Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Happy Book Birthday, Mr. Zip's Windy Day by Annie Auerbach!

I have another book birthday to shout-out. This one has been released in celebration of Mr. Zip's 60th anniversary. I'll admit that I didn't have a clue who Mr. Zip was, but after learning more, was excited to join him on a little adventure. Mr. Zip was a cartoon character released in 1963 in connection with the United States Post Office to help spread the usage of zip codes. So, there's a wonderful historical hint to this release. 

On a personal note: After living in Ireland (a place without zip codes), I learned to see the system fro a very different view point. My husband helped oversee the installation of those gigantic sorting machines. The software development proved to be a bit of a challenge without the assistance of zip codes.  

Anyway, I'm excited to see Mr. Zip in action and wish him a happy anniversary!

by Annie Auerbach
Illustrated by Laura Catrinella
Curiosity Ink Media
Picture Book
ages 5 to 10

  Kids and families will love the interactive lift-the-flap element as they join Mr. ZIP for one windy adventure! Mr. ZIP and his trusty sidekick, B. Franklin, start their day in the mail room, then it’s time to begin the mail route. Unfortunately, when they begin their deliveries, a huge gust of wind blows the letters away! On a mission to track them down, Mr. ZIP and B. Franklin attempt to find every last letter. Will they be able to deliver them all before the day ends?

AMAZON    /     B&N     /      WALMART


Delivering mail packs friendly moments and a hint of adventure in this fun read.

Mr. Zip is off with his feathered helper, B. Franklin, to deliver the mail. This is a task both enjoy as they meet many familiar people. When the wind picks up and sends some of the mail flying, Mr. Zip is determined to find each letter and bring it where it belongs. 

Mr. Zip and B. Franklin radiate positivity and joy for their work. The smiles and greetings as they bring letters from one person to the next holds a simple goodness and neighborliness. The small adventure adds just the right amount of tension, while staying very age appropriate. Plus, the doors offer peeking fun and discovery on each page.

It's well made with bright illustrations. The text fits well to the intended age group and flows with a hint of rhyme. It's a cute read.

Monday, October 30, 2023

Happy Book Birthday, The Lotus Flower Champion by Pintip Dunn and Love Dunn!

by Pintip Dunn and
Love Dunn
Entangled Teen
Young Adult Fantasy
400 pages

No escape. Follow the rules. And don’t count on reality—in this uniquely vibrant romantasy from NYT bestselling author Pintip Dunn and daughter Love Dunn…

It looks like paradise…only it’s not.

This was supposed to be a once-in-a-lifetime family trip to Thailand. One last wish for my dying mama. Instead, we’re stranded on a lush, stunning island with ten strangers—held captive as Thai mythology unfolds around us…and within us.

Now we’re being tested. We’re expected to face our greatest fears—and possible deaths—in hopes of awakening some kind of dormant gift…or curse. One by one, we’re transforming, echoing the strange and sometimes wondrous abilities found in Thai folktales.

But my mama has only days to live, my papa is missing, and I’m forced to trust a group of strangers…including our evasive, dark-eyed tour guide, who resembles a minor god. Toss me in the ocean and feed me to the naga now.

Only I’m no hero. My days are managed by numbers and the compulsions that used to keep me safe.

I have to prove how far I can go. To survive. To protect my family.

And to find a way off this perilous island where everything is a lie…including reality.



Thai mythology slams into a teen's desire for her mother and herself to survive on an island, which is filled with dangers...and not all come from the nature around them.

Alaia has only two goals during her family's vacation, to spend every possible moment with her mother and to keep a smile on her mother's face. After several rounds of chemo, it's clear her mother won't hold on much longer. While Alaia's OCD is making the stay in Thailand challenging, it's worth every effort for her mother. When an ship excursion turns into disaster, Alaia and her mother find themselves stranded with several other passengers on a deserted island. It may look like paradise, but every part of it holds unexpected dangers. Add a madman's desire to use them as guinea pigs in testing myth's reality, and Alaia isn't sure that any of them are going to survive. 

While this one didn't really hold the promised Squid Games atmosphere (the stakes are nearly high enough for that), it is a quick-paced read with enough tension to keep those pages turning. The beginning takes a little bit to settle in, but after that, the stories flows leading from one situation to the next. The island is as beautiful as it is deadly, and the other characters add the right spice at the right times. Several of these were especially strong and really dug in. The romance wasn't the most exciting, but it settles fine along the way for the extra touch. It's the Thai mythology and Alaia's own struggles, which stick out in these pages to make it worth a glance.  

Sunday, October 29, 2023

Happy Book Birthday, Hidden Truths by Elly Swartz!

I'm shouting out 'Happy Birthday' a day early, again, but this one might be worth early squeals. As you can tell by the cover below, it finds its center in baseball...but this one swings heavily into friendship, too. I know so many sport book fans out there, who are eager to get their hands on reads in this direction. So, I'm hoping this one dies a nice job at weaving everything together.

