Guest Book Review: The Dark by Lemony Snickett

darkBook Review: The Dark by Lemony Snicket (Author), Jon Klassen (Illustrator)
Age Range: 3 – 6 years
Grade Level: Preschool – 1
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (April 2, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0316187488
ISBN-13: 978-0316187480
Product Dimensions: 11 x 7.1 x 0.4 inches

Rating: Five stars

The dark is a very interesting thing. There’s a lot of it when the light is off, as young Laszlo finds out when his night light bulb fails. Then the dark comes into his room. Prior to this event, the dark lived quite happily in (unsurprisingly) dark places such as the basement, drawers that no one ever opened, and occasionally behind the shower curtains. At night the dark had a huge expanse to roam outside the creaky old house where they both lived. Laszlo and the dark respected each other’s space. The dark knew Laszlo and Laszlo knew the dark—in fact they even greeted each other. Well, the dark didn’t actually answer back. It never spoke until one fateful night when the bulb in Laszlo’s night light fails. The dark calls to Laszlo. Then Laszlo gets out of bed and answers the dark, which leads him all the way down to the basement…

This deceptively simple illustrated story is especially relevant for kids who are afraid of the dark. Who can say they didn’t fear something that lived under the bed, behind the door (no, that was never an old dressing gown!), or at the bottom of the stairs? This book depicts the dark and the fears of a little boy who has to learn that everything has its designated place and purpose. Without the dark there is no light. Without the night there is no day. Without the dark we would never see the moon and the stars. Without all the things in Laszlo’s house, providing hiding places for the dark, there would be no dark. And the dark is a necessary part of life. The size of the book, 11×7.1 inches is actually the perfect size for little hands to grasp. In addition, the dark looks very big (there’s a lot of it, as I said) while Laszlo looks very small, creating a huge contrast between them. The story has mystery, shivers, scary bits, and leads the young reader all the way down to the basement, where the dark turns out to be very helpful indeed. I’d recommend this for all young readers and their parents (who might still be afraid of the dark). It is a charming tale by the inimitable Lemony Snickett, beautifully illustrated by Jon Klassen.

Purchase at http://www.amazon.com/Dark-Bccb-Ribbon-Picture-Awards/dp/0316187488 

Reviewer’s bio: Fiona Ingram is an award-winning middle grade author who is passionate about getting kids interested in reading. Find out more about Fiona and her books on www.FionaIngram.com. She reviews books for the Jozikids Blog.

Walking Eagle: The Little Comanche Boy by Ana Eulate

A delightfuleagle story of nature and harmony is found in Walking Eagle: The Little Comanche Boy by Ana Eulate.

Walking Eagle is a mute Comanche boy who has been born clubfooted. With his feet turned in toward each other, his legs make the shape of a heart. He journeys to share his message of nature and harmony with all the tribes.

This is a beautiful book whose flowing text is matched with stunning artwork. Eulate has created a moving story of harmony filled with the power of love and kindness. Explore the magic of storytelling in Walking Eagle: The Little Comanche Boy.

Age Range: 6 and up
Grade Level: Kindergarten and up
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Cuento de Luz (April 15, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 8415784368
ISBN-13: 978-8415784364

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

It’s a Gift! by Gabriela Keselman

giftTeaching the concepts of generosity and kindness just got easier with It’s a Gift! by Gabriela Keselman. The animals around Little Duck’s pool of water are all in a tizzy: Beaver hasn’t put on his hat, so the sun is burning his head; Squirrel has lost her nuts and has nothing to eat; Bear’s water jug tipped over and he has nothing to drink; and Mouse doesn’t have a pencil and can’t write down his poem. In a selfless act of friendship, Duck shares what he has with his friends, and they repay the favor when it’s time.

This is a lovely story that teaches children to think of others. Duck shares what he has even when it means his enjoyment is impacted. It’s an interesting concept that he shares to the point where he is left with absolutely nothing. I didn’t get why Duck couldn’t just share some of what he had or let the friend borrow something instead of giving it up entirely.

It’s still a nice story with a sweet message that is made even more meaningful by the delightful illustrations by Nora Hilb.

