60 Day Reading Challenge + Kids Book Suggestions for 2017


My daughter’s elementary school is doing a reading program sponsored by Six Flags and I wanted to share the idea with you all.  The program is designed to encourage kids to read more, and if they read for a total of 6 hours in the timeframe given (60 days), they receive a free ticket to Six Flags.

I like the idea of acquiring a library card to be able to swap out books as much as you’d like, but I also enjoy purchasing books on Amazon from newer authors.  In the blogging community we get a lot of press releases announcing new children’s book launches, so today I’ve put together a little round-up of some of my favorite kids books that I’ve received over the last few months.  I’ve also included some fun activity books in case you’re looking for some new ones for yourself or the kiddos.

Books I Recommend

by Coy Bowles of Zac Brown Band, Illustrated by Andy Elkerton
This laugh-out-loud picture book from Coy Bowles, guitarist for the Grammy Award–winning Zac Brown Band, will have sick kids feeling better in no time!

Sneezing? Coughing? Taking a sick day? Don’t worry, you’ll be feeling better soon thanks to this hilarious picture book from Coy Bowles, guitarist of the Grammy Award–winning Zac Brown Band. Full of encouraging—and super-silly—rhyming advice on how to face sick days with courage and a positive attitude, When You’re Feeling Sick is just what the doctor ordered! Comes with a sheet of stickers to bring a smile to every sick kid’s face.

Buy on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2jzUaa2
by Gary D. Robson, Illustrated by Robert Rath

Join four intrepid kids as they discover the surprising variety of wildlife that lives in New York City’s premier park. The animals themselves are sometimes hard to find, but their poop is everywhere! Follow Tony, Lily, Emma, and Jackson as they explore Central Park, investigating poop (scat) and footprints (tracks) and learning the habits and diets of squirrels, chipmunks, muskrats, birds, raccoons, bats, and more!


Animals featured in Who Pooped in Central Park? include:
  • muskrat
  • Norway rat
  • eastern gray squirrel
  • coyote
  • domestic dog
  • red-tailed hawk
  • horse
  • Canada goose
  • raccoon
  • laughing gull
  • groundhog
  • red-bellied woodpecker
  • eastern chipmunk
  • eastern screech owl
  • tri-colored bat
  • pigeon
  • diamondback terrapin
Buy on Amazon:  http://amzn.to/2iJSAy5
by The Temptations

My Girl is a favorite for Dad’s to read to their daughters. The lyrics of the song are the text of the book and the illustrations actually act out those lyrics. Just press play and enjoy! Makes a great baby shower gift or toddler birthday present. Each book plays the song from beginning to end. Check out the app, as well, to see how amazing Kidioke’s line of products are.

by Niroot Puttapipat

An exquisite gift edition of The Nutcracker captures the spirit of the Christmas ballet in elegant illustrations—and delivers a glorious pop-up finale.

The Nutcracker is one of the world’s most popular ballets, telling the captivating story of Clara and the Nutcracker prince as they journey into a land of fantasy. Inspired by Marius Petipa’s sets for the original production of the ballet, Niroot Puttapipat’s delicate silhouette illustrations dance across pale, watercolor-washed backgrounds in a unique interpretation. Starkly beautiful, this keepsake edition evokes all the magic and anticipation of Christmas Eve as Clara and the prince waltz between worlds—and culminates in a 3-D spread bringing the dreamlike Land of Sweets to life.

Buy on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2jJzWsm

Edited by Iona Opie, Illustrated by Rosemary Wells

To a small child, words are magical. And the most magical of all are the beloved, venerable words of Mother Goose. Now folklorist Iona Opie has gathered more than sixty treasured rhymes in their most perfect, honest form. From “Hey Diddle, Diddle” and “Pat-a-Cake” to “Little Jack Horner” and “Pussycat, Pussycat,” these are familiar verses that have been passed from parent to child for generations; these are the rhymes that are every child’s birthright.

With watercolors by Rosemary Wells that may prove equally enduring, MY VERY FIRST MOTHER GOOSE captures the simple joy and the sly humor that are the essence of Mother Goose. Parents and children will find themselves exploring this volume together, savoring delightful details and funny surprises on every page. This is a book that promises hours of quiet smiles and merry grins for readers of all ages.

Buy on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2j5C2RA
by Norman Messenger

Readers will be mesmerized by these surreal and gorgeously rendered alphabet letters, cleverly shaped from flora, fauna, and more.

At first glance, this elegant alphabet book—showcasing both upper- and lowercase letters—seems to follow a familiar formula. There’s an acrobat standing atop a horse to form a big letter A and another curled under herself to make a small one. There’s a colony of beetles attached to the leaves they’ve munched, creating a big and a small letter B. But then comes the letter C, made of sea waves evoking the artist Hokusai. Or a lowercase I in the form of a pen that has left an ink smudge, or two kingly beasts that create the letter K. And what of the many letters, equally fantastical and fascinating, whose associations are left to the viewers’ imaginations? Ingenious and intriguing, beautiful and full of stunning detail, this is an alphabet book sure to invite many repeat explorations.


