Friday, September 8, 2017

Picture Book Review: Lola at the Library by Anna McQuinn Illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw

Who doesn't remember being a child and getting excited when it was that day of the week that you got to go to the library? Ok still is like that for me as an adult. That day of the week when I was a kid was Saturday. My mom who was also an avid reader would take me ever single Saturday and I always loaded up on books. I always took out the maximum amount that the library would let me and sometimes even convinced the one librarian to let me sneak in one or two more. 

Lola is up bright and early because today is Tuesday and that means she gets to go to the library. Lola loves the library and is ready to get a whole bunch of new books to read.

Let's admit it that all of us bibliophiles can totally relate to Lola. There is nothing more magical than a library/bookstore. All those books and worlds to explore or revisit. It just puts you in such a contented place. I loved seeing a younger child who is excited about reading but isn't one of those advanced readers like Matilda. She is just a normal little girl who loves to read. There is something refreshing in that as a lot of times book lovers are portrayed as reading "the classics" by age 3. Lola reads picture books and she especially reads the ones about things she likes like bears and shoes. 

The illustrations were wonderful and do a great job of portraying just how much Lola loves books. The rapt attention she during the story time reading is obvious.

My favorite part was after the library when her mother has a cappuccino and shares a spoonful of the foam. The reason is that it reminds me of when my stepdaughter was little. She loved it when my husband would give her spoonful of his coffee. She would beg for more. I don't drink coffee so there was none to be had from me. But she didn't mind having a sip or two of my tea. This part just brought up feelings of nostalgia for me.

5 out of 5 stars!

Picture Book Review: Patty's Pumpkin Patch by Teri Sloat

Ok so yes I know that TECHNICALLY it is not fall yet. But let's face it once you start seeing pumpkin spice flavored things on the shelves it is Autumn. So how could I not curl up with a cup of pumpkin spice chai tea and read this wonderful pumpkin themed book?

This rhyming book is all about a pumpkin patch. From the beginning of planting seeds to the end of the pumpkin picking season this book covers the seasonal lifespan of a pumpkin patch.

I really enjoyed this one. Not only was it a great rhyming book it also was an alphabet book. At the bottom of each page going from a-z were words related to animals/insects/plant-life you find in the pumpkin patch. 

This is suitable for toddlers and kindergarteners. I don't know that children much older than 5 or 6 would want to read this but for the younger set it is perfect. The illustrations are great and with the alphabet running along the bottom you can make a great activity out of having the child point out where that animal is in the picture. This is perfect for the fall/Halloween season. Now I want to munch on some pumpkin seeds.

4 out of 5 stars.

Picture Book Review: Swan Lake by Lisbeth Zwerger ; Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Ok so the cover of this book is what drew me in to wanting to read it. I'll admit I've never seen Swan Lake and only know the barest of details about it. So I kind of went into this book not knowing...well anything really other than it was a much beloved ballet.

A prince celebrating his birthday is told by his mother that he must get married. That night he and his friends hunt some swans that fly over head. The prince meets the most beautiful woman he has ever seen and learns that she is one of the swans who has been transformed by an evil sorcerer and only love can break the spell.

So at first I kind of didn't like the story. But I can't blame Lisbeth Zwerger for that as it is based on the ballet. I did some research after reading this and it is accurate to the play. So she can't be blamed for the parts that I didn't care for. The prince is only just turning 18 but his mother is upset that he isn't married yet. I guess back in 1877 if you were royalty and not married yet you were an old man. 

The best part about this book is the illustrations. My goodness!! They were AMAZING! As in I want to own this book (borrowed from library) just so I can keep looking at these pictures. They are so gorgeous and it is hard for me to pick my favorite. I love where the girls are transforming back into swans and I loved when the pages turn black for the fake Swan Queen. 

I love that the author found a way to include several of the different endings as the original play was worked and reworked several times and had has had multiple endings. She chose to go with the original happy ending and that works great especially considering this is a book for children. 

I am going to try and find other books by Lisbeth Zwerger because I cannot stress just how much I enjoyed her artwork. If you can find a copy of this please have a look because it is worth it just based on the illustrations alone.

5 out of 5 stars!

Picture Book Review: The Tale of Jemima Puddle Duck by Beatrix Potter

So after reading Peter Rabbit yesterday I decided to read another Beatrix Potter book and chose this one. I had never read this one before but had a vague recollection of my husband telling me he read this book to my stepdaughter and that there was something about the book that he didn't like. 

Jemima Puddle Duck is a simpleton who wants to lay some eggs. She comes across a fox who lets her lay her eggs in his feather filled woodshed. Will someone save from Jemima and her eggs from this crafty fox.

