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.

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 ~