Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Very Hairy Bear

Very Hairy Bear by Alice Schertle and illustrated by Matt Phelan, is a great winters tale. While it follows the very hairy bear throughout the year it ends with the season of winter and how a very hairy bear figures out to keep his 'no hair nose' warm during hibernation. The soft pastel illustrations are some of my favorite children's book pictures. They're filled with whimsy and just dreamy! You and your young readers will love following very hairy bear (and hungry bear) as he enjoys all there is to enjoy in nature's bounty from wild berries to diving for silver salmons preparing for his long winter's nap.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thanks for Thanksgiving

The last Thanksgiving read I'm going to be able to share with you before the Holiday is here this year is Thanks for Thanksgiving by Julie Markes and illustrated by Doris Barrette, and is probably my favorite Thanksgiving read. It's a simple read which follows a brother and sister as they share what they are thankful for. It's truly a child's list with such items as play dates with friends at the playground, cuddles with Mom and sled rides with Dad. It's a fun read to share with your kids to get them started on their own list of what they are thankful for! The illustrations are beautiful, bold, bright, vivid, I could go on and on. I love the scenes of family, friends and home that they depict, very warm and inviting.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

CSN Stores Black Friday Sales!

I'm very happy to share some more upcoming savings with you, this time its CSN Stores Black Friday Deals! I'll be doing Christmas shopping at CSN Stores this year. I'd much rather buy online during the Black Friday shopping rush, personally. I'm thinking of getting some practical items for the kids like children's luggage , pjs, and some cute kid sized umbrellas. My son would love either of these cute train suitcases and they have one in pink too. Be sure to check back to see my review of what I select.

CSN Stores Black Friday Deals will begin Monday, November 22nd. Here are the links to check out the great savings for the following sites:





Tuesday, November 16, 2010

One is a Feast for Mouse: A Thanksgiving Tale

One is a Feast for Mouse: A Thanksgiving Tale by Judy Cox and illustrated by Jeffrey Ebbeler, is a new addition to our Thanksgiving reading line up this year. It's a cute concept for a Thanksgiving book that's a little different from your usual giving thanks, turkeys, pilgrims and such. You meet mouse, who like many of us during Thanksgiving, finds that his eyes are bigger than his stomach. He's so busy grabbing as many of the leftovers that he can he forgets to watch out for the family cat. Mouse escapes safely back to his hidey hole but alas his stash of leftovers do not, will he have his Thanksgiving feast this year or not? The illustrations are cute too, you are met with the familiar after Thanksgiving scenes like leftovers on the table, snoozing in front of the football game and mouse is expressively drawn with so much personality!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Give Thanks to the Lord: Celebrating Psalm 92

Happy (early) Thanksgiving to you all! I'm very excited to start sharing some of our favorite Thanksgiving reads here this week! I love celebrating the Holidays! I don't know if I could really say that I have a favorite, I love all the festivities. But Thanksgiving would definitly make a top list for me.

First up I have a trio of books by one of my favorite children's book authors, Karma Wilson and illustrated by Amy June Bates. I thought I'd start with Give Thanks to the Lord: Celebrating Psalm 92, but all three are very fitting for this time of year as we offer our thanks and praise offerings to the Lord. Beautiful fall toned water color illustrations depict a young boy and his family as they gather to celebrate their Thanksgiving together. The text highlights all that we have to be thankful for, such as family, home, Thanksgiving dinner and so on. The phrase 'It is Good to Give Thanks to the Lord' is repeated throughout the story about this warm family celebration that is focused on the Lord and his abundant goodness.

Also from the same series by Karma Wilson and Amy June Bates comes the next two books, I Will Rejoice: Celebrating Psalm 118 and Let's Make a Joyful Noise: Celebrating Psalm 100, they don't make the direct connection as the first book to the Thanksgiving Holiday. In fact the water color illustrations depict more summer/springtime days. I think it's very appropriate to focus not just on thanks giving to God over this Holiday, but also to offer our praises to Him. I think the contrast of the seasons in the illustrations are actually a great talking point about how we should be offering God our thanks and praise not just at Thanksgiving but throughout the year. Thanksgiving makes a perfect time to focus on this and talk about what it means to live a life of thankfulness. I Will Rejoice recounts the verse Pslam 118:24: 'This is the day that they Lord has made and I will rejoice and be glad in it', a great theme for our thankfulness in each day that we are given and for all the simple moments that make up our days. Make a Joyful Noise shares about a family headed to Sunday worship. Along the way a young boy notices all the joyful noises around him, from birds singing to the worship service itself. The sounds heard, build on themselves making it a fun read of sound effects. It's a great read to share the joy there is in praising God. Another perfect theme for your Thanksgiving celebration as well as all year round.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Shutterfly Christmas Cards!

