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

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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

 

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.

 

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.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

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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Ten Nasty Little Toads by #SteveCole

This spring we had to completely recreate a waterfall pond here at The Wisteria House. The waterfall is beautiful, surrounded by gorgeous perennials and lovely Japanese maples – and TOADS! We have accumulated a plethora of TOADS. So, obviously, when I saw the book Ten Nasty Little Toads, I had to read it and, yes, of course I read it to my own TOADS in the pond who sit and “talk” with you as you read aloud.

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The synopsis for Ten Nasty Little Toads compares it to the work of Roald Dahl. Well, that is quite a huge footstep to try to follow, especially considering that Dahl is one of my all time favorite authors of both kids and adult books! Was I ever surprised to discover that YES, it is just like so many of Dahl’s books! The writing, the “message”, the dark humor – oh the dark humor is so delicious – and the illustrations ALL are reminiscent of Dahl’s work.

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This is a collection of short stories, or cautionary tales, about change and changing habits that are not so good for us. There are ten little toads – uhm, I mean children –  who need to change their nasty, beastly ways or they will suffer the consequences. Can they do it or will they forever remain these nasty little creatures? Even the good witch, Madame Rana, who tries to help them isn’t so sure. These are stories full of humor, a lot of MESS and grime and yucky stuff every where, and most of all, a very important message. It’s all wrapped up with some of the most astounding illustrations, created by #TimArchbold, that I have seen in a long time! Illustrators are my heroes – their work can really make a book and Archbold’s artwork absolutely does the trick for Ten Nasty Little Toads. I guarantee that once you start reading Wanda’s story – who resembles a wart with a body – you will be hooked!

As with Dahl’s work, this book is ideal for kids of all ages, including those of us who have the heart (and mind?) of a child! I promise you will LOVE Ten Nasty Little Toads.

A ton of thanks to #Netgalley, #HeadofZeus, #Zephyr, and #SteveCole for my copy of #TenNastyLittleToads