Saturday, May 9, 2015

Bedtime Story: Curious George goes to a Book Store by HA Rey

Celebrating Children's Book Week!
Synopsis: "George's favorite author is signing at the new bookstore in town. Waiting in line is hard when you're as curious as our little monkey, especially when surrounded by so many great books! George has fun browsing but then takes organizing some open boxes of books into his own hands, with surprising results. At the end of the day, lucky George finally gets some time with his favorite author. Children will love his silly antics as George explores the wonderful world that is the local bookstore."

My Review: I picked this book up for Munchkin since we tend to go to bookstores at least once a month and are frequenting author signings a little more often now that he is getting older. The use of a familiar and beloved character for this subject was fantastic and Munchkin seemed to be interested and is a little curious about a signing we will be going too soon. I am hoping that this will also teach him the special value of a book signed personally by the author.
My Rating: A fun story and hopefully the lessons I want will come across to Munchkin. We have enjoyed reading it over and over again just like all the other Curious George books.  We give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.
Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Graphic Novel Review of Donald Hamlet, Prince of Dunemark by Walt Disney Company

Celebrating Children's Book Week!
Synopsis: "A Disney parody of the classic play Hamlet with Donald Duck and characters staring in the roles."

My Review: I really expected to enjoy this, I was a big Shakespeare fan and thought this would be a great way to introduce the plays to a younger audience. Before the story really even starts there is an exhaustive description of the play, characters and how they parodied the original. After the bore of reading that introduction it was time to read the actual play. I did enjoy Huey, Duey and Luey's description of Hamlet to Donald. The rest of it, to be called a parody is almost a stretch, there really isn't a whole lot connecting this book to the original play. I guess I will wait until Munchkin is older and just introduce him to the real thing when he is ready.
My Rating: I wasn't a huge fan of this parody, it seems a little too far from the original to be able to introduce it later. I give it a rating of One Paw and a Stump Wag.

Early Reader Review of Just Saving My Money by Mercer Mayer

Celebrating Children's Book Week!
Synopsis: "When Little Critter® wants a new skateboard, Dad tells him that he needs to save his own money to buy it! From feeding the dog to selling lemonade, Little Critter learns the value of a dollar."

My Review: This is a good beginning reader, it feels a little advanced for early readers to attempt on their own. It would be great to read together anyway as it will spark conversations about money, chores and costs of things. The time that they will be ready to read this book is a great time to start talking about saving money for things they want.
My Rating: Even though this is a little advanced it does at least have a story that will involve readers. It also teaches lessons besides just reading. I give it a rating of Four Paws!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Bedtime Story: Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? by Bill Martin, Jr & Eric Carle

Celebrating Children's Book Week!
Synopsis: "A new edition of this all-time favorite children’s tale to delight children and parents alike. Bill Martin’s playful story introduces a parade of rowdy zoo animals, all illustrated in Eric Carle’s instantly recognisable, clean, crisp style. A perfect addition to this fun, noisy tale is a ten button sound panel. As each new animal appears on the bright, colorful pages, children will love to find, then press the right button to hear the noises that the braying zebra, roaring lion, fluting flamingo and other amazing animals make."

My Review: This is a very fun story for little ones. The simple lines are similar to Brown Bear Brown Bear only with sounds instead of colors. We have the one that has the sound buttons for each animal. I can imagine this would be a difficult book if you can't make the animal noises or to try to explain the sound to little ones so I really encourage getting the one with sounds. Munchkin absolutely loves this book and all the animal sounds, he now wants to go back to the zoo to visit the animals he hears.
My Rating: I think we might end up wearing this book out, Munchkin absolutely loves it and I enjoy it too. We give this one a rating of Four Paws and a Stump Wag!
Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Fun with Munchkin: Bookmarks!

Celebrating Children's Book Week!

I have decided to add a new post to my list of things that could happen on the weekends.  As part of my resolutions for 2015, I wanted to do more fun things with Munchkin and as a family.  I will be posting sporadically about some of the fun adventures we are having together.
As part of our celebration for Children's Book Week we decided to make some bookmarks for Munchkin and his friends at daycare. After I stamped them all with Happy Reading in Munchkin's favorite color, he got to work decorating them.
He was pretty proud of all the bookmarks he made
After Munchkin went to bed I got to work to make another fun little bookmark. Sesame Street Page Munchers

Early Reader Review of Go, Go, Go by Melissa Lagonegro

Celebrating Children's Book Week!
Synopsis: "Lightning McQueen, Mater, Sally, and the rest of the gang from Disney/Pixar's Cars are back! This super-simple Step 1 reader is perfect for little boys who love cars, trucks, trains, planes, and everything that goes."

