Saturday, October 31, 2015

#MMMBR Children's Review Round-Up @HolidayHouseBks




Here are some great books that make great treats....not sugar added!  And that is no trick!  Also, Christmas is coming and books make great gifts and stocking stuffers!



Debunking myths about spiders, this book takes an extremely close look at creatures that have both fascinated and terrified humans.
An introduction explains what makes spiders unique. Then ten species are highlighted with incredible electron micrograph photographs and surprising facts. From diving bell spiders that live in bubbles underwater, to spitting spiders that shoot venomous wads of spit at their prey, to black widows and wolf spiders, this unusual book will intrigue readers and help dispel arachnophobia.
A companion to BUG SHOTS: The Good, the Bad, and the Bugly.

My Review:  I introduced this book to the children in my Art Through Stories they class and they thought it was so cool.  We all huddled around looking at the pictures while I read the spider facts!  They is a lot more than meet the eye when it comes to these creepy crawling eight legged buggers!  The kids loved that they were able to see real pictures of these fascinating creatures!  I used this book in conjunction with my spider art lesson, so it was a great hit! 5 stars




Zaniness abounds in this picture book about a series of mistaken identities.
While in search of a friend, the cat bumps into an elf. The elf needs rain to test his umbrella, but the only drops he finds are a bear's tears. This poor bear is looking for something too: his lost boot. Unfortunately, he discovers a dog instead. Hunting down these missing treasures gets harder and harder as each pursuit reveals something entirely different. Though no one gets what they were hoping for, this wacky chain of events leads to a happy ending. The group of characters has found one another and a good time!
My Review:  Oh my gosh, what fun!  I love reading stories that take you on a mini adventure and this is one of those books!  It all starts when Cat began looking for a friend and then along the way he meets a lot of characters looking for things they cannot place.  At the end they all found something they least expected!  I adored this wonderful and adorable tale about finding friendship is the most unexpected places!   Not only was is heartwarming...it was also funny to boot!  Your children will get caught up in the illustrations because there is so much to look at!  5 stars


An old farm dog proves he can learn plenty of new tricks in this perfect read-aloud.
A sorry-looking hound plods up to a farmer to ask for a job. "Dogs just eat and don't give anything back," the farmer gripes. Most animals would be on their way, but this dog dreams up a plucky plan. Why not try to work alongside the cows? The Farmer is thankful but unmoved. Still undeterred, Dog tries to convince the farmer that he could be a good stand-in for a horse and a chicken. It isn't until Dog shines in a role that only a canine could fill that the farmer is finally won over.

My Review:  A NEW FAVORITE! When dog is looking for a place to call home and a job to call his own on the farm he is constantly turned down by the old farmer.  But this does not stop the determined (and adorable) dog as he continues to find a job he is perfectly suited for!  He tried to be a cow, a chicken and even a horse...to no avail!  But then a situation arose where dog did not think, but rather jumped into action and maybe, just maybe that was enough to call the farm his new home!  I just loved everything about this book...the art, the story, the characters...everything!  5 stars  



Will Hillenbrand's endearing characters are back with a new adventure that introduces a delightful new friend.
It's Market Day! Bear has picked delicious blueberries. Mole has dug up yummy worms. Their friend Skunk made a new kind of perfume she knows will be a gigantic hit. The trio can't wait to make big piles of dimes. But there are surprises both good and bad in store for the three friends as the farmers market gets underway.

My Review:  I love Bear, Mole and Skunk and in this story you get to accompany them to the market where they all bring things to sell and goals to leave with lots of dimes...but what they find is worth so much more than money! 4 stars for these lovable and cute animal friends! 



A girl who can't seem to stop knitting and a sheep who just can't say no star in this captivating new rendition of the well-loved nursery song.
As a host of characters from nursery rhymes receive wonderful handmade gifts, poor Black Sheep's coat grows thinner. But there is a special reward in store for a generous sheep in this story about the joy of giving.
For extra fun, follow a winding strand of yarn through the pages of the book. Sheet music is included.

