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Perfect Picture Book Friday! Animal Ark by Kwame Alexander and by Joel Sartore

30 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 an awesome story about caring for animals in the wild.

Animal Ark
Written by Kwame Alexander
Photography by Joel Sartore
48 pages – ages 4+

Published by National Geographic Children’s Books on February 14, 2017

Theme/Topic- Animals/Endangered Animals
Genre- Nonfiction
Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “chorus of creatures/singing our names/see what we can save-together

Synopsis from Publisher: “A howling wolf, a stalking tiger, a playful panda, a dancing bird – pairing the stunning photography of National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore with the delicate poetry of Newbery award-winning author Kwame Alexander, this lush picture book celebrates the beauty, diversity, and fragility of the animal world.
Featuring more than 40 unique animal portraits, the pages invite kids to explore each creature’s markings, textures, and attributes in stunning detail, while calling on all of us to help protect each and every one. Three picture-packed gatefolds inside showcase even more familiar and exotic species. These images are part of Sartore’s lifelong project to photograph every animal in the world, with special attention given to disappearing and endangered species.”

What I Thought- This is a fascinating book. There is a poem that Alexander wrote that is throughout the book, that weaves together with the stunning photographs Sartore took of animals around the world. The reader easily gets lost in this wonderful visual spectacular and moving poetry! The poetry is all in haiku which (I think) makes it especially fun to read. There are a couple fold out pages where the photography spills out in an even larger visual display. The book will most certainly spark discussions about animal species and endangered species.There are author and illustrator notes in the back of the book which add to the meaning of the whole package  – also a section that lists the endangered species in the book as a summary. The book is a must read!

Activities and Resources- There is a good lesson plan for teachers on endangered species at Kidworldcitizen.org HERE!

There is also a good lesson plan for teachers on endangered species at Educationworld.com HERE!

Check out this video!

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

Creative Kid Thursday – Review & Giveaway! – Vampirina at the Beach #VampirinaBallerina

13 Apr

Today is Creative Kid Thursday!

I have a packed full of wonderful post today!

First the Creative Kid of today is my sister Josie! Josie is a guest reviewer for a book she is head-over-heels in love with. After her review – stay tuned for a GREAT giveaway where you can win an AWESOME prize pack!

Thank you to Disney-Hyperion for sending the copy and providing the prize pack!

Vampirina At The Beach (Vampirina Ballerina Series)
Written by Ann Marie Pace
Illustrated by LeUyen Pham
Release: April 4th, 2017, by Disney-Hyperion
Recommended for ages 2-6

Synopsis from the Publisher-When the summer moon is full, a beach trip is an epic way to spend the night. 

With her signature poise, Vampirina and her clan gear up for a festive time at the beach. Keeping her ballet lessons in mind, Vampirina demi-pliés on a surfboard, leaps for a volleyball, and finishes each competition with style, even if she doesn’t always come out on top.”

What Josie Thought: I LOVE THIS BOOK!!! Vampirina is a very cool girl. I didn’t know about this series until I read this one and I asked my parents to get me the others. I like how Vampirina is a ballet dancer but not a “girly girl.” I like how she puts dancing into the volleyball game! It’s cool that if you were just reading the words you would think it was a “normal” beach story until you see all the characters are monsters. 😉 Almost all of them – there is one “normal” family, but they turn out to be  werewolves – that had me surprised. The pictures in the book are amazing!

There are a lot of things going on in them. I think Vampirina is cute. I am excited that Vampirina is going to be a show on Disney Junior now! Plus – because Erik won’t let me enter the giveaway, I am going to go get my own Vampirina doll. :p

I want to give this book ten bookworms but Erik only has his thing going to five so I give it five out of five!

NOW FOR THE GIVEAWAY!!!

A week from today Josie will put all commentor’s names in a hat an pick one out at random to win ——

.

One winner receives:

  • Vampirina Ballerina
  • Vampirina Ballerina Hosts a Sleepover
  • Vampirina at the Beach
  • plus a branded beach ball and tumbler!

 Open to US addresses only.

Prizing and samples provided by Disney-Hyperion.

Visit the Official Site

Follow Disney-Hyperion on Twitter and Instagram

Hashtag #VampirinaBallerina

About the Author

Anne Marie Pace (www.annemariepace.com) is the author of Vampirina Ballerina and Vampirina Hosts a Sleepover, and has had stories, poems, and articles for kids published in such magazines as Highlights for Children, My Friend, Wee Ones, and On the Line. She lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, with her husband and four teenagers.

Review! Touch the Earth by Julian Lennon and Bart Davis

10 Apr

Just in time for Earth Day!

Touch the Earth
Co-Written by Julian Lennon and Bart Davis
Illustrated by Smiljana Coh
pages – ages 5+
Will be Published by Sky Pony Press on April 11, 2017 (Tomorrow!)

