Dec 28, 2009

Happy Happy Holidays!

Sorry that there will not be a post this week. 
 (I'm having too much fun with all the new toys my kids got for Christmas :)!)
All will resume as normal (hopefully) after January 1st.  Hope you are having a wonderful holiday season and have a safe and happy NEW YEAR!

Dec 21, 2009

Olive, The Other Reindeer


Vivian Walsh is the author of this adorable story about a confused little doggy.  The little dog reminded me of a Jack Russell that my grandparents used to have and then I found out it was based on an actual Jack Russell that the author once had.  This book is perfect for this holiday season!  There's even a song about Olive on Vivian's website! 

My two year old got this read to him first and now has refused to share it with my older children because he likes it so much.  (Plus he is really good at saying "Olive" now and asks for it daily by name!)  Luckily it is a book I enjoy reading so I don't mind that he asks for it so often. 

J. Otto Seibold has done an incredible job of making the pictures completely fit the story!  The pictures are lively and fun just like the book. 

So as you are getting ready to celebrate Christmas don't forget to grab a few of these great Christmas books to read them with the fam before the big day is over!  Merry Christmas!

Dec 16, 2009

Merry Christmas, Stinky Face


I have to admit that I loved this book from the first time I read it but the ending confused me.  I read the last page that said, "Merry Christmas, Stinky Face" and thought, hmmm what did I miss?  Did she get something smelly on her face?  Did I skip a page?  So I read it through again, and another time just for good measure and was still baffled about the whole Stinky Face comment.  I loved the book enough though that I was willing to overlook this baffling title and ending.  Silly me!  I got online to look up this author and found out that she has a whole slew of Stinky Face books (you can listen to some of them on Lisa McCourt's site) and the best part is they have the same illustrator so they are bound to be as charming visually as they are literarily (is that a word?).

Cyd Moore is so talented.  I am so infatuated with the pictures in this book.  My favorite is by far the Christmasaurus.  The colors and the details in the pictures are so fun for me and I know my kids love it because they are QUIET and STILL the whole time I'm reading.  I love books that have that effect on my children.  Again, I'm thrilled that she is also the illustrator of the other Stinky Face books and I can't wait to read them and see the pictures that she has come up with for all the others.  On her fun, fun sight you can find coloring pages for your kids along with an interview with Cyd & Lisa.

Lisa McCourt does a great job of capturing the "what if's" that kids come up with.  I love the premise of this book too.  I always think it is so easy being a kid but after reading this book I've realized that it is really STRESSFUL when you have to prepare your parents for the worse possible scenarios...you know...just in case!  Like what if Santa loses his boots while flying in his sleigh?!  I mean what then?  It made me start to think and I wonder what would happen if my roof was too steep and Santa couldn't land on it...or if Santa developed an allergy to his beloved reindeer and had to find an all night medical clinic that could give him an allergy shot...but then what if that allergy shot made him sleepy and he flew the reindeer into a house?  It is really scary when you think about all the possibilities.

Just for fun...what is the worst possible Christmas Eve scenario you can think up?  Or what is the worst fear your little ones have about Christmas night?  I'd love to hear 'em so please leave them in the comment box!

Dec 13, 2009

Twas The Night Before Christmas



Yes, you've all read or heard this story before so there is nothing I'm going to say that will be original or new to you.  I just have to say though, these "Animotion" books are so fascinating.  Even for the adults they are fun. 

I've never enjoyed reading the line, "His belly shook like a bowl full of jelly" as much as I enjoy reading it in this book.  It wasn't the first time or even the second time through that I figured this out, but if you move the page just right, you can make his belly move perfectly up and down when you read "Ho, ho, ho, ho!"  I have had so much fun with that. 

Another one of our favorite pages is the one where "visions of sugar plums danced in their heads" because it is so fun to see the dancing plums in their dreams.

This is a delightful twist on one of my all time favorite books ever!

Dec 7, 2009

The Gingerbread Pirates




Well here is another fun Christmas book for you to enjoy this holiday season.  It reminds me of the Nutcracker for some reason.  Maybe it is the artwork and the fact that the cookies come to life.  Either way, I love The Nutcracker (after all I was an excellent Bon-Bon in the ballet when I was nine) and this has that same magical, anything can happen on Christmas Eve, type feeling!  At first I thought it looked a little long and was worried that maybe the kids wouldn't sit all the way through it.  My youngest one is two but he even sat through it just fine. 

Kristin Kladstrup does an excellent job with writing this book.  I love the Captains personality and his brave little cookie ways!  My oldest two really love this book and even though there are no Gingerbread Princesses, my daughter still loves it. 

Matt Tavares did an excellent job with the illustrations!  I've always thought of Gingerbread Men as sort of plain but not in this book!  They are fun and full of expression.  You can see more of his work in his blog if you are interested.

Only 17 days left until Christmas!!

Dec 3, 2009

Merry Christmas Splat!


I ADORE this book!  First of all, let me say that I have been a fan of Rob Scotton's since my daughter was nine months old (she is now 5).  When she was nine months old my mom got Russell the Sheep by Rob Scotton for her.  She would make me read that book three consecutive times before she would let me even think about putting her down for a nap or bed.  She was one of those children that screamed for the majority of her life for the whole first year.  So I was overjoyed when I found that Russell the Sheep made her quit screaming.  One particular grueling trip from Hailey, Idaho to McCall, Idaho (approximately four hours) she screamed and screamed and screamed until I starting reciting Russell the Sheep to her (which by this point I had OF COURSE memorized!) and she finally went silent...ahhh!  Until I fell quiet and then it started all over again.

There is a point to the above story though and that is...I never thought I would be able to love another one of Rob Scotton's characters as much as I loved Russell.  I am greatly pleased to announce though, that I love Splat the Cat and his christmas story!  Splat is so much like a real child that I can't help laughing at the dynamic between him and his sister and the reactions his mother has to all his "helping"!  It is such a fun story and the pictures are incredible!  There has never been a more loveable looking cat in my opinion. 