Hey, look yet another children's story where the fox is the bad guy. Though in this case with the stupidity of Jemima who would even be upset if the fox had eaten her.

Now then let's talk about that thing that I realized right away why my husband was shocked all those years ago....ummm yeah....uh...I can't even begin to say anything about it. I was rather shocked myself. This is a children's book but it take a very very VERY dark turn at the end. I honestly don't know how I feel about it.  Up until that end I was really enjoying the story. I loved all the way up till it mentioned the fox hounds. Knowing what I know of them I knew that (spoiler) this was the literally end for the fox. But I read on. Ok so the fox dies. But then the fox hounds eat her eggs. Then at the end she finally does have some babies but only 4 of them hatch.

Whoosh...I really really don't know how I feel on this. I still love love love the classic illustrations. I just don't know what I think of that ending. I think it might be a bit hard for children but it might even be harder for adults to process. As far as rating this I'm a bit stumped. This is a book that makes you think a bit and does do something to your emotions. Does that make it bad? Does making you face harsh realities make it inappropriate for a children's picture book? I don't think it does. Death is something that happens all the time and we can't just avoid it.

Sooo....I think I'm at 4 out of 5 stars on this one.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Picture Book Review: The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

Several years ago my mother gave my stepdaughter a box set of all the Beatrix Potter books. We never read all of them but did read a good portion of them. At my sister's baby shower I gave her those books (plus a bunch more of my stepdaughter's baby books). Little did I know but at that time I was also pregnant (I would have kept a few of those books for my son had I known). But you can't change the past and I certainly wasn't ever going to ask for them back. So I had to search out a new copy for my son.

Unlike his sisters Peter Rabbit is a naughty little bunny who doesn't listen to his mother. She tells him to keep out of Mr. McGregor's garden. Peter, after eating too much, ends up with a belly ache. In search of some parsley he is seen by Mr. McGregor and is soon on the run from him and lost in the garden. 

Peter Rabbit is so iconic. There are some literary figures that you can just mention by name and people immediately know what you are talking about. Our little rabbit is one of them. The illustrations are beyond charming and have that nostalgic feeling that draws you in. The theme is mature I wouldn't say it is something that children can't handle. After all children all over the world have been reading these books for well over 100 years. 

4 out of 5 stars!

Picture Book Review: Doctor De Soto by William Steig

So I had never heard of this book nor this author before. When I looked into other books he wrote I found out that he is the one who wrote Shrek. Though from what little (and I do mean little) research I've done the movie is very loosely based on the book. Either way that baby is getting added to my to be read pile. But this isn't about Shrek. This is about Doctor De Soto.

Doctor De Soto is a dentist. This mouse takes care of patients of all sizes. But his one rule is to not take dangerous patients like cats. One day a fox comes to his office with a bad tooth and begs Doctor De Soto to fix his tooth. Doctor De Soto agrees but what can he do to keep the fox from gobbling him up?

I really enjoyed this one. For some reason children's literature loves to make foxes out to be bad. Not all foxes are bad. It is just their nature just like wolves, cats, sharks etc. There is this idea that carnivores should just starve...anyway I digress. 

This was a cute story with Doctor De Soto coming up with a sly (like a fox) solution to keeping that fox from snapping him up in those mighty jaws of his. The illustrations were great and the length of this book is great for a bedtime story.

5 out of 5 stars

Picture Book Review: Miffy by Dick Bruna

As a child I had never read any of the Miffy books and I'm fairly certain that my awareness of them is only through the TV show (with that voice actor that sounds like Katey Sagal but is not Katey Sagal). I never watched the show as it was one of the ones my son had zero interest in but I've seen a minute or two here or there. 

When Mr. and Mrs. Rabbit wish to have a baby their wish is granted by a cherub. They name their little baby rabbit Miffy.

So this is really one of those books that had me say, "Eh, I don't get why this is such a classic." Please don't hate me if you really love this one. I did love the artwork but there were a few things that struck me in a way that pushed me towards not liking the book.

First off these are rabbits right? Cause uh if there is one thing we are taught about rabbits is that they like to make babies...lots and lots and lots of babies. So for them to only have the one and that it requires an angel? I don't know where in there I lost my ability to suspend my disbelief but I lost it.

Secondly, the obvious gender roles from a time gone by. The idea of the woman doing all the cooking cleaning and shopping (I do see the irony here as I currently fall in that role). Also they mention Mr. Rabbit working in their garden but he only grows flowers. So that means Mrs. Rabbit has to buy vegetables when she goes shopping. Does Mr. Rabbit have a job to pay for the vegetables? Why doesn't he just grow the vegetables himself if he loves to garden?

