Sunday, July 23, 2017

#MMBBR #Highlight #FirstLine #TheIdeaOfYou by @robinnelee @StMartinsPress


When Solène Marchand, the thirty-nine-year-old owner of a prestigious art gallery in Los Angeles, takes her daughter, Isabelle, to meet her favorite boy band, she does so reluctantly and at her ex-husband’s request. The last thing she expects is to make a connection with one of the members of the world-famous August Moon. But Hayes Campbell is clever, winning, confident, and posh, and the attraction is immediate. That he is all of twenty years old further complicates things.

What begins as a series of clandestine trysts quickly evolves into a passionate relationship. It is a journey that spans continents as Solène and Hayes navigate each other’s disparate worlds: from stadium tours to international art fairs to secluded hideaways. And for Solène, it is as much a reclaiming of self, as it is a rediscovery of happiness and love. When their romance becomes a viral sensation, and both she and her daughter become the target of rabid fans and an insatiable media, Solène must face how her new status has impacted not only her life, but the lives of those closest to her.

#FirstLine ~ I suppose I could blame it all on Daniel.  

Robinne Lee

ROBINNE LEE is an actor, writer and producer. A graduate of Yale University and Columbia Law School, Robinne was born and raised in Westchester County, New York. Robinne has numerous acting credits in both television and film, most notably opposite Will Smith in both Hitch and Seven Pounds. She recently completed shooting Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed, playing Ros Bailey. Robinne currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two children. The Idea of You is her first novel.


Saturday, July 22, 2017

#MMBBR #Review @karenbwinnick #LauraWatkins #SusanSchaeferBernardo @MonkeeDoodle @AnnMarieNieves

THE BIG ADVENTURES OF TINY HOUSE by Susan Bernardo, illustrated by Courtenay Fletcher Picture book 3-8; Flower Child Books; April 2017

The adventure begins when an old farmhouse gets salvaged and recycled into Tiny, a snug little house with a big heart -- and WHEELS! With the help of Big Truck, Tiny sets off across America to discover if he is still a real home. Tiny makes friends on the road, like Shiny the Airstream, Waverly the houseboat, and Buster the skoolie. He even goes to a jamboree! After thousands of miles, Tiny discovers that home isn't a's a feeling in your heart. The irresistible rhymes and delightfully detailed illustrations in this lyrical new picture book from the creators of Sun Kisses, Moon Hugs are sure to enchant children - and the book's gentle messages about sustainable living, friendship and working together will delight parents and teachers as well.

The house is tiny in size, but goes on BIG adventures.  Travel along with tiny house as it travels through the USA, experiencing new things, meeting interesting people and learning that home is always in your heart no matter where you are geographically.  This story captures the concept that life is not about things, rather life is about experiences.  The illustrations capture the sheer beauty of this country and how glorious travel can be.  Such a delight.  I adored this new, original and beautifully illustrated tale of minimalist living and grand adventure.  My kids and I loved this book.  We even came up with ways to use this story in my classroom come fall.  I cannot wait to share this book with my students and their parents.  I know it will be a big hit.

Good Night, BABY Animals, You’ve Had a Busy Day Karen B. Winnick, illustrated by Laura Watkins  Picture book 0-7; Henry Holt & Co.; January 2017

Whether they're dashing, splashing, munching, or crunching, baby animals are ever-exploring! At home in their natural habitats, baby animals learn about the world that surrounds them. When the fun is done, it's time for baby animals to go to sleep. After all, every baby animal has to rest.

Full of action, sound effects, and patterned text, each story features the adorable antics and accurate behavior of six wild animal babies: tiger, elephant, giraffe, rhinoceros, panda, and gorilla. This 64-page, beautifully designed story book is perfect for bedtime.

This book contains 6 animal actions stories that are sure to delight any young readers at bedtime or anytime really.  The reader gets to experience a day in the life of tigers, elephants, giraffes rhinos, pandas and gorillas as they munch, splash, snap, chomp (among so many other things) until they all eventually go to sleep.  The illustrations beautifully captures the actions of the animals and the flowing text is both delightful, entertaining and a bit soothing.  My kids thought this book was a wonderful and we came up with so many ways to use it in my classroom.  Such sweet stories and with numerous learning applications.