Let's go and find out.

by Elly Swartz
Delacorte Press
Middle Grade Contemporary
272 pages
ages 8 to 12

How far would you go to keep a promise? Told from alternating points of view, Hidden Truths is a story of changing friendships, the lies we tell, the secrets we keep, and the healing power of forgiveness.

Dani and Eric have been best friends since Dani moved next door in second grade. They bond over donuts, comic books, and camping on the Cape.

Until one summer when everything changes.

Did Eric cause the accident that leaves Dani unable to do the one thing in the world she most cares about? The question plagues him, and he will do anything to get answers about the explosion that injured her. But Dani is hurting too much to want Eric to pursue the truth--she just wants to shut him out and move on. Besides, Eric has a history of dropping things he starts. Eric knows that and is determined that this will be the one time he follows through.

But what if his pursuit brings him into direct conflict with another friend? Where does Eric's loyalty really lie?

GOODREADS    /     AMAZON    /    B&N 


Friendship and achieving dreams slams into the difficulties of steering through dark secrets to create a potent tale.

Dani made the team! Finally, practices and baseball camps have paid off, and she's achieved everything she's fought so long for, but that's when disaster strikes. Landing in the hospital, everything Dani has strived for seems lost. Worst, yet, she has no clue that her best friend might be responsible for ruining her life. The uncertainty eats at Eric, and he's determined to figure out the truth. But Dani has enough to deal with, without her best friend constantly reminding her of everything. The weave of secrets grows as their friendship threatens to fall apart.

There is so much to enjoy in these pages. Dani's determination to make the baseball team and the hard work she puts in to achieve her dreams is inspirational. The friendship she shares with Eric is wholesome and demonstrates a wonderful bond. Then, the accident hits with gripping tension and tugs at the gut as the problems begin to unfold, one by one. It's emotional, dramatic, uncertain, and weaves the plot in a grabbing way. Even though some sections were a little slower, there's tons of heart which connects and makes the characters easy to sympathize with. 

The complexities of friendship surrounding support, guilt, secrets, and forgiveness come together in a way, which creates thought and draws the emotions out. While this does come across well for the intended age group, it hits an emotional depth, at times, which borders on that of a young adult read. So, this one never talks down to the reader, and does pack emotional punch (without going overboard, though). Tween readers are sure to enjoy these intricacies as well.

And here she is...

Elly Swartz lives in Massachusetts and is happily married with two grown sons, a beagle named Lucy, and a pup named Baxter Bean. Dear Student, called a “heartfelt story with a fresh plot” by Parents Magazine, was her latest novel. She is also the author of Finding Perfect, Smart Cookie, and Give and Take, novels for middle-grade readers.

Saturday, October 28, 2023

Today's read... Spooky Stories of the World by Wendy Shearer

by Wendy Shearer
Illustrated by Teo Georgiev
Lovely Planet Kids
Middle Grade Nonfiction / Myth
144 pages
ages 8 to 12

This spine-tingling collection of spooky stories features over 20 eerie tales from across the globe. Discover bewitching retellings of ghost- and monster-filled myths regaled with ghoulish relish and journey continent-by-continent through this haunting book. With shocks and twists like you wouldn’t believe - are you brave enough to read them all?

Packed with mind-boggling mysteries, real unexplained enigmas and traditional stories that are sure to send shivers down your spine, Spooky Stories of the World is the ultimate feast for Halloween-loving kids and readers in search of a fright. Meet vampires, werewolves and fearsome monsters that hide in the shadows in this one-of-a-kind round-the-world collection of hair-raising tales.



Each story carries a bit of creepiness, eerie moments, and spooky surprises to create more than a couple of chills.
This is a collection of around 20 stories from around the world, each concerning a paranormal being or a scary creature found in myths from the various lands. Ranging from a vast variety of countries, each tale brings its own twists and surprises. The characters are as diverse as the cultures, and the haunting creatures range from more familiar to ones readers probably have never run across before. Each story fits the intended age group and offers enough scares to work for a spooky-tale time with a flashlight...and yet, never goes overboard. 
The illustrations are plentiful, bright and bold. There's a two-pages spread with light colored text followed by a more plain one with black wording. This keeps it easy on the eyes while reading, and still allows the scenes to open up and invite into each scary moment. These also bring across small details of the characters and cultures, offering a bit of learning along the way.
The educational end isn't ignored as the entire book starts with a map, which shows where each tale comes from. Then, before each story, there's another map pointing the country out again. Next to this is a small paragraph describing the land and culture. It's short and sweet, letting the information act more as a quick introduction before the exciting tale unfolds.

