Friday, March 1, 2024

Today's read... The Quiet Forest by Charlotte Offsay

 Can I start by saying that forests are anything but quiet? Well, in Winter they are but, otherwise? No. Not at all. We lived nestled up to one...which I love...but it is so loud. Forests are calming, though, but maybe not in today's read. When I saw the cover on this book and read the blurb, I had a feeling it was going to go off in an interesting direction. Plus, I'm ready for some green, outdoor vibes. So, let's take a peek!

Note: This one is going onto my possible favorites of the year list, which is really unexpected, but I can't deny how much I enjoyed this one.

by Charlotte Offsay
Illustrated by Abi Cushman
Paula Wiseman Books
Picture Book
40 pages
ages 4 to 8


When a small action creates a snowball effect that disrupts the peace of the animals, the forest and a bear cub restore order once more in this delightfully funny picture book.

A mischievous mouse wanders alone in a quiet, nothing-to-do forest. Until one small mishap snowballs into a chain of outrageous events, causing the whole forest full of animals to have a very loud day indeed. Can they find a way to bring calm and quiet back to their home?


This is a read that grabs listeners' attentions, has them giggling, and even will have some joining to 'read' along. 

A mouse wanders through the forest and finds something, which inspires to a bit of mischief. What starts out as a rude but isolated incident, takes an unexpected turn...which leads to something even worse. A hilarious chain reaction soon has the entire area of the forest in an uproar until a sudden gesture changes everything.

The little mouse with its backpack seems harmless and cute, at first, so when it suddenly does something slightly mean, it flips the entire atmosphere on its head and rolls right into a delightful, mounting chaos. The animals' surprise and reactions come across wonderfully in the illustrations and guarantee giggles as they helplessly find everything going crazy around them. The illustrator has built in some traits and objects from the 'human' world, making each moment that much more familiar and sillier. Even flipping through the illustrations without the text will bring smiles.

While the illustrative side adds the right humorous twist, the text cleverly plays its own game. It presents the tale to make sure its clear what's happening but creates a light-hearted repetition, which builds with each scene. It invites readers to join in, especially since this is one of those books, which will be getting that ever-loved word 'again'.

Making sure goodness settles in, a heart-warming solution opens the door to friendship with an unexpectedly simple gesture. It brings calming forgiveness and care as it makes sure to settle things back down...but not without leaving off with a last, fun twist. 

I do see this one becoming a favorite for some listeners.

And here they are...

Charlotte Offsay is the author of several children’s books including A Grandma’s MagicChallah Day!, and The Big Beach Cleanup. When she is having a particularly loud day, she can always count on her two small bear cubs and husband to bring calm and quiet back to their home in Los Angeles, California. Learn more at 

Abi Cushman is the author-illustrator of Soaked!Animals Go Vroom!, and Wombats Are Pretty Weird. Abi is also the illustrator of The Quiet Forest by Charlotte Offsay. She lives deep in the wooded suburbs of Connecticut with her husband and two mischievous kids, who make her home very loud indeed. Visit her at

Thursday, February 29, 2024

What's Coming in March?

Whispers of Spring are in the air, and while I do love reading by my fireplace, I also can't deny the freedom and possibilities that open up as the temperatures rise. I'm going to ignore the quickly increasing garden/farm work...okay, not really. But I will find some time to sit in the sun and read a few pages here and there. At least, the bugs aren't here quite yet.

So, what books will I be hoping to catch some warmer days with outside? 


A tale about a forest and animals seems like a great way to get ready for Spring. This one should be humorous, too. It's centered around a timid mouse, its small mistake, and the huge amount of chaos, which results from it. The cover has me curious to see what else is involved. I'm looking at this one on the 1st.

Picture Book


Growing up between two cultures is the theme of this read. I believe a girl goes through personal growth as she first goes against her mother's 'oddities' and wants to fit in with the kids at school. I'm hoping it carries as much goodness as that steaming bowl of rice in the picture. Let's dive in and see what it's about on the 3rd.

Picture Book


I was missing a scifi read last month, so I'm going to make sure to hit it early this time. I've read books from this author before and do enjoy his writing style. Plus, I'm sure that this bunch of kids is going to offer quiet the adventure. Maybe some humor, too? Ready those space suits because I'll be launching into this one on the 4th.

