Thursday, May 26, 2016

Can You Canoe? And Other Adventure Songs by The Okee Dokee Brothers, illustrated by Brandon Reese (book & music CD) [Review & Giveaway]

About the book & CD: The Grammy® Award-winning Okee Dokee Brothers—Joe Mailander and Justin Lansing—celebrate the beauty of nature and the joys of being outdoors and unplugged. Their family-friendly music aims to inspire parents and kids to get outside and get creative. Can You Canoe? journeys cross-country in 12 songs, from the rolling hills of Appalachia in the east to the canyons and campfires of the West. Along the way, The Okee Dokee Brothers’ irresistible, boot-stompin’ tunes invite kids to wander through the woods and wilderness, where they’ll discover hungry black bears and tall-tale spinners; quiet canoes and cozy camping tents; a jumpin’ jamboree and a bullfrog opera. Brandon Reese’s lively illustrations, and a CD to sing along with, will make this set a children’s classic.

My thoughts: Oh my! This is FUN! A rollicking fun trip with music and words that will tickle your fancy and have you clapping your hands, patting toes in rhythm, foot stomping, shoulder rolling fun, fun, fun.

I'm wondering if you'd go wandering with me
Through the wilderness and woods
To where the winds are blowin’ free.

Bluegrass music with lyrics sung where you can clearly understand the words. All about life and enjoying the things and stuff of a simple life. Finding fun in simple things.

Take the kids (and yourself) to the authentic bluegrass music of Americana. Lyrics and music by the Okee Dokee Brothers. Bring your kids into the world of rollicking, fun, music. Hear the harmony. Everyone clap their hands. Smile. Enjoy!

Great for road-tripping or lightening the mood around the house.

The books has lyrics and wonderful pictures. Illustrations by Brandon Reese show a couple of guys out-'n-about enjoying a canoe, tenting, hiking, dancing. Bright colors simply chock-full of fun and enjoyment. Literally makes you want to pack your stuff, grab your tent, and get out-'n-about yourself enjoying the wilderness in all its glory.

Summer's coming! Get one for those long road trips or those "I'm so bored" days at home! Fun!

Begins May 26
Ends June 16 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses
DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary book and CD to facilitate this review by Sterling Children's Books. Opinions are delightfully my own. I was not compensated except with pure joy.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Tornado Tamer by Terri Fields & llustrated by Laura Jacques

Ages 4-8, Grades K-3
Hardcover $17.95
ISBN: 9781628557336

My thoughts: Arbordale Publishing produces some terrific books for elementary age children. They are usually a bit of nature, a bit of science, a bit of math, and just sheer fun. In Tornado Tamer the animals in the town are taken in by the claims of the flamboyant peacock who is the town's Mayor. It seems they have a major problem with tornadoes and are quite afraid of them. The Mayor's solution is to bring in an expert, Weasel.

Weasel says he can take care of them by protecting the town with a very large cover over the town. Weasel really weaseled himself in by declaring only those who were smart could actually see the cover. Everyone believes, except mouse.

The illustrations by Laura Jacques are simply charming. All the animals have real personality that exudes from their faces and their dress. Love seeing their charming dresses and suits and their faces are adorable. Mayor Peacock's tail feathers are particularly flamboyant as is his style and personality. And weasel is sly and conniving.

The story has several strong points. It is a good story where the people are deceived by a sly and cunning individual. But not only is the story fun to read and the illustrations captivating, the story line brings in facts about tornadoes. Super good learning opportunity and really gets an A+ in my book for entertaining, enthralling, and educational.

Then at the back of the book there is a Creative Minds section that includes lots of interesting information which is presented in great format. These make this book particularly good for schools and homeschools.

  • Tornadoes
  • Weather Glossary
  • What to Do If a Tornado Approaches
  • Enhanced Fujita Tornado Damage Scale
  • Birth of a Tornado
  • Make Your Own Tornado 
About the book: In this adaptation of The Emperor’s New Clothes, Mayor Peacock declares he will hire a tornado tamer to protect the town. After a long search, Travis arrives to fill the position and this weasel has a plan. He will build a very special, transparent cover to protect the town. Travis’ magical cover is so transparent that only those smart enough and special enough can even see it. Mouse is doubtful, but his questions are brushed off. Months later, the cover has been hung and Travis has been paid a hefty sum, but a tornado is in the distance and the town is in its path. Will the magic cover protect the town?

DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy by Arbordale Publishing to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own. I was not compensated for this review.

"Monster Needs to Go to School" (Book 6 in The Monster & Me™ series) by Paul Czajak & illustrated by Wendy Grieb

Mighty Media Kids   5/24/2016
ISBN:  978-1-938063-74-9
32 pages - Ages 2—8
The fabulous team work of Paul Czajak, author, and Wendy Grieb, illustrator, has now brought book 6 in The Monster & Me™ series to stores and libraries all over the place.  My experience with The Monster & Me™ books is pure joy and entertainment. Great lessons for kids to learn and positive attitudes about life.

