Perfect Picture Book Friday! Find Me: A Hide-and-Seek Book By Anders Arhoj

20 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 just a really fun book.

Find Me: A Hide-and-Seek Book
By Anders Arhoj
40 pages – ages 4+

Published by Chronicle Books on September 5, 2017

Theme/Topic- Hide-and-Seek
Genre- Fiction
Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “Let’s play a game! I’ll close my eyes and you’ll hide.”

Synopsis from Publisher: “This book has eyes—and an irresistible cover! Kids will delight in this innovative seek-and-find picture book that may be read from front to back and from back to front! Two adorable characters embark on an over-the-top game of hide-and-seek through eleven richly detailed scenes, including a lively neighborhood, a bustling shop, an offbeat office space, a festive concert, and more. Open the book from the front to search for one of the characters. Then, open the book from the back to search for the other. It’s two hide-and-seek experiences in one book. As the characters move through each illustrated spread, their colors change, too, adding to the abundant fun.”

What I Thought- This is a very creative picture book. It has both challenging and easy spreads, so readers of many ages will enjoy finding the character. The illustrations are whimsical and full of so many little details – they are perfect for a look-and-find book, but also are just really fun to look at. Arhoj really has created a wonderful book that kids will love.

The book is mostly wordless, with the opening explaining the premise of the book, and then you get wowed by the spreads. One thing I noticed is that at the back, the other character decides to hide, so you flip through again looking for that character – genius! I would never have thought of that, but it also makes perfect sense! I think families will have a nice time trying to find the characters together. This is just a really fun book!

Activities and Resources- 

Play Hide-and-Seek! An awesome – never out of style game!

Enclyclopedia Britanica has a short history of the game including how it is played around the world – click HERE

There is an interview with the author about the book over at Chronicle Books – click HERE

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

Review! Hidden Dangers by Lola M. Schaefer

17 Oct

Hidden Dangers
Written by Lola M. Schaefer
Illustrated by Tymn Armstrong
40 pages – ages 6+
Published by Chronicle Books on August 8, 2017

Synopsis from Publisher- “These 13 deadly creatures can be difficult to spot until you’re right on top of them . . . or they’re right on top of you. Look for each animal in its environment—look closely!—and learn all the ways you could perish—or survive—depending on how smart, well-informed, and good at running away you are. From the deathstalker scorpion and the poison dart frog to wasps, alligators, and many more, young readers will gain a new appreciation for the animal kingdom, and the dangers it hides in plain sight!”

What I Thought- This is an awesome book – I love how it tells you how you can quickly get into bad situations…but also how you can survive it! The book has just the right amount of danger mixed with factual information to make this nonfiction book a thrilling read for the younger reader. Schaefer has created a wonderful guide to help kids realize they should always be on guard and informed in a situation they aren’t that familiar with. The text is very enlightening, telling the ways that the animals are dangerous, supporting why they are dangerous and then offering solutions in case of encounter with factual evidence and numbers. Armstrong’s art style is the perfect complement to the book – showing the animals in their natural habitats.

This can help kids identify where the animals would typically be seen when they may be in an area that contains a dangerous animal. I really enjoy how the book also includes a spread on things to bring for emergencies in the wild. What an awesome gift this would be for an outdoor loving kid! There is even a spread in the back about what you should take with you when exploring.

An all-around great book!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!

Funny How The World Doesn’t Stop…

15 Oct

Hello bloggy friends,

I am here once again to explain why I have lately not been the ball-of-blogging fire that I usually am.

Back in July I told you my aunt and three cousins were in a horrific car accident while vacationing in California (they live in Pennsylvania, where I do). My aunt and one cousin did not survive  (Original Story). My other two cousins were left in critical condition. This lead me to be less than regular on my blog and responding to my emails in a timely and professional manner (something I have always prided myself on).

I am happy to say that after months of rehabilitation (both mentally and physically), my cousins Sequoia and Elizabeth, their surviving siblings and my uncle were feeling mentally ready to have a memorial service for my Aunt Beth and cousin Savanna. Our family’s lives were getting back into their normal groove.

Savanna and Aunt Beth

And then another accident.

Literally on the same day my Aunt India and my mother were sending out the memorial invitations, my cousin Steven (son to my Aunt Beth) was in a horrible motorcycle accident. Our lives went on hold again. Steven lost his leg and was left in critical condition on a ventilator. This was two weeks ago. Steven has some moments of consciousness where he responds to commands. We are hopeful he will continue to improve over the next weeks.

