Thursday, June 30, 2011

Last day to enter!

Our giveaway ends tonight! So today is the last day to enter and send us those reviews. The contest ends tonight at 9pm EST. Winner will be announced either tonight or tommorrow (depends on how late my meeting goes tonight).

Go here or all the ways you can enter, and email your reviews to

Make sure you leave a way for us to contact you if you win.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Gilbert the Great by Jane Clarke & Charles Fuge

Title: Gilbert the Great
Author: Jane Clarke & Charles Fuge
Reviewer: Karen
Genre: Children's Picture Book
Rating: Like
Alerts/Warnings: None
Premise: "Gilbert, a great white shark, plays with Raymond, a tiny fish, every day. But who will Gilbert play with when Raymond's family moves away?" (King County Library System)
Opinions: This is a sweet little book about how its hard to watch a friend move away and how to make new friends. It was a fun book with a good lesson, but not one that my daughter seemed over intrigued by. She looked at it only one other time after reading it and then ran off (granted one of her favorite shows came on the television and may have contributed to the distraction).

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Ghost Ship by Mary Higgins Clark

Title: Ghost Ship: A Cape Code Story
Author: Mary Higgins Clark (Illustrated by Wendell Minor)
Reviewer: Karen
Genre: Children's Picture Book
Rating: Love
Alerts/Warnings: None
Premise: "While visiting his grandmother on Cape Cod, nine-year-old Thomas encounters a ship's cabin boy from centuries past." (King County Library System)
Opinions: I am a huge fan of Mary Higgins Clark's adult mystery novels, so I was intrigued when I learned that she had also written a children's picture book. I was especially excited as I have been to (and dearly love) Cape Cod and its history. As a result, I really LOVE this book, but I feel it is more for older children than toddlers. I read it to my three year old and both of us were fascinated by the incredible artistry of the pictures on every page, but each page also has several paragraphs of writing making it difficult for younger readers. However, it seemed that the pictures kept my daughter's attention enough that I was surprisingly able to read the entire story to her. I loved the actual story itself as well and could see how it would capture a young child's imagination. If you have a patient reader or one with a love of stories of sailors, shipwrecks, ghosts, etc., then I think you and your young reader will really enjoy this book.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Contest is ending soon!

June is quickly coming to an end. Which means our contest is coming to an end. There is still time to enter and send us those reviews. We still haven't gotten 10, so it is still a $5 gift card, but it doesn't take much to push it up to the next level. :) Also we are giving away a book. If you win you get to pick. We have some awesome choices. Almost all signed as well. So enter. It doesn't take long and you have good odds.

For all the ways to win entries go here.


PS Sorry for the lack of posts recently. My family has all been sick for the past 3 weeks. And really I haven't done much of anything.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Knuffle Bunny Free by Mo Willems

Title: Knuffle Bunny Free: An Unexpected Diversion
Author: Mo Willems
Reviewer: Karen
Genre: Children's Picture Book
Rating: Like
Alerts/Warnings: None
Premise: "While traveling with her family to Holland to visit her grandparents, Trixie once again loses her beloved Knuffle Bunny." (King County Library System)
Opinions: While Stephanie has read several of the Knuffle Bunny books before, Knuffle Bunny Free was my first experience with them. Released just this last year, this book is a great way to help kids learn that at some point they get bigger, and older, and can truly survive short periods of time with that special toy, blanket, etc. that they take wherever they go. If you have a child who is having a hard time letting go of that special something, this might be a great way to introduce them to the idea that they will survive and that they can keep that special item in their hearts and memories forever. The style of the book was very different from what I'm used to in my limited experience with picture books, but my three year old loved it (maybe because she has a very special bunny all her very own that goes almost everywhere with her).

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My Family Plays Music by Judy Cox

Title: My Family Plays Music
Author: Judy Cox (Author)/ Elbrite Brown (Illus.)
Reviewer: Karen
Genre: Children's Picture Book
Rating: Fabulous
Alerts/Warnings: None
Premise: " A musical family with talents for playing a variety of instruments enjoys getting together to celebrate." (King County Library System)
Opinions: My husband is a percussionist for the community band in our area and he loves to teach my daughter all about the instruments. I picked up My Family Plays Music at our library just randomly and it turned out to be all about a girl who plays different instruments to support each member of her family who plays different styles of music. This girl is a percussionist. My husband was so excited to have a book that teaches children about all the roles a percussionist plays. The beauty of this book is that my daughter literally wouldn't put it down. She read and reread it every day until we took it back. In fact, she took it to bed with her and would read it over and over again until she fell asleep, pointing out each type of instrument and saying what it was. I've never seen her so addicted to a book as this one. As such, I recommend this as an amazing, fabulous book and a great way to teach children about different styles of music and different instruments. Plus the style of illustration is so different and beautiful and it won the Corretta Scott King/John Steptoe award for new talent.

