Thursday, July 27, 2017

Prince and Pirate by Charlotte Gunnufson / Book Review

By: Charlotte Gunnufson
Illustrated by: Mike Lowery
Published by: G.P. Putnam's Sons / Penguin Random House
Released on: May 9, 2017
Ages: 3 & up
Purchase from: Penguin Random House | Amazon | B&N
Add it to Goodreads
Rating: 4 Stars-We really enjoyed it!

Source - Thank you Penguin Random House for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review

When two little fish with big personalities have to share the same tank, there are rough seas ahead!

Prince and Pirate are proud masters of their very own fishbowls, and life goes along swimmingly--until they're scooped up and plopped into shared waters.

Prince is horrified to find this cheeky cod trespassing in his kingdom. "Halt, peasant!"

Pirate is sure this scurvy sea slug has come to plunder his treasure. "Avast, ye scurvy sea slug!"

And so begins a battle of regal sneers, seaworthy stink-eyes, and off-the-hook insults.

Prince and Pirate's hilarious duel for territory will elicit gales of giggles, hearty guffaws, and heartfelt smiles. Just when it seems their struggle might end in a silly stalemate, a little surprise convinces them to find a way to get along--swimmingly.

This book is just fun! Two fish, who could not be more opposite, are forced to share a tank with each other. The Prince and the Pirate fish do not agree on anything, until a new fish arrives in the tank. The new dogfish helps them to find common ground and to be happy, by golly. The fish finally see that they don't need to be divided anymore.

The Prince and Pirate fish are such wonderful characters, that this book was instantly delightful. We loved the high-fluent speech of the Prince and the swashbuckler words from the Pirate. Kids will love joining in on the fun dialog between the fish. It's not everyday you get to say "Soggy Scones" and "Barnacled Bloomers" and that is what made this book a good read. 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Black Belt Bunny by Jacky Davis / Book Review

By: Jacky Davis
Illustrated by: Jay Fleck
Published by: Penguin Random House
Released on: July 11, 2017
Ages: 3 & Up
Purchase fromPenguin Random House | Amazon | B&N
Add it to Goodreads
Rating: 5 Stars

Source - Thank you to Penguin Random House for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review

From the author of the bestselling Ladybug Girl series, this hilarious, empowering picture book about a little black-belt who faces a new challenge is perfect for fans of The Three Ninja PigsThe Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog, and I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato
Black Belt Bunny is fast and strong and has seriously awesome moves—from front-kicks to back-flips to air-chops. Then he’s faced with something new, something every bunny must learn, something he might not be as good at: He has to make . . . a salad. Black Belt Bunny tries to escape. He even disguises himself with a fake mustache. But when he finally hops to it, he discovers that his seriously awesome moves come in pretty handy, and that—in a funny twist that puts the narrator in the hot seat—he isn’t the only one who has to try new things.

Black Belt Bunny is reeeeeeally fast, incredibly strong, and a great ninja! He chops, kicks and does backflips, but his biggest challenge is making a salad. This book is hilarious as bunny tries to hide and even put on a disguise to avoid making a salad. Once bunny discovers he can use his ninja skills to cut vegetables, he learns to create a delicious salad.

We loved the illustrations, and the entertaining sounds of bunny's karate moves. The interaction between the narrator and the bunny brought us right into this amusing story. We loved seeing bunny use his talents to develop a new skill and to try something new. This book is silly and a lot of fun for children and aspiring ninjas. 

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

My Little Half-Moon by Douglas Todd Jennerich / Book Review

By: Douglas Todd Jennerich
Illustrated by: Kate Berube
Published by: GP Putnam's Sons / Penguin Random House
Released on: May 2, 2017
Ages: 4 & up
Purchase fromPenguin Random House | Amazon | B&N
Add it to Goodreads
Rating: 5 Owlets - I LOVED It!
Thank you to Penguin Random House for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. 
*We are a Penguin Random House Random partner.

