Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Reading Without Walls #readingwithoutwalls


April is READING WITHOUT WALLS month. Hosted by Macmillan's First Second Books, Reading Without Walls, is "a month-long, nation-wide program to promote diversity in reading, inspired by National Ambassador for Young People's Literature Gene Luen Yang and his ambassadorial platform. Thousands of schools, libraries, bookstores, and comics stores are joining in to help celebrate Reading Without Walls." - quoted from First Second Books

The challenge is for readers to: 
  • Read a book about a character who doesn't look or live like you.
  • Read a book in a format you don't typically read -- graphic novels, poetry, audiobooks, plays.
  • Read a book about a new subject you don't know much about. 

Join in the reading fun! You can find more about Reading Without Walls here: http://read.macmillan.com/mcpg/reading-without-walls/

Be sure to follow the #readingwithoutwalls on social media.

Will you take the Reading Without Walls challenge? 

Friday, April 14, 2017

ON DUCK POND by Jane Yolen / Blog Tour: Guest Post & Giveaway #OnDuckPond


Welcome to Day #5 of the On Duck Pond Blog Tour!
To celebrate the release of On Duck Pond by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Bob Marstall (4/11/17), blogs across the web are featuring exclusive content from Jane and Bob, plus 10 chances to win a set of On Bird Hill and On Duck Pond !


The View from My Window by Jane Yolen
I can see our side garden from the room I write in, plus behind me a sliding glass door looks over a little copse of trees. Spring through fall, squirrels riot on the deck and do gymnastics on the railings. We have all kinds of birds throughout the year: cardinals, blue jays, a variety of sparrows, a Baltimore oriole that sings its heart out, lots of hawks, the occasional eagle, often a murder of crows feasting on squirrels who ventured to cross over the road. We have black bears who wander between my house and my daughter's, sometimes with cubs. A family of bobcats who love the rabbits. Skunk. Last fall a young moose. It's a veritable zoo out there.

ABOUT THE BOOK

From award-winning and NY Times bestselling children’s author of more than 350 books, Jane Yolen, and award-winning illustrator, Bob Marstall, On Duck Pond is the first sequel to the acclaimed On Bird Hill, which launched the children’s picture book series written for the esteemed Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the world authority on birds. 

In On Bird Hill, Yolen and Marstall took readers on a surreal journey with a boy and his dog, as they stopped, looked, and noticed things along their path—ultimately discovering the miracle of the birth of a baby bird. On Duck Pond continues the journey of the boy and dog story, this time in a new place—a serene pond, filled with birds, frogs, turtles and other creatures going about their quiet business. Their intrusion stirs the pond into a cacophony of activity, reaching climactic chaos, before slowly settling back to it’s quiet equilibrium.

This beautiful and enchanting sequel is sure to delight On Bird Hill fans and millions of readers and fans of Jane’s popular classics. 


About the Author: 


Jane Yolen has authored more than 350 books, including the Caldecott-winning Owl Moon, which every budding young ornithologist owns, You Nest Here With Me, which is a popular new favorite, and the New York Times bestselling series How Do Dinosaurs. Jane Yolen’s books have been translated into over 20 languages and are popular around the world. Janes husband, David Stemple, was both a well known bird recordist and a professor of computer science and he taught the entire family how to identify birds. Many of Jane’s books are about wildlife subjects, especially the winged kind. Jane lives in Hatfield, MA. Visit her online at janeyolen.com.

About the Illustrator: 



Bob Marstall is the illustrator of nine nonfiction children’s books, including the The Lady and the Spider, which sold over a quarter-of-a-million copies and was a Reading Rainbow selection. Bob has also been honored with an ALA Notable; an IRA Teachers’ Choice; a Smithsonian Magazine Notable Book for Children; and three John Burroughs selections.

In addition, two of Bob’s books are included in the New York Times Parent’s Guide’s “1001 Best Books of the Twentieth Century.” Bob Lives in Easthamton, MA. Visit him online at marstallstudio.com.

