Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

Wishing y'all a Happy & Safe Halloween!
If you're looking for the picture Halloween reads, check out some of my latest Halloween Reads reviews, here

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Monsters' Monster by Patrick McDonnell, Book Review

By: Patrick McDonnell
Published by: Little Brown Books
Released on: 9.4.14
Source: book from publisher to review in exchange for my honest review
Rating: 3 Owlets - It's A Good Read
Add it to Goodreads

Once upon a time, there were three little rascals who thought they were the BIGGEST, BADDEST monsters around. Then along came an even BIGGER monster who changed their minds. And all it took was two little words.

In this playful tale from bestselling picture book author Patrick McDonnell, a very BIG monster shows three very BAD little monsters the power of boundless gratitude.

When three monsters set off to create the biggest monster ever, I don't think they excepted to create not only one of the biggest monsters, but also one of the nicest. The monsters' monster shows them what it's like to show gratitude and be nice. Something that everything can learn to do a little more. Good story, cute illustrations, and perfect for picking up this Halloween season. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Halloween Surprise by Corrine Demas, Book Review

By: Corrine Demas
Illustrated by: R.W. Alley
Published by: Bloomsbury Kids
Released on: July 19th, 2011
Source: book from publisher to review
Ages: 3-6
5 Owlets: A Halloween Read Worth Owning
Purchase from: Amazon

Halloween is almost here and Lily wants to make her own costume for trick-or-treating. Should she be a scary ghost? Or maybe a roly-poly pumpkin? Perhaps a glittery princess! After many ideas and a few wrong turns, Lily finally settles on a costume that will be perfect for a Halloween surprise with her cuddly kittens.

The new book from the duo behind Valentine Surprise is sure to capture readers' hearts once again with its sweet celebration of creativity, as Lily enjoys the fun of homemade costumes and Halloween traditions. 
- quoted from Goodreads

This is a book I've reviewed here on Mundie Kids a couple years back. It's one of my all time favorite Halloween reads I've reviewed to date, and I can't help put feature it again on Mundie Kids. It's a delightful, non scary Halloween story that kids of all ages can enjoy. 

This is an adorably illustrated, cute Halloween story about a young girl who, with a little help from her two cats comes up with the perfect costume for Halloween. Will she be a princess, a pirate, a ghost, a pumpkin or a ballerina. With all the endless possibilities, Lily not only uses her imagination to come up with her costume ideas, but she creates them, until at last she finds the right one. You'll have to pick up this sweet Halloween story to find out what Lily dressed up as.

The Witch Next Door by Norman Bridwell, Book Review

By: Norman Bridwell
Published by: Scholastic
Re-Released on: 6.25.13 (originally released in 1969)
Source: book to review from publisher in exchange for my honest review
4 Owlets: I Really Enjoyed It!
Add it to Goodreads

Back in print! Norman Bridwell's funny and charming story about appreciating differences.

Someone new has moved into the neighborhood--and she's a witch! Her two young neighbors delight in how she does everything a bit differently from them. She paints her house black, walks her pet dragon around the block, and uses magic to do her shopping and send soup over to people that are sick. However, some of the older townspeople people are not happy about their new neighbor. What kind of magical surprise does the witch have in store for them?

A great story with a fabulous message about accepting others. 

This is a book Norman Bridwell fans will enjoy. While Clifford The Big Red Dog is not featured in this book, readers will enjoy meeting the Witch, one to the book's main characters. In Bridwell fashion, there is a great message for young readers found within the pages of this book. The Witch Next Door is a delightful read that teaches it's readers the important of accepting people for who they are, and not judging others. If were nice to everyone, and accepting of others and their differences, we find that there is good to be had in our difference. Just because someone is different than you, does not make them mean. 

The Witch Next Door is the perfect book to pick up this Halloween season, and a great book to read all through out the year. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Gloomy Ghost by David Lubar, Book Review: Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

Happy Marvelous Middle Grade Monday!
Today's feature is my review for David Lubar's The Gloomy Ghost, A Monsteriffic Tale. 

By: David Lubar
Published by: Starscape
Released on: 7.8.14
Series: A Monsterrific Tale #5
Source: book from publisher in exchange for an honest review
Rating: 3 Stars - It's A Good Read
Add it to Goodreads

One minute Rory is a normal kid hanging out in his backyard. The next, he finds himself walking through the back porch -- as a ghost!

A hauntingly good read! 