This is a lot for me to process and I have been faltering in my usual routine (again). I thought today about how life continues all around you. Nothing stops when you are thrown into life-altering circumstances. For a few days after Steven’s accident, I think even more than the one that took my Aunt and cousin, I felt like I was just watching life, not taking part in it – I think it’s because I am getting older and I am understanding the reality and permanence of death.

But I am also reminded of the Epictetus quote – “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.”

The quote will be my rally cry over the next few days.

It feels much better to ride the wave than be caught in the undertow.

My cousin Monique has set up a Go Fund Me page to help with Sequoia and Elizabeth’s medical and rehabilitation expenses. Please keep the family in your thoughts and prayers.

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Confiscated! by Suzanne Kaufman

15 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 book about sharing.

Confiscated!
By Suzanne Kaufman
32 pages – ages 4+

Published by Balzer + Bray on August 1, 2017

Theme/Topic- Sharing
Genre- Fiction
Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “Brooks and Mikey fought over EVERYTHING and ANYTHING. And whenever they did, their mama would take it away.

In other words, it got CONFISCATED!

Synopsis from Publisher: “When Mama hears Brooks and Mikey fighting over yet another toy, it gets CONFISCATED!

(In other words, taken away.)

It’s only when ALL the toys are confiscated that Brooks and Mikey finally learn how to work—and play—together nicely.

(But not before creating a whole heap of trouble . . . )”

What I Thought- Ms. Kaufman has created a wonderful book that showcases the case for sharing. The dinosaurs are impartial to their fighting, fighting over everything. Eventually, when all the toys are gone, they start talking to each other. And learning how they actually like each other. It’s awesome. There are also great illustrations that fit the story well – I really like how you don’t see Mama’s face until the end. I also really like the wide variety of confiscated items – a bike, Mexican wrestling mask, tuba, and even the dog (which, granted, was a little odd). The only thing I didn’t like was that the tuba was actually a sousaphone – the marching band counterpart to the tuba. But that’s just me being a band geek. 😉 This is an excellent picture book about sharing!

Activities and Resources- There is a good list of sharing activities from Care.com HERE.

There is also some more sharing activities from Powerfulmothering.com HERE.

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

Review! Avians by Timothy Gwyn

11 Oct

Avians
By Timothy Gwyn
316 pages – ages 12+
Published by Five Rivers Publishing on August 1, 2017

Synopsis from Publisher- “Orphans. Runaways. Thieves. The Avians don’t ask questions about a girl’s past. Or her age. They need glider pilots, and the smaller the better.

Raisa is fourteen. Born to a line of powerful silk merchants, her rebellion against an arranged marriage is doomed. The Avians are her only alternative.

Mel is the young servant blamed for Raisa’s disappearance. She meets an Avian recruiter and seizes the chance to spite her employer.

When Mel and Raisa are sworn in with two other girls to form Blackbird squad, their simmering conflict undermines the whole team.

The flying is difficult, the discipline is fierce, and the older pilots don’t even bother to learn their names. The Blackbirds are starting to look like the weakest squad in years.

Then a deadly accident reveals the truth: only the best survive.”

What I Thought- This was an extremely well-written dystopian book. The book takes place on a planet (Celadon) that was inhabited after humans left Earth. It is quite fascinating. The character of Raisa is very well-developed, with aspects that both make you love her and hate her – she’s a brat, but she’s the main character, so it creates an awesome conflict. It also makes it really amazing when she starts to go through changes as a character. I also really enjoyed Chief Corvid, the leader of the entire Avian fleet – the book shows her struggles as commander, with making tough decisions and being moral support for the Avians, quite well, in a touching manner. The book is clean, with no content for kids, but I do think the book is better for an older audience, because the style of the book just lends itself to a more mature reading. For example, there is not much humor – the story’s tone reflects the dystopian feel of the book. Gwyn is able to write in a way that doesn’t make a book dark or light, but just perfect for upper middle-grade readers wanting a more serious book. I really like that. I cannot wait to read the second book when it comes out!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!

Review! Spirit Hunters by Ellen Oh

9 Oct

Spirit Hunters
By Ellen Oh
288 pages – ages 9+
Published by HarperCollins on July 25, 2017

Synopsis from Publisher- “Harper doesn’t trust her new home from the moment she steps inside, and the rumors are that the Raine family’s new house is haunted. Harper isn’t sure she believes those rumors, until her younger brother, Michael, starts acting strangely. The whole atmosphere gives Harper a sense of déjà vu, but she can’t remember why. She knows that the memories she’s blocking will help make sense of her brother’s behavior and the strange and threatening sensations she feels in this house, but will she be able to put the pieces together in time?”