About the Cornell Lab
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a world leader in the study, appreciation, and conservation of birds. Our hallmarks are scientific excellence and technological innovation to advance the understanding of nature and to engage people of all ages in learning about birds and protecting the planet. birds.cornell.edu

ENTER TO WIN

  • One (1) winner will receive a set of both On Bird Hill and On Duck Pond -- a great Earth Day gift!
  • US only
a Rafflecopter giveaway

* * * * * * *

Stop by Life Naturally on Monday for Day #6 of the tour! 

Blog Tour Schedule:

April 10th – Word Spelunking 
April 11th – Mrs. Mommy BookNerd 
April 13th – Late Bloomer's Book Blog 
April 14th – Mundie Kids 
April 17th – Life Naturally 
April 18th – Chat with Vera 
April 19th – The Kids Did It 
April 20th –  Books My Kids Read 
April 21st – Marianna Frances

Thursday, April 13, 2017

VAMPIRINA AT THE BEACH by Anne Marie Pace / Book Review & Giveaway #VampirinaBallerina


By: Anne Marie Pace
Illustrated by: LeUyen Pham
Published by: Disney
Released on: April 4th, 2017
Ages: 2 & up 
Purchase from: Amazon | B&N
Add it to Goodreads
Rating: 4 Owlets
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review

When the summer moon is full, a beach trip is an epic way to spend the night.

With her signature poise, Vampirina and her clan gear up for a festive time at the beach. Keeping her ballet lessons in mind, Vampirina demi-pliés on a surfboard, leaps for a volleyball, and finishes each competition with style, even if she doesn't always come out on top.

Fans of Vampirina Ballerina will love her new adventure. When you combine fun characters, Vampirina, and trip to the beach, you're in a for a fun surprise! 

The best way to spend time at the beach is with friends and family. Vampirina's moonlight trip to the beach is full of fun, dancing, catching the waves, and playing games. This wouldn't be a Vampirina book without dancing! 

Whether you're a new fan to this lovable character and her book series, or a long time fan, the newest Vampirina book is one you'll be sure to love. This is one unforgettable beach trip readers will enjoy going on. 

ABOUT THE SERIES

Vampirina Ballerina
Oh, to be a ballerina! It’s a challenge for any little girl, but even more so if you happen to be a vampire like VampirinaFirst of all, you have to find a class that meets at night. Then you have to figure out how to perfect your form when you can’t see yourself in the mirror?  And then there’s wearing pink (not the most flattering of colors if you happen to be undead) and that nagging urge to take a little nip out of the other dancers. And worse of all… STAGE FRIGHT!!!

Vampirina Ballerina Hosts a Sleepover

Before Vampirina can host her very first sleepover there are a few things she must keep in mind: be polite and offer her guests food (like blood pudding); plan some games like scavenger hunt (but keep the clues simple so no one gets lost); and don’t forget to dance! Vampirina may be a little nervous at first, but by following a few simple rules she will host the Best Sleepover Ever.

Official Site + Social Media
Visit the Official Site
Follow Disney-Hyperion on Twitter and Instagram

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Anne Marie Pace (www.annemariepace.com) is the author of Vampirina Ballerina and Vampirina Hosts a Sleepover, and has had stories, poems, and articles for kids published in such magazines as Highlights for Children, My Friend, Wee Ones, and On the Line. She lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, with her husband and four teenagers.

ENTER TO WIN


Thank you to Disney-Hyperion for teaming up with us to host this awesome giveaway! One winner receives:


  • Vampirina Ballerina 
  • Vampirina Ballerina Hosts a Sleepover
  • Vampirina at the Beach
  • plus a branded beach ball and tumbler!

Open to US addresses only.
Prizing and samples provided by Disney-Hyperion.

Be on the look out for more/new Vampirina adventures with the premiere of the 'Vampirina' TV series coming to Disney Junior in '17.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

DRAGONS LOVE TACOS by Adam Rubin / Book Review & Giveaway #SaveTheTacos


Welcome to the next stop in the DRAGONS LOVE TACOS blog tour, hosted by Penguin. Today's stop is a fun one! I've got your check list for hosting a taco party for Dragons, as well as my review and a GIVEAWAY! First, here's a little bit about the book.

