Friday, February 16, 2018

Somebunny Loves Me by Parry Gripp (National Geographic Kids ) [Review & Giveaway]

ISBN: 9781426329753
Ages 4-8
Hardcover $16.99
My thoughts: In keeping with the quality of National Geographic books for all ages, this new kid's book about a variety of animals that kids have as pets is absolutely charming. The photographs are great and the Parry Gripp rhymes just rollick along with a special charm of their own as they teach care and love of pets.

No matter the pet - horse, dog, kitty, lizard, fish, bunny - there is a rhyme and the child is taught how to lovingly care for the pet he or she has. Feeding, petting, visiting vet, playing, poking, etc. are mentioned as things to do or not to do with or to your pet.

This is not just a book of cute animal pictures, it is a compilation of great pictures, terrific rhymes with a bouncy rhythm, and a great source of gentle education about the care and keeping of pets. I highly recommend.

About the book: This adorable new title from Emmy Award-winning singer-songwriter (and animal lover) Parry Gripp shows us the magical world of furry friendship and teaches young readers to be kind to animals of all shapes and sizes.

Through adorable, uplifting photographs, and sweet, silly text, kids will learn not only how to interact with animals, but also just what makes you a good friend for your fuzzy, feathered, or scaly new bud. This fun book will inspire young animal lovers to understand their perfect new pal, giving kids lessons on being gentle with pets, making sure to care and love them, how to be patient, and more. Lyrical text illustrates the fun and companionship that dogs, cats, lizards, fish, rabbits, and all sorts of animal friends can offer. Parents and families considering or who've just gotten a new pet will have fun sharing and learning all about animals together. Plus, turn each page and sing along with Parry with an original song and music video!

NOTE: I love the video and traditionally I don't care for the rapid-fire "rap-style" music that accompanies it. But this is really cute and I love the rhymes and lessons.

Begins February 16
Ends March 10 @ 12:01 a.m. EST
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitaate this review. Opinions expressed are solely my own and are freely given. Winner's copy is provided and shipped directly to the winner by the publisher or publicist.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Children can learn languages: Bonjour! Let's Learn French & ¡hola! Let's Learn Spanish by Judy Martialay [Book Spotlight & Giveaway]

My thoughts: I did not have the opportunity to learn a foreign language and regret not having done so. My children had the opportunity and I am happy they did. They did not, though, have "immersion language studies" which really enhances and accelerates the process.

These two books have been written by retired languages teacher Judy Martialay so that parents who are not knowledgable of foreign languages can help their child in this pursuit. The books have a little story and culturally appropriate activities that make learning a fun experience. Also, a downloadable audio book so correct pronunciation can be learned.

If your young children are already learning French or Spanish, these bilingual books will be welcome additions. If you are a homeschooling family and entertaining breaking into the foreign language field, these two books will help explore. If you are a parent of a young child and want to learn along with your child, these print and audio books should be a welcome addition.

Both books take the reader to another country and they encounter a child and read about an adventure. This is an opportunity for a fun read that can be playful, educational, and can even have a bit of a party atmosphere.

I think they would be worthy of your attention. And you can also vie for a copy in the giveaway I am hosting with the winner's copies being sent by the author.

Bonjour! Let's Learn French: Visit New Places and Make New Friends

About the book: Buckle your seatbelts! Your child 6-10 is about to take off on a trip of adventure, discovery and learning with Bonjour! Let's Learn French. Your child-and you-will be speaking French in no time! Easy to use, whether or not you know French. Free downloadable audio version at Audio includes tips on French pronunciation. Download before using book.

Your child's guide is Pete the Pilot. Kids take a pretend flight to France, meet Louis l'escargot, France's favorite snail, follow his adventures, and learn French effortlessly.
Story told in English introduces words and expressions in French.

Also featuring:

  • Fun activities to use French including treasure hunt and daily expressions
  • Skit
  • Culture Corner
  • Song
  • Directions for adding an impressionist touch for your child's drawings and paintings

¡hola! Let's Learn Spanish: Visit New Places and Make New Friends

ISBN-13: 978-0991132409
Softcover $16.97
About the book: Easy and Fun Introduction to Spanish for your child. Fasten your seatbelts! Your child 6-10 is about to take a trip of adventure, fun and learning. Your child-and you-will be speaking Spanish in no time! Easy to use, whether or not you know Spanish.
Free downloadable audio version at Download before using book.