I'm in a real debate on rating this one. I'm probably at 1 1/2 stars but do I bump it up or down? When in doubt bump it up so 2 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Picture Book Review: Blue's Rainy Day Music by Ronald Kidd

My son never really got into Blues Clues. He would watch it but it wasn't his favorite. My stepdaughter however adored the show when she was little and had several books and toys. Is Blues Clues even still on TV? Well I remembered reading this book to my stepdaughter so I had to go digging through the closet and into an old box filled with the books from when she was little to find it. Rainy days call for rainy themed books after all.

It is raining out and the sound of the rain is almost musical. Steve Blue and Magenta form a band called the Squeaky Cleans. Can Steve figure out Blue's Clues for what instrument she wants to play in the band?

Yeah, so after rereading this I was reminded just why it is buried in a box in a closet and not on a shelf of my son's books. This was almost painful to read. It was nice that it followed the format of the show and I could almost hear Steve's voice in my head. But ugh it reminds you of the almost mind numbing simpleton like nature of Steve. The artwork is on par with the show and if your child is a fan of the show they most likely will enjoy this book (again is it still even on air?).  Back in the box in the closet with you book!

For me this is a 2 out of 5 but for a child that is a fan of the show I can see it bumping up to a 3 or 4 out of 5.

Picture Board Book Review: Rainy Day by Janet Morgan Stoeke

So it is a rainy Wednesday and it is national read a book day. So I just made myself a large mug of vanilla chai tea with extra cream and have decided to catch up on some of my picture book reading. Today's theme is RAIN! 

It is raining out and the hen Minerva Louise is stuck out in it and must find herself some shelter.

I have never read the Minerva Louise books before but, after reading this little gem I'm going to seek out more of them! This was incredibly short. Like short short. Like this is the perfect book for the wee itty bitty ones. Despite the brevity of this book I had an honest out loud laugh. Minerva Louise decides to take shelter under a lamb and it had me laughing more than any board book has before...come to think of it this might be a first. Normally, I don't care for board books. They are designed for baby's and well...they can be boring. But not this one!

I LOVED this! It has such great illustrations that I went back twice (again only a few pages long) to look at them all over again. I also loved that little spark of humor that was conveid in such few words but with a perfectly matched illustration. This is perfect for a baby and mom and dad wont mind reading this one over and over again. This has gone straight to my favorites shelf and I will be seeking out more books by this author. 

A well deserved 5 out of 5 stars!

Classic Picture Book Review: Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey

This is one of those classic picture books that I've heard of but have never read before. It seems that it  had a huge presence in the lives of many children and they look back on this one with fond nostalgia. I came into this book only with the recognition have having seen the cover countless times but no knowledge of what the book was about. 

Mr. and Mrs. Mallard look fly all over Boston looking for a place to build a nest and have a family. Along the way they make friends with police officer Michael.

Ok maybe it is because I didn't read this as a child but well...I kind of didn't enjoy it that much. I loved the illustrations especially the one with the little duckling who was staring up at the fly. But the story itself was VERY dated. Maybe if I were from Boston and could recognize the landmarks I'd have enjoyed it more.

As for the datedness of the story...weeeellll... I was not to happy with the idea of father duck running off for a week while mother duck is left to care for the babies. The mother duck has to teach her large brood of ducklings how to swim and other things before they make the dangerous trek to where their father is. Crossing busy roads several times. But that's ok because apparently cops have no problem constantly stopping traffic to let a mother duck and her ducklings slowly waddle by. 

So uh yeah...This just wasn't for me and I don't mean to offend those that grew up loving this book. But I don't see this going on my bookshelf of books to reread. Again the illustrations are wonderful and  I don't regret reading it (it is on the 1001 books list) but I don't ever plan on reading it again. 

This is just a 2 out of 5 star read for me.

Book Reread Review: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

Ok so I actually finished this one over a month and half ago. But as I was forced to take another short break from blogging (more diabetes related complications) I never got to post my review. I'm not new to the Harry Potter world and have made no secret of my love of it nor that there was a time that I refused to read the books. (I'm a hufflepuffer by the way).

This is one that again I'm not going to summarize because you either have read the books or you never will. But seriously if you haven't what is wrong with you? No, really? Even I gave in and read them and I was stubborn as could be about not wanting to read them. Pick up the first book now. Go on, I'll wait...

This is probably my least favorite of all of the Harry Potter books. I've had to think long and hard on what it was that I don't like about the book. I think for me it is poor Ginny. I wont give anything spoilerish away (but seriously if you are reading this and haven't read the books...why?!?! Go read them!). I just felt so bad for her and cringe over what happens.