#MMBBR #Reviews #AlphaBetter #LindaRagsdale #MartinaHogan #HowIDidIt #AnooshaSyed #FlowerpotChildrensPress #PeaceDragonPictureBooks

Empower your vocabulary with this hilarious dictionary full of playfully re-paired words that motivate, uplift, and inspire. Laugh and learn as you read each new word, and discover the amazing power our words have when we use them to encourage others and ourselves!

Publisher: Flowerpot Children's Press, Inc (May 2017)
ISBN: 978-1486712106
Series: Peace Dragon picturebooks

First the pictures are beautiful, colorful and quite delightful.  I adored paging through and just marveling at the illustrations before ever reading a word.  I adore that this book not only teaches simple words that fill the inside covers, but also all the new words that are contained in the book.  This book is about making new and fun combinations of words that spread kindness, love and encouragement.  I cannot wait to read it with my kids and see what great words they can come up with.  I also intend to buy my kid's teachers this book because I think it teaches so much about the power of words and their impact on others.  Brilliant and beautiful!!!

Curious and inspired, I was full of ideas. I turned adversity into adventure when I took a chance and tried to change. Readers young and old will be inspired by how did it.

Publisher: Flowerpot Children's Press, Inc (May 2017)
ISBN: 978-1486712113
Series: Peace Dragon picturebooks

Another beautifully illustrated book that teaches young readers that anything is possible with a great attitude.  I find that the illustrations add to the amazing story.  The illustrations beautifully showcase emotions that I goes through.  Those emotions are what can act as talking points with young and new readers.  You are able to see the frustration, excitement, sadness and joy, among other emotions, as he works through his adventure.  It allows the readers to work through difficult situations and learn that hard times are easier when you look at them from a new and/or different perspective.

About the Author:  
Linda Ragsdale wants everyone to be a dragon, a Peace Dragon that is! As an author, illustrator, international speaker, and peace teacher, Linda has developed her Peace Dragon series to teach us how to harness our fiery energy into a peaceful and productive outlet by owning our human powers of view, voice, and choice. Linda invites you to be a peace dragon ambassador and join the 30,000 students she has taught around the world!


#MMBBR #Review #HippoPottyMouth by #KenLefkowitz #MascotBooks @MascotBooks ‏

Who is Hippo Pottymouth? Hippi just moved from the city to the country and learns that pottymouth words aren't acceptable there. Join Hippi on fun-filled and exciting adventures as she meets a new friend and discovers that she needs to control her.

Ken Lefkowitz lives in central New Jersey with his wife Tracy, daughter Katie, and their assorted furry friends. Katie’s bedtime stories always include her best plush friends. When it was time to teach Katie about pottymouth language, her purple hippopotamus named Hippi created the perfect inspiration for Hippo Pottymouth. Katie’s hysterical and uncontrollable laughter inspired this first book.

This book is a great way to have kids learn about "potty words"  and the impact they have on other people.  This book allows children to see how speaking poorly changes how people see you and that one must make sure to conduct themselves in a way that makes you feel proud.  


Thursday, July 20, 2017

#MMBBR #Review @NatGeo @NGKidsBooks #WeridButTrue #Presidents #KnowItAll #BenjaminFranklin #WiseWords

Weird But True Know-It-All: U.S. Presidents by Brianna Dumont, illustrated by Adrian Lubbers (ages 8-12, $12.99, June 2017) - What's so weird about U.S. presidents? Plenty! Did you know that Abraham Lincoln was a great wrestler? That Ulysses S. Grant got a speeding ticket riding his horse – twice! Or that Benjamin Harrison was afraid of electricity? And let's not forget that President McKinley had a pet parrot that whistled "Yankee Doodle Dandy" duets with him. Every president — from the 1st to the 45th — is spotlighted, featuring important historical information alongside vignette’s highlighting the oddities of each prez. “Extras” include an introduction that delves into the powers of the President, Congress, Supreme Court, an explanation as to how the electoral college works, a glossary, an index and even a listing of the Presidents’ most outrageous pranks. 