ABOUT THE BOOK


By: Adam Rubin
Illustrated by: Daniel Salmieri
Published by: Penguin
Released on: June 12th, 2014
Ages: 3-7
Purchase from: PenguinAmazon | B&N
Add it to Goodreads
Rating: 4 Owlets - We Enjoyed It
Book provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review

Dragons love tacos. They love chicken tacos, beef tacos, great big tacos, and teeny tiny tacos. So if you want to lure a bunch of dragons to your party, you should definitely serve tacos. Buckets and buckets of tacos. Unfortunately, where there are tacos, there is also salsa. And if a dragon accidentally eats spicy salsa . . . oh, boy. You’re in red-hot trouble.


Highly entertaining! I've heard so many great things about this book, and wish I hadn't waited so long to read it. Who would have thought that a story about tacos, dragons, and a taco party would be a hit. This book is down right hilarious. 

Who would have known that dragons love tacos. They love the kind of tacos my kids love. The kind without salsa. Trust me, if you read this story, you'll know why dragons do NOT like spicy salsa. If fact, you're going to be in big trouble if they eat a taco with salsa on it. Salsa aside, dragons a definitely fun party animals. Now I want to find a dragon or two and invite them over for a party.

An entertaining story with fun illustrations, this book is one that will hold even short attention spans. Perfect for toddlers on up, I can see why this book is a favorite among kids picture books. If you love dragons, tacos, and laughing, you need to read this book! 



TACO PARTY CHECKLIST


If you love dragons, tacos, and taco parties, keep reading. I'm going to tell you how all the things you'll need to have a fun taco party with dragons. After all, dragons love tacos, and parties, so why not combine both things. 

  1. First you're going to need to know a few dragons in order to invite them over. Though, I'm guessing if you don't know any and you made a sign that said TACO PARTY, DRAGONS INVITED, a few may show up.
  2. Second, wait, don't make the sign yet! If you make the sign and aren't ready for the party, the dragons will show up. 
  3. The first thing we have to do is get all the fixings for the tacos. Make sure you have taco shells, the taco meat, cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes. Do NOT forget dragons do NOT like spicy things, or spicy salsa. 
  4. DO NOT have spicy salsa or seasoning anywhere near your home.
  5. Get your party all set up. If you decide on a theme, decorate for it. Are you having a pool taco party, a costume taco party or just a fun taco party? 
  6. Remember, Dragons love parties. If you know of some dragons, send out invitations to them. If not, see step #1. 
  7. Next, you'll need to get the party set up. Get tables set up, and leave plenty of room for the dragons to fit. You don't need to worry about plates. Just leave huge piles of tacos on all the tables, plus any extra lettuce, cheese, onions and tomatoes you cut up, in bowls on each of the tables.
  8. Now you wait for the dragons to arrive.
  9. Once the dragons arrive, you're TACO PARTY can begin!
  10. Remember, NO SALSA! If you accidentally have salsa in your house, and the dragons find it, RUN. 
That's all you're need to remember to have a taco party with dragons. I highly recommend reading the book to get the best list. Adam knows how to throw the best taco party for dragons. Hmmm, maybe we should add inviting the author on the list, because he'll know how to help incase we need it. 



Don't miss picking up the sequel when it's out! Find out more and pre-order your copy of DRAONGS LOVE TACOS 2, The Sequel, here: www.dragonslovetacos2.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Adam Rubin is the New York Times best-selling author of a half dozen critically-acclaimed picture books including Secret Pizza Party and Robo-Sauce. He spent ten years working as a creative director in the advertising industry before leaving his day job to write full time. Adam has a keen interest in improv comedy, camping and magic tricks.

ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR

Daniel Salmieri has illustrated many fantastic picture books, including the New York Times bestseller Robo-Sauce. He grew up in Brooklyn, New York, constantly drawing and painting images of ninja turtles, dinosaurs, and fighter jets (not in the same scene...), and graduated from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

ENTER TO WIN

Enter for a chance to win one (1) of five (5) Dragons Love Tacos Book and Toy Sets (ARV: $17.99 each).