So in short, your holiday season will not be complete until you have read Merry Christmas Splat!  Please check out Rob Scotton's site and your kids are guaranteed to love the Fun Splat Christmas Activites also on his site.  I was especially excited to find that there is a Russell the Sheep Christmas story too!  You can be sure that is the next on my list to read! 

Nov 30, 2009

Oddly


I am not much of a sentimental person.  Even reading gushy birthday cards make me squirm!  I am happy to announce though that I read this whole book without getting squirmy!  This book has a theme so deep that I don't know if my kids fully get it but I do and appreciate Joyce Dunbar for finding the words to tell it and share it with us.  It is about three oddly characters and who find out what they are hoping for, wishing for, dreaming of...LOVE!  The meaning is not that simple but you'll have to read the book to truly appreciate all of it's meanings!  Joyce Dunbar has over 70 books and it shows in her expert command of words.

Patrick Benson did an excellent job of illustrating this book.  The characters are extremely easy to love and care for.  The colors and shapes of these three animals are fun and my kids LOVE THEM!

Definitely READ and Re-READ this book!

Nov 26, 2009

Mouse Was Mad

I wish I was reasonable enough to resolve my frustrations as smoothly as Mouse does!  In fact, after reading this very fun book the other day I decided I would try standing very still when I reached the heighth of my madness.  Turns out, standing very still only made the madness around me (three kids ages five and under) even madder.  It did make me laugh though that such a non agressive gesture would bring on such strong reactions.  I did follow Mouse's lead and locked myself in the bathroom for a nice warm "SPLASH" once I had calmed down.

This book is all about MADNESS.  Which makes it the perfect addition to my site.  I thought I had written the perfect book on Madness but it turns out that  Linda Urban did!  I love all the phases of mad Mouse goes through and I especially love watching him try to outdo himself with each one until he just runs out of things to do!  I think Linda Urban did a wonderful job of convincing small readers that there are better ways to handle MAD!  Everyone of my little readers loves this book and laugh at the end every time.

Henry Cole is an amazing illustrator.  Mouse and all his friends are just beyond cute!  If you want a list of incredible books to read, check out Henry's site because there are a ton of books that he has illustrated and they all look great.  He also has lots of fun games, puzzles, and coloring activities on his website so it is a fun one to visit with your kids!  Henry Cole has a new book that he wrote and illustrated coming out soon called A Nest For Celeste and it looks fantastic!  I can't wait to read it!



Nov 23, 2009

Go Back To Bed!



This book makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside when I read it.  Mostly because it warms my heart that other parents have children that use their highly imaginative brains to find ways of weaseling out of bed time after time after time.  But also because I get a sense of deja vu when I read these pages and see these pictures...almost as if I was once in Edwin's shoes...weird, huh!

I love the images that Ginger Foglesong Guy paints in your head with her words.  Her book has a great flow and rhyme to it that made it instantly a favorite of mine!  I found this book at our library about a year ago and after reading it I couldn't remember the name of the book.  All I could remember was Edwin Dupree and of course it wasn't named that.  After wasting half an hour of the librarians time trying to find it again she decided she had to read it for herself when I returned it.  She then read it for the library's story time and it was well loved.  You don't have to take my word for it but I wouldn't argue with a mob of thirty, 3-5 year olds that all agree that it is one great book.

The pictures are quite enchanting.  James Bernardin did an amazing job of pulling the readers into Edwin's world.  He did such a great job that you almost believe Edwin's side of the story!  My mouth waters every time I see the page filled with baked goods and I feel an undeniable urge to find a water park every time I see the page where the living room is floating.




You'll love this book no matter what age you are!  It may even give you a bit more patience with your little ones and their imagination!

Nov 18, 2009

Ode to New Moon

Okay...a little off my topic but I love reading books that are a little more complicated than a picture book every once in awhile.  I'm sure you do too and in case you have jumped on the Twilight bandwagon as millions of others have, here is a post that will make you think and laugh all at the same time.  It was posted by Molly O'Neil an editor that I met this last summer.  She is hilarious and has her own blog at 10blockwalk.blogspot.com

I myself am gearing up to view New Moon this weekend with my family and friends!  Can't wait!!

So go read this post and then I am dying to hear your very own Twilight/Opera renditions.
Please, please, oh please leave your verses in my comment section so I can sing along with you!

Billy & Milly, Short & Silly


Recently I was informed that my daughter has trouble rhyming.  Can you believe her teacher doesn't think that sock and mop rhyme :)!  At home though she does great.  We read all sorts of rhyming books and she MEMORIZES them and we think she knows how to rhyme.  Well I found this book and got it to help her with rhyming.  What I didn't expect though was that I would enjoy it so much.  It has great rhyming words so that your kids can practice and learn to rhyme but it also has several really funny rhyming stories so it is fun and easy to read to kids.

I think that Eve Feldman did a great job with this book!  I find it incredible that she was able to make stories out of four words or less!  (I dare you to try it...it is incredibly hard.)  If less is more this book is the MOST!  It is wonderful for all ages of kids and especially those just beginning to read who find larger books daunting.  It is wonderful for small kids with short attention spans as well.  I especially like the Tee, Bee, Flee story. 

I think Tuesday Mourning did a great job as well.  I love her illustrations.  She also illustrated another one of my favorite books, Princess Peepers.  Her pictures add even more humor, fun, and color to these short stories.  To see even more of her illustrations click here.

In parting I'd like to extend this invite:

Pick this book, it's just right!
Wrap your kid's up warm and tight.
Read this book and dim the light,
Give 'em hugs and say good night!

Or in other words:  Right  Tight  Light  Night!

I may be no authority on good books but most people consider a positive Kirkus review to mean a lot. Here is that review (see page 4). Here is another post by a fellow blogger about this fantastic book. Last but not least, you can become of fan of Billy and Milly, Short and Silly on Facebook just click here.