This book is one of the BEST I have seen.  It is awesome how it is laid out.  It is like a vision sensation because it jammed with pictures, illustrations and facts galore.  There is so much to look at and read.  I am sure that you could read this over and over and over and learn something new.  Here is a fun tidbit:  Monroe once defended himself with a fire tongs after a disagreement with his secretary of state.  Learn about so much awesome and wacky facts about our presidents in this book!  It is filled with things that I find fun, interesting and oh so strange.  My kids loved this book so much too.  What a great way to teach history.  Kids cannot help but be entertained because Nat Geo Kids knows what kids want and delivers it in spades.  

Benjamin Franklin’s Wise Words by K.M. Kostyal, illustrated by Fred Harper. (ages 8-12, $16.99, hardcover) - In this day and age, we could all use some words of wisdom and there are but a precious few individuals that have proven themselves to be of a greater mind than Benjamin Franklin.  Complete with fifty of Ben Franklin's renowned sayings and paired with modern-day translations, whimsical caricature artwork and fascinating stories about Franklin’s life, this title gives sage advice on everything from good citizenship and manners to friendship, achieving your dreams and being happy. It's a great go-to for inspirational and innovative ways to practice mindfulness, industriousness, and self-improvement by one of the United States’ most famous Founding Fathers.  History buffs young and old will particularly enjoy the book’s forward by H.W. Brands.  Brands’ book, The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. 

This book is fantastic.  What a great way for kids to be inspired...through the words of the amazing Benjamin Franklin.  This book has 50 of the most inspirational and powerful saying Franklin ever spoke.  It was whimsical, funny and illustrated beautifully and quite ingenuously...really just brilliantly.  This is one of those books that brings history to life.  It allows the reader to become part of history and to explore and think about things like friendship, happiness, humility and sincerity, just to name a few.  I was transfixed by this book and will certainly read it again.  My kids also loved it so much! They were quite moved by this amazing man and this book was one that created great dialogue between my boys and I.  Absolutely loved it! 


#MMBBR #Review #Roundup @SilverDolphin #Books #GarethLucas #noisybook #woodworks #DinosonDeck #DigDigDigger #OldMaDonald #WheelsontheBus

Join your favorite dinosaur friends on an adventure in the seas in Gareth Lucas Noisy Books: Dinos on Deck! Hoist the sails, press the sound buttons, and laugh along as a Triceratops, a Stegosaurus, a T. rex and more search for treasure. With humorous art by Gareth Lucas and charming rhyming text, this sound book will be a perfect addition to story time. What will these dinosaur friends find when they open the treasure chest?

MY REVIEW:  This book is so much fun!  I cannot wait to use it in my classes.  I know the kids will love the story and the sounds that accompany the amazing story.  I love that the dinos are searching for treasure and the reader gets to watch the story unfold with a funny and satisfying end.  There are so many activities and art project that can be paired with this story.  I loved that the text was easy to read, with descriptive words.  The rhyming text make this book a wonderful story to read aloud to children.  The colorful illustrations are bright and fun to look at. This book is sure to please any young or new reader.

Dig, dig, dig…and dig some more with your favorite animal friends! In Noisy Books: Dig, Dig Digger, children will be amused by the hilarious antics of the animals as they build an adventure playground. Young readers will delight in Gareth Lucas's artwork and in finding the sound button on every spread. Each turn of the page will bring humor and fun with hippos, bears, camels, and more on their day at the construction site.

MY REVIEW:  Another delightful installment in the Noisy Book series.  This time we head to the construction site and get to listen and watch as the animals build a playground.  The bright and fun illustrations pull the reader into the book.  The sounds that accompany the book add to the reading experience.  These books pack a lot into 10 easy to read pages and the classroom applications seem endless.  I cannot wait to use this book in my classroom because I know that I can come up with amazing art projects and activities to accompany it.  I know that the kids will appreciate the rhyming text, illustrations and sounds.  These books are perfect for young and new readers and will be a hit in my classroom.