Buy on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2iWmaWa

by Robert Sabuda

Hope and joy radiate from the pages of Robert Sabuda’s new pop-up book celebrating the Nativity.

Long ago in the town of Bethlehem, on a bright and starry night, a baby was born, a child who was called the son of God. Announced by an angel, born in a humble manger, laid in a bed of straw, visited by shepherds and wise men—the age-old, awe-inspiring story of the birth of Jesus is lovingly brought to life by master pop-up artist Robert Sabuda in six gorgeously imagined scenes, culminating in a 3-D manger sheltering humans and beasts, guarded by an angel above. Glinting with touches of gold and pearlescent foil, The Christmas Story is a visual feast, a holiday treasure to be shared with the whole family.

Buy on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2jJNowA

by Aleksandra Mizielinska and Daniel Mizielinski

Discover the amazing world that lies just beneath the surface!

Hundreds of fascinating facts are waiting to be unearthed in this latest book from Aleksandra Mizielinska and Daniel Mizielinski, the creative duo behind the best-selling Maps. Dive below the surface and find out what happens under earth and under sea—from early submarines and deep-sea life to burrowing animals and man-made tunnels. You will never look at the world in the same way again! Gorgeous design and quirky illustrations make this a book to be pored over again and again.

by Martin Hanford

Ready to put your eagle eye to a new challenge? Grab your markers or colored pencils and get creative by coloring scenes from Waldo’s adventures.

Waldo insiders know that the intrepid traveler likes to sketch wherever he goes. Now fans are invited to follow suit by coloring Waldo’s classic scenes, from bustling, intricate landscapes to larger-scale images — while keeping an eye out for Waldo and other things, too!

Buy on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2iWeiEm
Illustrated by Rebecca Jones

Get creative with this amazingly innovative coloring book, full of beautifully-designed cards and envelopes to tear out and color.

The twenty four festive designs include Christmas trees, gingerbread men, reindeer and more and are perfect for all ages to decorate and send to family and friends. Take inspiration from real life, or get experimental – try unusual colors and different materials to make each card truly unique! With enough blank space inside for a message, envelopes to customize and cute stickers to seal your card – this is the complete Christmas creative package!

Buy on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2kk4QKZ
by Paul Georgiou

Adventures in Numberland is a fairy story about numbers in life and in business. The target audience is adult but will work for older children as an introduction to business and the importance of numeracy

The hero is Piff, the wood-cutters daughter, a beautiful , strong-minded young girl who is thrown out of her home by her fat and lazy step-mother. Alone in the forest, Piff meets the fairy, Numberlina, who decides to help Piff by showing her how useful numbers are and how powerful they can be. In return Numberlina wants a share of the profits and help in dealing with the Anathemath, an evil and confusing spirit, shrouded in a noxious green cloud.

Piff develops the wood-cutting business successfully, moving into furniture manufacturing and finally ship building. In the process, she leans how useful all the numbers (including pi, phi and e) can be. She attracts the unwelcome attention of Prince Baltigral who owns almost everything in Numberland. Baltigral is a greedy prince who has enlisted the help of the Anathemath, to mislead, suppress and exploit the population of Numberland.

In the course of her commercial career, Piff learns that mathematics has many practical uses – e.g. for making perfect right angles in the design of furniture, for measuring distances, for designing buildings and for calculating interest.

In the end, there is a final cataclysmic political and numerical struggle between Piff supported by Numberlina on one side and Prince Baltigral aided by the Anathemath on the other.

Alpha-Mani Adventures: Captain Ray and the Rhyming Pirates (Book One) by Jennifer Makwana, B. Ed., ECE, Illustrated by Jalisa Henry
Buy on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2iWtJfN
by Sanjay Nambiar, Illustrated by Sedi Pak

The Super Amazing Princess Heroes learn that one of their Ugandan friends, a wonderful girl named Gift, is sick with a heart condition. The girls spring into action and help build a heart hospital in Uganda. Gift not only becomes healthy, but also receives another very special transformation!

“The Gift of Gift” is the result of a special partnership with World Children’s Initiative (“WCI”). In addition to building a hospital in Sri Lanka after the 2004 tsunami, WCI built a heart center in Uganda, which was the first facility of its type on the African continent. The story’s main character was inspired by a real-life girl named Gift, who was WCI’s first heart patient in Uganda. Profits from the book will be shared with WCI. Award-winning author Sanjay Nambiar and acclaimed artist Sedi Pak provided their services pro bono for the project.

Buy it on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2kLpHHA

:Win It

We’re giving away two copies of The Gift of Gift book.  Enter to win one using the Rafflecopter form below.  We will choose our winners after 2/7/16.  Good luck!

