Tags: Angela McAllister, Artie Bennett, Beverly Stowe McClure, books for young readers, Candace Hall, children's books, Children's picture books, Chronicle Books, Clavis Publishing, David Melling, Dixie Phillips, Georgie Birkett, Guardian Angel Publishing, Guido van Genechten, Ink Robin, J. Aday Kennedy, Janet Ann Collins, Jennifer Fosberry, Julianne Moore, Kate Messner, LaNiyah Bailey, Lee & Low Books, Lee Baker, LEigh Hodgkinson, Leo Timmers, Mayra Calvani, Pauline Oud, Sally O. Lee, Selina Alko, Stephen Shaskan, Steve Metzger, Tammi Salzano, The Children's and Teens Book Connection, tiger tales, Top 10 Picture Books of 2011
This took longer than expected. As I mentioned in my last post, selections this year were hard. In addition, I discovered I needed to segregate picture books for little kids (babies, toddlers, preschoolers) from those for school-age children. While some books could overlap between the two age groups, there was no way for me to compile a fair list if I lumped them all into one group. For books where I couldn’t find an age listing, I put them where I felt they fit best. I’ll start off with my Top 10 for the youngest category and then list the Top 10 in the older category.
Top 10 Picture Books for Preschoolers and under
- Ricky’s Christmas Tree by Guido van Genechten
- A Cat’s Alphabet Book by Sally O. Lee
- My Daddy by Guido van Genechten
- Going to the Beach with Lily and Milo and Going to the Zoo with Lily and Milo by Pauline Oud (I reviewed these together, so I am counting them as one.)
- One Little Blueberry by Tammi Salzano
- Oops! by Leo Timmers
- 1-2-3- Count with Me and A is for Apple by Georgie Burkett (Again, I reviewed these together and count them as one.)
- Ricky is Brave by Guido van Genechten
- Thankyouplease by Pierre Winters and Barbara Ortelli
- Ian’s New Potty by Pauline Oud
There are repeat names on this list, but I felt these authors and publishers truly knew how to create books attractive to this market.
Top 10 Books of 2011 for Ages 3 and up
- A Dog is A Dog by Stephen Shaskan
- My Mom Has X-Ray Vision by Angela McAllister
- Will & Kate: A Love Story by Ink Robin
- Sea Monster’s First Day by Kate Messner
- The Butt Book by Artie Bennett
- Not Fat Because I Wanna Be by LaNiyah Bailey
- The Dancing Clock by Steve Metzger
- Humbug, A Christmas Carol by Lee Baker
- My Name is Not Alexander by Jennifer Fosberry
- Fifo “50 States” by Hayley Rose
- A Christmas Secret by Candace Hall
- Frederico, The Mouse Violinist by Mayra Calvani
- The Ice Cream King by Steve Metzger
- Marta’s Gargantuan Wings by J. Aday Kennedy
- Every-Day Dress-Up by Selina Alko
- Freckleface Strawberry Best Friends Forever by Julianne Moore
- Limelight Larry by Leigh Hodgkinson
- Don’t Worry Douglas! by David Melling
- Cinderfella and the Furry Godmother by Dixie Phillips
- Tumbleweed Christmas by Beverly Stowe McClure
- Secret Service Saint by Janet Ann Collins
- Seven Miles to Freedom by Janet Halfmann
Tags: Beverly Stowe McClure, book reviews, books for young readers, books that teach a lesson, books that teach children a lesson, children's books, children's books that teach a lesson, Christmas early readers, Christmas themed books, early readers, Pump Up Your Book, The Children's and Teens Book Connection, Tumbleweed Christmas, virtual book tour
Be ready to say, “Awwwww…” while you’re reading this touching story of one girl’s search for a Christmas miracle.
Jackie’s father is sick and they have no money for a Christmas tree, but she wants to do something special to surprise her parents and sisters. She knows her mother has told her that Christmas is the season of miracles, so what better time to go in search of one? She meets up with her best friend Daniel who is having troubles of his own. Together they go off to find their miracles and hopefully have a nice Christmas.
I’ve read several books by Beverly Stowe McClure in the past, but those have been geared toward tweens and teens. In recent months, she has begun writing books for younger children. Frankie’s Perfect Home was published in June by Guardian Angel Publishing. Tumbleweed Christmas is an early reader, which was released in August by 4RV Publishing. I’ve read several of their titles and never found a bad one in the bunch. Would McClure’s latest book reflect the quality I’ve come to expect from this publisher? You bet it does!
