted to give more than two sticks of gum to the children who were behind the barbed wire fence where he was stationed at. Inspired to give something back to them, Hal's idea of having candy rain down from the Heavens on Christmas via little parachutes he made, soon grew into something huge. Soon fellow servicemen/women were donating their candy, and as were folks from back home. More than 18 tons of candy were dropped out of the sky for the children.

This story hit a soft spot for me both in it's message that giving doesn't always come in large forms. Often times the best gifts are the small acts of service/giving, and two, being that this is a war story also meant a lot to me, as my Grandfather was a POW of WWII. In the face of uncertainty, Hal gave HOPE to not only those children who waited eagerly on the other side of the barbed wire fence, but he gave hope to those whom he served with and those back home, here in the US. The message, the story, and the illustrations made it easy for my family & I to be reminded of what the true meaning of the season is really all about.

This is a must have Christmas book! If you're looking for a book that adds meaning to this holiday season, Christmas from Heaven is a book I'd highly recommend picking up. Not only this is a TRUE story, it's a book that really captures the heart of what the season is all about, giving. This also makes a great gift. The book also comes with a DVD that includes Tom Brokaw telling the story, with music by The Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

Thank you to Shadow Mountain for this wonderful gift!

Here's a snippet of the DVD featuring Tom Brokaw telling the story:

If you're looking for more gifts for this holiday season:

Check out this collection of Biblical Names of Christ Heirloom Ornaments, also from Deseret Book. I absolutely love this ornament set. The set comes in a box, and on the back of the box it lists each biblical name of Christ you'll find on the ornaments, as well as the scripture where each name is found. You can purchase this 12 piece set here.

About The Author:

Tom Brokaw is one of the giants of television journalism. Anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News from 1982 to 2004, he also holds the honor of being the only person to host each of NBC News’s major news programs: The Today Show, NBC Nightly News, and Meet the Press. He has won several awards, including a Peabody Award and seven Emmys. He is the author of The Greatest Generation andThe Greatest Generation Speaks, among other books. He and his wife, Meredith, have three daughters and five grandchildren
Robert T. Barrett is a professor of illustration at Brigham Young University, received a bachelor’s degree and master’s degrees in painting and completed postgraduate work in Germany. An accomplished painter, muralist, and illustrator, his work has been featured in many national magazines and in art exhibits across the country and in Germany. He and his wife, Vicki, have ten children and one grandchild and reside in Provo, Utah.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing each of you a HAPPY THANKSGIVING! 

Thank you for being apart of Mundie Kids! I'm grateful to each of you who have taken the time to stop by and visit Mundie Kids. I'm grateful to be able to do something I love, and to share that with each of you. 
I'm grateful to the authors and publishers who continue to allow me to help promote their books. Reading is a passion of mine, and I'm grateful I've been able to share that passion over the past few years with you. I hope you have a lovely, wonderful, and safe Holiday! 

Here's to family, friends and books!

Since 1888, Thanksgiving and Hanukkah haven't fallen on the same day. I think it's pretty amazing that both holidays are on the same day this year. Here's wishing ALL of our friends a HAPPY HOLIDAY!!! 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanks For Thanksgiving by Julie Markes

By: Julie Markes
Illustrated by: Dori Barrette
Published by: Harper Collins Childrens
Released on:
5 Owlets: We Loved It!
Ages: Young Readers
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Browse Inside
Add it to Goodreads

Everyone knows that Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks - the question is, where to begin? From the turkey on the table to warm, cozy cuddles, life is full of small things and bigger pleasures. But what is most important is being able to share them with family!
Julie Markes reminds kids and adults alike about the little details that make each day enjoyable, while Doris Barrette's beautiful and striking illustrations bring her thoughtful words to life

This is a fabulous book that teaches young readers about the important things we are thankful for. From family, to school, playdates, cuddles with mom, sled rides with dad, the moon and other things we often times take for granted, this book is one we absolutely loved reading. Not only is the story fabulous, the illustrations are great! At the end of the story is a place for your family, classroom, etc to list things you're thankful for. 