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on April 3, 2017 and 12:00 AM on May 1, 2017.  Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about May 5, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law. 

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TOUR SCHEDULE

Week One:
April 3 – Pirates n’ Pixie Dust – Taco Scavenger Hunt
April 4 – Margie’s Must Reads – Review + Recipe
April 5 – A Story a Day – Review + Taco Craft
April 6 – The Book Shire – Review
April 7 – Swoony Boys Podcast – Recipe + Taco Craft

Week Two:
April 10 – Ali’s Book Nook – Review + Recipe
April 11 – Mundie Kids – Review + Taco Party Checklist
April 12 – The Children’s Book Review – When You Invite a Dragon to Dinner…
April 13 – Reading is Better with Cupcakes – A World Without Tacos?!
April 14 – My Bookbloom – Review + Taco Activity

Week Three:
April 17 – As They Grow Up – Review
April 18 – The Book Nut – Taco Soup Recipe
April 19 – YA Book Nerd – Missing Taco Hunt
April 20 – Inspiration Laboratories – Dragons Love Tacos Birthday Party
April 21 – In Wonderland – Review + Taco Salad Recipe

Week Four:
April 24 – A Homeschool Mom – Review + Chili Pepper Experiment
April 25 – The Plot Bunny – Review + Recipe 
April 26 – No BS Book Reviews – Taco Craft
April 27 – My Little Poppies – Review
April 28 – Happily Ever Elephants – Review

Monday, April 10, 2017

HAPPY DREAMER by Peter H. Reynolds / Book Review & Giveaway #HappyDreamer



Hello and welcome to today's HAPPY DREAMER spotlight. I'm so thrilled to share my review for this inspiring picture book out from Scholastic, as well as team up with Scholastic to host a giveaway. First, here's a little bit about the book:


ABOUT THE BOOK

HAPPY DREAMER
By: Peter H. Reynolds
Published by: Scholastic 
Released on: March 28, 2017
Recommended for: Ages 4-8
Purchase from: ScholasticAmazon | B&N
Add it to Goodreads
Rating: 5 Owlets - We Loved It!
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review

In the same spirit as OH, ALL THE PLACES YOU’LL GO!, the beloved, worldwide bestselling creator of The Dot and Ish inspires readers of every age to find their own unique path to happy, and to always follow their dreams with HAPPY DREAMER. 

Picture book and creativity guru Peter H. Reynolds brings us a universally poignant celebration of the colorful spectrum of what it means to dream and the many ways to find happy!

While the world tells us to sit still, to follow the rules, and to color inside the lines, Happy Dreamer celebrates all those moments in between when the mind and spirit soar and we are free to become our own true dreamer maximus! In Peter's signature voice and style, this empowering picture book reminds children of how much their dreams matter, and while life will have ups and downs, he enlists readers to stay true to who they are, to tap into their most creative inner selves, and to never ever forget to dream big!


Peter H. Reynolds' latest inspirational book is a perfect gift for graduations, new babies, milestone moments, and any happy occasion throughout the year for any age!

"What kind of dreamer are you? The best way, of course, is to, "Just BE YOU." 


This book is happiness and inspiration wrapped up in one. HAPPY DREAMER spotlights all the ways someone can be a dreamer. There's no right or wrong way. Everyone can be a dreamer in their own way. Like each of us is an individual, so are our dreams. Paired with whimsical illustrations, this book's inspiring message is a great read for all ages.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Peter is a New York Times bestselling children's book author and illustrator of many books for children, including the Judy Moody series, written by Meghan McDonald; The Dot; Ish; Sky Color; and Allison McGhee's Someday, selling more than two million books in over 25 languages around the globe. In 1996, he founded FableVision with his brother Paul as a social change agency to help move the world to a better place by creating "stories that matter, stories that move." He lives in Dedham, Massachusetts, with his family.


MORE ABOUT NEW HAPPY DREAMER

TRAILER & ACTIVITIES
· Watch the Happy Dreamer trailer!
· Download the Happy Dreamer Guide, a fun kit complete with activities to share with your readers!