Tumbleweed Christmas is a heartwarming story of one girl’s desire to do something special for her family. Everyone else has pretty Christmas trees in their windows. What can she do to get a Christmas tree for her home? This book provides young readers with a perfect example of thinking of others. While Jackie would like to see a Christmas tree in her home, it’s because she wishes to bring her family joy during a difficult time. What’s equally nice is that though she is dealing with her own dilemma, she still makes time to help Daniel with his problem.
The lovely artwork provided by Bridget McKenna truly brings this story to life. From the freckles on Jackie’s face to the cherry printed apron her mother wears while dishing up cookies and more, the illustrations in this book will delight your child. They are the perfect complement to the story.
I can’t think of a sweeter tale of the season than Tumbleweed Christmas.
- Publisher:4RV Publishing LLC
- ISBN-13: 978-0983274049
- SRP: $13.99
Buy directly from 4RV Publishing!
Giveaways, Contests & Prizes!
In celebration of Beverly Stowe McClure’s Tumbleweed Christmas, she will be appearing at Pump Up Your Book’s 1st Annual Holiday Extravaganza Facebook Party on December 16. More than 50 books, gifts and cash awards will be given away including an angel tree ornament from Beverly! Visit the official party page here!
Leaving comments on Beverly’s tour stops means more prizes! The person who leaves the most comments at Beverly’s tour stops will win a $10 gift certificate to Amazon.com. The second place winner will take home an angel tree ornament. See Beverly’s schedule below to see where she’ll be stopping during the month of December. Deadline for comments is 11:59 PM Eastern on December 16th.
I received a FREE copy of this book directly from the author in exchange for my honest opinions. The author paid me to promote this book with a virtual book tour through Pump Up Your Book, but that fee did not include a review. I have received no monetary compensation of any kind to provide my opinions.
This book completes my 1 out 4 books I’ve agreed to read for The Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge. This is an added book. To see my original list, please visit this post: http://childrensandteensbookconnection.wordpress.com/2011/11/10/the-christmas-spirit-reading-challenge-2011/
Tags: animal lovers books, Beverly Stowe McClure, book reviews, books for young readers, books that teach children a lesson, children's books, Children's picture books, children's books that teach a lesson, Frankie's Perfect Home, Guardian Angel Publishing, Guardian Angels Animals & Pets, The Children’s and Teens Book Connection
Frankie Armadillo’s house is too crowded. He’s sick and tired of pushing, swatting, and coughing his brothers’ body parts out of his way as he tries to sleep. So Frankie goes in search of the perfect home, not realizing that the perfect home is much closer than he thinks.
I’m familiar with the young adult books of Beverly Stowe McClure. I’ve read several of them–some contemporary, others historical. This is her first children’s picture book. When she asked me to review it, I hopped at the chance.
McClure’s ability to create characters I care about is what has always drawn me to her work. Could she accomplish that with a children’s book?
In Frankie’s Perfect Home young readers are treated to a delightful story that tackles the issue of the grass looking much greener on the other side of the hill. Frankie doesn’t like his home, so he leaves in search of something better–the perfect place to lay his head. Going from place to place, he finds there are problems with each potential new home: too muddy, too smelly, or too scary. In the end, he finds the perfect place, but it’s too lonesome and quiet. That is, until his mother and brothers move on in.
This is a great book for any time of day, but I think it would be really fun at bedtime. The colorful artwork provided by Alexander Morris has rounded edges, which is a smart match to complement the rounded text used throughout. Morris does a fine job of capturing the essence of the story with his illustrations.
Frankie’s Perfect Home is another fantastic title from Beverly Stowe McClure. I hope we’ll see her writing more books for this market soon.
- Publisher:Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.
- ISBN-13: 978-1616331627
- SRP: $9.95
Tags: American Civil War, Beverly Stowe McClure, Caves Cannons and Crinolines, guest blogger, Historical fiction, seige of Vicksburg, Teen fiction, virtual book tour, Young Adult fiction
Our special guest is Beverly Stowe McClure, author of the young adult novels, Rebel in Blue Jeans and Just Breeze. McClure’s latest release, Caves Cannons, and Crinolines, is a departure from her contemporary stories. Today she will discuss the differencs in writing an historical novel versus a modern-day story, and why she plans to keep writing both.
Historical Versus Contemporary Novels–The Similiarities and the Differences by Beverly Stowe McClure
History was never my favorite subject. Writing an historical novel had never entered my mind. Then one summer my husband and I drove to South Carolina to visit our son and daughter-in-law. On the way we stopped at Vicksburg, Mississippi, and toured the national park there. We visited the museum, located in the old courthouse that dates back to the Civil War. I talked to the curator of the museum and also to a little old lady whose grandparents had survived the siege of Vicksburg. I read journals kept by the women who faced the horrors of war in their daily lives. And I knew I had to write their stories.