Rating: :) :) :) :)

Age Range: 3 and up
Grade Level: Preschool and up
Hardcover: 28 pages
Publisher: Cuento de Luz (May 13, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 8415784929
ISBN-13: 978-8415784920

 

I received a copy of this book from the publicist. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

The Gardener’s Surprise by Carla Balzaretti

The Gardener’s Surprise  is a unique, beautiful story about one man’s passion for flowers and staying true to yourself.

Andrew is a msurpriseechanic repairing old freight trains and not making a lot of money. He and his family live in a tiny house where his love of gardening has filled that tiny home with beautiful flowers. One day, Andrew is offered a new job that pays much better and will provide him a new home and enough land to plant a large garden. It sounds wonderful, but this new job is full of surprises.

I love the idea behind this story, but I’m struggling with it too. The author has built a story that finds Andrew working at a place he’s opposed to and doing something about it. In this case, SPOILER AHEAD: instead of loading bombs on to war planes at his new job, he fills them with flower seeds to spread his collection in the countries far away that had declared war on each other. A nice concept, but I think it might lead to some unwanted questions–even from the youngest age group. No one wants war; but neither do we want war planes loaded with flower seeds if someone is in danger. I do believe, however, that the focus of staying true to your beliefs is an important one.

The pastel illustrations by Sonja Wimmer are stunning. I will definitely be on the lookout for more of her work. Combined with the lovely story, it’s an eye-catching and special book.

Rating: :) :) :) :)

Age Range: 5 and up
Grade Level: Kindergarten and up
Hardcover: 24 pages
Publisher: Cuento de Luz (May 13, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 8415784600
ISBN-13: 978-8415784609

Book of Dreams by Sylvie Michaud

Book of Dreams coverAn adorable bedtime story awaits you and your child in Book of Dreams, part of the Ringtail Family series by Sylvie Michaud.

Baby Raccoon asks his mama and papa why every cloud is a different shape. Responding that clouds are pictures in the sky to help us dream, Mama and Papa share with Baby the different things they dream about when they see certain types of clouds. This lulls Baby right to sleep and into dreamland.

Short, sweet, and charming are all words to describe this lovely picture book. Slowly flowing prose and pastel colored illustrations help your little one settle down for the night and fill her head with beautiful visions for a peaceful night. I love the way Michaud’s descriptions paint pictures for little ones that are complemented by the lovely artwork. Probably more description than usually found in a picture book, but it works well here. This is definitely a book I’ll be saving for my future grandchildren.

Rating: :) :) :) :) :)

Paperback: 24 pages
Publisher: Crafty Canuck Inc. (March 28, 2012)
Language: English ISBN-10: 0978295587
ISBN-13: 978-0978295585

File Size: 3020 KB
Print Length: 21 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: Crafty Canuck Inc. (March 13, 2013)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English
ASIN: B00BTPBX0Q
Purchase at:
Amazon soft cover: http://www.amazon.com/Book-Dreams-The-Ringtail-Family/dp/0978295587

Amazon digital: http://www.amazon.com/Book-Dreams-The-Ringtail-Family-ebook/dp/B00BTPBX0Q

B&N soft cover: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/book-of-dreams-the-ringtail-family-sylvie-michaud/1110202903

 

I purchased a copy of this book for my Kindle. The publisher paid me to promote this book with a virtual book tour through Pump Up Your Book. That fee did not include a review. This review contains my honest opinions, which have not been compensated in any way. Book of Dreams banner

Interview with Stephanie Ward, Author of Wally, The Warm-Weather Penguin

Steph ProfileStephanie M. Ward is the author of the children’s book, Wally the Warm-Weather Penguin. Stephanie has been writing in various forms over the last 20 years. Most notably she spent over 15 years in PR and Marketing at Amazon and Fujitsu writing everything from press releases to white papers, executive bios to product blurbs. Stephanie’s wanderlust finally got the best of her and she spent a year traveling across all seven continents. It was then that she decided to focus on writing stories for children about amazing places around the world. Stephanie currently lives in Sydney, Australia with her husband and young son.

Author Website & Blog –  http://www.stephaniemward.com

Facebook Fan Page – http://www.facebook.com/wallythewarmweatherpenguin

Twitter – http://twitter.com/stephmward

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Spokane, Washington on the west coast of the U.S. but left for college in California and have been living in various places around the world ever since.

When did you begin writing?