Not only does this collection awaken awareness for the world and others, but it's a book, which can be grabbed up time and time again. And if nothing else, it gives those spooky-tale times a fresh twist with unique scares.

And here they are...

Wendy Shearer is a British-Guyanese Author and Professional Storyteller. She regularly performs at institutions across the arts including The British Museum, Museum of London, Royal Academy of Arts, The Barbican and Eden Project, bringing stories to life through her engaging storytelling. Wendy’s repertoire is drawn mostly from her Afro-Caribbean heritage and first degree in Classics, telling tales of wily tricksters, magical spirits, heroes and gods/goddesses. Her background is in writing and producing Children’s Television, having worked for BBC, Nickelodeon and PBS in America. Wendy is a member of the Society for Storytelling and is passionate about inspiring the next generation of readers, writers and storytellers with her work.

Born in Hungary, but now based in Helsinki, Finland, Teo Georgiev has developed a strong, graphic style that's perfect for a spooky Halloween book, and has been used by various companies and publishers, including the WWF, Converse and Ladybird Books.

Friday, October 27, 2023

Today's read... Twins Mac and Madi Go Camping by Linda Herron

Today, I'm hitting another series I've taken a peek at before. This one circles around the everyday life adventures of a pair of twins and takes a wholesome peek at issues not only twins would understand. When I saw the ghost on this cover, I decided to fit it in to a Halloween read, although it probably won't slide in the same spooky direction. But then, campfires and camping can test fear's waters...weird sounds, shadows, the oddity of being outdoors at night. 

    by Linda Herron
Illustrated by Marie Delon
Big Little Press
Picture Book
ages 3 to 7

Embrace the joys of nature and embark on a delightful camping adventure with this fun and adorable children’s book!

Grab your tents and get ready for an amazing camping trip with twins Mac and Madi! Whether your idea of fun is canoeing in a crystal-clear lake, hiking with friends through the forest, or singing songs around the campfire while enjoying delicious s’mores, kids and adults alike will adore this cute rhyming story as they discover all the joys of the Great Outdoors.

Beautifully told with colorful illustrations that leap from every page, this children’s picture book teaches us the importance of spending time with loved ones and making memories that will last a lifetime. Twins Mac and Madi Go Camping serves as a brilliant gift idea for your kids and grandkids or as a great way to spark fun discussions about camping in nature.

Ideal for parents, caregivers, and educators, this fun tale will encourage twins and non-twins alike to appreciate nature, make new friends, and look forward to camping!

Are you ready to join Twins Mac & Madi on their camping adventure? Then scroll up and order your copy today!



The adventure draws in and comes across in the most delightful, natural way.

This isn't my first time joining Mac and Madi in an adventure, and this book was as delightful as the last one I picked up. The illustrations are bright and fulfill their purpose nicely. The rhyming is cute, has a few hiccups, but brings across the scenes and experiences in a natural way. And I think that's what makes this pair of characters and their stories so enjoyable. The tale is accessible and connects easily to the age group. The camping trip holds all the fun, emotions, unexpected moments, and activity such an adventure should. It's something the age group can identify with. 

Of course, I'm also won over by a series devoted to the unique (and not so unique) situations twins find themselves in. There's a lovely, sibling relationship, and even when the difference between the two are clear, the moments are wholesome and carry tons of goodness. 

It's a simple read, which is easy to enjoy. 

Thursday, October 26, 2023

Today's read... Asking Awesome Questions by Mort and Carly Greenberg

Back in May, I reviewed the first book in The Fearless Girl and the Little Guy with Greatness series (here). Since I did enjoy it, I'm taking a peek at the third book in the series...I enjoyed the theme of this one. Knowing how to ask questions is more important than many people realize and isn't something I've seen addressed very often. So, let's take a peek and see if this book does everything I'm expecting it will.

The Fearless Girl and Little Guy with Greatness
by Mort Greenberg and 
Carly Greenberg
digitalCORE Inc
Children's Nonfiction
69 pages
ages 6 to 12

From an early age there was always a back and forth with this father daughter team pushing each other to think through questions or problems to come up with an answer. It did not matter if an answer was right or wrong but having a way to talk through situations was most important. “Asking Awesome Questions” is the third installment in The Fearless Girl and The Little Guy with Greatness series.

This book is for children 6 – 12 years of age who want to ask awesome questions. If you are a parent / caregiver that wants to spend more time with your child, or a teacher, or a librarian looking to engage with a group of kids, this book is also for you.

62+ pages in a workbook format to allow for an interactive learning experience across five

Section 1: Curiosity : Curiosity is the desire to explore the world around you. It motivates you to seek out information about things that interest you. It’s the fundamental tool to making any discovery!

Section 2: Observational Skills : Observation is the act of seeing details and patterns that might otherwise go unnoticed. It is an outstanding talent to be able to notice things that are out of the ordinary. When you pay attention to your surroundings, you are not only taking in everything, but also broadening your perspective.

