Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!

*image found on google

I've not had a computer for most of this past week, and will be catching up on all my reviews and posts I had scheduled for this past week, this coming week. I wanted to take a moment and wish everyone a Happy Easter. If you don't celebrate Easter, than Happy Sunday!

Monday, March 18, 2013

THE CROODS: Movie Edition Books Giveaway

On March 22nd THE CROODS will be hitting theaters! This is one movie my kids can not wait to go see. 

To celebrate it's upcoming theatrical release, I've got a fabulous THE CROODS prize pack to give away today thank you to Dream Works and Simon & Schuster Kids. First, here's a bit about the movie. 

About The Croods
THE CROODS is a 3D comedy adventure that follows the world's first modern family as they embark on a journey of a lifetime when the cave that has always been their home is destroyed. Traveling across a spectacular landscape, the Croods are rocked by generational clashes and seismic shifts as they discover an incredible new world filled with fantastic creatures -- and their outlook is changed forever.

Starring the voices of Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds, Catherine Keener, Clark Duke and Cloris Leachman.

Check out one of the trailers here:

The Giveaway:
Two (2) winners will receive a book prize pack (seen below):
·         The Croods Movie Novelization
·         Grug's Survival Guide
·         Here Come the Croods
·         Family Road Trip

Prize pack valued at $20.96 each
Prizes provided by Dreamworks Animation
Giveaway open to US addresses only
*To enter, please fill out the form below

About the Books
Simon & Schuster has released some great new children’s books based on DreamWorks Animation’s The Croods. Enter for a chance to win 4 titles that the whole family will enjoy!

Grug's Survival Guide, Ages: 3 – 7
Here Come the Croods, Ages: 5 – 7
Family Road Trip, Ages: 3 – 7

Link Up!
Want to know more about the movie and books? 
Visit the official website
Like The Croods on Facebook
Follow @DWAnimation on Twitter #TheCroods
Re-pin great DIY tutorials, printables & more from The Croods on Pinterest!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Book Review: The Guardians of Childhood; The Sandman by William Joyce

By: William Joyce
Published by: Simon & Schuster Kids
Released on: October 2nd, 2012
Series: The Guardians series #2
Source: unbound book from publisher to review
5 Stars: WE LOVED IT!
Purchase from: Simon & SchusterAmazon | Barnes & Noble
Add it to Goodreads

The Man in the Moon has a problem.

Most nights, he beams down at the children of Earth, providing them with an inextinguishable nightlight that keeps nightmares at bay. But what happens when it's foggy or cloudy? When the moon is less than full and bright? Who will keep the children safe at night? 

He needs a helper! And he's spied just the fellow: a sleepy little guy named Sanderson Macsnoozie (Sandy, for short), who might be perfect...if only the Man in the Moon can get him to wake up

If there is one children's book series you pick up this year, this needs to be it! I am in LOVE with William Joyce's The Guardians series. These are not only priceless children's books to have, they're also ones that as a parent remind me of the joys that come from reading, and having stories like this to read to my kids. Story's like this are the kind that stick with us all through childhood and as we continue to grow older, they find a small corner in the back of our memories, and our minds to go, so that we can draw on it at some other time in life, and be reminded of the fun, and imaginative times we spent as kids getting lost in books. As a parent, reading these books with my kids allows me to relive the magic, the innocence and the joy that makes up childhood.

The Sandman is the first Guardian chosen by The Man in the Moon. His role is to help children have good dreams. While the Man in the Moon is only allowed to be on the moon, the Sandman is one of the Guardians on earth, who's role is to protect the children of the world from Pitch, the Nightmare King. If you read The Man in the Moon, you'll know who Pitch is (if you haven't read it, I highly recommend that you do. Read my 5 star review here). I love that this book continues with the rich mythology, and story telling that I have come to love with William Joyce's series. Just like the first book in this series, The Sandman has incredible illustrations that alone bring this book to life. The Sandman is a richly detailed, magical story that soothes children of their night times fears as they realize there is a pint size Guardian who is waiting to send them warm, happy dreams.

The Sandman is part of the The Guardians series, which is made up of two picture books, The Man in the Moon and The Sandman. These two books are in addition to The Guardians series which is made up of Nicholas St. North and the Nightmare King, E. Aster Bunnymund and the Battle of the Warrior Eggs at the Earth's Core, Toothiana: Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies. This past holiday season Rise of the Guardians the movie was released, and is based on William's book. Well in honor of the movie coming out on DVD this TUESDAY (I can't wait), I had to feature one of my favorite characters, whom also plays a huge role in the movie, THE SANDMAN!

