Saturday, May 14, 2016

Fun with Munchkin: Treasure Hunt

As part of my resolutions for 2016, 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 a few weeks ago I had a little Momma oops, I forgot what day the Tumble Bus was going to Munchkin's preschool and he ended up missing it. It only comes once a month and they only have a half hour time slot for his class, so if you miss it you miss it.  This was the second time he has missed the bus.  The worst part is when he got in the classroom the other kids rushed over to show him the stamps on their hands and told him how much fun they had and about how yummy the gummy bear they get at the end was.  He nearly burst into tears, so yeah Momma felt awful!
Anyway, I had to figure something out quick to make up for it (not that it was required and by the end of the day he had forgotten what happened, but still I wanted to do something special for him).  So I figured a quick treasure hunt with a prize I had stashed for a quick gift would be perfect.  I found some great, simple around the house clues on Pinterest. I wrote them on sticky notes and hid them around the house before he got out of the car.
I handed him the first clue that said:
Follow the Clues to a Gift for You, The first one is easy its in your Shoe
He has a basket of shoes in his room
Bunnies are Fast not like a Snail, the next Clue is where we get the Mail.
You don't have to search long or far, the next one is where Momma parks her car.

The next one is easy just take a look, it is near your favorite book!

Are you hungry and ready to relax, check for your next clue and get a snack.

Isn't this fun, isn't it neat, the next clue is where you sit to eat!

Are you thinking what the Heck, but let's go check on the Deck.

It is getting late so try not to Peep, this is the last clue so head to where you Sleep!

I couldn't believe how easy this was to throw together for him.  The best part was that he didn't even care about the prizes, while I cooked dinner he took the sticky notes and hid them again. He kept re-enacting the treasure hunt.  So I think we will definitely be doing this again on a rainy, or boring day!

Friday, May 13, 2016

Bedtime Story: Little Cloud by Eric Carle

Read for: Children's Book Challenge
Synopsis: "The clouds drift across the bright blue sky--all except one. Little Cloud trails behind. He is busy changing shapes to become a fluffy sheep, a zooming airplane, and even a clown with a funny hat. Eric Carle's trademark collages will make every reader want to run outside and discover their very own little cloud."

My Review: Munchkin has been learning all about clouds and weather lately, and we love Eric Carle books so thought this would be perfect. It is a great little book with the classic Eric Carle art, but we didn't quite get into it as much as some of his other books. I noticed that the lesson of position of objects was nicely integrated into the story and illustrations. It also does have some nice repetition and simple sentences for young readers, and it is a mellow and short book to make a good bedtime story.
My Rating: This may not be our favorite Eric Carle book but it is still a very good book. We give it a rating of Three Paws.
Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Beginning Reader Review of The Foolish Tortoise by Richard Buckley

Read for: Early Reader Challenge
Synopsis: "The Foolish Tortoise sheds his shell after deciding that he needs to move through the world more quickly. But, after a few scary encounters, he rediscovers the value of going slow and safe. Full-color illustrations."

My Review: This is a good level two beginning reader book, it does have simple sentences and words but it has a nice storyline to draw the reader in. It also has a great lesson in it that young readers will be able to take away from it.

My Rating: We enjoyed the Eric Carle illustrations and the simple sentences, words and storyline are great for those young readers.  We give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

After Dark Review of A Tale of Two Dragons by G.A. Aiken

I have added After Dark Reviews to my blog as a way of notifying you of a review of a book with Adult themes and scenes. From now on I will keep my reviews of all books I read that have explicit scenes in them for late night posts for those of you who prefer to avoid them or easy to find for those of you who seek them out ;)
Read for: Mount TBR & I love the Dragon Kin Series!
Synopsis: "Braith of the Darkness likes going through life unnoticed. Not an easy task for a She-dragon of royal descent. But the evil plots of her father are turning her quiet, boring life upside down, and she has now become the enemy of the most vicious queen her kind has ever known. But for once, Braith won't have to fight alone. Not when the warrior dragon of her dreams is willing to risk everything to save her neck.

Addolgar the Cheerful wishes he could say he’s helping the pretty royal strictly for honorable reasons - but he'd be lying. It’s not his fault, though! He didn't tell Braith of the Darkness to have the most delicious tail he’s ever seen! Yet before Addolgar can get his very strong claws on that tail, heads are going to roll. Just hopefully not theirs..."

