Book Reviews, Children's Reads, Fiction, Sunday Morning for Kids

Sunday Morning for the Kids #TheFairyin the KettleGetsMagical and #TheArtistWhoLovedCats #MothersDaywithSnowmanPaul

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It’s Sunday, and here at Macsbooks that can only mean one thing – Children’s Books! I have greatly missed posting about all of the marvelous children’s books that have been published. My inner child loves reading them almost as much as kids do! This week I have three marvelous books to share with you!

THE ARTIST WHO LOVED CATS: The Inspiring Tale of Theophile Alexandre Steinlen by Susan Schaefer Bernardo, illustrations by Coutenay Fletcher

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I’m sure we’re all familiar with the famous painting Le Chat Noir, the black cat from Paris, but few know who the artist is behind the painting: Theophile Alexandre Steinlen. The Artist Who Loved Cats is the delightful story of this man and his love of cats. The story line is set in an antiquities shop in Paris. Antoinette sees something in the window that catches her and, once inside, meets the proprietor who knows the stories behind each and every object in the store. Through beautiful, rhythmic prose, he begins to tell her of the man who loved cats – Steinlen. Steinlen was in Paris in the 1800s to study fabric and design. He created hundreds of illustrations about the industry but he always came back to painting what he loved most: cats. In this delightful tale, children not only learn about this incredible illustrator/artist, but they will be fascinated by the details of Paris in the height of the artisan age, the golden age of Paris.

The Artist Who Loved Cats is wonderfully written and the illustration are simply stunning. I can only hope that this is the beginning of series featuring more artists from this era. I think kids – as well as adults – would be thrilled by it. I have to share my favorite quote from the book with you because it’s actually one that I live by here in my Victorian home: “Each thing has a past, each place has a history.” Isn’t that just so incredibly true? I do hope you will read this marvelous book and share it far and wide with the children in your lives.

THE FAIRY IN THE KETTLE GETS MAGICAL by Pauline Tait

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If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time then you know that one of my favorite series is The Fairy in the Kettle. I became enamored with the fairy kingdom of Fairy Glen and with Lenora, the adorable and spunky fairy who lives in a kettle. The Fairy in the Kettle Gets Magical, by Pauline Tait, is the latest addition to the series.

The fairies of Willow Glen are horrified to discover that the fairy dust of Willow Glen is becoming scarce. Unsure of what to do, they decide to leave the glen in search of more magic. Their adventures are perilous  and the fairies find that the only way to succeed in their mission is to work together. As always, the story is both entertaining as well as subtly adding a moral within, a key to any good, clever children’s book. It is, however, the illustrations that are most captivating. They are striking watercolors that will capture the imagination and attention of children of all ages. While the books are geared toward ages 4-8, I suspect younger children will love the rhythm and colors of the story if it is read to them. It is gorgeous book that would make a great addition to any library.

MOTHERS DAY WITH SNOWMAN PAUL by Yossi Lapid

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A few months ago, I had the pleasure of being gifted a beautiful book for a new series, Yara’s Rain Forest. You can read my review HERE.  The author, Yossi Lapid, is well known for his Snowman Paul series that is a favorite of children all over the world. In May (!) I was asked to read Mother’s Day with Snowman Paul but, you know, life interrupted my blogging and I was unable to post a review until now which is a shame because it is one fantastic children’s book!

The story is simply told, beautifully illustrated but carries a far deeper message than just “mother’s day.” Snowman Paul explores the concept of mothers of all types, especially Mother Earth. It is an amazing tribute to mothers – human, animal and environmental. I absolutely loved this and, more importantly, so did all of the children I have shared it with. The direction of Lapid’s books toward environmental education is one that I find sorely lacking in children’s books today. When my kids were younger that is all that they read and they have grown to be acutely aware of the destruction we are causing the planet, so much so, that my daughter is now with the US State Department in their climate office and was one of the authors of the Paris Agreement. This is due, in part, to the love of our earth that she received from books just like Lapid’s. I want this love of nature, our earth, our environment for all children which is why this book and the Rain Forest series are so very dear to me and I hope they will be to you and your family as well. I would give all of Lapid’s books TEN STARS if I had five more available to me!