If you're looking for a most have book to pick up this Thanksgiving, this is one I highly recommend picking up!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Fun Facts with THANKSGIVING DAY THANKS from Harper Collins Childrens

Happy Marvelous Middle Grade Monday! 

Looking for a fun, educational way to teach your children about Thanksgiving this week? Check out this fabulous Fun Facts with THANKSGIVING DAY THANKS from Harper Collins Children's via their Facebook page!

Fun Facts Include:
  • In 1621, the first Thanksgiving in America was celebrated between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Native American tribe. The feast was meant to thank the Native Americans for teaching the Pilgrims to grow corn, beans, and squash and to celebrate the harvest.
  • The first Thanksgiving feast was very different from what we eat today. Although wild turkey was probably on the menu, pumpkin pies, cranberry sauce, and sweet potatoes were not. The Pilgrims might have enjoyed succotash (a stew of corn and lima beans) or pemmican (crushed cranberries and deer meat).
  • President Abraham Lincoln called for a national day of thanksgiving in October 1863 during the Civil War, but Congress did not make it an official national holiday until 1941.
  • Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade started in 1924. Children’s book illustrator Tony Sarg created its first hot-air balloon. Snoopy has been in the parade more than any other balloon character.
  • The tradition of playing football games on Thanksgiving started with college championship matches in the 1890s.
  • The idea that Thanksgiving weekend should be the kickoff for the Christmas shopping season was started by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to help shopkeepers during the Depression.
  • One of the largest pumpkin pies ever made weighed 2,020 pounds and had 1,860 eggs and 300 pounds of sugar in it.
  • Minnesota is the top turkey-producing state.
  • A ripe cranberry can bounce.
About the Book:

Laura Malone Elliott and Lynn Munsinger have created another holiday story about the lovable characters from A String of Hearts.
Perfect for a teacher's classroom or a child's home bookshelf, Thanksgiving Day Thanks tells the story of Sam trying to figure out what he's thankful for.Sam also works on a special project to share at the Thanksgiving feast—his own version of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade!
Parents and teachers will find inspiration for other Thanksgiving crafts and projects in this charming and funny storybook. A section at the back includes fun Thanksgiving facts.
Full of creativity, humor, and heart, Thanksgiving Day Thanks celebrates friendship, family, and the many other blessings in our lives for which we give thanks.

Purchase it from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Add it to Goodreads

Don't miss checking out this Thanksgiving Day Thanks book trailer!

I've already got my copy on hold at my local book store! This sounds like a must have book in my home. 

Have a lovely Thanksgiving week! 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

15 Books That Will Transform Your Kid Into A Reader from Penguin Teen

Penguin Teen posted an interesting article recently on Tumblr, 15 Books That Will Transform Your Kid Into A Reader, found HERE.  Below you'll find they've chosen a book for every type of reader:

You can go HERE to find the right kind of Middle Grade your child would/does read.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller; Waiting On Wednesday

By: Sharon Biggs Waller
Published by: Viking
To Be Released on: 1/23/14
Pre-Order it from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Add it to Goodreads

Welcome to the world of the fabulously wealthy in London, 1909, where dresses and houses are overwhelmingly opulent, social class means everything, and women are taught to be nothing more than wives and mothers. Into this world comes seventeen-year-old Victoria Darling, who wants only to be an artist—a nearly impossible dream for a girl.
After Vicky poses nude for her illicit art class, she is expelled from her French finishing school. Shamed and scandalized, her parents try to marry her off to the wealthy Edmund Carrick-Humphrey. But Vicky has other things on her mind: her clandestine application to the Royal College of Art; her participation in the suffragette movement; and her growing attraction to a working-class boy who may be her muse—or may be the love of her life. As the world of debutante balls, corsets, and high society obligations closes in around her, Vicky must figure out: just how much is she willing to sacrifice to pursue her dreams?

