2015

Book Review: Mad Scientist Academy: The Dinosaur Disaster By Matthew McElligott

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Continuing with my reviews of some of our favorite books off of my daughter’s school summer reading list, count me surprised that this is a solid winner in our home. Dinosaurs, clever monsters, graphic novel format, disasters, and more dinosaurs… this book has won my kids’ hearts. Check out Mad Scientist Academy: The Dinosaur Disaster by Matthew McElligott, 2015. Read the full post…

Book Review: Strictly No Elephants By Mantchev & Yoo

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Our library checkout pile is out of control. This isn’t entirely unusual for me, but this time around most of it can be blamed on the school reading list for the summer. We have pretty much finished it up, but we are hesitant to send the books back until necessary as we love a lot of them. If I had the money and the shelf space, oh it would be trouble. Thank goodness for libraries!

Today’s book was a huge hit for all of us on the first read-through. A story about being left out, being different, and ultimately – a story about being kind. It is a theme that is on constant repeat from my mouth as a mother and I adore books that illustrate the point so perfectly. Check out this beautiful and moving book, Strictly No Elephants by Lisa Mantchev, illustrated by Taeeun Yoo, 2015. Read the full post…

Book Review: Alpha By Isabelle Arsenault

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This book is one of my prized treasures from last year. I spied an early version of it coming to the US at a book sellers convention and it literally made me halt and gasp. It is a breathtakingly beautiful abecedarian. In a market where alphabet books abound in every manner of cleverness, this book stands out – not only in its physical characteristics with a cloth spine and uncoated paper – but also in its use of the NATO phonetic alphabet combined with unique visuals. Prepare to be captivated by an alphabet book. Here is Alpha by Isabelle Arsenault, 2015. Read the full post…

Let’s Read Three: Picture Books About Death

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I really struggled with what to call this book grouping, debating between using the word “death” or “loss.” And two of these books could actually be questionable about if the missing character actually died or just left, which potentially makes them even more useful. But when speaking to children about tough topics, semantics can cause more issues because of the literal nature and word associations due to age. Saying someone is “lost” or “gone away” or any of those terms just didn’t cut it for me and always confuses my daughter when the topic of death has come up. So, Picture Books About Death it is.

This is a sad group, I agree, but I hope you’ll stick with me because these books are beautiful, and necessary. You will most likely need one of these at some point in your or a child you know’s life. Two of these are new, joining an interesting flow of children’s literature about death more recently. The other book is one of my favorites from Oliver Jeffers that has just the right amount of mystery and heart to it. Grab a few tissues, just in case, and let’s read three picture books about the death of a loved one. Read the full post…

Let’s Read Three: Unique Father’s Day Books

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Happy Father’s Day! In thinking about this holiday, I got to thinking about some of the more unique dad books that we have floating around. Seemed only right to follow up the classic father books group with some fun, slightly different, and more unique books about dads. Let’s read three more books about fathers! Read the full post…

Book Review: A Great Big Cuddle By Rosen & Riddell

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Poetry is one of those things that I always want to be better about reading for myself, but also sharing with my kids. I loved poetry as a child, and even now as an adult when I remember to read some. Poetry is wonderfully lyrical, imaginative, and memorable. We have started reading some poetry books at lunchtime, when I have finished eating and we are waiting for everyone to be finished. Robert Louis Stevenson collections seem to always be easily found, illustrated by so many favorites. But this book stumbled into my view recently and I rushed to the library to test it out. Chris Riddell is one of my illustration inspirations so that was a major selling point with this book. But I also love that the poems are geared to very little kids. They are silly. They ring true. And they are delightful to giggle over together. Enjoy A Great Big Cuddle: Poems for the Very Young by Michael Rosen, illustrated by Chris Riddell, 2015. Read the full post…

Book Review: Ballet Cat By Bob Shea + Giveaway!

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Back from a surprise and unintentional break, I have not one, but two books to share today. They are adorable, hilarious, glittery, and have sweet messages about friendship, with a side of ballet. Disney-Hyperion sent me these books and a surprise plush friend, and they are also providing a prize pack for one lucky winner! So stay tuned for details at the end of the post.

I’m just starting to come around to the Beginning Reader category of books, not having needed them yet for my own kids, and never really finding them appealing. But, I have a daughter who loves ballet. And these are quite fun, as well as not painful to read. Ha! Early readers are obviously not intended for 100% adult reading so they often are dry, boring, and preferably avoidable unless the child is learning to read. But nothing Bob Shea puts out is ever boring! I appreciate the cleverness and simplicity put into this cute little series about a cat who loves ballet, but her friends even more.

Let’s talk about Ballet Cat in her book from last year, Ballet Cat: The Totally Secret Secret by Bob Shea, 2015; and also her newest book just out this February 2, Ballet Cat: Dance! Dance! Underpants! by Bob Shea, 2016. Read the full post…

Book Review: Last Stop On Market Street By de la Peña & Robinson

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There are so many wonderful books from 2015 that I have yet to highlight! The year truly flew by quickly. One of our many favorites from the year is this delightful book about a bus ride. It really is as simple as that, and yet it is so much more. This is a story about observation, perspective, and finding beauty. Here is Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña, pictures by Christian Robinson, 2015. Read the full post…

25 Days – Book 25: The Biggest Story

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I am so delighted to end this year’s Christmas picture book countdown with a book that breaks all the rules of the countdown. First off, this isn’t just a Christmas picture book. Yes, it is the perfect story to read on Christmas, or surrounding Christmas; but it should actually be read as often and anytime as desired.

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Second, this isn’t really even a children’s picture book. Yes, it has some of the most beautiful illustrations I have ever seen; but it actually has 10 chapters, is quite long, and is definitely not just for children. This book is the best story that has ever been told – the story about a King who crushes snakes and is destined to die and deliver humanity. This is The Biggest Story by Kevin DeYoung, illustrated by Don Clark, 2015.

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25 Days – Book 24: Marguerite’s Christmas

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I have saved a very lovely and exciting new book for this Christmas Eve post. I spied this one a few months back at a book conference and have been waiting to finally have a chance to see and review it. Originally printed in Canada in 2013, this book has finally made its way to the U.S. thanks to the wonderful Enchanted Lion Books. It is a unique, endearing, slightly bizarre story about an elderly woman spending Christmas Eve in her home. Here is Marguerite’s Christmas by India Desjardins, illustrated by Pascal Blanchet, 2015.

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