Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover


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Picture book or chapter book?

This excellent post provides great questions to consider if you are writing a picture book that just won’t come together or lends itself to longer text (chapter book). I hope this helps you as much as it helped me!

Thanks, Hillary!

via Is Your Picture Book Actually a Chapter Book? Five Ways to Find Out, by Hillary Homzie

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via Oliver: The Second-Largest Living Thing on Earth by Josh Crute & John Taesoo Kim

Oliver: The Second-Largest Living Thing on Earth

By John Crute & John Taesso Kim

Page Street Kids, 2018

 

This looks so adorable! I cannot wait to read it! Congratulations to John, John, and Page Street!


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Book Report: Cookie Cutters & Sled Runners

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Cookie Cutters & Sled Runners

by Natalie Rompella

Sky Pony Press, 2017

 

What’s a girl to do when she is suddenly placed in a class WITH the hard-nosed teacher and WITHOUT her best friend and co-chef? The project they have been planning for years is swept off the table and the friends are paired with new partners.

Ana is devastated to learn she must partner with Dasher, a new kid from Alaska. All the new girl talks about is sled dogs. Worse, she has no culinary skills! Even worse, best friend Lily is paired with Via, another non-cook but super cool girl.

AND only Lily knows the truth about Ana. OCD dogs her every waking minute, leading Ana to obsess over germs and wash her hands to the point of cracked, chapped skin.

There are so many great things about Cookie Cutters & Sled Runners! I loved the characters and the middle school angst. The finer details of friendship, making new friends, OCD, school, projects, hobbies, teamwork, trying something new – all of these important issues play together in this engaging chapter book.

I learned new information about obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and treatment for this disorder. I also learned many new things about racing sled dogs and creating unique recipes. Readers will find at least one thing to identify with through the characters in Cookie Cutters & Sled Runners. Readers looking for books about dogs, friends, cooking and creating, going to school, or OCD will love this book.

Two thumbs up for Cookie Cutters & Sled Runners by Natalie Rompella.

P.S. ACTUAL recipes are shared in this book, creations by the main characters.

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I won a copy of Cookie Cutters & Sled Runners after reading an interview with Natalie Rompella and commenting about her new book at groggorg.blogspot.com. You can read the interview here.


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Book Report: I Am NOT a Chair!

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I Am NOT A Chair!

By Ross Burach

HarperCollins Children’s Books, 2017

 

I Am NOT A Chair! is hysterical!

I love the simple but hilarious tale of a giraffe who is continuously mistaken for a chair by other jungle animals. He is extremely creative as he tries to educate others about their misdirected assumptions so he can stop being a chair.

Brilliantly colored illustrations add depth and life to the story and will attract young readers as they see life on the wild side (though recognizable as sort of like going to school). Well done, Ross Burach, in story telling through words and images.

This book is great for young and old readers.

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KID KANDY

Make a Chair

Materials: whatever you find in your jungle environment

1. Search your jungle.

2. Find interesting items that look comfy and sturdy.

3. Make a chair. Does it look like Giraffe? Or a different jungle animal, like a pillow monster or box creature? Give your chair a name. Have someone take a picture of you sitting on your chair.

4. Read a book while sitting on your chair. 🙂

 


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DIY Circus Lab for Kids, A Family-Friendly Guide for Juggling, Balancing, Clowning, and Show-Making by Jackie Leigh Davis

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DIY Circus Lab for Kids, A Family-Friendly Guide for Juggling, Balancing, Clowning, and Show-Making

By Jackie Leigh Davis

Photography by Scot Langdon

(Quarto Publishing Group USA Inc., 2018)

 

Once upon a time, I did some clowning. Really! Just last week I ran across a picture from my “Bubbles” the clown days. A more thoughtful person would have grabbed it up and used it for this post, but I didn’t put two and two together. Now that photo is nearly 200 miles away lost in a box in a storage unit. Oops!

Circus fun – for kids! How cool is that? Jackie Leigh Davis has penned an informative, easy to read, step-by-step book that helps kids (and families) enjoy many circus activities. Great photographs demonstrate what she is describing and will help the visual learners. There is so much information about learning circus skills and putting together a show, DIY Circus Lab should be a resource – for any circus hobbyist or serious performer. Additional resources at the back of the book provides even more details.

Juggling sticks, hoops, poi, juggling scarves, armpit juggling (LOL), stilts, tight-rope walking, acrobatics, pyramids, clowning, and putting together a show: those are just a few of the various topics covered in DIY Circus Lab. This book makes me want to gather a group of kids and get circusing!

Well done, Jackie Leigh Davis and Scot Langdon.

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P. S. Thanks, Vivian Kirkfield, for introducing me to this great circus book and sending a free copy. Excellent resource!


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Helping Fellow Writers: Some Very Messy Medieval Magic

This is a repost from Literary Rambles. To see the complete post, go here.

Happy Thursday Everyone! Today I’m excited to be participating in the Beach Reads Giveaway Hop hosted by StuckInBooks. There’s a lot of new books that have recently released or will be published soon, and I’m excited to share them with you. I’m hoping to read more this summer and hope you’re planning to as well.

Can You Help Me Help a Friend Who Has Suffered a Tragic Loss? It’s Easy!

But before I get to the book selections, I need you to ask you to help me help an author friend who just suffered a tragic loss. Lee McKenzie has been a good friend of mine for years who I met through my blog. Her newest MG fantasy, SOME VERY MESSY MEDIEVAL MAGIC, released on May 15, 2018. Two days later, Lee suffered the tragic loss of her husband due to a sudden heart attack. I also suffered the sudden loss of my own husband a little over four years ago and know firsthand how heartbreaking this loss is.