My Review: This is a great level one reader. The familiar Cars characters keeps fans involved in the book. It is not really a story but an introduction to the characters and the types of vehicles. A lot of familiar words and an introduction to some new ones.
My Rating: A great beginning reader book, little ones, especially boys and Cars fans will want to read it again and again. I give it a rating of Four Paws!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Bedtime Story: Delivering Your Mail by Ann Owen

Celebrating Children's Book Week!
Synopsis: "It's fun to drive a mail truck. The steering wheel is on the wrong side! Learn about the important job mail carriers do in your neighborhood - and why that steering wheel is where it is."

My Review: Munchkin is obsessed with all things having to do with mail, mail itself, the mail box, the mail man and the mail truck, so of course I had to get this book for him. It was a simple book with bold images and thick pages, perfect for older toddlers and preschoolers. There are also some great facts at the end of the book for kids as they get older. There are also endless possible activities to coordinate with the book and connecting it with real life.
My Rating: This was a great book introducing the mail system to little ones. Munchkin of course loved it and I am looking forward to revisiting it with coordinating activities as he gets older.  We give it a rating of Four Paws!
Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Fun with Munchkin: Bookstore Adventures

 Celebrating Children's Book Week!

I have decided to add a new post to my list of things that could happen on the weekends.  As part of my resolutions for 2015, I wanted to do more fun things with Munchkin and as a family.  I will be posting sporadically about some of the fun adventures we are having together.

So what better way to celebrate Children's Book Week than to head to your favorite bookstore?!  Now obviously we do this rather frequently but this time I decided to take a couple of pictures. We have one bookstore, Symposium Books that we do visit pretty often, it is an independent bookstore so we love supporting the local business and all the employees are so kind to us. Anne Marie even remembers Munchkin by name and greets him every time we come in.  She also seems to always have some new book suggestions for us too.

Browsing the shelves looking for that perfect book.
They have a wonderful little table perfect for Munchkin to take a break and read his new picks.
And he really settled into this little nook to read his new book about planets. He has decided he wants to be an astronaut (unfortunately they didn't have any books at the time about astronauts for kids but they are always happy to order what we are looking for).
We walked out with two new books
Look, A Book
seemed like a perfect choice for the celebration
so we at least had something about outer space.
Have you made a trip to the library or bookstore for Children's Book Week?

Early Reader Review of Ponies Love Pets by Emily C. Hughes

Celebrating Children's Book Week!
Synopsis: "The ponies and their pets are always there to help one another. A pet is a very special kind of friend.
A Level 1 Reader introducing the pets of all your favorite ponies!"

My Review: This was a great first level book, especially for the pony fans. The familiar characters makes for easy attention keeper and especially if the reader has seen the pet episodes. The sentences are simple and contain familiar words. It is not so much a story but descriptions of the different pets.
My Rating: I have noticed that a lot of the Level 1 readers don't really contain a story but simple descriptions, which I guess is helpful in identifying new sight words. I give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Bedtime Story: The Little Red Caboose by Marian Potter

Celebrating Children's Book Week!
Synopsis: "The little red caboose saves the train from sliding down a steep hill."

My Review: Munchkin really enjoyed this book, he has been into trains lately and has been learning about the caboose, so this was a perfect book for us. I enjoyed the classic illustrations and the simple story. It also has a great message for little ones to learn about no matter how insignificant one feels, there is still a purpose and an important job only they can do.
My Rating: This is such a classic, the story is simple enough to read to little ones and there are plenty of illustrations to capture interest. I give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.
Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Review of Fire and Ice by Erin Hunter

Celebrating Children's Book Week!
Synopsis: "Fireheart could hear a roaring around him, like wind in tall trees. The acrid stench of the Thunderpath stung his nostrils, together with a new smell, sharper and more terrifying. Fire!

Book Two of WARRIORS continues Fireheart's quest to be a true warrior, when he finds new danger lurking in the woods as the chill of winter sets in.

WindClan is missing, and hostilities between the remaining three clans place all the cats in peril. Illness and tragic accidents weaken the camp, and ThunderClan needs all its warriors to defent itself - but Fireheart suspects that certain cats may not be as loyal as they appear."

My Review: I enjoyed this second book in the series even more than the first. I still really enjoy the animal instincts and mannerisms that Hunter sticks to throughout the book. I also see the connection between what Fireheart goes through and what the potential audience would be going through at the age they would be reading this book. Friendships splitting and returning, questioning authority and where in the world you belong. This is a great way to deal with coming of age issues without being direct or boring, instead it is an adventure.
My Rating: This was so much better, the violence is still present but I guess I didn't notice it as bad with so many other emotional issues present.  I give it a rating of Four Paws!