Jazzmatazz! by Stephanie Calmenson and Bruce Degen(Ills)

Don't forget to enter our contest. Go here for all the ways to enter.

Title: Jazzmatazz!
Author: Stephanie Calmenson and Bruce Degen (Illustrator)
Reviewer: Stephanie
Genre: Picture Book
Rating: Worship
Alerts/Warnings: None
Premise: When a piano-playing mouse slips inside a house to get warm, watch out! In no time he has a whole family, then a whole town, making music. They're drumming, fiddling, singing, dancing, and jazzmatazz jamming!

Stephanie Calmenson's sing-aloud words and Bruce Degen's eye-dancing pictures bring music to every page.

What kind of music will you make? (

Opinions: This was one of those randomly selected books from the library that I just threw in my bag cause the title appealed to me and the pictures looked cute. Little did I know how much we would read and love this book.

This bookstarts with a piano playing mouse and builds through the house until everyone inside and out of the house is singing along and making music too. Each animal or person has a visual shape and color and when all the music comes together so do all the colors and shapes. I love that as the words (which we chant/sing in a jazzy rhythm) build into a fun sound that is also so very visual. And usually we are all bouncing (alright dancing) by the end of the book. The illustrations are beautiful and the words are fun and it has a great rhythm.

We love this book. It is one of our all time favorites that we read over and over and over again. And the kids like it too. :)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Pajamas Anytime by Marsha Hayles and Hiroe Nakata (Ills)

Don't forget to enter our contest. Go here for all the ways to enter.

Title: Pajamas Anytime
Author: Marsha Hayles, Hiroe Nakata (Illustrator)
Reviewer: Stephanie
Genre: Picture Book
Rating: Love
Alerts/Warnings: None
Premise: You can't help but have comfy fun in pajamas all year round. And not just when you're sleeping! If January's snow closes school for the day or a February cold keeps you sofa'd from play, it's time for pajamas. When your September school party has you all dressed for bed and in pumpkin October when ghost stories are read, only pajamas will do. This lilting book is perfect for snuggling at bedtime or any other time. (

Opinions: We read this regularly at bedtime. Any guesses as to why?

This book has several appeals for me. I like that it goes through a year and talks about all the different months. Not only that, but if you are paying attention gives a brief blip about what generally happens during that month.

The lilting poetry is fun. We have a rhythm that we read it at, and whenever anyone reads it to my kids NOT in that rhythm they tell them they are reading it wrong. (But with kindness and love I'm sure.)

The illustrations are gorgeous watercolors. I am amazed what people can do with watercolors. They are just beautiful.

Overall, a fun and delightful story that will give you plenty to look at visually, and fun words to go to sleep by.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Flotsam by David Wiesner

Don't forget to enter our contest. Go here for all the ways to enter.
Title: Flotsam
Author: David Wiesner
Reviewer: Stephanie
Genre: Picture Book
Rating: Worship
Alerts/Warnings: None
Premise: A bright, science-minded boy goes to the beach equipped to collect and examine flotsam--anything floating that has been washed ashore. Bottles, lost toys, small objects of every description are among his usual finds. But there's no way he could have prepared for one particular discovery: a barnacle-encrusted underwater camera, with its own secrets to share . . . and to keep. (

Opinions: This is a visually stunning book that has no words. I love that it tells the story without words. AND it does it so well, that you know exactly what the story is.

A young boy is on the beach and finds an underwater camera. He takes it and gets the film developed. The pictures he sees both on the land and on the see shock and amaze him as he discovers things about under the ocean and the history of the camera.

Seriously, just thinking about this book is giving me goosebumps. It's that amazing! This is one of those books that I will look at for hours and find new things in the illustrations. This book won the Caldecott Medal the year it was published, and it was my pick to win. Frankly, how could it not have. IT IS AMAZING! It is worth the time to look at, even briefly, and even if you don't have kids. (I was pregnant the first time I looked at this book. So amazing.)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Hippos Go Berserk by Sandra Boynton

Don't forget to enter our contest. Go here for all the ways to enter.
Title: Hippos Go Berserk
Author: Sandra Boynton
Reviewer: Stephanie
Genre: Picture Book
Rating: Worship
Alerts/Warnings: None
Premise: How dull, to be one hippo all alone... until the one calls two other hippos on the phone. Soon three more hippos are at the door, bringing along another four. Before the night is through, a houseful of hippos (and one beast) has joined the one hippo for a boisterous bash. (

Opinions: Before I had kids, I didn't know who Sandra Boynton was. *hangs my head in shame* Boy was I missing out!

