Saturday, May 18, 2019

20 Recipes Kids Should Know by Esme Washburn and photographer Calista Washburn [Review & Giveaway - US/CANADA]

Kick off the summer with fun cooking for your kids

ISBN: 9781385075
Hardcover $16.95
My thoughts: I came from a line of wonderful cooks but didn't spend much time in the kitchen myself as a child growing up. However, in my preteen years the local gas company held cooking classes for kids and my mother encouraged me to attend. I did and they also gave us a children's cookbook. It held basic recipes that gave a "kick-start" for a child to begin learning how to measure and how to cook a variety of items. It was a bit heavy on the dessert side in the line of recipes. They also showed us how to safely use gas ranges.

Later in school we had home economics classes and I continued to learn. I married young and then began my education in earnest to learn how to cook meats, vegetables, fruits, pasta, grains, and of course, desserts.

This absolutely wonderful book, 20 Reciipes Kids Should Know, has a grand assortment of recipes for kids to prepare and the instructions are really good. This is not a "dumbed-down" of "kiddie" book. This is for kids old enough and responsible enough to handle basic and a bit more complex cooking techniques.

It won't overwhelm, and it won't be a platform for junkie food.

A case in point is the mouth-watering pasta and cheese recipe. This is not a "dump it outta the box" directive. This is a use the butter, milk, cheese, etc. recipe where you make a great white sauce with butter and milk and then add grated cheese in a quantity that will provide a succulent adventure into the comfort food that a lot of us grew up loving. Don't miss this recipe!

And then there is the marinated steak recipe. Now you're going to want to be able to feel comfortable with your kid's skills and abilities before you invest in steak, but this certainly has a place in the repertoire that every growing child needs to learn.

Of course, a pizza recipe is included. Again, not a dump-it-outta-the-box recipe. It is one where you get to know the whole product item. Again, kids will love this one!

Anytime I can pass along information about a book that will bring enjoyable education to children, I value it. So I am highly recommending you invest in your child's eating future by investing in this extremely well done book.

About the book: The perfect book for children, this fun and engaging cookbook is written and photographed by a pair of teenage sisters for budding chefs.

Whether they're helping stir cake batter or producing their own YouTube cooking channel, kids of all ages are getting increasingly busy in the kitchen. This cookbook features twenty classic recipes that are fun, healthy, adaptable, and easy to prepare. From banana bread and the perfect grilled cheese to breaded chicken and apple pie, each recipe is written in a clear, accessible style that young cooks of every level will be able to follow. The author is a young chef whose love of cooking developed from her own family's food traditions like baking popovers with her grandmother and Sunday-night pizza making. By teaching kids basic recipes that can be adapted in endless ways, this book is the perfect launching pad to finding their way around the kitchen--or launching their own cooking careers.

About the author and photographer: ESME and CALISTA WASHBURN are sisters living in New York City. Esme, who is in middle school, is an amateur chef and cooking enthusiast. She has learned everything she knows from her grandmother. Calista, a recent high school graduate and budding photographer, loves helping out in the kitchen and eating the delicious food that Esme cooks.
Begins May 19
Ends June 18 at 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA & CANADA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate this review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given.

Friday, May 17, 2019

National Geographic kids new books for young children to enjoy about animals, space, and science [Review & Giveaway]

At what age should you begin to introduce science to your child? In kindergarten? In first grade? Or wait until grades three or four?

What about age one or two? What about when they are just wee toddlers? Do you think they can understand about the Universe or the Planets?

Obviously the good folks at National Geographic believe that you can introduce a variety of information to the very young child because they have a fine assortment of board books and young children's "big books of...." that will appeal to the very young child helping him or her along their lifelong journey of learning.

Two splendid board books by Ruth A. Musgraves


Find it on Amazon
My thoughts:  I love the way this little book introduces little ones to the concept of a world (or Universe) bigger than their own little world. Simple, yet factual and educational.

This book's content is not your usual little kiddie book in that it goes outside the realm of what they can actually see, touch, hear, smell. But they can grasp a knowledge of the bright yellow sun and our Earth that circles the Sun. And then the night light that is the Moon that circles the Earth.

