Friday, November 28, 2014

The Night Before The Night Before Christmas by Jay Dee, Book Review

By: Jay Dee
Illustrated by: Darren Geers
Published by: Kraine Kreative
Released on: 11.3.14
Source: book from author to review, in exchange for my honest review
Rating: 3 Owls
Add it to Goodreads

At Santa’s workshop, the night before the night before Christmas is hardly a time to rest. The elves work tirelessly to get the final toys made before Christmas Eve, but Elfie just can’t keep pace. He spends too much time making his toys perfect, and when Santa comes to check on production, everyone is surprised by his reaction.

It's the night before the night before Christmas and the elves are frantically trying to get the last of the toys made before Santa's inspection. One of Santa's elves, Elfie, isn't ready yet. He has spent all day working on one present. In working hard to make the toy train perfect, he hasn't finished the rest of his list of toys to make. With Santa's arrival,  he fears he's let Santa down. Not only that, he's let his lead elf, Nathan down. Nathan kept telling him to stop spending so much time on the one toy. Santa surprises Elfie. He tells him that the train is perfect, and it's Elfie's best work yet. He tells him that the train is for someone special. Elfie wonders who it's for. When he asks Santa who it's for, Santa tells him it's for baby who's name is Jesus and who is being born in a stable in Bethlehem.

I liked how the author was trying to tie together the story of Jesus and Santa, but I felt the attempt failed by having Santa deliver a train to baby Jesus at the time of his birth in Bethlehem in a stable. Why would Santa take a train to baby Jesus? Giving a toy train to a baby Jesus at a time when trains didn't exist doesn't make sense to me.  I liked the idea of Santa wanting to give a gift to Jesus, even though the belief in Santa wasn't around during this time. I would have loved it if Santa had told about the birth of the Savior, and had the train gift symbolize the importance of giving to others.

Overall I liked the book, and I think it helps children understand the gift of the Savior's birth with modern day gift giving.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Today I'm grateful for many things, but being that this is a book blog, I'm so grateful for Books! 
I'm grateful to those who inspired my love of reading as a kid, and supported it.
I'm grateful for the friendships I've made through books, and the many opportunities that have come my way through my love of reading. I'm grateful that I'm able to promote reading through my blogs, and to each of you who visit my blogs, and support what I do. 
I'm grateful to those who write children's books, those who publisher, promote them, review them, and read them. I'm so grateful that books have been and will always be a huge part of my life.

I hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving and that it's filled with love, laughter, family, friends and books. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

HOME Movie Trailer

Looking for a family friendly movie to take your kiddos to this Spring? 
Check out the newly released trailer for HOME, coming March 27th, 2015 from DREAMWORKS.

Watch the movie trailer: 

When Earth is taken over by the overly-confident Boov, an alien race in search of a new place to call home, all humans are promptly relocated, while all Boov get busy reorganizing the planet. But when one resourceful girl, Tip, (Rihanna, who also contributes a song) manages to avoid capture, she finds herself the accidental accomplice of a banished Boov named Oh (Jim Parsons). The two fugitives realize there’s a lot more at stake than intergalactic relations as they embark on the road trip of a lifetime. 

Release: March 27, 2015, in 3D
Director: Tim Johnson
Screenplay by: TBD, based upon the novel The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex
Producers: Chris Jenkins, Suzanne Buirgy
Cast: Jim Parsons, Rihanna, Steve Martin, and Jennifer Lopez

HOME Official Socials

DreamWorks Animation Official Socials

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

10 Children’s Books that Celebrate Thanksgiving

Happy almost Thanksgiving! 
If you're looking for some books to share with you children about Thanksgiving, check out these titles from Harper Collins Children's Books. They recently shared their list of 10 Children's Books That Celebrate Thanksgiving.

To find more about each book, visit Harper Collins Children's, 10 Children's Books that Celebrate Thanksgiving list here

Monday, November 24, 2014

Signed MG & KidLit Books Available During Barnes & Noble's Black Friday Sales

What's better than a book sale? Having signed books on sale! This Friday (which just happens to be Black Friday, and a day I avoid going to any store at all costs), Barnes & Noble is having an incredible Black Friday sale. Their sale includes a limited number of signed YA, MG & Kidlit books. This sale is for *in stores only*. Check out some of the books that will be available on Friday, here. I love seeing a variety of MG and children's picture books on this list. I may have to make an exception and venture out to the store on Friday. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A Bed for Kitty by Yasmine Surovec, Book Review

By: Yasmine Surovec
Published by: Roaring Book Press (MacMillan)
Released on: September 23rd, 2014
Source: book from publisher to review in exchange for my honest review
Rating: 4 Stars
Purchase from: Amazon | B&N
Add it to Goodreads

Sweet dreams, Kitty! This adorable bedtime book from the creator of I See Kitty is perfect for tucking the very youngest cat lovers in at night.