This is a book I also featured this morning on Mundie Moms, here. I can't tell you guys how excited I am to read it. I'm even more excited when I found out it's a book that is for readers 12 & up, hence making this one of those fabulous reads I get to feature on both Mundie Moms and Mundie Kids. I said on MM's that I was hooked with the setting, title and cover of the book, but really knowing that there is a strong main female character (at least from the sounds of the synopsis) is one of the things that has me anxiously waiting to read this one!

What book are you waiting on?

Friday, November 15, 2013

Scholastic Book Fair Time!

I LOVE book fair time! For the past couple of years I've had the chance to help out and co-chair the book fairs at my children's school. This year is the first year I am the chair person. With our book fair kicking off next week I've spent some long hours and had the help of a few friends to get the book fair ready to go this week, hence the lack of reviews and other posts on the blog.

Our Blue Bonnet Award Table

The New release that all the kids are looking forward to getting.

Some of the hot Middle Grade Titles

I love all the National Geographic books that came in, so I decided to make a table for it to feature them.

With twelve carts and 15 tables, there's plenty of books for everyone! I can't wait!

This weekend I plan on catching up on posts and getting reviews up! Go HERE to find a book fair in your area!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

All Four Stars by Tara Dairman, Waiting On Wednesday

By: Tara Dairman
Published by: Putnam
To Be Released on: TBA 2014
Add it to Goodreads

Gladys Gatsby has dreamed of becoming a restaurant critic for New York's biggest newspaper--she just didn’t expect to be assigned her first review at age 11. Now, if she wants to meet her deadline and hang on to her dream job, she’ll have to defy her fast-food-loving parents, cook her way into the heart of her sixth-grade archenemy, and battle Manhattan’s meanest maitre d’.

Cute cover, check. Debut author, check. An adorable synopsis that makes me want to pick up the book and read it, double check. Everything about this book screams an adorable read, and I'm really looking forward to reading it when it's out next year. Admit it, you couldn't pass by a book that has a cute MG cover with cupcakes on it, and is about an eleven year old restaurant critic.

What book are you waiting on?

Monday, November 11, 2013

Veteran's Day

Taking a moment to say THANK YOU to ALL who have given their all and served our country. We THANK YOU! We thank those who continue to serve our country! #HonoringVets

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Obsidian Pebble by Rhys A Jones, Blog Tour: Guest Post & Giveaway

Welcome to today's stop in The Obsidian Pebble blog tour. Today I'm thrilled to have author Rhys A Jones on the blog. First, here's a little a bit about his book:

11-year old Oz Chambers lives in a haunted house (Penwurt). His mother wants to move, but Oz would rather do double algebra (yuck) every day for twelve months than leave. Where others see spooky, Oz sees wonder and mystery and aching reminders of his deceased dad. When he and his friends hear ghostly footsteps in the boarded-up dorm at Halloween, it leads to an exploration of the old place's eerie reputation. In his Dad's locked study, Oz finds a parcel addressed to him and posted  the day before his father died. Inside is the obsidian pebble, the link to all of Penwurt's astonishing secrets. Suddenly Oz begins to change; he goes from maths dunce to A student overnight and has to deal with suspicious teachers and jealous pupils. But the footsteps in the locked rooms don't go away and slowly, Oz begins to knit together the strands of lies and mystery that tie the obsidian pebble, his father and him together. What Oz hasn't bargained for is that he's not alone in that search for understanding and that solving Penwurt's puzzles lead to other, much darker secrets that will test his loyalty and his bravery to the limit.
Released on October 29th from Spencer Hill Press, you can purchase the book from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound and find out more about the series here

Hi Rhys! Welcome to Mundie Kids. Do you have a favorite moment or a line from your book you can share with us?
This story combines elements of science fiction and fantasy. But what drives the story is the mystery of the old house, Penwurt, where Oz Chambers lives with his mother.  Throughout the book, Oz and his friends do their utmost to try and unravel the  puzzles and clues they uncover.  But there is a moment, after lots of false trails, where things finally come together, and all three of them share that moment.

