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Perfect Picture Book Friday! That’s Not Normal by Mar Pavón

2 Dec

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 anti-bullying story.

normalThat’s Not Normal
Written by Mar Pavón
Illustrated by Laure du Faÿ
44 pages – ages 6+

Published by NubeOcho on Sept. 13 2016

Theme/Topic- Being bullied/Helping others

Genre- Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “Elephant had a very, very long trunk… Incredibly long!


Synopsis from Publisher: “The elephant has a very long trunk. With it he helps all his friends, but the hippopotamus always mocks him and says: “that’s not normal!’

But what is “normal”?”

What I Thought- I love that this book has Hippopotamus being nasty, but still the animals help him. It shows that you should always try to help others. There is, of course, an anti-bullying statement, ending with Hippopotamus and Elephant collaborating. It is a nice story line. The illustrations are simple, and they remind me of some comic strips. Kids will like that. Ms. Pavón has a nice, basic, easy-to-read type of writing style, and the words are formatted to accent words in a fun way. An all-around great book!😀

Activities and Resources- I found an article from on showing acceptance of others as a parental figure HERE.

There is a nice lesson plan for teachers/homeschoolers from about teaching acceptance HERE.

What’s nice about this publisher is that NubeOcho publishes this and many other titles in Spanish too!

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

Review! In the Land of Broken Time by Max and Maria Evans

30 Nov

brokentimeIn The Land of Broken Time: The Incredible Journey
Co-written by Max and Maria Evans
Translated by Helen Hagon
Illustrated by Maria Evans
54 pages – ages 6+
Published by Max and Maria Evans on August 2, 2016

Synopsis- Christopher was excited – the circus was in town! He sneaks out of his house and goes to the big top. There, he meets a girl named Sophie who also wanted to see the circus. They sneak in and are happy to be there. But all is not well. A creepy woman is trying to get them to leave, and they hide in a basket. It wasn’t their fault the basket is a hot air balloon, and that they float away, taken to a world where time is pretty weird. They meet a scientist who specializes in time, and he teaches them a little about science. The kids, and a circus dog who was sleeping in the basket, go to stop an evil man from taking over the country they have come to. Will they stop him in time?

What I Thought- This is a nice kids’ story, with a lot of innocent adventure. Kids will like reading about the travels and marvels in the fictitious landscape, and will learn without realizing it. There are a few illustrations scattered throughout the story, and they help make the story more engaging. The cover is gorgeous, and really sums the book up. Mr and Mrs Evans are a good team, and their writing style is a reflection of the wonder usually seen in the sciences. The book is simple, but good for a younger audience. It is a neat book, and I hope to see more from these authors!

I give the book four out of five bookworms.fourbooks

Guest Review by Josie! Natumi Takes the Lead by Gerry Ellis

29 Nov

natumiNatumi Takes the Lead:

The True Story of an Orphan Elephant Who Finds Family

By Gerry Ellis with Amy Novesky

32 pages – ages 4+

Published by National Geographic Children’s Books on November 8, 2016

Summary by Josie: The story tells about an elephant that was orphaned when hunters killed off the rest of her heard. The elephant was rescued by some nice people who run an elephant rescue. Natumi was very shy and wouldn’t come out from behind her human rescuer’s legs. Slowly Natumi got more and more confident and started to be a leader of all the orphaned elephants. It is a nice story about how an elephant can grow up to be a strong leader even after having something terrible happen to her.