Old MacDonald had a farm, E-I-E-I-O! This brand-new playset featuring the classic children’s singalong song "Old MacDonald Had a Farm" will be the perfect addition to your child’s library. With a chunky board book, a wooden tractor, and a playmat, little ones can read and play along as they go through the farm and meet cows, ducks, horses, and more! Join Old MacDonald and his farmyard friends for a reading adventure in Woodworks Nursery Rhymes: Old MacDonald.

MY REVIEW:  This playset is amazing.  I wish I had these when my kids were young.  They would have loved the play mat, tractor and book.  I adore the size because it would be easy to take along in a diaper bag for use at a restaurant or while waiting for an appointment.  These types of sets are those that have endless uses because they are so practical and fun for all ages.  The wood tractor is well made and the play mat is a great size.  I love the tiny book that comes with it.  Easy for kids to take along and read on the go.  These sets are great for kids 3+ and they will certainly love them.  I cannot wait to put them out in my classroom and allow the kids to enjoy some free play! 

The wheels on the bus go round and round! Climb aboard the yellow bus with this sweet playset featuring a chunky board book, a woodenschool bus, and a playmat for added fun. Young readers will enjoy reading and playing along with their favorite nursery rhyme as they drive around the town and sing their way through Woodworks Nursery Rhymes: Wheels on the Bus.

MY REVIEW:  This playset is amazing.  I wish I had these when my kids were young.  They would have loved the play mat, bus and book.  I loved the version of the story in the book too.  A bit different than the one I grew up singing.  A fun new spin on an old favorite.  I adore the size because it would be easy to take along in a diaper bag for use at a restaurant or while waiting for an appointment.  These types of sets are those that have endless uses because they are so practical and fun for all ages.  The wood bus is well made and the play mat is a great size.  I love the tiny book that comes with it.  Easy for kids to take along and read on the go.  These sets are great for kids 3+ and they will certainly love them.  I cannot wait to put them out in my classroom and allow the kids to enjoy some free play! 


Monday, July 17, 2017

#MMBBR #review #FirstLine #TheAlmostSisters by @JoshilynJackson @Morrow_PB @WmMorrowBooks

With empathy, grace, humor, and piercing insight, the author of gods in Alabama pens a powerful, emotionally resonant novel of the South that confronts the truth about privilege, family, and the distinctions between perception and reality---the stories we tell ourselves about our origins and who we really are.
Superheroes have always been Leia Birch Briggs’ weakness. One tequila-soaked night at a comics convention, the usually level-headed graphic novelist is swept off her barstool by a handsome and anonymous Batman.
It turns out the caped crusader has left her with more than just a nice, fuzzy memory. She’s having a baby boy—an unexpected but not unhappy development in the thirty-eight year-old’s life. But before Leia can break the news of her impending single-motherhood (including the fact that her baby is biracial) to her conventional, Southern family, her step-sister Rachel’s marriage implodes. Worse, she learns her beloved ninety-year-old grandmother, Birchie, is losing her mind, and she’s been hiding her dementia with the help of Wattie, her best friend since girlhood.
Leia returns to Alabama to put her grandmother’s affairs in order, clean out the big Victorian that has been in the Birch family for generations, and tell her family that she’s pregnant. Yet just when Leia thinks she’s got it all under control, she learns that illness is not the only thing Birchie’s been hiding. Tucked in the attic is a dangerous secret with roots that reach all the way back to the Civil War. Its exposure threatens the family’s freedom and future, and it will change everything about how Leia sees herself and her sister, her son and his missing father, and the world she thinks she knows.