My Review:  A new spin on an old favorite and this time the story is about giving back to the sheep rather than just taking away!  In a story about friendship and kindness children will be taken away with words to the new version of the song.  This is going to make a wonderful lesson in my Art Through Stories class at the Y.  There is so much that can be done with this book!  Each page is like a new adventure when you look at the beautiful illustrations! 4.5 stars




This engaging call-and-response book, a companion to OLLIE'S SCHOOL DAY, challenges readers to help Ollie prepare for a field trip to the aquarium.
It's Ollie's first class trip! Where will his class go? To the moon? NO! Up into a bluebird's nest? NO! To a rainbow they can use as a slide? NO! Will Ollie's class go to the aquarium? YES!
Before Ollie goes on the trip he needs help answering some questions, so he's calling on a trusted friend . . . the reader! Children will love being Ollie's helper as they answer his questions some silly, some serious while following his class through an exciting, fact-filled day at the always fascinating, fish-filled aquarium.

My Review:  A really fun and whimsical tale of a class trip and a million and one imaginative and zany yes and no questions!  There is also practical advice on how to behave on class trips as well.  Children of all ages will love to read this book and see where, how, what happens when these kids go on a fun class trip!  I plan to hand this book off to my teacher reviewer and look forward to seeing how she using it in class!  4 stars



"The Wheels on the Bus" takes on a new, bilingual identity as children sing in both English and Spanish about the exciting noises made by all sorts of vehicles.
You may know that the wheels on the bus go round and round, but did you know that las ruedas del bus ruedan y ruedan? Or that while the horn on the truck goes honk, honk, honk, la bocina del camiangoes tut tuu tuu?
Young readers are in for a cheerful and cacophonous ride in this bilingual picture book that introduces them to the sounds of motorcycles, fire trucks, airplanes and more in both English and Spanish. But the best sounds of all are the ones from the children as they reach the state park at the end of their trip. Yay and Yupi!

My Review: Another spin on the old classic Wheels on the Bus  This time time story is written with bilingual text for a new fun twist.  The kids will love making all the noises as the train engine goes choo, the truck horn goes honk, the motorcycle motor goes vroom, the ambulance siren goes nee naw, the fire truck alram goes woo-woo-woo, and tricylce horn goes toot and the airplane goes zoom!  Such fun and 4 stars



A favorite childhood game is given fresh appeal in this warm, humorous picture book.
It was a busy day at Doctor Nice's office. The waiting room was full of patients with various winter ailments from Mrs. Pig's frostbitten nose to the goat kids' headaches, caused by their head-butting style of hockey play. Never fear, Doctor Nice comes up with the perfect cures for them all. In the surprise ending, readers meet the real Doctor Nice an imaginative little boy, playing doctor to his roomful of stuffed animals.
Valeri Gorbachev's cozy, comforting story will warm the coldest winter day and help allay children's fears about visiting the doctor.

My Review:  As kids we all played doctor.  To me, it was one of the most fun part of being little.  Parents and kids are going to love reading the story about how this kind, sweet and caring child took care of all his animals as they all got hurt on a cold, wintry day. 5 stars



With elegant pen-and-ink and watercolor illustrations, this original pourquoi story is a satisfying and visually arresting tale of quiet rewarded.
The jungle is a noisy place. The elephants BOOM, the rhinos BAM-BAM, the hornbills CAW-CAW and the apes HOO-HAA. But Tapir and Little Tapir don't make a sound. They tiptoe through their days until the morning a hungry leopard forces them to run for their lives. Leopard is just about to pounce when BANG! The sound of a hunter's gun stops all three animals in their tracks. Now Leopard must flee very quietly, with help from the tapirs. From that day on, Leopard moves with a very soft step as do the rest of the jungle beasts.

My Review:  Sometimes in life we are forced to face evil with somebody that was once an enemy.  In this beautifully illustrated story we are taken into the jungle and see how a Tapir and a Leopard are forced to come to an agreement in order to save themselves from an evil hunter.  It is also a wonderful story about taking the time to quiet ourselves in this crazy, loud and chaotic world. 4 stars



Like all dogs, Bob likes breakfast, riding in the family car, and digging for bones. But unlike other dogs, Bob cooks breakfast for himself and his family, drives the family car and digs for dinosaur bones with a paleontologist. When the girl next door challenges Bob's owner to a contest to see whose dog is best, Bob doesn't sit, fetch or speak on command. Bob loses. "I'm sorry," Bob says as the girl and her dog march off in triumph. But to make up for his deficiencies, Bob makes pizza for the family.
Readers will enjoy the wry humor that is underscored by an ironic text and understated illustrations.