Recently "Monster" learned about getting the vote out. That was highly entertaining and highly educational. Great timing since the United States is in full election year mode right now. But school opens for the 2016-2017 school year in just a few months and Monster Needs To Go To School.

Some kids seem to experience back-to-school jitters and some have difficulty dealing with bullies—especially when they're friends.

Monster is dreading his first day of school. His classroom is full of old and new friends and so many fun things to learn that Monster forgets his fears in no time… until he catches his friends bullying. What will Monster do?

"I know I have a lot to learn, but school is strange and scary.

What if I get bullied since I'm blue and very hairy?"

This sweetly addresses the fear of being or looking different from the others in school.

Being afraid of school as a first-time student can be pretty stressful. Also, if returning to school (and we all NEED to go to school!) and you already know there are bullies lurking around the corner, in the next seat, on the playground, well..... it can be pretty intimidating. Learning to deal with these issues can be smooth or fraught with stumbling blocks (rocks, tears, punches, whatever). But when you've a friend like MONSTER then things go much better.
"I know we're friends, but teasing's wrong. It's something I despise.
No one should be ridiculed. There is no compromise."

Paul Czajak lives up to his already established reputation for great text that hits the nail on the head. And working with him with super  bright and vivid characters, emotions, and details is Wendy Grieb who has worked with Paul on The Monster & Me™ series.

The Monster & Me™ series has sold 100,000 copies to date, and is a 2015 Silver Moonbeam Children's Book Award winner for Best Picture Book Series. These are books for the library. For the classroom. For the home shelves. Can't you just picture grand-mama bringing in the ENTIRE set for the kiddies. What a fun time they would have! These would be books the kids pull from the shelf time after time for re-reads.

This would be a great book to have for first-day-of-school reads. Or possibly late summer reads leading up to the start of school.

About the author & illustrator: Author Paul Czajak is a Huffington Post contributor and New York Journal of Books reviewer. Illustrator Wendy Grieb is an Annie Award-winning storyboard artist, whose use of bright colors and inclusive representation in each spread has brought Monster and his world to life in a cinematic way!

Many thanks to Mighty Media Press for a review copy. All opinions are my own. I was not compensated for this review.

Monday, May 23, 2016

If You Were Me and Lived in... Egypt: A Child's Introduction to Cultures Around the World (Volume 17) by Carole P. Roman & illustrated by Kelsea Wierenga

Join Carole P. Roman when she visits the stunning and exciting land of Egypt in the newest book of her informative series. Learn why this ancient land often called "the cradle of civilization." Travel down the Nile to discover Egypt's fascinating history. See the land through the eyes of a youngster like you and understand what life is like in this exotic place. Don't forget to look at the other books in the series so that you can be an armchair world traveler.

My thoughts: It seems as though Carole P. Roman just gets better and better at writing the story-facts for the countries visited in the If You Were Me and Lived In.... series. To date the book on Italy was my "most favorite" with its illustrations and facts. I think, though, that Egypt might even top Italy as far as Roman's publications are concern.

I've never been to Egypt and most likely will never go. I have always viewed the history of Egypt with awe and fascination. In Roman's little fact filled book I learned....
  1. Egypt is one of the oldest nations on earth and is called the cradle of civilization.
  2. It straddles two continents - Africa and Asia.
  3. It's capital is Cairo, and Cairo is the largest city in the Middle-East.
  4. They play a board game called Senet which was played by King Tutankhamun (or King Tut). His game board was made from precious woods and gems.
  5. They have a spring festival during which they dye and decorate eggs. The holiday marks the beginning of spring.
The illustrations incorporate ancient Egyptian designs and drawings of people and places. The text is fact filled. Text heavy, the pages may seem to overwhelm young readers; but it is a fact-finding little book and good for younger kids to have read to them and for older elementary to learn about the culture and peoples.

Another good Introduction to Cultures by Ms. Roman.


1 Grand Prize Winner Wins Entire Set of Cultures Books
2 Winners each receive 1 copy of Egypt
Begins May 23
ENDS June 13 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Eligibility - based on mailing address: If you have previously won here or elsewhere the entire set, you are not eligible to win again. If you have won the book on Egypt you are not eligible to win another copy. 

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of Egypt from the author to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and I was not compensated. Prize copies are provided at no cost to the winners by the author.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Cave Kiddos: A Sunny Day by Eric Jay Cash

Cave Kiddos is a fun book about four Paleolithic children who share the experience of developing and learning important words and concepts. Join Alk, Haha, Lala, and Zee as they discover the world around them.