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Pour Me Some Wine: A Toast to the Mama Sisterhood

Moms, there are so many “What to Expect” and motherhood prep books out there, which are great, but it’s time we indulge in a new kind of book.  A book that offers a sense of community, camaraderie, comfort, and support for our daily dealings.  It’s time to Pour Me Some Whine Wine!

Being a mother is rewarding, stressful, delightful, exhausting, challenging – a roller coaster of emotions!  I often find that there is a battle between moms who stay home with their kids (or work from home) and moms who work outside of their home.  Each type of mom thinks her life is harder than the opposing lifestyle, but that’s what is great about Pour Me Some Whine Wine.  

We all deal with stress.  We all deal with guilt.  We all deal with the lack of “me” time.  We are all different and have chosen different paths, but the one thing that unites us is motherhood!

Authors Trina Epp and Leah Speer cover every topic from MOM GUILT, to WORRIES, STRESS, HEARTACHE and more in their easy-to-read book.  They share their personal experiences which make us all feel a little bit more normal, which is really all we’re looking for at the end of the day.  Within each topic they give us a “dare to pair” section that suggests the perfect wine for each dilemma.


From the Back of the Book

From mom guilt to proud celebrations and more, in Pour Me Some Whine Wine! Trina Epp and Leah Speer – as well as other moms – share their stories and the many emotions virtually all moms experience on their daily journey called motherhood.

As “mommoisseurs” (wine enthusiasts who also happen to be mothers), Epp and Speer share how they learned about wine in a simple and easy manner that invited you to do so as well.  The stories touch on a wide range of mom emotions and topics meant to offer support, humor, understanding, and camaraderie.  These stories are paired with wine recommendations meant to make moms smile, relax, and learn about different wines at the same time.

The authors introduce you to a world of wines for every occasion, so you can become a mommoisseur yourself.  Or perhaps you’re simply looking for a good win to enjoy on your own, to share with a friend, or for entertaining guests.  The handy wine index at the back of the book will help you with that.

Buy

This is a brilliant gift for the wine-loving moms in your life and should be given to new moms to reference as their little ones get older.  This is a light-hearted, humorous yet sincere, book that I’m confident will become a best seller.

Who Run the World? CURLS! Promote Self Love and Empowerment with Curlee Girlee!

TOMORROW IS THE BIG DAY!  Curlee Girlee will be available on Amazon.  Join the mission to empower young women and love the features that make them unique.  The Curlee Girlee family strives to share this empowerment through the story of a young girl, learning to embrace her naturally curly hair.  If the girls of today can experience self-love and appreciation, they will turn into the confident, young women of tomorrow.  It’s not just a book, it’s a movement.  Get your copy here: http://amzn.to/2fJcHLW

Happy 75th Birthday, Curious George!

In honor of our favorite curious little monkey’s birthday, we’ve teamed up with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for a giveaway!  We’re giving you the chance to win a Curious George gift box which includes the Curious George Classic Collection boxed set (the seven original Curious George stories in hardcover), and the new book, Keep Curious and Carry a Banana, as well as a Gund Curious George plush doll (plus dolls may vary).

Can you believe it’s been 75 years since Margret and H.A. Rey published the original book, Curious George?  We’d love for you to share a memory of reading Curious George as a child, tell us your favorite George story, or simply post a birthday shoutout using this hashtag: #GetCurious.  Don’t forget to tag @CuriousGeorge (on Facebook) or @HMHKids (on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest) in your shares!


How to Enter

Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter this giveaway.  We will choose one winner after 9/23/16.  Good luck!  

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9 Great Books for Preschoolers

This post contains Amazon affiliate links which means I will earn a small commission from each order placed through my links.

It’s time for our seasonal book round-up for young kids!  Check out of latest book suggestions below.

One, Two, Three, Mother Goose edited by Iona Opie, Illustrated by Rosemary Wells

Books and vibrant language are the most important early learning tools in a child’s life.  The nursery rhymes in this book have been selected to support that premise.  So count along with Mother Goose and give the #1 baby in your life a solid and loving start.


The Best Days are Dog Day by Aaron Meshon

Pugs get to do everything his sis does – with his own added flair, of course.  Together they eat, bathe, and play.  And tomorrow, they will do it all again.  Because when every day’s a dog’s day, every day is the best day – especially when you can spend it with the person you love.


Nothando’s Journey by Jill Apperson Manly, Illustrated by Alyssa Casey

Nothando’s Journey is a self-discovery, told through the eyes of a young girl named Nothando.  The book tells of the Reed Festival, an important celebration in Nothando’s country of Swaziland in Southern Africa.  Nothando and her brother venture into the unknown hills, in order to get to the festival on time.  As Nothando explores the hills of Swaziland, she visits with various animals – Nothando moves freely with the animals, and begins to become comfortable with who she is.  By the end of the book, the reader will soon learn that Nothando is “grateful to be Nothando.”