Synopsis From Publisher- From internationally known singer, songwriter, and environmental activist Julian Lennon—along with New York Times bestselling author Bart Davis and beloved Croatian illustrator Smiljana Coh—comes TOUCH THE EARTH, an inspiring and lyrical story about how children can change the word and make it a better place.
In this debut picture book, readers will jump aboard the White Feather Flier, a magical plane that can go wherever you want, just point it up in the air, or down into the water. The White Feather Flier’s mission is to take children to places all over the world, engage them in helping to save the environment, and teach them how to keep it clean for future generations.
A passion project that comes from the heart, this stunningly illustrated book is inspired by the white feather he was given by his father when he was young. TOUCH THE EARTH is the first in a planned trilogy of similarly-themed picture books, and each will be released one year apart on Earth Day. A thrilling interactive experience à la Press Here, readers will participate in the action by pushing buttons within the book to help “fly the plane.”
Lennon has written an original poem to accompany the release of this legacy book, and all proceeds will be donated to the White Feather Foundation.”

What I Thought- This book has a really nice message of helping the Earth, and doing what you can to help out. The reader guides a plane through the story with interactive instructions on which direction the plane will fly. In addition to the book  teaches North, South, East and West directions.  Readers are asked to tilt the book and push buttons.  I love how the wings of the magical plane are feathers. The illustrations are gorgeous, and have a magical quality about them. I like how the book shows environmental troubles in the world (particularly focusing on water), but it also shows solutions. The interactive part of the book is at times a bit clunky, but it doesn’t distract from the story and mostly adds dimension to the adventure. This book would be great for kids to read with an adult. This book is a great way to broach the topic of caring for the Earth, and participating in Earth Day. Lennon’s poem an author’s note in the back of the book are wonderful additions. I think he could have used the text of the poem as a stand alone book – it’s very moving. Overall, the book is a solid collaboration of text and illustration. I am looking forward to the next two books when they come out!

Visit the White Feather Foundation’s website

I give this book four out of five bookworms.

Perfect Picture Book Friday! I Am Not a Chair! by Ross Burach

1 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 fun story about speaking up!

I Am Not a Chair!
By Ross Burach
40 pages – ages 4+

Published by HarperCollins on February 14, 2017

Theme/Topic- Speaking up for yourself

Genre- Fiction
Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “On Giraffe’s first day in the jungle…
he felt something wasn’t right.

Synopsis from Publisher: “Grab the best seat in the house with this funny, touching picture book about a giraffe who keeps being mistaken for a chair!

From the acclaimed author-illustrator of There’s a Giraffe in My Soup, Ross Burach, comes a curious tale about finding one’s courage and standing up for oneself. Full of vibrant and playful illustrations and hilariously absurd logic, kids will want to read it again and again.

Could there be anything worse for Giraffe? Maybe being sat on by a skunk or smooshed by two hapless hippos, or worst of all—cornered by a hungry lion? No one seems to notice that Giraffe is not standing around just to be sat upon. Will he be able to find his voice and make his friends realize who he really is?”

What I Thought- Ross Burach already showed his prowess with creating picture books with “There’s a Giraffe in My Soup!” (see my review HERE!), and let me tell you – he hasn’t lost anything with his next! I like the whimsy of the story, and how it handles being assertive in a simple way. Kids will laugh at the complete improbable-ness and funny situations, and won’t even realize they are learning! Mr. Burach is a great author who really understands what kids want in a picture book. I can’t wait to see what else he comes up with!

Activities and Resources- There is a great article about why and how to encourage assertiveness HERE at Liveyourlifewithyourkids.com!

There is also a really good list at Momentsaday.com with games you can play to help build assertive qualities for children HERE!

Check out the book’s trailer!

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

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Bogo, The Fox Who Wanted Everything by Susanna Isern

10 Mar

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 good story about being yourself!

Bogo, The Fox Who Wanted Everything
Written by Susanna Isern
Illustrated by Sonja Wimmer
40 pages – ages 4+

Published by NubeOcho on October 11, 2016

Theme/Topic- Nature/Being Yourself

Genre- Fiction
Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “Bogo the fox lived in the branches of a great big tree. This is quite unusual for a fox, but he was a very curious fox and from up there he could see everything much better.”

Synopsis from Publisher: “Bogo watched many animals around him. Some of them were so incredible that they made him feel less special. One day he decided to invent amazing things so that he could have everything he wanted.
A pair of wings to fly like a bird. It never worked.
A pair of night glasses to see like an owl. It never worked . . .”

