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Perfect Picture Book Friday! Sea Bones by Bob Barner AND NEW Write Chat Episode!

22 May

Happy Friday!

Before I get to my Perfect Picture Book Pick, I wanted to ask that, after you are done here, click on over to The Write Chat, the Vlog that Felicia (kid author and creator of the Stanley and Katrina blog) and I started. We are interviewing – the Super-Folding Author Tom Angleberger!!!!!!




Now back to your regularly scheduled review.

Susanna Leonard Hill has a feature on her blog called Perfect Picture Book Friday. It is a list of “perfect” picture books recommended by all sorts of people. I chose this book because it is a fun nonfiction book for school.

saebonesSea Bones
By Bob Barner
32 pages – ages 4+
Published by Chronicle Books on April 14, 2015

Theme/Topic- Things in the sea

Genre- Nonfiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening – “Wonderful creatures live in the sea.

Synopsis – From Goodreads: “Author and illustrator Bob Barner makes waves with his signature rhyming text and colorful illustrations in this lush picture book about the sea. Filled with incredible fishy facts about vertebrates, invertebrates, endoskeletons, and exoskeletons, plus an underwater informational chart, Sea Bones will make young readers want to dive right in!

Why I liked this book- This is a really cool book that teaches you a lot of things about creatures of the sea, and their structural supports. The torn paper pictures have a cool feel to them that makes you want to look at them for ages.

Sea-Bones2The book is meant for younger kids – to introduce them to vertebrates and invertebrates that live in the sea and I think the illustrations do a lot to capture your imagination. The story has a sing-song rhyme to it that makes the text flow.

The book has a cool fact paragraph near the bottom of the page for more advanced readers/read-alouds. The book includes a mini-chart on sea animals and their structural supports. It inspired me to ask about other fish. It is a really cool nonfiction book for younger kids!

Activities and Resources- 

 You don’t have to go far for a resource – there is a handy reference chart in the back of the book to help explain the sea animals and their structures.

Why don’t you make up your own sea animal and design a structure for it? What will it look like? How will it live?

To find more Perfect Picture Books please visit Susanna Hill’s blog HERE!

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Yummy Stories by Lil L. Alexander

15 May

Susanna Leonard Hill has a feature on her blog called Perfect Picture Book Friday. It is a list of “perfect” picture books recommended by all sorts of people. I chose this book because it is a cute way to get kids to eat healthy!

yummyYummy Stories

By Lil L. Alexander
Illustrations by Anda Cofaru
56 pages – ages 3+
Published by CreateSpace on December 9, 2014

Theme/Topic- Nutrition / Life Lessons

Genre- Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening – “Once upon a time, there was a tiny pea, merry and green, called Peachy Pea.”

Synopsis – From Goodreads: 

Why I liked this book- It’s awesome how this book multitasks – it teaches about eating veggies and fruits (they take place in the stories, and they’re in the background – often part of the scenery), but it also teaches life lessons on being kind, friendly, honest, etc. The illustrations are really cute and make you feel great inside. The mini-stories it has are told like old-time fairy tale, or are played off of one. There are six stories in all. Ms. Alexander’s style is a cute, warm story.  Not many Self-Published Books get on my Perfect Picture Book Friday posts, but I really liked it promotes healthy eating. This is a great book for bedtimes, as it can be read in several nights.

Activities and Resources- 

Get kids to be interested in healthy food by creating food art! You can make an image out of veggies and fruits! Be creative – then you get to eat it! (Images have a Creative Commons public license).

kiwi-583162_640 banana-342575_640

Make your own story involving healthy foods! Who would be in it?

I wrote mine by fracturing/retelling a fairy tale / poem (I think Mother Goose):

Jack Horn could eat no corn,

His wife could eat no bean,

So between the two of them,

They ate the garden clean.

To learn more about Yummy Stories, food art, and organic gardening, please visit Ms. Alexander’s website HERE.




To find more Perfect Picture Books please visit Susanna Hill’s blog HERE!


