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Pop-up to Our National Parks!

Image 4 It was a true privilege to open my mail and discover an extraordinary review copy of America’s National Parks: A Pop-Up Book ($34.95, W.W.West, Adults). Before I get into the wonders of the book, I must mention that one of the book’s main purposes is to raise money for our National Park system. For every copy of the book sold, $8 will be donated to the National Park Conservation Association (NPCA); the publisher’s goal is to raise $100,000 for this cause, but only 1,200 copies of the Deluxe Limited Edition will be produced. Each of these are numbered and autographed by the paper engineer, illustrator and author. If you wish to purchase a Limited Edition book, you can only do so on the publisher’s website.

America’s National Parks features six National Parks: 1) Everglades; 2) Great Smoky Mountains; 3) Grand Canyon; 4) Yellowstone; 5) Glacier and 6) Yosemite. The book begins with a most informative introduction to our National Parks. Did you know there are 58 National Parks and close to 400 preserved places the National Park System is responsible for protecting? Next to the intro you will find a letter from the President of the National Park Conservation Association. But the real thrill begins when you open up the first two-page pop-up spread. Here you’ll be greeted by Everglades National Park, ironically, the National Park closest to my home and my heart. The detail of the pop-up River of Grass is phenomenal, from the tree hammock to the canoe and die cut birds. There’s even a small side card that, when opened, up pops a gator and what appears to me to be a Great Blue Heron.

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Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Along with each pop-up spread are fascinating facts about each park. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park spread features spring flower pop-ups and some cool information about the American Black Bear. The impressive orange-colored Grand Canyon spread will leave you feeling the sheer massiveness of this sprawling natural wonder from the imposing mountains to the plunging valleys and meandering waters inside. Open the Yellowstone pages and see Old Faithful rise before your eyes. Feel the vast diversity of Glacier National Park from the soaring peaks to the meadows and all the animals that call this park home. The Yosemite spread’s towering cliffs and panoramic vistas give you insight into the grandiose nature of one of our nation’s most visited parks.

Because this book could not possibly cover every one of our National Parks in pop-up spreads, there are written pages dedicated to other Eastern, Central and Western USA National Parks. Short descriptions of each park give us clues into the natural wonders – from animals to terrain – of each destination. In the back of the book is a useful map of America highlighting our parks’ locations.

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Glacier National Park

The concept for this book is credited to the author, Don Compton, who has penned 13 books about America’s National Parks. He is a collector of antique pop-up books, and used many of his own personal travel experiences in the descriptions he writes in America’s National Parks. This was the first pop-up book artist Dave Emberever illustrated, but you wouldn’t know that by the outstanding job he did. The paper engineer who masterfully designed the pop-ups of this and other spectacular books is Bruce Foster. Oh how I would love to interview him to find out what this daunting task required! The entire team should be so proud of what they’ve accomplished here.

Describing America’s National Parks simply cannot do it justice. This is a book you must see for yourself to truly appreciate. It’s unlikely that you’ve ever seen a pop-up book as unforgettable as this, and I for one cannot think of a better way to spend $34.95. It’s the next best thing to being there.

Note: Although this book was created for adults, children who are advanced readers will also enjoy it. However, due to the fragile nature of the pop-up pages, the book must be treated gently and with extra care.

– Reviewed by Debbie Glade.

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Introducing Play-Doh Brand Board Books

Rita Zobayan reviews the new

Play-Doh: Where Learning and Creativity Take Shape series.

Counting Bunnies, Making Shapes with Monkey, Mama’s Little Ducklings, Rainbow Butterflies ($6.95 each) and Let’s Get Creative Jumbo Sticker Book ($12.95) are written by Michele Boyd and illustrated/digitally composed by Kara Kenna; ages 0-3; Silver Dolphin Books

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For many children, Play-Doh is a gateway for letting their imaginations come to life. Want to swim under the sea even though you live nowhere near the ocean? Sculpt some fish and a reef, and you have your own underwater world. Play-Doh has taken the creativity of its products, added a serious cuteness factor, and produced the sturdy Where Learning and Creativity Take Shape board book series, ideal for children three years and older (Silver Dolphin Books, 2013; $6.95 each). Each book is brightly colored with digitally composed illustrations of Play-Doh creations.  You’ll want to reach out and touch the pictures that seem like real Play-Doh creations.  The text is simple and fun.