So much good knowledge and such a great way to begin a knowledge of space.

About the book: National Geographic spins off its best-selling Little Kids First Big Book series into engaging new board books to introduce even the littlest kids to high-quality nonfiction. These sturdy pages explore the basics of the solar system with amazing photographs, super-simple facts, and lively, age-appropriate language to keep babies and toddlers--and their grown-ups--fascinated by every colorful page.

With stunning photos of the Earth and other planets, this beautiful book introduces the very youngest explorers to the wonders of the space, beginning right here on Earth and expanding into the universe beyond.


Find it on Amazon
My thoughts: This is definitely a lot more "down to Earth" in that the kiddies can actually see many of these critters either in their yards or perhaps a zoo. Fun bits of information.

Knowing how much little ones love Penguins, they will love the page on Penguins and probably want to play copy-cat the Penguins. Fun!

About the book: National Geographic spins off its best-selling Little Kids First Big Book series into engaging new board books to introduce even the littlest kids to high-quality nonfiction. These sturdy pages showcase animals and how they move, with amazing photographs, super-simple facts, and lively, age-appropriate language to keep babies and toddlers--and their grown-ups--fascinated by every colorful page.

Stunning photos of wildlife in action introduce babies and toddlers to creatures that creep, crawl, hop, slither, soar, and more. Watch how fluffy and scaly creatures, both big and small, move from place to place.

First Big Book of Science by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfield 

Find it on Amazon
My thoughts: For precocious preschoolers and early elementary grade children, this First Big Book of Science offers an opportunity for them to have a compilation of the "stuff of science." They learn that in science a broad range of subjects is covered - animals, plants, the oceans and seas, the off-Earth area that is space. Then they learn about things that happen in and to these subjects.

Does the child have a much loved rock collection? Well, they learn that geology is the science or study of rocks. There are activities in which your child can engage to learn about various sciences in the world around them.

This is a terrific introduction to science.

About the book: This lively introduction to the fascinating world of science explores the different kinds of science, what scientists do, and the amazing things that scientists study: animals and plants; oceans and space; earthquakes and volcanoes; sound and light; inventions and more!

Make sure kids' first experience of the wonders of science is a thrilling eye-opener with this fun reference book. Fun activities, games, and simple experiments encourage interactive learning, showing kids that anyone can use scientific observation and experimentation to be a scientist and discover new things. With bright images and age-appropriate text, this book inspires kids to be curious, ask questions, and explore the world around them and maybe even grow up to be a scientist one day, too! Topics include astronomy, botany, paleontology, malacology (that's the science of clams, snails, and other animals with shells!), zoology, and more.

3 Books for 1 Winner
Open to USA addresses only.
Begins May 17
Ends June 15 at 12:01 a.m. EDT
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy of each book to facilitate this review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Prize is provided and shipped directly to the winner by the publisher or publicist.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

The Refuge by Ann H. Gabhart

My thoughts:  As has been the case with each book I have read written by Ann H. Gabhart, this was a thoroughly interesting and enjoyable read. I found the story line to be compelling with a variety of events and life challenges that kept me turning the pages.

As I followed this fictional story of the primary character, Darcie, I felt such a heart rending compassion for her plight.While this story is, individually, about people and their interactions during a by-gone era, I feel the story is primarily about a religious movement that imposed unrealistic and unscriptural restrictions on those within their community of believers.

The Shakers of Harmony were definitely a closed religious group. While they considered themselves Christian, their teaching did not ever align with the tenets of the Christian faith. Their belief in celibacy far outdistanced any teachings of any other in that they believed they should not produce children and should not live in a marriage state.

So The Refuge is actually a place, a community of believers, a building or buildings. People with no means of support would seek refuge by joining this group and would give over all material goods to the community, obey all its teachings, and live in a state of harmony and peace if, and only if, they abided by all rules.

The author has researched diligently and provided insightful information on the Shakers and given the readers of The Refuge a clear window of understanding this group and also a look into the hearts and thinking of those who sought refuge within the confines of the Shakers.

