Sunday, April 18, 2021

Revie: Me & Mama by Cozbi A. Cabrera


by Cozbe A. Cabrera
Simon & Schuster
Picture Book
34 pages
ages 4 to 8

Mama's love is brighter than the sun, even on the rainiest of days. In the tradition of Someday, this celebration of a mother-daughter relationship is perfect for sharing with little ones!

On a rainy day when the house smells like cinnamon and Papa and Luca are still asleep, when the clouds are wearing shadows and the wind paints the window with beads of water, I want to be everywhere Mama is.

BOOK DEPOSITORY   /    GOODREADS   /    B&N    /    KOBO    /    AMAZON

                                               * celebration of mommy and child love
                                               * gorgeous illustrations
                                               * goes through a day of a child
                                               * warming, wholesome, snuggle-snuggle worthy read


The one-of-a-kind relationship between a mother and her child unfolds in warmth, joy and peace, making this the kind of read to snuggle together with in a chair and simply enjoy.

A little girl wakes up early in the morning and heads to her favorite place—near her mother. From dressing to eating to getting on the rubber boots and heading outside, the wonders of a simple day come to life and celebrate the amazing warmth between mother and child. When the day wraps up and night dawns, calm radiates and invites to peaceful dreams.

The best part of this book is the illustrations. They are beautiful and capture every moment with perfect emotions, while presenting familiar moments from what many young readers might see as a usual day. But the artistry and color combinations make each page a joy to gaze at.

The story is told in a loose rhyme, which brings the various moments of a normal day across in a natural and lyrical way. The style is different and doesn't flow always smoothly, but rather stumbles and skips a bit, making it, in my opinion, a little choppy, sometimes. Still, it does bring across the scenes and tale nicely. The message behind this one is clear and one kids can never get enough of. It's a lovely book, especially with the illustrations, and radiates warmth and love.

And here she is...

Cozbi A. Cabrera received a BFA from Parsons School of Design. Her cloth dolls (Muñecas) have garnered the attention of collectors around the world and have been featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show. She is the illustrator of several books, including the picture book Beauty, Her Basket, which Publishers Weekly called “a quiet treasure” in a starred review. Her work is featured in her eponymous shop and atelier in Brooklyn. She lives in New York City. To learn more about Cabrera, please visit her at

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Review: Sharing A Smile by Nicki Kramer


by Nicki Kramer
Illustrated by Ashley Evans
Simon & Schuster
Picture Book
32 pages 
ages 4 to 8

In the spirit of Come With Me, this timely and charming tale about mask-wearing follows a little girl and her generous plan to find her own courage by helping those in her neighborhood find theirs.

In a changing world, little Sophie is feeling a bit worried. She loves being outside and playing with her friends in her neighborhood. But going outside lately means wearing a mask—something Sophie is still trying to understand. It makes her nervous when she wants to be brave. And after taking a closer look outside her window, watching her neighbors adjusting to this new normal, she realizes she isn’t the only one who feels a little scared.

Which gives Sophie an idea. With her grandpa’s help, she does something special for the people in her neighborhood. When Sophie sees her small acts of kindness spread, she realizes that with the help of friends in our communities, anyone can find their courage—and their smile.

GOODREADS   /    B&N    /    AMAZON   /    BOOK DEPOSITORY    /    KOBO


                                      * addresses mask wearing due to COVID-19
                                      * inspires spreading joy to others
                                      * neighborly love
                                      * brightly illustrated
                                      * promotes inclusitivity


Bright and bold, these pages address the idea of wearing masks and how to bring smiles even if they aren't directly seen.

This is a book set very much for current event s and today's time period, and addresses the 'weirdness' kids might find at the idea of everyone wearing masks. It does a good job at calming and soothing any strangeness about it. But that's only the beginning of this one.

Through colorful and vibrant illustrations, the joy and energy is kept high and slides right into the entire meaning behind this book. Whether or not masks are around, this one has a wonderful message, which never wears out. It's wonderful to bring joy to others, and this is something even young listeners can do. 

A young girl wonders about the situation as she watches the world around her from her window, and then she sews masks with her father to spread around...ones printed fitting to each person and personality they are giving them to. Firstly, I loved the idea of the child and father sewing together, since this is a skill very often overlooked in today's world. Secondly, there is a lovely message of working at something with the sole purpose to give a little joy to others. This alone is a very inspiring message, timeless, and tends to be underrated in today's busy (and sometimes cold) world. And while these messages are being brought across, the joy and fun still stays at the front of this read.

It makes a nice read aloud for groups as well as for individual reading moments. The text is appropriate for the age group, describes people and scenes kids can relate to, and has a girl and father, who are simply a joy to read about. 

And here they are...