What Josie thought: The beginning of the book made me very sad because all of the elephants but Natumi got killed. I wish that things like that didn’t happen. I was happy to see that there are people who care about the elephants enough to run an elephant orphanage. That is very cool. I really like that there are real pictures in the book for illustrations –


It was interesting to read about how the elephants are cared for at the orphanage. It was also cool to see how they can recover from loosing their family and form new ones. There were some fact pages in the back of the book that showed you where to go if you want to learn more about elephants and it had some information about Africa, the orphanage and elephants. That was a nice part of the book.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Perfect Picture Book Friday! The Princess and the Frogs by Veronica Bartles

27 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 nice take on a fairytale.

frogsThe Princess and the Frogs
Written by Veronica Bartles
Illustrated by Sara Palacios
40 pages – ages 4+

Published by Balzer + Bray on November 15, 2016

Theme/Topic- Fractured Fairytale/Friendship

Genre-  Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “Princess Cassandra should have been the happiest princess in the world. She had hundreds of dresses, thousands of books, and servants to bring her anything she wanted. There was only one thing she didn’t have. A best friend.

Synopsis from Publisher: “The Princess and the Frogs is a delightfully funny reinvention of the classic fairy tale “The Frog Prince,” from author Veronica Bartles and illustrator Sara Palacios.

What I Thought- I really enjoyed how Ms. Bartles has written this book. The text flows seamlessly and makes the book a perfect read-aloud. Ms. Palacio’s illustrations compliment the book perfectly. It is neat that she has drawn it so that it looks like it takes place in a medieval-ish time, but some of the details help put it into a time scene that can be anytime – the maid is dressed like an early 1900’s-late 1800’s maid, and Cassandra is wearing high top sneakers and drinking from straws. It is a nice mix. Kids will like reading this silly story about finding the perfect friend!

Activities and Resources- There is a great Fractured Fairytale lesson plan for teachers/homeschool parents at HERE.

There is a near Fractured Fairytale story generator at HERE.

For friendship activities, has a nice list HERE.

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

Perfect Picture Book Friday! I Wasn’t Invited To The Birthday by Susanna Isern

18 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 nice, quiet story.

invitedI Wasn’t Invited to The Birthday
Written by Susanna Isern
Illustrated by Adolfo Serra
40 pages – ages 6+

Published by NubeOcho on Sept. 23 2016

Theme/Topic- Dealing With Disappointment/ Being excluded

Genre- Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “The children leaving school are all very excited. There is a birthday party, but Mark isn’t invited.”

Synopsis from Publisher: “The children leaving the school are all very excited.
There is a birthday party, but someone is not invited . . .
What will happen when the enormous whale with the tiny hat appears?”

What I Thought- This is a quiet, elegant book about how you won’t always be doing the “fun” thing, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make your own fun. The illustrations are laid back, and magical.

I thought it was neat how Mr. Serra started off with mostly black and white or sepia tones, and then it got more and more colorful.

The book is a sweet story that helps kids learn to deal with not being invited. The book is a good read at home and in the classroom!

Activities and Resources- has a nice article about how to deal with your child being left out of a party – click HERE.

Here is another great article about kids not getting invited. The article is from the Chicago Tribune. It suggests taking your child out on an adventure that would be even cooler than the party! Click HERE

What’s nice about this publisher is that NubeOcho published many titles in Spanish too!

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

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Woodpecker Wants a Waffle by Steve Breen

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 fun story about perserverance.

I know – I know it’s Sunday – I am so behind! Hopefully with the election being over I will have less reporting to do and can spend more time blogging!

woodpeckerWoodpecker Wants a Waffle
By Steve Breen
32 pages – ages 5+
Published by HarperCollins on June 14, 2016

Theme/Topic- Perseverance/Never giving up/Problem solving

Genre-  Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “One morning, Benny awoke to the best tummy-rumbling smell.”

Synopsis from Publisher: “One day Benny the woodpecker awakens to the best tummy-rumbling smell ever and discovers it’s something called waffles. He must taste them!

He pecks on the door of the waffle house, but he gets the boot.

He tries to sneak in, but he gets swept away.

Each time Benny tries, he just can’t seem to get to those delicious waffles. The other forest animals laugh at him: “Woodpeckers don’t eat waffles!” they say. But Benny has a brilliant plan. . . .”