It is nice to get back to the castle where they area all a little bit older even if they are not always a bit wiser. Dobby is a great addition to the books. I know some people find him annoying but I always found him sweet and I love his loyalty (he is a Gryffindor for sure). We also get to learn more about Hagrid's past and why he was kicked out of Hogwarts. We are also introduced to one of my favorite characters...Arthur Weasley. His fascination with us muggles delights me as much as we delight him.

This one is 4 out of 5 stars!

YA Book Review: Fatal Secrets by Richie Tankersley Cusick

So there was a period of time from about 1989-1996 where I was deep into reading YA books. I was also starting to branch out into adult books but the majority of my reading was YA. YA in the 90s was different from today's YA. Back then only pre-teens and teens read YA. Now it is widely accepted for adults to read YA. But once you hit a certain age it was creepy to be seen in the YA section of the bookstore/library. I lived for authors like R.L. Stein, Christopher Pike, Diane Hoh, L.J. Smith, and the Queen of my favorite horror with romance was Richie Tankersley Cusick. 

Fatal Secrets is about Ryan and her recently deceased sister Marissa. Ryan is haunted by the day that her sister fell through the ice. In fact she begins to see and feel things that has her starting to think she is going crazy. Is Marissa back from the dead or is someone trying to find out the secret that Marissa told her moments before she died?

Ok so this was one of my all time favorite books when I was a teen. I'm pretty sure I read it at least 20 times. This and her other book Teachers Pet were read so many times I had long lost the covers to the books. Yesterday my son went back to school and feeling the nostalgia of a time gone by I decided to pick up the book. It has probably been about 20 years since I last read this book. The book hasn't changed but apparently as an adult I have. 

I still enjoyed parts of the book. The relationship between Jinx and Ryan still is as goofy smile inducing as it ever was. Quite honestly that was always my favorite parts of the book. I mean the interaction between the two of them. I always imagined Jinx to look like Christian Slater (still do apparently). 

What did change for me now is the aggravation over the adults; specifically Ryan's mother. Now as a mother I can't imagine going through the loss of a child but her reaction and the way she ignored her other daughter bothered the heck out of me. I'd be holding my remaining "baby" all the tighter. I'd be more paranoid about her going out. Instead, Ryan's mother practically forgets she exists till (spoiler) she thinks Ryan tried to kill herself.

The best thing is that I thought I remembered everything in the book. But NOOOPE. I forgot who one of the bad guys was. And quite frankly it surprised me and it was nice to get that little twist at the end. 

When I was a teen this was a 10 out of 5 stars. But now as an adult it lands probably more at a 3 1/2 out of 5 but for nostalgia reasons alone I'm bumping it up to 4 out of 5 stars

Monday, September 4, 2017

Chapter Book Review: Magic Tree House- Dinosaurs Before Dark by Mary Pope Osborne

So two weeks ago I get a text message from
my son's new teacher. She let me know that my son had to read a book over the summer. As he has several learning disabilities he is in special education classes. So she wanted all her students to read a book on their level. This is hard as my son doesn't want to read "baby books" but has a rough time with chapter books. He has read a few of Dav Pilkey's books but I wanted him to branch out a bit. So I decided we should give the Magic Treehouse books a shot.

Brother and Sister, Annie and Jack, find a tree house filled with books. Jack makes a wish that has them suddenly whisked back to the time of the dinosaurs. Will they find their way home before dark?

This was a fairly easy to read book though the names of the dinosaurs did trip up my son. He had a fairly easy time keeping up with what was happening in the book and did ask some questions (like what was a magnolia). The chapters were not overly long so it made it easy to read one or two at a time without him becoming overly bored/tired. When I asked him if he liked the book he told me he wasn't sure. I think this had more to do with his problems communicating emotions than having to do with the book itself.

For me I found the book to be fun. I was too old when these books first came out but I have been aware of their popularity. My stepdaughter never read them and this was my first time reading one. I enjoyed the simplicity of it with it not being bogged down in descriptions and world building. It is good for children who are just starting to transition to chapter books. With only 10 chapters it is easy for them to manage.

I look forward to reading more books in the series and hope my son will join me in reading them. 
3 out of 5 stars.

Friday, July 7, 2017

SOR Picture Book Review: And To Think I Saw It on Mulberry Street by Dr. Suess

So apparently this was the very first Suess book. Published nearly 80 years ago it is a classic indeed. I had never heard of this book before. My stepdaughter was cleaning out her room at her mother's house and brought my son a giraffe that she was given at Easter. Apparently, that giraffe had to do with this book so my son wanted me to read the book to him.