Nov 12, 2009

Dashing Dog!


"Horrors! He's seen it! He's off like a thunderbolt,
Trouble-quick, double-quick, devil-dog-dunderbolt."

This book is so fun to read!  It is not a new release by any means but it is a lot of fun no matter what age your kids are.  This dog reminds me of my kids, in fact.  Not even a second after a room has been cleaned or a mess cleaned up, or they've received baths and another mess or disaster is waiting on the horizon. 

The words that the author, Margaret Mahy, uses are so fun to say and inventive.  My youngest loves this book the best because he loves anything "doggy" and my oldest two think all the trouble the dog gets into is hilarious.  In general though, any Margaret Mahy children's book you read I'm sure you'll enjoy.  I've read several now and I have loved all of them.

Sarah Garland, the illustrator does a wonderful job of making this book fun and lively with her illustrations.  I love the bright colors and the expressions on the faces.

Nov 9, 2009

I NEED MY MONSTER


This book is simply FABAWESOMAZING! (I couldn't pick just one word to describe its coolness so you got three in one)  I could read this book over and over and love it more everytime.  It is so well written and the pictures are incredible.

The author, Amanda Noll, is super gifted.  I have reviewed a fair amount of books so far but without a doubt this one is beyond IMPRESSIVE.  Amanda Noll did a fantastic job of creating hilariously scary monsters.  I first looked at the small print and thought, uh-oh my two year old is never going to sit through this.  Guess what?  He sat through it, it didn't feel nearly as long as it was, and I was SAD, yes SAD, when it was over.  I can't remember the last time I loved a kids book so much that I wanted to take it from my kids and go sit in a cozy corner and read it on my own.

The illustrator, Howard McWilliam, is also very gifted.  The picture where the little boy is explaining that he needs a monster with claws is one of my favorites because it just so much character to the already amazing characters.

Tonight when I read this again to my five and three year old, we got to the end and Sydney, the oldest, said, "Mom that's scary!"
I asked, "What?!"
"The monsters are scary."
So we went back through all the pictures and laughed at how SILLY the monsters really are, if you look closely.  As we were doing this my son fell asleep.  We got to the last monster and Sydney was laughing.  Ryan woke up and said, "Mom, show me all the monsters again."  Then flopped back down on the pillow and promptly fell back to sleep.

So the overall consensus is, by the end of the day 4 out of 4 LOVED this book.  The real question is:

What is the name of the monster under your bed?

My monster's name is Lacey...cuz girls have to have a girl monster :)!



Nov 3, 2009

2009 GOBLIN OF GREATNESS AWARD GOES TO...

I'd like to thank everyone who participated in this year's Goblin of Greatness Contest.  I appreciate your time and opinions.   The winner of this year's Goblin of Greatness Award is...
....DRUMROLL PLEASE....


WHERE'S MY MUMMY?

Congratulations to John Manders and Carolyn Crimi for their addictive mummy tale that still has my kids begging me to read it even though Halloween is over and the candy is almost gone (yes, already!).

Oct 28, 2009

Miss Smith and the Haunted Library

 

Well you all know that I don't have a rating scale per say but if you want an idea of how fun this book is I'll paint you a little picture.
3:40 pm:  I pulled up in front of the library and checked this book out.
3:45 pm:  I pulled into the garage and brought in the above book.  After calming down two of the three crazy kids (the third was glued to Dad's hip and refused to be messed with), I sat down on the couch with these books.
4:00 pm:  I was reading this book for the first time to the oldest two children and thinking to myself that the pictures were amazing.
4:37 pm:  I was begging my husband to go pick up the pizza and I read it again to the littlest one who was finally forced off of Dad's hip.
5:00 pm:  I was reading this very entertaining book for the third time and realizing I was still enjoying it.
7:00 pm:  I read it for the last time today to all three kids who quit fidgeting for the 6.7 minutes it took for me to read the book (some books really need to be longer!).

The good news, I still like it a lot!  Even better news, Ben (aka: Dad, my husband, that guy that lives here) thought it was "fascinating" and he's a much tougher critic than I.  The best news, my kids still wanted to read it even after I said, "No more stories!" (Unlike another story, which shall remain nameless, that I got at the library today as well, after the second reading my five year old proclaimed, "Mom I don't really like that one so much.")

Michael Garland is an amazing artist and author!  At his site you'll find other wonderful books, including two other Miss Smith books, and plenty of fun pictures to view.  Once you've had a look at some of the pictures you'll see why I was so drawn to this book.  The text and story line is very imaginative and fun as well.  Plus at the back of the book you'll find a key to where to find all the best ghosts, ghouls, witches, etc.  Also, it is on the New York Times Children's Book Best Seller List!

Oct 26, 2009

Pumpkin Soup


Pumpkin Soup is so delightful.  It was released in 1998 so it is not a new book but I'd never seen it before.  Probably because in 1998 I was worried about where my next apartment would be and if I'd pass that semester of college and not What the HECK am I going to read to my kids tonight?

Helen Cooper did an excellent job with this book.  The dialogue in this book reminds me of how my younger brothers and I sounded most of the time we were growing up.  One big mess followed by a lot of silly fighting which resulted in apologies.  Then REPEAT!  Definitely written by someone who knows what family life is like!  Her illustrations are so amazing.  My favorite is the one where Cat and Squirrel imagine how well Duck is doing without them!  It is a whole other story on its own.  Your kids will love you for reading this to them and you will love getting to read this.  The characters are cute and furry with attitude so I love the fact that each of them are their own little oxymoron.  Plus I really like it when children's books have a moral to them.  (You ask, "Don't all books have a point or moral?"  I'd answer, "Sadly, NO!")

 Even though pumpkin soup has never sounded good to me, reading this book again will always sound appealing to me.