What I Thought- This is a book that is a great example of one that teaches you a lesson without you realizing it. Benny the woodpecker never gives up! I like that the books shows and doesn’t say that. It shows him working around a problem. It also has a message that teachers/parents can expand on about how that just because someone says something hasn’t been done doesn’t mean it can’t be done. There is a lot of silly humor mixed in too. On a side note, Mr. Breen’s writing style has a way of writing words that roll of the tongue, making for marvelous read-alouds. His illustrations remind me a bit of a comic or cartoon, and kids will love flipping through the pages looking at it all!


Activities and Resources- There is a great way to teach perseverance to kids at HERE! has a neat resource for teachers to learn how to help children learn problem-solving skills HERE!

There is a good article on developing critical thinking at HERE!

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

Review! Hotel Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins ** Checking in to #HotelBruce!

2 Nov

hotelbruceHotel Bruce

By Ryan T. Higgins

48 pages – ages 5+

Published by Disney-Hyperion on October 18, 2016

Synopsis from Publisher- When Bruce gets home from a southern migration trip with his goslings, he is tired. He is grumpy. And he is definitely not in the mood to share his home with the trio of mice who have turned his den into a hotel.

There’s a possum pillow fight wreaking havoc in one room, a fox luring guests into a stew in the kitchen, and a snuggly crew of critters hogging the bed. Bruce growls and grumbles and tries to throw them all out, but the entrepreneurial mice just can’t take a hint. Bruce is in a little over his head, especially once the goslings join the staff. Will this grumpy bear ever get his quiet, peaceful den back to himself?

What I Thought- Imagine my excitement to see another book about my favorite grump of a bear – BRUCE! This was a sweet sequel to Mother Bruce (see my review HERE).  Higgins’ illustrations have the richness and detail that I loved in the first book. Bruce is a favorite of mine. I love how Higgins draws him with his big uni-brow  that can relate so much emotion. Plus, there is a lot of humor hidden in the illustrations. Kids will love reading all of the things the animals say, and picking up on all of the little details. Higgins’ writing style is funny, and warm.  It makes it so that the book is a perfect read-aloud. Although this story doesn’t create quite the same feelings as MOTHER BRUCE,  HOTEL BRUCE was definitely a great story by itself. The plot is goofy and of course Bruce’s kind heart conquers all in the end. I can’t wait to see what Higgins comes up with next!


I give this book five out of five bookworms!

Now I shall go check in to HOTEL BRUCE!



Review Round-up and WINNER of the Lockwood and Co Giveaway!

1 Nov

Today’s post is about a trio of fun books that really caught my eye!

BUT FIRST I have a winner to announce!


The winner of the complete Lockwood and Co series plus the pumpkin carving set (Thank you Disney Hyperion for the awesome prize!) is

Ken W Christensen!

Congratulations Mr. Christensen!I will be contacting you for your mailing address.


Up first –

notpictureThis is Not a Picture Book!

By Sergio Ruzzier

40 pages – ages 2+
Published by Chronicle Books on May 3, 2016

Summary from publisher: In this quirky yet sweet picture book about the joy and power of reading, Duck learns that even books without pictures can be fun. While he and his friend Bug may struggle at first to decipher their book, they stick with it, and before long they discover that not only can they read it, but it deserves a place on the shelf with all their favorite picture books. Author-artist Sergio Ruzzier has created a fanciful tribute to books of all kinds. It includes both words AND pictures.

Why I like it: The illustrations are a feast for the eyes! At first duck is upset that the book he found has no pictures- only plain old words.

notbook2Once he starts reading the book the illustrations reflect how his world comes alive.

notbook3This is EXACTLY what happens when I read!😀

The story shows kids just how cool reading a book can be. The text is simple so early readers can read it to themselves. I think it would make a great bedtime story too. I really love everything about this book!

Next up –

papillonPapillon, Book 1: The Very Fluffy Kitty

By A.N. Kang

40 pages – ages 2+
Published by: Disney-Hyperion on September 6, 2016

Summary from publisher: Papillon is a very fluffy kitty. So fluffy that he’s lighter than air! His owner tries to weigh him down, but Papillon just wants to fly.