Section 3: Problem-Solving : Solving problems is a common practice of everyday life. It’s important to learn how to approach challenges with a positive attitude. By brainstorming multiple solutions to a problem, evaluating the pros and cons of each, you are certain to find the right one!

Section 4: The Art of Asking Questions : When you are curious about something, be sure to ask someone about it. Ask open-ended questions that require more than a simple yes or no answer. The information you gain from those questions will advance your critical thinking skills.

Section 5: Logic and Reasoning : To understand cause-and-effect relationships and make thorough connections between different pieces of information, you need to use logic and reasoning. Think logically and systematically. Before coming to a conclusion, you should always consider all the available evidence. Only then will you achieve the best possible outcome!



Asking questions and keeping a closer eye on the surrounding world is as fun as a game after picking up this read.

This book centers around the art of asking questions and presents the theme in a very methodical manner by breaking it up into five chapters. While the first chapter begins with the basics of developing simple curiosity (not something kids really have problems with anyway), each chapter leads further into the art of learning to observe, how to ask questions, and the basics of logical thinking. Despite the very planned line the process follows, it's an easy read which stays very nicely on level. It's clear that the authors know how to speak with readers of that age. It's directly written to the reader in a comfortable style, they can connect with. It never talks down to the audience, either. 

The illustrations are bright, positive, and offer scenes from everyday life. These give subtle support to the text and keep up the good vibes. 

I enjoy how well this fits with the intended age group...and not only due to the writing style. There are several games and activities mentioned, which are easily used as activities with friends and family. Some of these are games kids tend to play, anyway. I do wish there was more than a mention of one or two of these, and that there was a laid out activity or two somewhere in the pages, but that's just me and my brain-storming. This one works well for groups, classrooms, or just for the sake of fun.

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Happy Book Birthday, Science Comics: Frogs by Liz Prince!

It's time to scream out another book birthday...and this one hits one of my favorite genres. I'm always happy to get my hands on nonfiction, especially fun books, which make learning interesting. This read appears to do just that by taking a peek at frog knowledge and mixing it with a light story and in graphic novel form. It's aimed at the younger end of the middle grade group and chapter book readers.
Plus, I have a soft-spot for frogs.

Awesome Amphibians
by Liz Prince
First Second
Middle Grade Nonfiction
128 pages
ages 6 to 10

Hop to it with Science Comics: Frogs, a new volume of First Second's fan-favorite nonfiction graphic novel series!

With their signature sounds, athletic tongues, and bulging eyes, there’s a lot to love about frogs! But did you know that they soak up air and even liquid through their skin? Or that they use their eyes to swallow food? From tiny tadpoles in water to boisterous bullfrogs on land, the life cycle of these amphibious acrobats is one of the coolest examples of metamorphosis around. So pull up a lily pad and dive in, because the frog facts in this book will truly give you something to croak about!

GOODREADS   /    AMAZON   /    B&N


A wealth of frog knowledge comes across in a digestible and fun way.

Following the on-goings of a young, frog fan, this is a read which first allows the reader to connect with a kind and curious character before hitting the biological facts. There's just enough puny and situation humor to keep things light, family relationships to bring warmth and heart, and situations which will have readers opening their eyes in their own surroundings to embark on small explorations themselves.

The frog facts are interesting and well-delivered. These cover a wide range of frog stages and areas, giving the reader a general knowledge along with a few more details. This covers several varieties of frogs as well, and even lesser known ones. All of this is kept interesting and worked into the tale to keep those pages turning. Of course, the bright illustrations not only make the read light and quick, but also help with the science end to make some information come across more clearly. It's a great way to bring across information in a fun read. I received a DRC through Netgalley and enjoyed the fun delivery of the information.

Monday, October 23, 2023

Happy Book Birthday, Galaxy Jones and the Space Pirates by Briana McDonald!

It's time to celebrate another book birthday. This one actually releases tomorrow, but I do love to scream out birthdays every chance I get. The last few days, space seems to be a theme and space pirates slides right into that category. I do love the bright colors on the cover—so pink—and the island with the skull. I have a feeling this one will pack tons of adventure and imagination. So, let's dive in and find out.

by Briana McDonald
Simon and Schuster
Middle Grade Science Fiction
288 pages
ages 8 to 12

From the author of Pepper’s Rules for Secret Sleuthing and The Secrets of Stone Creek comes a rip-roaring middle grade space adventure about a girl who is determined to save her family and friends from ruthless pirates—even if she has to venture across the universe to do it.