As a child I loved to read and write and in school I excelled in English classes. Not surprisingly, my professional work involved a lot of writing. Then in a break between marketing jobs, I started writing for an online travel magazine and contributed to the book Tana’s Habitat: The Ultimate Guide to Finding and Affording Your First Places. I started writing children’s stories on a year-long honeymoon traveling around the world and that’s when I decided that some day I wanted to be a writer. “Some day” came two years ago when I left the corporate world to focus on publishing Wally the Warm-Weather Penguin.

What is this book about?

Wally the Warm-Weather Penguin is the story of Wally, an Emperor Penguin from Antarctica, who is always cold and dreams of life on a tropical island. When Wally learns about the Galapagos Islands, he sets sail immediately and discovers an amazing world of tap-dancing crabs, racing hundred-year-old tortoises and diving birds with bright blue feet.

What inspired you to write it?WallyCover

Visiting Antarctica and being amidst Emperor Penguins in the icy conditions made me wonder why they didn’t just pack up and go somewhere warmer. A couple of months later, I was in the Galapagos Island and saw a colony of Galapagos Penguins and there was the story: What if an Emperor Penguin learned that he could live on a warm, tropical island?

The Galapagos Islands is an amazing place with so many unique plants and animals. In publishing Wally the Warm-Weather Penguin, I wanted to give back to the place that inspired the story. To that end, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of Wally the Warm-Weather Penguin is donated to the Galapagos Conservancy (galapagos.org) to support conservation efforts in the Galapagos Islands.

Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?

We took a fairly unique approach to publishing Wally the Warm-Weather Penguin and issued an ebook edition first. The full-color illustrations are arranged in a fixed format and optimized to be read on a tablet or computer, so each spread is perfectly laid out on any device. Once we learned how to create this layout, it was smooth sailing.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

Wally the Warm-Weather Penguin is available on Amazon websites worldwide.

Amazon.com: http://amzn.to/1q0qzoc

Amazon.ca: http://amzn.to/1t50d2w

Amazon.co.uk: http://amzn.to/1iYsY9o

Amazon.com.au: http://bit.ly/wallypenguin

Amazon.de: http://amzn.to/1lPKKjS

Amazon.es: http://amzn.to/1iYtkNf

Amazon.fr: http://amzn.to/1lPL8i8

Amazon.in: http://bit.ly/wallypenguinINDIA

Amazon.it: http://amzn.to/1lPLk0Z

Amazon.co.jp: http://amzn.to/1jVLiFy

Amazon.com.br: http://www.amazon.com.br/dp/B00JN79R0K

Do you have a video trailer to promote your book?  If yes, where can readers find it?

Yes. I created a “teaser trailer” before Wally the Warm-Weather Penguin was published. It’s available on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=apbBIngs4Wk.

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

Write your story. If your story can’t be defined in a specific genre or written in the traditional format, there are many options for authors to get a book into readers hands. I have met some talented indie authors whose wonderful children’s books are longer than the 1000 word maximum that an agent will accept for review. And I recently read a fantastic novella that is the perfect length, but in traditional publishing may have been expanded or reduced to a short story or looked over completely due to the number of pages. It’s a whole new world in publishing today, so don’t worry that your idea doesn’t “fit”, just write your story!

What is up next for you?

Currently, I’m working on a picture book version of Wally the Warm-Weather Penguin for older children. I hope to have this edition out by the end of 2014.

Beyond that, there are so many interesting (and warm) places that Wally wants to visit! I’ll be writing Wally’s next adventure in the coming months.

Winner of the Children’s Book Week Kid Lit Giveaway

CBW Kid Lit Giveaway Hop 2014 - Banner - FINAL

 

 

Congratulations goes out to Sarah M. the winner in our children’s picture book giveaway during the Children’s Book Week Kid Lit Giveaway. She picked up over $120 worth of children’s picture books. The winner has been notified by email and has 72 hours to respond before a new winner is selected.

Thanks to all who participated. I hope you’ll visit again soon.

The Box by Jo Linsdell

box

The Box by Jo Linsdell is filled with imagination. A young boy shares why his box is his favorite toy; transforming it into a football goal, a pirate ship, a race car and more.