What I Thought- This is a fabulous book celebrating individuality. Bogo is a lovable character who wants to be special and doesn’t give up. Well, he does, but that ends up being the turning point of the book where he realizes how special he is by himself. Isern’s writing has qualities kids will love – there are repeated phrases and everyone feels like they know a Bogo. Wimmer’s illustrations go with the writing marvelously – they create that sense of whimsy. I really like the variety of animals – and the fact that they wear old-style clothing! This is a wonderful story, and I think kids will enjoy having this read to them!

Activities and Resources- There is a great list of ways to encourage creativity from Parents.com HERE!

There is also a post on self-esteem building from Kidsplayandcreate.com HERE!

The book is also available in Spanish!

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

Review! I Love My Grandma by Giles Andreae

26 Feb

grandmaI Love My Grandma
Written by Giles Andreae
Illustrated by Emma Dodd
32 pages – ages 3+
Published by Disney-Hyperion on December 6, 2016

Synopsis- Grandmas are great. After all, they’re like moms, but with more time for you! You can do a lot of things with your grandma, and she will be there for you to teach you about things, and to play with you too! You love your grandma, and she loves you!

What I Thought- This is a really cute book celebrating the relationship between a grandmother and her grandchild. I really like how Andreae kept the book simple, with rhyme that is great for family to read together. The book itself is large, which also lends itself to being a read-aloud book. Dodd’s illustrations are a perfect match with the artwork spilling over the two-page inside spread.

The illustrations add to the warmth of the story. It’s nice that the grandma and child are pictured doing a wide variety of things from baking to playing pirates. This would be a nice Mother’s day gift for a grandmother. This is a part of a series involving the child with titles such as “I Love My Mommy”, “I Love My Daddy”, etc.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Are We There Yet? by Nina Laden

24 Feb

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 great story.

areweAre We There Yet?
Written by Nina Laden
Illustrated by Adam McCauley
36 pages – ages 4+

Published by Chronicle Books on March 1, 2016

Theme/Topic- Using Imagination

Genre- Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “Are you ready?

Synopsis from Publisher: “We’ve all been there. Or more accurately, we’ve all been with kids in the backseat clamoring (over and over!) “Are we there yet?” In this genius of a picture book, bestselling author Nina Laden combines forces with dynamic illustrator Adam McCauley to turn that dilemma on its head. Fun for kids and adults, the book is filled with details that readers will want to hunt for (over and over!). Buckle up and enjoy the ride!

What I Thought- I think that this book is a great tribute to the imagination. The book never goes out and states that the kid is imagining the things outside the car, but it can lead into a great conversation between parent and child! A great concept story, the book has minimal text, consisting mostly of the child asking the question “Are we there yet?” (and what parent hasn’t experienced this!) and his mother answering “No” – along with a few other word bubbles. The main focus is definitely the illustrations. The illustrations are a feast for the eyes. They are whimsical, having the essence of reality intertwined with the marvel of imagination.

arewe2 arewe3 The book is a fabulous collaboration between two very creative individuals, and I hope to see them working together again!

Activities and Resources- I found a great post about the importance of imagination, along with activities to spark it HERE at Parenting.com!

There is also a fabulous list of imaginative games you can play from Familyeducation.com HERE!

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

Review! Muhammad Ali by Gene Barretta #BlackHistoryMonth

15 Feb

aliMuhammad Ali: A Champion is Born
Written by Gene Barretta
Illustrated by Frank Morrison
40 pages – ages 4+
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on January 3, 2017

Synopsis from Publisher- In this picture book biography of Muhammad Ali, author Gene Barretta and illustrator Frank Morrison tell the unforgettable childhood story of this legendary boxing champion and how one pivotal moment set him on his path to become the Greatest of All Time.

The Louisville Lip. The Greatest. The People’s Champion. Muhammad Ali had many nicknames. But before he became one of the most recognizable faces in the world, before the nicknames and the championships, before he converted to Islam and changed his name to Muhammad Ali, he was twelve-year-old Cassius Clay riding a brand-new red-and-white bicycle through the streets of Louisville, Kentucky. One fateful day, this proud and bold young boy had that bike stolen, his prized possession, and he wouldn’t let it go. Not without a fight.

This would be the day he discovered boxing. And a champion was born.