Your child's guide is Pete the Pilot. Kids take a pretend flight to Mexico. There, they meet Panchito, Mexico's #1 Jumping Bean, meet his friends, follow his adventure, and learn Spanish effortlessly.

Also featuring:

  • fun activities to use Spanish
  • Skit
  • Culture Corner
  • Catchy song
  • Directions for making a traditional Mexican mask

Find it on Amazon - click here

About the author: I retired from teaching foreign /world languages, and have devoted many years to the promotion of foreign language study as Co-Chair of the Public Advocacy Committee of the New York State Association of Foreign Language Teachers (NYSAFLT).
I wrote the books ¡HOLA! Let's Learn Languages and Bonjour! Let's Learn French because I want every child to have the opportunity to learn a world language at an early age. This is the best time to start learning a language. Children's brains are wired for learning languages. They have a better chance for acquiring native pronunciation, and they have ample time to become truly proficient in the language.
I often hear the comment from teachers of young children:" Children absorb languages like sponges."
My granddaughter hears Spanish every day; she has an au pair girl who speaks to her in Spanish. She understands everything.
I want children and their parents to enjoy the experience of learning languages. It is an adventure into the soul of another world.
If your child continues study of a language, he or she will have a skill that will provide life-long benefits.
2 Winners - Choice of 1 language book
Begins February 16
Ends March 9 @ 12:01 a.m. EST
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway DISCLOSURE: I received a copy of each book to facilitate this book spotlight and giveaway. Any opinions expressed by me are my own, alone. I was not compensated for this promotional article. Winners' copies are provided by author to winner.

Monday, February 12, 2018

When God Made Light by Matthew Paul Turner & illustrated by David Catrow

"a universe lit up. . . ."

ISBN: 978-1-60142-920-9
$11.99 Hardcover - Ages 3-7
48 Pages - Waterbrook Publishing
My thoughts: The exuberance and joy that leaped from the pages of Matthew Paul Turner's first book in this collection, When God Made You, is again beautifully displayed in the second book, When God Made Light.

David Caltrow's art is so intensely colorful and radiates a joyfullness and a lightheartedness that all children should and can experience when they confront the fact that God is the Creator. The Creator of the child and the Creator of Light.

This story has children. Innocent. Busy. Lovely.

The story has a dog and a cat both of which are frolicking across the pages.

And it has light shining on them and their activities. And that light is manifest in a variety of scenes and events from sun and moon to stars and galaxies and to the tiny light bugs captured in the child's jar.

Light glared and glimmered, it flared and sparked, and where light shinned, dark stopped being dark.
Think about that. Think beyond the children on the pages. Think of Creation and Salvation and light - The Light - and how the dark stopped being dark.

And then in the darkness a galaxy was formed out of the light - "a universe lit up,..."

This children's book is a playful, joyful "take" on God's Creation of the World and Universe. Separating light from dark, speaking light into being, setting the sun and moon in the sky.

Turner's lyric verse takes the children on an adventure through the day and night embracing children's play and activities that span the daylight and night time hours and the seasons when light makes play in the warmth of the Sun's light so much fun. And he goes on to tell the child that there is light in him, too. When the child was born God imparts a light in the child.
So light drives away the darkness - that is as literal as day and night but the light of God drives away sin. So the opportunity for some spiritual deep diving is easily transitioned to. The concept of the child having God's light in him at birth is another opportunity for the child to learn that he has a soul created by a loving God that wants to dwell in the child with the light of God's goodness.

So this little book is fun, beautifully illustrated, and a joyful read but it also contains some pretty deep concepts that can even stimulate an adult's thinking.

I encourage my readers to acquire copies of both: When God Made You and When God Made Light.

About the book: From the author and illustrator of the best-selling When God Made You comes a new illuminating message about God's design affirming young readers.

'Let there be light!' that's what God said. And light began shining and then started to spread." Wild and creative illustrations from top children's illustrator David Catrow pair with Matthew Paul Turner's lyrical verse in this message of a God-made light that cuts through darkness to bring vision and hope to all young readers. This light radiates, chasing away the shadows, providing the wonder and fun of stargazing or firefly chasing. Most important, this light appears in each child--an inner God-given spark that grows and will be used to change the world.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Waterbrook, on behalf of the author to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and are freely given.