I highly recommend this fascinating read.

About the book: When Darcie and Walter Goodwin hear of a new cholera epidemic sweeping the area, they join the Shakers whose villages seem immune to the disease. It's meant to be a temporary stay, but Walter is killed in a riverboat accident. With no family and no money, Darcie has little choice but to stay with the Shakers. To complicate matters, she is expecting a baby conceived before she and her husband came to the Shaker village. Marital relationships are considered sinful in this celibate community, putting Darcie in a unique--and lonely--position. Can the arrival of widower Flynn Keller and his headstrong daughter offer Darcie the hope of happiness . . . and family?

Ann H. Gabhart returns to the enigmatic world of the Shakers in this emotional exploration of the power of love and the bond of family.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher to facilitate this review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

National Geographic Kids Almanac 2020 (Ages 8-12) & "Summer on the Go Alamanac 2020 Grand Giveaway" USA/CAN

It's HERE! Your annual National Geographic Kids Almanac 2020 has been released. This is the 10th Anniversary edition. I know my grand-girls are highly anticipating this one and have loved previous editions. What's in this one? Of course, there is all sorts of cool stuff like games, fun facts, super pictures, and...... well, it's just great!

To top it all off, National Geo has the 20/20 Visionary Challenge LIVE - check it out CLICK HERE - Awesome!

National Geographic Kids Almanac 2020 (Ages 8-12; 352 pages).

Hailed by School Library Journal as “one of the leaders in the world of almanacs”  this year’s edition features all-new content, interviews with renowned National Geographic explorers in each chapter, a special look at what was going on in the world when the first National Geographic Kids Almanac came out 10 years ago, plus the results of the 2019 Almanac Challenge — Lions Forever Poster Contest — and a new challenge for kids who want to get involved with helping our planet.

The best-selling kids’ almanac ON THE PLANET is packed with hundreds of photos and facts, crafts and fascinating features about animals, science, nature, technology, conservation, and more. For book lovers and reluctant readers alike, the National Geographic Kids Almanac 2020 is a compelling and balanced combination of:
  • Fun and games, including activities, jokes, quizzes and comics
  • Practical resources, including homework help and fast facts and maps of every country
  • Exciting sections on pop culture, cool technology, extreme exploration and more
  • Lighthearted favorites like the “Cutest Animals of 2020!”
The Alamanac will inspire young readers to be the change they want to see in the world around them and will encourage them to become more involved environmentally, socially, and in other ways.

Just WHAT is the National Geographic Kids 20/20 Visionary Challenge? Well, Nat'l Geo is asking readers to imagine the world 10 years from now and to picture a positive change, invention or discovery they’d like to see become reality, in whatever area interests them: animals, people, places, science, technology or beyond — the sky’s the limit! Kids will be able to read some of their great ideas in next year’s Almanac 2021.

Another source of inspiration? The real-life National Geographic explorers who are the cornerstone of National Georgraphic’s philosophy and mission.  The 2020 edition highlights many of them including Christine Chen, a geologist and climate scientist; Katey Walter Anthony, an aquatic ecosystem ecologist; and Kakani Katija, a bioengineer to name just a few profiled.

My thoughts: I simply love these annual almanacs. There is something that simply intrigues me about maps and these folks do maps RIGHT! I am captivated about places, creatures, things I've never seen and will never be able to see. These folks bring it right into my home, heart, and hands in these colorful and insightful books. They are designed for KIDS! Right! But this granny absolutely loves them!

There are so many facets to the 2020 Almanac - Cultural, Space and Earth, Fun and Games, Exploration, Nature, History Happens (history buffs like myself love this one!), Geography (map lovers and those who love studying the "layout of the land" will relish this one!). So much good stuff!

Two great giveaways for you to enter......

As a special way to celebrate the 10th anniversary edition of the Almanac, Nat'l Geo is hosting a Summer on the Go Almanac 2020 Grand Prize Giveaway — a GO-PRO! 