Rory learns the hard way that at the poisonous berries that his friend told him about, were indeed just that. Not long after he eats some, Rory wakes up as a ghost! To make matters worst, Rory learns that he has a limited amount of time to get his family to find his body. When you're a ghost, and unable to communicate with the family the same way you did before, what are you suppose to do? Lucky for Rory he finds he's not the ghost hanging around. With a little help he's able to right his wrong, though things don't go as smoothly as he'd like. 

What could essentially be really creepy, Lubar does a great job at keeping the creep factor light, and fun. It's been awhile since I jumped in and read a middle grade read, and I have to say it was nice to sit and read this one. With Halloween fast approaching, this will definitely be a book readers in 3rd/4th grade and above can enjoy. It's an easy to read book with plenty of wit, humor, and yes, there are some illustrations readers will enjoy looking at.  

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Hansel & Gretel illustrated by Sybille Schenker, Book Review

By: The Brothers Grimm
Illustrated by: Sybille Schenker
Published by: Minedition / Michael Neugebauer
Released on: 10.1.11 (UK edition) / US edition published 12.1.2013 *reviewed this edition
Source: from publisher to review
5 Owlets- I Loved It!
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Once up a time, near a great forest, live a poor woodcutter, with his two children, Hansel and Gretel....

So begins this classic tale of two abandoned children and their encounter with the fearsome witch.

Sybille' Schenker's evocative and exquisite illustrations bring a quince beauty to this enduring fairy tale.

This is one of the most beautifully illustrated children's books I've read. I am a huge fan of illustrated children's book, and fairy tales, and this book is one I was shocked I hadn't seen until it arrived in the mail for a review. Based on the stunning illustrations, I am really surprised this has not been awarded anything. I would frame some of the illustrations if I could, but I can't fathom taking this book apart to do that.

The story comes to life with the illustrations. I loved feeling like I was walking through the middle of the woods with Hansel & Gretel. Set on beautifully detailed paper, and interwoven together to that each page is layered, and stands out, it felt as though you could almost reach out and touch the illustrations. I also liked the story itself did not deviated from the one The Grimm Brothers told. I can hardly wait to see what other fairytales Sybille Schenker illustrates. This book is definitely a must have!

This book is easily one of my favorite illustrated books I've read this year!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Great Halloween Books for Disney Jr Fans: Sofia's Magic Lesson

Celebrate Halloween with Disney Jr!
This week I'll be posting reviews for some of Disney Jr's recently released Halloween themed board books, which make the perfect treat for little readers.

By: Walt Disney Company
Published by: Disney Press
Series: Sofia The First
Released on: 5.6.14
Ages: 4 & up
Rating: 4 Owlets
Source: book from publisher to review, in exchange for my honest review
Add it to Goodreads

When Cedric makes Sofia his apprentice, she doesn't suspect that he is after her magical amulet yet again. But the magic of friendship is the true lesson to be learned when Sofia helps Cedric out of a "tricky" situation.

Another great Disney book for children, that was taken from an episode of Sofia The First. My daughter loves this series, and I love that again, Disney has created a book based on an episode of this beloved character. Though Sofia's Magic Lesson isn't Halloween themed, this story does make a great addition to those looking to add some cute story's with a great message to their collection of Halloween themed children's books.

Like each of Sofia's story, there's always a lessoned to be learned. This time Sofia teaches Cedric the important of friendships, and trust. When is having troubles learning new spells she turns to Cedric to help. Although Cedric is out to get Sofia's special purple amulet, Sofia learns there's more to Cedric than anyone knows. She helps him over comes his insecurity and not feeling like he'll ever measure up to how great his father was. Not only does Sofia prove Cedric is a great sorcerer, she always does something nice for him, that no one else has ever done. 

Fans of Sofia the First will enjoy reading this story. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Great Halloween Books for Disney Jr Fans: Mickey's Spooky Night

Celebrate Halloween with Disney Jr!
This week I'll be posting reviews for some of Disney Jr's recently released Halloween themed board books, which make the perfect treat for little readers.

By: Walt Disney Company
Published by: Disney Press
Released on: 7.22.14
Ages: 4 & up
Rating: 3 Owlets
Source: book from publisher to review, in exchange for my honest review
Add it to Goodreads

Mickey Mouse has decorated his whole house for a Halloween party. But when Minnie, Donald, and the others show up, they can't find Mickey. Instead they just find one scary thing after the next! This gently spooky storybook is perfect for Halloween. Plus, download the Mickey's Spooky Night Puzzle Book app!