In some ways writing historical fiction is the same as writing contemporary fiction. No matter the time element, a story needs characters, a plot and theme, and a setting. To make my story set in the 1860s authentic, however, I needed to research the times. What did they eat? How did they dress? What were their interests: books, music, sports? How did they talk? Travel? To answer these questions, I bought books and journals and copies of old newspapers and read them and marked them and put myself in 1863 Vicksburg with its dirt streets, hillsides, and families terrified by daily cannon and rifle fire that destroyed their homes and in many cases their lives. I scoured the Internet where I found more journals, some written by children. Many university Web sites have great collections of Civil War information, including letters from soldiers to their families back home. From reading the way they wrote, their choice of words, and how many of the words differ in meaning today from the 1860s, I learned the flavor of their language. It’s very easy to let a modern term, such as a cell phone, slip in, so I had to check for the dates many items were invented. These letters also gave me the idea to have Lizzie write to her brothers who were away.
Research for my historical novel took several months, but it was worth every minute. When I knew what daily life was like for the people, not just the soldiers fighting the war, I could put myself in Lizzie’s place, or Nat’s. I could see the destruction of my home through their eyes, which added depth to the scenes.
My contemporary stories sometimes require research, as well. Small details make the difference, especially if the reader has some knowledge of the area of your setting. Readers will catch those little mistakes and then question the rest of the book, if the agent or editor doesn’t see them first. For instance, in Listen to the Ghost, set in Charleston, SC, I had to research the streets of the city to visualize a map of where they lived, where the library was located, and the park. I have been to Fort Sumter, where part of the story takes place and had pictures and other info to help me with that scene.
As for writing historical as opposed to contemporary, I enjoy both and hope to continue writing a variety of novels. My second historical fiction novel is under contract. It will be a couple years before it’s out, but the story is loosely based on my mother’s story as an Orphan Train Rider. I’ve discovered how much I love history. After all, our ancestors and the men and women who lived before us made us who we are today. What better reason to tell their stories?
Beverly Stowe McClure is the author of novels for teens including Just Breeze, Listen to the Ghost, Secrets I Have Kept, Rebel in Blue Jeans, and her latest Caves, Cannons, and Crinolines. A native Texan she lives in the country with her husband, cat, and a variety of wild critters.
Tags: American Civil War, Beverly Stowe McClure, book reviews, books that teach a lesson, Caves Cannons and Crinolines, Historical fiction, Just Breeze, North and South, Rebel in Blue Jeans, YA historical, Yankees and Rebels, Young Adult fiction
Caves, Cannons, and Crinolines by Beverly Stowe McClure is a fascinating story for teens that will bring them up close to the American Civil War and the seige of Vicksburg, Mississippi.
The year is 1863. Young Elizabeth (Lizzie) Stamford is fourteen years old, but has already lived a lifetime of troubles. Vicksburg is under siege by the Union Army. Shells fly overhead, damaging their beautiful home. The family is forced, like many in Vicksburg, to seek shelter in a nearby cave. Lizzie’s mother has some of their belongings brought down to the cave, but no matter how many things from the house are placed inside, for Lizzie, it’s still ony a cave.
Lizzie’s father tends to the wounded at the hospital, while her brothers Willie and Joseph fight for the Confederacy on the front lines. Lizzie’s heart aches with worry over her brothers, being kept from her home, and rarely seeing her father.
Torn between living the life of a proper young lady during a time where nothing seems proper anymore, and her need to do her part, Lizzie disguises herself as a boy and decides to enlist in the Confederate Army. She quickly discovers the horrors of war. An encounter with a Yankee soldier places everything she knows about the North and the South in jeopardy. Is it possible the Yankees and the Rebels have more in common than she thinks?
Every time I read a book by Beverly Stowe McClure, I am astounded by how much better her newest book is than the last. All of her books for teens that I’ve read have strong female leads, but the addition of her younger brother, Nat, in this book will also allow it to appeal to young men. While Rebel in Blue Jeans and Just Breeze were contemporary stories, with Caves, Cannons, and Crinolines, McClure shows she can write an excellent historical. I absolutely loved this book!
Having studied the American Civil War for many years now, I can say without a doubt that McClure did her research and used it well. I felt I was right in the middle of Vicksburg alongside Lizzie. In an age where we teach our children so much about tolerance and acceptance of others, this book could be helpful in relaying that message. Students studying the Civil War would also get a great deal out of reading Caves, Cannons, and Crinolines, as it would open up room for discussion on a variety of topics surrounding this period of American history.