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Counting Bunnies features a group of adorable bunnies counting from one to ten. Each page consists of the target number prominently displayed along with explanatory text and a number sense question (for example, What other groups of six do you see?). And, of course, let’s not forget the growing number of bunnies who do everything from talking on phones to growing dizzy on a merry-go-round to splashing in a pool.

212-380-Product_LargeToMediumImage-thumbMaking Shapes with Monkey includes a simple rhyme scheme with Monkey and his friends identifying basic shapes: circle, square, triangle, rectangle, star, and diamond. Silly friend Squirrel stopped by to say, “Can you make me a special kite today?” There are colorful shapes in the sky. Can you name the shapes soaring up so high?  The shapes are embedded into the pictures, making it fun for the young reader to spot. What shapes make up the flowers? The bird house is made from which five shapes?

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212-374-Product_LargeToMediumImage-thumbRainbow Butterflies introduces the colors of the rainbows plus perennial favorite, pink. Each color features a hidden butterfly and a finding question (for example, What other yellow things do you see?) on pages choc-full of colored creatures and items. Now we spy with our little eyes the lovely orange butterfly. Not to mention the orange cat, sun, balloon, flowers, and butterflies.

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212-375-Product_LargeToMediumImage-thumbMama’s Little Ducklings is a lift-the-flap book that tells the story of Mama Duck as she readies for her eggs to hatch and then realizes one is missing! (The mischievous egg rolled away!) Follow Mama and her colorful crew as they ask their fellow creatures if they can help.   Mama Duck and her four ducklings waddled down the path and into the river. “Has anyone seen my missing egg?” asked Mama Duck. “Not here,” said the fish with a glug-glug-glug! If little eyes look carefully, they will see the yellow polka-dotted egg hiding in each section.

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212-383-Product_LargeToMediumImage-thumbThe Let’s Get Creative Jumbo Sticker Book ($12.95) features over 300 reusable stickers in eight different sections—Building Blocks, All about Animals, Under the Sea Surprises, Travel and Adventure!, Let’s Go to School, At Home, Fun with Food, and Exploring Nature. There are plenty of pages to create your own scenes, as well as pages with guided themes. To add to the fun (and, ssshhh, learning), there are question-and-answer and suggestion pages that encourage critical thinking. Boy or girl, whatever their interests, there is something for everyone in this jumbo book of sticker fun!

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Pulling Rabbits Out of Hats – Real or Illusion?

Illusionology: The Secret Science of Magic ($19.99, Candlewick Press, Ages 8 and up), written by Albert Schafer with illustrations by David Wyatt and Levi Pinfold, is extraordinary! This most unusual book, with pop-ups, flaps to flip and envelopes to open, takes readers inside the science of illusion. They learn about the history of illusion and how the eye and mind are tricked. The importance of story telling in magic and the art of misdirection are revealed. There are sections on levitation, the science of disappearing, body manipulation and more. Readers will also learn about Houdini as well as other famous illusionists.

What I love about the book is 1) The book cover, with its lenticular image in the center, is superb; 2) It is a beautiful, ultra high-quality coffee table style book with a mystic, historic look from the era of Houdini; 3) Opening flips and flaps and envelopes is really fun and exciting 4) Readers can learn to do actual tricks; 5) Readers are exposed to the science of magic which really makes them think.

I was particularly fascinated by learning about how the human eye can be tricked and how our perspective influences what we see. Naturally I was also intrigued by the details about Houdini’s most famous tricks.

This wonderful book is to be treasured, read and studied for many hours and would make a special holiday gift for any child interested in magic.

Reviewed today by Debbie Glade.

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76 Trombones and Maisy, too!

Maisy’s Band: A Pull-the-Tab and Pop-up Book ($17.99, Candlewick Press, ages 3 and up) by Lucy Cousins, is reviewed by Rita Zobayan.

Strike up the band! Maisy and her friends are putting on a show, and we’re invited to attend. Throughout the 14 pages we assist Maisy and company in getting ready for their performance. Pull the tab and Plinkety-plonk! Tallulah plays the pink piano. Move the tab up and down, and Root-a-toot! Cyril plays on the trumpet. The penguins hum a tune. The last page features a 3D pull-out stage where all five band members perform. Illustrated in Lucy Cousins’ distinct style, this is a bright and engaging hands-on read for youngsters.