Galaxy Jones lives on the very, very edge of a star system in an inn run by her dads. She loves her home and her little family, but ever since the train station that serviced their part of the universe went defunct, tourists have stopped coming, and Lexi’s on the verge of losing it all. When the royal family stops at their inn on the way to a neighboring star system, Lexi’s dads hope for some good business, but Lexi knows from past experience with spoiled Prince Weston—and his annoying dog, Comet—to expect nothing but trouble.

Turns out, that “trouble” is a whole lot bigger than she anticipated. Weston has stolen something. Even worse, he’s stolen it from notorious pirates—former followers of Lexi’s idol, the famous pirate Astro Bonny—who have tracked him straight to her house. Problem is, Weston has lost the trinket somewhere in deep space. And now the pirates are holding all the adults hostage with the threat of destroying the inn if they can’t find what they’ve come for.

Lucky for Weston, Lexi has a plan. In exchange for his help saving the family business, she will use all her skills and embrace the adventurous spirit of the great Astro Bonny to help him find whatever it is the pirates are after. With some pluck, and a whole lot of luck, she might just pull it off—and make an unexpected friend along the way.

GOODREADS   /    BOOKSHOP     /     AMAZON    /    B&N


The deepest depths of space might seem forgotten, but this read shows that adventure can happen anywhere.

Lexi lives on the outskirts of a star system, where her parents run an inn, which seems to have been long forgotten. When guests finally show up, she's thrilled...until she realizes who the guests are. Having the Royals stay at the inn might seem like an honor, but Lexi and the young prince can't seem to get along. When Lexi learns that the Royals have arrived on a mission to stop the pirates, and said pirates are right on their heels, the adventure begins.

There's quite a bit to like about this read. First, the setting is imagination pure. The inn on the outskirts of the system, bound by a very, very long rope to another house, where her best lives when he's not traveling space with his mother to deliver astronaut ice cream. The prince, his dog, and the pirates round it off to create an original cast with more than a few quirks and surprises. There's character growth, dangerous moments, and more than a few times, where readers will wish they could head out to space, too.

The pacing is, for the most part, quick and keeps the readers rooting for Lexi the entire time. The beginning did draw out a little more than necessary, but then, it was entertaining to get to know the inn and the world around Lexi. After all, space means tons to discover. On the other hand, there were times where it would have been fun to explore and learn more about the system. I'm hoping this is only the first book in the series, and that this is only the beginning of what Lexi's universe holds. 

And here she is...

Briana McDonald writes diverse and adventurous books for young readers. She studied writing at Fairleigh Dickinson University and her short fiction has appeared in several literary journals. When she’s not writing, Briana lives and works in New York City with her wife and their dog, Rex. She is the author of Pepper’s Rules for Secret Sleuthing, The Secrets of Stone Creek, and Galaxy Jones and the Space Pirates. Find out more at BrianaRoseMcDonald.com.

Sunday, October 22, 2023

Today's read... The Inventor Vol. 1 by Lars Henrick Ericksen

This week has been a bit hectic (hence, the slightly irregular posting of the reviews), but we're going to begin this new one with a bang. This graphic novel centers around adventure, a touch of fantasy, and tons of inventing spirit. I'm excited to see what it holds, so let's just dive in and see.

The Hunt for the Infinity Machine
by Lars Henrik Eriksen
Middle Grade Science Fiction /  Graphic Novel
152 pages
ages 8 to 12

JANUARY 23, 2024!!!

Papercutz is proud to present an inventive new coming of age series THE INVENTOR!

Discover the vibrant island of Mata-Mata with long-time residents Cobalt Cogg and his grandfather, Alfred. Cobalt wants to grow up to be like his grandpa - an inventor! But when he and his friend, Linnea, get into an accident with one of Alfred’s inventions, all hopes for creating seem lost. Can Cobalt recover and move forward with his friends and family? learn about Alpha-Energy and all the ways it can help! And is there something more to this mysterious energy source? Process all this and grief, joy, health, and creativity, in this fantastical coming-of-age graphic novel.



Inventing spirit, adventure and turtle amazingness gives this one originality and a promise of tons more excitement to come.

Cobalt wants to grow up to be just like his grandfather, a man with a knack for creating awe-striking inventions. But when an invention goes very wrong, Cobalt's life is flipped upside-down. He's determined to continue his dream, but with his grandfather missing and the town facing a new dilemma, he's facing a new adventure.

This read packs energy, imagination, and good vibes in the direction of family and friends. The inventions offer a sense of creative wonder. a hint of fantasy, and a tad bit of humor, giving the perfect atmosphere to let the plot fly in the most amazing ways. But then, the setting itself is fun—a fishing town filled with gigantic turtles. Everywhere. The illustrations are bright and lively, and let the situations come across in a way which draws in and keeps the sense of excitement high...even in the more tense moments.