The Author...
Nicki Kramar has been an active part of children’s publishing for almost a decade. Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Nicki now lives in New York, New York, with her persnickety cat in an apartment overflowing with books.

The Illustrator...
Ashley Evans loves creating colorful, fun, and dynamic images. Born and raised in Queens, New York, she now lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with her boyfriend and their daughter. When she’s not creating art, you can find Evans decorating cakes, enjoying her family, or catching a much-needed nap!

Friday, April 16, 2021

Review: Max and the Spice Thieves by John Peragine with Giveaway!


Max and the Spice Thieves
John Peragine
Secrets of the Twilight Djinn #1
YA Fantasy
271 pages
ages 8 to 12


APRIL 20th!!!

When his mother goes missing, Max Daybreaker’s world is turned upside down. Luckily, a crew of Spice Pirates, led by the mysterious Captain Cinn, help Max on his dangerous mission across the three seas.

Along the way, an unlikely alliance aids in his search—a teenage warrior queen, a three-eyed seer, and an assassin spy.

Their journey takes them through treacherous lands while facing shapeshifting bears, an ancient witch, harpies, and the nightmarish Djinn, who will stop at nothing to enslave the world.

With every new challenge, Max unlocks the secrets of his unsettling past. Powers awaken within, forcing him to question everything he knows.

Is Max who he thinks he is? Only time and destiny will tell…

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo


Pirates, salty seas, cold-hearted sultans, djinn, secrets...this read packs the promise of adventure and sets sails to what will be an exciting series.

Max knows his father isn't dead no matter what anyone, including his mother, might tell him. When he wakes up one morning to his mother's announcement that they are heading out on a ship to an island, Max spins plans on how to find his father, who disappeared at sea. But before they make it to the ship, his mother disappears, and he's robbed. The captain, a spice pirate, of the ship his mother had gained passage on, comes to the rescue and sets out with Max to help him locate his father. When they run into a prince and the pirate ship is taken, the true adventure begins.

This is the first book in a new series, and there are definitely all the exciting elements to make this one grabbing from beginning to end. The author spends no time dilly-dallying around as Max wakes up one morning to immediately be told that he's headed out on a pirate ship. While very sudden and not really allowing any time to get to know Max first, it definitely draws readers in right away. This fast pace holds the entire way through as Max faces one situation only to be led into the next. There's never a moment for boredom, and it makes every turn of the page mean a new surprise.

There is tons of goodness in these pages. Max is a character to root for as he heads into adventure and deals with the most amazing situations as best he can. The weave of secrets also starts right away and bread crumbs of many things to come are sprinkled in the moment Max rises that first morning. It's a well-woven tale from start to finish, and definitely takes the effort to lay the necessary foundation for the series. The mix of pirates, princesses, sultans, witches, seers, djinn, and magic keep the imagination and fantasy flying wonderfully high. Also, the author doesn't forget to incorporate the wonders of aspect I really found nice.

Unlike many adventure books for middle graders, the writing style in this one leans more toward the younger end. The action happens fast, and while this holds the attention, emotions and thoughts aren't addressed as much as they need to be for older readers. There are very many characters with quirks and personality, but these are quickly introduced and join the adventure without too much thought (even though I suspect their true intentions will be later revealed). Descriptions also are kept light, which works but keeps the richness to create an unforgettable world at bay. Max sticks to this lower end of the age group as well, and while twelve, leans toward the less mature end and sometimes acts younger than his age. But this also makes it a great read for those more solid readers between third and fifth grade, and I believe they will devour this book and  probably the series.

And here he is...


John Peragine is an author of over fourteen books. The Secrets of the Twilight Djinn series was written as a bedtime story for his son Max to cope with medical issues he was facing as a little boy. John is a full-time ghostwriter who lives with his son, wife, and a menagerie of animals on his vineyard overlooking the Mississippi River.

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Thursday, April 15, 2021

Review: The Little Spacecraft That Could by Joyce Lapin

Aliens visited Bookworm for Kids yesterday, and today, we'll head off into space and learn something about the other planets of our solar system. This picture book comes out May 18th and takes a closer look at the flight of New Horizons, a spacecraft sent off in 2006 to learn more about Pluto.  I've reviewed a book from the author, Joyce Lapin, before...If You Had Your Birthday Party on the Moon...and was definitely curious to see how she spun space facts into a tale this time.

So, let's just blast off and take a peek!

by Joyce Lapin
Illustrated by Simone Ceccarelli
Sterling Children Books
40 pages
ages 6 to 10

MAY 18th!!!