Sandra Boynton mixes fun illustrations with a creative mind that makes for fun stories. Like this counting book. You count up to 9 and back down again as the hippos arrive for a party and then leave. It's cute and fun. My kids love it. So do I. I admit to sitting around just staring at the illustrations. Sandra Boynton sneaks in all sorts of little quirky things (like a version of Whistlers Mother). The rhythmic language of the book is fun and definately adds to the appeal of the book.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst

Don't forget to enter our contest. Go here for all the ways to enter.
Title: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
Author: Judith Viorst, Ray Cruz (Ills)
Reviewer: Stephanie
Genre: Picture Book
Rating: Worship
Alerts/Warnings: None
Premise: Alexander knew it was going to be a terrible day when he woke up with gum in this hair.

And it got worse...

His best friend deserted him. There was no dessert in his lunch bag. And, on top of all that, there were lima beans for dinner and kissing on TV! (

Opinions: You have probably read this book. But I couldn't not review it for picture book month! It is one of my favorites. I have my copy from when I was a little girl that my kids read. It is thoroughly tattered, bent and torn, but we tape it back together and keep on reading it. Part of me loves that it is so damaged. It's just like the story of Alexander. Sometimes life doesn't go the way you want it to. Sometimes you wake with gum in your hair and you forget to count 16. But you make it through.

Life isn't about the easy stuff. It's the sticky stuff that makes life interesting. This book ran through my mind constantly while I was in China. Sometimes things are tough. Sometimes it seems like nothing goes right. But running away doesn't solve the problem. And when you stand strong, you will be stronger for it.

This is a great book, no matter what your age or where you live. It will hit a chord with you. Even in Australia.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Paperbag Princess by Robert Munsch and Michael Martchenko(Illustrator)

Don't forget to enter our contest. Go here for all the ways to enter.

Title: The Paper Bag Princess
Author: Robert Munsch, Michael Martchenko (Illustrator)
Reviewer: Stephanie
Genre: Picture Book
Alerts/Warnings: None
Premise: Elizabeth, a beautiful princess, lives in a castle and wears fancy clothes. Just when she is about to marry Prince Ronald, a dragon smashes her castle, burns her clothes with his fiery breath, and prince-naps her dear Ronald. Undaunted and presumably unclad, she dons a large paper bag and sets off to find the dragon and her cherished prince. (

Opinions: This is a favorite in my house. By both me and my boys. It's a little tattered, a little torn, a little mended, and much loved. It is regularly picked by both boys to read for bedtime. And I do not mind. I love this book.

Princesses get a lot of crud in this world. They are picked on and trapped and really can't think for themselves in a lot of stories.

BUT in this story Princess Elizabeth looses everything and then does something about it. She goes after Prince Ronald to try and save him from the dragon. How awesome is that! She decides that she wants something, and she goes that uses her brains to accomplish it! I love that this book shows a strong female with smarts using them to her advantage. Then in the end, she stands up for herself again. (Not going to tell you, but you will know when you get there, and we all say that line aloud. It's the second to the last line of the book.)

The illustrations are fun and truly this is a great book about strong, smart females and how to treat each other. I love love love that my boys love this book. It gives me great fodder for talking about how to treat women and how not to underestimate anyone.

I don't know if you can tell, but I have loved this book for years. It's worth reading. Go read it. Go on. It's worth it!

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Queen of Style by Caralyn Buehber and Mark Buehber

Don't forget to enter our contest. Go here for all the ways to enter.

Title: The Queen of Style
Author: Caralyn Buehber and Mark Buehner
Reviewer: Stephanie
Genre: Picture Book
Rating: Love
Alerts/Warnings: None
Premise: Queen Sophie rules a small, happy kingdom of farmers, but she herself isn’t happy. Nobody ever comes to her with a problem, and she is bored to tears . . . until she spots an ad for the Royal College of Beauty correspondence course. Soon she is memorizing directions and practicing her lessons in a frenzy. She starts writing proclamations, demanding that her subjects come to the castle so that she can cut and curl and color their hair. Even the sheep must be coiffed. It’s not long before Sophie finds herself facing an angry—though very stylish!—mob. (

Opinions: Queen Sophie is bored and so she finds her passion.....doing hair. So she practices on her subjects and their sheep. She is having a great time, until she realizes that her subjects are not. They don't like having to come and get their hair cut or dyed or whatever she needs to do. Sophie feels bad because she never realized that everyone wasn't having as much fun as she was.

Okay, so this book teaches a great lesson. What is fun for you is fun, but not everyone might think so. Forcing people to play how or what you want, isn't fun in the long run. Playing together is much better.

I love the illustrations. They are so fun. Especially the sheep. Don't forget to look for the sheep. I love that the people have these elaborate hairdos that just keep getting more interesting.

