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Review! Love, Daddy by Mike Ang

28 Nov

lovedaddyLove, Daddy

Written by Mike Ang

Illustrated by Katherine Killeffer

32 pages – ages 3+

Published by Michael Ang on June 16, 2015

Synopsis- The story follows a loving father as he watches his daughter grow up. Throughout his daughter’s life, all the ups and downs, the dad is always there to assure her that he loves her.

What I Thought- I like the idea of the book. It is very sweet. There need to be more books on dads and daughters and the special bond they have. The story hits the feeling of a dad’s love for his daughter spot on. New fathers will love to have a copy of the book. It is told in a rhyme that seems to work with the story but is a bit choppy in one or two places. The main characters are panda bears, which is a fun touch. I think it’s nice to use animals in stories like this because it helps people of all ethnicities relate to the characters. I really liked the reassuring ending of the book – the (grown up) daughter loves and appreciates her dad.  I think the story is meant for a variety of ages – an older child can read it by themselves but it would make a terrific read aloud for a Dad and his daughter too. The illustrations are bold primary colors with defined lines. I personally don’t think the illustrations worked with the story (they are not at all “bad” but they just weren’t a good fit). Many of the pages were to busy and took away from the story. That being said, I would still recommend the book for a new dad or as father’s day gift or maybe for military dads to give their daughters while they are away. Seeing as how this is Ang’s first children’s book, I’d like to see more.

Three out of five bookworms for this heart-felt story that is worth a read. threebooks

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Ninja Baby by David Zeltser

20 Nov

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 I liked this different type of jealousy over a new sibling story.

ninjaNinja Baby
Written by David Zeltser
Illustrated by Diane Goode

32 pages – ages 3+
Published by Chronicle Books on November 3, 2015

Theme/Topic- New Sibling/Jealousy

Genre- Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “When Nina was born, the doctor gently thumped her bottom to make sure she was breathing.

Nina karate chopped her right back.

Synopsis: From Goodreads- From the day she was born, Nina was a ninja baby. She obliterated her applesauce. She concealed herself at bath time. And she was training herself in advanced infiltration (of movie night). Nina wants to do everything by herself, until the day her parents bring home a Kung Fu Master (a baby brother). Now with a sibling, Nina will face the one thing she cannot do alone: be part of a family. With verve and humor, David Zeltser and Diane Goode tell the story of an unusually gifted child, and the family that is more than a match for her.

What I Thought- This was a fun book. I really liked how it applied the ninja (and Kung-Fu) activities to real life. Mr. Zeltser has created a great story, and the illustrations are awesome for it! They have little details that make it pretty cool. I really like the feeling of the story and I like how Nina reacts to her new Kung Fu Master baby brother. LOVED the ending of the book. It made me smile, and I like that it leaves the ending open. I can see this book giving a kid who is getting an older sibling a great feeling about the possibilities that he or she can do with their new sibling. Plus the book is just a super fun read. Any kid would like it (and their parents too)! Apparently this is Zeltser’s first picture book. I’d love to see more from him.

Activities and Resources-

Get your ninjas some training by creating your own ninja training studio! There are plenty of ninja themed games and craft activities you can do – HERE is a list of come suggestions.

Try out some martial arts with your kids! I love training in the martial arts and have been since I was 5, but you are never too young (or old) to start. Go to a trial class at a local studio, or if you are a teacher, you can invite an instructor into class to give a demonstration! 

Check out the book’s trailer below. 

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

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Thanksgiving Picks from Eileen Spinelli

13 Nov

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 very sweet book.

Written by Eileen Spinelli
Illustrated by Archie Preston
32 pages – ages 4+
Published by Zonderkidz on September 1st, 2015

Theme/Topic- Being thankful

Genre- Realistic Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “

The waitress is thankful for comfortable shoes.

The local reporter, for interesting news.”

Synopsis: From Goodreads; “Thankful, by bestselling and award-winning children’s author Eileen Spinelli, combines charming rhymes and whimsical illustrations to convey the importance of being thankful for everyday blessings. Like the gardener thankful for every green sprout, and the fireman, for putting the fire out, readers are encouraged to be thankful for the many blessings they find in their lives. Spinelli exhibits her endearing storytelling with this engaging poem, reminding children how blessed and special they are. Meant to be read aloud, this heartwarming picture book will be a treasured keepsake for parents and children alike.

Why I liked this book- Mrs. Spinelli has done it again! This is a fantastic book to start a discussion about the blessings your family has. I really like the simple illustrations. They go perfectly with the story, and have a whimsical feeling to them. I like how the book shows the kids dressing up / interacting with parents for the careers. That was cute. This book would make a nice edition in any home or classroom. The two characters could be any children, and young kids will love that. There is a sweet rhyme throughout the book, making it a perfect read-aloud for young children.