Many thanks to #Netgalley, #InnerFlowerChildBooks, #SilverWoodBooks,the authors, and especially to Yossi Lapid for allowing me to read these beautiful books.


		
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Children's Reads, Sunday Morning for Kids, Uncategorized

Sunday Morning for the Kids #BeatrixPotter

 

Sat morning kids(1)I hope you are having the most beautiful Sunday! For those who are celebrating Easter – Festive Easter Wishes to You!! This morning I wanted to share with you another blast from our past and hopefully one from yours as well: the beloved books from Beatrix Potter. The three I have pictured below were my three kids’ very favorites: 56669576_2156166297752385_7663974548181614592_nWhile many are familiar with The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Benjamin Bunny and some may know Jemimah Puddleduck and more of Potter’s well known characters, one of the last tales that she wrote was The Tale of The Flopsy Bunnies. In this tale, Benjamin and Flopsy Bunny have six baby bunnies simply known as the “Flopsy Bunnies.”  The bunnies run off to Mr. MacGregor’s garden are swiftly caught and placed in a sack. Never fear, however, because Thomasina Tittlemouse, my own personal favorite character, comes to the rescue and saves the day. While some critics at the time argued that the illustrations were not as finely executed as her previous works and that Potter’s story was repetitively similar to others, specifically Peter Rabbit, it was a nice bookend for her collection and my youngest son, like countless other children, loved the Flopsy Bunnies and the trouble that they caused, as well as the joy of saying Thomasina Tittlemouse over and over again. 

If you haven’t read Beatrix Potter’s collection or even if it has been many years since last have done so, I encourage you to pick up a book or two of her classic tales and enjoy the wonderful prose as well as the marvelously rich illustrations of these classics. 

I’m linking us with a dear friend of mine over at Read, Rant, Rock and Roll who has a terrific feature called Shabby Sunday where she features older children’s books that are a bit shabby and worn. I thoroughly enjoy reading her reviews and seeing these older books from our past. I hope you will too.  What are you reading to your kids or grandkids this week. Have you reviewed a great children’s, teens or YA book that you could share with us? Link us up!! We would love to know!
#NGEW2019, Children's Reads, Sunday Morning for Kids, Tags and Challenges

Sunday Morning With Kids – Delayed Yara’s Tawari Tree

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Of course, I’m a few days late and always a dollar or two short, but I have made a vow to do this and I will not neglect what I’ve promised to do.Also, I have a marvelous book that I was dying to share with you so shame on me for being too scattered to correctly set the date on my posts! Bad Mackey!

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On the bank of the river, in a house made of wood,

Close to the place where our scared seedling stood,

A hard-working mother and her kindhearted child,

Lived freely together, eating food from the wild.

Yara and her mother live in the rain forest but, sadly it is slowly being destroyed by those who want to use its beautiful big trees for lumber and other chemicals. Yara and her mother work very hard to care for the forest, to nurture and give back to the forest and all those who live within it. One day, when Yara falls dangerously ill, the forest finds a way to return the love by helping to heal Yara with the magic of the Tawari tree.

Yara and the Tawari Tree is very simply told book written in rhyming verse that is perfect for young children who still love to be read to or for younger readers who enjoy reading verse. The children that I read this to absolutely adored the sing-song rhythm of the text which was furthered enhanced with the absolutely brilliant and colorful illustrations which burst off the pages with their vibrancy. Most importantly, this book teaches children about the importance the rainforest and the value that it offers to all of us. From rare species of plants and animals, flora, fauna and its contribution to our delicate climate balance, the rainforest is a resource far too important to lose. Yara’s Tawari Tree is the first in a what will become a picture book series showing children how all living things on our beautiful planet depend on one another.  I cannot recommend this book highly enough! The entire series will find a home on our library shelf!

Thank you to #Netgalley, #YossiLapid and #IBPA for my copy of this marvelous book. If you would like to know more about #YaraAndHerMysteryTree , and the kids I read to absolutely did, here is a link with information on the Tawari Tree. It’s fascinating stuff!

If you have a book that you’ve reviewed for Sunday Morning with Kids, please link up with us here. One blog that I want to share with you is Reading Tonic. Her post on Sunday, Wish, is absolutely wonderful. Be sure to take a look.