Fun Fact: Did you know that there are over 29 million Maisy books in print worldwide?

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Interactive Farm Fun

Playbook Farm by Corina Fletcher and illustrated by Britta Teckentrup ($24.00, Nosy Crow, ages 3 and up) is reviewed by Rita Zobayan.

Playbook Farm is a multi-faceted treat that has engaged my three-year old daughter for hours. It is a combination of a pop-up book and a 3-D play mat that comes in an 8.5” box with an inner flap to store the stand-up animals and farm vehicles. The bottom side of the mat is the book. Children can read about the important work that farm animals do in simple, straight-forward language written by Corina Fletcher.  All the animals on the farm have jobs to do. Can you guess what they are? What do farm cats do? Farms cats keep the mice away and stop them from eating the wheat. What do sheep do? Sheep give us wool to keep us warm.

The sturdy 3-D mat opens up to roughly 24”x32”. There is a path that winds through the farm and takes us through the fields and pastures past the windmill, chicken coop, and more. Along the path is text that explains what we are passing: “Moo, moo, moo!” The cows are ready for morning milking. Whoosh, whoosh, whoosh, whirs the windmill, grinding the grains of corn. The pop-up buildings have movable parts, such as doors and gates that open and windmill blades that turn.

The stand-up animals and vehicles are easy for little fingers to move across the mat. Move the tractor driven by the female farmer across the corn fields. Drive the truck through the farm to pick up supplies. Have the sheep dog guide the sheep and goat into their pen. Set the rooster high on the roof to announce the dawn. This tactile introduction to farm life is a treat.

The illustrations by Britta Teckentrup are delightful and present the images of an idyllic farm that children so enjoy.  Beyond the farm and its environs, there are duck ponds, trees, flowers, insects and various birds that dot the landscape. Details abound! Find the mother cat and her kittens. Count how many chicks are following the hen. What’s hiding near the flour sacks by the windmill? Who’s peeking at the horses through the wheat field? The illustrations alone provide great fun for youngsters who will eagerly look for the cleverly placed details.

Playbook Farm is play and learning stored nicely in a box.

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Dare to Doodle

Debbie Glade gets doodly with today’s review.

The Pirates vs. Ancient Egyptians in a Haunted Museum ($6.99, Nosy Crow, Ages 7 and up) is the fourth book in the Mega Mash-Up series by Nikalas Catlow and Tim Wesson with more due out December. Basically the reader draws his way through the comic-style book to put his own mark on the story. There are a handful of pirate and Egyptian characters living separately. But both groups run into some financial distress, and they each have maps to the city’s abandoned museum where a valuable statue of a Golden Howler Monkey is housed. The real fun starts when the two groups of robbers both search desperately for the treasure and collide inside the museum. Kids can read the book and doodle their way to the end to find out who gets the treasure and what happens after that.

Due to the nature of the subject, this story may appeal to boys more than girls. What works so well in Pirates vs. Ancient Egyptians is that the story is silly, fun and easy to read and stirs the imagination of the reader. Plus readers get to draw and participate in the story. They can create original art and also add to what’s there already. (There are some drawing tips and a picture glossary.) Reluctant readers will have so much fun with this book, they won’t even realize it is helping to hone their reading skills. Another bonus? This humorous book is really affordable and would make a great gift for a themed birthday party.

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Presidential Elections Are for Little People Too

Reviewer Debbie Glade shows us there’s no better time than right now to teach our children about presidential elections in the USA and to have a whole lotta fun while doing it.

Looking at the cover of Where Do Presidents Come From? : And Other Presidential Stuff of Super Great Importance ($14.99, Dial Books, Ages 8 and up) one might think they’re delivered by the stork. Author/illustrator Michael Townsend uses his humor and savvy illustrations in this comic-style book to teach young readers fun and educational facts about presidents.

The book starts out with a clever and humorous chapter about what all the other chapters in the book are about, and all chapters come complete with colorful comic art, speech bubbles and silly knock-knock jokes. What you’ll appreciate about this book is that it is so highly entertaining while being highly educational. Readers are introduced to facts about how America got started, the different branches of government, how a president gets elected, the White House, what presidents actually do and what happens when presidents are done serving. The last two chapters really had me roaring with laughter.

My favorite children’s books are always those that entertain adults as much as they do kids, and this is surely one of those books. Add to that humor, colorful illustrations comic-book style in a sturdy, high quality book, and what you’ve got is a real winner.