Ride along with the New Horizons spacecraft as she rockets three billion miles to Pluto! Watch her take the first close-up photos of Pluto, and then journey another billion miles to mini-world Arrokoth. You’ll whiz through space at more than 10 miles per second; learn how giant planet Jupiter helped the little spacecraft reach Pluto; and discover the astonishing surface feature that made the world fall in love with Pluto.



                                                * offers all sorts of space/planet facts
                                                * brightly illustrated and true to life
                                                * gives New Horizons a character feel


With a touch of creative story atmosphere, these pages shoot into space facts and present the details surrounding the flight of New Horizons.

New Horizons was launched in 2006 with the mission to learn more about the planet Pluto. Starting with the launch and basics surrounding how New Horizons was propelled into space, the important stages of the flight are presented and explained. While New Horizons flies toward Pluto, all sorts of tidbits and facts are presented. The discoveries it makes about Pluto are summed up before the flight continues on to Arrokoth...and even further.

After reading another picture book from this author and enjoying it, I was looking forward to seeing what this book would bring. It is intriguing to learn about the New Horizon flight as well as the many other details surrounding Pluto, our solar system, and other discoveries New Horizons made. There is quite a bit of interesting information, and not only for younger readers.

One of the fun aspects of this book is the playful manner in which New Horizons is introduced. The author gives the spacecraft personality and introduces it much like a character in an adventure. However, the facts surrounding space and the mission are the main focus. There are bubbles of added information on every page, offering extra tidbits, too. So while New Horizons is given a character-like personality at times, there are many pages where this isn't the case. It makes for a creative mix. 

While this books is well done, it's not necessarily for the youngest of readers and edges more in the direction of an elementary school-aged audience.  Some of the presented information is simple, but other aspects are a little more difficult. Even the text ranges in difficulty from basic to a little more in-depth. There is a glossary at the end to assist with some terms as well as a list of other books, which can offer more information. Most of the presented details in these pages are explained well. Young readers might have a few questions about some topics, though. So, guardian/reader/caretaker should be ready to give a little extra help, if needed. This book is ideal for homeschooling or classroom situations. Of course, space fans will enjoy this one quite a bit, too.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Happy Book Birthday, Good Night, Earth by Linda Bondestam!

Today's read takes a slightly quirky twist on a bedtime read...and doesn't forget animal friends, either. See those green, little aliens peering down? They caught my attention. Plus, the animals included take on a few lesser known ones. It's definitely not your usual, goodnight read. 

by Linda Bondestam
Translated by Galit Hasan-Rokem
Picture Book
46 pages 
ages 4 to 8

From the savanna to the city to outer space, celebrated Nordic children’s book illustrator Linda Bondestam offers a charming peek at the many ways we settle in for sleep, with gorgeous, dreamlike illustrations full of offbeat humor.

From the savanna to the city to outer space, celebrated Nordic children’s book illustrator Linda Bondestam offers a charming peek at the many ways we settle in for sleep, with gorgeous, dreamlike illustrations full of offbeat humor.

Discover the bedtime routines of animals all over the world through the eyes of an alien family on a faraway planet. Little monkey needs his mama to play at least seventy-three songs on the ukulele to fall asleep. A meerkat family enjoys some stretches together as the sun goes down, while baby sloth is a bedtime expert—she’s already snoozing soundly in the trees. Die-cut pages invite little ones to help new animal friends get cozy under the covers.

With unconventional illustrations full of wit and tenderness, Good Night Earth is a sweetly silly exploration of how all kinds of creatures find peaceful and playful ways to end the day.



Animals around the world are headed to bed in this beautifully illustrated book, which adds an odd twist of quirkiness to make it an intriguing read.

Far away on an alien planet, a small green family is watching the animals on Earth as they settle into bed. Lesser known animals such as meerkats and monkeys aren't necessarily as ready to fall into sleep as their parents. But at one point, even they fall asleep.

This is an original book with a strange dash of quirky humor thrown in...and that just not through the text. The idea of aliens watching the Earth from afar is sweet and exactly something little space and science fiction fans will enjoy. But this one goes a strange step further by shifting it toward animal fans as well. Animal 'families' are presented with the little ones not ready to go to sleep. While some of these situations hold a gentle humor, others pack clear leans toward silliness. The aliens presence just tops all of it off like a cherry on whipped cream and rounds off the read nicely in a strange sort of way.

The illustrations match this combination perfectly. The animals are depicted in a wonderful artistic manner, which adds even a dash of sophistication. In other words, these are simply well done and beautiful in their style and flair. The animals are easy to recognize and remain natural even when the younger ones have humorous antics. The aliens carry a more cartoony style, which clashes with the artistic atmosphere to create a wonderful contradiction.

This is a book, which will catch listeners' attentions and hits with enough unexpectedness to make them pay attention. It's sure to even become a favorite for more than just some.