He didn’t get any further. The slight pressure of his finger had caused the wooden block on which the symbol was carved to move inwards slightly. Ellie caught her breath, and in a second Oz had joined her to watch with barely restrained excitement as Ruff pushed the symbol in as far as he could. It slid in a full inch and stopped. Then he did the same with the alum symbol and the soap symbol. Both slid in the exact same amount and clicked to a stop.
“Oz,” said Ruff, his voice a low murmur, “I reckon you should do the last one.”
  Trembling slightly, Oz put his finger on the tin symbol and pushed. This time, when it stopped moving, there was a faint but definite click, followed by a discernible creak, and the whole six-foot-by-six-foot panel in front of them gaped open an inch on one side.
“Awesome,” Oz said. 
“I knew it! I knew there’d be something behind these panels,” Ruff added triumphantly.
“Ingress,” Ellie whispered in awe. “The way in.”

Which of your characters would you have been friends with growing up?
Probably Ruff Adams, the friend Oz makes when he changes schools. Ruff is that sort of loveable mix of loyalty, irreverence, goofiness and humour that is rare.  Like Oz, I didn’t feel the need for being in a crowd or a clique. And like Oz, Ruff, too, who knows his own mind when it comes down to it, is a bit of an outsider.

Which character surprised you the most in terms of the role they played in the book?
Miss Swinson, the tyrant teacher.  I didn’t set out to make her mean, but remembering my own school days and having my memories reinforced by my own children, she became a bit of a monster. Whenever I wrote things that made me wince an wonder if that could really happen, my kids would say, “oh yes, Miss so and so used to lose it like that every day”. 
She is very much not the norm, but every school has one. A fish out of water with quite a lot of power to make things miserable for Oz.

What is a MG or YA book you've read as an adult that you wish you had when you were a tween?
Coraline. I enjoyed it’s weirdness and the spookiness. I can appreciate its structure and the writing, but  as a tween, I would have bought right in to the story. I was the youngest of three, by a long chalk. I had a very active imagination and the boredom due to her existence in a busy family–which leads to Coraline exploring things she ‘d be better off not exploring—was something I could relate to. My imagination has always had the volume turned right up so I would have gone with Coraline on every step of her adventure.

What is one of your favorite childhood books?
The Gauntlet, by Ronald Welch.  I must have read this when I was 9 or 10 and it really gripped me. It’s a time-slip novel, but set in Wales, in a part of the country that I knew. The reality of the history gave it an added meaning. It’s now considered a classic.

When Peter finds the gauntlet on a Welsh hillside, he becomes the latest link in an old legend. Suddenly transported back to the fourteenth century, to a world of castles, feasts, jousts, and battles, he is accepted by everyone as the eldest son of Sir Roger de Blois. Peter learns how to live as the son of a Norman lord, how to hawk, and fight, and shoot a longbow, and, finally he has to escape alone from their besieged castle to bring help. But one day he will have to return to his own time...

About the Author

Award winning author (OMG) Rhys A Jones writes fantastic, funny, scary (is this a bit too presumptuous? By fantastic I mean fantasy, not brilliant--though I hope they are--brilliant that is), mysteries for ages 10 and up. His job is to take you where anything is possible. When he isn't writing he walks the dogs and occasionally practices medicine. He lives in an evergreen valley in West Wales with his very understanding wife. Visit the author via: Author Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

The Giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Mischievians by William Joyce, Book Review

Published by: Simon & Schuster Kids (Atheneum Books)
Released on: October 22nd, 2013
Ages: 5 & Up
Source: Purchased 
 5 Owlets: We Loved It!

Where’s my homework? Who took my other sock? What’s that in my belly button? The creators of the #1 New York Timesbestselling and Academy Award–winning The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore have found the answers to these and other life mysteries…and no, it’s not your fault!Strange smells. Disappearing remotes. That itch you just can’t reach. It’s not your fault! It’s the Mischievians, an ancient race of global mischief-makers who do all the things that embarrass you. All the things that bug you. All the things that YOU get blamed for!