While we cannot take away Lee’s grief, we could show her kindness and friendship by helping her promote her book. I know you all are book lovers and many have your own blogs. I’m hoping that you can do all or some of these easy things to help Lee:

Buy Lee’s book. An e-book is only $3.99. I just did that.
Post about Lee’s book on your blog and other social media sites. Ask your friends to help do by shouting out about her book and buying it
Here’s a blurb about what the book is about:

Pete’s stuck in medieval England! Pete and his friend Weasel thought they’d closed the Timelock.

But a young page from medieval times, Peter of Bramwell, goes missing. His absence during a critical moment will forever alter history unless he’s found. There’s only one solution—fledgling wizard Pete must take the page’s place. He travels to 1173 England accompanied by Weasel and Fanon, Pete’s alligator familiar. But what if the page remains lost? Will Pete know what to do when the critical moment arrives? Toss in a grumpy Fanon, the dukes’s curious niece, a talking horse, and the Circle of Stones, and Pete quickly realizes he’s in over his young wizard head yet again.

And some links:
Website: http://cleemckenziebooks.com
Dancing Lemur Press: http://www.dancinglemurpressllc.com
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Some-Very-Messy-Medieval-Magic-ebook/dp/B079V72G8R/ref=sr_1_1
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/search?query=Some+Very+Messy+Medieval+Magic

Thanks to any of you who can help out.

,

 

 


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Nature’s Lullaby Fills the Night by Dee Leone – Picture Book & KID KANDY

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Nature’s Lullaby Fills the Night

By Dee Leone

Illustrated by Bali Engel

(Sterling Children’s Books, 2018)

 

I won a copy of Nature’s Lullaby Fills the Night from KIDLIT411. Thanks, Sylvia and Elaine!

Nature’s Lullaby Fills the Night is the perfect bedtime – or anytime – read aloud! Peaceful rhyme tells the story of nature getting ready to go to sleep. Animals, plants, and other beauties prepare and nestle in for a good nights’ sleep. The illustrations, set in gorgeous deep blues and purples highlighted by nighttime light, perfectly match the winding down of the day.

I’ve totally enjoyed reading Nature’s Lullaby Fills the Night. Now, on to share it with the littles in my life. Thanks for the beautiful book, Dee and Bali!

KID KANDY:

Nighttime Painting

Materials: watercolor paints, brushes, water, crayons, heavy paper

1. Read Nature’s Lullaby Fills the Night. Notice the colors used in the illustrations. What’s your favorite page (animal, plant, setting)?

2. Use crayons to draw a nature picture. Include the moon and stars.

3. Paint over the drawing with darker colors like purple, blue, and black.

Ta-da! You have your own nighttime illustration!


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Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling

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Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus

By Dusti Bowling

(Sterling Children’s Books, 2017)

 

I won a copy of Dusti Bowling’s chapter book Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus from Literary Rambles.

What first attracted me to this book was the title. I could just imagine what type of events a cactus would stoically attend, though I knew the book was not about those fascinating plants.

What attracted me next were the characters and the setting. Having grown up in Arizona, I looked forward to reading a book set in the starkly dry and hot desert. The book has a captivating cast of diverse characters. I loved reading of friends Aven (born without arms) and Conner (spits at people when he eats) and how they manage their disabilities. The strength and courage of Aven compelled me to cheer for her and will inspire others who struggle with any type of disability. Family issues, a mystery discovered in an old out building, and facing ones’ own fears come together in a nicely written page-turner.

Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus is a great read for any young (or old) person. Compassion, understanding, and acceptance of diversity will develop as readers live alongside Aven and Conner. I found that Bowlings’ book gave me the viewpoint of someone living with challenges and how they faced daily life and difficult situations. Readers will see that they can do anything if they put their mind to it!

Well done and great read!


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The Girl with the Red Balloon by Katherine Locke

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The Girl with the Red Balloon

Written by Katherine Locke

(Albert Whitman & Company, 2017)

 

Last fall, I won a copy of The Girl with the Red Balloon by Katherine Locke from Natalie Aguirre’s Literary Rambles.

I immediately read The Girl with the Red Balloon. Who can not read a book with a tag that says The wall keeps us in. Magic gets us out.?

The tale is told of Ellie, a girl who visits the Berlin Wall Memorial during a school field trip. Ellie has family ties to World War II and Germany, as her grandfather miraculously escaped from a death camp. As Ellie considers the impact of that horrible time period, she notices a red balloon. Innocently, she grabs the string and is immediately deposited in East Berlin in 1988, where she is found by Kai, a member of an underground society. Ellie, Kai, and several others must work to figure out how and why Ellie was transported back in time when the purpose of the red balloons was to take death camp members over the wall and away from a certain terrible fate.

Much history is shared in the telling of this story. I loved the mixture of magical realism, history, teen relationships, family heritage, and mystery. Danger, high stakes, death, and good versus evil all blend together in this great story. Ellie is stuck in the past and must find a way to return to her own time. But this is complicated by magical developments and a budding romance.

Locke tells the story from different viewpoints, but the switch off is easy to follow as every chapter is clearly labeled with the point of view character. I had to focus a bit to understand the historical connections, but the book is well written and engaging.

The Girl with the Red Balloon is a great read for anyone who enjoys history hooked together with a bit of magic.

P.S. Look what comes out this fall!

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