Look Before You Leap, Rabbit by by BRS Bankphee, Arunodoy Biswas (Illustrator)

A sneeze. A chase. A flying elephant. And Squeeky Wailer! How will it all end?

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Look Before You Leap, Rabbit is a precious, FUN, children’s book with a little lesson for all of us. When the author’s daughter wanted a bedtime story, the Bankphee told her a story that she would never forget. Now you, too, can enjoy this delightful story with your own children.

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Everyone is outside playing on the beautiful spring day when Rabbit decides that he can run faster and jump higher than anyone. As Rabbit jumps to catch a butterfly flitting by, his landing launched Phoebe the Elephant way up into the sky. It is there that she meets an array of imaginative characters who will try to get Phoebe back on the ground again.

With beautiful illustrations and a story that is simply too much fun, kids will be overjoyed to read this engaging tale. You can find it now at AMAZON.

I am very grateful to Mr. Bankphee for my copy of Look Before You Leap, Rabbit. The children who visit our library were thrilled with the story!

The Little Engine That Could – NINETIETH Anniversary Edition

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Seriously! How is it possible that this delightful, inspirational tale is NINETY years old!?! Well, it is and to celebrate there is a brand new edition just waiting to be read and added to your library!

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Everyone knows the story of the little engine, right? I think I can…. I think I can…. and soon she absolutely could! By far this was my favorite story as a child. I was small and so often there were things I was told I was “too little” to do. This engine became my hero, her mantra became mine. When I was a Weight Watchers group leader the members in my group used it as their mantra as well. If you think you can, you will do!

The text in this updated version is the same heart felt prose we always adored but the illustrations are new and absolutely gorgeous. They will make you fall in love with them! Just look at the colors in this one:

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This anniversary edition features the original text, all-new re-imagined artwork and an introduction from Caldecott Medal-winner Dan Santat and a special letter from Dolly Parton, award-winning singer-songwriter and founder of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. Every child and adult alike should have a copy of this inspiring tale on their shelves to read when self-doubt rears its head. It’s perfection.

 

(Thank you to #Edelweiss, #PenguinPublishingGroup, #Grossett&Dunlap for my copy of The Little Engine That Could)

Sunday Morning for Kids featuring: The Hat Who Was Left Behind, Billie Jean and Marie Montessori

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The Hat Who Left Behind is such a beautiful book for young readers. The prose is brilliant and written in a flowing verse with which children will be enraptured  It is the illustrations, however, that captured my attention.

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Each of these gorgeous watercolours tell a story in themselves. They invite the reader to use their own imagination to describe what is happening within them. The language is simple enough that whoever is reading, adult or child, can elaborate on commentary and that is very important for young readers especially.

The theme is one of purpose: can we or an inanimate object be more than what we think we can be. Can a hat, whose purpose was beauty for a small child, be more than just a hat. Think about that and you will find that the philosophy behind this one can be as deep as you want it to be. Again, this is a skill I highly encouraged my own children to develop and the author and artist have done an exquisite job illustrating this. The Hat Who was Left Behind is a perfectly marvelous book and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Meet the Author and Illustrator:

Céline Lamour-Crochet was born in Brittany, France and is a well known children’s author whose titles are available worldwide. This is her first book for minedition. Feridun Oral was born in 1961 in Kirikkale, Turkey and graduated from Marmara University. He has illustrated his own children’s books as well as those of other authors. He is the recipient of many awards including an award from UNESCO in Japan. His books with minedition include The Message of the Birds, A Red Apple, A Whisper In the Snow, and A Warm Winter.
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On a different note and in the genre of children’s non-fiction, there were two incredible books that I added to our library: Billie Jean and Maria Montessori.
I think there are few women who are not familiar with Billie Jean King and the accomplishments she achieved for all women. A tennis star in the latter part of the 20th century (that looks strange, doesn’t it?) Billie Jean King played tennis against Bobby Riggs in a match entitled “The Battle of the Sexes.” Billie Jean won the match and went on to open new paths for women of all ages.
She didn’t start out as champion, however. At one point she was a little girl who was considered overweight and wore “coke bottle” glasses. To overcome the stigma, she began playing tennis where is steadfastly prevailed. She is a role model for all children on perseverance, overcoming bullying and what we all can achieve when we work hard. Billie Jean, by Mara Rockliff,  is a well told story of an amazing woman whose legacy should be known by children everywhere.
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Oh wow. I probably could write my own book about Maria Montessori who is and has been my own role model and hero. Few have influenced my life and that of my children as much as Maria Montessori!
Maria Montessori, by Maria Isabel Sánchez Vegara, is part of the Little People, Big Dreams series for children. The books are basically biographies written on child’s level about people who not born into greatness but, instead, lived to achieve their dreams. Montessori is best known for her unique method of educating children that was and still is practiced in many countries through schools founded on her philosophy and by many homeschool families who appreciate the child centered approach to learning. The book often points out, rightly so, that Maria received her education, in science, medicine and more, at a time when girls were not encouraged to do so. She overcame the odds to become an expert in childhood education.
My one drawback to this book is that the author describes Montessori’s method as education through play. While playing in an important part of learning for us all, that is not the foundation of Montessori’s teachings. Learning is everywhere – play, cooking, building, every day skills that we must achieve. Giving the child access to multiple areas in which to learn – including play – is essential to their growth. My son was cooking Mac and Cheese from scratch when he was five years old because he was never told that he couldn’t. All of my kids stayed well above the “normal” achievements of others because they were never held back from learning new skills. Freedom to learn everywhere, that is the beauty of Montessori’s method.
Maria Montessori is marvelous addition to this incredible series and one that I hope parents and teachers alike will utilize to their fullest extent.
If you read these book, or have already, let me know what you think. If you haven’t, then I encourage you to do so regardless of your age. You will learn something new, guaranteed.