#FirstLine ~ My son, Digby, began at exactly 3:02 in the morning on the first Friday in June,

I am a super fan of Jackson as a human and as a writer.  Everything she writes is so filled with characters that are easy to relate to and situations you could find yourself in.  You are immediately drawn into the rich dialogue because she can capture so many important subjects in a way that does not seem forced.  It is the kind of writing that Jackson in known for and the same thing that keep her fans coming back for more.  Another hit and one I highly recommend!  

Joshilyn JacksonJoshilyn Jackson is the New York Times Bestselling author of six novels, most recently SOMEONE ELSE'S LOVE STORY

Her short novella, MY OWN MIRACULOUS, is the prequel to her latest title, and is available as an e book and an audio download.

She lives in Decatur, Georgia with her husband and their two kids. She loves Bourbon and Hot Yoga (not together) and she has more dogs than you. Unless you have three. 

She's also an award winning audiobook narrator. 



#MMBBR #Review #FirstLine You'll Never Know, Dear: A #Novel of #Suspense by @HallieEphron @Morrow_PB @WmMorrowBooks

An addictive novel of psychological suspense from the award-winning author of Night Night, Sleep Tight,about three generations of women haunted by a little girl’s disappearance, and the porcelain doll that may hold the key to the truth . . .
Seven-year-old Lissie Woodham and her four-year-old sister Janey were playing with their porcelain dolls in the front yard when an adorable puppy scampered by. Eager to pet the pretty dog, Lissie chased after the pup as it ran down the street. When she returned to the yard, Janey’s precious doll was gone . . . and so was Janey.
Forty years after Janey went missing, Lis—now a mother with a college-age daughter of her own—still blames herself for what happened. Every year on the anniversary of her sister’s disappearance, their mother, Miss Sorrel, places a classified ad in the local paper with a picture of the toy Janey had with her that day—a one-of-a-kind porcelain doll—offering a generous cash reward for its return. For years, there’s been no response. But this year, the t hidden.

#FirstLine ~ Elizabeth Strenger peeled three boiled eggs under running water, dropped them in a chipped Blue Willow china bowl, and began to mash them with a fork.

Holy man this is a fantastic book with characters that will keep you turning pages.  There was a richly written story that was suspenseful and was drawn out perfectly.  I was completely lost in the characters, as they were fleshed out and were nicely developed which, added to the addicting appeal of this hard to put down read.  

Hallie Ephron

An Edgar Award finalist and a four-time finalist for the Mary Higgins Clark Award, her newest suspense novel, NIGHT NIGHT, SLEEP TIGHT (Wm. Morrow, 4/15), is inspired by Hallie's experiences growing up in a Hollywood family and by an infamous Hollywood murder. A STARRED review in Publisher's Weekly calls it a "captivating thriller." InStyle magazine ("enthralling") and Good Housekeeping (as "addictive" as Gone Girl) pick it as a top page turner for April. Bookreporter: "An extremely impressive work. The plotting and character development read as if they could have been transplanted from an unpublished Raymond Chandler novel."

Ms. Ephron's THERE WAS AN OLD WOMAN has become a book group favorite. Set in the Bronx in the with a view of the Empire State Building, Publishers Weekly called it "a touching novel of suspense. ... Ephron's portrait of the intimate details of the inescapable consequences of age and alcoholism is as gripping as any traditional mystery."

Her debut standalone NEVER TELL A LIE was turned into the movie "And Baby Will Fall" for the Lifetime Movie Network. In a starred review, Publishers Weekly called the novel "stunning," a "deliciously creepy tale of obsession." USA Today called it "Hitchcockian" and "unputdownable." It was nominated for the Mary Higgins Clark Award, and won the David Award for Best Mystery Novel of 2010.

In COME AND FIND ME (William Morrow) Ms. Ephron tells the story of a recluse who works and lives online must brave the "real world" when her sister goes missing. Booklist called it "A suspenseful tale of high-tech skulduggery that even low-tech readers will appreciate." It was also honored with a Mary Higgins Clark nomination.

Ms. Ephron She also co-authored five series novels featuring neuropsychologist Peter Zak under the shared pseudonym G. H. Ephron.