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DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy of the book to facilitate my review. Opinions are solely my own and are freely given. Prize is provided and shipped directly to the winner by publisher or its representative.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Mr. Posey’s New Glasses by former poet laureate Ted Kooser [Review & Giveaway - USA/CANADA]

This children's book takes "looking through rose colored lenses" to a whole new level.

Hardcover - Ages 6-9, Gr. 1-4
ISBN: 9780763696092
$16.99 Candlewick Press

My thoughts:  As I read through this delightful story I was entranced with the flow and beauty of the story-telling. Surely this was on a different plane than the usual children's book. Not overly complicated and not dumbed-down. Simply beautifully told with a flow and cadence that captured the heart of this senior citizen.

I think that this sweet story will engender generational respect and especially endear older folks in their loneliness and limitations to the hearts of impressionable young children.

So Mr. Posey decides his glasses are limiting his ability to see beyond the sameness of everything he faces day in and day out. Will a new pair of glasses create a break with the "sameness" of a humdrum life? No. But the author breaks out a variety of glasses that open up new vistas. Bright, shinny, different, scary differences. And Mr. Posey's little friend, Andy, sees the new worlds through the new and different glasses also.

But the end of the sameness of the humdrum life isn't changed by these glasses. No, there is a different solution.

Love this book! Love the story telling. Love the illustrations. Love the generational companionship. I highly recommend.

About the book: In a charming tale of an elderly man and his obliging young friend, former poet laureate Ted Kooser and newcomer Daniel Duncan invite us to look at the world with fresh eyes.

Mr. Posey is feeling gloomy. Everything seems dull. Maybe he needs new glasses? Perhaps a trip to the Cheer Up Thrift Shop with his energetic young neighbor, Andy, will help. But when the duo try on the glasses in the shop’s barrel, they’re in for a big surprise. One pair with stars for frames shows only constellations in a night sky. Round frames reveal a world all aswirl, while a heart-shaped pair makes everything pink. And as soon as Mr. Posey puts on the cat-eye framed glasses, fierce dogs start chasing him. No, thank you! But when Andy makes a simple observation, Mr. Posey’s view opens to a whole new world — and finally everything is brighter, different, and exciting.

2 Winners Will Be Chosen
Begins May 13
Ends June 12 @ 12:01 EDT
Open to USA & CANADA addresses only.
(NO P.O. Boxes, please & Canadian winner's phone # required)
a Rafflecopter giveaway Author Ted Kooser was the U.S. Poet Laureate from 2004 to 2006 and won a Pulitzer Prize for his book of poems Delights & Shadows. He is the author of more than a dozen full-length volumes of poetry and several books of nonfiction, and his work has appeared in many periodicals. His picture books include Bag in the Wind and The Bell in the Bridge, both illustrated by Barry Root, and House Held Up by Trees, a New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Children’s Book of the Year, illustrated by Jon Klassen. Ted Kooser lives in Garland, Nebraska.

Illustrator Daniel Duncan is the author-illustrator of South. Mr. Posey’s New Glasses is his first book with Candlewick Press. He lives outside London.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Candlewick Press to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and are freely given. Winners' prize is provided and shipped directly to the winner by publisher.

Friday, May 10, 2019

"A New Home" and "A Piglet Named Mercy" from Candlewick Press children's picture books [Review & Giveaway - USA/CANADA]

A New Home by Tania de Regil 4-8 years

My thoughts:  This is a lovely and gentle look at the loss and gain of moving from one location to another as experienced by children. Two children, with their families, make major moves. One move is from Mexico City, Mexico to New York City, NY. The other child and family makes the move from New York City to Mexico City.

The are grieving over the pleasures, friends, sights, activities they have in their present locales that they will be leaving behind. The story is told two-fold - one page is the boy moving from New York and the opposing page shows the same line of the story and picture for the girl moving from Mexico City to New York.

Much is quite similar.

Quite a nice look at the thoughts that pass through a child's mind when confronted with a major change.

About the book: As a girl in Mexico City and a boy in New York City ponder moving to each other’s locale, it becomes clear that the two cities — and the two children — are more alike than they might think.
But I’m not sure I want to leave my home.
I’m going to miss so much.