My Review: I really loved this series and don't know why this has been sitting on my kindle unread for so long. I love the banter between all the characters. They are all so fully developed and have individual personalities, even the sub-characters. The storyline is well developed and the interactions and steam between Addolgar and Braith don't take over but only add to the story. It was a fun, light and comical read to break up all the more intense books I have been reading lately. I am thinking I will have to revisit this entire series again.
My Rating: I have had this book on my TBR list for so long and I have no idea why. I really enjoyed this short book.  I give it a rating of Four Paws!

Pen to Paper: Start Them Young

Gosh it feels like it has been forever since I last posted a Pen to Paper! It has been a whirlwind with the RI Author Event and then Children's Book Week last week.  I am happy to get back to regular scheduled posting.  Anyway, way back in March when I last had a Pen to Paper post, I had been sharing some great books to inspire you to get started pen paling or even writing to family and friends.   So I thought today that I would share a few more books with you, only this time they are geared towards young kids.  It is never too early to start letter writing.
Munchkin already enjoys sending and receiving mail.  He sees me writing to pen pals and wants to send some mail too.  He has his own special paper and he sends letters to family (granted he can only really write his name so I add my own translation in with the letters he sends).
I also remember getting pen pal both in school and girl scouts as a kid.  What better way to inspire written word, even proper spelling and grammar than with letters. It also teaches about the postal system and can be informative about other cultures and with Munchkin he is learning geography.
I can't tell you how many times I have encountered people, adults even, who don't even know how to address an envelope or even where to put the stamp if there isn't a little box indicating where it should go.  Not to mention the complete inability to write complete sentences and letters.  So I encourage writing letters as a young child, they will grow in passion and ability! 
So anyway end of that rant, I have a few books to inspire letter writing in young children.  Some of these Munchkin and I have read together, some are still waiting on our shelf to be read.
All of the Jolly Postman books are fantastic for starting a little mail lover.  They include classic fairytale characters who send and receive mail.  On each page you actually get the piece of mail, it maybe a sales flyer, a letter, an invitation, or postcard.  They are a lot of fun for young children to explore.
This is a companion book to the Jolly Postman story. It is more of a workbook to expand on a young readers curiosity.  It explains more about letters and how they should be written and addressed. There are plenty of examples and blank pages for kids to practice writing their own letters on (and even to develop a unique postage stamp).
This is a cute story about a stuffed rabbit who gets lost at an airport. He ends up traveling the world and sending letters home from each new destination.  This is another fun one that is interactive, the kids get to open each envelope to see what Felix has sent home, each one has a short letter and sometimes a picture or postcard to go with it.  On the last page Felix comes home with all kinds of goodies from all over the world (I don't know what is included because ours was a used copy and was missing the things from the last page). There are also several cute Felix inspired toys you can find out there. 
This is a simple early reader book about a little alligator who writes to Grandma all by himself.  Who better to encourage a budding letter writer than Grandma (I am pretty sure they will always cherish those letters and respond).
This is one that is on our shelf waiting to be read, but it is an early reader about a penguin named Tony.  He gets a pen pal through his class at school. He later gets to meet his pen pal (at least that is my understanding).
So there are a few books for those very young kids who might want to start writing letters.   I will have more books in the future for other reading audiences that will inspire letter writing too!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Review of The Storm by Akiko Miyakoshi

Read for: Requested Review
Synopsis: "As this picture book begins, a little boy is excited about a trip to the beach with his parents planned for the following day. But a bad storm is coming, and he has started to worry they won't be able to go. He watches as the sky grows darker through the afternoon. His mother and father close the shutters and bring the potted plants indoors. Then the storm arrives. All through dinner, the rain beats hard against the shutters. The wind howls and blows, the boy says, 'I try not to be scared.' At bedtime, he thinks, 'I wish I had a ship with big propellers that would spin stronger winds to drive the storm away.' While asleep, his wish becomes his dream, and he manages to blow away the dark clouds with his imaginary vessel. Then, to his delight, when he awakens, he finds his dream of clear blue skies has come true."

My Review: This is a perfect book heading into the spring and summer seasons (at least in the northern hemisphere). I love the illustration style of mostly pencil drawings with just the touch of color of blue sky. The story is also understated and allows you to elaborate on it as you feel. It is also a great way to soothe a child's fears during a stormy night.
My Rating: This is a beautiful book that I would love to have on my shelf and Munchkins.  It is a simple tale that almost everyone can relate to, especially children.  I give it a rating of Four Paws!
I received this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
You can find out more about Akiko Miyakoshi on her Goodreads Page or Website.
The Storm was just released on April 5th! You can obtain your own print copy from Amazon  or Barnes and Noble.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Tasty Attempts: Chicken Enchilada Roll Ups

I am now posting Tasty Attempts every other Tuesday. The posts will include a variety of recipes, maybe some of them turn out tasty, maybe others are failed attempts.
So last month was the Dewey's Readathon and it was just Munchkin and I at home.  We needed a little reading break and a simple lunch.  I had found this recipe on Pinterest and liked how easy it was, no cooking involved!
Munchkin was a big helper and even though the recipe didn't call for it we added mushrooms, of course. (It was very cute, we were adding everything to the bowl and Munchkin stop and help up his finger "Oh I know! We need mushrooms!" and who was I to tell him no. They actually tasted pretty good).