Slickety Quick – Poems About Sharks by Skila Brown, Illustrated by Bob Kolar

From the enormous whale shark to the legendary great white to the elusive goblin shark to the small cookie-cutter shark, Skila Brown’s Slickety Quick is a delightful frenzy of shark mayhem featuring fourteen sharks, each vibrantly illustrated by Bob Kolar – some so realistic you’ll think twice about going in the water.

A Great Big Cuddle – Poem for the Very Young by Michael Rosen, Illustrated by Chris Riddell

Mo’s in a muddle
She slipped in a puddle
Mommy gives Mo
A great big cuddle

Michael Rosen’s joyful new collection of poems bounces right off the page and into your heart, making this the perfect read-aloud for both boisterous celebration and cozy cuddling up.  With energy and laughter, these exuberant poems, paired with Chris Riddell’s vibrant illustrations, will delight little ones, inviting them on a playful romp of rhythm and rhyme they’ll want to revisit time and time again.

Among a Thousand Fireflies by Helen Frost and Rick Lieder

On a summer evening, just as the stars blink on, a firefly steps into a flower.  Lights start to flash all around her – first one, then three, seven.  Hundreds.  Thousands.  How will she find just one flash among so many?  And will he see her flash in return?

With evocative photographs from Rick Lieder and lyrical language form Helen Frost, creators of the critically acclaimed Step Gently Out and Sweep Up the Sun, here is the true story of two fireflies who come together after finding each other’s light among thousands of others.


I Am Bear by Ben Bailey Smith and Sav Akyuz


This is Bear!  He was bare.  Now he’s wearing… purple hair?

His favorite thing is playing tricks.  He makes trouble just for kids.

Check out Bear before he’s gone.  Rhyme along – come on!

Shrunken Treasures – Literary Classics, Short, Sweet and Silly by Scott Nash
Can’t stomach all of Frankenstein? Lacking the strength to read The Odyssey? Don’t have 1,001 nights to get through Scheherazade’s ordeal? Never fear, Shrunken Treasures are here! Nine of the world’s best-known stories and books have been reduced, like slowly simmered cherries, to tart and tasty mouthfuls. Lighthearted verse turns Moby-Dick into a simple nursery song. Outrageous color makes even gloomy Hamlet seem like fun. Riotous images transform Jane Eyre’s ordeal into a whirlwind adventure. The Metamorphosis, Remembrance of Things Past, Don Quixote, and others have all been delivered from dense duty to delightful ditty in Scott Nash’s collection of hallowed classics, featuring notes about the original texts at the end.


Hello, World! Solar System by Jill McDonald

Look up in the sky!  Can you see the moon?  What else is there?

Babies and toddlers will love cuddling up and discovering the world around them with Hello, World!, designed to share simple concepts about nature and science.

You also might like:

Hello, World! Weather by Jill McDonald

HMH #SparkAMind Campaign

 #SparkAMind Campaign

This post is part of a sponsored collaboration with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s #SparkAMind Influencer Activation for Influence Central.

As a mom, I’m always looking for fun, inspiring ways for my kids to play and ultimately learn.  My girls are currently 16 mos. and 4, so it’s pretty easy to keep them entertained most of the time, but keeping them entertained isn’t my worry – sparking their creativity is.  That’s why I’ve partnered with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt to help promote their #SparkAMind campaign.

Too often, children are stuck in an environment where they aren’t able to be creative.  They aren’t being challenged or encouraged due to whatever circumstances their family is facing.  Statistics show that in middle-income homes, the number of books per child is 13 to 1.  In low-income families, the average number of age-appropriate books is 1 for every 300 children.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt believes that everyday moments can spark imagination, curiosity and creativity.  Increasing daily intellectually enlightening moments can make a huge, lasting impact on children, no matter where they come from.

Creativity in Everyday Moments

Last October, my family was able to learn more about a program that helps provide school supplies to underprivileged children in the Caribbean.  These children were so grateful for the smallest gifts like one book, a pack of crayons or a backpack.  We take so much for granted in our home and I know that hearing some of these children’s’ stories struck a chord with my 4-year old.

When we arrived back home from our vacation, my daughter and I sat down to color – something we often do together.  I started picking her brain and little and encouraged her to create a book about her vacation.  She began with a story name, and went page-to-page unfolding this story of kindness and hope. She drew pictures to go along with her story and waived her arms in the air as she dramatically told me what should be written on each page.

 #SparkAMind Campaign
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt - #sparkamind campaign

Charlotte’s story was called Alanna from Agona and was about a little girl who visited an island that had been impacted by a huge storm.  The residents of this island included a human, ants and a family of crabs who were all in need of something.  Little Alanna was determined to help Agona’s residents in one way or another.  She provided them with food – sandwiches and macaroni and cheese.  She provided them with shelter – sand castles.  And she provided them with love and kindness.