Caves, Cannons, and Crinolines is a thought-provoking, emotion-filled read. While targeted for young adults, don’t be surprised if a parent ends up enjoying this one as well. Readers who appreciate strong female characters, those with an interest in American history, and anyone who likes books you just can’t put down, will want to pick up a copy of this one.
- Publisher: Twilight Times Books
- ISBN: 1-60619-112-8
- SRP: $14.95
Tags: 4 RV Publishing, Aidana WillowRaven, Beverly Stowe McClure, book reviews, contemporary teen fiction, contemporary tween fiction, Just Breeze, Teen fiction, Tween fiction
For every tween/teen girl who has felt like nothing good is ever going to happen, here comes Just Breeze, the latest release from Beverly Stowe McClure.
Breeze Brannigan quickly finds that eighth grade is destined to start out like every other school year: she still towers over her classmates, her shoes are big enough to belong to a clown, the reflection off her braces could start a small fire, and her hair is still uncontrollable and very red.
In walks Cam, the new boy in school who is different from all the other boys Breeze knows. He must be from another planet. As time moves on, Breeze discovers Cam might be an earthling, but he is definitely hiding something; and when Cam trusts Breeze with his secret, a secret that could put Cam and his mother in danger, Breeze is determined to help Cam keep that secret, no matter what!
As much as I enjoyed McClure’s Rebel in Blue Jeans, Just Breeze is one hundred times better. With this book, McClure’s writing has evolved into something that movies are made of. The mystery behind Cam’s sudden appearance and how he works his way slowly into Breeze’s life when she expected this year to be just as nondescript as the others, is well done and keeps readers turning the pages.
Breeze could have been you or me (several years ago) or many of the other young girls who struggle to find their place in a family and a peer set where fitting in isn’t easy or siblings seem to be much more talented than you.
But even girls who don’t seem to fit in have friends, and Breeze’s friend Amy is perfect for her. The reader will enjoy their banter and their adventures. What I thought was a unique twist in Just Breeze is that it isn’t Breeze who has a nemesis, but Amy. Allison is the new girl at school and she does a lot of cruddy stuff to Breeze and Amy, and she seems to like Amy’s boyfriend Tony, which puts the girls immediately at odds with Breeze somewhere in the middle.
McClure starts off with an excellent set of characters, tosses in a superb plot, and comes up with a major winner. I think this is her first book with 4RV Publishing, and I have to say I am impressed with the quality product they put out. Attractive font, fabulous cover illustrations from Aidana WillowRaven, and thorough editing.
Not only will Just Breeze make the perfect gift for your tween/teen reader, it will be a book that is read time and again because it is just that good! I hope to see more collaborations between Beverly Stowe McClure and 4RV Publishing.
Tags: animal lovers books, Beverly Stowe McClure, horses, ranch life, Rebel in Blue Jeans, Young Adult fiction
Rebel’s life is in turmoil. Her mother ran off with a drummer, leaving her father distraught and distracted; her friend Will seems to be wanting more than just friendship, and an older guy has taken a sudden interest in her. What should she do?
Young adult readers, especially those who love animals will find many things to appreciate in Rebel in Blue Jeans by Beverly Stowe McClure.
When Rebel’s mother decides to take off with Bo, a drummer in a rock band, Rebel feels unwanted and alone. What is so exciting about city life anyway? Rebel trudges through the days on the ranch with the help of her best friends, Will and Sully, and spends a great deal of time talking with her animals to help relieve her frustrations. And while she’s not sure exactly how she feels about Rick, she’s caught off guard when Will seems to be wanting more than friendship from her.
When her mother calls and wants Rebel to come visit Bo and her for the summer, Rebel is determined to hate him and convince her mother to come back home. Can Rebel bring her family back together? And if she can ever believe in love again, is it Will or Rick who will capture her heart?
This is a quick and easy read, but it’s certainly not short on conflict. McClure has woven together an interesting plot and a strong and complex heroine to create a story that will be enjoyed by young adults everywhere.
Tackling the difficult subjects of separation and divorce, the desire young people have to see their parents reunited, making decisions regarding boys and finding your way in an uncertain world, Rebel in Blue Jeans provides readers with a heroine they will love for her spunk and get frustrated with over her stubbornness.
Rebel in Blue Jeans is an inspiring and entertaining read that would make a great gift for your teen reader…whether she’s a rebel or not.