Tag Archives: childrens books

The Story of #DivaandFlea – Review, Giveaway, Mo Willems and Tony DiTerlizzi!

7 Oct

I am very excited to tell you about this book! In case you are wondering about the title to this post, I am not giving away Mo Willems and Tony DiTerlizzi BUT I am giving away a cool prize pack to celebrate this collaboration of these two titans of children’s literature (read to the bottom to see how to win a prize pack provided by Disney Publishing)!

DivaandFleaCoverThe Story of Diva and Flea
Written by Mo Willems
Illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi
80 pages – ages 6+
Published by Disney-Hyperion on October 13, 2015

About the Book: (from the publisher)

Diva, a small yet brave dog, and Flea, a curious streetwise cat, develop an unexpected friendship in this unforgettable tale of discovery.

For as long as she could remember, Diva lived at 11 avenue Le Play in Paris, France. For as long as he could remember, Flea also lived in Paris, France–but at no fixed address. When Flea flâneurs past Diva’s courtyard one day, their lives are forever changed. Together, Diva and Flea explore and share their very different worlds, as only true friends can do.

What I thought: This was an amazing book! I thought it was really cool how Mr. Willems partnered with Tony DiTerlizzi because he was searching for the perfect illustrations for his story. It is a great transition book for kids moving up from picture books or early readers. There is a nice contrast of words and pictures that make the 80 pages go by in a breeze. There is a lot of humor in the book, like Flea telling Diva to say “Meow”, and Flea’s pronunciation of words. I was also happy to see one Pigeon book reference, on a poster at the subway scene. That made me smile while I was reading it. I think that as a whole, Mr. Willems and Mr. DiTerlizzi make a fantastic team. I would be thrilled to see more of their collaborations! I really enjoyed reading this great story of friendship! I found it pretty neat that Diva and Flea are real animals in France.

About the Author


Mo Willems (www.pigeonpresents.com), a number one New York Times best-selling author and illustrator, has been awarded a Caldecott Honor on three occasions (for Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!, Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale, and Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity). Dont Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! was also an inaugural inductee into the Indies Choice Picture Book Hall of Fame. The celebrated Elephant & Piggie early-reader series has been awarded the Theodor Seuss Geisel Medal on two occasions (for There Is a Bird on Your Head! and Are You Ready to Play Outside?) as well as garnering four Honors (for We Are in a Book!, I Broke My Trunk!, Let’s Go for a Drive! and A Big Guy Took My Ball!).


About the Illustrator


Tony DiTerlizzi (www.diterlizzi.com), a number-one New York Times best-selling author and illustrator, created the middle-grade series The Spiderwick Chronicles with Holly Black, which has sold millions of copies, been translated into more than 30 languages and made into a feature film. He won a Caldecott Honor for illustrating The Spider & The Fly, and in 2014 he teamed up with Lucasfilm to retell the original Star Wars trilogy in a picture book featuring artwork by Academy award-winning concept artist, Ralph McQuarrie. He lives in Amherst, Massachusetts with his wife, daughter and dog, Mimi.

Want to learn more?

Click HERE to be transported over to the Disney Publishing website for Diva and Flea.

Find out more on at Disney.com

Follow Disney on Twitter and Instagram

Follow Mo Willems on Twitter

Follow Tony DiTerlizzi on Twitter and Instagram

Check out this video where Mo Willems and Tony DiTerlizzi talk about their collaboration!
I personally found the video very cool because it talks about how Mo Willems had a story but he couldn’t draw it correctly so he sought out an illustrator who could draw the story as he envisioned. As it turns out Mr. DiTerlizzi added much more to the story through his illustrations.


One insanely lucky blog commenter will be randomly picked from all people who make a comment on this post to win this prize pack provided by Disney Publishing (US residents only please)!

DivaFriendshipPrizeAll you have to do is comment and tell me why you are excited to experience this book! On October 14th I will announce one winner randomly drawn for all the comments. Good luck and thank you for reading my blog!