Friday, February 9, 2018

A Place at Our Table by Amy Clipston

My thoughts: I have not previously read a book by Amy Clipston but I have read a couple of her novellas included in collections. I found her writing about the Amish to be a portrayal of a community of people concerned with each others' needs within their families and those within the community. She uses a heavy sprinkling of words and phrases specific to the Amish's use of a form of German usually called Pennsylvania Dutch.

As with other stories of the Amish, we see that the don't drive cars and trucks though they make frequent use of hiring a driver to provide this service for them. They also don't have phones inside their homes but place them in a phone-shanty away from the house. And as with many other stories about these separated communities of believers, they eat a lot and drink a lot of coffee (kaffi)

A Place At Our Table is a gentle story that weaves daily life, emergencies, grief, and tender romance amidst life both suburban and farm. We see people of various talents, personalities, and coping mechanisms as they interact within their tight families and how they branch out to those of like faith to move forward after tragedy.

This is an easy to read story that moves at an unhurried pace. The reader will begin to understand how Amish can even pursue involvement as a fireman providing services to those in the entire community as well as the Amish.

For those who enjoy reading gentle stories involving the Amish and their way of life, you will find this book a light read that will take you into their homes and the seat you at A Place at "their" Table.

About the book: Along with his volunteer work at the local fire department, running his Amish farm keeps Jamie Riehl busy. He barely has time to eat at the family table, never mind find someone to date. But when he meets Kayla Dienner, he is smitten.

Kayla tries hard to deny her attraction to Jamie. After all, she’s spent the last year discouraging her younger brother, Nathan, from becoming a firefighter. The death of their older brother in a fire a year ago is fresh in her mind—she can’t bear the idea of putting her heart on the line every time the sirens blare.

Then tragedy strikes, and Jamie wants to extinguish any flame between him and Kayla. Can Kayla set aside her own fears to save the love she was determined to deny?

The first book in the Amish Homestead series, A Place at Our Table invites us to a quiet community in Lancaster County where love burns brightly no matter the cost.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from the BookLook Blogger Review program on behalf of the publisher, Zondervan, to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and are freely given.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

That Grand Easter Day by Jill Roman Lord & illustrated by Alessia Trunfio [Review & Giveaway]

What happened the day the stone rolled away?

My thoughts: This is a very well done picture book that recounts the day of Christ's resurrection. The day is told in verse by verse rhyme that follows the cadence of an old familiar nursery rhyme (House that Jack Built). This cadence makes it easy to grab the attention of young listeners and they can repeat the lines with the reader. The verses are cumulative building with repetitions on the previous verses.

The illustrations are very nicely done and the artist has pictured the people realistically and appropriately as middle eastern in skin tone and not caucasian.

This story focuses on the discovery of the empty tomb and the Resurrection of Christ.

The book begins with John 3:16 "For God So loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." and concludes with John 10:10 "I am come that they may have life and have it to the full." (NIV version) 

I absolutely love the focus on the empty tomb and the resurrected Christ. I think this is a lovely book and recommend it. I do, however, have one small drawback which is simply personal. I don't care for the inclusion of a bunny in the story. While surely there were birds and animals in the area on resurrection day, the universally accepted inclusion of bunnies into the celebration of this very special day in the Christian year is cause for concern. In this book, the bunny is simply there and carries no significant or stated purpose.

About the book: That Grand Easter Day! is a cumulative story that begins with the stone in front of the tomb and ends with a new beginning—the Resurrection of Christ. The lively narrative builds as it progresses, adding people, objects, and animals that may have witnessed the events of that day long ago. Little ones will love the repetition, which adds a pleasing level of predictability and helps to make the story of the first Easter more memorable. The upbeat, reverent story is accompanied by luminous illustrations which bring the story to life. This engaging picture book will be a read-aloud favorite at Eastertime and throughout the year.
Begins February 8
Ends February 19 @ 12:01 a.m. EST
Open to Continental USA addresses only
a Rafflecopter giveaway DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from WorthyKids/Ideals to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own, alone, and are freely given.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

If My Moon Was Your Sun by Andreas Steinhöfel with CD audiobook and music by Georges Bizet (Composer)

I found this book a delight to listen to its being read with the lovely musical interludes throughout. Exceptionally well done!