Kitty sleeps everywhere: on the TV, in the sink, even in her litter box! But she never sleeps in her own bed. This follow up to Yasmine Surovec's I See Kitty shows that sometimes it takes a friend to find the perfect place to sleep. With bright, bold artwork, A Bed for Kitty will charm very young readers with its gentle humor and genuine warmth.

Reviewed by my daughter:

I really liked it. It's a cute book. Chloe gets her kitty a new bed, but her kitty sleeps every where but the bed. The kitty sleeps on Chloe's chair, her socks, her bookcase, on her dad's slippers, and her mom's sweater. It's funny, because Kitty won't sleep in her new bed until Chloe goes an lays on her bed, and then Kitty lays on it.

My thoughts:

A cute, easy to read book for young readers. Chloe gets her kitty a new bed, but Kitty will sleep every where but her bed. She sleeps on Chloe's socks, in her sink, on her chair, and just about anywhere else. Chloe wonders why this, because she got her Kitty a nice bed. It's not until Chloe lays on the bed does her Kitty come over and lay on her bed with her. 

I liked that this was a book my daughter and I could read together. The words are simply, and easy to read. The illustrations are just as a cute as Yasmine's previous book. I think fans of Surovec's will enjoy this one. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

50 Books Every Kid Should Read

Happy Marvelous Middle Grade Monday! 
Today kicked off my first day of sales for my Scholastic Book Fair, which means I won't be online much at all this week, hence the reason why I'm a little late in getting this post up today. 

Entertainment Weekly recently published a list of 50 Books Every Kid Should Read!
I love the variety of books featured on this list. I've found that there are many books on this list that I either read as a child or have read to my own children. There are a handful of books on the list I've yet to read. Check out their list here to see if your favorite kid lit books made the list. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Little Red Riding Hood adapted by Sybille Schenker, Book Review

Adapted and Illustrated By: Sybille Schenker
Originally written by: Jacob Grimm
Published by: MINEDITION
Released on: October 1st, 2014
Source: received from publisher in exchange for my honest review
Rating: 4 Owls - I Enjoyed It
Purchase from: Amazon | B&N
Add it to Goodreads

A fresh take on a timeless fairy tale

This stunning edition of the favorite fable about a little girl in red on her journey through the woods makes brilliant use of laser die-cut paper and silhouette-like illustrations to enliven every page. Sybille Schenker’s evocative and exquisite illustrations bring a unique beauty and graphic excellence to this beloved favorite.

A beautiful companion to Schenker's Hansel and Gretel. With it's beautiful silhouetted illustrations, this tale of Little Red Riding follows the dark tale of the original telling. Though the adaptation feels a little choppy at times, the story and it's message come across clearly. The unique illustrations make this book stand out among children's books. The book is worth having for the illustrations alone. I've not seen anything else like them, other than in Schenker's previous book. With it's delicate pages, this Little Red Riding book is not one I'd recommend for little hands. This is book that fans of fairy tales of all ages will enjoy. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veterans Day

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It's VETERANS DAY and we'd like to take a moment to say
THANK YOU to all who have served our country, and protected our freedoms. 
We thank you and your families for your sacrifices. 

Please take a moment today and tell a veteran THANK YOU for their service! 

If you're looking for some great material to teach your kids about Veterans Day, check out my post here

Monday, November 10, 2014

Veterans Day: Teaching References & Children's Books Honoring our Veterans

Tomorrow is Veteran's Day, and Scholastic some great tools for parents and teachers to use to teach our children about the importance of that day. Whether your child is elementary ages or middle school ages, check out Scholastic's online resources about Veterans Day. Then check out some of these great titles that honor those who have served their countries!

What are some of your favorite books that honor our Veterans?

Thursday, November 6, 2014

BLIZZARD by John Rocco, Book Review

Hello & Welcome to the BLIZZARD blog tour! I'm so thrilled to kick off Disney Hyperion's tour for John Rocco's newest release. Grab a cozy blanket, get a warm cup of cocoa and get ready to enjoy the BLIZZARD. 

By: Jon Rocco
Published by: Disney Hyperion
Released on: 10.30.14
Ages: 3 & up
Rating: 5 Owlets - Loved It!
Add it to Goodreads
Purchase it from: Amazon | B&N
Source: book from publisher to review, in exchange for my honest review

Blizzard opens with a boy’s excitement upon seeing the first snowflake fall outside his classroom window. It ends with the neighborhood’s immense relief upon seeing the first snowplow finally break through on their street many days later. In between the boy watches his familiar landscape transform into something alien, and readers watch him transform into a hero who puts the needs of others first. John cleverly uses increasing amounts of white space in his playful and nostalgic images, which include full-bleeds, comic panels, and a glorious gatefold spread of the boy's circuitous expedition to the store. 