ALSO look for: A Pipkin of Pepper and Delicious that are follow up books about Cat, Duck, and Squirrel.

Oct 22, 2009

Only A Witch Can Fly


What a book!  This book was great when I read it for the first time today...and even better when I read it for the second time tonight.  I have confidence that it will continue to get better and better each time I read it!  You all know my fondness for wtiches (BTW I just sent Charlotte off to the publishers-keep your fingers crossed) but even that aside, this is such a creatively written and illustrated book that you're guaranteed to love it.  It has the feel of a classic and I'm sure that it will become a Halloween staple in many people's homes.


The author, Alison McGhee, is incredible!  I believe that most things in life can be achieved with enough hard work and practice.  However, when you read Alison's Blog you will agree that even though I'm sure a lot of hard work is involved she is truly GIFTED!  When you go to her blog look at this post about Only a Witch Can Fly, it will give you even more of an appreciation for this book. 
Perusing her sight I also found that she is the author of one of mine and my kids favorite books, Bye Bye Crib.  After reading that book, when our kids are afraid of something or get hurt we ask to see their "muscle cat" and they flex their arms and say "GRRR!" and start laughing and the world is fine again. (Read the book and you'll understand what I mean.)


Taeeun Yoo did such a fabulous job illustrating this book.  In a way it has the feel of an older book because the colors are simple and it just adds to my overall fondness for this book.  There is so much to see on each page I could spend many hours just looking through this book.  Visit Taeeun's Blog and you'll find lots of fun stuff about Only A Witch Can Fly.




Oct 19, 2009

Halloween Night




 "Twas Halloween Night, 
and all through the house
Every creature was stirring,
including the mouse;"


What an awesome Halloween book!  This is one of those books that you’ll want to own so you can have it for Halloween year after year.  Just a quick warning though, it is a little scary.  There are goblins and witches and bugs galore.  Zombies and graveyards and a creaking door.  (Sorry you know I can't help rhyming sometimes!)

The author, Marjorie Dennis Murray, did an excellent job with this story.  It is set up similar to ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.  It has great rhyming and best of all the words create pictures of their own to dance through your head. 

The pictures are so lively and vivid that you’ll find you want to stare at the pictures and have it read to you instead of the other way around.  The illustrator, Brandon Damon, did a magnificent job with capturing the Halloween spirit.  There is a picture of trick-or-treaters dancing down a lane that I love!  If you want you can view his website or his blog and you'll get to view his amazing illustraions.  There is also an entry on his blog about this particular book that is fun to look at.

This book is perfect blend of Tricks and Treats for your Halloween!

Oct 15, 2009

Bats at the Beach



"Scratchy where no sand should be."(Makes me laugh every time!)


I have to admit that I'm a bit of a bat fanatic.  One of my favorite cartoon characters growing up was Batty Coda from Ferngully.  I had all his lines memorized (ask my still annoyed younger brothers).  Plus Batty rhymes with Mattie.  Not to mention, this book is dedicated to a Maddy.  I'm sure she's great since everyone with that name is completely fabulous :).  All joking aside, if you are not a fan of bats now, you will definitely have developed a fondness for them by the time you are done reading this book.

So this makes my Halloween list on account of the fact that it is so cool I couldn't help sharing it right away and what is more Halloween-ish than BATS?  (Okay quit reading me the list of witches, ghouls, goblins.)  Bats are typical Halloween, just take a look at my front door...



This book is just phenomonal.  I read it the other day and thought about it all day until I got to read it again.  (Did you catch that?  GOT to read it again.  Yeah, it's that good!)  I was all excited to have found this totally awesome book with pictures that lure you away to  a moonlit beach bonfire party and words that are both rhyming (my favorite) and fun.  Then, I found the authors website and apparently I'm the last to find out what an awesome book this is.  Not only am I the last to find out what an outstanding book this is but apparently there was a previous one, Bats at the Library and a new one due out next year called Bats at the Ballgame.  Brian Lies is an incredible artist and author.  It baffles me how a person can be so phenomenal in both areas!  

So here's a book you won't want to miss and when you're ready to move on there is Bats at the Library and by the time your ready for a new one Bats at the Ballgame will most likely be out!

Oct 12, 2009

Follow Up...A Very Hairy Scary Story

I received an email from David Clark and he let me know about two great links if you are interested in more...which I'm sure you are :)!

Watch David Clark draw (Click on the link and then look for the link third down on the left side.)

Check out Amazon, where you can get a peak at David's newest book which will also be a great addition to your Bedtime Story Collection.  It's called Bobby Bramble Loses His Brain.  I'm sure you'll see a review for it soon.  After looking at the Amazon preview I can't wait to read it!


Let me remind everyone too that if you have any updates or links that correspond with any of my posts please leave them in the comment box so others can enjoy them too!

A Very Hairy Scary Story

This story is bound to win a spot as one of your favorites!  Fitting for the Halloween season but it works for anytime of the year!  It has a little girl that finds herself walking home in the dark and shadows transform around her to become "Very Hairy Scary" things every which way she turns!
Rick Walton has written more books than you can count on all your fingers and little piggies.(50 or more to be exact!)  This is by no means his most recent book but we checked it out from the library and have checked it out twice since then.  My kids can't seem to get enough of this wonderfully fun story.  It is great because it rhymes and the last word of the rhyme is usually on the next page so they have fun guessing what rhymes with what.  Rick Walton has a particulary funny story that we read not long ago called Bertie Was a Watchdog.  If you need ideas for fun kids books or fun kids activities click on his name and it will take you to a wealth of extra information.

The illustrator of this book, David Clark, did an excellent job of morphing normal objects into scary creatures that any smart child would run from!  My kids are most enthralled with the facial expressions in this book.  There are some fun ones to try to mimic.  His website has some fun pictures and great information about other books that he has illustrated.  One of my favorite books is Bus-a-Saurus Bop (super fun to read) and David Clark did the illustrations for this one also!