My thoughts: I found the concept of a listen-along-CD and a lovely book for ages 8 to 12 quite appealing. The listen-along and book combo is usually reserved for the younger child. To further enhance the intriguing concept for ages 8 to 12 they have added interludes of classical music that punctuates the "chapters." This is a superb opportunity to allow the introduction of classical music into the story time for this age.

The music is beautiful and it connsists of the work of composers Sergi Prokofiev and Georges Bizet. The story is beautifully read and is a translation from the German of a beautiful story. Descriptive phrases and lyric style are well done. A pleasure to listen to it being read or to read oneself.

Grandfather has dementia and is in a home with locked doors and Max wants a day out with his grandfather. So an escape from the confines of the nursing home is executed seamlessly by Max and Grandfather with an older lady slipping out with them. And so  they go on their adventure with fun, laughs, and love. As day closes and the moon comes out Max and Grandfather are talking about the moon and the sun and how they revolve. Then Grandfather says, "Who are you?"

Max knows his Grandfather has times of not remembering which is the reason he lives in the "home." Though sadded about his Grandfather's condition, Max wants to help his Grandfather.

The story is beautiful showing the love between a grandson and his grandfather. It is beautifully written in flowing style and with grace and sensitivity. The story can be used to help children understand dementia and how it devastates. Often young children see the effects of dementia on someone they love and don't understand it. This lovely story could help.

On a negative note, while I completely understand this is fiction, it does raise issues. First, a nine-year-old child shouldn't go wandering off across town on his or her own without an adult even having knowledge of his excursion. Secondly, the locks on nursing homes are there for the safety of the residents; and for the dementia resident to leave without a responsible adult is simply asking for trouble and most likely unlawful. Of course, when reading stories like Red Riding Hood we have a little girl traipsing through the deep dark forest unaccompanied, so unattended children on excursions are not new to the literature world. Neither is stretching the law a bit. I did want to point out my concerns about the story while extolling its gentle beauty and wonderful presentation with book and audio.

DISCLOSURE: I received a copy through the Early Reviewers program. Opinions are my own and freely given.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

The Pink Umbrella by Amelie Callot & illustrated by Genevieve Godbout

ISBN: 9781101919231
Tundra an imprint of
My thoughts: This lovely book was originally published in French in 2016 in Canada.

This is an absolutely beautiful book. The story is beautiful and well written with text that simply flows with an enthralling story-telling style. The illustrations are very well done and capture the essence of the story and the mood of the main character, Adele.

The story of Adele and her lovely cafe that is a charming community gathering place speaks to small town or village living and the kindness and gracious friendship that one finds in small towns.

First of all, pink is a theme that is consistently at the forefront. Pink is a "feminine" color and Adele is a lovely lady. Secondly, Adele's charm and friendliness are portrayed in every bit of the story. Thirdly, the friendship that is evident as well as hidden is sweet and understated. And fourth, Adele has a problem that needs addressing and her friend is aware and silently pursues helping her.

While this is a children's picture book, it is somewhat longer that the norm. And while dealing with depression brought on by the weather is typically not something one would encounter in a children's book, inclusion of this problem in a children's book enables the child to become aware that some people are affected. There is nothing analytical in the book, it is just something Adele deals with and of which her friend is aware. Hence, the pink boots, the pink raincoat, and the pink umbrella.

The "depression factor" doesn't need to be stressed as the book is read to a child. This is simply a part of Adele that the author brings out.

I personally really love the book in its entirety. I see no difficulties in reading it to children four years and up. It is a good book for library or classroom read-aloud sessions as well as in-home reading.

About the book: Perfect for fans of Amélie, this is a charming story about the power of friendship, love and pink polka dots to turn rainy days into sunny ones and sadness into joy.

When it's bright outside, Adele is the heart of her community, greeting everyone who comes into her café with arms wide open. But when it rains, she can't help but stay at home inside, under the covers. Because Adele takes such good care of her friends and customers, one of them decides to take care of her too, and piece by piece leaves her little gifts that help her find the joy in a gray, rainy day. Along with cute-as-a-button illustrations, The Pink Umbrella celebrates thoughtful acts of friendship.

DISCLOSURE: I received this book as part of the Early Reviewers program at While not required to review, I felt I wanted to share my thoughts on the book which I am freely doing.