The creativity in these pages is very entertaining and lets dreams take flight. The characters aren't really fleshed out, yet, since this first volume is more about laying the foundation, but it's obvious that Cobalt is going to be a character to root for. And his turtle. Got to love the turtles. I was a little disappointed to see the bullying side of his grandfather, and that without a hint of wrongness or remorse, but this might lead to more in the future. It definitely promises to be quite the upcoming tale.

I do hope that Volume 2 releases quickly after this first one, and not just because it's a fun tale. This first book lays the setting and background for the upcoming adventure. It is interesting and does a good job at laying the foundation for what's to come. 

And here he is...

Lars Henrik Eriksen (b. 1995) studied music at upper secondary school, and has further education as a civil engineer. He has always loved comics and has been drawing for as long as he can remember. Eriksen participated in Egmont’s comic book competition in 2018 and immediately received a book contract. This inspired him to continue with his comic book – which now sees the light of day.

“I find it incredibly exciting to know that children in the US soon will have the opportunity to read “The Inventor”, and get to know the aspiring inventor Cobalt, his friend and the mayor’s daughter, Linnea, and learn about all the colorful turtles and people of Mata-Mata.
I’m also very grateful to the team at MadCave who are making this release possible, and am very much looking forward to seeing the book out in English!”

Friday, October 20, 2023

Today's read... Tell Me About Space by Lisa Varchol Perron

With sun eclipses gracing our area the during the next months, this read about the stars seems like a natural fit. This is a board book but seems to pack useful information for all those young space fans out there. I'm excited to see what this one is all about.

by Lisa Varchol Perron
Illustrated by Jennifer Falkner
Little Simon
Board Book
22 pages
ages 3 to 6

Perfect for curious little minds, this nonfiction board book teaches young readers all about outer space through question-and-answer text!

Tell me why the sun goes down.
What happens to its light?

The sun stays put! It’s Earth that spins,
creating day and night.

Why don’t we float into space? How many moons are there? A child asks about outer space, and their grownup answers in rhyming, factual text. Little ones will love learning that the earth is constantly spinning, that Saturn isn’t the only planet with rings, and that most planets have their own moons!

GOODREADS     /     BOOKSHOP      /      AMAZON      /    B&N


With the calming atmosphere of a goodnight read, young star gazers are invited to explore the night sky and learn more about the universe around them.

This is a medium-sized board book, which means its sturdier than a picture book and will handle a bit of mistreatment. The illustrations follow a young boy and his mother as they watch the setting sun before getting ready for bedtime. The poetic text opens up questions surrounding Earth and the other planets, while a more informative box in the corner of each two-page spread offers the basic facts and explanations. 

While board books tend to head for the youngest readers, the information offered in this one slides toward the 4 to 7 age group, and does a wonderful job at hitting basic science in an inviting manner. The text is written in a calming, poetic flow, while presenting basic questions such as why the Earth spins although we stand still or why planets have different colors. The answers to these are placed in a text block at the bottom of the right-hand page. These are a little more in-depth than the younger end of the age group might completely understand (adult readers can easily help out), but the upper end will be have no problem with it, since these don't go too deep, either.

The illustrations are well done and add a lovely balance between the home scenes and the planets in space. Each one is enjoyable to gaze at and offers a nice foundation for the knowledge to settle in.

I do recommend this one to young space fans ages 4 and up.

And here they are...

Lisa Varchol Perron writes picture books, middle grade novels, and poetry for children. Her poems have appeared in children’s magazines, online poetry journals, and anthologies, and she earned the 2021 Boston Authors Club Discovery Award for picture book writers. She lives outside of Boston with her geologist husband and two book-loving kids.

Jennifer Falkner is a children’s book illustrator and designer based in Perth, Australia. Jennifer’s work is inspired by a passion for nature, the antics of her two small boys, and her own childhood playing and exploring the beach and the bush in Western Australia. Recently, Jennifer has illustrated The Happiness SeedThe Lucky Shack, the Flashlight Explorers series, Tell Me About Oceans, and Tell Me About Space. Before returning to Perth in 2018, Jennifer lived and worked in Canberra, Bangkok, Jakarta, and Singapore.

Thursday, October 19, 2023

Today's read... Dictionary of Dinosaurs by Natural History Museum

An illustrated A to Z of every dinosaur ever discovered
by Natural History Museum
Illustrated by Dieter Braun
Wild Eyed Editions
Children's Nonfiction
184 pages 
ages 6 to 12


Find out about every dinosaur that’s ever been discovered in this Dictionary of Dinosaurs ! From aardonyx to zuniceratops, read about where they lived, what they ate, and much more.

Featuring firm favorites such as the T-rex, ankylosaurus, and triceratops , as well as lesser-known beasts like the baryonyx, rugops, and shanag , there's no dino left behind in this A-Z. Each entry includes a fact file, scale diagram, Latin name, and pronunciation. Best of all, each page is filled with a colorful, eye-popping illustration of the dinosaur , in conjunction with the Natural History Museum in London, England.