There is no cause for alarm (sorta). Come meet the Homework Eater, the fiend who steals your homework! See the Endroller, the villain who uses up ALL the toilet paper! Discover the Yawn Mower, the creature who makes you yawn at the worst possible time! And many, many more. Read on, and be free

Have you ever wondered what happened to your homework, or who took the remote control for the TV? Or who makes you yawn and why do you sometimes get a song stuck in your head? Well William Joyce's newest must have read for children answers all those questions and more! The MISCHIEVIANS are responsible for those things and much more. What? You never heard of them? Neither did I until I read this book and now everything makes sense. 

I knew there had to be a reason why we can have so many half pairs of socks, and why I always yawn, and why for some reason in my kids's bathroom there's never any toilet paper let, and yet everyone claims it wasn't them. We have a bad case of The MISCHIEVIANS. Those pesky little creatures are up to no good.... well not really no good. They're up to some good. After all they're doing what they know how to do. 

After reading this book I feel like I finally have the answer to a question no one has been able to answer. These guys are responsible for the things that happen around our house that no one can explain. William Joyce gives the best answers to my burning questions. Chalk full of William Joyce humor, The Mischievians is a book that both children and parents will enjoy. This book has brought plenty of laugher during our bed time reading. It's also encouraged my kids to use their imaginations to come up with their own Mischievians. At the end of the book William left a page for kids to document their own Mischievians, and he wants the kids to share it with him. You never know, he just might use it in one of his up coming books (see the back of the book for more details). 

I will say some William's other books are still my favorites, though I did enjoy this one. It gets a solid 5 stars from my kiddos who loved this book.

Stop by Mundie Kids on Friday when I share video and a recap from our meeting William Joyce from his tour stop in Austin, TX and have a sweet giveaway to share! 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Guest Post with Marissa Moss from Creston Books

Happy Marvelous Middle Grade Monday! Today I'm thrilled to share a guest post with you that gives you a behind the scenes look into children's publishing with Marissa Moss, who herself is an children's author, and now runs her own small press, Creston Books. You can check out the 2013 Fall press release for Marissa's upcoming releases here.

Check out these two covers for Marissa's upcoming releases:

Welcome Marissa to Mundie Kids:

As the fall 2013 list rolls out, believe it or not, I'm already at work on catalog copy for the spring 2014 list.  That means writing those catchy elevator pitches that will make booksellers immediately fall in love with your books.  I'm learning a different kind of writing from picture books and novels with these.  Am I beginning to think like the characters on Mad Men?  Probably not, but here are some samples, so you can judge yourself:

--When the animals on the farm hold a talent show, it turns into a spectacle of magic, drama, and comedy with Denys Cazet's pitch perfect fourth-grade humor.  (Hooves of Fire)
--Two bedtime stories in one, playing on the idea of who's reading to whom with a surprise ending. (Don't Turn the Page)
--Young readers will chant their own cock-a-doodle-oopsies with the farm animals trying to replace the vacationing rooster in this rollicking, humorous tale. (Cock-a-Doodle-Oops!)
--With her trademark humor, Moss introduces Edgar, a vampire boy who must navigate the trials and tribulations of middle school and the vampire world. It's hard to say which one is trickier, but both are funny, from type A positive "milk" cartons at school to Spoken Vampire poetry. (Blood Diaries: the Life of a Middle-School Vampire)

Do they pique your curiosity?  Do they make you want to read the books?  Am I learning how to write like an advertiser?

Another part of catalog copy is getting quotes or those handy-dandy blurbs on the back of books.  So I send layouts of the titles (since books aren't close to being printed yet!) to librarians, booksellers, teachers, and authors, hoping for some kind words.  So far, I've been lucky and people I ask have been generous with their time and support – plus I don't have to write these myself.