With an election two weeks away, what an ideal time it is for Mad Libs for President ($3.99, Price, Stern, Sloan, Ages 8 and up).  Check this out: “Ladies and gentlemen, on this __________ (adjective) occasion it is a privilege to address such a/an _________ (adjective) looking group of _____________ (plural noun). I can tell by your smiling _________ (plural noun) that you will support my __________ (adjective) program in the coming election.” Imagine how hilarious that will read once your family fills in the blanks.

Among the topics of these Mad Libs by Roger Price and Leonard Stern you’ll find Diplomacy, Political Speech, Mount Rushmore, A Great Debate, famous Quotes from the American Revolution, State of the Union, A Typical History Test and much more.

Some of my fondest memories of laughing with my daughter were while playing Mad Libs. If you play around with this one, you’re sure to make some lasting memories too.

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Yucky and Great At the Same Time!

Rita Zobayan reviews Icky Sticky Monster: A Super Yucky Pop-Up Book! by Jo Lodge ($12.99, Nosy Crow, ages 3 and up).

At a certain age, youngsters are fascinated with gross words and actions, especially the kind that adults try to avoid talking about in public. My three-year old daughter thinks that poop, pee, boogers and fart are the funniest words imaginable. Just the mention of a first syllable or sound will send her into delighted bursts of giggles. At about that same age, many little ones also become convinced of the existence of monsters. Currently, my daughter refuses to walk into a dark room because of suspected monsters hiding under tables, behind curtains, in corners and so on.

To see how she’d react to a book that combines her current favorite topic and her current fear, I left Icky Sticky Monster: A Super Yucky Pop-Up Book! on our coffee table and didn’t mention it. Within seconds of the first sighting, she brought the book over to me and promptly demanded that I read it to her. What followed was 10 pages of ewww and yuck, and one disgusted but thrilled kid.

Icky Sticky Monster, a friendly fellow, is busy being gross, and we get to witness his yucky habits through pop-up fun. Turn the page and see Icky Sticky Monster pick his nose— “That stinky little monster pulls out some snotty goo, and because he’s feeling very kind, he’s giving some to you!” —and drink down one nasty concoction—“Icky Sticky Monster guzzles down a jug of stinky, wormy cabbage juice with added chunks of slug!” The simple rhyme scheme works well with young children, who respond well to sing-song style text.

Pop-up books are engaging, especially when moving parts are included, as they are in this one. The pages are filled with bright (and I mean almost fluorescently-colored) art work and a cool font. The pages are thick enough to handle the wear and tear of little fingers.

Jo Lodge has written and illustrated a great, fun read for young children. If Icky Sticky Monster replaces the imagined boogeymen hiding at every turn, then my daughter (and, therefore, I) will sleep well tonight.

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Snow White and Rose Red, the Brothers Grimm Way

Rita Zobayan reviews Snow White and Rose Red: A Pop-Up Fairytale ($19.99, Tango Books; ages 5-7), by the Brothers Grimm and illustrated by Rachel Cloyne.

Long before Snow White sang with forest critters and took up with seven gentlemen of diminutive stature, the Brothers Grimm had written the original version of her story that is still prevalent in Europe today. Snow White and Rose Red is the traditional tale that does include a dwarf and a prince, but tells a deeper story of kindness in the face of ingratitude and of bravery in the face of danger.

Sisters Snow White and Rose Red live with their mother near a forest. They often venture into the forest and fields to gather food. When a talking bear visits them on a cold winter’s night, their simple lives are changed forever. Suddenly they are beset by a wicked dwarf, who often needs their help and yet shows them nothing but contempt.

There they found a Dwarf with an old wrinkled face and a long snow-white beard. The end of his beard was caught underneath a fallen tree…He glared at the girls with red fiery eyes and exclaimed, “Why do you stand there? Are you going to help me?”…

As soon as the Dwarf was freed he snatched his sack filled with gold, threw it over his shoulder and marched off, grumbling and crying, “Stupid people! To cut off a piece of my beautiful beard. Plague take you!”

Patient and kind, the sisters help the ungrateful dwarf three times. In each instance, we see young women who are capable, clever and confident. They do not turn from danger. They rely on their wits to help another, even when he, in turn, insults them and ultimately attempts to bargain their lives for his freedom.