Normally, right here I would give a synopsis of the book but there is a more pressing issue I have to get into. So the copy I read to my son was an old one. As in it was as it was originally written. I wish I had known that there was a not so minor change made back in the late 1970s. I had sat down and was reading the book to my son while my husband sat across from us playing a game on his iPad. All the sudden I came to a part in the book that I read and after I read it I hesitated for a half a second before quickly moving along.

You see I came to something that shows the blatant racism you would find in the 1930s. I had just read the word "chinaman" to my son. I was horrified and couldn't even look at the corner of the page where I just knew there was going to be a horrible caricature that I did NOT want him looking at. I quickly showed him the man with a long beard in the middle of the page praying he had not looked at the picture on the left-hand side.

Suess had agreed to change the wording to "Chinese man" and the drawing was changed to be less stereotypical. I still haven't looked at that picture but I know that the man was yellow in color. My husband and I discussed it afterward. We both were kind of not sure how to handle the situation. Do I have a discussion with my son? Do I just let it go and hope he didn't absorb any of it?

In the end, we decided to let it go as my son is special needs and right now this is a discussion that he does not have the capability to understand. But we have put it on our list of future discussions to have with him.

As far as rating this book it was an OK book up until that point. I just can't reconcile what I read. There is also a bit in there which ticked off my inner feminist but nowhere near as much as that racist moment. I understand that at the time it was considered perfectly normal but I'm a modern person and I can't just ignore something like that. I won't ignore something like that.

So I'm sorry but this Suess book is a 0 out of 5 stars for me.

SOR Book Reread Review: Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone by J.K. Rowling

When the Harry Potter books first came out I refused to read them. Yeah, I know some of you are probably thinking what the heck is her problem. Well, back then I had a thing about reading books with lots of hype behind them. I couldn't handle the disappointment when they didn't live up to the hype. It was even worse than when a movie doesn't live up to the hype. Thankfully, at some point, I got over it and gave the books a chance and soon I was a Potterhead waiting in line at midnight for that next book.

I won't bother giving a synopsis because quite frankly if you don't know the plot by now or haven't read the books you most likely never will. Confession time by the way...I've read this first book more times than I've read any other book. I've lost count but we are up in the double digits by now.

Hogwarts is like coming home for me. I read the first couple of books at least once or twice a year. It is the book equivalent of chicken soup. When everything else in my life is falling apart I can pick up the first Harry Potter book and fall right back into the world I so wish I was a part of. 

Don't get me wrong these are not perfect books and the more I read them the more I see the problems and failures of logic. But I can ignore all of that. I love these books and have gotten over the guilt I feel when I decide to read it over again versus reading a new book. Because, what is the point of having a favorite if you can't reread that favorite over and over and over and over again?

This will always be 5 out of 5 stars.

Friday, June 30, 2017

SOR Picture Book Review: When a Wolf is Hungry by Christine Naumann-Villemin Illustrated by Kris Di Giacomo

You can always seem to rely on *Netgalley to have some of the cutest and original picture books. I wasn't disappointed by this SOR read!

Edmund Bigsnout has a big craving for a rabbit. But not just any he wants city rabbit. Edmund, however, encounters the rabbit's neighbors. He is forced to go back and forth from his home to the city as each neighbor mistakes him for a new neighbor.  Each one borrows the items he has brought in order to eat the rabbit. 

EEEK!! I LOVED this! First, the story was adorably funny. Edmund didn't want any of the neighbors to catch on so he willingly lent them his items like a rope, pot, and chainsaw. I found myself actually laughing out loud when I read this.

The illustrations are awesome as well. The texture detail is great. I loved the high heeled shoes on the turkey and the tuxedo that Edmund wore. The drawings are sure to keep the interest of readers of all ages and both adults and children will find the story itself amusing.

5 out of 5 stars!!

*I recieved a free ecopy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion. This in no way influenced my review. 

Thursday, June 29, 2017

SOR Children's Book Review: The Enormous Crocodile by Roald Dahl Illustrated by Quentin Blake

I grabbed this from a pile of books I've had since my own childhood. Roald Dahl was always a favorite of mine as a kid so it is always a delight to go back and reread the books I read as a kid. This is on the 1001 book list and being read for SOR.

Enormous Crocodile is a vile evil huge greedy croc. This nasty crocodile has plans to eat some nice plump children. Despite being admonished by several animals he meets on the way he isn't deterred. However, these animals come back later to stop each and every single one of his dastardly plans to eat up a child or two.

