Feb 25, 2010

Hot Rod Hamster

What more could you ask for from a children's book?!  A cute fuzzy hamster (who reminds me of my childhood hamster Nuzzy), lots and lots of car stuff (including flames!), rhyming, and choices for your own little turbo charged rugrats!
So I already told you how wonderful Derek Anderson is as an illustrator and in Hot Rod Hamster he does another amazing job!
Cynthia Lord, a very talented author, has created a sensationally fun book.  I love reading this book with my kids.  It is really quick paced and interactive.  As the little hamster is going through the junkyard picking parts for his race car, the book continually asks "What would you choose?".  I love seeing what my daughter would choose and whatever she chooses, my son chooses because big sissy's are so "COOL" that she must have picked the right thing.  The only thing that they don't agree on is what kinds of FLAMES are the best!
On your mark, get set, GO grab this book! 

Feb 19, 2010

Gladys Goes Out to Lunch & Blue Burt and Wiggles

So I noticed a trend recently among books that I was drawn to.  They all had Derek Anderson as the illustrator.  Then I found out that he WRITES and ILLUSTRATES books as well.  Believe me, he writes as well as he illustrates!
Gladys Goes Out to Lunch is about a Gorilla that loves bananas more than Pesto, Pineapple, or Pepperoni Pizza.  She loves bananas more than Fancy French Food like Frozen Mousse.  The real question is....does Gladys love bananas more than Banana Bread?  It is really cute and lively.  My kids laugh every time we get to the end of the book.  (You'll see why if you read it.)  Plus the pictures are so enthralling there really is nothing to hate about this book.  Please read the last page regarding the Banana Bread recipe, it is really funny.  You know I usually don't put books on here that I don't love but there is one thing that I really don't agree with and I feel obligated to impart that...my Banana Bread Recipe is BETTER. (Technically it is not mine, but when my mother-in-law borrows one of my recipes, you KNOW it is good.)

Blue Burt and Wiggles is just as fun.  A creative bird and worm decide they are going to stop winter from coming.  I'm sure you can figure out how that attempt goes but even knowing the ending ahead of time it is still really cute.  It has a great theme of friendship whether you are near or far from the ones you love.  On the last page of the book I was surprised to see Etowah, Tennessee stamped on the suitcase.  My husband has a lot of family in Etowah and it is really small.  I'd NEVER heard of it until I went there.  However, there are a lot of Blue Jays there in the spring so maybe that is why little Blue Burt went there on his travels.  Maybe he was visiting family too!

You can't go wrong with either of these books and your kids will LOVE the pictures.

Feb 14, 2010

Marc Just Couldn't Sleep

...and neither could his mother!

I have to say that I really love this book.  Gabriella Kesselman and Noemi Villamuza did a fabulous job putting this book together.  It is not a newer book but you will want to get a new copy of it, because I guarentee you will wear it out.  I grabbed this book out of the library for a silly reason.  You see, my brother's name is spelled MarC and it is rare that you see it spelled that way.  Usually it is spelled MarK so I grabbed the book thinking it would be fun.  Little did I know, I stumbled across an AWESOME book!

So this little boy named Marc can't get to sleep because there are so many things that he is afraid of.  His mom does everything imagineable to help him.  (In my opinion, his mother is the most patient and energetic woman in the universe.)  Until finally, she is sitting atop their roof "keeping watch" when she hears "Mom, I'm still afraid."  In the process of wearing his mom out, little Marc wears himself out as well.

This is a great book for really young readers because there aren't a ton of words on each page.  My kids all seem to stay really captivated by the pictures and the story and I thoroughly enjoy reading it!  So it is great fun for the whole family and perfect for right before bed.

Feb 11, 2010

Perfectly Arugula

Anyone out there trying to plan the PERFECT Valentine's Date or Party should read Perfectly Arugula first!

Sarah Dillard is the illustrator for several children's books but this is her debut as a writer and illustrator.  Sarah did an incredible job with the illustrations and the lay out. I just love this book and it makes me long for Springtime because of all the cheery colors.

In a way, this book reminds me of every get together I've ever had.  I'm a bit of a control freak (it's a trait that has been passed down for generations) and I always visualize in my mind just how I want a party to go.  So I plan and I primp and I hypothesize that it is going to go a certain way and people will have a great time and without fail...IT NEVER DOES.  There is always something that seems to go wrong despite my best laid plans.  It is all in how well you can go with the flow, or in Arugula's case (and mine) how great your friends are, that makes it go even BETTER!

