Book Review: What Do Moms Do? By Amy Houts & Emily Bush

This little gem arrived in the mail recently, and I read it to my girls right away. They are super curious about what Moms do all day (answer: ALOT!). It’s a constant conversation we carry out each day. To their delight, this little book by Amy Houts & Emily Bush talked about that very subject! They loved saying at the end of each page whether it was something their mom did or not. Their giggles and snickers told me they loved it.

I also must talk about the animal mom/children illustrations throughout the book. They are just darling and very nostalgic for picture stories from my childhood. My new reader (who is 6) will be able to read his on her own. I love adding new books she can pick up and enjoy anytime she pleases. This one is a welcome addition to our library.

Picture Book Review: Cow Says Meow by Kirsti Call | Read this one out loud!

Cow Says Meow

Author: Kirsti Call

Illustrator: Brandon James Scott

I had the pleasure of reversing Kirsti Call’s latest picture book “Cow Says Meow.” Here is the book blurb on the back cover:

Read this zany picture book full of mixed-up animal sounds out loud. Fun puns and wordplay will have readers mooing, neighing, and clucking, and even laughing with every page turn.

I feel the key phrase in that blurb is read out loud. Because it’s true, when you read it out loud, especially to a three year old and six year old, a special kind of magic happens. You will laugh, and you will have little readers joining in and telling each animal that they are not, in fact, making the correct sounds. The illustrations are absolutely hilarious and kid-friendly. My daughter especially enjoyed the ‘pig who said hi.’ These animals are definitely confused. The wordplay throughout will make the parents reading along chuckle as well. I definitely recommend this book for some, rollicking laugh out loud fun. My guess is your little readers will ask you to read it again and again.

Firsts Books — Confidence Builders for Pre-Readers

Whether you prefer phonics-based methods, sight-reading methods, or some combination of both when teaching your children to read, one of the first things to consider is how to instill in them a desire to flip through a book, point out the words or pictures, and ‘read it’ on their own. This will boost confidence in your little pre-readers. It also lays the groundwork towards them becoming lifelong bookworms. Of course, in addition to books like these, continuing to read aloud a variety of picture books is highly recommended. Our family’s daily goal is to discover three new stories a day.

Sandra Boynton’s books and specifically Blue Hat, Green Hat, only need to be read aloud a few times before your little one will want to take over and read it themselves. The child in turn becomes the storyteller, while the parent can giggle at all the ‘oops’ moments.

I also love this set of First Little Comics by Liza Charlesworth. Simple two to three words spread on each page and yet still manages to be humorous. Both my 3 yr old and 6 yr old enjoy reading these books by themselves.

First Year Favorite Books

My daughter and I have shared many great reads this past year, but some certainly stand out. Here’s some of our favorites!


1. Ten Little Ladybugs by Melanie Gerth

When my daughter was very young, she loved staring at the bright colors, and as she grew more aware she loved rubbing her tiny fingers over the ladybug shapes and into each of the holes in the pages. This book is still one of her favorites.


2. Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons by James Dean

Not exactly the typical baby book, this one my daughter loves due to the repetition, and sing-songy tone used when reading it aloud. It has sure brought about lots of baby giggles from her!


3. Ladybug Girl and her Mama by Jacky Davis

Admittingly, I may have enjoyed reading this book more than my little one, but what mother wouldn’t enjoying reminiscing about their day with their babes. It was always a nice way to wind down for the evening.


4. Hug You, Kiss You, Love You by Joyce Wan

By far our favorite this year. When my little girl was just two months old she would smile and coo at the whimsical characters created by Joyce Wan. Now, at almost twelve months it has become such an interactive story for us to enjoy together … well if she let’s me turn the pages that is. =)

Fairies on the brain: A book review and book trailer

How to Ditch Your FairyIt’s no secret that I’m a little obsessed with fantasy books. One of my favorite types of fantasy characters to read about are fairies. Give me evil fairies, quirky fairies, invisible fairies, or MC’s that are part fairy (like Sookie Stackhouse) and I am instantly intrigued. My latest read was Justine Larbelstier’s How to Ditch Your Fairy.