Activities and Resources- For this book, and Thanksgiving at the Tappletons’ [BELOW], talk about the blessings that your family has. That things like a turkey or pie isn’t what Thanksgiving is about.

For younger kids, they can also say what different people would be thankful for

A NASCAR racer is thankful for good gas.

A blogger is thankful for his readers.

A cookie is thankful for his monster (well maybe not).

Check out the sweet trailer!


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

Here is my other Thanksgiving pick!

tappletonsThanksgiving at the Tappletons’
Written by Eileen Spinelli
Illustrated by Maryann Cocca-Leffler
32 pages – ages 5+
Published by HarperTrophy on October 1st 1992

Synopsis- From GoodReads: “Mrs. Tappleton gets up early to prepare the turkey. Mr. Tappleton sets off to buy the pies. Kenny makes the salad, and Jenny mashes the potatoes. Then all the relatives arrive for an enormous Thanksgiving dinner. But this year nothing seems to go right. First the turkey slides down the icy hill and into the pond — “plop! splash!” Then the bakery sells out of pies. It looks like it’s going to be a pretty bleak holiday…until Grandmother reminds everyone that there’s more to Thanksgiving than a turkey and trimmings.

What I Thought- This is a pretty funny book. I like how everyone means well, but still messes up. It makes for a really nice message at the end. The illustrations are nice, and remind me of our family’s Thanksgiving get-togethers. The story really captures the sense of family. Especially the fact that Uncle Fritz and Grandpa Tappleton keep saying that they are getting hungrier (“I could eat four elephants!”). I found that pretty realistic (sorry, Dad! ;) ).

Perfect Picture Book Friday! The Fox Forest Band by Lisa E. Lindman

6 Nov

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 need good anti-bullying books in our lives and this one has a unique story.

foxforestThe Fox Forest Band
Written by Lisa E. Lindman
Illustrated by Chandra Wheeler

30 pages – ages 5+
Published by Hugo House Publishers on March 20, 2015

Theme- Bullying/Standing up

Genre- Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening Lines: “Once upon a time, there was a wood.

Old and beautiful the forest stood.

The creatures there were kind and wise

and lived out happy animal lives.”

Synopsis from GoodReads:A happy group of forest animals are stopped cold by a wizard’s enchanted fog that whispers their greatest fears. The animals think they have to run away but a brave fox gives them a better idea. He shows them how to stand up for themselves and how to handle the problem at its source.
Join the fox and his friends as they figure out how to defeat a bully wizard—and have fun in the process!

What I Thought- I really liked the message in this book – if you find a way to stand up for yourself, you should do it. The writing is very playful, and has created a fun setting for a great story. The book has awesome watercolor illustrations throughout the story, too. They add an extra dimension to the book. The story has nice rhyme to it. I like how the book is teaching a lesson of standing up for yourself in a sneaky way – it’s wrapped in a fun story. The lesson of the story and the illustrations really make this one a stand out! I enjoyed reading the book.

Activities and Resources-

PACER’S National Bullying Prevention Center’s website is PACKED with resources for home and in the classroom. Visit the site HERE. and are great websites designed for kids to use.

To learn more about The Fox Forest Band, visit the official website HERE.


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

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Halloween Picks!

25 Oct

I know, it’s Sunday. I’m late. I’m busy. But HEY! – better late than never right? Here’s some Halloween Picks and my SPOOKTACULAR a perfect picture book pick.

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 these books because it is almost Halloween – I love the illustrations and  this story is very sweet.

otterhalloweenOtter Loves Halloween!
By Sam Garton
32 pages – ages 5+
Published by Balzer + Bray on July 21st, 2015

Theme/Topic- Halloween

Genre- Realistic Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “Halloween is the best holiday ever! Teddy and I had been waiting a very long time for Halloween. There were lots of things we had to do to get ready.

Synopsis: From Goodreads; “Hi! I am Otter.

Halloween is the best holiday ever! It is also a very busy time for me and Teddy: We have to pick pumpkins, decorate the house, and make scary costumes. With so much to do, it’s a good thing I’m a Halloween expert!”

Why I liked this book- Otter is really cute. That is my main reason for picking this up. I was also really happy to read this great story. Otter is an awesome character, that has many qualities of a young child. The book has great illustrations that have a cartoony / whimsical feel, with bits of humor laced into them.