One particularly sunny day, he floats right out the window! Exploring the wide world is exhilarating, but it’s also a little scary. Will his new friend, a bird, be able to help him find his way home?

Whimsical art and airy text come together seamlessly in this delightful debut by A. N. Kang.

Why I like it: Who wouldn’t love a book about a big fluffy kitty who is lighter than air? Seriously, what a unique story concept. Papillon is SO fluffy he just floats. His owner Miss Tilly has to come up with a solution so her kitty doesn’t float away. She tries to weigh him down but the only thing that works is having Papillon wear costumes.

Which, of course as Papillon is a cat, he is not thrilled about.


So Papillon decides to go without the costumes and Papillon floats out the window and is soon lost. Kang’s illustrations are a perfect compliment to her story.

And for my final review!

burpornotTo Burp or Not to Burp: A Guide to Your Body in Space.

By Dr. Dave Williams and Loredana Cunti

Illustrated by Theo Krynauw

56 pages – ages 7+
Published by Annick Press; Reprint edition October 11, 2016

Summary from publisher: Of all the questions astronauts are asked by kids, the most frequent one is “How do you go to the toilet in space?”
This book not only answers that question, but many others about the effect of zero gravity on the human body:
How do you brush your hair in space? What happens when you sweat? What does food taste like? The best thing is that the answers are provided by Dr. Dave Williams, a NASA astronaut who speaks from first-hand experience. Written for kids ages 7 to 10, this book uses age-appropriate language to explain the different phenomena that astronauts encounter during a mission. The bright, colorful pages, short blocks of text accompanied by photos and humorous illustrations make this a very attractive choice for young readers. The opening message from Dr. Dave empowers kids to follow his example by believing in themselves and following their dreams.

Why I like it: So these are questions, I really was curious about. How do you go to the bathroom in space? What about brushing your teeth, taking a shower or sleeping in space? This book is packed full of illustrations and real photographs showing how these things are done. The text is laid out nice with to the point textboxes. The formatting of the book is nice and will appeal to reluctant readers. Written by an expert (Williams) that knows about living in space, the book gives you a real understanding of the day-to-day challenges of being in space. A very fun and informative read!

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Elephant’s Pajamas by Michelle Robinson

28 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 that kids will like!

elephantsElephant’s Pajamas

Written by Michelle Robinson

Illustrated by Emily Fox

32 pages – ages 5+

Published by HarperCollins on September 20, 2016

Theme/Topic- Bedtime / Friendship

Genre- Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “Elephant’s inbox said ‘NEW MAIL.’ He clicked on it, excited…”

Synopsis from Publisher: “Sleepovers have never been so silly! A hilarious animal story from award winning children’s author, Michelle Robinson and debut picture book illustrator, Emily Fox.

Elephant has been invited to a pajama party. He can’t wait! There’s just one problem… he doesn’t have any pajamas. Poor Elephant searches high and low, often with embarrassing results, but he can’t find anything suitable. What can Elephant’s friends do to make sure he joins in the fun?”

What I Thought- I am sure that kids will laugh at this book. Honestly, I think the cover sums it up best – fun, and an elephant in underpants! There’s nothing better! One thing I find interesting is how Ms. Robinson mixes in some online aspects – as the friends communicate (before the party) they only talk via social media, because of distance. I like that it gives it a modern feel. The illustrations, by debut illustrator Emily Fox, are bright, cheerful, and hilarious. In other words perfect for this book! Ms. Robinson has a way of keeping it simple, with her rhyme taking a subtle backstage, but still always there. A truly perfect book!

Activities and Resources- 

There are some neat bedtime activities at HERE! has a great list of friendship-building activities HERE!

I really like the sleepover activities for grandparents and grandkids at HERE!

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

Halloween Picks!