Beginning Reader Review of Curious George Dinosaur Tracks by HA Rey

Celebrating Children's Book Week!
Synopsis: "George is taking pictures of wild animals and their tracks for his photo collection. While looking for the fawn his friend Bill spotted, he finds an unusual set of tracks. George thinks he has discovered dinosaur footprints—which would make the perfect addition to his collection! In hopes of getting a photo, he attempts to lure the dinosaur with food, but quickly remembers that some dinosaurs are not friendly. Eventually George discovers the real culprit behind the tracks and it’s not what he expects!"

My Review: This is a great early reader book, it both encourages imagination and teaches a lesson. Munchkin loves Curious George so the use of the beloved character in this book and his curious nature lend to the story. The sentences are brief and filled with sight words and familiar words. It also has activities at the end that go along with the story. 
My Rating: This was a great, well rounded level 1 reader. Simple yet it had a good storyline behind it.  I give it a rating of Four Paws.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Bedtime Story: Pony Brushes His Teeth by Michael Dahl

Celebrating Children's Book Week!
Synopsis: "Pony eats a lot, and after he eats he always brushes his teeth just like his dad."

My Review: I have really enjoyed the books that are a part of the Hello Genius series, many of them have helped Munchkin learn some important lessons and skills. This one was just okay for me. I was really not too keen on the illustration style on this one, the pony's teeth stick out so much that he doesn't even look like a pony. I am hoping that after reading it a few times though that it will encourage Munchkin to brush his teeth more diligently.
My Rating: I wasn't thrilled with the illustrations, but it still seems to get the message through to the little ones. I give it a rating of Two Paws and a Stump Wag.
Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Fun with Munchkin: Free Comic Book Day!

Celebrating Children's Book Week!
So I don't know how many of you have heard of this thing called Free Comic Book Day, but I discovered it last year just after the event.  I marked it on my calendar and have been planning the day ever since.  I decided it would be fun to bring Munchkin along, especially since this year Free Comic Book Day partnered up with Children's Book Week to kick off the celebrations.
So we got up and dressed early, Munchkin wasn't going to wear a costume but was all for the TMNT shirt.
We have the benefit of having several participating comic book stores around.  I figured one called the Toy Vault that specializes in vintage toys would be a good option, it is in the mall so there would be things to keep Munchkin busy if the line was too long.  We got there right after opening and there was only a few people in the store. I did a little shopping for GNs since there was great sales and then we went to the free boxes.  They were allowing only 1 comic per person but they had a great selection. We picked up the TMNT for Munchkin.
We then headed to another store and had to make it quick since it was getting close to Munchkin's nap time.  We arrived an hour after they were opened only to discover that they allow everyone to take 5 comics so there was only one option left and it definitely wasn't kid appropriate. Since I promised something to Munchkin I got him a Scrooge Duck comic (and got myself a couple more GNs). 
I wasn't able to get any pictures at the stores because trying to keep a toddler from clearing shelves takes every ounce of attention.  But here is Munchkin's little haul and my haul.

This will definitely be a lot more fun when Munchkin gets a little older. His nap kind of cut into the time, there was one more store I wanted to go to that was making a big deal and having costumes and giveaways but couldn't make it.  Hopefully, next year we will be a little better planned and know which places to go first!

Beginning Reader Review of Look for the Lorax by Tish Rabe

Celebrating Children's Book Week!
Synopsis: "Look out for the Lorax! Dr. Seuss's lovable grump makes his Step into Reading debut in this wonderland adventure through hills of green where the Truffula trees sway. Through easy words and simple sentences, the youngest readers will discover the Lorax's paradise, from singing Swomee-Swans to playful Bar-ba-loots."

My Review: We read this in honor of Dr. Seuss's birthday. I was expecting a lot from this book with the Lorax being one of my favorite characters. Unfortunately if you aren't familiar with both the original book and movies it is hard to explain. It doesn't follow an actual story, it is more of a bunch of short lines, while that helps with some sight words and beginning readers, I think a story would have actually helped. Being titled Look for the Lorax you would think that he would be a major part of the book or at least be hidden on each page, but no such luck.
My Rating: I was a little disappointed that this book coordinated with the movie rather than the original book.  It still has simple lines and sight words for those early readers. I give it a rating of Two Paws and a Stump Wag.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Bedtime Story: ABC Zooborns by Andrew Bleiman

Celebrating Children's Book Week!
Synopsis: "“ABC” means “Animal Baby Cuteness” in this darling alphabet book from the creators of all animal enthusiasts—the ZooBorns are back! It’s time to scamper through the alphabet with a herd of irresistible zoo babies. Featuring adorable animal photos, zippy text, and a fact-filled glossary, this just might be the cutest ABC book ever to hit the shelves!"