My Review:  When we spent time comparing ourselves to others we may feel like to don't add up, but when he only focus on all the wonderful things we can do then life is so much sweeter!  Meet Bob, the dog of many talents but we cannot sit on command or catch a stick...but he can do other crazy cool things!  I loved this story about self acceptance and loving the skills and characteristics that make us, us! 4.5 stars



In this playful picture book homage to artist Vincent van Gogh, a house gets a brilliantly colorful paint job.
Vincent is ready to paint his house. The only problem is choosing the color. He thinks white would be nice . . . until the spider convinces him that red is better. Red looks great, but the bird thinks blue would be best. Vincent likes blue too. "Stop!" says the mouse, because the mouse prefers green. Before long, Vincent has a list of requests: the termite wants orange, the caterpillar loves yellow and the ladybug insists on purple. With a little creativity and a lot of color Vincent does a brilliant job!

My Review:  We are crazy Tedd Arnold fans in our house!!!  We once again fell in love with Vincent Paints His House!  There is a problem.  Vincent wants to paint it house, but is house in not only his house, it is the house to many other creatures!  What comes about in this zany and fun story is compromise between everyone!  I love that Arnold can take what seems like s a simple story and fill it with grand lessons!  Such fun and a 5 star read! 




One day Miss Bell bought a tiny kitten. He had stripes like a tiger, a tail like a tiger, and a smile like a tiger. So Miss Bell named him Tiger. Sure enough, he grew into a huge tiger, and took over the whole house, but Miss Bell loved him just the same. “Cats are cats,” she said cheerfully. 

My Review:  No matter how big, crazy or strange the old lady still loves her cat...who has now grown to the size of a tiger!  There were clues of course when she got it as a kitten, but "cats are cats".  So she takes her huge tiger to the pet store to get some fish....what happens next is such fun!  4.5 stars  A great early reader book for new or reluctant readers! 



In this meditative and joyful book, a young boy awakens with the dawn, opens his eyes and looks closely at his world. He admires all that surrounds him, large and small, from the radiant sun to a tiny, but exquisite, lady bug.
"Today is today, and it is a gift," writes Tomie dePaola. Simply told, penned in graceful hand-lettering and illustrated with jewel-like paintings, this inspiring picture book encourages each one of us to be thankful.

My Review:  A quick and easy read that reads more like a poem is a wonderful story to remind of to be grateful for each day is a gift!  4 stars




With an exquisite palette and stunning compositions, award-winning illustrator R. Gregory Christie reimagines one of Aesop's most popular fables.
City Mouse leaves his noisy apartment for a vacation in the country only to find drab meals, unseen predators, unbearable heat and too much quiet! So City Mouse takes his country cousin to Mousetropolis, where a rodent can indulge in rich food and rub elbows with the elite.
But just as the party is getting started, disaster strikes! A cat attacks, scaring the city sophisticates clear out of their fine attire . . . while Country Mouse runs without stopping until he reaches the familiar fields of home.

My Review:  A new and interesting spin on the country mouse and city mouse!  When the mice visit each others homes they come to realize that there is no place like home!! Love the illustrations in the book!  4 stars



Moe is little, but he wants to be the best. He tries to prove his worth to his older siblings by showing off all the things he can do. Each feat turns out to be harder than expected, however, and Moe's brother and sister call attention to his many mistakes. He feels discouraged, until his siblings point out that he is actually the best at one important thing: Moe is best at trying!

With a satisfying ending and adorable monkey characters, Richard Torrey's story will inspire young readers to keep on trying.

My Review:  Self confidence is key and Moe is as proud as can be, in the beginning!  No matter what he does he proclaims "I AM THE BEST", but he is often told how he is doing everything wrong by his siblings!  He eventually gets discouraged and feels very sad.  But then his brother and sister see that he may not be the best at everything but he tries very hard!  So they tell Moe how great he is at trying!  A story about continuing to try and how self confidence is key to get through learning how to do new things!  4 stars



Big Chuck, a woodchuck, is having fun with Rabbit, Raccoon, Chipmunk and the mice brothers when he spots a pair of blue pants. Chuck must have the pants. He holds up the game while he struggles to put them on. "You are too big and the pants are too small," his friends tell him, but Chuck thinks he looks spiffy. Sidesplitting illustrations show a determined Chuck, stuffed into his much-too-tiny blue pants trying in vain to keep up. Comfort and fun finally trump fashion as Chuck sheds the pants and joins the gang for a game of hide and seek. 