I honestly didn't remember much about this book from my childhood so I don't think it was one of my favorite of his. But I do know I read it at some point since I own the book. But I guess 30 some years later it is understandable that I don't remember it. 

The illustrations are the very recognizable ones that you see through most of Dahl's books and that is very comforting. The ever present humor in them and the nostalgia makes me smile.

The story itself is funny and I love that as always Dahl doesn't candy coat things for children. He knows that they like gruesome horrible things but he does it with his unique style that makes it acceptable for kids to read but still gives a bit of a naughty delight. 

3 out of 5 stars

SOR Picture Book Review: Little Detectives At School: A Look and Find Book Illustrated by Baretti

I saw this on *Netgalley and thought it looked like a nice book to check out. Since I don't want to just read fiction books for the summer this gave a nice change up.

Follow along the school year and find as many hidden objects as you can. How many did you find?

For those of us who grew up reading Highlights magazine, we all know the very first page every single one of us would go to. The hidden object one of course! There was nothing worse than being at the doctor's office only to find some parent handed another kid a pencil so that kid could ruin the fun for all the other kids. 

This one is not an overly complicated one so it is perfect for the toddler set. Older children will find it too easy but hit the right age group and they will love it. In fact, because this is meant for the youngest of children I loved it even more as most hidden object books seem to cater to school aged children. This is also a good one for special needs children. The book also encourages counting, color recognition and at the end has extra activities so the children can go back through the pages and try and find more items. 

The drawings were great and even as an adult I enjoyed finding the objects simply because the illustrations were such a delight. There is something to look at on every inch of the page.  

5 out of 5 stars

*I received a free ecopy from Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion. This in no way influenced my review.

Harry Potter Moment of the Week

My First Harry Potter Moment of the Week! This week we were asked if we could save ONE character who would it be.

This is a tough one and I know the obvious answer that a lot of people would give is Fred. But honestly, for me it is Hedwig. She had such a distinct personality but she was loyal. Her character shown through and it made me so sad when she died. 

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

SOR Picture Book Review: Argyle Fox by Marie Letourneau

I've been eyeing this book on *Netgalley for a while now. I knew I had to read it this summer as I have a huge love of foxes. There is just something so adorably cute about them.

Argyle Fox just wants to go out and play. But on this Spring day, it is extra windy. Everyone keeps telling him he can't play the things he wants while it is so windy and sure enough the wind ruins all his fun. Defeated he returns home but Mama Fox tells him not to give up and to think hard about what he can play in the wind. Using his creativity he manages to create the perfect windy day fun time activity.

Oh my goodness, this book was cute and fun. I love that Argyle Fox was so determined to have fun. He really reminds me of my own son. Strong willed and angry at what he can't control. But he overcomes it and has fun creating something with his own hands.

The artwork was drool worthy. My favorite thing about picture books is the artwork and this one didn't disappoint. The details on Mama Fox's sweater and even the mailbox just made this book for me. This is the kind of book you read over and over again and just stare at the wonderful drawings. 

5 out of 5 stars!

*I received a free ecopy from Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion. This in no way influenced my review.

SOR Picture Book Review: Benji and the 24 Pound Banana Squash by Alan Fox Illustrated by Eefje Kuijl

I saw this book on *Netgalley and fell in love with the cover so I just had to go ahead and add it to the pile of books I'm reading this summer

Benji saved some seeds last year from a banana squash and has waited a very long time to plant them. Over several weeks and months he lovingly tends to his plant till finally, it is ready to be picked and eaten. 

This was a cute book and I can see many children enjoying it especially those who are interested in plants and gardening. I like that it was a boy who was doing the planting as way too often our society seems to think of gardening as a girl thing. 

I'll be honest I've never had banana squash before and after reading this book I had to look up some recipes and I think I very well may give it a go!

The highlight of this book though is the illustrations. They are gorgeous and there are so many great little and hidden details. Among my favorites was the mouse lounging on a pillow while eating berries. 

4 out of 5 stars.

*I received a free ecopy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion. This in no way influenced my review.

SOR Picture Book Review: The Duck in the Gun by Joy Cowley Illustrated by Edward Sorell

First off there are apparently at least two different versions of this book. By versions I mean the illustrations. The one I read was illustrated by Edward Sorell. The other version is illustrated by Robyn Belton. Second I had never heard of this book before but it was on the 1001 list so I had to check it out for SOR.

A general and his men are off to war. As they get ready to fire their gun (a cannon) at the town they discover a duck in the gun. The duck refuses to leave as it has a nest full of eggs it is sitting on in the gun. The general carrying a white flag visits the town to ask for the use of their gun. While both sides wait for the duck to leave the giant gun the men do work for the town and the general gets to know the prime minister's daughter.