Arugula is a character that is hard not to love.  She has her faults, but who doesn't.  My kids were fighting over who got to be Arugula when we read the story (they are into "being" one of the characters in every movie and book we read lately).  My daughter and son tied calling Arugula.  Trying to calm the situation I suggested my son be the squirrel (he looked pretty cool on his skateboard with his hat on backwards).  My son agreed but when we got near the end of the story where the Squirrel showed up at the party, I was in big trouble.
Sydney: Ryan, see, you just ruin everything! 
Ryan:  No I didn't, 'Rugla!
Sydney:  Yes you did, you annoying squirrel!

We finally calmed things down when it was clear that everything would turn out okay.  Except when we read the last little bit about Arugula wanting to try a dinner party my daughter once again added, "But you're not invited SQUIR-rel!"

I guess we'll have to wait and see if there even will be a dinner party.  If so it would be a shame if Fidget, the squirrel, didn't make an appearance.

P.S. Don't miss Arugula's blog!

Feb 8, 2010

Amelia Bedelia's First Valentine

Amelia Bedelia's First Valentine   is a perfect way to celebrate Valentine's Day this year.  It is a little bit longer so if you have really little kids they might not sit through it all but my three and five year old loved it.  After reading it, Ryan made me buy him Hulk Valentine's Cards because he wanted to  "Milla Dilla them to friends, MOM!"  Duh, what is wrong with me!  I should have bought some to Milla Dilla to my friends too!

Herman Parish is a fantastic author.  He has added seventeen books to the Amelia Bedelia series of books.  This book is about Amelia Bedelia as a kid and it is very fun to read.  I loved reading the Amelia Bedelia books when I was a kid and I am so excited that there are new ones out that my kids enjoy!  Plus, Amelia is just as literal and awkward young as she was old and so it is still enjoyable for me!  I hate it when they take a classic and try to change it for the better...it usually never turns out well.  This on the other hand, was a real treat!

Lynne Avril Cravath is the illustrator for the new Amelia Bedelia's and she does a fabulous job!  The pictures are a lot of fun!  She has illustrated other books that look like a lot of fun as well.  Click on her name to go to her site and you can view the books and her other art work there.

Enjoy your Valentine's Day this year and don't forget to "Milla Dilla" the ones you love!

Feb 3, 2010

The Recess Queen

I have my daughter and her friends from school to thank for helping me discover this fun little book!  My daughter brought this home the other day from her school library.  I was so excited when I saw the cover.  It looked like a fun book but I didn't dare get my hopes up since the last few books she has gotten have been things like, Discovering Earthworms(did you know that in Africa there are earthworms as long as a human arm and about as big around!), and Why is the Sea Salty.

Tonight for bedtime I sat down and GOT to read this very entertaining book!  I love some of the words that
Alexis O'Neill uses.  The rhythm and the pace of this book is really fun and fast!  Immediately after finishing I found I wanted to read it again.  I loved the concept of a school bully duped by kindness.  It is a very fun story.  Here are some of Alexis' other books: The Worst Best FriendEstela's Swap, and Loud Emily.

Laura Huliska-Beith is the illustrator and her pictures are just as fun and lively as the words!  I am especially a fan of the awesome facial expressions on the kids!  Alexis O'Neill and Laura Huliska-Beith's other joint book venture is The Worst Best Friend...I can't wait to read that as well!

Well I gotta run!  My kids are out of bed, so that means I'm going to have "push 'em and smoosh 'em and lollapaloosh 'em"!  I just hope they don't ask for another bedtime story...cause I'll say "yes" and grab The Recess Queen a little too willingly!

Feb 1, 2010

Tightrope Poppy the High Wire Pig

There's a new show in town and you don't want to miss it!
I have been a fan of this book for a long time.  I checked it out from the library again the other day and was reminded what a fantastic book it is.  This is the most adorable book about a little piggy that shoots for her dreams and despite some setbacks she is able to persevere until she becomes the famous Tightrope Poppy!

Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen has written many fun kids books, including Mine-O-Saur and The Hog Prince.  I'm a sucker for rhyming books and the rhyming in this is extremely fun and it is clear that a lot of time went into making it perfect!  Plus, it is a great way to teach your kids that on the way to mastering a skill there may be a dramatic fall or two.

Sarah Dillard did a superb job with the illustrations.  So colorful that my kids turn back the page just to stare at the pictures a little bit longer.  I personally like all the circus colors, they make me feel right at home :)!  Sarah has a cute little blog that you can check out too with fun sketches and pictures. 

Tired of being stuck inside because of the cold weather?  Enjoy a day at the circus with Poppy!