 

 

Book Reviews, Children's Reads, Sunday Morning for Kids

#SundayMorningForKids featuring The Saga of Baby Divine! by Bette Midler

Whoo hoo!!!  I’ve been waiting all week for Sunday to come around again so we could celebrate Sunday Morning for Kids and share our favorite kids books!!

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Today is my daughter’s birthday – HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOLLY – so I thought I would share one of her favorite books published the year she was born. Omgosh, that’s make both us very YOUNG!!!  🙂   The Divine Ms. M was extremely popular, well she still is, but she was the rage that year and she wrote a children’s book that reflected her outrageous personality, a book that she wished had been around for girls like her when she was a wee one. After reading The Saga of Baby Divine, I totally understood what she meant!!

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When the Divines have a baby she isn’t quite like the rest of the babies they’ve known or seen. The first thing they realize is that their baby comes with high heels and a grand curl of red hair on her head. But the greatest shock for the poor Divines is their child could already say one word and that word was “MORE!” The poor Divines did not have clue  what to do with their unusual child. But lurking around were three very smart chicks who knew how to care for the marvelous Baby Divine! They whisked her away on moonbeams and shadows and taught her about laughter and joy. They teach her about singing and dancing and fun and made sure that she knew about MORE! But the best gift they gave her, which lasted her whole life through, was this:

“Make sure that your life is a Rare Entertainment! It doesn’t take anything drastic,  You needn’t be gorgeous or wealthy or smart – just very enthusiastic!”

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If I read this book once, I had to have read it a thousand times over the years to each of my kids. The tongue-twisting rhymes are marvelous, the illustrations will leave you breathless and there’s even songs to sing throughout! It truly is a book made to order for those kids who love to shine.

Over the years, I’ve watched this book’s popularity rise and fall. Right now there are those, like my daughter, who are scrambling to find it for their own kids because they loved this book so much. There also are those who never really read it who assume it is about greed, material possessions and hubris. It is not. In fact, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Midler grew up an overweight, large nosed, curly red-headed Jewish girl who teased her unmercifully every day of her life. She dreamed of flying away at night to a land where she was divine, funny, brilliant, love and accepted. That is what we all want. Every single child who lives wants to be loved. Throughout their lives kids will be told to sit, stand, put their hands by their side, fit in, blend in, don’t stand out, follow the crowd. Sometimes, rarely, there are those who do not! They soar, they shine, they jump, they sing, they glow and they want MORE!!!! Molly grew up to be a climate negotiator for the US State Department and a key author of the Paris Agreement.  She was a homeschooled girl who was told she never would get accepted into the big league universities because she was homeschooled but she asked for MORE.  I say this because books matter. Reading books that encourage your kids to excel, matters. Letting their imagination grow off of the charts matters. Allow them to ride into the night on moonbeams and always want MORE! Who ever achieved anything in life wanting LESS?

You can find a used copy of The Saga of Baby Divine on Amazon. I hope you’ll give it a read. Now, what are you reading this week? Have you found a delightful new kids book that has captured your imagination? Share it with us….

 

 

 

#NGEW2019, Children's Reads, Sunday Morning for Kids, Tags and Challenges

Sunday Morning for Kids featuring Pip the Gnome and the Forest Feast

Happy Sunday! Yesterday I was reading my blogger friend, Carla’s, post “Saturday Morning for Kids” and thought it was a wonderful idea. As you know, I’ve been reviewing kids books on Sunday because that was the time when I would chill with my neighbors and read. So, I’ve combined the best of both worlds to bring you Sunday Morning for Kids here at Macsbooks with HUGE gratitude to Carla at Carla Loves to Read. Please be sure to check out her blog – she’s terrific!! You can read her on Saturday and come here on Sunday – TADA!

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During the holidays I downloaded the most adorable book assuming it was for the Christmas season, after all, it had an elf on the cover. Silly me, it wasn’t an elf! It was a GNOME!!! I have become enamored with Gnomes recently and I should have known better but I was in an elfish kind of spirit and not thinking. Pip the GNOME and the Forest Feast by Admar Kwant, is part of series for very young or brand new readers. It encourages young children to learn very important life lessons. In the Forest Feast, Pip is gathering food from the forest for a marvelous meal that he preparing for all of his forest friends. Everyone throughout the forest is invited and they all come to enjoy what he has prepared. Soon, it becomes obvious, however, that he has left nothing at all for himself. Oh dear, his friends think, what shall we do?