Mickey Mouse is getting ready to host a Halloween party. When a storm comes, he and his friends realize things that look normal with the lights on, can look spooky when the lights are out. One of the things my daughter liked about this story, was seeing each of the characters dressed up in Halloween costumes that were other Disney Characters. With sturdier pages, and a application download code for Mickey's Spooky Night Puzzle Book, this is a Halloween book younger fans Mickey Mouse fans will enjoy. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Anna, Banana, and the Friendship Split by Anica Mrose Rissi; Cover Reveal

Hello & welcome to today's exciting cover reveal.
I'm so thrilled to help author Anica Mrose Rissi reveal the cover to her up coming release: Anna, Banana, and the Friendship Split. Check out this adorable cover!!!

I love this cover. I think it's cute, it's fun, and it's appealing to the young readers.
This is a book I would totally pick up for my daughter based on the cover alone. 

Publisher's pitch (from the catalog): 
A charming new illustrated chapter book series about a third-grader named Anna, who, with her beloved wiener dog Banana by her side, navigates the joys and challenges of elementary school best-friendship.

Summary (from the flap copy):
Anna has two favorite things: her best friend, Sadie, and her dog, Banana. She can't wait to celebrate her birthday with both of them.

But Anna's birthday party turns into a birthday disaster when Sadie starts a terrible fight that Anna never saw coming. Anna doesn't know why her best friend is suddenly acting like her worst enemy, but she knows she'd do anything to fix it. She and Banana just need to come up with a plan.

Only, what if Sadie doesn't want their friendship to be fixed?

On-sale date: May 5, 2015
Add it to Goodreads

Author bio:
Anica Mrose Rissi grew up on an island off the coast of Maine, where she read a lot of books and loved a lot of pets. She now tells and collects stories, makes up songs on her violin, and eats a lot of cheese in Brooklyn, New York, where she lives with her dog, Arugula. She's also an executive editor at a major publishing house. Find out more at and find Anica on Twitter at @editrixanica.

Illustrator bio:
Meg Park is an illustrator who lives in Scotland with her two cats, Louie and Boo. She loves drawing, painting, and telling stories through her artwork. To learn more about Meg and her art you can visit and find her on Twitter at @megprk.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Great Halloween Books for Disney Jr Fans: Minnie's Costume Contest

Celebrate Halloween with Disney Jr!
This week I'll be posting reviews for some of Disney Jr's recently released Halloween themed board books, which make the perfect treat for little readers.

By: Shelia Sweeny Higginson
Published by: Disney Press
Released on: 8.12.14
Ages: 2 & up
Style: Board Book
Rating: 4 Owlets
Source: book from publisher to review, in exchange for my honest review
Add it to Goodreads

Boo! It's Halloween! And that means it's time for Minnie's Annual Halloween Costume Contest! Who will win the prize for Best Costume?

A cute Disney Halloween board book! Minnie is hosting a costume contest at her store, Minnie's Bow-Tique. With the help of Daisy, they're judging the costume contest. The winner will receive a golden bow trophy. Minnie's nieces, Millie and Melody really want to win, so they repeatedly change costumes, to try and win. Minnie and her friends pretend that each time they arrive they don't know who they are. Like her nieces, Minnie also has a trick up her sleeve. This is a fun, short read that fans of Minnie and her cartoon shorts will enjoy. The cover is really cute! My daughter not only enjoyed reading this book, she loved the glitter on the cover of the book. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Great Halloween Books for Disney Jr Fans: Doc McStuffin's Boo To You!

Celebrate Halloween with Disney Jr!
This week I'll be posting reviews for some of Disney Jr's recently released Halloween themed board books, which make the perfect treat for little readers.

By: Shelia Sweeny Higginson
Published by: Disney Press
Released on: 7.22.14
Ages: 2 & up
Style: Board Book
Rating: 4 Owlets
Source: book from publisher to review, in exchange for my honest review
Add it to Goodreads

This delightful Halloween board book with a touch-and-feel element on every spread will become a holiday favorite, when preschoolers follow the misadventures of Sebastian, Doc's motion-sensor ghost that pops out of a pumpkin. Doc soon realizes that Sebastian is stuck in his pumpkin, and he is scared of Halloween! Will Doc be able to fix Sebastian and convince the timid little ghost to join in the Halloween festivities?