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Swan by Laurel Snyder

25 Sep

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 beautiful nonfiction story.

Swan_jkt_Bologna.inddSwan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova
Written by Laurel Snyder
Illustrations by Julie Morstad
52 pages – ages 6+
Published by Chronicle Books on August 18, 2015

Theme/Topic- Perseverance / Kindness

Genre- Nonfiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening: 

“The city is big.
Anna is small.
The snow is
and all around.”

Synopsis: From Goodreads; “One night, her [Anna’s] mother takes her to the ballet, and everything is changed. Anna finds a beauty inside herself that she cannot contain.

So begins the journey of a girl who will one day grow up to be the most famous prima ballerina of all time, inspiring legions of dancers after her: the brave, the generous, the transcendently gifted Anna Pavlova.

Why I liked this book- This is an amazing book! The illustrations are top-notch, and really bring you into the story. They are incredibly beautiful and awe-inspiring. The ratio of detail to blank-space is very compelling. The story line itself is a great blend of the biography of Anna Pavlova and emotion-tugging heart-strings. Ms. Snyder puts it in a marvelous free-verse poetry style, with repetition and a rhythmic feeling. This is an amazing book, and one I would definitely recommend to anyone! There is a great balance between learning, and a great story!

Activities and Resources- Learn more about Anna Pavlova HERE.

The author includes a little bit of info in the back for an older reader, if they are interested.

Here is a video of Anna Pavlova in her “Dying Swan” role:

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

Review! Alistair Grim’s Odditorium by Gregory Funaro AND GIVEAWAY WINNER!!!

29 Jun

The winner of the Vanishing Island Giveaway is:



Congratulations! I will be emailing you to get your info to send you the book!

odditoriumAlistair Grim’s Odditorium
By Gregory Funaro
432 pages – ages 9+
Published by Disney-Hyperion on January 6, 2015

Synopsis- Grubb (spelled like the insect, but with an extra ‘B’, and no last name) is an orphan. He was taken in as a babe by the kindly but elderly Mrs. Smears. Sadly, Mrs. Smears dies when he was just six. Mr. Smears, angry and in grief, turns out to be a not-so-nice man. When Grubb runs away to get rid of bullies (and Mr. Smears), he accidentally hitches a ride with a mysterious “Mr. G”. It turns out that Alistair Grim (Mr. G) is a collector of magical items (he collects them in the Odditorium), and he needs help that Grubb can give. Grubb becomes Mr. G’s apprentice and soon finds himself in a life and death battle to keep the magic out of evil hands.

What I Thought- This was a really good book! Grubb is a great character! You really feel for him, and hope that his life turns out for the better. Alistair Grim is also a cool character. He seems like that interesting, distant uncle that everyone likes. The Odditorium is a fascinating building that I would love to check out. The Odditoria of the Odditorium is also awesome. If you don’t know what I mean, read the book! You’ll love it! I really like Mr. Funaro’s writing style. There is a ton of description, without it ever bogging the story down. It really made me feel like I was in London during the 1800’s. At 432 pages it is a story that a reader can really sink into and enjoy. The non-stop action will keep readers interested in the story and the characters keep you wanting to learn more.

I give this book 5 out of 5 bookworms!fivebooks

Review and Giveaway! The Princess and the Pony by Kate Beaton #PonyTime

25 Jun


Princess and the Pony FINAL TEXT.pdfThe Princess and the Pony

By Kate Beaton

40 pages – ages 4+

Will be published by Arthur A. Levine Books on June 30, 2015

Synopsis- From the Publisher: “Princess Pinecone knows exactly what she wants for her birthday this year. A BIG horse. A STRONG horse. A horse fit for a WARRIOR PRINCESS! But when the day arrives, she doesn’t quite get the horse of her dreams…


From the artist behind the comic phenomenon Hark! A Vagrant, The Princess and the Pony is a laugh-out-loud story of brave warriors, big surprises, and falling in love with one unforgettable little pony.