A determined child goes the extra mile to try to cheer the lonely half moon
Have you ever looked up at the half-moon hiding in the night sky and thought it looked just the littlest bit lonely without its other half?
Imagine . . .
having no one to glow with
no one to play with
no one to share
how much you like puppies and big, fuzzy bears.
If you’re like this determined young child, you might stay up every night to keep the moon company. Maybe if you share your treats and toys and stories, you’ll cheer him up.
But the moon is very shy, so it might take some time. Still, if you’re very very patient, you just might make a new friend.

This book will open up your heart to child-like wonder again! The moon is missing its other half, and it is obvious to the little boy that it must be sad. We loved the different ways the boy tries to cheer up the moon. He brings out all of his favorite things like trucks, pickles, and his bike. He also spends some time talking to the moon to try to console it. One day, the full moon appears and the little boy leaps with joy. It is a cute and heartwarming story!

Accompanied with adorable illustrations, the rhyming scheme makes it a delight to read. Younger children will love all the different ways the little boy tries to cheer up the moon. They will enjoy the pure kindness and tenderness in the book. Children are the best teachers of love and that is reflected so well in this book. We would definitely recommend getting a copy of this sweet story.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Jack and the Beanstalk and the French Fries by Mark Teague / Book Review

Written and Illustrated By: Mark Teague
Published by: Orchard  Books / Scholastic
Released on: July 25, 2017
Ages: 3 & up
Purchase from: Scholastic Amazon | B&N
Add it to Goodreads
Rating: 5 Owlets - I LOVED It!
Thank you to Scholastic for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. 

Jack and the townsfolk are tired of eating beans — bean salad, refried beans, bean ice cream, and more! So Jack climbs up the magic beanstalk to find something else to eat. Jack meets a giant who is also sick of eating beans and would rather devour Jack instead. FEE FI FO FUM Readers and bean lovers of all ages will be laughing put loud as Jack cooks up a plan with a delicious twist in this fun-filled fractured fairy tale.

This classic story has a wonderful twist, when Jack (and the villagers) no longer want to just eat beans. He decides to climb the beanstalk, only to meet a friend that no longer wants to eat beans either. Jack and the Giant grow a huge garden and they finally get their french fries! It is a fun retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk and we loved it.

The pictures are wonderful and add to this fun story. Mark Teague, as always, is entertaining and full of life and color in his illustrations. If you love his other books, then you will definitely have fun with this one. This is a great book to add to your library and one that children will want to read over and over again.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The 50 Cities Blog Extravagana: Austin, TX / Blog Tour

It's that time of year, where you don't want to believe that summer is about half over, and the new school year is just around the corner. I don't know about you, but when my kids were younger, I loved getting them a variety of educational books to read through out the summer. We still do this, but when they were younger there were a lot more fun books to pick from. One of their favorite books were ones about the US, and the world. 

Coming this September (9/7/17), from Quarto Publishing, 50 Cities of the U.S.A by Gabrielle Balkan, is one of those fun, educational books that's great for both the home, and classroom libraries. I'm so thrilled that one of the cities featured is my current city, AUSTIN, TX!

Here's a few fun facts about Austin, TX, that you'll find featured in the book:

Austin applauds the past and current contributions of American Indians with dancing by tribes such as the Comanche Nation.
Amy's Ice Cream "Scoops" (aka servers) toss and juggle blackberry, lime, and coconut ice cream at an annual Trick Olympics.
ACL celebrates Texas standards like Tejano music, progressive country, and western swing, whose lineup often includes a steel guitar.
Fed by a cool underground spring, this 3-acre pool is an ideal spot—for overheated swimmers and the endangered Barton Springs Salamander!
Contemporary sculptures, like John Grade's Canopy Tower, mix with the woodlands and waterfront of the historic Laguna Gloria.
The pointy toe of the state footwear is designed to fit easily into the stirrup when riding horseback.
Dell Children's hosts pet therapy for patients; studies show that stroking or talking to a pet can lower heart rate and reduce anxiety.
Meet the black-footed ferret, whose slender body lets it to crawl into the holes of its prey—the prairie dog.
Even with helmets and lots of padding, players suffer brutal injuries in this high-contact sport.
This started with a few hubcaps tethered to a fence and now includes 60 tons of donated bikes, clocks, and odd toys.
This is home to some 1.5 million migrating bats, who have four fingers and a thumb, just like us!
This library includes a replica of the Oval Office at 7/8th scale, including the three TVs he used to keep up with the news.
SXSW conference invites creative people to share ideas about music, technology, and film, and injects some $315 million into local economy.
The Tower here lights up in all orange to celebrate academic honors and athletic victories.
This is the U.S.'s longest running kite festival. During the Civil War, kites were used to delivering letters and newspapers.
 The first corn tortilla dates back some 10,000 years and is made by curing maize in limewater.
Austin houses oodles of gaming production companies that hire analysts, artists, engineers, and designers.
Started here with only 19 employees in 1980, this now-massive natural grocery store chain encourages shoppers to use reusable bags.
 Find tributes to this favorite Texan musician all over his home town, including a statue, street name, and a 60" x 20" mural. 

This is a great list, and hopefully it will get you excited for a visit to the capital of Texas. To add to this great list, here's a few more things I love about Austin:

The Austin area has a number of natural swimming areas, amazing Tex-Mex & BBQ, awesome food trailers, a variety of sports teams, and so much more. If you love the out doors, check out Lady Bird Lake for kayaking, hiking, running, biking, canoeing, and more. Or, visit a number of hiking / walking trails around the area. No matter what you enjoy, Austin, TX is a place I highly recommend visiting. 

Here's a list of all the cities featured in this book:

Anchorage • Atlanta • Austin • Baltimore • Birmingham • Boise • Boston • Burlington • Charleston Charlotte • Cheyenne • Chicago • Cleveland • Columbus • Denver • Detroit • Hartford • Honolulu • Houston Indianapolis • Jacksonville • Kansas City • Las Vegas • Little Rock • Los Angeles • Louisville • Memphis Miami • Milwaukee • Minneapolis-St. Paul Nashville • New Orleans • New York • Newark • Newport • Oklahoma City • Philadelphia • Phoenix • Pittsburgh • Portland, MA • Portland, OR • Rapid City • Salt Lake City • San Francisco • Santa Fe • Seattle • St. Louis • Tucson • Virginia Beach • Washington, D.C. 

You can learn about Austin, TX, along with 49 other cities, when you pick up your copy on September 7th, when it's out. More information, and to purchase your own copy, please visit Quarto Publishing, here.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Froggy Goes To Grandma's by Jonathan London / Book Review

By: Jonathan London
Illustrated by: Frank Remkiewicz
Published by: Viking Books / Penguin Kids
Released on: April 4, 2017
Ages: 3 & up
Purchase fromPenguin Random House | Amazon | B&N
Add it to Goodreads
Rating: 5 Owlets - I LOVED It!
Thank you to Penguin Random House for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. 

*We are a Penguin Random House Random partner.

Froggy has a ball visiting Grandma!

When Froggy and his family go to visit Grandma, they look forward to all kinds of fun: a baseball game, a trip to the amusement park, a visit to the museum to see the Frogga Lisa. 

But best of all is cooking with Grandma and learning to make her specialty, spaghetti with fly sauce.

Froggy’s antics everywhere he goes will delight his many fans.

I love the Froggy books and this is just another fun adventure with Froggy and his family. The sounds of Froggy are humorous and his antics make this a great read for young children. Bowling, baseball and museums are some of the activities that Froggy gets to do with his Grandma. Children will relate to his enthusiasm and excitement for everything, but they will also enjoy his special time with his Grandma.  After everything Froggy gets to do, cooking with his Grandma is his favorite. This is a quick read, but every page is entertaining and perfect for young readers!