Middle Grade Science Fiction


The cover caught my eye thanks to the artistic flair. The switch from forest to girl to water intrigued me. Anyway, this heads into the dystopian realm and one in the not-all-too-far-away future. I don't know much about it; the blurb was pretty scant on details. But I want to give it a shot and see what happens. I'll be diving into this one on the 6th and really can't even tell you what to expect, since I have no clue.

Young Adult Dystopian


High-seas adventure, warring nations, twins, and (my favorite) historical fiction mark this read. It's been a bit since I hit something with ships. Combine that with a sibling twist, and I was instantly intrigued. The twins find each other only to discover they are on different sides of a war. It promises non-stop action and should bring all sorts of tension. Find out more with me on the 9th.

Young Adult Historical Fiction


It's flap-book time! I've always loved books with flaps and, of course, won't pass on the chance to take a peek at one. With Easter coming up, it's a perfect fit to this month's list. Let's take a peek and see what we can find on the 15th!

Board Book Seasonal


I don't think I have to even say why this one caught my interest... isn't it super cute? It's the start to a new graphic novel series for chapter book readers and promises tons of fun and a little mystery, too. I'm looking forward to see what these characters are up to and have a feeling it's going to put a smile on the face. Join me on the 18th to solve this mystery and swim in cuteness.

Chapter Book  /  Graphic Novel   /   Mystery


Sold as Encanto meets Coraline, this read holds haunted house goodness, a move, and a girl, who doesn't want to let go of her family ties...not that I know what's going to make her lose family ties, but I'll find out. The cover carries a spooky tone, and the blurb promises a bit of adventure, friendship and more. I'm hoping it strikes a nice balance between paranormal and character depth, and am excited to see if it hits my expectations. I'm exploring this one on the 20th.

Middle Grade Paranormal


Walking on the border between dreams and reality, this tale heads into a closet, where a boy has stored all sorts of dreams. I believe this one sits in reality while exploring the realm of imagination. I'm, honestly, not sure what to expect but it has received good reviews and appears to be a wholesome read while inviting in with dreams and adventure. I'll let you know what I think...and what this one is really about on the 25th.

Children's Fiction


This is part of a series, which centers around neurodivergent characters. This one centers around a boy with ADHD, who is doing his best to concentrate on his taekwondo classes and battles with distractions...especially thanks to a nemesis. It's written for early readers, and I'm curious to see how the author tackles this. Find out with me on the 28th.

Chapter Book Contemporary

Every month, I have a larger pile of books next to me than I could ever get to. But every month, books are delayed or don't meet my expectations, which means I have a few openings suddenly pop up. The Joker Read is the book on the very top of my pile, which I'm looking forward to, somehow, squeezing in.


This read was first published in 1963 in Greece and has been enjoyed in many countries over the years. For the first time in 50 years, it's being re-translated into English. It's a historic read with a hint of fantasy and hits many social issues. It's received quite a few prizes over the years, too. Since I haven't taken a look at this one, yet, I'm looking forward to finally diving in. But when will I get to it? Well, that's the question.

Middle Grade Historical

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Today's read... Ballerina Wisdom for Dance and Life by Once Upon A Dance


Ballerina Wisdom for Dance and Life

Reflections and Advice for Pre-Professional Dancers by Once Upon a Dance

Blackberry Book Tours

February 27 - March 01

27 pages

ages 8 to 18

Book on Amazon

* A Celebration of Ballet and Beauty! *

Discover the magic and grace of ballet in this charming book that features tips and advice from dancers, alongside gorgeous watercolor illustrations. Whether you're an aspiring dancer or a fan of the art form, you'll find inspiration and joy on every page.

Ballerina Wisdom for Dance and Life is the perfect gift for anyone who loves dance. Performers and artists of all ages will appreciate the sage wisdom. Teen and adult dancers who dream of a professional ballet career will relish the stunning images and apply these secrets to success!