This is a fun book with a great message for kids. And yes, I read it to my boys. And yes, they liked it. And yes, my husband had issue with that. But that's okay with me. It's a GREAT story.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Three Hens and a Peacock by Lester L. Laminack and Henry Cole

Don't forget to enter our contest. Go here for all the ways to enter.

Title: Three Hens and a Peacock
Author: Lester L. Laminack and Henry Cole (Illustrator)
Reviewer: Karen
Genre: Easy Reader/Picture Book
Rating: Love
Alerts/Warnings: None
Premise: "Nothing unusual ever happened on the Tuckers farm. Until the day that peacock showed up... When a glamorous visitor lands unexpectedly in their midst and begins attracting customers, three hardworking hens protest: How come we do all the hard work and he gets all the attention? To keep the peace, the wise old hound dog suggests a swap. The hens and the peacock soon find out that others jobs aren t always as easy as they seem. What will happen when three gussied-up hens spend the day prancing and parading at passing cars? And will that peacock ever figure out how to lay an egg?" (Good Reads)
Opinions: This book is a fantastic way for kids to learn that you can't always understand someone until you have walked in their shoes (so to speak). I read it to my three year-old daughter and she promptly took it out of my hands and re-read it to herself (adjusting the story as she felt along the way) over-and-over again. The pictures are well done and definitely kept her fasincated time and time again.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

300th Blog Post mean fabulousness for YOU!

Have you enjoyed the last month of fabulous book reviews? Good! It was a lot of work. But we stayed on track pretty well and had blogger not gone out in the middle of the month, I think we would have 100% fabulous. (So I'll go with 99% fabulous.)

So to celebrate our 300th blog post we are doing two things.

1) June is going to be Children's Picture Book Month! :) Karen and I have kids and read lots of picture books. So we will be reviewing a bunch of them this month.

And number 2 is EVEN BETTER! (I know, it's tough to beat Picture Book Month. But we try.)


And what are we giving away? Well, that depends on you!

Here's how it's going to work. There are lots of ways to gain entries and 2 (possibly more prizes).

To enter you can:

1. Leave a comment on this or any other post until the 30th answering the following question - What is that one book you read over and over and it still resonates with you? (1 entry)
2. Follow our blog (3 entries)
3. Post a link to our blog on your blog. Please leave a link to your blog (5 entries)
4. Blog about our blog or giveaway on your blog. Again please leave a link (5 entries)
5. Convince someone to follow us and enter this contest. If they do and put your name down you get 10 entries!
6. Write a review for us. There is no limit to the number of reviews you write for us. Please use our format. (Below) Email us your reviews at Also if you would like us to link to your blog, please give us your blog address.



Karen and I love to get reviews from you, and obviously, you like to see lots of reviews too. (The number of hits in May was 10 times higher than any other month in the past 3 years.) And honestly, we can't keep it up. We read lots and we love to review. But our families would miss us. :) So we need your help. Incentive coming!

For every book you review you get an increased number of entries.
Book Review 1= 5 entries.
Book Review 2= 7 entries
Book Review 3= 9 entries
Book Review 4= 11 entries
and so on and so forth. Every additional book review you write increases your chances of winning.

So what fabulous prize are we giving away?

Well, that depends ON YOU!!

See here's the deal. The more reviews we get and the more followers we get, the more we will be giving away.

We are going to start with a $5 gift card. BUT if we get 10 reviews, that gift card then becomes a $10 gift card. And it keeps on going, but it gets more demanding everytime. We will increase the amount at 10, 30, 60, 100, 150, 200, 300. Each time by an increment of $5. I honestly don't think we will be getting to 300, but feel free to prove me wrong! I'll keep putting money on the gift card as long as you keep writing reviews.

We are also giving away a book. But it could be more than one book. AND if you win, you get to pick! (We'll send you a list to pick from.)

The other half of the giveaway is based on followers. We currently have 35 followers. If we get 10 more followers we will give away 2 books. Again it will go up at 10, 30, 60, 100 followers. Each time we reach a new level we will give another book away. (Each winner will get one book.)

So are you excited!! We are! I'm excited to see your reviews. I hope you send us so many we can continue posting multiple times a week.

(Please check to make sure we have not written a review for the book you are submitting. Any reviews that are for books that have already been reviewed will not count. And we want your reviews to count! So check using our search button on the right hand side of the page.)

And so it begins.

Good Luck!

Contest ends June 30th at 9pm PST. All reviews and entries must be received by that time. Winners will be notified by email and will have 48 hours to respond. If they do not respond an alternate winner will be chosen. If you are under the age or 18 you must have a parent or legal guardian give consent if you win.
We have also in the past have had people have problems with our comment section. If you have a problem, you can email us your entry at