I was incredibly impressed with my daughter’s mind and the way she was able to come up with this elaborate story with just a little bit of prompting.  All it took was undivided attention from me and some inspiration from memorable moments that we experienced as a family.

My family reads multiple books together just about every day.  We have an entire library full of amazing books and 61% of low-income families have absolutely no books in their home. (Reading Literacy in the United States, 1996.)  This saddens me.  This is the reason I pledged to participate in the #SparkAMind campaign.

#SparkAMind

Join HMH to show how you foster a love for learning in others or how others have motivated you to follow your own curiosity.  For every social media share that includes the hashtag #SparkAMind, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt will donate a book to a non-profit early childhood education partner that ensures all learners have access to the resources they need to thrive.

Learn more about the #SparkAMind campaign and read some of their featured stories from social media at learn.hmhco.com/hmhsparkamind.

Get the Curious World App

The Curious World App is designed for kids ages 3-7 and has over 500 fun, educational games, videos and books.  If you purchase the app using promo code Spark20 and you’ll receive your first 30 days FREE + 20% off your monthly subscription (ends 4/30/16).

 The Curious World App

Winter Reading List: Books for Toddlers and Preschoolers


Each season we do a children’s book round-up featuring some of our favorite books that we’ve read from some of our favorite publishers.  Our winter reading list was full of an eclectic mix of books from holiday books to spring books.  We enjoy reading books together as a family and then donate them to the local preschool or library when we’re finished.
Check out our book recommendations below:

Ellie the Wienerdog It’s Hard to be Good by K.J. Hales, Illustrated by Serene Wyatt

Temptation is a struggle that is real with all of us – human or pet.  In this easy-to-read children’s book, Ellie the Wienerdog struggles with food temptations but really wants to be praised for not eating her human’s food.  This colorful book takes us into the mind of a hungry little Wienerdog which is coincidentally very similar to our own minds.  Will Ellie give into that tasty sandwich temptation or will she be a good dog and earn a treat from her human?

My Magical Adventure by Crayon Crunch

This is a story about imagination, the importance of helping others and the value of believing in oneself.
After finding a magical box in the attic, your child goes on an imaginary journey to discover the secret of this box.  On the adventure, you child meets many interesting characters and helps them overcome their challenges.
Wondering why I keep saying “your child?”  Well, with this fun story, you can create your own avatar and give it your child’s name when ordering the book.  Visit www.crayoncrunch.com to start customizing your story!  You’ll be so impressed with how much more your child pays attention to the story when they are the star.

Do I Have to Say Hello?  Aunt Delia’s Manners Quiz for Kids and Their Grownups by Delia Ephron, illustrated by Edward Koren

This isn’t a traditional children’s book but it really gets kids and grownups thinking about manners.  This book contains a series of light-hearted multiple choice quizzes, alternate scenarios, and true or false questions.  It covers table manners, playground manners, school manners and more!

Role Model Ricky’s Big Birthday Bash by Jeremy and Janel Miller

Raising children to have good manners and to make good decisions isn’t as easy as it might seem.  The ultimate decisions lies with the child and they must choose to practice good manners in all instances in life.  This cute book shares how Role Model Ricky’s good manners and role model behavior land him a fun birthday party and lots of presents.  When it comes to sharing the presents with his friends, Ricky has an internal struggle with which decision to make: share his toys or be mean to his friends.

The Polar Express

For millions of readers worldwide, this mysterious journey to the North Pole has become a beloved classic.  In this 30th anniversary edition, the inimitable artistry of Chris Van Allsburg is revealed in a never-before-seen fashion, with a new jacket design and expanded interior layout.  This book includes author’s notes, downloadable audio read by Liam Neeson, and a golden “All Aboard” ornament.

Home Alone based on the story written by John Hughes, illustrated by Kim Smith

Who doesn’t love this 1990 holiday classic?  Eight-year-old Kevin McCallister wished his family would disappear.  He never thought his wish would come true, though.  The classic movie you know and love is not an illustrated storybook for the whole family – complete with bumbling burglars, brilliant booby traps, and a little boy named Kevin who’s forced to fend for himself. 

Little Bitty Friends by Elizabeth McPike and Patrice Barton

In this adorable picture book, a batch of curious toddlers cannot wait to see what the great outdoors has in store for them. McPike’s charming rhymes and simple language (“Little bitty steps, marching one, two, three… little furry caterpillar, tickle, tickle knee”) make this book ideal for getting little ones excited to explore nature and enjoy the springtime.
I really like the diverse nationalities used in the book and the sweet illustrations that keep your mind from wandering.
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LITTLE SLEEPYHEAD –  follow families as they go through their nighttime routine and put their little one to bed. The new board book format makes this title perfect for gift giving at baby showers or birthdays, especially to new parents looking for a bedtime story outside the realm of Goodnight Moon.