What I Thought- I loved this book. Ms. Oh is able to instill the perfect amount of terror, love, hope, and suspense all into one story. I absolutely loved (and hated) reading about Harper’s troubles. I hated them because they were so awful for Harper, but I also loved them because they were just so darn excellent! There is some instances in the book that touch on tough topics, such as an old woman saying racist remarks to Harper and her mother, who are Korean, but I also like how the book addresses it but doesn’t dwell. There is a lot of paranormal thriller aspects but written with a younger audience in mind.  Although I am an “older” kid – I really liked it. I definitely think it was interesting how Harper realizes that her life is more convoluted than she originally thought. I especially like how the plot thickens as she realizes these things. I think kids who like a chilling story that isn’t too scary will like this book; it puts a chill on your spine, but doesn’t give you nightmares. I really hope this is a series in bloom!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!

Blog Tour AND Perfect Picture Book Friday! It’s Not Jack and the Beanstalk by Josh Funk

6 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 was asked to be part of a blog tour for this book, but after reading it, I chose to review it as a perfect picture also! It is an awesome story about being yourself, and not worrying about what others want you to be like.

It’s Not Jack and the Beanstalk
Written by Josh Funk
Illustrated by Edwardian Taylor
40 pages – ages 5+

Published by Two Lions on September 19, 2017

Theme/Topic- Being Yourself
Genre- Fiction
Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “”Once upon a time, Jack lived in a tiny cottage in a dreary village. He always dreamed that someday he would find his fortune.”

Synopsis from Publisher: “Jack is not fond of the bossy narrator of his fairy tale! When Jack is told to trade his beloved cow Bessie for some magic beans, throw the beans out the window, climb the ENORMOUS beanstalk that sprouts overnight, and steal from a GIANT, he decides this fairy tale is getting out of control. In fact, he doesn’t want to follow the story line at all. Who says Jack needs to enter a life of daring, thievery, and giant trickery? He takes his story into his own hands—and you’ll never guess what happens next!”

What I Thought- I absolutely loved this book! The narration is top-notch, with lots of humor, and it really suits the story. Funk really wrote an excellent book about being true to who you are, and not letting others decide your fate. Taylor follows the fun-ness of the story with bright illustrations that complement the story, filled with wacky characters and awesome details. I also really like how there are speech bubbles they characters talk with – it gives the book a fun vibe to it, like a comic book. 

The illustrations take on a life of their own…

They are really a feast for your eyes adding so much more to the already wonderful text.

 I also love how Funk put in references to other fairy tales, fables, and other such things into the backgrounds – I’ve seen the Cricket and the Ant (Aesop’s Fable) and the Cat with the Fiddle (Nursery Rhyme) amongst other things. You could probably find even more! I really enjoyed reading this book and I think kids will too!

Activities and Resources- There is a great list of picture books about being yourself from Notimeforflashcards.com HERE!

There is also a great article about raising kids to be unique from Kcedventures.com HERE!

If you visit Josh Funk’s website, you can also print out coloring pages! Check it out HERE!

 

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

About the Creators:

Like Jack, Josh Funk loves telling his own stories. He is the author of the popular picture books Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast and its sequel, The Case of the Stinky Stench, illustrated by Brendan Kearney; Dear Dragon, illustrated by Rodolfo Montalvo; and the upcoming How to Code a Sandcastle illustrated by Sara Palacios in partnership with Girls Who Code. Josh lives in New England with his wife and children. Learn more about him at www.joshfunkbooks.com, and follow him on Twitter @joshfunkbooks.
Edwardian Taylor currently works as a visual development artist and character designer for TV and animation feature film. His work can also be seen in mobile games, films, and commercials. He is the illustrator of the picture book Race!, written by Sue Fliess. Edwardian lives in Texas with his partner, their three dogs, and seven chickens. Learn more about him at www.edwardiantaylor.com, and follow him on Twitter and Instagram @edwardiantaylor.
 

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Give Me Back My Book! by Travis Foster and Ethan Long

29 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 fun book about sharing and teamwork.