Marvelously illustrated by Rachel Cloyne, this book features shades of black, white and red. Each page has 3-D pop-ups that are beautifully drawn. The artwork is striking in its detail, and captures the darkness of the time period and of the tale. It is truly a spectacular book for Halloween or any other time of year.

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Fridays Featuring Flintridge – Star Wars Reads Month

Catherine Linka shares her picks for ..

Star Wars Reads: Using the “Force”

Getting boys to read can be a challenge, but they can be lured in when a topic excites them. October is Star Wars Reads Month, and you can use the “Force” to encourage your child to read.

The youngest readers can choose from a large selection of DK READERS that offer four graded levels of reading and include stories about the original characters from the Star Wars movies and from the animated Clone Wars (by Simon Beecroft) series. Prices range from $3.99 in paperback to $14.99 in hardcover.

For kids in 3rd grade and up, check out THE STRANGE CASE OF ORIGAMI YODA ($12.95, Abrams). This series of three novels by Tom Angleberger tells the story of Dwight, a 6th grade oddball whose Yoda finger puppet appears to tell the future when you put it on. Like DIARY OF A WIMPY KID, this series can engage even reluctant readers.

Boys often prefer non-fiction to fiction, and DK has a terrific series of books for kids 7-12 that feature Star Wars “facts” and details about the world. The latest book in this series is THE SECRET LIFE OF DROIDS ($12.99, Dorling Kindersley) by Jason Fry, with pages devoted to topics such as how C3PO has evolved over the years, why it is pointless to plead mercy with a battle droid, and how to choose a droid.

Another strategy to trick boys into reading is by giving them books with instructions. Two fun new books are DRAW STARS WARS: THE CLONE WARS ($16.95) from Klutz. This is perfect for fans 10 and under who want to learn how to draw their favorite characters. For 8 to adult, get a copy of  STAR WARS ORIGAMI ($16.95, Workman Publishing) by Chris Alexander. Step-by-step instructions are provided for 36 projects, including origami lightsabers, battleships and characters.

Please visit the Flintridge Bookstore today to pick up your copy of these great books, buy gifts, enjoy their extensive selection of other great reads  and relax over a great cup of coffee.  Also visit the website at www.flintridgebooks.com to keep up-to-date with story times, author events and other exciting special events.

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All Treat, No Trick Halloween Giveaway Part 2

Did you read yesterday’s post when we introduced a fun fall giveaway? In order to be eligible to win, go back and check out yesterday’s review and then, after reading today’s as well, enter if you dare. You just might be the winner of over $150 worth of Halloween books!

Halloween’s just 22 days away! And to get the excitement brewing, we’re giving away a bunch of books for boys and ghouls (and one for parents as well) to enjoy before their big night out. Scroll to the bottom for more info after reading all the reviews.

Vampirina Ballerina writtten ($14.99, Disney/Hyperion Books, ages 2-6) by Anne Marie Pace with pictures by LeUyen Pham, is wicked and whimsical with arabesques and a twist. Pace takes a typical budding ballerina tale and turns it on its head in the best possible way! Add the plethora of vampiralicious puns coupled with killer artwork from the ever talented Pham, and this ballerina picture book rises above the others, or should I say flies, soars and sweeps? If Vampirina just follows her mom’s advice (remembering not to turn into a bat or trip on her cape to name a few), she’ll achieve her goal. Fangs a lot for this fab read.

The Secret History of Hobgoblins ($16.99, Candlewick, ages 8 and up) by Professor Ari Berk had me at Hob! I have been fascinated by the lore of of these little folk since falling for J.K. Rowling’s Dobby so it came as no surprise that I found myself studying every last word on each elaborate page. The old-world style in which the book is presented will no doubt capture your child’s attention as it did mine. Full of detailed artwork in color and black and white, fold-out spreads, flaps to flip and facts to glean, The Secret History of Hobgoblins (is that a tongue twister?) fascinates as it entertains. We learn from the book’s opening that the Secret Folk (who thrive on hospitality and domestic order) are sharing their privately held practices with us in order to “herald a swift return to the hospitable practices of the past.” Hear! Hear! Learn about where they live, what their spells and charms are and how to peacefully cohabit with them. Frankly, while I could really use a hobgoblin at home, I must resign myself to just reading about them in Berk’s engaging new book.