She is also a popular writing teacher. Her WRITING AND SELLING YOUR MYSTERY NOVEL: HOW TO KNOCK 'EM DEAD WITH STYLE received both Edgar and Anthony award nominations. She gives writing workshops at conferences across the country and is an award-winning book reviewer for the Boston Globe. 
Hallie loves connecting with readers. She can be reached through her web site

New York Times best selling author Hallie Ephron loves suspense, and her suburban-based thrillers draw you in and keep you turning the pages. She grew up in a Hollywood family of writers inn a household filled with books. Her parents wrote screenplays for classic movies like THE DESK SET. Hallie was the last of their four daughters (Nora, Delia, Hallie, Amy) to start writing or, as she calls it, succumb to her genes. 


Sunday, July 16, 2017

#MMBBR #QandA #GuestPost #Review #ChesterRaccoon and the Almost Perfect Sleepover by #AudreyPenn

Are we almost there?” Chester Raccoon asked his mother.
Chester is excited about going to his very first sleepover. After his mother drops him off at Pepper Opossum’s house with a Kissing Hand in his palm, Chester and his animal friends have a long day of playing games and eating snacks. But when the animals decide to bed down, Chester can’t go to sleep.
While his Kissing Hand has kept him from getting scared, he isn’t in his own bedroom, and he misses his family. When Chester returns home, Mrs. Raccoon welcomes her little cub and reassures him that his home is always there when he needs it.
Young readers will enjoy reading about the party fun and take comfort when Chester finds himself in a situation they can relate to.
Picture Book | Ages 3 – 7

Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-939100-11-5 | 32 pages | $16.95

You're such a wonderful writer, what do you love most about being one?
Writing for me is the excitement of breathing life into a new world. Once I decide my characters and the setting, the rest is designing a world a child would love to visit over and over again.

What inspires your writing?
There are stories in everything I see and hear. I keep a journal of experiences. Generally, I wait for something incredible to fall into my lap and go from there.

Could you please share your favorite memory about publishing your first book?
I wrote a type of fairytale as a Christmas gift for friends I had in theatre. It had a serious theme told in a fanciful way. A year later I received a call from a publisher that they wanted to publish my book. I asked them what book? The answer they gave me was the title of my Christmas gift. I have never found out who submitted it for publication.

Do you have any funny stories from being on the road?
I was invited to be a keynote speaker and traveled from Maryland to California to talk about the Kissing Hand series. The event was in the evening and everyone was dressed beautifully. I, however, gave my speech dressed in blue jeans and a very plain sweatshirt. I brushed my hair, put on lipstick and explained that even though I came to California, my clothes went to Denver.

What book would you like to take a weekend vacation inside of?
What an interesting question. If I could spend a weekend vacation in one of my books I would have to say Mysteryat Blackbeard’s Cove. To find a hidden, and secret tunnel dug by Blackbeard the pirate and explore those things left behind would be a wonderful adventure.

You were a writer on my bucket list for this blog - how does that make you feel?
I’ve never been on a bucket list before. It’s very exciting. Considering what my bucket list exists of, I am truly flattered and humbled that you would think of my writing for your blog in that way. I hope I live up to your expectations.

What advice would you give to aspiring children's writers?
The greatest advice I could give any children’s writer would be to know your audience, think from their world, not your own, and to notice everything there is going on in life. Pay attention to the way a child could spend an entire morning watching an ant cross a sidewalk, or the chirping sound squirrels make when chasing each other. Make everything fresh and new and desirable for all children. I am still learning all these things.

Do you have anything else you would like to share with my followers?
So many people tell me that they have always wanted to write but they never do. Writing is scary because when you put an idea into print it is suddenly real. But there is joy in seeing yourself from the perspective of your characters. Don’t be afraid to write. If you can talk on the phone, you can write. Just put the conversation down in pencil. And keep a journal. Start your children on journals when they’re tiny. You do the writing, of course. But their imaginations and insights will astound you. Most of all, thank you for letting me know how much you enjoy my stories. It is more helpful and humbling than I could ever express.