Pat Schories's comic illustrations turn a stubborn woodchuck's misguided fashion statement into a laugh-aloud story about self-image and the well-intended advice of true friends.

My Review:  I Love Chuck.  He is so cute and his friends are so sweet!  Chuck gets new pants and thinks they are pretty awesome, but they may be a bit small!  They stop him from being able to do fun stuff...then something happens and Chuck is back playing with his furry friends!  An amazingly fun book for new and reluctant readers 5 stars! 



An unorthodox teacher gives one of the most unforgettable spelling lessons ever in this zany adventure with eye-popping wonders as well as excellent spelling advice.
Poof! There is magic in the air, and readers will need to prepare themselves for some outlandish surprises especially when Ms. Spell waves her wand to demonstrate the marvels of good grammar. The spelling review gets a bit out of control when a giant chocolate cake, zombie monkeys with laser-shooting eyes and the irate school principal get involved.
Filled with pointers on remembering commonly misspelled words, this rollicking picture book uses comic book format to make spelling less threating and more fun.

Note:  I am handing this book off to my teacher reviewer!  But I still wante dto showcase it here!! Review is forthcoming!




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Friday, October 30, 2015

#FRC2015 #MMBBR THE YEAR OF NECESSARY LIES BY KRIS RADISH @krisradish @BookSparks

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THE YEAR OF NECESSARY LIES 
BY KRIS RADISH

YEAR OF NECESSARY LIES finalCourse Title: Feminist Studies
Department: Historical Fiction
Course Date: September 21
Description: What do you get when you combine feminist studies with trade and commerce ethics? Follow the journey of a beautiful Boston socialite who’s ushered into the early 20th century by a group of brazen female activists in The Year of Necessary Lies.


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Another hit by one of my all time favorite authors, Kris Radish.  What I love about Radish's writing is that she finds a way to write with heart, depth and brilliance that get to the soul of her readers.  She is not predictable, boring or doing things have done before.  Rather she is paving the way to original, compelling and wonderful story telling, wrapped in history and tied with a bow of love.  She is just amazing and The Year of Necessary Lies is a story that will resonate with readers far after they shiut the book!  4 stars
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Kris RadishKris Radish is the author of nine novels and two works of non-fiction.  A former award-winning journalist, magazine writer, nationally syndicated columnist, waitress, worm picker, university lecturer, lifeguard and Professional Girl Scout—to name just a few of her past lives—Radish is also co-owner of a wine lounge, the Wine Madonna, in downtown St. Petersburg Florida where she hosts books clubs and special literary events with groups from across the globe.

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#MMBBR Review: The Little Tree by Muon Van @muon_van


When the Little Tree sees the world around her narrowing, she worries about what life will be like for her Little Seed. She decides to take the biggest risk of all, and let Little Seed find a richer life on her own.

Muon Van

Muon Van is a critically-acclaimed picture book author, soft and chewy chocolate chip cookie baker and cordless vacuum operator. She lives in Northern California with a family that makes her earn her keep by telling two original stories every other night. The storytelling is sometimes followed by sensational singing.


I adored Muon Van's other book The Village by the Sea and when the chance arose to read The Little Tree I was so excited!!  I was not disappointed by the new book by the brilliant story teller Muon Van.  The Little Tree is so brilliant because the story has so many interpretations.  I feel that every readers will take something different away from the story, but all readers will be moved by this heart warming story.  To me, this was a story about a mother letting her children go so that the child has a better life than she did.  That the mother knew that the deed was destined to greater things.  That as a mother we want our children to succeed and grow to their full potential.  To others, this story may be so very different.  All I am certain of is that I LOVED it.  Not only was the story brilliant , but the illustrations were also amazing.  So much vibrant colors and creatures within the pages.  It is one of those books that I want to hop into and sit beneath the tress.  I want to listen to the animals moving about the forest.  I want to smell the smells of nature surrounding me!  This book is a must have for your child's home library!  5 stars!!!    


After I finished my review I saw my son looking at the book THE LITTLE TREE and he was so moved by the illustrations that he wanted to draw them too!!!

working hard! 

Finished picture!

Love seeing that books are inspiring my little artist!  





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