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Pip the Gnome and the Forest Feast is a delightful book that helps guide children to embrace the joy of sharing so that everyone can enjoy something and no one is left with nothing. It is, perhaps, a lesson that we all need to learn. What sets this book apart from so many others is the incredible illustrations! I am, as you know, a enthusiast for great art and page after glorious page of color-washed images will keep children of all ages captivated. While I thoroughly enjoyed Pip, I suspect it might be geared more toward pre-school, early readers, those who are being read to and enjoy a nice book before bedtime.

Thank you to #Edelweiss, #IngramPublishing and the author, #AdmarKwant for my copy of #PiptheGnomeandtheForestFeast

#NGEW2019, Book Reviews, Children's Reads, Tags and Challenges

Sunday’s Mini-Reviews: Stanley the Walrus and Aya and Papaya Meet the BIG little Creatures

When I was young all the way through high school, Sunday afternoons were a time set aside specifically for reading and listening to music on the stereo. Yes, I know, I’m that old. 😉 While my parents listened to “cowboy western” songs, my neighbors only listened to classical music. Needless to say, I spent a lot of time in my neighbor’s study reading and enjoying the classics, both books and music. With that in mind, I thought Sunday’s would be good time to share reviews of children’s books. I adore children’s and middle school aged books. It was during this time I that developed my love of reading (and music) and I can only hope that some of the books I share here will do the same for others.

AYA and PAPAYA and the BIG little CREATURES

You may recall that I shared a review about Aya and Papaya last week. You can read that REVIEW HERE. Now Aya and her little doll, Papaya are back, along with her neighbor, Sammy and his doll, Bamboo. It is warming up and outside and they want to explore in the play-castle at the far end of the garden. However, in order to get there, they have go all the way through the garden! That means they have to be brave enough to go past all of the wiggly, creeping, crawly things that live there! Of course, soon the kids learn that all of these creatures are necessary to make the garden healthy and to grow and soon they are on their way to play along with all of their new flying, crawling, creeping friends.
51WlTHjUp+LamazonI adore Aya and her insatiable curiosity about the world. More importantly, I love the illustrators who design for this series!! The colors are vivid and bold and absolutely perfect for children for whom this book is targeted. I cannot get enough of this duo and I’m quite sure that your pre-school aged kids will feel the same way! I highly recommend #AyaandPapayaandtheBiglittleCreatures   This book is available now through @TroubadorPub who provided my copy to me. Thank you!!

STANLEY the WALRUS

Poooorrrr Stanley!!! Stanley the Walrus has a bit of a problem; he stinks. Yep. Stanley doesn’t like to brush his tusks and over time, well, his breath has become rather stinky. YUCK!! But Stanley has fallen in love with Stella and he will do whatever it takes to win Stella’s love – including …brushing his TUSKS!

cover158547-mediumThis was a super cute book that had a very hypnotic, sing-song rhythm to it with each phrase ending in “brush your tusk.” While I grew bored rather quickly with the sheer number of words that rhymed with tusks (I had NO idea!) the children I was reading it to, ages 2 and 4, were mesmerized by the illustrations and the delightful rhyme. Obviously it hit the target audience perfectly! I had such a difficult time getting my own kiddos to brush their teeth when they were small and I suspect that Stanley and Stella would be a great help in that area. If you keep this book geared to the younger pre-school ages, then it should a great addition to your library.

Thank you to #Netgalley for both of these books and to #KoboWritingLife for my copy of #StanleytheWalrus by Sherri Funk and Dave Watland

 

#NGEW2019, Book Reviews, Children's Reads, Tags and Challenges

Aya and Papya Find Happiness

It’s Sunday and believe it not it is a very rainy but very warm day here in the midwestern US. I actually love rainy Sundays because it means day to curl up with a good book and read and that makes me super happy. That sounds simple enough, right? Which is exactly what Aya and Papya Find Happiness is all about – finding what makes you happy!