Brought to you by the mother-daughter duo, Once Upon a Dance, named a Top 10 Author (2022) by Outstanding Creator Awards and honored with over 50 book awards and a Kirkus Star. They donate all royalties to charities through 2030. Teacher Terrel grew up dancing, and she taught dance for decades. Ballerina K is living her dreams as a professional ballerina.


With inspiring and uplifting messages, this book offers a bounty of wisdom for ballerinas, dancers, and more.

Each page holds words of wisdom with dancers in mind. The passages are short and pack punch, making them just right for a small jolt of encouragement, support, inspiration, or simply warmth. They are easy to digest and bring food for thought as they address various moments all dancers face at one time or another. It's clear that the authors speak from experience, and each saying comes across as honest and open. It's the type of book to grab up time and again, picking out those words which are needed most at the moment.

The illustrations display ballet dancers in various moves and positions. These are very well done, carry a dreamy atmosphere, and will ring familiar with anyone involved in ballet. It was a treat simply to flip through these and gaze at them.

At the end of the book, several more thoughts and tips are presented in a blocked if trying to stuff in extra goodness. These are also very insightful and offer gems of wisdom and knowledge. 

This makes a great gift or is even a lovely edition to the home library. While the words do concentrate on ballet, they ring true for many other areas, where resilience, patience, continual practice, and more are constantly required. It's a book, which offers so much more than a quick read. 

About the authors...

Once Upon a Dance is a mother-daughter duo who share a passion for dance and storytelling. Teacher Terrel and Ballerina Konora create books that spark imagination and inspire children to move, breathe, and connect.

Five series span ages 3-16::
📖 Dance Stories with Props (for age 3+)
📖 Dance-It-Out! Creative Movement Stories (4-9) 
📖 Dancing Shapes: Ballet and Body Awareness (6-9)
📖 Ballet Inspiration & Choreography Concepts (8-12)
📖 Ballerina Moments: Insights, Ideas, and Inspiration aboutDance (12-16)

Once Upon a Dance was named a Top 10 Author of 2023 by Outstanding Creator Awards, and they’ve been honored by over 50 book awards and 2000+ 5-star reviews. They donate all royalties this decade to charities supporting the arts, animals, environment, or people. Visit for more info.

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Today's read... Bunny and Clyde by Megan McDonald

It's time for a bit of mischief! The title on today's read will probably give most of you a hint in which direction this tale will go...or sort of. I had to smile when I saw the pair running around with toilet paper. Does anyone teepee houses anymore?  (Gosh, toilet paper has gotten expensive.) Anyway, this is a chapter book for those beginning readers and promises...well, I'm not exactly sure what this one will entail. So, let's jump right in and find out.

by Megan McDonald
Illustrated by Scott Nash
Candlewick Press
Chapter Book   /  Adventure
128 pages
ages 5 to 8

MARCH 12th!!!

Two New York Times best-selling creators—Megan McDonald, author of the Judy Moody series, and lauded illustrator Scott Nash—team up for a droll comedy about an endearingly inept pair of outlaws.

Get ready for a wild ride with Bunny and Clyde! These by-the-rules buddies, a rabbit and a chipmunk, are sick and tired of being good. For once, they want to know what it’s like to be baddies—rotten to the core! They want thrills and excitement! But to get really good at being bad, they’re going to need some experience . What if the dastardly duo started returning library books late on purpose? Or borrowing markers without asking? Everyone knows it’s a swift downhill slide from there—as long as there’s an unprotected piggy bank in town! Unless, of course, their best attempts at mastering bad deeds are strangely misconstrued . . . Author Megan McDonald brings her quick wit and ear for dialogue, matched by Scott Nash’s deft animal characterizations, to a hilarious caper of criminal intentions gone awry.



Bad has never been so bad as this duo does their best to turn their goodie-two-shoes reputation around and slide into the world of crime.

Bunny and Clyde have a reputation of being very good, but they're sick of it. It's time to ditch rules and become as bad as bad can be. The question is how. Since they don't have a clue what truly bad means, they head to the library to find out. After some research, they're ready to lead a life of lawlessness and head out to cause as much trouble as possible. But for some reason, being bad isn't nearly as easy as it seems.