What I Thought- This was a cute picture book set in viking times. Princess Pinecone is a young princess whose parents don’t seem to understand that she’s a warrior princess. They give her cozy sweaters instead of armor and warrior stuff.


I like how this book is about being yourself, and not what society says you are. It also shows that you can make the best out of any situation… and it has farting ponies ha ha ha. The illustrations have just the right amount of detail and they add to the humor in the story. The story isn’t about girls not being able to be warriors – there are plenty pictures in the illustrations. It’s just that Princess Pinecone’s seems to have been labeled more princess than warrior. The twist in the story (at the battle scene) was unexpected, and made me laugh. The book reminds me of one of those fractured fairy tale cartoons. Overall very cute story with a nice message.


I give this book five out of five bookworms.fivebooks

About the Author

Photo credit: Notker Mahr.

Photo credit: Notker Mahr.

Kate Beaton is the author of Hark! A Vagrant, her #1 New York Times bestselling collection of comics which began as a webcomic in 2007. The Princess and the Pony is her first picture book. She is the recipient of multiple Harvey awards, andher work has been featured in the New Yorker, Harper’s, and The Best American Comics Anthology. Kate lives in Toronto,and you can find her online at www.beatontown.com and on Twitter as @beatonna.


Learn more at Scholastic.com

Visit the author at BeatonTown.com

Follow Kate Beaton on Twitter

NOT YOUR AVERAGE PRINCESS prize pack!!!!!!! Thanks to the great people at Scholastic, I get to give away TWO copies of THE PRINCESS AND THE PONY !!!

Giveaway open to US addresses only. Prizing provided by Scholastic.

All you have to do is comment and next week on July second, I will pick two winners out of all the comments – pretty easy peasy huh? :) Good Luck!

BLOG TOUR AND GIVEAWAY! Vanishing Island by Barry Wolverton

22 Jun

vanishing island preview tour banner updated

I am very excited to share this book with you. It is the beginning to a very promising series and even better – one of you will get to win a signed ARC of the book! Details of the giveaway are at the bottom of the post. :)


Vanishing Island
By Barry Wolverton
Book 1 of the Chronicles of the Black Tulip
352 pages – ages 8+
Will be published by Walden Pond Press on September 1, 2015


Publisher’s Summary- Does  the Vanishing Island really exist? And if so, what treasure—or terrible secret—was hidden by its disappearance?

It’s 1599, the Age of Discovery in Europe. But for Bren Owen, growing up in the small town of Map on the coast of Britannia has meant anything but adventure. Enticed by the tales sailors have brought through Map’s port, and inspired by the arcane maps his father creates as a cartographer for the cruel and charismatic map mogul named Rand McNally, Bren is convinced that fame and fortune await him elsewhere. That is, until his repeated attempts to run away land him a punishment worse than death—cleaning up the town vomitorium.

It is there that Bren meets a dying sailor, who gives him a strange gift that hides a hidden message. Cracking the code could lead Bren to a fabled lost treasure that could change his life forever, and that of his widowed father. But to get there he will have to tie his fate to a mysterious Dutch admiral obsessed with a Chinese legend about an island that long ago disappeared from any map.

Before long, Bren is in greater danger than he ever imagined, and will need the help of an unusual friend named Mouse to survive. Barry Wolverton’s thrilling adventure spans oceans and cultures, brings together the folklore of East and West, and proves that fortune is always a double-edged sword.

What I Thought- This was an amazing book! It had adventure, comedy, excitement, mystery – pretty much anything you could want in a book! Bren is a character you would like to meet in real life. He has dreams, and he’s clever in how he gets them achieved. Mouse is a cool character too. I really like how Mr. Wolverton doesn’t hide that sea isn’t always exciting – at times Bren is just sitting around at sea. There is death throughout the story, but it is not graphic/gory. There are some illustrations that will be put in the final version of the book, but not in the ARC that I read (they weren’t in yet), and they play a role in the story, so that was sad for me. Guess I’ll have to get the completed version! This is a solid start to a new series. :)


Barry Wolverton Author Photo

Barry Wolverton is the author of Neversink. He has more than fifteen years’ experience creating books, documentary television scripts, and website content for international networks and publishers, including National Geographic, Scholastic.com, the Library of Congress, and the Discovery Networks. He lives in Memphis, Tennessee. You can visit him online at www.barrywolverton.com.