Well good news, I'm done yacking so you can go find A Very Hairy Scary Story and enjoy it for yourself.  As a side note:  It is your LUCKY DAY because there are three really great book recommendations in one today!  Have a great Monday!

Oct 9, 2009

Follow Up...Where's My Mummy?

I got an email from John Manders and he gave me some fun stuff to look at.  In case you want to know or see more cool stuff about Where's My Mummy's illustrations, check out John Manders Blog.  This particular entry has some great illustrations pertaining to Where's My Mummy.  You'll love it!  (Not to sound like the bossy first child that I am, but Go On, GO!)  John Manders also did a interview over at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast Blog that has some fun pictures also from Where's My Mummy as well as some great pictures from one of my other favorite books, The Perfect Nest, which he also illustrated.  He did warn me though that the interview is meant more for an adult audience since he mentions things like cigars, martinis and Sophia Loren.  If your kids can't read yet though they'll love looking at the pics!  Enjoy!

10/27/09-Here is another fun update at John Manders Blog about Where's My Mummy?.  Enjoy!

Oct 8, 2009

Where's My Mummy?

My favorite time of year is here!

In case your wondering what that is exactly, it is OCTOBER.  My birthday month, when leaves start changing and it becomes okay to eat high carb food and snuggle in a blanket, and best of all...Halloween!  In honor of such a joyous occasion I'll be featuring mostly Spooky, Scary, Spectacular books for the rest of the month!  (I just heard a cheer go out among the masses!)


So what do Elephants and Mummies have in common?  They are both afraid of mice!  At least in this spook-tacular book they are.  I know I say all the books I put on here are fabulous but honestly, this one IS!  And to prove it:      
“Manders's appealingly round mummy child
and the text's rhythmic "clank clink clanks"
will find happy audiences.” Kirkus

I recently found out that Kirkus almost never gives great reviews.  So if you get a great review from them, it means something!


The inspired writer is Carolyn Crimi.  Just by reading this book you can tell it was written by a true Halloween expert!  All the classic monsters are present but in a non-threatening, fun way.I love that she not only tells the story but lays out a whole bedtime routine.  I actually used it on my kids the other night.  (Brush your teeth like Bones.  Now let's clean faces like the swamp monster.  Should we clean ears like Drac?)  It is great!  I had just checked this out from the library but will definitely need to buy it since I don't foresee my kids being too happy about returning it in 14 days!  Plus the truth is, I'm as excited to read it at bedtime as they are!  (Partially due to the fact that it isn't too long so I know bedtime will be done with sooner!) Click on her name for more fun books and info!



Mere words can  NOT describe how cool the monsters and scenes in this book are.  They are done by a very talented man named John Manders who has a great web page that you should check out if you want to find more books that he has done.   The illustrations in this book are hilarious!  My absolute favorite is the Vampire in bat pajamas.  It is so comical and cute that I finish reading the page and pause (this is a rare thing for me to do in my life) and look at the picture because it makes me laugh.  
The other day I asked my daughter (she's 5), "Aren't those jammies Cool?"  
She "uh-huh"-ed me. 
I asked, "Did you see those cute bat slippers?"  
She put her little hands on her waist like a put out teenager and said, "Mo-uhm!  Turn the page already.  Huh!"  (Exactly like that.  I'm not exaggerating, just ask anyone that knows Sydney!)


If you need a book that will get you in the Halloween Spirit, grab this one!

Oct 5, 2009

Enchanted Lions

When fine art and exquisite writing collide beautiful accidents like this book result.  Although, I can guarantee that both the author and illustrator will tell you that there was nothing accidental about this book.  Many sleepless nights and hair pulling days went into the making of this I'm sure. (A little birdy told me!)

The reason I love this book most is because it brings back beloved childhood memories.  Growing up my dad used to take my brothers and I out onto our driveway to watch the stars on summer nights.  We lived in an itty-bitty town called Bellevue, Idaho (Idaho not Washington folks!).  There were no real street lights to distract from our crystal clear view of stars, constellations, and satellites.  When I got older I would take a big, warm, blanket and my discman (for those of you unfamiliar with this term, it is a portable CD player) and watch the stars.  I found this was the best remedy for my fragile little teenage heart when it got broken.  I still can't resist pausing outside on warm evenings and staring at the sky.

Just as I can't resist staring at a brilliant sky I can't resist loving this captivating story of Rose and her lion.  It is truly a dreamy book.  David Greenberg is a magnificent author who has written tons of books (Crocs, Skunks, Don't Forget Your Etiquette, Slugs, Snakes to name a few).  I'm personally very fond of Crocs as well (since it too, is read often around our house).


Kristina Swarner is the magnificent illustrator who is responsible for the breathtaking pictures in this book.  I know why they don't have her do more picture books, people don't want to turn the page because they are so captivated by each picture.  I have an irritable side (hard to believe, I KNOW!) and my son always turns back to the page we were just on before I can even finish reading the page I'm currently on.  He will do this the whole story.  I don't blame him.  Each picture deserves special attention.

So grab this book and try not to drift off to a more enchanting place as you read it.  THEN, let me know what you thought of it!

Oct 1, 2009

Melanie Watt




Tired of reading bedtime stories just so you can fulfill your parental obligations and get your kids to go to bed without a huge fuss?  Then this is your dream book!  I LOVE Chester!    This book is so incredible because no matter what your age it is funny.  My kids like the scribbles and the pictures (with scribbles) and I love all the irony and humorous banter! 

Even my husband will read this more than once to the kids without complaining or explaining why story time is over.  This cat is hilarious and so is his author.  Melanie Watt also has another book series called Scaredy Squirrel that I haven't read yet but I can't wait to read them.  They sound just as fun as Chester.  

Once again I found some extra fun information about the author and her book Scaredy Squirrel.  It is from a blog called,  Cynsations.  This site is rapidly becoming one of my favorites.