Over the years, I've become a BIG fan of photo holiday cards and have learned that Shutterfly has one of the best selections around. I'd love your help in picking out which of their amazing designs we should go with. Here are some of my favorites, let me know what you think.

Our Christmas style has evolved over the years to a more classic Christmas, with a touch of modern design and a touch of whimsy. I love the red, white and green color palette of this sampling of cards. I think any of them would work perfectly.

I love the added feature these two cards offer with enough space for you to include a Christmas letter along with your personalized photos. I love the format of the first which reads 'reasons we loved 2010' and has spaces for you to add bullet point style highlights of your year. What a short and sweet way to share your year with family and friends.

My experience from past years, though, is you really can't choose a background until you select your photos. I love the large selection that Shutterfly offers and know I'll have fun trying out our photos in several of their designs to find just the perfect one!

Shutterfly offers many other personalized items to help you get ready for the holiday season from these personalized Christmas gift tags to personalized photo calendars. Which by the way make the perfect gift for the grandparents!

Shutterfly offers holiday photo cards for all occasions, not just for Christmas. How cute are these? We just got a super cute Shutterfly 'Happy Halloween' card with photos of our sweet new baby nephew celebrating his first Halloween. What a great way to to share his first experiences!

Also Bloggers can get 50 free holiday cards from Shutterfly: http://bit.ly/sfly2010 . I can't wait to see some of your favorite selections!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

In November

I have another Cynthia Rylant book for you here today and will again. So, why not do a feature on the author you might ask? Well, for one her body of work is extensive. Second these books deserve a feature of their own. Last so many of them work well with themes and topics that we enjoy to study, that it's fun to include titles as they are appropriate to my post series. There will be some authors that I just decide to slowly share our favorite reads of.

In November, the aptly titled book for this month by Cynthia Rylant and illustrated by Jill Kastner has become a staple read for us. This is a wonderful book that looks at the transitions that take place as the seasons start to change from Fall into Winter. It ends with the celebration of Thanksgiving, a time for family and cherished memories. It's a great cozy read and the realistic oil painted illustrations are warm, vibrant and detailed.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Hatteras Girl by Alice J. Wisler

Taking another break from children lit reviews here today with a look at Hatteras Girl by Alice J. Wisler. The main character, Jackie Donovan, has had the life long dream of owning a Bed and Breakfast in her home town in North Carolina's Outer Banks. Not just any old Bed and Breakfast will do, it has to be the Bailey House where her and her childhood friend Minnie spent many happy afternoons visiting. Only problem is the Bailey House has been closed up for years since the passing of the original owners and no one seems to have any information regarding the current owner or status of the property. Jackie is also turning 30 soon and all of her relatives have been setting her up on blind dates, hoping to help Jackie find the man of her dreams. The book has an air of sadness throughout with all the circumstance surrounding Jackie's best friend Minnie, who she hopes to co-own the Bailey House with. Overall it was a good read and kept my interest for the most part. There are a lot of highs and lows that the story takes you on and a few twists and turns. Themes that run throughout include: family is always there for family, a write your own dreams and plans in pencil because God is bound to change them and to let go and trust in God. I enjoyed joining Jackie's journey as she finally has those 'Ah Ha' moments of what God's plan is for her life. I think it would make a great summer read for anyone looking for a light romance read with a Christian perspective. And how fun is this? At the back of the book there are recipes for different dishes and sweet treats mentioned in the book.

I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House Publishing for the purpose of this review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own and I was not required to provide a positive review.

When the Wind Stops

Yep, we've been reading up on the wind around here and today I have another windy read. When the Wind Stops by Charlotte Zolotow and illustrated by Stefano Vitale, is another picture book read that leans towards science. In this case its a great intro to natural science. The story centers around a conversation between a mom and her son. He's inquisitive, as kids are, and not wanting his day of fun to come to an end asks why the day has to end. His mother tells him that the nothing ends, that the day is just beginning somewhere else. Their discussion flows from one natural occurrence to the next touching on topics like the cycle of seasons, the rain cycle, when the wind stops, mountains to valleys and so on. Striking, bold, modern illustrations accompany this story of the natural cycles of our world.