Activities and Resources- Make your own Halloween costumes and decorations! Be creative – can you reuse anything around the house in new ways? Can you recycle and combine old Halloween costumes to make a new one?

Facing Halloween fears: talk about facing large crowds, and what to do when you feel overwhelmed (Otter is scared of the trick-or-treaters when they come). Make sure children are ready for scary costumes or images. Host a kid-friendly Halloween party having the kids dress up like their favorite storybook character.

Check out the book’s trailer!

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

Here are some more great Halloween picks!

petepumpkinsPete the Cat: Five Little Pumpkins
By James Dean
32 pages – ages 6+
Published by HarperCollins on July 21st, 2015

Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “Five little pumpkins

sitting on a gate.

Synopsis: From Goodreads; “Pete the Cat takes on the classic favorite children’s song “Five Little Pumpkins” in New York Times bestselling author James Dean’s Pete the Cat: Five Little Pumpkins. Join Pete as he rocks out to this cool adaptation of the classic Halloween song!”

Why I liked this book- This is a fun Pete the Cat book! Kids will love to sing along to this, and grooving along with Pete! The illustrations will have kids smiling a mile wide, and then some. The Pete the Cat books are a fun mix of songs and writing. You can’t go wrong with a Pete the Cat book!

clarkdarkClark the Shark: Afraid of the Dark
Written by Bruce Hale
Illustrated by Guy Francis

32 pages – ages 6+
Published by HarperCollins on September 8th, 2015

Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “Clark the Shark looked over his list.

Synopsis: From Goodreads; “Clark the Shark is ready for his first big sleepover! He’s nervous about sleeping outside without his glow-fish night-light, but he doesn’t want anyone to know he’s just a teeny-tiny bit afraid of the dark. So Clark makes up a rhyme to help him stay cool: “Take heart, be smart, sharks aren’t afraid of the dark.”

But when the sun sets and his friends begin telling spooky stories, Clark’s voice sounds quiet and small and not brave at all. In this empowering tale about conquering nighttime fears, Clark the Shark learns how friendship can help light the way through the dark.

Why I liked this book- I really like the Clark the Shark series. Mr. Hale does a good job of describing the average young elementary school student’s life in the books. Clark is a very realistic character. I really like the humor in the illustrations (the game “Whirlpool” instead of “Twister”). In this book Clark has o deal with his fear of the dark. While this isn’t a Halloween book, it does deal with a subject little kids have to face on Halloween and I think it would be helpful to get kids to talk about their fears.

peekabooPeek-a BOO!
By Nina Laden
22 pages – ages 3+
Published by Chronicle Books on August 18th 2015

Opening and Synopsis- Opening[over two pages]: “Peek-a


Synopsis: From Goodreads; “In this third title in Nina Laden’s Peek-a series, the classic game of peekaboo becomes spookily fun! Colorful pictures and lively, rhyming text—featuring bats, jack-o’-lanterns, and ghosts galore—help children predict what is peeking through die-cut windows. Read the clue…guess the rhyme…giggle wildly…and repeat!

Why I liked this book- I like the inter-activeness of this board book. There are little peep-holes to look through and guess what is on the other side. I love the word play on Peek a Boo and how it is adapted to a Halloween theme. Take a look at the illustration sequence below. It’s really quite fun to read aloud. Young kids will love this book!


Perfect Picture Book Friday! Who Done It? by Olivier Tallec

16 Oct

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 of the overall uniqueness of the book.

whoduncoverWho Done It?
By Olivier Tallec
32 pages – ages 3+
Published by Chronicle Books on October 13th, 2015

Theme/Topic- Fractured Fairytales

Genre- Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “Who didn’t get enough sleep?”

Synopsis: From Goodreads; “In this charming book, each page asks the reader a question about the lineup of characters featured on the spread. Sharp eyes and keen observation are necessary. There’s only one right answer, and it’s not always easy! Kids will love learning early concepts like expressions and positions as a natural consequence of their hunt for clues in the details of the lineup. It’s a book for all audiences: the seek-and-find call to action on every page makes Who Done It? a wonderful lap or parent read, while the whimsical art, distinctive horizontal format, and hip exposed board ensures this book will be equally appealing as engaging coffee table décor.”

Why I liked this book- This was a fun book. Even though it is meant for toddlers, it is still a great activity, as some of the answers aren’t that obvious. Anyone with a keen eye or toddlers who like a good mystery, will love this book. Mr. Tallec has created an original book that kids will love to read and play along with! I like how there is a nice mix between animals, objects and kids in the illustrations. The cool thing is that the book is part-board book and part-normal book, with thick covers and thin pages. The book also has a really fun shape – it is a horizontal book that gives a “flip-up” page type. I really like this book, and think it would make a nice bedtime story. The illustrations are very cute.