My Review: Munchkin is all about the alphabet and when it combines with animals he gets really excited so I thought this would be a fun book to read. While it is nice that it uses animals that are out of the norm that you see, some of them are almost to obscure. There were quite a few animals we wouldn't even be able to see in either of the zoos near by so it was a little difficult to explain the animals to Munchkin. It was a cute book with great photographs of all the baby animals, and instead of reading it Munchkin just likes to flip through and look at the animals, especially the ones he is familiar with.
My Rating: The pictures in this book are absolutely adorable and most of them are familiar. Those few that are not are difficult to explain to little ones especially since sometimes you can't even make a trip to see them in person at the zoo. I give it a rating of Two Paws and a Stump Wag.
Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Review of Into the Wild by Erin Hunter

Celebrating Children's Book Week!
Synopsis: "For generations, four Clans of wild cats have shared the forest according to the laws laid down by their warrior ancestors. But the ThunderClan cats are in grave danger, and the sinister ShadowClan grows stronger every day. Noble warriors are dying-- and some deaths are more mysterious than others. In the midst of this turmoil appears an ordinary house cat named Rusty . . . who may turn out to be the bravest warrior of them all."

My Review: It took me far longer than expected to read this series but I am glad to finally get started on it. I think Hunter did a fantastic job of keeping to the animal characteristics and mannerisms of the characters, you definitely know you are in a cat world with cat characters. It was a little violent for the audience but obviously that is for each individual to decide for their child. I really enjoyed the characters and their personalities as they developed. There are plenty of storylines to follow and develop in the later books.
My Rating: While I do have some reservations about the violence for the audience age group, it is still a great read. I give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.

Monday Reading List

Its Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Shelia at Book Journey. Share what books you have finished in the last week, are currently reading and what might be coming up next!

Reviews Posted Last Week:
Links will take you to my review
Winnie The Pooh Classics Vol. 1 by A.A. Milne (Audio)
Time Together: Me and Grandpa by Maria Catherine
Hard to Be Good by Laura Kaye (After Dark)
Chase on the Case (Beginning Reader)
I Am A Garbage Truck by Ace Landers (Bedtime Story)
Thor the God Butcher by Jason Aaron (Graphic Novel)
Books Finished Last Week:
Reviews will be posted at a later date

Hush = 3pts
Pete Plays Ball = 1pt
Biscuit and the Lost Teddy Bear = 1pt
The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry and the Big Hungry Bear = 1pt
Fire & Ice = 5pts
The Best Teacher Ever = 1pt
Forest of Secrets = 5pts

Currently Reading:

The Mane Attraction by Shelly Laurenston - Nook - on page 28 of 291
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller - Audio - 19%

 Books to be Read Soon:

Princesses of Myth Series by Esther Friesner
Warriors Series by Erin Hunter


Total Points Earned
 69 points + 17 earned this week = 86 pts

Pages Read/ Time Listened
24,676 pages read (1,069 read this week)
59:11 listening time 

Books Added to Shelves

Interesting Tidbits on the Web:



It has taken me some time to work through the cold that I got right about the Readathon day. I was still a little out of it for most of last week but was finally starting to feel better near the weekend.  It is a good thing too, it was a busy weekend! I have been preparing for the Children's Book Week this week and on Saturday it was Free Comic Book Day too.  I also kicked off the mini Blogahead challenge so have been working on scheduling new posts, especially with all this new content I want to share with you.  There is also the Bout of Books Readathon coming up next week and then a family vacation.  ACK! May is fixing to be a very busy month!!

Anyway, as I said this week is Children's Book Week and I have plenty of reviews scheduled. I hope to also squeeze in a few posts about what Munchkin and I are doing to celebrate this week too. I will most likely be posting things on Twitter as well. I hope you are all able to join in celebrating these books, whether you have kids or not, this is often the way readers start out!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Nail Art Share: April 2015

I had a few really cute ideas to work with this month. Granted I wish I had more time to use all the ideas I see and come up with myself.
First I have been obsessed with color coral the past few years and have even added a few items of clothing to my rather drab wardrobe. So with spring finally arriving I thought it time to bring out that beautiful color.
Then of course I had to do something special for Easter! I did pastel colors last year but this year I went with these adorable chicks.
And last but not least, we have had a kind of rainy cold spring. I don't own an umbrella so was in desperate need of one.
I have more plans for May including flowers (of course) and maybe some dinosaur or book nails for some of the events we are planning this month.