Perfect Picture Book Friday!

8 May

Susanna Leonard Hill has a feature on her blog called Perfect Picture Book Friday. It is a list of “perfect” picture books recommended by all sorts of people. I chose this book because it really shows the appreciation for what parents do for you and Sunday is Mother’s Day. Plus, I love Pete the Cat. :)

petecatPete the Cat: Rock On Mom and Dad!
By James Dean

4 – 8 years
Grade Level: Preschool – 3
Series: Pete the Cat
  24 pages – ages 4+
Published by HarperFestival on March 10, 2015

Theme/Topic- Appreciation/Mothers’ Day/Fathers’ Day

Genre- Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening“It’s Monday morning, and Pete the Cat is late for school. His alarm didn’t go off.

Synopsis – from the publisher “Mom and Dad do so much for Pete that he wants to thank them with a special surprise. But what can Pete do that will show Mom and Dad how much he loves them? In this groovy story, Pete learns that the best way to say thank you is to mean it. Young readers will love watching Pete surprise Mom and Dad with something totally awesome.”

Why I picked this book- This is a very sweet book about how you can make a great gift  for your parents by just doing what you do best. Pete the Cat is a great role model for young kids. He looks at life with a positive attitude. I like how, while Pete is thinking of what he can do, the picture shows his idea, which is good in thought, but it usually ends in trouble (mowing the grass = accidentally mowing a flowerbed). It made me chuckle! This is a marvelous book! Tho book comes with a poster, little cards for your parents and stickers too!

Activities and Resources- 

Celebrate Mother’s Day! :) Happy early Mother’s Day to all the moms out there! :)

Ask kids what is it that THEY do best? Try to figure out how they can use what they do best to make a present for their parent.

Have your kid do something nice for someone who does things for them all the time – just like Pete the Cat, it is good o realize how much some people do for you. :)


To find more Perfect Picture Books please visit Susanna Hill’s blog HERE!

 Here are some other great Mothers’ Day books! 

stellaStella Brings the Family
By Miriam B. Schiffer
Illustrated by Holly Clifton-Brown

36 pages- ages 5+
Published by Chronicle Books on May 5, 2015

What I Thought- This is a cute book that, in a simple way, explains that Stella had two dads and she wants to celebrate Mothers’ Day. I like how the book mentions that another kid has two moms. It shows how families can be very different, but they are all families that love each other. This is a nice, diverse, children’s book.


mothersdayPinkalicious: Mother’s Day Surprise
By Victoria Kann

Series: Pinkalicious
24 pages – ages 4+
Published by HarperFestival on March 10, 2015

What I Thought- I like how Pinkalicious has good intentions, and how a problem always arises. Ms. Kann has written another great book with a great ending. The illustrations are cute, and collagey. :) This is a really great picture book that captures daily life!

Perfect Picture Book Friday! How to Read a Story by Kate Messner

1 May

Susanna Leonard Hill has a feature on her blog called Perfect Picture Book Friday. It is a list of “perfect” picture books recommended by all sorts of people. I chose this book because it is a cute story about how to read a story with a buddy.

howtoreadHow To Read A Story
By Kate Messner
Illustrations by Mark Siegal
pages – ages 4+
Published by on

Theme/Topic- Reading

Genre- How-To/Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening

Step 1

Find A Story.

Synopsis – From Goodreads:

Step One: Find a story. (A good one.)
Step Two: Find a reading buddy. (Someone nice.)
Step Three: Find a reading spot. (Couches are cozy.)
Now: Begin.

Accomplished storytellers Kate Messner and Mark Siegel chronicle the process of becoming a reader: from pulling a book off the shelf and finding someone with whom to share a story, to reading aloud, predicting what will happen, and—finally—coming to The End. This picture book playfully and movingly illustrates the idea that the reader who discovers the love of reading finds, at the end, the beginning.”