Spice up your nighty-nights with Chester!  I will warn you though, you may have more fun reading it than your kids will.

Sep 28, 2009

Estelle Takes a Bath

I got this book on clearance right around my daughter's birthday.  It is adorable.  How something this cute would end up on clearance I don't know (maybe because it came out three years ago and I'm not cool enough to have heard about it until now). I was just thrilled that I lucked out and found it.  It is so funny.  There is one line that puts one of those big silly ear to ear grins on my face every time I read it without fail.  You should know, I read a book at least fifty or more times before I'm "allowed" to rotate it out of the bedtime story pile.  So for me to smile every time I read it is saying a LOT!  Plus, after reading this story I always have a strong desire to take a nice soak in the tub.  I'm always careful to listen for squeaks as I'm lying there with my eyes closed though.


The cover of this book is adorable and that is what first drew me in.  I can assure you that the rest of the pictures are just as enchanting if not more so than the cover art.  The illustrator Mary Newell Depalma does an excellent job of capturing facial expressions and action in this story.  She has done a lot of illustration for others books as well as written books of her own.  Her website is very fun and if you are a teacher or looking for fun ways to teach your own kids there are some links on her page that you might enjoy!

The author, Jill Esbaum, is also a very humorous fascinating woman.  She has a great website with a link to her blog on there as well.  If you have been lucky enough to have found this book already, than by all means, why didn't you tell me???  If not, then you need to get your paws on this one and read it to all your little rug rats (or mouses, whatever the case may be).  

Also if you'd like to know more about the author or some information behind the making of Estelle Takes a Bath than you should look at this blog entry by Cynthia Leitich Smith.  It was very fun for me to read especially since Estelle was originally a witch.  Y'all know I love witches especially since my first glorious, fabulous, not yet published:) book, Charlotte, is about an adorable little witch.  So go grab yourself a copy of Estelle Takes a Bath and enjoy!




(Why are you still reading?  I told you, go read Estelle Takes a Bath!  Oh, you don't have any kids to read them to?  So what!  You'll like it too...now go already!)

Sep 22, 2009

As You Wish


I've been lucky to read really great young adult/teen novels lately. I have a hunch...and it's just a hunch...that this genre of books has to have a little extra excitement in it in order to draw in the age group they are meant for. I mean as a teenager are you going to sit at home friday night reading or go out with friends. After reading textbooks all day are you going to pick up a book or the XBOX controller? Well if the book is good enough it will be a tough call.

I was especially excited to get my mitts on this book
. As many of you know, I went to the Oregon Coast Children's Book Writing Workshop this summer. One of the editor's there read a chapter out of a book called Sisters Red. When she finished reading I was breathless, on the edge of my seat, and then Molly announces that it won't be out until early 2010. WHAT?!?! Talk about cruel and unusual punishment!

Well the incredible author of Sisters Red is also the author of As You Wish.
Jackson Pearce has a knack for suspence. Even when nothing was happening I couldn't quit reading because I knew something was about to happen. I polished this book off in three days. I finally took a nap today to catch up on all the sleep I deprived myself of so that I could see what would transpire in this book.

After finishing this book I've determined that my new motto is "As You Wish". Maybe if I grant enough of my family's wishes I will become a jinn and be able to spend peaceful relaxing evenings watching Caliban sunsets. I am hoping once I become a jinn I will also have the gift of selective invisibility and a smokin' hot body.


I've determined my three wishes would be:

Wish #1: For the return of my pre-marriage body.

Wish #2: More Money than I could spend (this would grant multiple wishes like an in home gourmet chef, a maid, three to four vacations a year, new wardrobe, ability to help whoever I wanted whenever I wanted)

Wish #3: For Ben to be an excellent dancer and for him to want to dance with me!

Just out of curiosity, what would y'all wish for if you had three wishes?

Sep 21, 2009

Thank You!


I would like to say a quick thank you to everyone who has been reading and giving me feedback on this blog.

To date I have heard back from two different authors, Garry Parsons and Sally Lloyd-Jones, which I thought was extremely cool. I tend to think that published authors live in a fancy office in front of a fancy word processor and have an errand boy run checks to the bank for them and bring them food because they are so-o-o busy churning out their next glorious work for us that they don't have time to do anything else. So I was amazed, aghast, agog to have received personal emails from these busy writing celebrities. Thank you for your time.

Thank you to David Greenberg, another writing celebrity, who has put up with endless amounts of mediocre work from me. (He hasn't even blocked my email address yet, can you believe it?! :))

I have gotten emails and comments from many of my followers. All of them have been encouraging, helpful, and appreciated. (As for what I think you all do all day...well the list is exhausting and endless and makes me feel like my life is a piece of cake in comparison.)

I want to thank everyone for taking time out of their busy lives and daily responsibilities to help me create a better blog and also to help me in my dream to one day become a WORLD FAMOUS WRITER myself :).

Thanks to all,
Mattie

Sep 18, 2009

Betsy B. Little

Her classmates all scattered
and started to squawk,
"With those legs and that neck,
just be glad you can walk!"

Do you have any little dancers in your midst? Mine just turned 5 and will use any excuse she can find to dress up herself and all around her and dance. After a full day of dancing my tired little princess loves having me read Betsy B. Little. It is a fun story about an unlikely ballerina who amazes everyone with her persistence and positive attitude.



Anne McEvoy definitely is not lacking in writing experience, she's written plays, and was the senior writer/editor for American Greetings, Inc.. This however, is her first children's book and I hope it won't be her last. I have learned some things about how hard it is to write rhyming stories lately and she does it superbly! I am curious to know how many revisions she had to go through to get her story to rhyme and flow so seamlessly. (But I'm afraid I don't want to be her friend if she is just naturally gifted and only had to write it once through! :)) It has very witty lines. In fact on every page there are lines that make me laugh. I had a really hard time picking which quote from the book to use. There were so many fun ones!