I shared another windy read on my post titled 'the seasons', check it out here.

Monday, November 8, 2010

I Face the Wind - science concepts

I Face the Wind by Vicki Cobb and illustrated by Julia Gorton is a great early science concept picture book. It's one part simple story and another part science book. Geared towards ages 4-8 this book will get kids excited about science and the world around them. Concepts and principles about air are clearly and simply presented as a great first introduction to young kids. Oh and did I mention engagingly presented? This is not the non-fun science book I read back in school. The illustrations are bold and colorful. They add another wonderful layer to this book that help reinforce the concepts being presented. It's filled with facts and experiments that flow together with the story. The simple supplies you'll need to the handful of experiments include: a clothes hanger, a pencil, a large plastic (grocery) bag, two identical balloons, tape and a ball. Who doesn't have these items on hand? It's great hands on fun and learning!

Try out these great books also by Vicki Cobb for more science fun:

Friday, November 5, 2010

Friday Funnies

From, Patrick McDonnell, the creator of the hilarious comic strip 'Mutts' comes this wonderful almost wordless children's book called South. We found this cute story last fall/winter season and couldn't wait to check it out from the library again this year. It's here right now! I love a good wordless children's book. I think they are great for cultivating creativity in your little ones as you simply look, interpret, tell each other what you think is happening or as they delight in being able read it to themselves. I shared a summer favorite wordless book, Wave by Suzy Lee in a post this past summer. I hope to periodically highlight great wordless books that we've found along the way.

So back for a look at South. In this story of helping out others and friendship we find Mooch, the feline of the Mutts comics, happening upon a young bird that overslept and missed migration. Mooch lends this young bird a hand and helps him reunite with his flock just as winter sets in. It's a great 'Good Samaritan' story to share with you kids.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Really Woolly Bible Stories by Bonnie Rickner Jensen

Really Woolly Bible Stories by Bonnie Rickner Jensen and illustrated by Julie Sawyer Phillips is a simple sweet collection of favorite Bible stories told in rhyme. The rhymes are really well done capturing the key message of these stories while keeping it a fun and flowing read that the youngest of children will enjoy listening too. The book starts with the scripture verses John 10:11 and Isaiah 40:11 as a premise helping to tie the really woolly sheep character into the Biblical references of Jesus the good shepherd tending to his lambs and how we are His child and how He cares for us. There are 16 Bible stories retold in this book with the scripture references included. The book concludes with "A Prayer for You" poem in the back which makes for a wonderful good night prayer to share each night with your little one. Each story is accompanied by the really cute really Woolly and his friends, a rabbit and a duck, as well as a picture portraying the Bible story. It's a wonderful read geared more towards preschool age and younger but sure to charm all ages. I am very happy with this book and I am adding it to one of my favorite books to give to new moms to be.

I received a free copy of this book through Thomas Nelson Publishing’s Book Sneeze book review program. The opinions expressed in this review are my own and I was not required to provide a positive review.

Monday, November 1, 2010

November Classic Book - A trio of books

These three classic books will warm your heart making them great cozy reads for upcoming chilly days. All were written and illustrated by Virginia Lee Burton. All were some of my favorite reads from my childhood days and I now enjoy sharing them with my two. First up The Little House a story with many teachable lessons, one of which is being careful what you wish for. You meet the little house being built, having a good life where she's loved and cared for but she is curious about the city lights in the distance only to find herself one day surrounded by the city that has overtaken the area. She finds herself neglected and forgotten. I love the lesson too of finding beauty and worth in the old house, as she is once more loved and cared for by the great great grandaughter of her original owner. Beautiful illustrations with lots of details show the changes of seasons and a slice through history as times change and so does the transportation and landscape of America.

Next up is Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel an inseparable, unstoppable team. With great skill and work ethic Mike Mulligan and his steam shovel have completed many big construction projects. They soon are forgotten though as new, bigger and better machines take over the construction jobs. Mike Mulligan never gives up in his beloved steam shovel, Mary Anne, and knows her true worth. Both these stories are full of nostalgia as well as finding value and reuse for everything.

And last is Katy and the Big Snow a magical winter tale of Katy and the Highway Department. It's a heoric tale of how Katy saved the day after the town was buried under a big snow storm. Katy is determined to get the job done. I've always loved the illustrations of the town being uncovered more and more by Katy until the final page where the whole plowed city can be seen. Burton's detailed drawings and illustrations will delight your young readers! I debated about adding Choo Choo to this collection but think I'll save that one for another day!