Why I liked this book- This book made me smile while reading it. Ms. Messner has written a sweet book that will be perfect for bedtimes and classrooms everywhere. I like how the book has a story within a story within a story (“The Princess, The Dragon, and The Robot” (the story the characters read)). I like that the MCs are a kid and a dog – not 2 kids. The illustrations are amazing. They capture the spirit of the book perfectly.


Activities and Resources- 

 Well, DUH! Read a story with someone! They will enjoy it! :)

This book is a great way for a classroom to start a book club! You can all read the book (this book – or another) and talk about it using the steps in HOW TO READ A STORY.

It would also be fun to video tape someone reading a story and have them go through the “steps” to reading a story.

Hey speaking of that – here’s a video of me reading a story for National Read Aloud Day from, like, three years ago! How did I do?

Visit Kate Messner’s website HERE

To find more Perfect Picture Books please visit Susanna Hill’s blog HERE!




REVIEWS! Farewell Flopsy and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to School

27 Apr

Benjamin Chaud is a French author/illustrator whose work I admire. I am reviewing two of his latest books.

Both of these books get five out of five bookworms from me!


farewellFarewell Floppy
By Benjamin Chaud
40 pages – ages 3+
Published by Chronicle Books on March 3, 2015

Synopsis- From GoodReads: “It was the perfect plan: abandon pet rabbit Floppy in the woods and take a giant leap toward adulthood. Having a bunny that moonlights as a best friend is for babies, right? It’s better to cut a pet loose, make new human friends, and not be so dependent on a floppy-eared fur ball bent on chewing electrical cords, right? If saying good-bye to Floppy is required to grow up, why does life without Floppy seem so wrong?

What I Thought- After reading this book, I have decided that lop bunnies (what Floppy is) are the rabbit equivalent to Basset Hounds (which I have one). They both seem very lazy. ;)


My dog Clyde’s “excited” look.

Mr. Chaud is a fabulous artist with an eye for detail. It really shows through in his work. This book is sweet, and teaches a valuable lesson. A story about deciding to abandon your pet in the woods may seem a bit harsh, but in reality, the story is about the boy choosing his pet and seeing how much he cares for him and the value in the pet. I like how the kid goes through a major character change by the end of the story. It made me smile.

afunnythingA Funny Thing Happened On The Way To School…
By Davide Cali
Illustrated by Benjamin Chaud
44 pages – ages 6+
Published by Chronicle Books on March 3, 2015

Synopsis- From GoodReads: “First, some giant ants steal breakfast.

Then there are the evil ninjas, massive ape, mysterious mole people, giant blob, and countless other daunting (and astonishing) detours along the way to school. Are these excuses really why this student is late? Or is there another explanation that is even more outrageous than the rest?

What I Thought- This is a follow-up to “I Didn’t Do My Homework Because…” (see my review HERE), and it didn’t disappoint! Kids will love this book! As someone who is almost always just in time to school, this book is a necessity for me! Mr. Cali and Mr. Chaud are a wonderful team who work very well together. The book is funny, and outrageous, and totally unbelievable…or is it? You’ll never know… Mr. Chaud did a great job illustrating. He has a realistic, yet whimsical approach to his art. I find it funny (and cool) how the ninjas’ legs can bend backwards. Cali’s zany story captures the mind of a kid perfectly. This is a great book!

My Grandma is a Ninja by Todd Tarpley

14 Apr

grandmaninjaMy Grandma is a Ninja

By Todd Tarpley

Illustrated by Danny Chatzikonstantinou

40 pages – ages 4+

Published by NorthSouth on March 1, 2015

Synopsis- Ethan’s grandma is a ninja. She can use a zip line like nobody’s business, she can do awesome karate moves, she can even do a backflip… in slow motion! How cool is that?! Ethan and his friends love it. That is, until Ethan’s grandma kicks the team’s soccer ball so hard it deflates and everyone gets upset. Ethan is no longer sure having a ninja grandma that great.