Here are some sample blurbs.:
For Cock-a-Doodle-Oops!:
 “One. I love it!
“Two. I want to read it to the first kid that comes into the store today!”
--Luan Stauss, Laurel Book Store
“Will Farmer McPeeper ever wake up? Not without Rooster...and Rooster’s on vacation. Children will jump right in and crow along with each cock-a-doodle- baa, cluck, bleat, each animal tries in vain to wake up the very deep sleeper. This bouncy rhyming read-aloud is perfect for story time. The come-full-circle ending is sure to elicit lots of giggles.”
-- Erica Silverman, author of Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa

And for Don't Turn the Page:
 “Julie Downing creates a lush, night time world, inhabited by two endearing toddlers and their loving Mamas. Someone is being read to, but in this clever bedtime story there lies an unexpected and delightful twist.”
--Ashley Wolff, illustrator of the Miss Bindergarten books

If you want to blurb future books, let me know!  I'm always looking for feedback and you'll get a finished book as a thank you.  What could be better – your name on the back of a book, plus a copy of the book itself?  You'll practically be immortal!  Plus your friends and colleagues will look up to you as a wise arbiter of literary taste.  At least, I will!

About Marissa:
Marissa Moss grew up telling stories and drawing pictures to go with them. She sent her first picture book to publishers when she was nine, but mysteriously enough, never heard back from them. Now she’s written and illustrated more than fifty books, twenty-six of them from her best known series, “Amelia’s Notebook,” which sold more than 5 million copies and has been translated into Chinese, French, Spanish and Indonesian.

She’s written successful historical journals currently used in elementary and middle school curricula, and picture books such as “Jackie Mitchell, the Strike-Out Queen,” illustrated by C.F. Payne, recently optioned for a potential feature film.

Consistently garnering starred reviews from industry tastemakers like Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist and Kirkus, her books have been named as ALA Notables and chosen for the ABA Pick of the List multiple times. She’s won the Choices Award from The Association of Booksellers for Children, Children’s Choice by the Children’s Book Council, and a Parent’s Guide Fiction Award.

Several of the Amelia titles have been on the San Francisco Chronicle’s and Los Angeles Times’ bestseller lists, and her books have been featured in The New York TimesDallas Morning NewsSan Francisco MagazineThe Chicago Tribune and numerous other newspapers and parenting magazines.

Moss is an experienced speaker at various writing conferences and book festivals across the country. Her newest writing project is a middle-grade time travel series with Sourcebooks. The first released in Fall 2012, “Mira’s Diary: Lost in Paris,” and takes its heroine to 19thcentury Paris to meet the Impressionist painters. The series picks up again in spring 2013 with “Mira’s Diary: Home Sweet Rome,” which features 17th century Papal politics along with the enormously talented painter Caravaggio.

Moss proudly launches her publishing house Creston Books in 2013, aiming to bring back the golden age of children’s picture books.  She encourages authors and illustrators to do the work that’s most important to them, the kind of books that resonate deeply with children and their parents.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

That One Spooky Night by Dan Bar-el, Book Review

By: Dan Bar-El
Illustrated by: David Huyck
Published by: Kids Can Press
Released on: 9/1/12
Source: book from publisher to review
Ages: 5-7
2 Owlets: It Was An Okay Read
Add it to Goodreads

There can only be one night a year when a broom will go in search of a witch, when mermaids might swim in a bathtub and when a house party can get a little too batty. Here are three strange stories about that one spooky night!

A collection of 3 spooky Halloween short stories tied together to create one story that links about to one particular night, HALLOWEEN! One story is about witches, one about monsters and the other about vampires. Our favorite short story was the first one about witches.

Giselle is going as a witch for Halloween. Ready for the night's festivities of trick or treating, she and her mom leave the costume shop only to have Giselle run right into a witch. Things get a little tricky when the two accidentally swap brooms. When Giselle grabs her broom to head out to trick or treat, the broom takes her right into the home of the witch she saw earlier in the day. Giselle realizes this is a nice witch, and she tags along for the night as the witch goes about doing her good deeds for the night. Along with Giselle, readers get to see all the good witches do on Halloween night.