This book fulfilled my fairy craving and thensome! It is a quick read, centered around a teen girl who is trying to ditch her parking fairy in lieu of something better — like the clothes-shopping fairy her best friend has. I love how Larbelstier’s pulls you into a world where fairies exist (or are atleast acknowledged to.) I also love the lingo she has created for her characters. It’s a unique, fun read!     My rating: ☆☆☆☆

Speaking of fairies, I am delighted to share the book trailer for Anna Staniszweski’s upcoming novel, My Very UnFairy Tale Life, to be released in November 2011.  I am looking forward to reading this book!

Book Review: The Hunger Games

The Hunger GamesI have recently finished The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins. I’ve seen these books on bestseller lists for quite some time, but whenever I read the synopsis for the first book I couldn’t envision myself getting into it. In my younger days I loved horror and had no problem with watching or reading about gory situations or war. But I  have to confess — I’ve grown to be a bit squeamish. One particular quote from School Library Journal made me hesitatant to read it:

“Part entertainment, part brutal intimidation of the subjugated districts, the televised games are broadcasted throughout Panem as the 24 participants are forced to eliminate their competitors, literally, with all citizens required to watch.”

I finally had a change of heart at Writer’s Day in L.A. Several of the speakers spoke very highly of the book. Rachel Cohn, in fact read a passage from the first few pages of The Hunger Games, during the conference. I was intrigued! So I finally decided to sample it on my kindle — what could it hurt?

I was hooked right away! Collin’s captured her main character, Katniss Everdeen’s, voice flawlessly.  I also loved that the whole story was told in the present tense. Her writing reminds me of a saying — that a good author makes the reader forget that they are reading a book; instead they become fully immersed in the world of the story.  That is so true in The Hunger Games. You are not merely reading a book, you are living it — right down to hearing each cannon being released, visualizing the stunning costumes, and feeling the emotions of the characters.  And my concern for it being too gory? Well it is certainly not a story for the faint of heart, however the violence that is seen is appropriate to the story — you are seeing exactly what Katniss sees. The world of Panem is not a fluffy, happy-go–lucky one. It is a world in a state of turmoil, and rebellion. Even having finished the series, I still think about these books and likely will for quite some time.

The Hunger Games compels you to keep reading it — I literally could not put the book down for hours. If you have not already read this book, I highly recommend it!

My rating: ☆☆☆☆☆

Book Review Disclaimer: I review books from time to time because I love to read and share about my experiences. Some of the best books I read come at the recommendation of other voracious readers like me.  At this time all books being reviewed at my blog are from my personal library. Should that change, I will be certain to notify my readers.     
 – Christine

Book Review: 2011 Children’s Writer and Illustrator’s Market

I have been absent from the blogosphere for about two weeks now, sorry Readers. It has been an insanely busy two weeks! I made it through the first two weeks of school and a weekend trip to San Luis Obispo for the Central Coast Writer’s Conference (more to come on the conference soon!). Our drive for the trip was a total of 10 hours in one weekend. I have also spent this last week trying my hand at queries/manuscript submissions, which has been quite a challenging, yet enjoyable ride thus far.

During my free times in the evenings I have been avidly reading, writing, and researching. One of my current reads is the “2011 Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market.” The book came to me very highly recommended by both peers and patrons. I can certainly see why! As you can see by my photo at the left I have already “Post-ited”  many pages to come back to in my copy.(I’m a post it addict!)

Here are a few things I like about the book:

1) It’s a great reference book for Writer’s looking to get their works published. It includes valuable information about publishing houses, submission requirements, contact information and more!
2) It’s more than a reference book, it includes inspirational stories and “how to articles”
3) The online component is another awesome resource. Each purchased copy comes with a 1 year free subscription to to the Writer’s Market online.
4) Glossary of industry and writing terms. These have proven to be very helpful for me to get to know the field better and build my knowledge base.

If you are a new Children’s Writer (or even a veteran) I highly recommend this book!

My rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Book Review Disclaimer: I review books from time to time because I love to read and share about my experiences. Some of the best books I read come at the recommendation of other voracious readers like me.  At this time all books being reviewed at my blog are from my personal library. Should that change, I will be certain to notify my readers.     
 – Christine