What I Thought- OKAY! What kid wouldn’t love this book?! It has a ninja, who actually happens to be an elderly grandmother – PURE AWESOMENESS! The illustrations are funny, wacky, and they flip out at you – in slow motion! This book will have little kids laughing out loud, and big kids rolling on the floor, laughing their lungs out! Mr. Tarpley has written a great book that has a funny circling ending. It kept me chuckling.

I give this book 5 out of 5 bookworms!fivebooks


13 Apr

HOWDY! April is National Poetry month and I have some great books to tell you about. But first –

I’ve got a winner for you!

Not that long ago, I hosted a giveaway for a copy of Donna Galanti’s exciting new adventure book, “Joshua and the Lightning Road”.

Giveaway for US Residents

Giveaway for US Residents

And the winner is…


I will be emailing you for the address you want your book sent to. Congratulations!

Now on to some poetry!

All of these great books are getting 5 bookworms!


From a Smile Falls a Laugh

fallslaughBy Whit Albright

Illustrated by the Students of Mountain View High School


59 pages – ages 5+

Published by A Peaceful Press on July 20, 2009

Synopsis- From GoodReads: “Have a staring contest with the sun, meet a creature made our of cookie dough, visit a volcano that does the strangest thing, and have lunch with a giraffe. From a Smile Falls a Laugh is a whimsical walk into a world of creativity, joy, laughter, compassion and adventure through poems and illustrations. Each of Whit Albright’s poems is illustrated by a young adult who has created an original piece of artwork inspired by the writing. This inventive and entertaining book is meant to be shared by adults and children alike a wonderful read aloud activity for teachers or parents of small children, or a playful experience for kids who are old enough to read it themselves. From a Smile Falls a Laugh contains poems and illustrations that are intended to plant the seeds of hope, nurture caring, and create kindness towards others.

What I Thought- This was a great poetry book. I like that the poems are illustrated by High School Students (one student did the picture for each poem). They are all unique in their styles, so it gives a fresh feel for each poem. Mr. Albright’s poems are funny and will have you laughing out loud! They are creative, whimsical, and very kid-friendly. Mr. Albright really knows how to write a great poem! This is a fun book of poetry. I think that kids would enjoy it, as all the humor is younger-oriented, so the kids would get the jokes. This would make a great bedtime story!


Shel Silverstein Collection

By Shel Silverstein

ages 4+

Published by HarperCollins

Synopsis- From Publisher:

Falling Up Special Edition:
Twelve new, never-before-published poems by Shel Silverstein have been added to the classic edition of his bestselling poetry book, FALLING UP!

Where the Sidewalk Ends Special Edition:
Happy Birthday, WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS! Celebrate 40 years of this favorite bestselling poetry collection by the outrageously funny and profound Shel Silverstein!

Every Thing On It:
The second original book to be published since Silverstein’s passing in 1999. With over 100 never-before-seen poems and illustrations completed before he died and pulled from his personal archives, EVERY THING ON IT will follow in the tradition and format of his other acclaimed bestselling poetry collections!

A Light in the Attic Special Edition:
Twelve new, never-before-published poems by Shel Silverstein have been added to the classic edition of his bestselling poetry book, A LIGHT IN THE ATTIC!

What I Thought- I’ve always been a fan of Mr. Silverstein’s poems, so seeing them here in these four books was a joy. Mr. Silverstein has his style of humorous, black & white drawings that go well with his hilarious poems. They often provide a deeper meaning to the poem (whether humorous or not), like a giant tail of a terrible Hi-Monster is featured on one page, and on the next, you see the tail connecting to a small creature (saying “Hi”). The books are very good, and I was happy to be able to read them. There are 36 new poems in the books – 12 in Where the Sidewalk Ends, 12 in Falling Up, and 12 more in A Light in the Attic – in celebration of the 40th anniversary of Where the Sidewalk Ends! This is a marvelous collection!


bronzevilleBronzeville Boys and Girls

By Gwendolyn Brooks

Illustrated by Faith Ringgold

48 pages – ages 4+

Published by Amistad on January 27, 2015

Synopsis- From GoodReads: “In 1956, Pulitzer Prize winner Gwendolyn Brooks created a collection of poems that celebrated the joy, beauty, imagination, and freedom of childhood. She reminded us that whether we live in the Bronzeville section of Chicago or any other neighborhood, childhood is universal in its richness of emotions and experiences. And now a brand-new generation of readers will savor Ms. Brooks’s poems in this stunning reillustrated edition that features vibrant paintings by Caldecott Honor artist Faith Ringgold.