Links for Barry Wolverton: 

Website: http://www.barrywolverton.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/wolvertonhill

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bwolverton

Instagram: https://instagram.com/wolvertonhill/

Check out all the stops on this awesome tour!

Blog Tour Schedule: 

6/15 Blue Stocking Thinking:  bluestockingthinking.blogspot.com
6/16 The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia:  hauntedorchid.blogspot.com
6/17 Small Review:  smallreview.blogspot.com
6/18 Maria’s Melange:  www.mariaselke.com/
6/19 Unleashing Readers:  unleashingreaders.com
6/19 The Hiding Spot:  thehidingspot.blogspot.com
6/22 This Kid Reviews Books:  thiskidreviewsbooks.com
6/23 Mundie Kids:  http://mundiekids.blogspot.com/
6/24 Page in Training:  https://pageintraining.wordpress.com
6/25 Novel Novice:  novelnovice.com


Connect to Walden Pond –
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ WaldenPondPress
Facebook: https://www. facebook.com/WaldenPondPress

Website/Blog: http://www. walden.com/books/

Pinterest: https://www. pinterest.com/waldenpondpress/


All you have to do is comment in the comment section below telling me you want to WIN! (well you can comment somewhere else, but I won’t see it) and on June 29th I will pick one name out of a hat of all the entrants. US residents only please. Good Luck!



Perfect Picture Book Friday! A Nest is Noisy by Dianna Hutts Aston and Sylvia Long

17 Apr

Today is Perfect Picture Book Friday! WOO!

Before I get to my PPBF pick, I want to tell you after you are done here, click on over to Felicia and my vlog, The Write Chat, to see out interview with the one, the only, TARA LAZAR! CLICK HERE TO GO THERE (but only after you read PPBF ;) )!




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 perfect book for Spring!

anestA Nest is Noisy

by Dianna Hutts Aston

Illustrated by Sylvia Long

40 pages – ages 5+
Published by Chronicle Books on April 14, 2015


Theme/Topic- Nests / biodiversity

Genre- nonfiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening – “A nest is noisy. It is a nursery of chirp-chirping…

Synopsis – From Chronicle Books: “From the award-winning creators of An Egg Is Quiet, A Seed Is Sleepy, A Butterfly Is Patient, and A Rock Is Lively comes this gorgeous and informative look at the fascinating world of nests. From tiny bee hummingbird nests to orangutan nests high in the rainforest canopy, an incredible variety of nests are showcased here in all their splendor. Poetic in voice and elegant in design, this carefully researched book introduces children to a captivating array of nest facts and will spark the imaginations of children whether in a classroom reading circle or on a parent’s lap.

Why I liked this book- This is a great book for this time of year! First off the illustrations are something you could look at for hours. They are so detailed and informative. I really like that the book doesn’t focus on bird’s nests (which is what I thought it was going to be) but has ALL kinds of nests. Bees, alligators, platypus and more! The book is educational and entertaining. I can see teachers and parents using this book to talk about ecosystems and biodiversity.

Activities and Resources-

Check out one of the many “nest cams” on the internet! There are owl cams (short for camera), hawk cams and eagle cams. Here is an eagle cam in Hanover PA – click HERE. If you check it out you’ll see two eaglets and their parents. My family has been watching them grow. Plus you can see the awesome nest they built and how they use it.

Chronicle Books has a teacher’s guide and activity pack to go with this book. Click HERE to get it.

PBS Kids has a great build your own bird’s nest activity. Click HERE to get it.