I love the colors and the humorous pictures.
Jacqueline Rogers did a great job of capturing little dancers/princesses hearts. My favorite illustration is...oh I can't decide! I love them all. I even love the bright pink cover with Betsy on it even though I still claim I am more of a tomboy than a girly-girl. If you need a gift for a little girl, buy princess things, and if you are sick of all the princess crap and want to give a more meaningful gift then here's your answer! Betsy B. Little, there are tiara's, tutu's, and lots and lots of pinks and purples (including a purple piano played by Miss Triano).


Please look for this book and read it to your little ones. I hope you will enjoy it as much as they will!

DISCLAIMER: This book is not just for girls. Both of my boys love me reading this to them too. There are lots of other little critters to enjoy and to fascinate young children who have never danced or dressed up before. And I have been informed that no real giraffes were harmed in the making of this story.

Sep 14, 2009

Old MacNoah Had An Ark



So if you know me at all you know that I love humor no matter what I have to endure to get it. (My husband's cheesy humor has tested those limits though.) I'm recommending this book not only for it's humorous attributes but for its wonderfully colorful art.

This is a very interactive, fun book to read. It is set to the tune of 'Old McDonald Had A Farm' and so my kids will even sing along with it or dance if they don't know the words. (Actually, little Joshy fell asleep while I was reading/singing this book to him the other day...so cute!)

Some of you may agree, when singing 'Old McDonald Had A Farm', it is easy to get bored with it and I, personally find, I'm ready to move on after the first couple rounds. So I figured I would quickly tire of this book but it might be fun for a week. I have not tired of singing this version of the song. Especially because of fun lines like:
"And on that arc it got quite smelly, Ee-i-ee-i-O.
With a POO-POO here and a POO-POO there..."
You get the gist I'm sure. I think that is one of my kids' favorite lines too, since they get to say "POO" over and over and not get in trouble for it.

Even more enthralling than the amazing pictures or the original, cute take on this tired theme is what interesting and amazing people the author and illustrator are in real life. I had some other books that I wanted to comment on first but when I found out more about these people I decided to do this one ahead of the others.

The author, Sally Lloyd-Jones, is not only hilarious but extremely gifted. Both her website and her blog are very fascinating and fun to peruse. I highly recommend wasting some of your limited time in both places! You won't be sorry!

The illustrator, Jill Newton, has an awesome website full of fun pictures and an admirable list of other books that she has illustrated and that I can't wait to get my hands on so I can read them as well. (To my kids of course. What? Like I would really just sit and read kids books all by myself...I'm an adult after all! :P)

So please buy, check out from your local library, or borrow from a friend this book and enjoy as my kids and I have done!

Sep 11, 2009

KRONG!

So the first time I read this I didn't catch how witty the art work was or how cute the story is. I liked it because it wasn't too long that my almost two year old became restless and it had two dogs in it. One of the dogs is even multilingual and who doesn't love a dog that can speak in English, Spanish, French, Japanese, and Noobanese?

Now I've determined that one of the main reasons this book is dear to my heart is because it amuses me to read it AND Josh (my youngest), despite his limited vocabulary will say "Krong, krong!" when he wants to read it. He wants to read it all the time too!

All my kids love this book, so if you are looking for a fun, not-to-long-for-bedtime book, then try KRONG! by Garry Parsons. It even has a Noobanese translathon in the back! Woo-hoo!

Sep 9, 2009

"Don't Kill My Friend!"

This last week we have experienced an infestation of flies. We haven't had hardly any since spring and just this last week we had THREE at once in our house. They are annoying, unclean, multiplying, and did I mention, annoying!

So I was sitting down reading one afternoon while Josh was down for a nap and Sydney was at Nan & Pa's house. I was enjoying the still that

comes when you go from three children to one when Ryan starting freaking out.
"Oh no! Oh NO! Oh NO!"

"What Ryan?" I asked lazily.
Like the bad mother that I am, I was only half paying attention since I was slightly more interested in my book.

"A spider Mom!"

That got my attention!

"Where?!"

"See, it's flying right there."

The word flying instantly calmed my nerves and reminded me that Ryan likes to call flies "spiders". So trying to defuse the situation as quickly as possible without having to get up or find my bookmark, I said, "Calm down it is just a fly."

"Bu-bu-bu-bu-but Mo-uhm it's on my star blanky!" (Poor Ryan has developed a stutter from spending most of his time around two very talkative females who rarely let him get a word in edgewise.)


Again trying to make the situation go away with minimal effort on my part I say, "Well why don't you share your star blanky with him? Maybe he's cold."

Silence....

"Mom! I-I-I-I-I'm sharing my blanky with my new friend look!" Sure enough there was a fly sitting on Ryan's blanket. (I was planning to wash it that day anyway.)

Well problem solved and I get a gold star for being the MOST CREATIVE MOM EVER! Not so fast. Later that day I'd finally lost my patience with all flying, buzzing, filthy house guests and spread my hands apart poised to kill fly numero uno. When what should I hear?

"Mom! DON'T KILL MY FRIEND!" So I reluctantly retracted my leathal weapons and apologized for not realizing that this particular fly was Ryan's friend.

I thought this would pass and I could go back to swatting flies at will. However, not until today could I can finally relax in complete silence without a constant buzzing or tickle from a fly landing on me. Why? Because all t
hree flies have finally died of natural causes. Up until this point anytime Sydney complained about how scary the bugs were Ryan would say, "Sissy be nice, they're my friends." Or if Josh used one of the few words he knows, "NO!" and pointed at one of the flies, Ryan would say, "Not nice Joshy! That's my friend!" Or if Ben would unknowingly swat at one of them, Ryan would warn him, "Dad you can't do that! That's my friend, Dad!" I just plain knew better than to let him catch me trying to rid them from our house. Even one night this week, while we were eating dinner, Ryan looked up at the lights above the table where all three flies were waiting to swoop down and take a nibble and said "Look! There's my friends guys!"