What I Thought– This is a nice multicultural poetry book that takes place in the 1950’s (or sometime around then). The poems take place in the Bronzeville section of Chicago, but could be anywhere where there are kids. They are simple poems, narrating from a character’s view. I like how it shows how people thought back then (in one poem, a girl is lamenting that she won’t be able to run anymore because it’s unladylike). Ms. Ringgold’s illustrations add a nice, warm feeling to the poetry. Altogether, they are a great team for this book.

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Goodnight Already! by Jory John

10 Apr

Susanna Leonard Hill has a feature on her blog called Perfect Picture Book Friday. It is a list of “perfect” picture books recommended by all sorts of people. I chose this book because we’ve all known people like Duck (and Bear).

goodnightGoodnight Already!
By Jory John
Illustrations by Benji Davies 
pages – ages 5+
Published by on

Theme/Topic- Sleep

Genre- Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening – “I’ve never been so tired. I could sleep for weeks. Months, even!

Synopsis – From Goodreads: “Bear can’t wait to go to sleep.

But Duck wants to hang out.

How will Bear ever fall asleep?”

Why I liked this book- This is a cute book. One character wants to sleep, the other doesn’t. A perfect scenario for mischief! I like Bear’s expressions, and Duck’s wild ideas. The story has a hint of an endless cycle, and a lot of fun. The pictures make you smile and laugh. Mr. John and Mr. Davies make a great team together, and it really keeps you on your toes. Just when you think you know what will happen next, you are in for a surprise! :) I love this book!

Activities and Resources- 

Talk with your child about bedtimes. Maybe about how they should respect other people’s bedtimes, and not bother them unless if absolutely necessary.

Maybe talk about how Duck could have been a better neighbor to bear.

Check out  the trailer!

To find more Perfect Picture Books please visit Susanna Hill’s blog HERE!




Perfect Picture Book Friday! Polar Bear’s Underwear by tupera tupera

3 Apr

Susanna Leonard Hill has a feature on her blog called Perfect Picture Book Friday. It is a list of “perfect” picture books recommended by all sorts of people. I chose this book because it is a really funny story and the title hooked me. ;)

polarbearPolar Bear’s Underwear
By tupera tupera
pages – ages 5+
Published by Chronicle Books on

Theme/Topic- Lost underwear Matching / finding things

Genre- Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening – “Poor Polar Bear! He can’t find his underwear!

Synopsis – From Goodreads: “Polar Bear has lost his underwear! Where could it be? There’s only one thing to do: Remove the book’s underwear-shaped bellyband to find the missing pair! Is that Polar Bear’s underwear? No, it’s Zebra’s—see the colorful stripes? What about that itty-bitty pair? No, those belong to Butterfly! And so the search continues, with every page revealing an animal in eye-popping undies.

Why I liked this book- This is a funny picture book that shows animals walking around in their underwear. Polar Bear has lost his underwear, and can’t remember what it looks like, so he and his friend mouse (wearing red undies) set out to find it! They find lots of underwear, but they all belong to different animals! Seeing what the animals are doing, and the little bit of text about it (for example: Pig’s underwear – “Nom nom nom. It’s Pig’s underwear!” (pig is eating)), will have young kids cracking up! The illustrations are slightly wacky, and will make kids laugh! This book team really makes it work! This is a marvelous picture book!

Activities and Resources- 

Chronicle Books has a free activity kit to go along with this book! Click HERE to get it.

You can design another animal’s underwear, based on how they look, what they [can] eat, etc.! What would it look like?