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

Review! Bayard Rustin: The Invisible Activist By Jacqueline Houtman, Walter Naegle, and Michael G. Long

22 Mar


Babayardyard Rustin: The Invisible Activist

By Jacqueline Houtman, Walter Naegle, and Michael G. Long

166 pages – ages 10+
Published by QuakerPress of FGC on November 13, 2014

Summary – (from GoodReads) “We need, in every community, a group of angelic troublemakers” -Bayard Rustin Bayard Rustin: The Invisible Activist is a new biography for ages 10 and up. . . To many, the civil rights movement brings to mind protests, marches, boycotts, and freedom rides. They often think of people like Martin Luther King, Jr. or Rosa Parks. They seldom think of Bayard Rustin. Raised by his Quaker grandmother to believe in the value of every human being, Bayard made trouble wherever he saw injustice. As a teenager, he was arrested for sitting in the whites only section of a theater. More arrests followed, for protesting against segregation, discrimination, and war. His belief in nonviolent action as a means for social change gave him a guiding vision for the civil rights movement, which he used to mentor the young Martin Luther King, Jr. When A. Philip Randolph needed the best organizer on the planet, he turned to Bayard Rustin to bring 250,000 people to the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Illustrated with over sixty photos, this book is the product of a unique collaboration between three authors: Bayard’s partner of ten years, a professor of religious studies, and a children’s book author. Though he is largely ignored in history books, Bayard’s ideas and actions will inspire today’s young (and not-so-young) readers to be angelic troublemakers.

What I Thought – There is obviously a great need for this book because Bayard Rustin is a name I have never heard. I’ve studied the Civil Rights movement in school and it is sad I have never heard of Mr. Rustin. I was interested that Mr. Rustin grew up as a Quaker (his grandmother was a Quaker and she raised him). He grew up near where I used to live. His upbringing gave Mr. Rustin a desire to bring change through peaceful means or passive resistance. I also found it very interesting that Mr. Rustin was himself discriminated against by some of the very people he was trying to help during the Civil Rights movement, because of him being gay. The book is not just a good resource on Mr. Rustin, but also a good resource for information on the Civil Rights movement, segregation and pacifism. There is a ton of references in the back for further reading or to see where the information in the book comes from. There are little fact boxes spread through the book that gives details on some of the subjects touched upon in the book. Photographs of historical and events in Mr. Rustin’s life are sprinkled in the book. They add a level of interest to the story. The one issue I had with the book is that it reads more like a text book than a book kids will pick up to read. Having said that, I think the book would be an excellent resource for teachers when they are covering the Civil Rights movement in their class.

Four out of five book worms for Bayard Rustin: The Invisible Activist. fourbooks

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Cat & Bunny By Mary Lundquist

20 Mar

Before I get to another fabulous Perfect Picture Book Friday pick – when you are done here, click on over the Felicia and my vlog The Write Chat where we are interviewing JENNIFER LYNN ALVAREZ today! CLICK HERE!


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 has a really cute story.

catandbunnyCat & Bunny

Written and Illustrated By Mary Lundquist

4 – 8 years
32 pages – ages 4+

Published by Balzer + Bray on January 27, 2015

Genre: Fiction

Theme/Topic: Friendship/Making New Friends/Keeping Old Friends

Opening and Synopsis:Cat and Bunny were born on the same day of the same month in the same year. Right from the start, they did everything together. Just the two of them.

What I Thought- This is a marvelous picture book! It really makes you feel good inside. Congratulations to Ms. Lundquist because this is her debut picture book! Judging from this one, we are in for more great stories! The illustrations are very sweet and cute. I like how they look like kids in animal footie pajamas. :)  The story is a great way to teach kids that you can have more than one friend. It also gives the message that you can play with more than one friend and still have a BFF. This is a wonderful picture book!

You can check out interior illustrations at Ms. Lundquist’s website – click HERE.

Activities and Resources-

Teacher Planet has a ton of suggested lesson plans for making friends in school. Click HERE to go THERE.