Definitely go pick this book up today and then rush out on Tuesday to pick up your copy of Rise of the Guardians! This is one movie we've been anxiously waiting to pick up since we saw it on Christmas day.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Picture Book Reviews: Glamorous Glasses by Barbara Johansen Newman / You Are A Star! By Michael Parker

By: Barbara Johansen Newman
Published by: Boyds Mills Press
Released on: September 1st, 2012
Source: book from publisher to review
4 Stars: We Enjoyed It!
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Add it to Goodreads

Bobbie and Joanie are best friends and best cousins, and they do everything together. So when Joanie has to get glasses, Bobbie figures she'll get them, too--especially once she discovers the fabulous frames on display at the eyeglasses store. Meanwhile, Joanie has the opposite reaction. Glasses make her feel different and look different. And they're uncomfortable. So the ever-resourceful Bobbie comes up with a perfect plan to make both of them happy. Illustrations full of rich, comical details enhance this story about friendship and a classic childhood experience.

This is a really cute story with a great message for kids. I remember being in 5th grade and dreading having to get reading glasses. It was not something I wanted to have to wear. I loved that this story isn't just about Barbara's cousins Joanie needed glasses, it's about how Bobbie wanted also wanted to find her own glamorous pair of glasses even though she didn't need them. I wish I had, had a friend like Barbara to go eye glass shopping with me at this age. I think I would have enjoyed having to get glasses a lot more than I did. 

This is a cute story about friendship, and Barbara wanting to have her own pair of glasses. My little girl and I enjoyed reading this story and laughing out loud at all the things Barbara does to try and get glasses, even faking like she can't see well, until the eye doctor tells she has perfect vision. Things get a little crazy when she and her cousin switch, Barbara wears Joanie's glasses and the two of them make a mess of things, as neither one of them can see well, well I mean Joanie can't see without her glasses on and Barbara can't see with Joanie's glasses on. Luckily everything works out in the end and Barbara finds her lucky pair of Glamorous Glasses at a yard sale. 

By: Michael Parker
Illustrated by: Judith Rossell
Published by: Bloomsbury Kids
Released on: September 18th, 2012
Source: book from publisher to review
4 Stars: We Enjoyed It!
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Add it to Goodreads

When it’s time to sleep, the night might seem dark and scary, but in this unique bedtime story, readers take a journey through the night sky to the moment a star is born. Starting as a fire in the sky that explodes into millions of pieces, stars eventually become part of Earth with all the living things on it—meaning that everyone has a little bit of stardust inside them. With a light dose of science and a reassuring tone, readers will know that they never have to be afraid of the dark as long as the stars are shining

This is a fun bedtime story with an engaging scientific aspect to it. The story is about how each of us is tied to the universe through pieces of star dust that each of us has inside of us. It was much different than what I was excepting to read, but it was an enjoyable book non the less. My kids enjoyed seeing how the stars were mapped out through the story. There are some great illustrations that accompany this story. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Picture Book Review: The Snake Who Would Not Bend by Robb Fulcher / Nighttime Ninja by Barbara DeCosta

Illustrated by: Dawn Von Flue
Source: book from author to review
4 stars: We Enjoyed It!
Purchase from: the author

Once there was a snake so frightened that he would not bend.

Then, when he finally tried, he found that he could not.

What was he to do?

The Snake Who Would Not Bend is one of those stories that not only tells a story, it also teaches it's young readers a little bit about snakes. I loved that this story kind of has that legend feel to it, even though it's truly a fun, well told story about a snake who could not bend. No matter how hard he tries, he can't bend like his friends, until one day something happened..... This is a story that readers of all ages will enjoy! It's fun, engaging story with beautiful illustrations, that is perfect for any at home library, school library and even in the classroom. 

By: Barbara DaCosta
Illustrated by: Ed Young
Published by: Little Brown Books
Released on: September 18th, 2012
Source: book from publisher to review
3.5 stars: It's A Good Read
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Add it to Goodreads

Late at night, when all is quiet and everyone is asleep, a ninja creeps silently through the house in search of treasure. Soon he reaches his ultimate goal...and gets a big surprise! Will the nighttime ninja complete his mission? With spare text and lush illustrations, Nighttime Ninja is a fun, adventure-filled story about the power of play and imagination.

This is a good read for young children. This cute story is made up media art, and features few simplistic words, making it easy for younger readers to stay engaged with the book. I'm not a huge fan of media art, but I liked how what the illustrator did with this book. As the story begins the art fits that of the story, it's darker colors give off the feel of nighttime, and the mystery of what the ninja is going. The further along the story gets, the lighter the colors become, until we get towards the end of the Ninja's mission the surprising reveal. This was a fun read and got the thumbs up from kids. I'd recommend this to kids 5 & under. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Guest Post with Author Stephanie Burgis & a Giveaway for STOLEN MAGIC

Hello and welcome to my very belated edition of this week's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday. Today I'm thrilled to have Stephanie Burgis, author of the, The Kat Incorrigible Series on the blog today. Her final book in the Kat trilogy, Stolen Magic will be out stores on April 2nd, 2013, and is being published by Simon & Schuster Children's Books. I can not wait to read it. This is such an adorable series to read. 