A 'How to Use this Book' page explains all you need to know for this to become your go-to guide to the dinosaur kingdom . The book also includes a timeline, showing which dinosaurs lived when and where, and how the Earth has changed over millions of years. Discover the different groups of dinosaurs, from ankylosaurs to titanosaurs . And find out how we even know about dinosaurs in the first place.

Dinosaur-loving kids will love this fact-fueled dictionary, written by leading paleontologists from the Natural History Museum. Help your young dino expert become familiar with the alphabet as they flick through these colorful creatures with ease. Eye-catching and informative, it’s a fun and exciting addition to any child’s bookshelf.

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Every dinosaur discovered gets a moment in the spotlight between brightly illustrated pages packed with information.

This book offers a wealth on individual dinosaur facts. Starting with a brief summary of the timeline, explanation of fossils, and a few general themes about dinosaurs, these pages dive into a list of every dinosaur and offers a bit of insight about each one. Going from A to Z, each two-page spread presents several dinosaurs. The Latin name is given, a pronunciation hint, the English translation (which adds fun), several facts surrounding the dinosaur, and a small, simple illustration showing the size compared to that of a human. The text is short, easy to understand, and delivers the facts nicely.

Each page holds a colorfully illustrated dinosaur (sometimes more than one). Every now and then, a fully illustrated page adds even more viewing enjoyment, which keeps the information from growing too heavy. 

Many of the mentioned dinosaurs are accompanied by interesting facts, which will delight dino-fans or those seeking more information. But it's the wealth on even lesser known dinosaurs, which make this a book worth taking a peek at. Around 60% to 70% of the dinosaurs are accompanied with a small paragraph about them. The others receive a mention with basic information, which might seem a bit disappointing but demonstrates how encompassing this book is, since there probably isn't as much known about these. 

It's a well-done read for those wanting to know more about dinosaurs and will offer facts that even the most well-studied fans probably didn't know before.

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Today's read... Kitten Ninja by Colleen AF Venable

I'm hitting today's read a bit late but didn't want to pass up on the chance to share it with you. I know so many kitten fans (although I'm more of a dog person myself) and had no doubt that this would be an adorable read for beginning readers.

by Colleen AF Venable
Marcie Colleen 
Ellen Stubbings
Andrews McMeel Publishing
Children's Adventure / Graphic Novel
80 pages
ages 5 to 9

FEBRUARY 27, 2024!!!

Fans of comics, and heartwarming stories—not to mention cats!—will love Kitten Ninja, the origin story of the incredible Cat Ninja!

Before Cat Ninja grew up and became Metro City’s greatest defender, he was tiny, adorable Kitten Ninja and he battled...much tinier foes. (Hey, everybody has to start somewhere, right?)

In this spin-off prequel to the enormously popular Epic Original Cat Ninja series, our favorite feline hero takes on everything a kitten-size ninja has to battle on the way to his heroic a sun spot that won’t stay put, an irresistible ball of yarn, and—every cat’s archenemy—snow!


Not only kitten fans will be drawn to this adorable, and yet, slightly adventurous read.

This is such a cute tale. Kitten Ninja and friends immediately win over with their wonderful characters and how they are depicted in the illustrations. There are three stories, each with a very age appropriate adventure. These hold just the right amount of tension to keep them interesting, while never leaving the simpler world. Each kitten is fun to follow and is easy to connect with. They are the kind of tales which do invite to be read more than once, and enjoyed every time.

The illustrations and text balance well and make this a lovely read for more reluctant word-friends. The main message centers around friendship and never leaving a friend behind. So, it's warming in more ways than one.

I do see this as being a favorite for those readers, who are hitting their first larger reads.

And here they are...

Colleen AF Venable is the author of the National Book Award long-listed Kiss Number 8, a graphic novel co-created with Ellen T. Crenshaw. Her other books include Mervin the Sloth is About to Do the Best Thing in The World with Ruth Chan, The Oboe Goes Boom Boom Boom with Lian Cho, and the Guinea Pig, Pet Shop Private Eye series, illustrated by Stephanie Yue and nominated for the Best Publication for Kids Eisner.

When not bingeing old Twilight Zone episodes, Marcie Colleen is busy writing children's books. She is the author of numerous titles, among them Love, Triangle, Penguinaut!, The Bear's Garden, and the Super Happy Party Bears chapter book series. She lives in San Diego, California. Visit her at www.thisismarciecolleen.com.

Monday, October 16, 2023

Happy Book Birthday, The Little Books of the Little Brontes by Sara O'Leary!

I'm jumping ahead just a tiny bit on this birthday shout-out. Today's read actually releases tomorrow. But who said we can't get the party started early? Pre-party? 