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Aya and Papya Find Happiness is a darling children’s book written and illustrated especially for the pre-reader otherwise known as pre-school aged child. Aya is a young girl who has woken up to discover that she is unhappy and no matter where she looks, she simply can not find where her happiness has gone. After searching high and low, everywhere possible, she discovers that her happiness was inside herself all along. It’s a simple story but one with a lesson that is very important to teach young ones: others cannot make or influence your emotions, only you can do that. As adults so often we teach children that other people make them happy or sad or angry or mad, then as adults we have to “unlearn” that behavior. This book helps children learn an important life lesson correctly from the beginning. Yes, of course, there are times when a child will feel sad, depressed, lonely or angry and those are legitimate feelings as well. But sometimes, kids are grumpy and books like Aya and Papaya helps them learn to self-comfort, a good tool for life.
6.txtIn addition to teachable moments, I also look for good illustrations in children’s books. There is no point in writing a book for kids if you are not going to illustrate it properly. I recently purchased a book that had amazing line drawings but every picture was in stark black and white. For the ages for which it was intended, that was not acceptable. Children need and want colorful, well expressed illustrations and this book is filled with them from beginning to end. As you might have guessed from the title, there is a multi-cultural theme to the book – also a wonderful reason to include it into your children’s home library. Glowing stars all around for this beautifully told, wonderfully illustrated book.

Thank you to #Netgalley and @Matadorbooks for my copy of #AyaandPapayaFindHappiness on sale now at Amazon.

 

#historical fiction, Book Reviews, Children's Reads

Journey of York @HasanDavis

There are few stories more well known in United States history than that of the Lewis and Clark expedition from St. Louis to the farthest reaches of the continent, what would become known as Oregon/Washington. The pair of explorers took with them 23 crewmen, most were former military men with whom they had served; all but one were volunteers: York, the African slave whom Clark had inherited from his father’s estate. However, aside from the Shoshone woman, Sacagawea, and her “husband” Toussaint Charbanneau, no one was more valuable to the success of the exploration than the man known as York. Yet, for nearly two centuries York’s story and vital contributions have remained largely untold – until now.

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To say that I am an avid devotee of the Lewis and Clark expedition is an understatement – and even that statement doesn’t do justice to my obsession. While my university degree is in history (and US politics,) my area of specialty is the Jefferson/Jacksonian period primarily because I simply could not get enough information about Lewis and Clark and their westward adventure. I wanted to know what they found, the native Americans they met, how they survived the winters, about their longboats. Yes, I’ve even retraced the Lewis and Clark trail from beginning to end and back again. I’ve toured Fort Clatsop, visited burial sites, read their journals and far, far more. What always has fascinated me, however, was how much this pair relied on York, how much they wrote about him and then how quickly his importance vanished. They used his skin color to fascinate native Americans who never had seen any human with that skin color. They thought he was a “medicine man” or “magic.” He opened doors for the explorers and saved their lives on more than one occasion. His brute strength enabled them to carry more boats over dry riverbeds and to build their fort before the winter cold could kill them. He even became – literally – the first African American to vote on American soil when the party had to decide which side of the Columbia river to set up their fort. It was groundbreaking. And yet, once the explorers returned back home – no mention of his bravery, heroics, saving strength or equality was mentioned again. It was during a time in American history when already a division was growing among the states over the slavery issue and giving York credit simply was not done. Shame on everyone involved and KUDOS to Hasan Davis for finally telling this hero’s story!!

The book is written for young readers and is very simplistic in its telling. Think back to the history books of your childhood and this book is written similarly. I would have liked for the illustrations to have been more imaginative in order to capture the attention of graphic savvy young readers, but the story itself is well told, doesn’t stray from historic fact and isn’t too heavy handed when it comes to finger pointing – which it could have done. I think this is an absolute must read for all young American readers, for teachers of young students, parents, and perhaps even adults who are clueless regarding the real heroes of the expedition. I love Lewis and Clark but I know, without a doubt, where the credit for their expedition’s success truly lies.

Thank you to #Netgalley, @CapstonePub and #HasanDavis for fulfilling all of my wishes for the new year by allowing me to read York’s story and especially to Mr. Davis for bringing York’s story to life at last!

For additional reading on the Lewis and Clark expedition, I highly recommend a historical fiction book by Anna L. Waldo titled “Sacajawea.” I have read it five times over the past 30+ years and will read it again this year. It never gets old. Fiction yes, but a beautiful, captivating story never-the-less.