Ok, why oh why has no one told me about this book before. No Seriously! Why!?! This book was AMAZING! The humor in it was great and I found myself laughing which had my husband asking me what was so funny. In the end, I ended up reading the story to my husband and son to their delight. I tried doing a french accent but failed miserably at it.

The ink drawings were so charming and reminded me so much of books I read in my childhood that were hand me downs from my sister. It also reminded me of some of the Saturday morning cartoons like the hunka cheese advert...if you grew up in the 70s and 80s you are probably singing it right now.

So now listen to me if you have not read this book GO NOW and read it! If you can't find a copy at your local library you can borrow an e-copy through I loved this book so much I'm now determined to find a permanent copy for my collection of children's books.

A solid 5 out of 5 stars!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

SOR Picture Book Review: The Elephant and the Bad Baby by Elfrida Vipont Illustrated by Raymond Briggs

So here is a SOR book that I have never read before but is on the 1001 children's book list. What sold me on reading it was that it was illustrated by one of my all time favorites Raymond Briggs.

One day an elephant encounters a bad baby and takes him all through town. All along the way, the elephant swipes treats for both himself and the bad baby. However, at no point does the baby say the word, please. Chasing behind them the whole time is an ever growing following of shop owners that they stole from.

For me, the story was a bit weird. The elephant had no problem stealing but had a problem with the baby not saying the word, please. I suppose that he had his own moral code. Also one has to wonder if the shop owners told the mother about what the elephant and bad baby did. 

What made this book was the illustrations. I know I'm biased as I'm a huge fangirl for Briggs but really the drawings make this book. My favorites were when all the shop owners run into the elephant's rump and the HUUUGE pan that the mother uses to make pancakes.  

So the story line is more like a 2 star for me while the drawings are a 4 star. I'm in a debate on where I fall overall on this book. So I'll split the difference

3 out of 5 stars

SOR Picture Book Review: Pig's Eggs by Elizabeth Partridge Illustrated by Martha Weston

Another SOR book found on I had never heard of this book but found it when I searched for a book with pigs (cause uh, who doesn't love cute little pink piggies?!?).

Pig and Hen are the best of friends and spend most of their time together painting. One day Hen fails to show up and when Pig visits her he finds her sitting on a nest full of eggs. When Hen goes out to get to herself Lunch Pig is bored. But soon he finds a way to entertain himself by painting Hen's eggs. When the eggs hatch the chicks are as colorful as the shells that Pig painted.

Despite the Easter colored eggs this was not an Easter themed book (though it certainly can be used at that time of the year). The illustrations were gorgeous and remind me why watercolors are my favorite type of paintings in picture books. I love that both Hen and Pig have a healthy love of painting and that they bond and connect over it.

I loved that Hen showed she was a protective mother without it being over the top. I also love that in the end Hen and Pig make sure that the little colorful chicks are included in their love of painting. Older generations passing on a love of art and creativity is a positive theme.

4 out of 5 stars.

SOR Picture Book Review: Peppermint By Dorothy Grider Illustrated by Raymond Burns

Here it is my first SOR book review. For this one, I decided to pick something I've never heard of or read before. Thanks to I found this cute little picture book.

Peppermint is a scrawny little cat who was born with her siblings inside of a candy shop. Each little kitten is given a sweet confectionary name and sold off one by one till all that is left is Peppermint. Poor Barabara has no cat and the school will be doing a cat show. When Mr. Dobby gives her Peppermint she is excited and can't wait to show Peppermint to her mother.

This was a cute book. I loved the illustrations but what was my favorite part was the price of the kittens... only .15 cents. That's right for .15 you could have your very own fluffy candy named kitten. You can't even get a piece of gum for .15 these days. Oh, and you have to love the candy shop owner being named Mr. Dobby (hello, fellow Potterheads). 

This is a classic book with the type of illustrations and story you would expect. It wasn't a masterpiece but it was still very enjoyable and I would read it again.

4 out of 5 stars

Summer of Reading!!

Welcome to the Summer of Reading aka SOR. I've decided to spend this summer devouring as many Children's books as I can get my hands on. That means about 3-7 books a day!! Old, new, never read before, always wanted to read, childhood favorites etc! 

While this will mostly be picture books there may also be some early readers and middle-grade books. I'm so excited and looking forward to this. Over two months of reading should guarantee that I'll find plenty of books to love and cherish forever. I'll be using Netgalley,, my local library, Amazon free books and books I already own to find books to read. 

