Friday, May 19, 2017

THE GREAT TREEHOUSE WAR by Lisa Graff / Blog Tour: Spotlight & Giveaway

Hello and welcome to the next stop in the THE GREAT TREEHOUSE WAR blog tour, hosted by Penguin. I'm so excited about Lisa's newest release. Today I thought I'd do something fun with my tour post. Tree Houses! 

Let's be honest, given the chance, I'd totally have a tree house in my back yard that would be family friendly. Meaning, I'd use it as much as my kids. As a kid, I always loved playing outdoors, and climbing trees. One of the things my kids have recently been asking for, is a tree house. Being a kid at heart, I totally want one as well. So I decided to look into tree houses. This is great for today's post.

Here are a few of the tree houses that I completely loved in my search for tree houses. These would be considered dream tree houses. I linked to the sources, as some of them are featured in a series, and others have interviews with the creators of the tree house. Either way, these are definitely some amazing tree houses that I can see winning the tree house war.

This is a tree house I'd LOVE to have. It's a mix of what I would have loved as a kid and would love to have now. Plus, look at those amazing trees surrounding it. 

Having grown up in the Pacific Northwest, this birds eye view living up in the trees caught my attention. How cool is this tree house?!

Now this is a treehouse of my childhood dreams. Who wouldn't have a castle tree house? I would have added a trap door, and possibly a mot just for fun. Though the trap door would have dropped you off on a trampoline and wouldn't have been too high up. 

I'll be honest, the best tree house of all, would be on similar to the Ewok Village. That would be big enough for a number of friends to come over and hang out in. Plus, it's Star Wars. I love this painting of the village I found here.


There are a lot of things you should probably know to understand why a bunch of kids decided to climb up a tree house and not come down. But to really understand it, you'd probably have to go way back in time, and peek through the living room window of a girl named Winifred Malladi-Maraj, on her last day of fourth grade . . .

Thus begins the story of Winnie's parents' divorce (sad though it was), of the arrangements that followed (three days a week with each parent, and Wednesdays to herself in a treehouse smack in between both of their houses), and of Winnie's growing frustration with her lack of free time (due to her parents' ceaseless efforts to make the most of the time they each had with her). It was just this frustration, which was caused by several weeks of missing out on activities with friends, of skipping homework, and of wishing she had time to create a story for the upcoming contest, that prompted Winnie to barricade herself in her treehouse and refuse to come out -- an idea which her friends from Tulip Street Elementary found so appealing that they decided to join her. But with ten kids in one treehouse, all with their own agendas and demands, Winnie discovers that no one is happy with their status quo, and they're counting on her to change it! What had she gotten herself into?

The kids have turned the tables on the parents, and all rules have been tossed out the window. But as Winnie quickly begins to realize, having a community she can count on is a good thing--and it makes her realize what it is she truly wants from her parents.


Lisa Graff ( is the critically acclaimed and award-winning author of the National Book Award nominee A Tangle of Knots, as well as A Clatter of JarsLost in the SunAbsolutely AlmostDouble Dog DareUmbrella SummerThe Life and Crimes of Bernetta WallflowerThe Thing About Georgie and Sophie Simon Solves Them All. Originally from California, she lived for many years in New York City and now makes her home just outside of Philadelphia. Follow her on Twitter at @lisagraff.

Enter for a chance to win one (1) of five (5) copies of The Great Treehouse War by Lisa Graff (ARV: $16.99 each).
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on May 15, 2017 and 12:00 AM on May 29, 2017.  Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about June 2, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law. 

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Week One:
May 15 – Books 4 Your Kids – Review
May 16 – Margie’s Must Reads 
May 17 – Pirates n’ Pixie Dust 
May 18 – We Are Word Nerds 
May 19 – Mundie Kids 
Week Two:
May 22 – The Reading Nook Reviews – The Coolest Treehouses Roundup
May 23 – Crafty Moms Share – Review + Craft
May 24 – Word Spelunker – Review + Dream Treehouse
May 25 – Reading is Better With Cupcakes – Review 
May 26 – Mama Smiles

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Stick Cat: A Tail of Two Kitties by Tom Watson & Olga and the Smelly Thing from Nowhere by Elise Gravel / Giveaway

It's the end of the week (almost), which is the perfect time to celebrate some recent releases and host a giveaway! We've teamed up with Harper Collins to giveaway a copy of Stick Cat: A Tail of Two Kitties and Olga and the Smelly Thing from Nowhere. Both of these books are great for reluctant readers, and are in stores now. Not to mention, they're great for young aspiring artists, as the books are full or illustrations. 


Perfect for fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Big Nate, and animal lovers everywhere – meet Stick Cat!  A heavily illustrated young reader series, from the author of Stick Dog – Tom Watson!