Audrey Penn takes her one-woman educational program, the Writing Penn, into schools, libraries, and children’s hospitals where she shapes and refines her story ideas in partnership with kids. She is also highly sought after as a conference keynote speaker by groups of teachers and other professionals who work with children. In addition to her Kissing Hand series of books, Audrey is also the author of the Blackbeard series for middle readers, and several other picture books. Her latest release is Chester Raccoon and the Almost PerfectSleepover (Tanglewood Publishing)– the 10th in the Kissing Hand series!
Connect with Audrey at:

This story is sheer heart and love.  My son still cannot sleep at friend's houses because he gets home sick, so we could all relate to Chester's problem.  I love all of Penn's books and I am a super fan of hers because she captures what children feel in such a unique and creative way.  She allows children to feel normal when they go though social situations and have struggles.  Chester and his group of pals are understanding and supportive and his family is loving and caring,  You cannot help but fall in love with the characters because the pictures are beautiful. and the stories are those we can all relate to.  The illustrations are bright in color, the characters have such expressive faces and there is rich and detailed scenery which allow the reader to get lost in the pages of the book.  All of Penn's books allow parents to have great dialogue about how things, like sleepovers, make kids feel.  It allows kids and parents to talk though the emotions in a safe and healthy way, making a child feel OK about their fears and feelings.  I am such a fan of this entire series and this book is another HUGE hit!!!  A must have book for your child's home library!  

I started my first career as a ballerina dancing with the National Ballet, New York City Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet, and the Danny Diamond Dance Theatre. I also served as alignist and choreographer for the U.S Figure Skating Team in preparation for the Pan American Games (1973), and for the 1976 Olympic Gymnastics team. In 1980 I became too ill with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA) to continue dancing. Because I had done a lot of children’s theatre and children’s dance, and I have always enjoyed children’s literature, I turned to writing children’s books for my creative outlet.
But my writing career actually began much earlier than 1980. When I was a young girl, I had two older brothers who took great joy in teasing me.
When I was in the fourth grade, I began keeping journals of the silly things they would say and do. Then I began adding things my pets did. Finally, I began to write down everything I saw and heard every day.
Check out Audrey's website HERE
Buy the book HERE


Mrs. Mommy Booknerd’s Book Reviews As an author, I am constantly asked where my inspirations come from. The answer is quite simple. My inspirations come from everything around me.

At one point, I had three children at home with a dog, a tortoise, and a horse. Need I say more?

 I have always been interested in my surroundings. I would listen to conversations, many times uninvited. I would watch my friends play and write about it in my journal. In acting school we were encouraged to imitate people, just not get caught doing it. But the acting exercise allowed me to walk in other people’s shoes.

When I write, I call upon all of these life lessons. I am able to recall sounds, smells, feel, appearance, and taste. When I rewrite, my very favorite part of writing, I use these tactile experiences to construct a believable character. Even if the mother is a raccoon, she will follow the rules of motherhood everywhere. Mothers know the value of touch, of listening, of watching.

I try and write from the child’s perspective at all times. I wish those who review children’s literature would do the same. But so many adults, teachers, and parents tell me that they have had their own memories or childhood situations brought back by the characters in my books - I am positively delighted by this. We forget as adults that children can’t see above the wall in front of the walrus tank at the zoo. Their little faces see only cement until we remember and lift them up. That is what children’s literature should do. Stories should remember the perspective of a child and then lift them up.

I took my four-year-old son to the park where there was a small train that took us for a ride through the forest. We had been on this train many times, but this time the train stopped mid-way through the ride.

The engineer told us that an animal was on the railroad tracks and was disinclined to leave. He said he had to go and fetch a park ranger to shoo it away, and we were not to leave the train.

When the engineer was out of sight, I made it very clear to my son he was not to leave the train. But, I am a children’s writer. The thought of seeing a deer resting on the train tracks, holding up seventy people, would make a very funny story. So I very carefully and quietly tiptoed up front to see the deer.