Activities and Resources- You (as the teacher/parent) pick out some images, or draw your own, with one that has the suspect in it. For example, “Who ate the last cookie?” and have a selection of pictures, with one guilty looking photo. 

Break out the magnifying glasses and create your own who done it mystery! Who left the bedroom light on? Who broke the red crayon? Parents or teachers can leave clues around for the kids to find and solve the crime.

The Nothing but Monkey Business blog has a great post with suggestions for PreK detective activities and resources – you can find it HERE.

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

Recap of #StarWarsReads Day – Star Wars Epic Yarns by Jack & Holman Wang

14 Oct

Before I get to today’s post, I get to announce that LAUREN has won the Diva and Flea Prize pack generously donated by Disney Publishing! Congratulations! I will be emailing you to get the address you will like your prize sent to. If you missed my review of this great book by Mo Willems and illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi – click HERE to check it out.

DivaFriendshipPrizeNOW ON TO TODAY’S POST!


On Saturday, October 10th, there was a convergence of the force in Bloomsburg Pennsylvania. This epic event was centered at the Columbia County Traveling Library’s home base. The reason: Star Wars Reads Day!

swr5You may recognize the Sith Apprentice to the left of Lord Vader. ;) Besides being a HUGE bibliophile, I am also a HUGE Star Wars fan so this event is something I look forward to each year. I am a member of the Galactic Academy, the junior Star Wars costuming club for fans (you have to be 18 to join the 501st Legion – the world-wide Star Wars costuming club).

The library asked me to do story time at Star Wars Reads Day this year. I was very excited about it. I chose to read the Epic Yarn books by Jack and Holman Wang.

swd2swd3Things went pretty well, but the Jawa kept stealing my light saber and was plotting to nab Boba Fett’s blaster. I think she was selling them on the galactic black market. The Imperial Guard kept startling the head librarian but at least he kept the Jawa in line. Here is a secret – the Jawa is my little sister Josie.  She is a member of the Galactic Academy too. ;)


Besides story time, the library had crafts, a trivia game, cookies (the dark side always loves cookies) and BOOKS!

A great time was had by all!


To learn more about Star Wars Reads Day, visit the official Facebook page HERE.

To learn more about the Columbia County Traveling Library, visit their page HERE.

Now more about these awesome Epic Yarn books!

When I saw these books, I was amazed. They are board books with only one word per page (meant for the youngest of readers – but WOW – one word per page and the photo illustrations tell the entire Star Wars story in 24 pages per book. What is even more amazing is that the photo illustrations are of felt figures staged on mini movie sets, all created by twin brothers Jack and Holman Wang.

epicyarnTo learn more about the process of creating these figures and the sets  that go along with  them, Chronicle Books has a very interesting blog post about it, click HERE to go THERE! The three books tell the tale of the original trilogy.

epicyarns2Star Wars Epic Yarns Series
24 pages (each book) – ages PreK+
Published by Chronicle Books on April 14, 2015

Publisher’s Summary – Share your love of Star Wars with your baby! In twelve needle-felted scenes and twelve child-friendly words, rediscover the iconic moments you know and love. Simple words, sturdy pages, and an epic story make these books the perfect vehicle for early learning at lightspeed. Jedi apprentices and little princesses alike will delight in this (heart)felt retelling of the Star Wars trilogy made just for them!

What I thought – This was an amazing book series – I never knew one word could tell so much! When I read them to the group of kids at Star Wars Reads Day, we had a discussion about each page and what is happening in the photo illustration. It was a lot of fun. Probably my favorite scene is where it shows Vader leaning over the bridge-thing in Cloud City, and the one word is “Father”, because it summed up one of the biggest plot twists in movie history (I may be a bit biased) with just one word. The felt figures are extremely detailed, and make it seem like you are watching clips from the movie. Mr. & Mr. Wang have created a boardbook masterpiece! It belongs in the home of any parent or child who loves Star Wars.

I give this series five out of five bookworms!fivebooks


Perfect Picture Book Friday! It’s Raining Bat’s & Frogs by Rebecca Colby

9 Oct

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 Halloween read.

Bats-and-FrogsIt’s Raining Bats & Frogs
Written by Rebecca Colby
Illustrations by Steven Henry
40 pages – ages 5+
Published by Feiwel & Friends on August 11th, 2015

Theme/Topic- Halloween

Genre- Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “Every year, Delia looked forward to flying in the Witch Parade. This year was no different, despite the black clouds hovering overhead.”