Friday, July 7, 2017

SHE PERSISTED: 13 American Women Who Changed The World by Chelsea Clinton / Book Review

By: Chelsea Clinton
Illustrated by: Alexandra Boiger
Published by: Philomel Books / Penguin Kids
Released on: May 30th, 2017
Ages: 4 & up
Purchase from: Penguin Random HouseAmazon | B&N
Add it to Goodreads
Rating: 5 Owlets - I LOVED It!
Thank you to Penguin Random House for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review

Chelsea Clinton introduces tiny feminists, mini activists and little kids who are ready to take on the world to thirteen inspirational women who never took no for an answer, and who always, inevitably and without fail, persisted.

Throughout American history, there have always been women who have spoken out for what's right, even when they have to fight to be heard. In early 2017, Senator Elizabeth Warren's refusal to be silenced in the Senate inspired a spontaneous celebration of women who persevered in the face of adversity. In this book, Chelsea Clinton celebrates thirteen American women who helped shape our country through their tenacity, sometimes through speaking out, sometimes by staying seated, sometimes by captivating an audience. They all certainly persisted.

She Persisted is for everyone who has ever wanted to speak up but has been told to quiet down, for everyone who has ever tried to reach for the stars but was told to sit down, and for everyone who has ever been made to feel unworthy or unimportant or small.

With vivid, compelling art by Alexandra Boiger, this book shows readers that no matter what obstacles may be in their paths, they shouldn't give up on their dreams. Persistence is power.

This book features: Harriet Tubman, Helen Keller, Clara Lemlich, Nellie Bly, Virginia Apgar, Maria Tallchief, Claudette Colvin, Ruby Bridges, Margaret Chase Smith, Sally Ride, Florence Griffith Joyner, Oprah Winfrey, Sonia Sotomayor—and one special cameo.

Perfect for readers of all ages, this inspiring picture book is an educational, history lesson as much as it an inspiring reminder to let your voice be heard and never lose sight of your dreams. 

I've long been a fan of incredible women, like Sally Rider, Harriet Tubman, Helen Keller and Ruby Bridges, all whom are featured in this book. These strong women persisted when it would have been easy to fall victim to their circumstances or listened to the voices telling them they didn't belong, or they couldn't do it. I've always admired their strength, courage and their not listening to the word no. While this book features just 13 women from history to modern day, women like them are found all through out history. 

Written with young readers in mind, I love that each page featured in this picture book includes a brief history about what each of the 13 women did, and a correlating page has a illustration to go with their story, along with a motivational quote they said. I love books like this. Not only can my daughter read about women who persisted, and made a difference, I too learned about a few women I hadn't heard about until now. 

SHE PERSISTED is a powerful reminder to young minds that they're surrounded by women today, as well as have role models of strong, courageous women throughout history, who have paved a way for them to accomplish anything they put their mind to. They persisted, and so can you! A must read for all ages, SHE PERSISTED is an inspirational, empowering read.  

"The right way is not always the popular and easy way. Standing for right when it's unpopular is a true test of mortal character."

Thursday, July 6, 2017

TRAINS DON'T SLEEP by Andria Rosenbaum / Book Review

By: Andria Rosenbaum 
Illustrated by: Deirdre Gill
Published by: HMH Books
Released on: May 2nd, 2017
Ages: 0+
Purchase from: Amazon | B&N
Add it to Goodreads
Rating: 5 Owlets - We Loved It!
Thank you to HMH for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review

Puffing, chuffing, never yawning 
Climbing hills as day is dawning. 
Trains don’t sleep, they 

Cross bridges and canyons, plow through snow, charge down mountains, and meander across fields filled with sheep. And when it is time to rest and dreams are just ahead, never fear—trains don’t sleep so that you can.

With the feel of a classic and vivid artwork that captures the power and majesty of trains, this is a  fast-paced rhyming ode to the locomotive.