The Monster Alphabet ($7.99, Price, Stern, Sloan, ages 3-7) by Michael P. Spradlin and illustrated by Jeff Weigel provides a field day for monster hunters like narrator Morgan Marvin Marshall. This intrepid traveler will take children around the world searching for monsters from A-Z. There’s the Abominable Snowman hiding in the mountains of Nepal, the Ogre found “most everywhere” and Zombies (aka living dead) who will “eat the brains straight from your head,” and Spradlin’s monster hunting Marshall will find them all. Now I am not sure I want to read this to a 3-year-old at bedtime, but with the light-hearted illustrations that definitely don’t scare, I certainly would not hesitate to illuminate my little one about gargoyles, hydras and imps around Halloween. And it’s told in uncomplicated rhyme, too. Kids may even find a bit of costume inspiration from Weigel’s artwork. Bonus feature: For each alphabet letter illustrated, there are 3 hidden objects beginning with the same letter to be found on every page.

Haunted Castle ($15.95, AZBooks, ages 5 and up) by Nadezhda Shumovich is the perfect Halloween book for pop-up book fans. It’s Halloween night in a small village where threesome Nick, little Alex and Kristy find themselves bored after their local trick or treating is soon finished. Kristy suggests they visit the castle at the forest’s edge for some more exciting entertainment. Who should greet them when they arrive but a vampire butler along with a slew of other costumed party goers or so they think! It’s not until they notice no mirror reflections of these dressed up ghouls that the kids realize they might be the biggest treat at this gathering. Some quick thinking saves the trio but not before readers get to share the spooking with REALLY SCARY SOUNDS in this sound effects and “Nightmarish 3D” book.

Duck & Goose Find A Pumpkin ($10.99, Schwartz & Wade Books, ages 2 and up) is yet another delightful board book for the preschool set and for story time by author/illustrator Tad Hills. The pages are large and durable, the art is adorable, bright and inviting and the story is just simple enough for your littlest reader. Duck and Goose go in search of a pumpkin after they see the one Thistle has found. It’s not long before the pair are looking in a log, a pile of leaves, up in an apple tree, in a pond, on top of a stump all for naught! But with Thistle’s help, perhaps the pair’s luck will change. Learn more about this award-winning author and his other Duck & Goose books by clicking here.

It wouldn’t be Halloween without mentioning the always popular Scream Street series, Book #7, Invasion of The Normals ($5.99, Candlewick, ages 8-10) by Tommy Donbavand available in paperback. As the first page professes, “The fiendish fun continues at www.screamstreet.com” so what are you waiting for kids?  This is an ideal choice for reluctant readers with short chapters, imaginative illustrations and even free collectors’ cards inside the back cover! Take a walk down this street, but you’ve been warned! Something strange is going on and it could be NORMAL!

On Monday, October 8 and then again on Tuesday, October 9, 2012 we’re reviewing and/or briefly mentioning books that we’ve read recently then giving them away the following week! So **read both posts before entering. And guess what? If  you LIKE us on Facebook and also send us your name and contact info in an email to Ronna.L.Mandel@gmail.com by midnight on Tuesday, October 16, 2012 you’ll be entered to win a prize package of all 11 books covered (worth a value of $153.77) just in time for Halloween!! Remember to write Halloween Book Giveaway in the subject line.  **YOU MUST LIST ALL BOOKS COVERED IN THE 2 BLOGS as part of your entry eligibility so be sure to read the blog every day!! Click here now for more detailed rules. Good luck!

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A Touch & Pull Book For Toddlers

The Nose Knows!

My kids loved interactive books when they were toddlers and it will be easy for you to understand why when you share Sniff! ($9.99, Simon & Schuster/A Paula Wiseman Book, ages 2-6) with your little ones. New York Times bestselling author/illustrator Matthew Van Fleet “nose” what kids like in touch and pull books and in Sniff!, he’ll draw them in instantly with the cute moving elephant on the cover and then continue to keep them engaged with all the tactile pleasures youngsters could imagine.

Van Fleet introduces a skunk (pee-yew!), a pig (wipe that drippy nose!), a mouse (with twitchy whiskers), a bear (with his squishy nose), a tiger (touch that fuzzy nose), and a whole lot more creatures who, in just a few sort board book pages and gentle rhyme will captivate your child.  Meet the author and get activities at KIDS.SimonandSchuster.com.

Today’s review is by Ronna Mandel.