Doc McStuffins is getting ready to celebrate Halloween. Everyone is excited about it, except for one of Doc's friends. Doc McStuffins is a great example of helping others. This time she helps little Sebastian, a motion sensor ghost, over come his fear of Halloween. Doc explains to Sebastian how fun Halloween can be. As a parent, I love that Disney not only made a book out of an episode of Doc McStuffins, they've provided parents/readers with an age appropriate story with a great message. Boo To You! is a great board book not only for little hands, but parents who are looking for a book to get their little readers for Halloween. The touch and feel elements of this book make this a must have for the youngest Disney Jr fans. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Penguin Kids Halloween Costume Contest

Come celebrate Halloween with Penguin Kids & enter to win a library of Penguin Kids Books & a $100 gift card! Penguin Kids is hosting their first annual costume contest! Share a photo of your literary inspired costume for a chance to win. Go HERE to find out more and to enter! 

What are you going to be this Halloween?

*Image and information about the contest from Penguin Kids's Facebook page.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Vampirina Ballerina by Countess Anne Marie Pace, Book Review

By: Anne Marie Pace
Illustrated by: LeUyen Pham
Published by: Disney Hyperion
Released on: 8.7.12
Ages: 6 & up
Rating: 4 Owlets
Add it to Goodreads

Oh, to be a ballerina! It's a challenge for any little girl, but even more so if you happen to be a vampire like Vampirina. First of all, you have to find a class that meets at night. Then you have to figure out how to perfect your form when you can't see yourself in the mirror? And then there's wearing pink (not the most flattering of colors if you happen to be undead) and that nagging urge to take a little nip out of the other dancers. And worse of all STAGE FRIGHT!!!

Simply adorable! Who would have thought a young vampire would want to learn ballet? Vampirina does. Though it's a little hard at first for her to learn it, she never gives up. Before she knows it, the big night to show off what they've learned in ballet class is here.

Vampirina Ballerina is a cute, really fun read. I love the mix of vampires and ballerinas. The vampires and monsters are illustrated in nice, friendly way, making this a book young readers will enjoy looking at, and not get scared with. I loved the vintage like illustrations and felt like they completed the story. They were adorable. I never thought I call a vampire adorable, but Vampirina is. 

I would definitely recommend picking this up this Halloween season. Vampire book doesn't get much cuter than this! Plus there's a great message within the story about not giving up. You can't go wrong. 

* I received a free copy of the book from the publisher to review. Reviews are my own. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Cover Reveal: PLATYPUS POLICE SQUAD: Last Panda Standing by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

Hello & welcome to today's cover reveal for the PLATYPUS POLICE SQUAD: LAST PANDA STANDING!!

I think this might be my favorite Platypus Police Squad cover yet! Here's a little bit about the book, which is releasing in May 2015. 

The Kalamazoo City mayoral race is heating up, and Frank Pandini Jr. has been threatened by a mysterious assailant. He requests a special Platypus Police Squad protection detail: Detective Rick Zengo. This leaves O'Malley to be partnered up with Jo Cooper, the newest detective on the force. Can Zengo get to the bottom of the attacks-without O'Malley backing him up?

Find out more about author Jarrett J. Krosoczka and his books, here

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Winter Train by Susanna Isern, Book Review

By: Susanna Isern
Illustrated by: Ester Garcia
Published by: Cuento de Luz
To Be Released on: 11.11.14
Ages: 4 & up
Rating: 4 Owlets
Source: book from publisher to review
Purchase from: Amazon | B&N
Add it to Goodreads

Winter is drawing near, and like every year around this time, the forest animals catch the train that will take them to warmer lands. The trip is going smoothly, until one passenger suddenly yells: “We’ve forgotten Squirrel! We’ve got to go back and find her!” 

A delightful tale of friendship and solidarity, Winter's Train takes young readers on a touching touching journey that brings out the very best in everyone.

A great story with rich illustrations, The Winter Train is book young readers will enjoy. 

Winter is upon the animals of the forest. Those who hibernate are preparing to leave the Northern Forest for the Southern Forest via the Winter Train. Not all the animals leave. Those who stay behind, say goodbye to friends, knowing they'll them again when Winter is over. As the train leaves taking the animal friends who are in need of warmer weather to the Southern Forest, one friend realizes they've left Squirrel behind. 