The second story was our least favorite of the two. We weren't a fan of the two brothers who weren't very respectful to their parents. Too bad the monsters whom they meet during their bath don't teach them a lesson in being nice and behaving nicely. The last short story in the book is about a group of girls who dress up to go trick or treating. These three enjoy scaring trick or treaters and exchange their nice costumes for vampire ones to look more like monsters. The tables turn on them when they are invited to a party which is of course hosted by real vampires. You'll have to read the book to find out what happens to them...... if you dare.

The illustrations are fun, and I think kids who enjoy the comic strip style illustrations in books will enjoy it. It's not a book that is too scary for young readers. I think those in third grade and up will find it's not scary at all. If you're young reader enjoys graphic novels with a Halloween twist, this is one you may want to pick up. Over all we weren't huge fans of it, but someone who reads Mundie Kids may totally enjoy this one.

Want to Read Wednesday: The Wee Hours by Stephanie Watson

I'm a sucker for children's books, and earlier this week local TX children's author Cynthia Leitich Smith featured The Wee Hours by Stephanie Watson (see Cynthia's post here).

As you sleep and dream, the Wee Hours appear when the clock strikes one, two, three and four. These delightfully mischievous creatures pull books from your shelves and build towers from your shoes, put on plays behind your curtains and do backflips off your bedposts. As morning draws near, the older hours emerge to tidy up the mess the Wee Hours have made, and carry them off to bed.

Readers ages three and up will enjoy finding numbers, clocks and magical surprises on every page of this enchanting book.

Released on August 27th, 2013 from Disney Hyperion, you can order the book from here. Per Amazon, The Wee Hours is a perfect fit for readers aged 3 years to 6 years of age. Check out the cute book trailer below:

Monday, October 28, 2013

Get To Know One Direction.... A Little More

One Direction has taken the world by storm, and they're not slowing down. This year Harper Collins has released some must books all fans need. Recently the guys sat down for an exclusive interview on Australian TV.

This mama admits, these guys are amazing. I'm impressed with how grounded they are. Thanks Fangirlish for sharing this interview!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Neptune Project by Polly Holyoke

Hello! I'm thrilled to be featuring Polly Holyoke's middle grade debut here on Mundie Kids today, The Nepture Project. I totally love this cover! I'm really looking forward to reading this book, which was release earlier this year in both the US and UK. Today Polly has given me an excerpt and the book's trailer to share with you. First, check out what this book is all about. 

With her weak eyes and useless lungs that often leave her gasping for air, Nere feels more at home swimming with the dolphins her mother studies than she does hanging out with her classmates. Nere has never understood why she is so much more comfortable and confident in the water than on land until the day she learns the shocking truth—she is one of a group of kids who have been genetically altered to survive in the ocean. These products of the "Neptune Project" are supposed to build a better future under the waves, safe from the terrible famines and wars and that rock the surface world.

But there are some big challenges ahead of her: no one ever asked Nere if she wanted to be part of a science experiment; the other Neptune kids aren't exactly the friendliest bunch, and in order to reach the safe haven of the new Neptune colony, Nere and her fellow mutates must swim across hundreds of miles of dangerous ocean, relying on their wits, their loyal dolphins and one another to evade terrifying undersea creatures and a government that will stop at nothing to capture the Neptune kids ... dead or alive.

Fierce battle and daring escapes abound as Nere and her friend race to safety in this action-packed marine adventure.

Released in the US on May 13th from Disney Hyperion, you can find this book via Amazon | Barnes & Noble. Don't forget to add it to your Goodreads accounts.