Synopsis: From Goodreads; “Delia has been looking forward all year to flying in the annual Halloween Parade. But parade day brings heavy rain. So, Delia takes action. Using her best magic, Delia changes the rain to cats and dogs. But that doesn’t work too well! Then hats and clogs. That doesn’t work, either! Each new type of rain brings a new set of problems. How can Delia save the day?”

Why I liked this book- This is a really fun Halloween book. Ms. Colby has written a great rhyming, whimsical story about how one little witch tries to do good, and ends up making it worse! The illustrations are hilarious and make you smile. There are little word-bubbles on the spreads that add a lot of humor – “I never met a cat I didn’t like.” “Dognabit! Give me my broom back!” – that kids (or parents) will love! I really like how Delia has a familiar (a witch’s magical animal, like a black cat) – which is a raven. Ms. Colby and Mr. Henry have created a great Halloween book!

Activities and Resources- Ask your child/student if they can think of any more things that rhyme with Bats & Frogs that would cause mayhem if they rained from the sky? (Or just ask them about things that could “rain”, if they are a bit too young) What would you [they] do if whatever “rained”? What would happen?

Put on your own Halloween Parade! Who came?

For more Perfect Picture books, please visit Susanna Hill’s blog HERE!

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Pool by JiHyeon Lee

19 Sep

Sorry I’m late about this! School got in the way! ;)

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 I am a fan of really well done wordless picture books!


By JiHyeon Lee
56 pages – ages 3+
Published by Chronicle Books on May 5, 2015

Theme/Topic- Imagination/Creativity/Friendship

Genre- Fiction/Wordless

Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “” [Wordless]

Synopsis: From Goodreads; “What happens when two shy children meet at a very crowded pool? Dive in to find out! Deceptively simple, this masterful book tells a story of quiet moments and surprising encounters, and reminds us that friendship and imagination have no bounds.

Why I liked this book-  This is a marvelous wordless picture book. It really encompasses unlikely friendships and the creativity in them, as such. Ms. Lee is a great artist. Her art masterfully tells a story that is an inspiring adventure. The artwork is just stunning. The illustrations show that, with friends, you can do anything, and have a lot of fun. The art makes great use of white space, and has a really cool vibe to them. I recommend this book, and I look forward to more books by Ms. Lee.

Activities and Resources-

Take an ordinary circumstance, and then create something amazing from it, much like the MC in this book.

Try telling a story in only pictures. Kids can draw their own pictures or cut them out of magazines. Paste them together to make a story of your own.

You can get free wallpaper images of the book from Chronicle books – click HERE

There is also a great blog post over at Chronicle about how to read wordless picture books with kids – click HERE

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

Perfect Picture Book Friday! I Thought This Was A Bear Book by Tara Lazar

11 Sep

Perfect Picture Book Friday is Back! Let’s start this off right with a book from the one and only TARA LAZAR!


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 fractured fairy tale story!

taralazarbearI Thought This Was A Bear Book
Written by Tara Lazar
Illustrations by Benji Davies
32 pages – ages 5+
Published by Aladdin on August 4th, 2015

Theme/Topic- Fractured Fairytales

Genre- Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “Once upon a time there were three bears.”

Synopsis: From Goodreads; “After an unfortunate bookcase collapse, Alien suddenly finds himself jolted out of his story and into a very strange world, complete with talking bears. Desperate to return to his book, Alien asks the Bear family for help so he can get back to his story and save his beloved Planet Zero from total destruction before it’s too late.
Mama Bear and Papa Bear try all kinds of zany contraptions (with some help from their nemesis, Goldilocks) without much luck. Baby Bear might have the perfect solution to get the Alien out of the woods and back to his planet…but will anyone listen to the littlest voice in the story?

Why I liked this book- Ms. Lazar is a great picture book writer. (I reviewed her picture book “The Monstore” HERE.) I love the story idea for this book! It will have kids and adults giggling uncontrollably! Prince Zilch, the Alien, is a funny character who needs to get back to Planet Zero to save it from ultimate destruction! He seems so out of place in the Bear’s book! Mr. Davies’ illustrations are spot on and fit perfectly into the story! The writing was funny and clever. This is the kind of book that you can read over and over again. This story is perfect for bed times, and any times!

Activities and Resources- This book is a giant fractured fairy tale, because some books fell on the floor, and the characters got jumbled up. Why don’t you take some random [picture] books, and jumble THEIR characters together? What would happen? How would they handle the problem?

Ask your kids what would happen if the alien landed in the Three Little Pigs book or an Elephant and Piggy book?

There is so much fun to be had here!

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


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