In the first adventure (available now), it’s a big day in the big city for Stick Cat and his best friend, Edith. There are treasures to hunt, songs to sing, pigeons to catch, and naps to take. But way up on the 23rd floor, danger lurks just around the corner. Terrible noises and violent crashes trap a desperate man in the building across the alley. Stick Cat will need to navigate his way across the alley—and around Edith’s peculiar ways—to attempt a rescue. 

The next adventureStick Cat: Cats in the City, arrives on April 25th

About The Author

Tom Watson lives in Chicago with his wife, daughter, and son. He is the author of the Stick Dog series and the Stick Cat series. This is the first book in that series. Tom does not have a cat. So his ideas for the Stick Cat series come from a whole different place. He’s not sure where that place is exactly, but he knows it’s kind of strange there. While he has your attention, Tom would like to make one thing perfectly clear: There are not going to be any other stick animal books. There won’t be a Stick Monkey, for instance. Or Stick Chicken (even though that’s fun to say) or even Stick Giraffe (even though that would be fun to draw). He’s having plenty of fun just with dogs and cats.

Additional Content

Visit the Official Site for the Stick Cat series


Olga finds a creature in her garbage can one day, and all it says is “MEH!” 

It won’t eat, it won’t sleep, it snores, it stinks, and Olga studies it like mad. She adores it and eventually names it after herself--an OLGAMUS. A trip to the library reveals little, while a trip to the local shop proves successful when Olga discovers Meh’s favorite food is olives! These episodes take place over a few days in Olga’s never-dull life, and she manages to reveal a great amount of information not only about herself, but about everything from the scientific method and Jane Goodall and some of her favorite odd creatures to the ins and outs of friendship and every human’s use for living in a community. 

Perfect for fans of Dear Dumb Diary and My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish, and great preparation for El Deafo, Roller Girl, and Smile.

About The Author

Elise Gravel is an award-winning author/illustrator from Quebec. She is the winner of the Governor General’s Award for Children’s Illustration in French, and is well-known in Quebec for her original, wacky picture books. She has published a number of books with US publisher Blue Apple as well as a graphic novel for Roaring Brook Press. Having completed her studies in graphic design, Elise found herself quickly swept up into the glamorous world of illustration. Her old design habits drive her to work a little text here and there into her drawings and she loves to handle the design of her assignments from start to finish. She is inspired by social causes and is likes projects that can handle a good dose of eccentricity. Follow Elise on Instagram.

Additional Content
Visit the Official Site for Olga and the Smelly Thing from Nowhere
Read a sample from Olga and the Smelly Thing from Nowhere.
Learn to Draw! Embed the video: Drawing Animals with Elise Gravel


  • Copies of Stick Cat: A Tail of Two Kitties and Olga and the Smelly Thing from Nowhere
  • Art prints from each book’s creators

Open to US addresses only.
Prizing and samples provided by HarperCollins.

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Good luck & Happy Reading!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017


By: Josef Anton

Illustrated By: Lucie Brunelliere
Published By: Abrams Appleseed
Released On: March 7, 2017
Ages: 3 & up
Purchase From: Publisher l Amazon l B&N
Add It To: Goodreads
Rating: 5 Owlets-We Loved it!
A copy of this book was provided by the published in exchange for my honest review

Deep in the forest, early in the morning, the animals slowly wake—except the panda, who is sleeping in. The monkey stretches, the red ant hides, the black bear yawns, and the gazelle smiles. But where is the okapi? Can you find it?

Over 50 animals—including the okapi—hide on the pages of this beautiful board book. The gorgeous forest scenes take readers from morning to night, from high in the trees to deep underground. Deep in the Forest is as much a visual treat as it is an introduction to exotic animals.

This book is extraordinary! We stepped into a jungle and we saw into the trees, we looked over a river, and peeked under the ground. The pictures and colors are so beautiful that we just sat and admired the pages before reading it. Each page was packed with animals to discover and we got a glimpse in the animal's day-to-day happenings. The prompts for searching animals on each page only cover a few of the animals hidden. We loved searching for all the different jungle animals and we were surprised by the flap on each page that hid even more animals.

This book is a great companion book to read with your children and also a great independent discovery book for young readers and adventurers. It is a large, and durable, board book which makes it suitable for younger children. Animal lovers and little explorers will love this book!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

THE FALLEN STAR by Tracey Hecht / Author Interview #TheNocturnalsSeries

Today we're thrilled to have Tracey Hecht, author of The Nocturnals series on the blog today. She's stopped by to talk about the third book in the series, THE FALLEN STAR, which was released yesterday. Before I share her Q&A, here's a little bit more about her newest release. 


