Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover


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Book Report: Sophie’s Squash

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Sophie’s Squash

Written by Pat Zietlow Miller

Illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf

Schwartz & Wade Books, 2013

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My collection of potential Bernice squash

Meet one of my favorite fall books: Sophie’s Squash.

One day, Sophie falls in love with a butternut squash while shopping with her parents at the farmers’ market. And names her Bernice. While Sophie’s parents have culinary plans for the squash, Sophie adopts Bernice as her child and lovingly, protectively, and firmly cares for her new baby. Plans contradict each other as Bernice matures the way of other squash and Sophie’s parents attempt to put Bernice out of her misery. But Sophie remains committed to the relationship and cares for Bernice in such manner as dictated by squash. And then, surprise!

I won’t ruin it for you, but I love the ending. And the sequel, Sophie’s Squash Go to School, is just as much fun.

What I love: The VOICE of Sophie and the entire cast (even Bernice) is fantastic. I love her character. I adore fall books. I love stories relatable to young children. Everyone knows at least one kid who forms an odd yet endearing attachment to some random item. I love that about this book. I love Sophie and her commitment to Bernice.

Thanks to Pat for this copy of Sophie’s Squash in Chinese! How fun is that?!

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via One Writer’s Journey: Organization Optimization

This post by Beth Anderson gives excellent organizational tips for researching and writing for children. I’ve found myself stuck and constantly searching for that ONE piece of paper hosting important story information, so I definitely could use organization tips. Spiral notebooks just might be the trick.

Thanks, Beth!

*Beth’s book is pictured above. Can’t wait to read it!

 


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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!