Sunday Morning For the Kids #AWarmFriendship #TempleGrandin

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Good Morning! Each Sunday Morning, okay some Sunday mornings, I like to share with you some wonderful kids’ books that I’ve read the previous weeks. These are books that meet my very high standards. Naaahh, I like books with pretty pictures, that teach a lesson or don’t put me to sleep. I share them with a kid or two and if they agree then I share them with you. I don’t get overly picky because kids aren’t – or shouldn’t be – overly picky about what makes them happy.

A WARM FRIENDSHIP – by EllenDeLange, Illustrations by Jacqueline Molnar

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The creatures in the forest have made a friend with Mr. Snowman but he is very cold and shivering. They decide to bring him scarves to keep him warm but, of course, soon he is too warm and begins to melt. The animals are so sad that that they have lost their friend but they are reminded that they always will have the joy and memory of their friend with them forever.

This is a very short story, brilliantly illustrated and beautifully written about friendship, caring, empathy and, ultimately, loss. These are emotions that young children often struggle with understanding and to see it illustrated in this book so basically is just wonderful. I shared it with two children who were 5 years old and it was perfect for them. They easily grasped the concept of losing a loved one but holding on the joy you are left with. I think this book is perfect for a family bookshelf.

TEMPLE GRANDIN by Rachel Castro

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This is part of a new series of STEM Superstars. Hopefully you are aware that the STEM program is one that is in the US public schools to encourage Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics. The fact that they began the series with one of the greatest human minds in recent history is amazing – Temple Grandin. You see, Grandin is profoundly autistic. Her mother never gave up hope that her child could learn, was brilliant and would be able to contribute to society and, wow, was she ever correct! Temple Grandin revolutionized the way in which modern agriculture operated. She now is a THE leading spokesperson on Autism, teaching children with Autism, and an expert on all that we now refer to as “the spectrum.” As a mother of an adult son who is on the spectrum who is a leading performer with Cirque du Soleil, Temple Grandin is my hero!

Yes, as critics have pointed out, there are other books that offer more information about Temple Grandin, including her own. This book is for younger students, most likely Middle School students, who are interested in the STEM program. Hopefully it will interest students who are on the spectrum themselves and GIRLS who will be interested in the STEM program. Sadly my town’s STEM program is all male – not what it was meant to be.

If you have a younger, middle school aged child or are the parent of a child who has been diagnosed on the spectrum, I highly recommend this book. If you are a teacher in these fields or a homeschool teacher, please get this STEM series in the hands of your students.

 

The Strange Birds of Flannery O’Connor #AmyAlznauer, #PingZhu – illustrator #SundayMorningforKids

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Oh wow! As a life long fan of Flannery O’Connor and her brilliant and, yes, odd work, I had to read this book!

“I intend to stand firm and let the peacocks multiply, for I am sure that, in the end, the last word will be theirs.” —Flannery O’Connor

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The story itself is based on O’Connor’s fascination/obsession with the odd bird or two or ten. Featured in many of her writings, peacocks, chickens who performed tricks and many more, were an important part of her life and actually led to her interest in writing as well, particularly about those who might seem different to most readers.

This is for young readers so the writing is simple but not silly. The illustrations are absolutely stunning and what an marvelous introduction for children to one of the best writers the US has known. I cannot recommend this book highly enough!

Amy Alznauer lives in Chicago with her husband, two children, a dog, a parakeet, sometimes chicks, and a part-time fish, but, as of today, no elephants or peacocks.

Ping Zhu is a freelance illustrator who has worked with clients big and small, won some awards based on the work she did for aforementioned clients, attracted new clients with shiny awards, and is hoping to maintain her livelihood in Brooklyn by repeating that cycle.

Thank you to #Edelweiss the author and illustrator and to #EnchantedLionBooks for my copy of this incredible book!

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!

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.

 

 

#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….

 

 

 

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