This sounds like a fabulous read. Here's a sneak peak inside the book:

The Neptune Project Excerpt  
I’m drowning now, trying to breathe air. Gasping and panting, I rip off the oxygen mask. This is worst than my worst lung attack.
    Dimly, I realize that I’m sitting right next to the water, and the larger waves are actually slapping and pushing at me.
    “Nere, it’s time for you. You must go into the water and breathe,” my mother shouts.
    I don’t have enough air left in my chest to speak.
    :I’m too scared!: I cry mentally instead. :I don’t want to drown. You almost let me drown before.:
     “I know, sweetling, but you have no choice now.”
     She kneels and smiles at me tenderly, and the next moment she shoves me into the water. I scrabble at the slippery rock, trying to find a handhold, trying to climb out. I have to get my face out of the black water. I have to breathe oxygen now!
    Her relentless hands grab my head and force it under the water. I hit at her with all my strength, but she’s too strong for me. I try to rear back and swim away, but somehow she tied me to the rock while I was unconscious.
    :You’ll be all right, sweetling.: I hear my mother’s words in my mind. :I promise you. Just relax and breathe in.:
    My lungs are pure fire now. I have to breathe. I have no strength left to fight her.
    I open my mouth and the water rushes in, and I’m dying. Black spots dance across my eyelids. Then I cough and choke, and I’m not dying anymore. I can breathe. I inhale and exhale, trying to get used to the incredible sensation of cold water rushing in and out of my chest.
    I open my eyes under water. Instantly, I realize my vision is different, too. I can see a carpet of purple and gray anemones growing on the rock floor far below me, small crabs scuttling about between them. Dozen of fish dart above the anemones, and clusters of starfish grow like strange orange flowers along the sides of cave. I can see in the dark waters here better than I could before, even with a bright dive torch.
    :Nere, are you all right?: my mother asks urgently.
    :I-I think so.:
    I’m aware that Lena is in the water nearby me, and she’s thrashing and flailing about. Gillian is kneeling right above her, trying to hold her head in the water. While I watch, Lena lands a punch on my mother’s cheek.
    :Just relax and breathe in—you can breathe water,: I call to Lena.
    She lashes out at me so violently that I give up and leave her to her terror. Instead, I pop my head out of the water and look for Robry. He’s on the other side of me, still sitting on the rock ledge, gasping for breath, his eyes dilated with fear.
    :Robry, don’t be afraid. I can breathe water fine now. You’ll be all right.:
    I strain against the harness holding me to the rock, and I reach out to him. I don’t want his transition to be as terrifying as mine was.
    :Take my hand, dartling.:
    He grabs it and slides down into the water beside me.
    :Just put your face in the water and breathe. It’s easy as anything.: I try to keep my mental tone light even though a part of me can’t believe I’m breathing seawater.
    Because he trusts me, it’s easier for him. He puts his face in the water, and with incredible self-control, he breathes in. He chokes the first time, just as I did, but then he gets the hang of it.
    :This is so amazing.:
    :It gets more amazing. Open your eyes and look down.:
    :I can see everything!:
    I turn away from Robry to check on Lena. She is floating very still in the water next to me, her arms braced again the rock, her face in the sea.
    :Are you all right?: I ask her tentatively.
    Lena turns her head and glares at me. :Yeah, no thanks to your homicidal mother. She held my head under the water.:
    :She did that to me, too. At least you punched her a good one.:
    It occurs to me then to check on my mother. She sits slumped all alone on the ledge, her face deathly pale. That’s when I realize just how scared she was for us. Even as I watch, she drags her sleeve across her eyes and seems to gather herself. She stands and walks back up the tunnel towards our lab, her solar pistol back in her hand.

Check out this book trailer!

About the Author

Polly Holyoke has been imagining stories since she was in fifth grade. When she isn’t writing, Polly loves reading, camping, skiing, scuba diving and hiking in the desert (where she quite stupidly got herself bitten by a rattlesnake). She lives with three rescue dogs, two spoiled cats and a nice husband who is tolerant about the piles of books all over their house. Her debut middlegrade novel, THE NEPTUNE PROJECT, is the story of a young girl leading a group of genetically altered teens fighting to survive in the sea. She is thrilled that this novel will be published by Disney/Hyperion and Puffin Books UK summer, 2014. She thinks the best part about being an author is going to work in her sweatpants and getting paid for daydreaming!

Find Polly via her: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest

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 ~