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Picture Book Review & Giveaway Day 3

LET’S GET KIDS READING!

Today is Day 3 of our picture book giveaway worth over $130, and the theme we’ve chosen is Learning.

Monday, September 10, through Wednesday, September 12, 2012 of this week we’ll be reviewing and/or briefly mentioning picture books that we’ve read recently then giving them away! And guess what? If  you LIKE us on Facebook and also send us your name and contact info in an email to Ronna.L.Mandel@gmail.com by Monday, September 24, 2012 you’ll be entered to win a prize package of all books covered!! Remember to write Picture Book Giveaway in the subject line.  **YOU MUST LIST ALL BOOKS COVERED ALL 3 DAYS as part of your entry eligibility so be sure to read the blog every day!! One lucky winner will receive eight hardcover books worth a total retail value of $136.88!  We’re making it SO easy for you to get your kids reading again this back-to-school season. And isn’t that priceless?  The giveaway opportunity ends at midnight on Monday, September 24, 2012 and a winner will be randomly chosen on Tuesday, September 25, 2012. Click here now for rules. Good luck!

Green ($16.99, A Neal Porter Book/Roaring Brook Press, ages  2-6) written and illustrated by Caldecott Honor Book and Geisel Honor Book awardee, Laura Vaccaro Seeger, will make you and your children think about green in a whole exciting new way. I’m in the process of repainting both the interior and exterior of my home and since green is one of my two favorite colors (the other is purple), I just knew I would be wild about this book. And speaking of wild, of course there’s jungle green, forest green, sea green, lime green and pea green covered. But what really works so well is how there’s a deliberate die cut on every spread which little ones will love looking through. Add to that how they’ll enjoy talking about a certain surprise they may notice when peering through to a different page to find moths flitting near a fern or the delicious looking red apples on a tree, or the word khaki hidden in tall grass.  Here’s a great book of discovery for youngsters that is ideal to use as inspiration for creating their own picture book or work of art.

My Pop-Up World Atlas ( $18.99, Templar Books, ages 5-8) by Anita Ganeri and Stephen Waterhouse is a book right up reviewer Debbie Glade’s alley. She’d loves promoting geography to kids and here’s a book that would make doing so all the more fun. Who doesn’t love a pop-up book?  Travel around the globe from the comfort of your sofa as you learn facts, check out maps, lift flaps, pull tabs, spin wheels. There are so many thing to do on every page to keep a child glued to this book. 

**Recap – To be eligible for the giveaway: 

1. Read our blog this week
2. Like us on Facebook
3. Send us an email to Ronna.L.Mandel@gmail.com by Monday, September 24, 2012. Write “Picture Book Giveaway” in the subject line. In the body of the email, write:
a. The names of all the books mentioned in our blog posts from Monday September 10 through Wednesday September 12, 2012.
b. Your name
c. Phone number
d. Address
A winner will be randomly chosen on Tuesday, September 25, 2012.
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Maisy Does it Again!

Debbie Glade reviews a new Maisy book with lots of tabs to pull.

I love Maisy books and have fond memories of the many hours my daughter played with her Maisy Pop-Up Playhouse years ago. It was so sturdy she was able to pass it on to a much younger cousin to enjoy.

Maisy’s latest adventure is Hop, Skip, Jump, Maisy! A Maisy First Science Book ($12.99, Candlewick Press, Ages 2-5) by Lucy Cousins, complete with tabs to pull to get Maisy moving. This sturdy cardboard book is vibrant, colorful and happy, just like Maisy herself. Lucy Cousins understands what kids like – big, bold colors and cheerful pictures. All of her book covers are so inviting that I can imagine them as posters decorating a young child’s bedroom walls.

Hop, Skip, Jump, Maisy! is all about the active things Maisy likes to do: hopping, jumping, kicking a ball, skipping and doing cartwheels. On the side of each two page spread is a list and some illustrations of other animals who like to do the things she likes to do. Like all Maisy books, this one is adorable, educational and just plain fun to read. And what child doesn’t love interactive books with pull tabs? What’s great is that there are so many Maisy books, your kids will love her so much they’ll want to read them all. There are four other books about science in this series worth checking out:

Maisy’s Nature Walk

Maisy’s Book of Things That Go

Maisy’s Wonderful Weather Book

Maisy’s Nature Trail

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A Mom’s Summer Survival Kit Great Books Giveaway

The kids are home, the house is a mess, and all you hear is “Mommy, mommy, mommy!”  While we cannot provide an escape plan, we can offer you the chance to win some really super books for when you carve out some ‘me’ time (even if that involves reading helpful parenting books) and find the perfect place to relax, kick off your shoes and read, read, read. OR maybe you know a mom who could REALLY use these books. Score points and enter the contest to win the prize for her.