What I’ve always loved about Linsdell’s children’s books is their simplicity and creativity. As a mom, she knows what young readers are looking for. She proves this once again with The Box. How often do parents joke that we buy our kids a bunch of toys for their birthday and they end up playing with the boxes? Linsdell truly gets into the heart of a child with this one. The adorable illustrations keep the reader focused on the boy and his magic box that he can transform into anything.

Preschoolers and parents will enjoy this book together.

Rating:  :) :) :) :)

Publication Date: Mar 15 2014
ISBN/EAN13: 1497344646 / 9781497344648
Page Count: 44
Binding Type: US Trade Paper
Trim Size: 8.25″ x 8.25″
Language: English
Colour: Full Colour with Bleed
Related Categories: Juvenile Fiction / Imagination & Play
ASIN: B00J91VBTA 

 

Purchasing links: 

Print

 http://www.amazon.com/The-Box-Jo-Linsdell/dp/1497344646

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Box-Jo-Linsdell/dp/1497344646/

http://www.createspace.com/4715488

 

Kindle 

http://www.amazon.com/The-Box-Jo-Linsdell-ebook/dp/B00J91VBTA

 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Box-Jo-Linsdell-ebook/dp/B00J91VBTA

 

http://www.amazon.ca/Box-Jo-Linsdell-ebook/dp/B00J91VBTA/

 

Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21569590-the-box

Author website: http://www.JoLinsdell.com

I received a free digital copy of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

Guest Book Review: Little Bird Lost by Steve and Kate Larkinson

bird

Paperback: 24 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (October 1, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1492762822
ISBN-13: 978-1492762829
Age group: 3-5

Five stars

Little Bird Lost by Steve and Kate Larkinson is the story of four little birds (baby swallows), discovered by Steve in the eaves of a bakery in south-west France. One of the little birds seems to have disappeared. Is he safe? Has he fallen out the nest? Can he be rescued? Do his parents know where he is? This delightful story in photographs (by Steve) and rhyming couplets (by Kate) will absolutely enchant readers aged 3-5, but actually, adults will also just love this little tale from the world of nature. What I especially enjoyed about this book is the beautiful photographs. I love children’s illustrations but the unique angle of actual images really struck me. Not only are they absolutely first-class and clear, but it is the perfect way to teach young readers about the real world of birds. Children are generally interested in animals and wildlife, and parents and relatives could use this delightful book as a springboard to other books involving wildlife. This is a great book for bedtime reading, and I would also encourage children’s libraries to include a copy. Children will enjoy the images as well as the captivating story. What a lovely start to getting your child interested in reading! As an added bonus, there is a charming little cartoon book video on YouTube to really round off an enchanting reading experience.

 

Purchase at http://www.amazon.com/Little-Bird-Lost-Steve-Larkinson/dp/1492762822

Reviewer’s bio: Fiona Ingram is an award-winning middle grade author who is passionate about getting kids interested in reading. Find out more about Fiona and her books on www.FionaIngram.com. She reviews books for the Jozikids Blog.

Children’s Book Week Kid Lit Giveaway Hop

CBW Kid Lit Giveaway Hop 2014 - Banner - FINAL
Welcome to the 2nd Annual Children’s Book Week Kid Lit Giveaway Hop, hosted by Mother Daughter Book Reviews and Youth Literature Reviews.
We are celebrating Children’s Book Week (May 12 to 18, 2014) by providing all of YOU, our loyal followers, with the opportunity to win fabulous children/teen’s books, gift cards, cash, or other prizes by hopping around to the 100+ participating blogs/authors listed below in the Linky List (see end of post). What better way to celebrate Children’s Book Week?

For this hop, here are the books I’m giving away to one lucky winner! This is more than $120 worth of FREE books!

Books by Liesbet Slegers:
springsummerteachersmeow

 

Books by Guido Van Genechten:

odd one out 1odd one out 2kai

 

Books by Anita Bijesterbosch and France Quatromme & Parastou Haghi

hatlullaby

Terms and conditions:

  • By entering, you confirm you are 18 years of age or older.
  • Contest open to residents of the United States only with a U.S. mailing address.
  • One winner will be selected from eligible entries.
  • Winner will be notified by email and have 72 hours to claim the prize before a new winner is selected.
  • Prize will be shipped via U.S.P.S.
  • This blog and its sponsors are not responsible for items lost or damaged in shipment.
  • VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.

Enter using the link to the Rafflecopter form below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…