In the book, Cat made up a new game (called the “Made-Up Game). It would be a fun activity for kids to make up their own game and have others play it. My sister and I used to do this all the time. :)


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

Think Outside the Circle with Seaver the Weaver by Paul Czajak

16 Mar

Okay, HOLD IT! Before you read about this awesome book, check this out! Stanley and Katrina (from stanleyandkatrina.com) kindly invited the Write Chat co-hosts (Felicia and me) to be a guest on their Word of The Week video thingy! ;) Why don’t you go PERUSE it?


Now on to the review!

Get ready to think outside the circle (or orb as the case may be) with Seaver the Weaver! Seaver is a little orb spider who likes to spin all sorts of shapes – not the orbs the rest of his family spins. Seaver the Weaver will be published tomorrow! Read down to the bottom to see how to enter a GoodReads giveaway for a copy of this wonderful book!


Seaver the Weaver

By Paul Czajak

Illustrated by The Brothers Hilts

32 pages – ages 6+
Published by Mighty Media Kids on March 17, 2015

Summary from GoodReads : “Seaver is an orb spider with a sky full of inspiration. His siblings prefer tradition and aren’t afraid to let him know. But Seaver doesn’t mind! He loves his new shapes and isn’t afraid to stand out. Told with quiet charm, this picture book tangles readers in a web of delight.


What I Thought- This is a marvelous picture book on being yourself and succeeding. I like how Seaver keeps building a geometric web, and saying he’ll make an orb, right after he takes care of his guest (a trapped insect). The orb spiders’ webs are perfect orbs, but they are still untouched by their “guests”. Mr. Czajak has written a beautiful book that makes you feel good about being you. Seaver ultimately shows that being unique instead of perfect is a better option. The story is great for young kids. I love Mr. Czajak’s books!

If you hurry on over to GoodReads, you can still enter to win a copy of Seaver the Weaver! The giveaway ends on March 17th. Click HERE to go THERE!

Mighty Media Press has put together a great activity packet to go along with this book. Click HERE to get it!

seavercolorWant to learn more?

Author and Illustrator Websites:

Stay Calm and Glitter On! Creative Kid Thursday Guest Review!

12 Mar

Before I get to today’s Creative Kid – I want to tell you to click on over to author Mike Allegra’s blog where he is giving away a customized one of a kind DOODLE! Click HERE to go THERE! Make sure you ask for cat doodles! Mr. Allegra LOVES cats! :D

Now, on to Creative Kid Thursday!

Hi! It’s me – Josie, Erik’s sister. :)

Erik is very busy at play practice. He got a part in the High School Musical. They are doing Tarzan. Erik gets to be the ship’s captain and a monkey in the jungle (which I think is a good part for him – ha ha ha).

I have a new storybook character I wanted to tell you about so I am today’s Creative Kid Guest. :)


The new character is called Glitterbelle. The reason why I like Glitterbelle so much is because I like princesses and she is pretty and she has good best friends (Angel and Dazzlina). I also like her dog, Bob. :)

I also REALLY like the illustrations in the book. They are like cut outs all put together. Here is a video about it.

Purple is also my favorite color and all the books are purpleish.

The books I got to look at were a story book, a journal book and 2 activity books.



I especially liked the journal book called “Glitterbelle Me and You: It’s All About What Makes us US!” I like that it is kind of like a diary.

I really liked the storybook too especially because of the pictures. I like that Glitterbelle likes to climb trees. I like to climb trees. I think Glitterbelle is a good character.

The activity books were fun and there was a lot to do. I think girls will like them.

I would give these books five book worms. :) fivebooks

That is all I have to say. :)

Thank you Josie!

The storybook GLITTERBELLE THE SPARKLIEST PRINCESS EVER! summarizes Glitterbelle this way: “Glitterbelle is not your usual fairy-tale kind of princess. She’s the more sparkly, adventurous, totally caring, tree-climbing kind of princess!

The series is written by Rachael Duckett and Illustrated by Harriet Munchester

Want to learn more?

The publisher of Glitterbelle is Paragon Books. You can learn more about Glitterbelle on their website HERE!


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