Give Me Back My Book!
Co-Written and Co-Illustrated by Travis Foster and Ethan Long
56 pages – ages 4+

Published by Chronicle Books on September 5, 2017

Theme/Topic- Sharing/Teamwork/Reading
Genre- Fiction
Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “Hey, wait a second, Redd. That’s MY book.” “I beg your pardon, Bloo, but this book is mine.”

Synopsis from Publisher: “This book is full of wonderful WORDS and beautiful PICTURES! And it’s EXCITING! And it’s FUNNY! It might be the BEST BOOK EVER—if we could decide whose book it is. Redd and Bloo explore the way a book is made and accidentally build a friendship, too, in this tale told only in dialogue. Travis Foster and Ethan Long offer a hilarious story about the joy of reading, which brings people together in unexpected ways, proving that each book truly belongs to . . . the people who love it.”

What I Thought- This is a really great book! I really like how the two creatures are quite polite to each other (“I beg your pardon”), at least until it escalates of course. That really gives parents a chance to discuss correct and incorrect ways to settle a disagreement – a really nice touch! I enjoyed how the two characters eventually work together and forget about their squabbles. They don’t try to just solve the problem by revenge – they make a trade, skills which could also be pointed out by parents and teachers. The illustrations are bright and fun to look at. The text is simple for young readers. Long and Foster have created a wonderful picture book – one that is fun for kids, and one that can be used by parents. I really hope to see more from this duo!

Activities and Resources- There is a good list of team-building activities from Ventureteambuilding.co.uk HERE.

There is also some great reading/writing activities for different age groups from Readingrockets.org HERE.

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

Book Birthday! Bruce’s Big Move by Ryan T. Higgins #BRUCESBIGMOVE

26 Sep

 

 

I’ve been helping a friend move today…

 

Let’s Celebrate a book birthday today! BRUCE’S BIG MOVE!

Bruce’s Big Move

 

Series: The Bruce Series #3 (#1, #2)
By Ryan T. Higgins
48 pages – ages 5+
Published by Disney-Hyperion September 26, 2017 [TODAY!!!]

Synopsis from Publisher- “After the events of Hotel Bruce, our favorite curmudgeonly bear shares his home with not only his four geese, but three rowdy mice besides! Fed up with their shenanigans, Bruce sets off to find a rodent-free household. But as usual, nothing goes quite according to plan…”

What I Thought- My FAVORITE grouchy bear is back!! The Mother Bruce series sets a high standard for a third book, and luckily the latest book is able to match the first two! The third book in the series captures the sweet feeling of the first and the humor of the second. It has messages of how you can’t choose family (but maybe that’s what you need!), and how love can be shown in different ways. Bruce is tired of his house always being a mess, and decides that the mice (uninvited guests who won’t leave from the second book, Hotel Bruce) are the problem, and decides to ditch them. But in the end the mice return and Bruce realizes how his life is a bit better because of them (but not too much – he is, after all, a grump!). The reader can’t help but smile as Bruce tries to find serenity but ends up with more to love. I like that Higgins appropriately keeps the humor in it low-key and subtle. The illustrations are excellent, with an excess of simple details that make the spreads engaging to the readers as they look over them while reading.

I can’t wait to see more of Bruce’s adventures with his family!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!

Review! Night Night, Groot by Brendan Deneen

26 Sep

Night Night, Groot
Written by Brendan Deneen
Illustrated by Cale Atkinson
32 pages – ages 4+
Published by Marvel Press on April 4, 2017

Synopsis from Publisher- “It’s been a long day for baby Groot and he’s ready to be tucked in for bed. Just as his eyes start to close, Rocket Raccoon bursts onto the scene! Groot can’t go to sleep yet, there’s a whole galaxy that needs to be defended and they must work together to save the day! Then maybe, just maybe, Groot will finally get the rest he deserves! Each spread includes a tiny Ant-Man, let’s see if you can find him…”

What I Thought- This was a neat book… okay – I am a superhero geek and I was really excited to get this book. I am not sure if it is meant for kids or their parents – because it is great for both! The illustrations are really cute but there are so many Marvel superheros making cameo appearances – parents will love the fun of identifying them. They have a great feeling to them –

Searching for the tiny Ant-Man in each illustration was fun and challenging at times. The story is told in a sing-song rhyme that is pleasing to read. The story is cute as Groot reflects over what he did during the day, saving the galaxy with his friends. With the popularity of the Guardians of the Galaxy, I am sure kids will love to read about Baby Groot going to bed. I can see this one being read over and over again!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!

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