Here is my example –


Click to Enlarge!


To find more Perfect Picture Books please visit Susanna Hill’s blog HERE!




Bunnies and Spring and Superheros OH MY!

1 Apr

With Spring and Easter right around the corner, I have a line up of books that should be on your TBR list!

By Kevan Atteberry
32 pages – ages 4+
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on January 27 2015

Synopsis- Declan the monster was taking a hike through the woods, being polite by saying hello to everything he meets. And then, he sees… BUNNIES!!! Like any self-respecting monster, he gets a… tad excited. Just a tad. But you know what? Those bunnies run away! Poor Declan. He just wants to be with the BUNNIES!!!

What I Thought- Well, in my book, any book (hee hee) with 3 exclamation points in the title and a group of multi-coloured bunnies and a cute, fluffy monster on the cover is already a winner! Mr. Atteberry has written a great picture book. I saw that Mr. Atteberry has illustrated many picture books but this is his first author/illustrated book. There are cute illustrations, and a fun storyline. The text is very sparse and the story is told mostly through the illustrations. I kept thinking of Declan as a over-sized toddler running after the bunnies. I really enjoyed this story. I have one last thought on this book – BUNNIES!!!

upinthegardenUp in the Garden and Down in the Dirt
by Kate Messner
Illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal
52 pages – ages 5+
Published by Chronicle Books on March 3, 2015

Synopsis- A little girl and her nana start/continue a garden, and the book chronicles how they farm and tend to the garden, while animals and bugs do what they naturally do.

What I Thought- This is a really sweet book that explains how nature helps make a garden, with teamwork. You work above ground, they can work below ground. The illustrations are eye-pleasing, and creative. They whimsically show everything happening in the garden. The story line shows bonding between the girl and her nana, and tells you a little about how bugs and animals help a garden (even skunks help!). I really like this picture book!

findingspringFinding Spring
By Carin Berger
40 pages – ages 4+
Published by Greenwillow Books on January 27, 2015

Synopsis- Maurice is a bear cub, who is excited to experience his first spring! Sadly, he has to take a [long] nap. But, Maurice is so excited, he can’t wait! So, when his mother goes to sleep, Maurice slips out of the cave, and searches for spring! And, then, when a white flake of spring appears, Maurice is over-joyed. He ends up bringing a huge ball of the white flakes home in his scarf, to show his mother. He takes his nap first, though.

What I Thought- Well, with the fact that it is April and that we just got 4 more inches of snow, I want to find spring too! This book is cute. Maurice is impatient, so he sneaks out and discovers “Spring”. What kid wouldn’t do that? His personality really shines through, and I like his scarf ;) . The story is cute but what really grabs you is the illustrations. They are just cool. They are all collages. The random lines of letters are a nice touch too.

bunniesbunniesAll Hallows Eve: Bunnies! Bunnies! Bunnies!
By David Eveleigh
ebook 5300 words – ages 9+
Published by Smashwords on April 3, 2015

Synopsis- All Hallows Eve is back in an all-new adventure! It’s Easter-time, and Eve is helping at an Easter egg hunt for orphans. Then some greasers (you know, from the 1950’s? After all, Eve lives around then!) wearing bunny-ears and toting pistols come and try to rob the orphanage. Eve goes to stop them (they’re ruining the orphans’ Easter!), and suddenly finds herself as a bunny – and powerless! What can she do?

What I Thought- I am a huge fan of Eve and her adventures. The Eve novela books are written in comic style, but are a written story with some illustrations.  Eve’s adventures are clean reads for kids and they always have a great message with out being “preachy.”Mr. Eveleigh has written a great 13th book in this series. His comic images are peppered throughout the book, and add some humor to the story. The book itself combines humor and mystery into a great story – add some Eve superhero powers and you get a book any kids will like! I like how Mr. Eveleigh keeps you on the edge of your seat at all times. I can’t wait for book #14!

I hope you find these great books! :D They all get 5 out of 5 bookworms from me! fivebooks


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