Suddenly, I was faced with a huge raccoon standing on her hind legs clicking at me. I was terrified. I knew when dealing with a wild animal to look down and back away slowly, so that is what I did. In doing so, I saw the tiniest baby raccoon I have ever seen standing by his mother’s side. I was awestruck. I was spellbound and could not take my eyes off the cub.

All at once, the mother got down off her hind legs and took her cub’s hand in her own. She opened his tiny hand, bent down, and nuzzled his palm. The cub then put his hand on his face. My eyes welled with tears. I had just seen a human mother smack her tiny son’s legs for not keeping up and here, in the forest, a mother raccoon gave so much love, so much attention, so much gentleness to her cub I had to ask myself, which one of the mothers was more understanding. I knew then what my writing would be for the rest of my life. I wanted to inspire a loving connection between parent and child in every book.

I never meant for The Kissing Hand to be a series. I was just hoping a child, and parent or guardian, would share the experience of a kissing hand, thus, making this wonderful connection.

Years later, I was watching my great niece and nephew bicker over a chair. Then I remembered. Sibling rivalry. My mother told me, when she brought me home from the hospital my brother was standing on the sidewalk with his hands on his hips and asked, “Can you take her back?” Thus, the first question Chester Raccoon asks in A Pocket Full of Kisses when facing a younger brother.

A Kiss Goodbye offers hope and friendship at the end of every new path whether it’s stepping up to a different grade or moving to a new town.

Each book that has been added to the series is based on stories I have heard, things I have experienced, or just things going on in the world. Even my latest book, Chester Raccoon and the Almost Perfect Sleepover, is based on my niece Ila’s tale of her first “disastrous” sleepover. As long as children are involved, I want to tell them they can find friendship and comfort inside the pages of a book.

Audrey Penn takes her one-woman educational program, the Writing Penn, into schools, libraries, and children’s hospitals where she shapes and refines her story ideas in partnership with kids. She is also highly sought after as a conference keynote speaker by groups of teachers and other professionals who work with children. In addition to her Kissing Hand series of books, Audrey is also the author of the Blackbeard series for middle readers, and several other picture books. Connect with Audrey on Facebook

#MMBBR #Review #BusyBuilders #Airport #ConstructionSite #FireStation @SilverDolphin


Busy Builders: Construction Site will bring young children to a busy building site, where they will meet the construction crew at work on a new school. The fact book introduces kids to the people and machines at a construction site, using colorful illustrations and simple text. Plus, the box folds out to form a school under construction, complete with model pieces for the building, vehicles, and construction workers.

Busy Builders: Airport takes young children behind the scenes at a busy airport, allowing them to see how all the flights and passengers move smoothly through the terminal. The fact book introduces kids to the various procedures at an airport—from check-in to arrival—using cute illustrations and simple text. The box folds out to form an airport terminal, and the included model pieces for the runway, air-control tower, airplane, and baggage carts provide hours of interactive entertainment.

Busy Builders: Fire Station takes young firefighters inside a busy fire station, where they will learn how rescue teams prepare to fight fires and save people from danger. The fact book introduces kids to the daily routines—and a variety of emergencies—of a firefighting crew using cute illustrations and simple text. Once children have read the book, they can spend hours with the foldout fire station, complete with model pieces for a fire truck, helicopter, and firefighters.


My kids loved putting these together.  My son said they are fun as legos.  The had a lot of fun and were able to do it independent of adult help.  They are 9 and 10 years old.  My younger son said that this would be hard for those that are younger and cannot read, but with an adult's help it should be just fine.  They loved watching the sets come together and enjoyed all the aspects of the build and play.  They also enjoyed the small book that came with the set.  They stated that kids will be sad when the adult makes them put them away because they will have to be completely disassembled to fit back in the box it came in.  A few of the pieces were loose when placed together, which caused a few small issues for keeping the pieces standing.  There were a few minor issues, but overall, the kids thought these sets were really fun and a great way to work your mind through building and free play.


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