The Bunny Burrow Buyer’s Book by Steve Light

Mr. and Mrs. Rabbit are having baby bunnies, and their burrow-for-two is just too small to accommodate a growing family. Time to call the forest real estate agent! Like most humans, the Rabbits look at a lot of different places, each one appealing in its own way, but none of them quite is right! Will they find the perfect new home to call their own?
The delightful and engaging Bunny Burrow Buyer’s Book: A Tale of Rabbit Real Estate by renowned illustrator and writer Steve Light, author of bestsellers like Have You Seen My Dragon? by Candlewick Press and Trains Go by Chronicle Books, is a saga of a swiftly increasing family of rabbits in search of a new place to call their own, rendered in exquisitely detailed artwork featuring cut-outs and gatefolds, is a perfect book for small children whose families are moving to a new home….
A single, black brushstroke that runs through the entire book provides a line that can be traced by little fingers from page to page, and anchoring the detailed pen-and-ink style that Steve uses to show the forest homes and the creatures who currently inhabit them–the visible above-ground part of each burrow appears above the line, and the underground portion shows below the line. In addition, circular die cuts in each page allow a peek into the next burrow. 
Steve Light is the author of many best-selling children’s books, including the Vehicles Go! series (Trucks Go!, Trains Go!, Diggers Go!, Planes Go! and Boats Go!, all from Chronicle) and Have You Seen My Dragon? (Candlewick, 2014) Steve is a preschool teacher and professional storyteller who lives with his wife in New York City.

I Wonder by Essea White, illustrated by Lois Dahl

Do you ever wonder …?  If sheep knit woolen socks or if llamas dance on mountain rocks?
From a prolific storyteller and puppeteer comes a story that is sure to tickle readers’ funny bones.  Young readers giggle and grin as they imagine their favorite animals doing all kinds of silly things – such as skunks flying kites at sunset.  Filled with rhyming words and quirky, colorful illustrations, “I Wonder” will delight both beginning readers and younger children at story time – and open their worlds to the joys and possibilities of wonder.
My preschooler is constantly asking me questions, just like this book.  We had a blast giggling our way through this book as a family.

The Importance of Being 3 by Lindsay Ward

All the best things come in threes, not one, not two, but three, like the three-year-olds in this sweet picture book.  As all parents know, three is a big year.  Follow along as three friends learn new things in threes – from tricycles to triangles – take a dip in the pool and play in the park with their friends.  Of course, it’s not all fun and games.  There’s a tantrum and then hug all around as the three kids head to bed (just like real life).
This adorable picture book celebrating important life events it he perfect gift for third birthdays.  Kids will love pointing out all the activities they can do now that they are three years old.

Rock-A-Bye Romp by Linda Ashman, illustrated by Simona Mulazzani

Turning a beloved lullaby on its head, this wonderful read-aloud pairs playful text and enchanting paintings to create a rollicking escapade with a clever premise and a cozy conclusion.’
“Rock-a-bye, Baby, in the treetop.  How did you ever get so high up?”
That’s a good question – and this delightful book weaves a gentle fantasy around the baby who find himself in that very predicament.
I’m so glad to see a book elaborate on this timeless lullaby.

My First Comics:  I’m Grumpy & I’m Sunny by Jennifer Holm and Matthew Holm

My First Comics is a board book series about feelings. Each of the four characters (Grumpy Cloud, Sunny, Tizzy Tornado, and Chilly) has a dedicated book and appears in the others’ stories. Through simple paneled layouts and speech balloons, children can read about familiar emotions and learn how to handle them—and get an introduction to reading as they piece together visual elements and text.
These board books are easy to read and are small enough for little readers.  There’s lots to look at on each page and they’re easy to read.

Walter’s Wheels by Noelle Dingeldein

Join Walter the cat as he goes on an imaginative adventure, exploring all the things that move and go: cars, trucks, trains, and more. Bold, colorful, exquisitely detailed illustrations made from art clay are perfect for inspiring creative play!

Your Baby, Always by Dr. John Hutton, illustrated by Leah Busch

A touching board book that shows the importance of building strong bonds between child and parent.  From the bestselling Love Baby Healthy series by pediatrician Dr. John Hutton and illustrator Leah Busch, this simple, rhyming book captures the joy and importance of this special time together. Key developmental milestones are shown in a dreamy, joyous way, highlighting this critical stage of development when children need loving, engaged grownups the most, reinforcing recommendations and encouraging parent-child bonding through reading and play.
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Winter Reading List: Books for Toddlers and Preschoolers


Each season we do a children’s book round-up featuring some of our favorite books that we’ve read from some of our favorite publishers.  Our winter reading list was full of an eclectic mix of books from holiday books to spring books.  We enjoy reading books together as a family and then donate them to the local preschool or library when we’re finished.
Check out our book recommendations below:

Ellie the Wienerdog It’s Hard to be Good by K.J. Hales, Illustrated by Serene Wyatt

Temptation is a struggle that is real with all of us – human or pet.  In this easy-to-read children’s book, Ellie the Wienerdog struggles with food temptations but really wants to be praised for not eating her human’s food.  This colorful book takes us into the mind of a hungry little Wienerdog which is coincidentally very similar to our own minds.  Will Ellie give into that tasty sandwich temptation or will she be a good dog and earn a treat from her human?