 

 

Children's Reads, Cozy Mysteries, Midwestern Reads

A Dolphin Named Star #Capstone

I read a wonderful review by Lana at Cole Campfire Blog about two young girls who live at a wildlife sanctuary. The book sounded so marvelous that I had to get a copy for myself! Thank you Lana!

A Dolphin Named Star is a delightful story that I’m assuming is written for tweens, perhaps a little younger. (8-11 years old) It reminded me of a cross between Nancy Drew and the old television show, Flipper. Yes, yes, I know I’m showing my age but I read all of the Nancy Drew books and watched re-runs of Flipper so often that I, literally, could recite entire episodes by memory. Is it any wonder that I loved A Dolphin Named Star!?

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Elsa and her best friend Olivia spend all of their time at the Seaside Sanctuary for wildlife where Elsa’s parents work. The girls have bonded with the new dolphins who have been rescued and are acclimatizing to their new outdoor “pool.” However, worry sets in for the girls as the dolphins immediately begin to get sick, have sores and, eventually, one of the trio dies. No one can figure out exactly what is wrong with the dolphins since water samples come back clean. The girls do some sleuthing to find the answers, hopefully in time to save the remaining dolphins.

This is, of course, a book that is written for the minds and attention level of kids, however, it is intelligently written and covers a lot of bases regarding the sanctity of wildlife, ocean pollution, corporate wrong-doing. Because my own kids grew up with books like this, from Nancy Drew to Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell, I think the book is perfectly written for their interests and knowledge base. In addition, as if the book weren’t terrific enough, there are discussion questions in the back of the book to encourage further dialogue and research. There also is a glossary of terms that might be unfamiliar to kids but which will further enhance their language skills and, hopefully, peak their interest so that they will search out other books on this topic.

A Dolphin Named Star is beautifully illustrated, marvelously written and a thoroughly enjoyable book. It is one in a set of four books about the girls and Seaside Sanctuary and would be an excellent gift for young readers.

Thanks again to Lana for putting this book on my radar, to #Netgalley and @CapstonePub for my advance copy – published by  #StoneArchBooks.

 

 

 

Blog Tours, Children's Reads

The Kooky Kids Club Blog Tour @RobbieYates

I have been beside myself with anticipation for Robbie Yates’ new book for middle-schoolers and then, just when I was supposed to upload, Word Press went all kooky instead!! My tech guys, WP tech team and I have been working hard to get it back up and running on my end and, finally, I think we have it!!  So, welcome to my stop on The Kooky Kids Club blog tour!

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Growing up I was a bit of a nerdy girl, an only child who was a bit too bookish to fit in anywhere, so when I started reading The Kooky Kids Club, I immediately fell in love with darling Maxine, the heroine of the book. Maxine is very smart and a little bit quirky. Making friends isn’t something that comes easily for her. However, one day she receives a mysterious note:

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Finally a chance for Maxine to begin making friends with kids who are “kooky” like her. Suddenly, however, her teacher goes missing! Adults don’t seem to notice or care but Maxine enlists the help of the Kooky Kids Club and if anyone can find the teacher, it’s them!

Robbie Yates, simply told, is one of my favorite kids’ book authors. His writing is perfect for tweens who need a little excitement and whole lot of humor to keep their interest. This book does exactly that, with a few excellent moral implications thrown in for good measure. The bottom line is, we all have our quirks but generally they are assets, not detriments, and this is precisely the type of message we hope to send to our kids who muddling through the tween years of middle school. The Kooky Kids Club is perfect and would make one very excellent holiday gift for the tweens in your life – or a teacher or two. Thank you, Robbie, for another amazing book!

Hipster breakfast egg characters with mustache, beard, black bowler hat and glasses. Creative design holiday poster eggs cups. drawn gentleman faces vintage style. gray background.

Robbie Yates in an author from Melbourne, Australia. He likes cocoa, cheeky poetry, and eating all of the red jellybeans before anybody else can get to them.
In his free time, Robbie likes to read ridiculous and wacky kids’ fiction. He also likes practical jokes and terrible puns. I just love a guy who is so mysterious, don’t you?

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Thanks so much to Shalini @DigitalReadsBlogTours for allowing me to be part of this very kooky, quirky and FUN blog tour! You can read more, and most likely better, reviews this week at all of the wonderful blogs listed below.

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