PETER H. REYNOLDS INTERVIEW
· Learn more in this podcast featuring the author!

OFFICIAL SITE + SOCIAL MEDIA
Visit the Official Site
Follow Scholastic on Twitter & Instagram
Like Scholastic on Facebook
#HappyDreamer


ENTER TO WIN 





HAVE HAPPY DREAMS! Let your mind and spirit soar at night! 
One winner receives:
  • Copy of Happy Dreamer
  • Doodle pillowcase

Open to US addresses only.
Prizing and samples provided by Scholastic.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, April 7, 2017

PRISONER OF ICE AND SNOW By Ruth Lauren / Blog Tour: Excerpt / Top 5 List & Giveaway


Welcome to the next stop on the PRISONER OF ICE AND SNOW blog tour, hosted by Bloomsbury. I'm thrilled to be apart of this blog tour. This book is so good. It's a great cross over for MG, and younger YA readers. Today's stop features my Top 5 Reasons to read this book, along with an excerpt from the book, and be sure to check out the giveaway at the end of the post. First, here's a little bit about the book.

ABOUT THE BOOK



By: Ruth Lauren

Published by: Bloomsbury
Released on: 4.4.17
Purchase from: Bloomsbury | Amazon | B&N
Add it to Goodreads

She'll do anything to break her sister out of prison--even get arrested on purpose.

When thirteen-year-old Valor is sent to jail, she couldn't be happier. Demidova's prison for criminal children is exactly where she wants to be. Valor's twin sister, Sasha, is serving a life sentence for stealing from the royal family, and Valor is going to help her escape . . . from the inside.

Never mind that no one has escaped the prison in centuries. Valor has a master plan and resources most people could only dream about. But she didn't count on having to outsmart both the guards and her fellow prisoners. If Valor's plan is to succeed, she'll need to make some unlikely allies. And if the plan fails, she and Sasha could end up with fates worse than prison.

This exciting middle-grade debut effortlessly melds an unforgettable protagonist, a breathless plot, and stunning world-building--and is impossible to put down.


TOP 5 REASONS TO READ THE BOOK

PRISONER OF ICE AND SNOW is such a fabulous read. I really enjoyed this book. It's a read that is great for younger YA readers, and MG readers alike. Per today's stop, I'm sharing 5 reasons why you should pick up this book and read it. 


1) It's a great story about a love between two sisters.


2) There's a lot of action, intrigue & betrayal (okay that's more than 1).


3) It's a story about courage, and proving someone's innocence.


4) The outcome of the story is not what I was excepting, and it's oh so good.


5) Not only is the story great, so is the world building and the characters.


I also have to add, that this book will make you wish there was a sequel, and that it was already in your hands. 



PRIASE FOR THE BOOK


"Prisoner of Ice and Snow is an exciting, fast-paced story, full of twists and turns. Valor is an engaging heroine who never loses courage, even when everything goes wrong. I was captivated from the first word to the last. This is a story readers will love again and again!" 

--Jennifer A. Nielsen, New York Times bestselling author of The False Prince

"Action-packed and full of heart, Prisoner of Ice and Snow is a riveting tale of betrayal, intrigue, and the love between two sisters. Valor's determination and the risks she takes to save her beloved twin will have you rooting for her from the very first page." 