24 Oct


With Halloween sneaking up on us, I thought I’d tell you about some great Halloween books I’ve come across.


whoswhoWho’s Who in the Woods?

Written by Eryl Norris

Illustrated by Andy Mansfield

18 pages – ages 1-5
Published by Little Bee Books on October 6, 2015

Synopsis from Publisher- “Find out which pair of eyes belong to which woodland animal in this engaging novelty book with pop-ups on every page!

It’s nighttime in the woods and there are eyes peeping out from the darkness—but who do they belong to? Pop-ups on each page reveal different woodland animals, including an owl, a bear, a wolf, and more.”

What I Thought- This is a cute pop-up book. i like it that the pages are very sturdy.  I don’t like it when pop-up books get caught up or bent easily. The book is illustrated in white and shades of gray with big yellow eyes for kids to figure out who they belong to.


The illustrations have just a little bit of spookiness about them – just right for young kids. The story has the reader trying to figure out who a “terrible creature” in the woods is. After examining all sorts of glowing eyes in the woods, the creature turns out to be a little mouse. This will make a great read aloud for Halloween night!

turkeyTurkey Trick or Treat Hardcover

by Wendi Silvano

Illustrated by Lee Harper

40 pages -ages 3 – 7
Published by by Two Lions on August 11, 2015

Synopsis from publisher- “Everyone loves Halloween candy—even Turkey. But how can he and his barnyard friends get any when the farmers give it out only to children? With a costume, of course! As his pals look on, Turkey comes up with one clever costume after the next. Each trick gets better and better…but will Turkey and his friends end up with any treats? This hilarious companion to Turkey Trouble and Turkey Claus is filled to the brim with holiday fun.”

What I Thought- This is a funny story that kids of all ages will like. Silvano’s story has Turkey wanting to get some Halloween candy but can’t fool the farmer into giving him any (candy is only for kids not farm animals!). The story shows great teamwork as the farm animals help turkey come up with solutions. After each failed attempt – the farm animals show perseverance and don’t give up. In the end, their solution is ingenious (won’t give it away😉 )! Harper’s illustrations add an incredible amount of detail and humor to Silvano’s fun story.
hideousHideous History: Trials and Trickery Hardcover
by Sandra Lawrence

Series: Hideous History
64 pages – ages 10+
Published by Little Bee Books on July 5, 2016

Synopsis from publisher- “All the grim, gruesome and gory bits of history they never teach you in school!

From the betrayal and murder of Julius Caesar by Marcus Brutus to the gunpowder plot to overthrow the English government of Guy Fawkes to the outlandish trials of witches, this book is packed with men, women, and historical events that involve unfair trials and unspeakable treachery. Others included are: La Malinche, the Spanish Inquisition, the trial and execution of Charles I, the betrayal of Jesse James by Robert Ford, and trial and execution methods, among others. Kids will love the scrapbook style and all the illustrations and charts!”

What I Thought- This was an interesting book. Warning that it is a little gory. It describes deaths, beheadings, and other grisly things – not in extreme details but enough to get the idea.  The pages are laid out in a neat way, with text boxes, illustrations, and pictures. It makes it visually appealing to the reader. Kids get to learn a bit of history too.

hideous2It is a really neat nonfiction read, and kids will like reading about the things they don’t really hear about in school. It is an interesting book that will appeal to reluctant readers too!

missperigineMiss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
by Ransom Riggs

382 pages – ages 14+
Published by Quirk Books on June 4, 2013

Synopsis from publisher- “A mysterious island.

 An abandoned orphanage.

 A strange collection of very curious photographs.

It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive. 

A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.”

What I Thought- Okay – so I haven’t read this book yet but it is sitting next in line on my to be read list after seeing the movie. I am one who never sees a movie first, but my mom wanted to go see this (she read the book) and took me along. Mom said the movie does the book justice (she had a few minor complaints). Well, I loved the movie and am expecting the book to be even better. I think this creepy paranormal story will be great for teens this time of year!

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