All Aboard! Young train fans will love reading this cross country express, featuring a variety trains doing various jobs. It's no wonder trains don't sleep. From cargo trains to passenger trains, trains are always on the go. TRAINS DON'T SLEEP is perfect for train lovers young and old. Also included in the back of the book is an illustrated train glossary. With rhythm, rhyme, and beautiful illustrations, this book is sure to be a bedtime favorite. Highly recommend picking this one up!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July! 
We're looking forward to spending the day with family & friends to celebrate our country's birthday. We hope y'all have a wonderful day! 

Monday, July 3, 2017

HEARTWOOD HOTEL By Kallie George / Blog Tour: Book Review & Giveaway!

Welcome to the next stop for the HEARTWOOD HOTEL blog tour. I'm so thrilled to share my review for this adorable children's book. Below, you'll find more about the book, my review, and don't forget to enter to win!


By: Kallie George 
Illustrated by: Stephanie Graegin
Published by: Disney Hyperion
Released on: July 3, 2017 - TODAY!
Series: A True Home #1
Purchase from: Amazon | B&N | iBooks | TBD
Add it to Goodreads 

When Mona the Mouse stumbles across the wondrous world of the Heartwood Hotel in the middle of a storm, she desperately hopes they'll let her stay. As it turns out, Mona is precisely the maid they need at the grandest hotel in Fernwood Forest, where animals come from far and wide for safety, luxury, and comfort. But the Heartwood Hotel is not all acorn souffl and soft moss-lined beds. Danger lurks, and as it approaches, Mona finds that this hotel is more than a warm place to spend the night. It might also be a home.

This delightfully enticing start of a new chapter book series tells a tale of friendship, courage, and community, with exquisite black-and-white illustrations throughout.
A cute woodland story about friendship, courage, overcoming challenges, and the true meaning of home. Heartwood Hotel is an enjoyable read that takes readers into the heart of the woods, and introduces them to a variety of woodland animal (and a few insect characters too). With Graegin's illustrations (I love this cover), and George's storytelling, this story is one that will make you wish you could spend longer than the time it takes to read this book, with Mona and her woodland friends. 

One of the things I really enjoyed about this story, is that it encompasses topics that young chapter book readers can understand. Like feeling lonely, feeling like you belong, finding new friends, doing your best despite feeling you're too small to do anything, friendship, jealously, helping others, and doing your best. Mona the mouse is a character who starts off feeling scared, lonely and a little insecure, and ends up finding she's brave, courageous, a good friend, and strong in knowing who she is. 

Heartwood Hotel is a charming, enchanting woodland story. I felt like a kid again reading it. Growing up, I loved walking through the woods imagining what all the woodland animals were doing, and would often create mental stories of their adventures. This story reminded me of that. This is a great book to pick up for kids that are reading chapter books. It also makes for a great read aloud. We're looking forward to reading the next book in this adorable series. 


KALLIE GEORGE is the author of the Magical Animal Adoption Agency series. She works as an author and speaker in Vancouver, Canada, and has a master’s in children’s literature from the University of British Columbia. She also leads workshops for aspiring writers. Kallie happened across the Heartwood Hotel on a hike with her husband. Visit her online at Website


STEPHANIE GRAEGIN received her BFA in Fine Arts from the Maryland Institute College of Art. She later attended Pratt Institute, obtaining a Master of Fine Arts in Printmaking. Stephanie now lives in Brooklyn. Visit her online at or on Twitter @Steph_Graegin. Website | Twitter | Instagram


Thank you to Disney Hyperion, 3 winners will receive a finished copy of HEARTWOOD HOTEL, US Only.


6/26/2017- YA Book NerdAuthor Post
6/27/2017- Seraphina ReadsReview
6/28/2017- Just CommonlyReview
6/29/2017- BookHounds YAAuthor Post
6/30/2017- Once Upon a Twilight- Review

7/3/2017- Mundie KidsReview
7/4/2017- Word SpelunkingAuthor Post
7/5/2017- Mommy RamblingsReview
7/6/2017- Batch of BooksReview
7/7/2017- Between the Cracks of Here and ThereAuthor Post

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 ~