--Aimée Carter, author of Simon Thorn and the Wolf's Den


READ AN EXCERPT

I slide my fully assembled crossbow onto the ledge in front of me. Across the square, the clock tower strikes eleven. The sun is high over the domes of the palace, picking out the blue, gold, red, and stark white of their patterns. A light dusting of snow sits on the bulb of each dome like sugar icing on buns. The queen takes the hand of one of her guards and steps up onto the wide rim of the fountain. The giant back hooves of the stone horse and the jets of ice glint as she walks beside them.
The queen’s family follows her onto the same wide stone brink Sasha and I used to play on until they are all raised above the people, facing a sector of the city. Prince Anatol is closest to me, the spot he stands in directly in line with my turret, as I knew it would be.
I try not to think about the time he offered me his hand when I fell from my horse. Still breathless, with a bruised leg and a crop of nettle stings, I had let him help me up. I let go of his hand as soon as I could. I’d been proud that my mother worked for his, that my family served his. It had felt strange to let him help me when he was a prince—like it should have been the other way around.
But some things are more important. I had to choose one of the royal family today, and my sister wouldn’t want me to aim at the princess.
Lady Olegevna approaches on horseback, her deep-purple cloak sweeping the ground, her entourage on smaller mounts. They ride around the outer rim of the fountain, the crowd cheering, waving, clapping. This alliance has been hard won.
My finger hovers over the trigger of my crossbow as I take careful aim at Prince Anatol. I tried to teach Sasha to shoot on my target in our garden when we were ten. She did her best, but she didn’t have the strength, and the bolt flew wide—straight through a pillowcase the housekeeper had hung on the washing line. Sasha’s shocked face made me giggle, and we both ran away to the orchard, laughing fit to burst.
I’m not aiming at a practice target now. The prince’s cloak is clasped at the throat with a golden fist, revealing the high-collared peacock-blue tunic he wears underneath. I’ve seen him in this apparel at a state function before—gold embroidery covers the front of it all the way up to the collar, which stands stiffly around his neck. As I steady my hands, lining him perfectly in my sights, he glances to his right and then yanks at his collar quickly before returning to waving at the crowd. If I wasn’t where I am right now, that might make me smile. He’s only a little older than I am, not yet fourteen.
The queen steps forward to address her subjects, and the crowd goes still and quiet. Little tremors pass all over my body. I tell myself they’re because of the cold and take a deep breath. This is the hour that I’ve been waiting for. This is the minute that I’ve planned in secret for three weeks.
I shift the aim of my bolt a fraction to the left, just past Prince Anatol’s shoulder, then I hold my breath, pray that he doesn’t move, and shoot.  


FOLLOW THE TOUR





ENTER TO WIN

Thank you to Bloomsbury, we have 1 copy of PRISONER OF ICE AND SNOW to giveaway! To enter, please fill out the form below:


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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

CHARLIE RIDES: PLANES, TRAINS, BIKES, & MORE! by Bob Bianchini / Book Review


By: Bob Bianchini
Published by: Abrams Appleseed
Released on: April 4, 2017
Ages: 5 & Under
Rating: 4 Owlets-We enjoyed It!
Purchase from: Publisher | Amazon | B&N
Add it to Goodreads
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review

Charlie loves things that go—planes, trains, bicycles, scooters, and even spaceships! He also loves to share in the fun of each mode of transportation with his dad. But, for Charlie, the best ride of all is when his dad swoops him up onto his shoulders for a piggyback ride! The first in a fresh, new board-book series takes the evergreen concept of transportation and gives it a tender, loving twist. Perfect for new dads and Father’s Day promotions, Charlie Rides captures a child’s love for transportation while also affirming that the quality time shared between father and son is what means the most.


We loved following cute Charlie on his adventures with his Dad. Whether on airplanes, spaceships or on boats, Charlie loves anything that go. This board book is a quick and fun read with a rhyming scheme that makes it an enjoyable story. The cute pictures remind us that among Charlie's adventures, spending time with Dad is the best one of all! 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Dinosaur Dance! by Sandra Boynton / Book Review



By: Sandra Boynton

Published by: Little Simon
Released on: August 30, 2016
Ages: All Ages!
Rating: 5 Owlets-We loved it!
Purchase from: Publisher | Amazon | B&N
Add it to Goodreads
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review

Classic Sandra Boynton, this book is just fun, fun, fun! The combination of silly dinosaur moves and subtle Boynton humor, that we all love, make this book a great addition to your Boynton library. I also loved that this simple board book was a great teaching tool for learning different types of dinosaurs and discussing colors. You can't be anything but silly when reading words like "Deedly Dee" and "Bompity Bomp" and that is why I loved reading this book with my kids.
I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. ~ Anna Quindlen

Good children's literature appeals not only to
the child in the adult, but to the adult in the child.
~ Anonymous ~