My Magical Adventure by Crayon Crunch

This is a story about imagination, the importance of helping others and the value of believing in oneself.
After finding a magical box in the attic, your child goes on an imaginary journey to discover the secret of this box.  On the adventure, you child meets many interesting characters and helps them overcome their challenges.
Wondering why I keep saying “your child?”  Well, with this fun story, you can create your own avatar and give it your child’s name when ordering the book.  Visit www.crayoncrunch.com to start customizing your story!  You’ll be so impressed with how much more your child pays attention to the story when they are the star.

Do I Have to Say Hello?  Aunt Delia’s Manners Quiz for Kids and Their Grownups by Delia Ephron, illustrated by Edward Koren

This isn’t a traditional children’s book but it really gets kids and grownups thinking about manners.  This book contains a series of light-hearted multiple choice quizzes, alternate scenarios, and true or false questions.  It covers table manners, playground manners, school manners and more!

Role Model Ricky’s Big Birthday Bash by Jeremy and Janel Miller

Raising children to have good manners and to make good decisions isn’t as easy as it might seem.  The ultimate decisions lies with the child and they must choose to practice good manners in all instances in life.  This cute book shares how Role Model Ricky’s good manners and role model behavior land him a fun birthday party and lots of presents.  When it comes to sharing the presents with his friends, Ricky has an internal struggle with which decision to make: share his toys or be mean to his friends.

The Polar Express

For millions of readers worldwide, this mysterious journey to the North Pole has become a beloved classic.  In this 30th anniversary edition, the inimitable artistry of Chris Van Allsburg is revealed in a never-before-seen fashion, with a new jacket design and expanded interior layout.  This book includes author’s notes, downloadable audio read by Liam Neeson, and a golden “All Aboard” ornament.


Home Alone based on the story written by John Hughes, illustrated by Kim Smith

Who doesn’t love this 1990 holiday classic?  Eight-year-old Kevin McCallister wished his family would disappear.  He never thought his wish would come true, though.  The classic movie you know and love is not an illustrated storybook for the whole family – complete with bumbling burglars, brilliant booby traps, and a little boy named Kevin who’s forced to fend for himself. 


Little Bitty Friends by Elizabeth McPike and Patrice Barton

In this adorable picture book, a batch of curious toddlers cannot wait to see what the great outdoors has in store for them. McPike’s charming rhymes and simple language (“Little bitty steps, marching one, two, three… little furry caterpillar, tickle, tickle knee”) make this book ideal for getting little ones excited to explore nature and enjoy the springtime.
I really like the diverse nationalities used in the book and the sweet illustrations that keep your mind from wandering.
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LITTLE SLEEPYHEAD –  follow families as they go through their nighttime routine and put their little one to bed. The new board book format makes this title perfect for gift giving at baby showers or birthdays, especially to new parents looking for a bedtime story outside the realm of Goodnight Moon.


The Bunny Burrow Buyer’s Book by Steve Light

Mr. and Mrs. Rabbit are having baby bunnies, and their burrow-for-two is just too small to accommodate a growing family. Time to call the forest real estate agent! Like most humans, the Rabbits look at a lot of different places, each one appealing in its own way, but none of them quite is right! Will they find the perfect new home to call their own?
The delightful and engaging Bunny Burrow Buyer’s Book: A Tale of Rabbit Real Estate by renowned illustrator and writer Steve Light, author of bestsellers like Have You Seen My Dragon? by Candlewick Press and Trains Go by Chronicle Books, is a saga of a swiftly increasing family of rabbits in search of a new place to call their own, rendered in exquisitely detailed artwork featuring cut-outs and gatefolds, is a perfect book for small children whose families are moving to a new home….
A single, black brushstroke that runs through the entire book provides a line that can be traced by little fingers from page to page, and anchoring the detailed pen-and-ink style that Steve uses to show the forest homes and the creatures who currently inhabit them–the visible above-ground part of each burrow appears above the line, and the underground portion shows below the line. In addition, circular die cuts in each page allow a peek into the next burrow. 
Steve Light is the author of many best-selling children’s books, including the Vehicles Go! series (Trucks Go!, Trains Go!, Diggers Go!, Planes Go! and Boats Go!, all from Chronicle) and Have You Seen My Dragon? (Candlewick, 2014) Steve is a preschool teacher and professional storyteller who lives with his wife in New York City.