Moving to a new city can be exciting. But what if your new home isn’t anything like your old home? Will you make friends? What will you eat? Where will you play? In a cleverly combined voice — accompanied by wonderfully detailed illustrations depicting parallel urban scenes — a young boy conveys his fears about moving from New York City to Mexico City while, at the same time, a young girl expresses trepidation about leaving Mexico City to move to New York City. Tania de Regil offers a heartwarming story that reminds us that home may be found wherever life leads. Fascinating details about each city are featured at the end.

A Piglet Named Mercy by Kate DiCamillo 3-7 years PS-2nd gr

My thoughts:  The author Kate DiCamillo is responsible for bringing joy and pleasure to a multitude of children through her thoughtful and fun books. Her chapter book series about the pig, Mercy Watson, was published by Candlewick Press 2005-2009 ranks on the New York Times Best Seller list.

Now, we have a prequel to that famous pig's story - A Piglet Named Mercy. And in this children's picture book we have the initial introduction of Mercy to the Watson household. They lived on Deckerwoo Drive where absolutely everything was ordinary. But one day Mrs. Watson was wondering a bit about wishing for something "different" in their lives.

And that evening something different did happen. A piglet happened! And things were never the same for then things started happening..... especially with the neighbors.

This series of books was published long after my children were grown. Looking at the books online, I see that they would be highly sought after by kids and parents alike. The original series consisted of early reader chapter books. Highly illustrated. This newest book, being a younger child's picture book, is really scaled down in story line but the illustrations are larger versions of the same great style and development of characters that the chapter books held. The picture book just has larger pictures and less text.

A real win for introducing Mercy to the very young child in preparation for the entire chapter book series.

About the book: Can Mercy Watson outwit Animal Control? The porcine wonder’s on the lam in her latest tongue-in-snout adventure! #1 Best Sellerin Children's Adoption Books

Mercy's appetite has got her into trouble again. When Eugenia Lincoln's pansies go missing, Animal Control Officer Francine Poulet arrives on the scene. But as she soon discovers, not just anyone can think like a pig. Especially when that pig is porcine wonder Mercy Watson!

Enter to Win Both Books
2 Winners!
Begins May 11
Ends June 9 at 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA and Canada addresses only.
(No P.O. Boxes, please. Phone Number required for Canadian winner)
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE:I received complimentary copies from Candlewick Press to facilitate this review.Opinions are mine alone and are freely given. Winners' prizes are provided and shipped directly to the winner by the publisher.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

What Am I Feeling? by Dr. Josh Straub and Christi Straub

My thoughts: Cute illustrations simply drawn with generous use of "calming blue" and the "tranquility" of soft green. The characters (children, mostly) stand out in stark primary colors. And Alex, the angry child, is appropriately dressed in bright, dark red.

This book is about children's emotions and how they can learn to control them. The children are encouraged to do this by recognizing their specific distressing emotion - anger, fear, doubt. This is done by recognizing the emotion and the cause of the emotion but not letting it control you. They are encouraged to pray about how they are feeling and for help to control how they feel.

There is a nice chart/poster tucked in the back of the book that can be posted on the wall for appropriately recognizing emotions and dealing with them.

This is a nice book and can serve a good purpose. The author, Dr Josh is a  professor of child psychology and certainly qualified to help parents and teachers know how to help children deal with their emotions that often run amok.

About the book: It’s show-and-tell day at school, and Sam and his friends are feeling lots of emotions. He wonders why he feels flippy in his tummy. And why is Alex stomping his feet? And does Hudson usually have such a big grin?

After several unchecked feelings threaten to ruin the big day, Sam and his friends start to learn how to give each emotion a name and ask God to help them remember that “a feeling is just a feeling—it’s not in charge of you.” In a world where kids are dealing with everything from sibling rivalry to bullying, divorce to tragedy, What Am I Feeling? offers a biblically grounded way for children to verbalize their feelings, develop empathy and self-control, and understand their wonderful God-given emotions.

BONUS! Also includes a pull-out feelings chart for your wall!

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from B & H / Lifeway Publishing to facilitate this review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given.