Whether readers are all-too-familiar with blizzards or have never experienced the wonder of a winter storm, John Rocco’s BLIZZARD is as delicious as a mug of hot cocoa by the fire on a snowy day.

Rocco has created another fantastic, award worthy children's book that fans of all ages will enjoy.

A beautifully illustrated children's picture book, BLIZZARD is an autobiographical story of the 1978 blizzard that hit parts of the North East, bringing with it 53 inches of snow. Author/illustrator John Rocco drew from his own experience as a young kid during that blizzard to create a story fans old and young alike will enjoy. With what I imagine started out as fun and memorable snow day, quickly turned into one of fear and panic for some. Unlike today's technology world, back during this book's era, there were no cell phones, or internet service, making it much harder to stay connected to each other. Rocco does a brilliant job at keeping his story light and adventurous, making it easy for young readers to engage with the story.

What's a young boy to do when his family and neighbors are all snow bound, and supplies are running low, and there's no help in sight? He becomes a hero! Young John sets off to the grocery store to try and get a few things they're in need of. Escaping from his bedroom window, since the door can't open with all the snow piled up against, his trusty map in hand, and tennis rackets for snowshoes, John heads to the store. A trek that seems a little difficult at first, but thankfully he makes it, and gets all the items his family and neighbors are in need of.

I loved the illustrations in BLIZZARD. Rocco is a great story teller, and a gift illustrator. His illustrations are some of my favorite in children's literature. With Blizzard, he captured that simpler way of life during this era perfectly. He didn't leave out any details too little or too big in his illustrations. I loved looking through the book with my kids, and then reading the book with them. Like BLACKOUT, Rocco has created another fantastic, award worthy children's book that fans of all ages will enjoy.

If you're looking to curl up with a fantastic children's book on a cool afternoon, I highly recommend picking this one up! Just be sure that you're snuggled under warm blankets or near a warm fire, so you stay warm while reading it.

Check out a spread from BLIZZARD below: (click on the image to enlarge)

You can also learn more on and find John on Facebook and Twitter

About John Rocco

Rocco studied illustration at the Rhode Island School of Design and School of Visual Arts in New York City. He is the author of four acclaimed books for children: Wolf! Wolf!, winner of the Borders Original Voices Award for best picture book; Moonpowder, part of the Original Art Show at the Society of Illustrators; Fu Finds the Way, and Blackout, a New York Times Best Book of the Year and winner of a 2012 Caldecott Honor. 

Rocco also illustrated Whoopi Goldberg‘s Alice and the covers for Rick Riordan‘s multi-million copy internationally bestselling series Percy Jackson and the Olympians, The Kane Chronicles, and The Heroes of Olympus. Most recently, Rocco illustrated the fantasy fairy tale, The Flint Heart, written by Katherine Paterson and her husband, John. For many years Rocco has been an art director in the entertainment industry, both in the US and abroad. 

At Dreamworks, Rocco was the pre-production art director on the top-grossing animated film Shrek. For Walt Disney Imagineering, he designed attractions at Disney’s Epcot and served as art director for DisneyQuest, a virtual reality theme park in Downtown Disney. Rocco has worked with computer graphics pioneer Robert Abel, the creator of some of the first CGI commercials and special effects, and contributed to several museum projects including Newseum in Washington D.C. and Paul Allen‘s Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame.Rocco lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Aileen and their daughter, Alaya.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the Blizzard Blog Tour! There are fantastic author interviews, sneak peeks at the artwork inside the book, and giveaways.

Thursday, November 6  - Mundie Kids
Friday, November 7 - Kid Lit Frenzy                                                                                     
Monday, November 10 -  The Children’s Book Review        
Tuesday, November 11 - The Kids Did It                   
Wednesday, November 12 - OC Mom Media                                
Thursday, November 13 -  As They Grow Up                             
Friday, November 14 - Curling Up With a Good Book     
Monday, November 17  - Ben Spark                                            
Tuesday, November 18 - Mr. Schu Reads                                 
Thursday, November 20 - Elizabeth Dulemba                          

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Goodreads 2014 Choice Awards: Best Picture Books of 2014

Goodreads recently announced their list for the Best Picture Books of 2014 for their 2014 Choice Awards. They need your vote! Check out this year's Best Pictures Books:


 For as much I love picture books, I have to say I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I've only read a small handful of these. One of the things I love about this list, is getting some new book rececommendadatins. Be sure to head over to HERE and vote for your favorite!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Goodreads 2014 Choice Awards: Best Middle Grade & Children's Books of 2014

Happy Marvelous Middle Grade Monday!
Check out which GoodReads has picked as their BEST Middle / Children's books of 2014!
That's right, it's that time of year where you, the reader gets to VOTE on which out the list below, is your favorite! Check out the list: 


Which was your favorite? Cast your vote HERE!

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 ~