By: Tracey Hecht
Illustrated by: Kate Liebman
Published by: Fabled Films Press
Released on: May 2nd, 2017
Purchase from: Amazon | B&N
Ages: 7 & up

In The Fallen Star, Dawn, Tobin, and Bismark awaken one evening to a disaster: all of the forest's pomelos have been mysteriously poisoned! As the Nocturnal Brigade sets out to investigate, they encounter Iris, a mysterious aye-aye, who claims monsters from the moon are to blame. While the three heroes suspect a more earthly explanation, the animals of the valley are all falling ill. And then Tobin gets sick, too! The Nocturnal Brigade must race to find answers, and the cure, before the pomelo blight threatens to harm them all.

Read a chapter from the book, here.


The third book in The Nocturnal series, The Fallen Star, just came out. Tell us a little bit about it! 

It’s juicy!  (Ha, no pun intended! You’ll see what I mean…). My writing partner Rumor conceived the story line to include aliens and meteor showers and crazy physiological elements of animals. It was a fun one to write and I think a great read. 

Both The Mysterious Abductions and The Ominous Eye have sympathetic villains. Is this a motif that we can expect in the following books, as well? 

I think for the most part, yes. We tend to show the full range and complexity of all of our characters when we develop them, so most of our villains have some moment of redemption. And I love the villain in The Fallen Star. She’s an aye-aye named Iris and she’s a fun combination of creepy and alluring.

How different does the first draft of the book look from the finished draft? 

It depends. The first draft of The Mysterious Abductions was pretty straight forward, but we really retooled The Fallen Star. We have a really good collaboration going on at Fabled Films, so there are a lot of different points of view during the process and we use that to achieve a stronger story line. 

What are three words to describe The Fallen Star?

Fun, creepy, outrageous. 

What was your favorite scene from the book? Which scene was the most difficult to write? 

It was fun to write the introduction scene to Iris. She is such a menacing and beguiling character, striking a balance in her. The reaction of the brigade was also fun to craft. But I think my favorite scene is where the brigade chases the flowers as they disappear into the earth. You almost want to reach into the text and grab the flowers for them!  

The most difficult scene to write was the climax. There are glowers, blue flowers, Iris, the lemur army, the brigade, the clouds and the moon, etc. There is a lot going on, and many different elements, and yet it's the climax of the book, so it has to be delivered in a very calculated way. I'm happy with where it ended up, though! 

* Questions provided by Saichek publicity. 

*  *  *  *  * 

About The Fallen Star Series

In The Fallen Star, Dawn, Tobin, and Bismark awaken one evening to a disaster: all of the forest's pomelos have been mysteriously poisoned! As the Nocturnal Brigade sets out to investigate, they encounter Iris, a mysterious aye-aye, who claims monsters from the moon are to blame. While the three heroes suspect a more earthly explanation, the animals of the valley are all falling ill. And then Tobin gets sick, too! The Nocturnal Brigade must race to find answers, and the cure, before the pomelo blight threatens to harm them all.

About The Author

Tracey Hecht is a writer and entrepreneur who has written, directed and produced for film. The American Booksellers Association chose her first book in The Nocturnals series, The Mysterious Abductions, as a Kids’ Indie Next List pick. Last year, in partnership with the New York Public Library, she created a Nocturnals Read Aloud Writing program for middle graders that has expanded nationwide. She splits her time between Oquossoc, Maine and New York City. 

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

BABY-BOO, I LOVE YOU by Sheryl Haft / Book Review

By: Sheryl Haft
Illustrated by: Jane Massey
Published by: Nancy Paulsen Books / Penguin 
Released on: May 2nd, 2017 - TODAY
Ages: 3 & up
Purchase from: Publisher | Amazon
Add it to Goodreads 
Rating: 4 Owlets 
Source: book from publisher to review, in exchange for my honest review

Little ones love playing with their dolls! Celebrate that love with Baby-Boo, I Love You, and follow one imaginative little girl who adores playing mommy. And as she bathes, feeds, and frolics with her doll, she emulates a nurturing parent-child relationship, showing the universal joys of being cared for and cherished.

Sheryl Haft’s delightful text and Jane Massey’s endearing illustrations make this a wonderful read-aloud for every child with a favorite doll or stuffed toy, and a reminder of their own parents’ never-ending love.

Simply adorable! 

This is picture book happiness wrapped up in a story about a young girl's love of playing mommy with her baby doll. From play time to snuggles, to tea time, and nap time, this young girl's imaginative play with caring for her baby doll is simply adorable. With simple wordage, and illustrations that are perfect for capturing young readers attentions, this is a picture book that readers who love imaginative play will love. 

Young children who love playing with their own babydoll will be able to easily identify with this book. They'll see the similar ways they love their baby dolls, as the young girl in the story does. It's also a great gift to give to young kids who may soon become older siblings. 

Check out the trailer for the book: 

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 ~