What I Thought- Gene Barretta really knows how to write a picture book biography. He’s written books about other historical figures, including Thomas Edison and Benjamin Franklin. He handles this book fabulously, showing how Ali goes from Cassius Clay, a young boy who knows nothing about boxing, into Muhammad Ali, world champion. It was also nice that Barretta didn’t just focus on Ali’s path to boxing – he also showcased Ali’s civil work against segregation. This is a good book that shows someone working hard to achieve a goal, accomplishing that goal, and then helping others – kids will learn a lot from the book. There is a spread in the back talking about the life of Ali in more detail, including why he changed his name, and more about his civil work. The book is illustrated by Frank Morrison, who does a really good job at portraying the time period and capturing the essence of the people in the book. This is a great reading choice for Black History Month, seeing as Ali is a good role model all around and today’s kids should know about this great man. I really enjoy these picture book biographies by Barretta, and can’t wait to see more!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Blog Tour and GIVEAWAY! Mr. Fuzzbuster Knows He’s the Favorite by Stacy McAnulty

13 Feb

mcanulty-mrfuzzbusterknowshesthefavorite-21153-cv-ftMr. Fuzzbuster Knows He’s the Favorite
Written by Stacy McAnulty
Illustrated by Edward Hemingway
40 pages – ages 4+
Published by Two Lions on February 7, 2017

Synopsis from the Publisher- Mr. Fuzzbuster knew he was Lily’s favorite. They did everything together. Naps. Story time. Walks. And more naps. But now four more animals lived in the house.…
To prove he’s still Lily’s favorite, Mr. Fuzzbuster will have to ask her, but will her answer surprise him? This funny, heartwarming story is for every child who has ever wondered if there’s a favorite in the house.

What I Thought- This is a really cute story. It is a nice way of handling the “who’s the favorite” questions that may arise with kids. The book is sweet, with fun illustrations that remind me a bit of cartoons on TV – a sure fit for any kid! Here’s an example:

fuzz

© 2017 by Edward Hemingway

The writing style is well-suited for the age group, with a few harder words that encourage learning. There is a funny “twist” to the end that kids will laugh at.  Some pages only have one word and the illustrations carry on the story well. The book is well-paced for reading-aloud. McAnulty text paired with Hemingway’s illustrations makes this story of “sibling” rivalry come alive. After reading this, you’ll see why Mr. Fuzzbuster is a new favorite story character!

 

WHO IS THIS STACY MCANULTY???

stacy_mcanulty_01

STACY MCANULTY is certain she’s her mom’s favorite. Her younger brother disagrees. She’s the author of Beautiful, illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff; Excellent Ed, illustrated by Julia Sarcone-Roach; and 101 Reasons Why I’m Not Taking a Bath, illustrated by Joy Ang. Originally from upstate New York, she now lives in Kernersville, North Carolina, with her three children, two dogs, and one husband. She doesn’t have a favorite. You can find her online at www.stacymcanulty.com.

NOT TO MENTION EDWARD HEMINGWAY????

edward-hemingway-photo

EDWARD HEMINGWAY is certain he’s Stacy McAnulty’s favorite illustrator, although the illustrators of Stacy’s other books may disagree. Edward himself is the author and illustrator of the children’s books Bump in the Night, Bad Apple: A Tale of Friendship, Bad Apple’s Perfect Day, and Field Guide to the Grumpasaurus. Originally from Bozeman, Montana, he now lives in Brooklyn where he teaches creative writing at the master’s level at SVA in Manhattan. If he has any favorite students, he’ll never tell. Learn more about him online at www.edwardhemingway.com.

Giveaway!

Two Lions is kindly offering a copy of “Mr. Fuzzbuster Knows He’s the Favorite” to one lucky winner (U.S. address only please)! Leave a comment to enter! Winner will be randomly picked and announced on 2/20/2017!

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Plant the Tiny Seed by Christie Matheson

3 Feb

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 neat interactive story!

seedPlant the Tiny Seed
Written by Christie Matheson
40 pages – ages 4+

Published by Greenwillow Books on January 24, 2017

Theme/Topic- Nature/Interactive

Genre- Non-fiction
Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “There’s magic in this tiny seed.

Press it down
and count to three.”

Synopsis from Publisher: “How do you make a garden grow? In this playful companion to the popular Tap the Magic Tree and Touch the Brightest Star, you will see how tiny seeds bloom into beautiful flowers. And by tapping, clapping, waving, and more, young readers can join in the action! Christie Matheson masterfully combines the wonder of the natural world with the interactivity of reading.”

What I Thought- This is a really cool book, and you could pair reading it with a book like Let’s Play by Hervé Tullet (see my review HERE). The book is written in rhyme, and done in such a way that doesn’t force the rhymes. Kids will love having this book read to them while they follow along, following the instructions. There is a nice reference page at the end of this book, filled with information about planting your own seeds, and with a more information about what was in the story. The illustrations are a neat combination of what looks like paper collage and paint. They give the book a warm feeling to it. I really like how this book takes you through the process of caring for a plant in a fun interactive way! It’s a nice way to start thinking about Spring!

Activities and Resources- The book itself is a good resource, where you can follow the steps in the back of the book to plant your own seeds.

If you want more things to do, Kidsgardening.org has a great list of activities, plus lots of information for teachers HERE!

You can read a sample of the book at the publisher’s website HERE!

 

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

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