In this conclusion to the Regency-era fantasy trilogy Kirkus Reviews calls “enjoyable mayhem,” Kat is tasked with saving her family, the Order of the Guardians, and England itself.With just days to go before her sister Angeline’s long-delayed wedding to Frederick Carlyle, the impetuous Kat Stephenson has resigned herself to good behavior. But Kat’s initiation into the magical Order of the Guardians is fast approaching, and trouble seems to follow her everywhere.

First, Kat must contend with the wretched Mrs. Carlyle’s attempts to humiliate her sister; the arrival of the mysterious Marquise de Valmont, who bears suspicious resemblance to Kat’s late mother; and Frederick’s bewitching cousin Jane, who has Charles Stephenson tripping over his feet. But when a menacing boy with powerful magic starts hunting Kat, a dastardly villain tries to kill Angeline, and the Guardians face a magical robbery that could spell the end of their Order, propriety becomes the least of Kat’s concerns.

Can Kat save her sister’s life, the Order of the Guardians, and England itself before it’s too late?

Turning Charles Into a Hero (With Kat’s Help)

When I sat down to write Stolen Magic, the third book in my Kat, Incorrigible trilogy, I knew only four things for sure: Kat was going to tangle with smugglers, have fabulous magical adventures, find out an earth-shaking secret about her (late) mother…and take charge of her hapless older brother’s love life!
…Which was really going to take some doing, after all of his screw-ups in the first two books. Charles, in his earlier years, was certainly not a romantic hero! After all, he’d been kicked out of university for too much drinking and gambling, and he’d nearly landed the whole family in debtor’s prison. What kind of hero is that?
Well, the truth is, he wasn’t a hero to begin with, in the first two books. But he grows into one, by the third. And I love Kat’s whole family, warts and all.
Kat’s oldest sister Elissa, whose romance took place in the first book (Kat, Incorrigible) seemed nearly saint-like in her sense of responsibility and social correctness…but that didn’t stop her from having a secret love of Gothic novels and a dangerous yen towards martyrdom. Their sister Angeline, whose star-crossed romance was a focus of the second book (Renegade Magic), is fiercely intelligent, witty and brave - but also dangerously hot-tempered, stubborn and prone to reckless decisions. And as for Charles…
Well, Charles has his own backstory that explains some of his own terrible decisions in the past, but his love for his sisters was never in doubt - especially by the end of Renegade Magic. And now that he’s had a chance to learn from his own mistakes (especially after his life-changing experience in Renegade Magic!), he’s resolved to finally become the man he always should have been.
But none of that prepares him to fall head over heels for a girl far, far out of his league in Stolen Magic…so it’s lucky that he has a little sister who’s never afraid of taking charge of her older siblings’ lives. ;)
(All for their own good, of course!)
Here’s one of my favorite scenes between them:
Sunlight glinted off the water, but my brother looked as grim as if he were staring into an abyss.
"What would be the point?" he said. "You heard what she told you. Any men who’ve ever gambled or drunk to excess are to be shunned. That’s what she thinks . . . and the worst of it is, she’s right. I don’t deserve to be anywhere near a girl like her, after all the things I’ve done. So what exactly would be the purpose of me trying to impress her?"
With his arms crossed and his blond hair glinting in the sunlight, he looked just like a poet, romantic and desperate and lost in the contemplation of his own sin.
I rolled my eyes in sheer disgust. "Oh, Lord," I said. "It’s no wonder you were suspended from Oxford so many times."
"I was," Charles said, "and I deserved it. That’s why—"
I overrode him ruthlessly. "That," I said, "is why it’s lucky you have me as a sister."
"I beg your pardon?" A look of panic replaced the brooding despair on my brother’s face. "Kat?" he said. His arms fell to his sides. "You aren’t planning any more of your wild schemes right now, are you? Kat? You wouldn’t—you couldn’t—"
"Don’t worry," I said, and reached up to pat his shoulder comfortingly. "I’ll take care of everything."


Thank you Stephanie for joining us today! You can read the 1st three chapters of Stolen Magic for FREE online at Stephanie's site here

About the Author:

I grew up in America, but now I live in Wales with my husband, fellow writer Patrick Samphire, our son, "Mr Darcy", and our crazy-sweet border collie mix, Maya. My MG Regency fantasy trilogy is being published in the UK and North America, under different titles. My most recent book in the US & Canada is RENEGADE MAGIC (Kat Book 2) and my most recent book in the UK is A RECKLESS MAGICK (Kat Book 3, which will be published in North America next year). I've also published short stories for adults in a variety of magazines, anthologies, and podcasts.

Follow Stephanie via her: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Stolen Magic: Pre-Order it from Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Add it to Goodreads

The Giveaway:
To celebrate the upcoming release of her third and final book in The Kat Incorrigible Series, Stephanie is giving away a SIGNED copy of Stolen Magic. To enter, please fill out the form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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 ~