I Wonder by Essea White, illustrated by Lois Dahl

Do you ever wonder …?  If sheep knit woolen socks or if llamas dance on mountain rocks?
From a prolific storyteller and puppeteer comes a story that is sure to tickle readers’ funny bones.  Young readers giggle and grin as they imagine their favorite animals doing all kinds of silly things – such as skunks flying kites at sunset.  Filled with rhyming words and quirky, colorful illustrations, “I Wonder” will delight both beginning readers and younger children at story time – and open their worlds to the joys and possibilities of wonder.
My preschooler is constantly asking me questions, just like this book.  We had a blast giggling our way through this book as a family.

The Importance of Being 3 by Lindsay Ward

All the best things come in threes, not one, not two, but three, like the three-year-olds in this sweet picture book.  As all parents know, three is a big year.  Follow along as three friends learn new things in threes – from tricycles to triangles – take a dip in the pool and play in the park with their friends.  Of course, it’s not all fun and games.  There’s a tantrum and then hug all around as the three kids head to bed (just like real life).
This adorable picture book celebrating important life events it he perfect gift for third birthdays.  Kids will love pointing out all the activities they can do now that they are three years old.

Rock-A-Bye Romp by Linda Ashman, illustrated by Simona Mulazzani

Turning a beloved lullaby on its head, this wonderful read-aloud pairs playful text and enchanting paintings to create a rollicking escapade with a clever premise and a cozy conclusion.’
“Rock-a-bye, Baby, in the treetop.  How did you ever get so high up?”
That’s a good question – and this delightful book weaves a gentle fantasy around the baby who find himself in that very predicament.
I’m so glad to see a book elaborate on this timeless lullaby.

My First Comics:  I’m Grumpy & I’m Sunny by Jennifer Holm and Matthew Holm

My First Comics is a board book series about feelings. Each of the four characters (Grumpy Cloud, Sunny, Tizzy Tornado, and Chilly) has a dedicated book and appears in the others’ stories. Through simple paneled layouts and speech balloons, children can read about familiar emotions and learn how to handle them—and get an introduction to reading as they piece together visual elements and text.
These board books are easy to read and are small enough for little readers.  There’s lots to look at on each page and they’re easy to read.

Walter’s Wheels by Noelle Dingeldein

Join Walter the cat as he goes on an imaginative adventure, exploring all the things that move and go: cars, trucks, trains, and more. Bold, colorful, exquisitely detailed illustrations made from art clay are perfect for inspiring creative play!

Your Baby, Always by Dr. John Hutton, illustrated by Leah Busch

A touching board book that shows the importance of building strong bonds between child and parent.  From the bestselling Love Baby Healthy series by pediatrician Dr. John Hutton and illustrator Leah Busch, this simple, rhyming book captures the joy and importance of this special time together. Key developmental milestones are shown in a dreamy, joyous way, highlighting this critical stage of development when children need loving, engaged grownups the most, reinforcing recommendations and encouraging parent-child bonding through reading and play.
If you like what you just read please click to send a quick vote for me on Top Mommy Blogs- The best mommy blog directory featuring top mom bloggers

Chic ways to Incorporate Your Favorite Books Into Your Decor | Cover Art Prints

Cover Art – 20 Hangable Prints for Book Nerds by Liz Emirzian is such a beautiful and inexpensive option for adding some personalization to your home decor.  Cover Art features chic hand-illustrated posters to tear out, frame and hang in your home.  Each pre-sized print fits inside an 8×10 frame or mattes with a 5×7 opening.

These 20 hangable cover art prints are available on Amazon right now.  Where else can you purchase gorgeous cover art that seamlessly fits into a nursery theme, bedroom, living room, etc. for less than $12?  The classics include:
•Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (shown above)
•Grimms’ Fairy Tales (shown above)
•The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
•Anna Karenina
•Leaves Of Grass
•Little Women
•Moby Dick
•The Metamorphosis
•The Odyssey
•Pride & Prejudice
•The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

I love the idea of doing a book-themed baby nursery.  You can use many of these cover art prints for a boy or girl’s nursery or even a big kid room.  The ideas are truly endless for non-readers and readers alike.

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Easy Kids’ Treats by Katie Wyllie | Snowflake Cupcakes

I received a free copy of Katie’s book for review consideration.  My opinion is honest and not influenced by compensation.
(from Easy Kids’ Treats by Katie Wyllie from madetobemomma.com)
My girls and I made these super cute winter snowflake cupcakes inspired by Katie Wyllie’s book, Easy Kids’ Treats.  The instructions called for a batch of homemade buttercream frosting and chocolate cake batter but we made it work with a box of red velvet cake mix and a tub of premade frosting.  I had a bunch of white chocolate candy melts from Chocoley.com so I used those to make the snowflakes.  My four-year old helped with the frosting while I did my best to create pretty (and edible) snowflakes.  Katie’s book recommends using a template to create the snowflakes but I just freehanded it.

I’m so excited to bake my way through this super cute book with my girls
Check out Katie’s blog:  madetobemomma.com