He also had fun smearing the mix onto the tortillas, sprinkling the cilantro and rolling them up.

These little rollups made for a very nice little snack during the readathon.
Hubby wasn't a huge fan of them because he HATES cilantro, but I LOVE it, so Munchkin and I got all the leftovers to ourselves.  I will say that it made A LOT of roll ups.  We halved the recipe and it still made 8 full tortilla rollups.  It would make for a great appetizer for a fun Taco Night party!

Audio Book Review of Anathema by Meg Jensen

Read for: Audio books & Mount TBR
Synopsis: "Forget prophecy. Make your own destiny.

Reychel is a slave girl surrounded by magic, lies, and manipulation. Her best friend disappears in the middle of the night leaving Reychel to face her fifteenth birthday, the day her master burns his brand into the back of her bald head, alone.

Sheltered from the outside world and without any hope for escape, can Reychel learn to believe in herself?"

My Review: This was a freebie on amazon some time ago and because I had the ebook it was really inexpensive to get the audio book. I was rather intrigued at the beginning of the book, there are some new ideas presented at the beginning and it makes you very curious as to what is so special about Reychel. But then things go downhill for me, Reychel really turns into your typical Mary Sue, willing to sacrifice everything for others and also lets everyone walk all over her. The various forms of gifts and how they are used is interesting. I also enjoyed the bits of political intrigue that you only get to glimpse. I think it is a good book and has potential but Reychel is a tedious character that I can predict myself becoming annoyed with in future books.
My Rating: This was an okay book, some interesting ideas but not really well executed.  I know I will not like Reychel as the series continues so I am calling it quits with this series.  I give it a rating of Two Paws and a Stump Wag.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Magic Tree House Monday: Book 14 - Day of the Dragon King

Welcome to Magic Tree House Monday!

Each Monday (other than when special events are planned) I will review one book of the Magic Tree House Series by Mary Pope Osborne.
In this next book in the series, Annie and Jack must travel to ancient China to save one of the first books in history.  They will face many dangers but help will come from unusual places.
My Review: Another exciting adventure for Jack and Annie. They actually get to use their Master Librarian cards this time. These books are also teaching the young readers the value of books and how they can be lost forever. Again they have to use the book to look up facts and solutions throughout the adventure. There is also several historical facts in connection with the story listed in the back of the book to encourage the young readers to continue learning after the story is over.
My Rating: While this wasn't my favorite of the series it is still a very good book and I love the historical facts.  I give it a rating of Three Paws.

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

Vacation Under the Volcano by Mary Pope Osborne (Magic Tree House)
Red: A Crayon's Story by Michael Hall (Bedtime Story)
Heavy Duty Trucks by Joyce Milton (Early Reader)
Esio Trot by Roald Dahl
The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka (Bedtime Story)
Ewoks Join the Fight by Disney (Early Reader)
Jedi Academy by Jeffery Brown
A New Hope - Read Along by Disney (Bedtime Story)
Pit Crew Pups (Early Reader)
Beast Keeper by Lucy Coats (Series Review)
Hounds of Hades by Lucy Coats (Series Review)
Steeds of the Gods by Lucy Coats (Series Review)
Dragon Healer by Lucy Coats (Series Review)
A Big Guy Took My Ball by Mo Willems (Bedtime Story)
Zeg and the Egg (Early Reader)
Gone Fishing by Tamera Will Wissinger
If You Give a Dog a Donut by Laura Numeroff (Bedtime Story)
Apollo: The Brilliant One by George O'Connor (Graphic Novel)
Dogs of War by Sheila Keenan (Graphic Novel)
Goodnight Darth Vader by Jeffery Brown (Graphic Novel)
Flying High by Nick Eliopulos (Early Reader)
Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr
How Rocket Learned to Read by Tad Hills (Bedtime Story)

 Books Finished Last Week:
Reviews will be posted at a later date

Princess in Training = 3pts
Sadako & the Thousand Paper Cranes = 5pts
Princess Present = 5pts
Sworn to Conflict = 3pts
The Crown = 3pts
I Wish You More = 1pt
Friendly Letter Writing = 1pt
Love: The Lion = 3pts
Etiquette & Espionage = 5pts
The Empire Strikes Back = 1pt
Dragons Love Tacos = 1pt
Currently Reading:

 Books to be Read Soon:


Total Points Earned
104 points + 31 points earned + 5 points (completing Selection Series) + 10 points (24 hours listening) = 150 points

Total Points Earned this Year: 574
Total Points Spent this Year: 424

Pages Read/ Time Listened
99:13 Hours Listened (13:28 listened this week)
19,092 Pages Read (1,068 this week)

Books Added to Shelves

Interesting Tidbits on the Web:



It was a lazy, rainy week here in Rhode Island.  I should have been busy cleaning the house but with an entire week of gray, cold weather I don't think anyone feels like cleaning. So I spent most of the week reading and enjoying myself with Munchkin.  I also had some new bookshelves to prep and paint (I will be having a little series of posts about this soon).

Of course all last week was Children's Book Week! I hope you found some new fun books to enjoy with little ones (or on your own too because let's face it, we are all still kids inside).  Not only that but Star Wars Day also happened, which was awesome! Munchkin is becoming a fan too (even though I won't let him watch the actual movies until he is at least 5).  Then we also had Free Comic Book Day on Saturday, this is the second time Munchkin and I have participated and we are finally starting to get a hang of it. Munchkin is still a little small to enjoy the full effect but soon we will be able to spend the entire day celebrating.  On top of all that excitement it was also Mother's Day on Sunday.  Munchkin and Hubby spoiled me with lots of delicious food!

I hope you all had a wonderful week!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Bedtime Story: How Rocket Learned to Read by Tad Hills

Synopsis: "Learn to read with this New York Times-bestselling picture book, starring an irresistible dog named Rocket and his teacher, a little yellow bird. Follow along as Rocket masters the alphabet, sounds out words, and finally . . . learns to read all on his own!

With a story that makes reading fun—and will even help listeners learn to read—this book is ideal for kindergarten classrooms and story hour or as a gift for that beginning reader. Fresh, charming art by Tad Hills, the New York Times bestselling author/illustrator of Duck & Goose, will make this a favorite."

My Review: I saw this book a while ago and finally managed to read it with Munchkin. This illustrations are adorable and the story is fantastic. It is a great book to share with young kids who are either just learning how to read or are wanting to learn how to read. It encouraged Munchkin to sound out words just like Rocket. It is a very cute book and one I am glad I have on my shelves.
My Rating: What better way to end Children's Book Week than with a book that encourages young ones to learn to read.  I enjoyed this one and I am sure many other families would too! I give it a rating of Four Paws!

Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Review of Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr

Synopsis: "Hiroshima-born Sadako is lively and athletic--the star of her school's running team. And then the dizzy spells start. Soon gravely ill with leukemia, the "atom bomb disease," Sadako faces her future with spirit and bravery. Recalling a Japanese legend, Sadako sets to work folding paper cranes. For the legend holds that if a sick person folds one thousand cranes, the gods will grant her wish and make her healthy again. Based on a true story, Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes celebrates the extraordinary courage that made one young woman a heroine in Japan."

My Review: I don't know how it took me so long to read this book, it was outstanding. It is simple enough for young readers to enjoy but the story and message behind it packs a punch that will hit adult readers too. It is a bittersweet story that was beautifully written. It was a quick read for me but it is certainly sticking with me long after it was complete. I will be looking up more on Sadako and her story (not to mention trying my hand at making origami cranes - there were instructions at the back of the book too).
My Rating: This book was so unbelievably good.  I also feel that it is an important book for kids to read, there is so much we are taught in history classes but so much gets left out, like the other side of the story or the results of actions taken.  I give this one a rating of Four Paws and a Stump Wag!

Beginning Reader Review of Flying High by Nick Eliopulos

Synopsis: "SOMETHING STRANGE HAS happened to the birds of GOTHAM CITY. Pigeons are causing traffic jams, seagulls are making trouble at a nearby beach, and ostriches have escaped from the zoo! THE PENGUIN has enlisted his fine feathered friends to distract the DC SUPER FRIENDS while he swoops in and plucks GOTHAM’s biggest bank clean! Will BATMAN, SUPERMAN, and the other DC SUPER FRIENDS get there in time?"

My Review: This is a great level One reader, it has simple sentences with simple and familiar words. It is also packed with all the favorite super heroes for those young fans and a message about working together to do the right thing. This will be a popular book for those budding readers.
My Rating: There is a lot more than just learning new words and reading a book that kids can take from this book.  I give it a rating of Four Paws.