The Winter Train takes readers on a journey about friendship, while also in a very subtle way, teaches them about hibernation. Whether children are a fan of trains or woodland animals, this is a story they'll love. The illustrations are simply adorable. Isern and Garcia's works compliment each perfectly. I'm looking forward to reading more of their books. This is a book that would make a great addition in any home, school or classroom library. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

World of Reading: Stars Wars: Escape from Darth Vader, Level 1; Book Review

By: Michael Siglain
Illustrated by: Stephane Roux
Published by: Disney Hyperion
Released on: 9.16.14
Series: Star Wars/ World of Reading
Ages: 6-8
Source: book from publisher to review
Rating: 4 Stars - I Really Enjoyed It
Purchase it from: DisneyAmazon | B&N
Add it to Goodreads

C-3PO and R2D2 must keep Darth Vader from discovering the Rebels’ secret plans! This fully-illustrated level 1 reader retells the classic scenes from A New Hope where the droids crash land on the desert planet of Tatooine and meet a young farmer named Luke.

Finally, my love of beginning reader books, and Star Wars have collided! This is a book I wish I had, had for my son when he was learning how to read. It's not only a great introduction to the world of Star Wars, it's also a great beginning reader book. The illustrations perfect for little readers. The worlds are easy to read, and understand. I definitely recommend adding this to your collection of beginning reader books. Whether it's a home library, public library, school library or classroom library, this is a book both boys and girls will enjoy reading.

I'll be honest, I'm not beginning reader, and but I'm a Star Wars fan, and I loved reading this with my daughter.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Monstergarten by Daniel J. Mahoney, Book Review

By: Daniel J. Mahoney
Illustrated by: Jef Kaminsky
Published by: Feiwel & Friends
Released on: 7.2.13
Ages: 4-6
Source: book from publisher to review
Rating: 3 Owlets - It's A Good Read
Purchase it from: Amazon | B&N
Add it to Goodreads

Patrick is worried about his first day of monstergarten. Everyone knows you have to be SCARY in monstergarten. Patrick’s friend, Kevin, offers to show Patrick how to be scary – they roar, they sneak up on people, they bare their teeth. But Patrick still isn’t ready. His parents tell him to just be himself. But what if he’s not scary ENOUGH?

It's Patrick's first day of Kindergarten. Like many kindergarteners on their first day of school, he's nervous and worried he won't be scary enough for school. All little Monsters are scary right? At least that's what he's been told, and now believes. Thankfully Patrick has his friend Kevin, and his family to help him, and calm his fears. After a little bit of research in a book, and a little bit of scaring practice with Kevin, Patrick soon realizes that he has nothing to worry about. He's fine just the way he is, and he'll have a lot of fun on his first day of school.

This was a fun read. This is a great book for Kindergarten teachers to read on the first day of school, as well as for parents too. The story itself is simple to read and easy for kids to understand, while at the same time they'll be able to relate to Little Monster, Patrick and his friend Kevin. The bright, bold colors in this book will definitely grab a young reader's attention. I think kids will appreciate a story about a cute little monster, whom like them, also has some fears and worries. Like them, he learns to over come them, and realizes he's great just the way he is, and that the first day of school is indeed a lot of fun, and nothing to be scared or worried about. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson, Book Review

By: Julia Donaldson
Illustrated by: Axel Scheffler
Published by: Penguin (Puffin Pictures)
Released on:
Ages: 4-8
Source: purchased
Purchase from: Amazon | B&N
*This book also comes in a board book version

The witch and her cat are happily flying through the sky on a broomstick when the wind picks up and blows away the witch's hat, then her bow, and then her wand!  Luckily, three helpful animals find the missing items, and all they want in return is a ride on the broom.  But is there room on the broom for so many friends?  And when disaster strikes, will they be able to save the witch from a hungry dragon?

A fun, whimsical story with great illustrations and rhyming words make this a story that readers of all ages will enjoy.

 This story follows that of a friendly witch, and an unlikely group of animals, as they go on an adventure on her broom. When trouble finds them via a dragon, the friends rally together to save the Witch. What I loved leading up to that point, is how the Witch and the cat met the dog, the green bird and clean green frog. Each of their differences plays an important part in the story, and the immediate acceptance the Witch has for each of them. 

From the creators of The Gruffalo, fans of all ages will love Room on the Broom. This is definitely a must have! It's a timeless tale about friendship, and love. I recently reviewed the Room on the Broom dvd here, and I highly recommend watching it after reading the book. I watched it before reading the book, and love it just a little more than the book. I know that's a little back wards, but I love that the movie stayed true to the story itself, and elaborated a little more on what the story offers readers.

I highly recommend picking up both the book and the dvd this Halloween season!

Go here to find out more about Room on the Broom.

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 ~