All of you who know or are parents of tender-hearted children, be warned, 'bugs are our friends' is not a good motto to live by. Luckily Ryan doesn't know what Gemtek Pest Control does to all our other bugs :)!

(See Dad, there's two up there!)

Sep 7, 2009

Fairy Tale


I just read Fairy Tale by Cyn Balog in less than a week. With my never ending list of things to do, you'd think finding the time to finish a book in a week would be impossible. It turns out that if you don't do anything on your To Do List, you can definitely read a whole book start to finish in a week.
I did however, remember to:
1. feed my kids
2. change Josh's diapers
3. break up some fights between kids
4. ignore my poor husband a lot!

I was on page 66 when I decided to read the front inside flap to see what it was supposed to be about. Apparently if you liked Twilight you would like this book. For me that is kind of a reason
not to read a book. NOW HOLD ON...I know all you Twilight lovers are freaking out right now. Before you quit reading let me explain. I am sick of every book being compared to Twilight just so people will read it. I read all the Twilight series once or twice or three times maybe because I love Edward and want an Edward of my own. Reading other books with the hopes of another Edward always leaves me disappointed.

Fairy Tale for me was nothing like Twilight. It's a gem of it's own. I love it when you read the Author Bios and the Acknowledgments and interviews with an author and you can tell that they have a sense of humor. This author seems to have a lot of personality and a true gift for suspense. I would read and read and read almost out of breath just trying to get to a conclusion of a problem just in time for another problem to develop.

It starts out seeming like a fairly predictable story line. So I believe I can predict the outcome before I actually read about it. I found myself smuggly expecting to read a mediocre teen novel and move on with my life. Last night I had a dream and this morning I woke up and started reading only to find that my dream coincided with the newest challenge in the book. I realized at that point that I was addicted and needed to get a more exciting life of my own.

If you need a fun, easy, enjoyable break from reality I would recommend reading this. I did just check the authors website and she has another book coming out summer of 2010. It's called Sleepless. I look forward to another wasted week of my life then.

SIDE NOTE: Thank you to all of the people who have chosen to follow my blog!! I love you for it!

Aug 26, 2009

About a month ago Ben was driving into our subdivision that has a long straight away before you really get into the residential area. He got pulled over there going 10 mph over the speed limit. I was annoyed but have gotten used to trying my best to ignore these incidences. I quit holding it over his head once I found out that apparently a lot of the neighbors had gotten tickets that week. The cops must have been trying to teach a lesson to the locals or make their quotas and knew they had an easy target there.

We just got a quote on car insurance from a friend and he informed Ben that he and I had the same number of points against our license. Mine is a ticket from about two and half years ago and Ben’s being from about four weeks ago. Ben was pretty smug and rubbed it in that my driving record was as harmful to us getting insurance as his was.

Well last Thursday Ben got pulled over and he told me about it over the phone. (I’m sure he figured it would be safer if he wasn’t within strangling distance.) He got pulled over on Eagle Road just outside our subdivision for rolling a stop sign. Apparently that cop has never tried to get onto Eagle Road during morning rush hour. So he pulled Ben over and of course Ben doesn’t have his insurance card on him (I know because it has been waiting patiently next to our garage door for him to put in the glove box for about two months). Not to mention our new registration and stickers were sitting on the counter despite me annoyingly nagging Ben to put them on his car.

So the cop is on a motorcycle and has to call in to get information. He writes Ben a ticket for not having proof of insurance and another for failure to come to a complete stop at a stop sign AND another one for driving on a suspended license. It seems Ben forgot to pay for his last ticket and so his license was suspended on Monday of that week. They do send out a notice but it went to our last address (a PO Box in Hailey that we haven’t had for about four years). It seems that they updated our physical address but not our billing address when we moved.

“The cop was being nice about it but there wasn’t anything he could do,” Ben said.

I explained to Ben that NO the cop was not being nice and YES there was something he could have done. For a start he could have let Ben off with a warning about rolling the stop sign.

“Were you nice to him again?” I asked Ben.

“Yes.”

“WHY?!?!”

“Because he was being a nice guy and it wouldn’t make me feel any better to yell at him. That never solves anything,” Ben reasoned.

“It would make me feel a lot better!” I informed Ben.
I’ve always been accused of having a lead foot but compared to my dear husband Ben’s foot, mine is more like aluminum titanium alloy. Not to mention that Ben is always, without fail, NICE to the cops who pull him over. I encourage him to be mean, rude, something other than roll-over-and-play-dead nice. At least then, the ticket would seem somewhat justifiable.

Since we’ve been married he has gotten about twice as many tickets as I have. Our insurance dropped us at one point because he was considered too much of a risk. To show them, I totaled his car a week later trying to avoid a deer. The ironic part of it all was the only reason he was not driving the car that day is I’d had a vivid dream the night before that he had gotten his license suspended for getting another ticket and I just knew he was going to get pulled over. I didn’t want to have to chauffeur him around until he got his license reinstated so I insisted that I drive us to Hailey despite the feelings I got multiple times that I should pull over and let him drive. (Some visionary I am!).


One Christmas Ben and I knew finances were a little tight. We had just bought a house that year and two large, hungry, hole-digging, dogs, and a new car. We decided that we wouldn’t get each other gifts for Christmas. Well Christmas morning there were gifts for me from Ben under the tree. I felt bad that I hadn’t gotten him anything and was a little shocked since we weren’t supposed to have done that. I was also surprised that he had picked out clothes that I liked and looked good on me. While family was in town we went to the store with his brother. I made a comment about how nice it was for Ben to get me a Christmas gift.

“It’s probably to make up for the speeding ticket he got,” I commented.

“I thought she didn’t know about that?” Enoch said turning to Ben.
“Ummm,” Ben replied.


It came out that Ben had gotten TWO tickets in TWO days in that SAME spot. He owed me more than a Christmas gift after I found out about that one.