My thoughts: The challenge of his own children who were delayed talkers brought Eric Jay Cash into the realm of publishing. His first book of the Cave Kiddos is filled with some of the cutest kids on the block. Just love these four kiddos. They are charming with bright eyes, wide smiles, and exuberance.

If you have not "read" a wordless book to a child, then you haven't experienced the joy of discovery as the child and you tell and re-tell the story based on your own interpretation of the illustrations. 

Cave Kiddos: A Sunny Day is not a wordless book, but it is a first cousin to one. Mr. Cash has taken the development of early language of Paleolithic children (aka, cave dwellers) and used the perception of language development to write this "story" which is about discovering the word "water."

Simple, but fun. And yes, it is a "Sunny Day" when a developmentally challenged kiddo discovers even a single word and relates it to an object, concept, or thought.

Who is this book for? Well, anyone can benefit from it since it can be used as a first-cousin to a wordless book. But I can see this for very young children or children who are a little slow in language development.

Mr. Cash, when are the Cave Kiddos going to put in a second appearance? What word will they add to their vocabulary?

Author info: Eric Cash became fascinated with speech and developmental learning when he worked with his children who are both delayed speakers. e lives in a cave on the North Shore of Long Island with his wife and two cave kiddos.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy from the author to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own. I was not compensated.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Anchor in the Storm (Waves of Freedom series, Book 2) by Sarah Sundin [Review & Giveaway]

About the book: In a time of sacrifice, what price can one put on true love?

Nothing slows Lillian Avery down---not her personal challenges and certainly not America's entry into World War II. She finally has a chance to prove herself as a pharmacist in Boston. The demands of her new job energize her. But society boy Ensign Archer Vandenberg's attentions only annoy
---even if he is her brother's best friend.

During the darkest days of the war, Arch's destroyer hunts German U-boats in vain as the submarines sink dozens of merchant ships along the East Coast. Still shaken by battles at sea, Arch notices his men also struggle with their nerves---and with drowsiness. Could there be a link to the large prescriptions Lillian has been filling?

As the danger rises on both land and sea, the two must work together to answer that question. But can Arch ever earn Lillian's trust and affection?

My thoughts: I find it very interesting to read a historical rendering of the times when my parents were young and I kind of envision my aunts and uncles, my parents, and that entire populace as spectators in the crowd of onlookers that might have been around during the story's action. In the case of Anchor in the Storm it is WWII. The setting is around Boston and the Atlantic Ocean. The characters are young naval officers and crews on shipboard and their family and friends.

The dangers of 1942 are very real as the World engages in war and the United States has been plunged in head first and poorly equipped to defend and protect.  Naval destroyers roam the East Coast of the United States and upwards in the icy northern waters searching out for German U boats or the survivors of the destruction that elusive U boats has caused.

But danger lurks not only at sea, there is danger afoot ashore as devious and illegal activities seep into the crevasses of life that should be peaceful and normal.

Amidst all this young hearts are drawn to each other and romance blooms albeit reluctantly.

Sarah Sundin is well known for her extremely well researched WWII historical fiction. I have previously read her WWII fiction centered around the Army in the European theater. She has now set her ship in the seas featuring the Navy.

Grand writing and great research!
Begins May 19
Ends June 6 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from the Litfuse Publicity Group on behalf of the publisher, Revell, and the author to facilitate this review. Opinions are mine alone. I was not compensated.

Sarah Sundin’s ‘Anchor in the Storm’ All Hands on Deck Giveaway

anchor in the storm - 400In a time of sacrifice, what price can one put on true love? Pharmacist Lillian Avery and Ensign Archer Vandenberg are about to find out in Sarah Sundin's new book, Anchor in the Storm. During the darkest days of the war, Arch's destroyer hunts German U-boats in vain as the submarines sink dozens of merchant ships along the East Coast. Still shaken by battles at sea, Arch notices his men also struggle with their nerves—and with drowsiness. Could there be a link to the large prescriptions Lillian has been filling? As the danger rises on both land and sea, the two must work together to answer that question. But can Arch ever earn Lillian's trust and affection?

Celebrate the release of Sarah's Anchor in the Storm by entering to win her All Hands on Deck Prize Pack!
One grand prize winner will receive: LF AIS full group 2
  • A signed copy of Anchor in the Storm
  • Nautical tote bag lined with anchor fabric
  • Anchor necklace made from copper reclaimed from the USS Constitution in Boston during restoration
  • 365 Devotions for Hope by Karen Whiting
  • Shine: Nautical Inspirational Adult Coloring Book
  • "Hope Anchors the Soul" journal
  • Set of two nautical tea towels

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry! The giveaway ends on June 8th. The winner will be announced June 9th on Sarah's blog.

anchor in the storm - banner