Good Reads With Ronna has teamed up with Andrews McMeel Publishing to offer a “just what I needed” prize package (worth almost $50) of essential reading and a treat for your little ones, too!

Here’s what you can win:

No Regrets Parenting -Turning Long Days and Short Years into Cherished Moments with Your Kids by Harley A. Rotbart, M.D. ($14.99)

Toilet Training Without Tantrums by John Rosemond ($12.99)

Mom’s Pocket Posh Ages 4-6 ($7.99)

Numbers Caterpillar-Shaped 2-Sided Board Book ($11.99, ages 3 and up)

The giveaway begins today and ends midnight on July 17, 2012.  To enter, send your name and address now in an email to Ronna.L.Mandel@gmail.com and write MOM’S SUMMER SURVIVAL in the subject. Then be sure to leave a comment below for this blog post and LIKE Good Reads With Ronna on Facebook.  You’ll get an additional entry for following us on Twitter @goodreadsronna. For detailed giveaway rules please click here. Good luck.

What we love about this selection of books is that there’s something for everyone which ultimately makes mom very happy. The caterpillar-shaped Numbers book is great in the stroller, in restaurants, and on-the-go. It’s sturdy with an elastic closure, colorful, compact and we’ve discovered there are quite a lot of fun ways to play with Numbers, too. 

Mom’s Pocket Posh Ages 4-6  is an indispensable and handy item for moms to keep in a glove compartment or purse and is filled with 100 puzzles and games to play with your kids at a picnic, waiting in line for a movie or on a car trip. And there’s such a wide variety of Pocket Posh soft-covered books available to choose from. Into Jane Austen? They’ve got one.  A knitter maybe? They’ve got a Pocket Posh for that, too!  There’s even a complete calorie counter and with its gorgeous cover, you won’t mind pulling it out for all to see even if you did just down a 1000 calories-laden piece of cheesecake!

In No Regrets Parenting there are countless gems to take away from every chapter so that time spent with your children can be the best possible experiences ever. We think Rotbart’s idea about family celebrations is one worth noting. For example, he suggests making a half-birthday, the first day of school, a good report card, the first lost tooth or big snowstorm a reason to celebrate. While he clearly states these don’t have to be gift-giving occasions, nor do they have to become big events, they can, however, quite easily become days the entire family will look forward to year after year. These are really what great memories are made of. In another chapter he emphasizes the importance of walking somewhere local with your child rather than driving there. Taking time to just stroll leisurely (if the situation permits), talk and maybe hold hands is an ideal way to be “present” with your child rather than rushing about in the car to get someplace. Be spontaneous and see what happens.  It might be some of the best moments you and your child have shared in a long time. Broken down in main categories such as Basic Principles, Simple Strategies, Epilogue and an Appendix then put into topic chapters, all areas of life with kids is covered.  The brief chapters are well written and packed with ideas parents will refer back to again. In fact you may be surprised to learn that Rotbart even suggests parents keep the book in the bathroom as it was “not written to be read cover to cover.” If you have young kids or those heading off to college, No Regrets Parenting is an invaluable resource to have on hand, bookshelf or bathroom!

Author John Rosemond has written 15 parenting books and his advice is often “the last word” on many topics and it’s certainly true in Toilet Training Without Tantrums. This is a brief book which should come as welcome news to many readers. Rosemond feels that toilet training is a simple process therefore the book should cut to the chase quickly, too.  Rosemond’s sense of humor (which helps enormously when toilet training because it can be so stressful to so many) is evident from page 1 where he even tells readers what chapters they can skip depending on their current situation/predicament. Most importantly parents will discover that Rosemond believes the old-fashioned way of potty-training is the tried-and-true method and that Brazelton’s philosophy of waiting to see the “seven signs of readiness” is not necessarily what works best. After putting into action and seeing results from the recommended approach presented in Toilet Training Without Tantrums, moms can kiss their diaper bags good-bye.

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