Got any books you think I should read? Some childhood favorites or newer favorites? Are you an author or illustrator and have a review copy of your book you'd like me to review? Let me know in the comments or send me an email. Requests and suggestions in no way influence my reviews and I'm always honest about what I like or don't like about a book.

Books Read: 9

1. Peppermint- June 27, 2017

2. Pigg's Eggs- June 27, 2017
3. The Elephant and the Bad Baby June 27, 2017
4. The Duck in the Gun-  June 28, 2017
5. Benji & The 24 Pound Banana Squash - June 28, 2017 
6. Argyle Fox - June 28, 2017
7. Little Detectives at School- June 29, 2017
8. The Enormous Crocodile - June 29, 2017
9. When a Wolf is Hungry - June 30, 2017
10. Harry Potter and Sorcerers Stone- Read July 7, 2017

Monday, June 19, 2017

Where I've Been and Why it was All My Fault

Well hello, my little blog that I seemingly abandoned. But there is a more sinister truth. I was happily
chugging along with the April Blogging event. I had pictures and posts lined up I was excited and loved the theme I picked. Suddenly one day I felt great pressure on my chest and was having difficulty breathing. I laid down and told myself I just had to wait it out till my son was almost home from school then I'd give my hubby the call I was dreading to plead him to come home early and drive me to the ER. A few hours later I felt marginally better and chose to just ignore it. Yeah, stupid I know.

A day later I was still not feeling myself. So I went to my doctor who I admittedly hadn't seen since 2014. I, of course, got the scolding I was due. She ran an EKG and took my blood pressure. She did find anything out of the ordinary but prescribed my some meds and then talked to me about my diabetes....Several years ago I had gestational diabetes that eventually progressed to Type 2 a few years later. Yeah, I haven't um been taking care of it at all. As in candy, cakes, cookies, large bowls heaping full of pasta, french fries galore, white bread everywhere (despite the fact that I actually prefer rye). Well, you get the picture. It was a sugar and carb free for all. 

That free for all for over the last 3 years finally had caught up with me. I was in diabetic ketoacidosis aka DKA. My blood sugar right then? 501....It should have been in the 120s not in the 500s. Anything over 300 and you have to start checking for ketones in the urine. Looking back I was lucky that it took till now for this to happen. I mean how did I not go into DKA before this?!?! DKA can result in a coma or even worse death.

A trip to the hospital and a HUGE hospital bill later I've been home and doing my best to control my eating. I've had a few moments where I've been bad and spiked my BS. And they are still not in the range they need to be. Because my body has gotten used to being at a higher BS when I'm where I'm supposed to be it feels SUPER DUPER low but slowly I'm getting adjusted to it. I've been walking more and taking my meds and BS like I'm supposed to. 

This was a huge wake-up call for me. I hadn't taken care of myself for waaaay too long and now I have no other choice but to eat healthier and exercise more. I've already lost over 15 pounds (with over 100 more to go).  So the lesson here is never put off your health. Now that I'm back to myself I plan on blogging again.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

A-Z Blog Challenge - J is for Job

Hey kids why enjoy your youth while you can figure out what you'll be when you grow up! Ok so that was a little sarcastic especially since kids love to play grownup. A lot of the early Little Golden Books had only the daddies having jobs while mommy stayed at home cooking, cleaning, and taking care of baby. Little boys could be doctors, cowboys, firemen...anything they wanted. Ah times how they have changed. When you were little what did you want to be when you grew up?

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

A-Z Blog Challenge - I is for Illness

One of the scariest things for a child is having to go to the dreaded doctor. But when one is sick they must go. Of course Little Golden Books put out a bunch of books that are designed partly to ease children's worries. The thing to note of course is that the early books reflect a time when only men were doctors and women were nurses. Were you a kid that hated going to the doctor?

Monday, April 10, 2017

A-Z Blog Challenge - H is for Halloween

Confession time! Halloween is my all time favorite holiday. Not just cause it falls a few days after my Birthday. I love the fall and I love spookiness and I love how excited the kids get when Halloween rolls around. So here are some Little Golden Books perfect for when that time of the year rolls around. My stepdaughter used to own the Scooby Doo one and would beg us constantly to read it to her. Is Halloween one of your favorite hoildays?

Saturday, April 8, 2017

A-Z Blog Challenge - G is for God

As I stated before I'm agnostic (I don't judge those who are religious). But there is no denying that religion plays a large roll in Little Golden Books. So while I could have gone with another theme it didn't seem right to skip this one.  I can't say that I have read or owned any of these but I know that some were very popular. Did you own any of these?