I'm going to start with the illustrations and just say how much I enjoy the depiction of these two. There are slight nods toward the namesakes (love those outfits) for the older audience, but the rest of the scenes stay familiar to readers. They balance with the text to help readers along with the plot and add a wonderful touch to the story.

The tale moves along at a constant pace, offering something exciting during each, short chapter. Bunny and Clyde's escapades tiptoe into trouble, which will have readers amazed at their 'bad' ideas and wondering if the two will really go that far...because some of their ideas will definitely get them into trouble. It's a tantalizing dance along the line between good and evil (age appropriate), which will have eyes widening, frustration hitting when things don't work out, and silent sighs of relief hiding behind smiles. 
It fits the audience level nicely with a larger font, appropriate vocabulary, and still an fun tale with surprises. 

I'm hoping to get a chance to see what these two might come up with next.

And here they are...

Megan McDonald is the author of books for young readers and the creator of the Judy Moody and Stink series. Her other titles include Daisy Jane, Best-Ever Flower Girl and Shining Star. She lives in California.

Scott Nash has illustrated more than 40 children’s books, including Camping Day, Beach Day, and the Flat Stanley series. He loves to visit schools to talk about his work. He also operates a graphic design studio called Nashbox, and lives and works in Peaks Island, Maine.

Monday, February 26, 2024

Today's read... Haru: Spring by Joe Latham


Book 1
by Joe Latham
Andrews McMeel Publishing
Middle Grade Fantasy /  Graphic Novel
272 pages
ages 9 to 12

MARCH 12th!!!

Haru, a small bird who dreams of flying, and their best friend Yama, a talkative boar, are used to being in the shadows. But when Yama finds a strange artifact that causes sinister effects, the two are swept into an epic journey to destroy the artifact and save the world.

In The Valley, best friends Haru and Yama both dream of leaving as they’re bullied at school, frustrated at home, and struggling to figure out who they are. One day, a powerful artifact connects itself to Yama, and they discover that they’ll have to journey to The Beacon in search of answers.

Created by artist Joe Latham, this beautifully illustrated graphic novel series is a coming-of-age tale that spans the changing of seasons. Beginning in spring and ending in spring—the cycle complete. A story of heart, growing up, and the sacrifices we make for those we love, Haru is perfect for middle-grade readers.



Adventure, friendship, and an exciting adventure swirl around unexpected heroes, who are determined to stop evil and save the world.

Haru is a small bird, who would love to fly,  visit the world beyond the forest, and escape the small-minded bullies at school. Luckily, Haru has a best friend, Yama, who might be a boar but shares some of the same problems. Together, the two head out for adventure.

This is the first book in the series, and the plot runs exactly along the same lines—a beginning with much story to come...which means that diving into the following books will be a must to see where the adventure is heading. 

This starts with a short tale about a battle between dark and light, where darkness' heart is left behind. It sets the background as well as a bit of urgency to the adventure. Then, we meet Haru and get to follow along through a bit of family and into troubles with others at school, where bullies reinforce Haru's desire to see more. When Yama comes in, sympathy builds and makes the friendship that much more golden. It's after this that the adventure first sparks. While the characters seem adorable, there's quite the dark side to the much so that it eases this more toward the upper end of the age group and tweens. I wouldn't suggest it to more sensitive readers. For those readers who enjoy more, this darker side does create a nice tension and gives it a unique edge.

The illustrations carry an interesting mix and are well-done. It's enjoyable to flip through these and see the colors mix with the mood. The characters and their lean toward 'cute' meet this darker edge in all the right ways. The illustrations carry the tale well and make the moments sit.

While the cover seemed to radiate cuteness, this is a read with tension and dark twists. There are messages surrounding bullying, dreams, friendship, and going beyond the comfort zone to do what's right as well as the first sense of a coming-of-age adventure. The pacing felt a rough, grabbing at times and having me skimming at others, but it's a unique read in many ways. Fans of adventure with darker moments and heart-filled characters will enjoy it.

And here he is...

Joe is a Human Person, based in Bristol (UK). He makes comics, illustrations and designs for other humans. In his own words, he is "a tall nerd" and he plays the drums. He also likes to hang out with his cat. He uses Instagram and Twitter to post project updates and artwork.