This picture book introduces young readers to the Bronte siblings and takes a peek at their history. I'm not expecting tons of depth...it is a picture book, after all. I am curious how this will be handled, though. While I love the idea of introducing young readers to some history and famous figures, something like this is going to be a tough connect for most. So, I can't wait to see how the author tackles these theme.

by Sara O'Leary
Illustrated by Briony May Smith
Tundra Books
Picture Book
40 pages
ages 5 to 9


The inspiring true tale of young siblings who loved to make stories -- and grew up to be among English literature's finest writers. A picture book for fans of Mary Who Wrote Frankenstein.

Many years ago, the four motherless children of the Bronte family -- Charlotte, Branwell, Emily and Anne -- lived in a windswept house by the moors with their father. Although their lives were often filled with sadness and their world was only as large as the distance they could walk, their INNER worlds were bound only by their imaginations. Hungry for stories, these children devoured novels and poetry, history and fables. And with the gift of a group of toy soldiers, they were inspired to make their own stories, and their own tiny books . . . a passion that would last them a lifetime.

A moving and atmospheric story about the power of imagination, the joy of storytelling and the love of books, The Little Books of the Little Brontes will enchant both those who love these literary sisters and those who are learning about them for the first time. Includes an author's note, timeline of the Brontes' lives and a fun craft with instructions on creating your own little book.

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The power of sibling love and the imagination shines like a beacon of light through out the story.

While being a short picture book, the author manages to bring quite a bit of depth and life to the Bronte siblings. The sad family history is mentioned and sets a solemn atmosphere before launching into the more playful moments of the siblings. Each one is presented as their love for tales, the creation of their little books, as well as the special meaning of the toy soldiers settles in. They come across as average kids which makes them easy for listeners to identify with and connect to. Still, there special love for tales comes through and inspires. It introduces readers to the history without overloading and makes it 'touchable' instead of something far and distant. 

The text is a little longer, so not for the youngest listeners. It does make a nice read-aloud. The ending was a bit more hazed, which I assume was an attempt to nod toward their adult lives without leaving the atmosphere of the childhood. Still, it works well to introduce young listeners to the Brontes and also is great for classroom or group settings.

As an extra bonus, there are instructions at the end of the book, which explain and show how readers/listeners can create their own tiny reads. This as well as the beautiful illustrations throughout the tale make in an inviting book to dive into and enjoy. 

And here they are...

Sara O’Leary has a degree in screenwriting from the University of British Columbia and teaches at Concordia University in Montreal. She has written a number of critically acclaimed books for children, including This is Sadie, which was adapted for the stage by New York City Children’s Theater. A former literary columnist for The Vancouver Sun and CBC Radio, she also writes short fiction. The Ghost in the House is her first novel. Visit her online at saraoleary.ca.

Briony May Smith is the creator of Margaret’s Unicorn, which was an Indie bestseller and has been licensed in twelve countries. Her second picture book, The Mermaid Moon, was licensed in seven countries. Briony’s other books published in the US include Imelda and the Goblin King, which the Wall Street Journal called “enchantingly illustrated.” She lives in the UK.

Sunday, October 15, 2023

Today's read... Happy Halloweenie by Katie Vernon

by Katie Vernon
Little Simon
Board Book
30 pages
ages 3 to 8

A loveable hot dog named Weenie gets dressed up for Halloween in this fun and festive board book that will have little ones laughing out loud.

Weenie loves Halloween,
but try as they might,
just can’t decide
what to be on this night.

What will Weenie choose to be? Should they be cute or scary? Hairless or hairy? On a night like Halloween, the choices are endless!

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Silly fun, which is sure to cause giggles and smiles.

Weenie is a hotdog and excited about Halloween, but what to wear? The costume choices are varied and long, and each one needs to be tested to see if it works. The end result is more than a little unexpected too.

This is a funny read, which coasts through the ridiculousness of a hotdog in various costumes. It's simple and packed with a humor even the younger listeners will understand. The illustrations make each outfit sit. And each one will bring laughs and giggles. There is a bit of hotdog-pronoun-diplomacy in the beginning, but Weenie is all about costume fun making this a mere mention and nothing more. The ending might raise eyebrows but sings of creativity and will have listeners pointing out some things they might notice. 

All in all, it's humorous, cute, and maybe, will have readers looking at hotdogs in a slightly different way, especially at Halloween.

And here she is...

Katie Vernon is an illustrator who spent most of her life in the Midwest but whose heart belongs in the mountains. She now lives in Flagstaff, Arizona, and shares her studio with a large cricket that sings to her all day long. Katie has gathered lots of inspiration from being a florist, working with alpacas, and living on a bus. She loves working with inky paints and then arranging and adding detail digitally. When not creating art, Katie might be found rearranging furniture, thrifting with her hubby, biking with her daughter, and walking her dog. Find out more at KatieVernon.com.