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Shivery Shades of Halloween by Mary McKenna Siddals

Mary McKenna SiddalsShivery Shades of Halloween: A Spooky Book of Colors (Random House Books for Young Readers, $12.99, Ages 3-7) with illustrations by Jimmy Pickering is such a great idea for a picture book!

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REVIEW:

I liked Shivery Shades of Halloween: A Spooky Book of Colors so much that I want to read more books like it, a series perhaps: The Tasty Tones of Thanksgiving or maybe the The Crimson Colors of Christmas! Okay, so those titles need some work, but after you read this clever new picture book and hear the hardy laughter of your kids, I’m sure you’ll agree it’s very, very catchy and it couldn’t hurt to have others in the queue for our favorite holidays.

Best of all, it may be called “A Spooky Book of Colors,” but Shivery Shades of Halloween isn’t scary in the least! In fact it’s funny, clever and educational. Siddals’ picture book will get your children thinking not only about all the different colors presented (green, purple, white, gray, blue, yellow, brown, black, red and of course, orange), but all the different words used to describe those colors in excellent internal rhyme …

HALLOWEEN IS WHITE
… Stony-bony, pearly-swirly, mostly ghostly
Wisp of white.

… in addition to the synonyms used for the word “color” – had to look that one up and it’s not easy, but Siddals pulls it off perfectly. There’s tinge of green, stain of red, glint of yellow … pigment anyone?

Pickering has designed an adorable (well, the sharp teeth aren’t SO adorable) bat-like creature (see lower right hand corner of cover above) who is colored all the shivery shades of Halloween and changes hues to match each scene it’s in. The youngest readers are bound to get a kick out of seeing when and where it turns up. The entertaining artwork features a bandaged-up red devil, a yellow cheese ball moon and a caped black cat. Pickering’s imaginative illustrations reminded me of Phineas And Ferb, one of my cartoon faves, meaning they’re never creepy and actually quite inviting.

Frankly, good Halloween picture books are hard to find. It’s why we see older titles turning up on lists and book shop displays again and again. So when a cute, creative new one like Shivery Shades of Halloween comes along, it’s worth noting. No newcomer to children’s books, Siddals gift of rhythm and rhyme is evident on every page promising to make Shivery Shades of Halloween a read-aloud request this holiday.

– Reviewed by Ronna Mandel

GUEST POST: 
Mary McKenna Siddals – children’s author

GRWR: How did you come up with the idea for the book?

MMS: The idea for SHIVERY SHADES OF HALLOWEEN began with asking myself the question that opens the book: What color is Halloween? While musing about how black and orange predominate as the colors typically associated with this holiday, it occurred to me that Halloween is not only brimming with other colors, but that every color actually takes on its own distinctive spooky tone.

I began brainstorming the images that came to mind for each color, playing with the adjectives that might be used to describe them… and before I knew it, a manuscript was beginning to take shape. Of course, there was lots more tinkering involved… establishing a framework with rhythm and rhyme… giving the text a direction that implied a journey through the spectrum of the night… and plenty of wordplay to make it all work… but in the end… BOOyah! What emerged was the spirited text for SHIVERY SHADES OF HALLOWEEN: A Spooky Book of Colors.

Find Shivery Shades of Halloween on Facebook here.

Follow Jimmy Pickering on Facebook here.

Mini Myths Board Book Series: Be Patient, Pandora! & Play Nice, Hercules!

GREEK MYTHOLOGY
FOR THE FOUR & UNDER CROWD FROM
JOAN HOLUB & LESLIE PATRICELLI

Play-Nice-Hercules-Be-Patient-Pandora-cvrs.jpgA board book series that gently introduces toddlers to mythological characters, Pandora and Hercules, is a great idea. Rita and Ronna have each reviewed one of the following two new books, the first titles in what we’re sure will be a popular read-aloud series. Both board books feature a contemporary take on classic literature to help little ones learn simple life lessons in a very understandable way.

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Interior art from Mini Myths: Play Nice, Hercules! by Joan Holub with illustrations by Leslie Patricelli, Abrams Appleseed ©2014.

Mini Myths: Play Nice, Hercules(Abrams Appleseed, $6.95, Ages 1-4) by Joan Holub with illustrations by Leslie Patricelli.

Meet Hercules, a rough-and-tumble type of little boy. Then meet his calm, alphabet-blocks-playing sister. Despite being told by his dad to “Play nice, Hercules!” Hercules insists he’s not nice. “I am strong. I can wham-bam monsters!” Uh oh, things are looking a little shaky here, especially when he ka-booms the carefully stacked castle of blocks his sister has constructed.  With the castle in shambles and sister in tears, Hercules feels awful and apologizes. But watch out, Hercules! While you’re rebuilding your sister’s castle, she’s starting to get a glint in her eyes. The book’s back page includes a condensed version of the actual myth for parents to share with interested youngsters. – Reviewed by Ronna Mandel

Be sure to pick up a copy of the other new board book in the series, Mini Myths: Be Patient, Pandora!, that cleverly conveys the message that maybe it is indeed better to heed one’s parent’s advice than let impatience get the upper hand.            

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Interior art from Mini Myths: Be Patient, Pandora! by Joan Holub with illustrations by Leslie Patricelli, Abrams Appleseed ©2014.

Patience might be a virtue, but it’s a learned one, especially for young children. Mini Myths: Be Patient, Pandora! chronicles Pandora’s temptation to open a boxed present. The box looks so pretty and even though opening is against the rules, touching it isn’t. How about leaning, sitting, or standing on it? It’s so hard to ignore the box when it’s right there! Will Pandora open the box, and what will happen if she does?

Based on the Greek myth, Be Patient, Pandora! is a charming board book that explores the importance of being patient. With the main story just under 60 words long, it is easily understandable for young children. The illustrations are adorable, and their simplicity is a perfect complement to the language. As a bonus, the final page has a child-friendly retelling of the original Pandora myth. Your children won’t be able to wait to get their hands on this book! – Reviewed by Rita Zobayan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Socks! by Tania Sohn

Socks! by Tania Sohn is reviewed by Rita Zobayan.

0006135_socks_300Colorful socks are for more than just keeping tootsies warm. A young girl and her adorable kitty explore what they can do with an armful of socks in Tania Sohn’s picture book, Socks! (Kane Miller EDC Publishing, 2014, $9.99, ages 2-5).

The striped socks inspire the girl to dress up like a witch and the green socks are an opportunity to hop like a frog. Knee socks are the perfect length to imitate an elephant’s trunk. What’s in the package? Special socks called beoseon that Grandma sent from Korea.

Simple in its language and concept, Socks! is a guide to seeing these everyday accessories as more than mere footwear. With a little imagination, a child can transform these foot warmers into puppets or even use them as an opportunity to become a super hero.

Socks are fun. Socks are colorful. We love socks!

I Wonder Who? Surprises on Every Page!

From England comes I Wonder Who? by Anton Poitier with illustrations by Sophia Touliatou (Kane Miller, $12.99, Ages 3-7).

I-Wonder-Who-cvr-spread.jpgPart lift-the-flap, part pop-up and part die cut, this colorful interactive animal concept book will engage your youngsters and be just as enjoyable for you to share with them.

The playful depiction of animals from caterpillars to whales complements the questions:

 

 

“I wonder who has eaten the page?”

“I wonder who has made a big splash?”

Though little ones may not be able to read the replies, they’ll use the clues and discuss with parents who could possibly be hiding behind each flap and not even realize the pre-literacy and language skills they’ll be developing. Being a cat owner, my favorite scene is the one with a ripped page. Which one will be your child’s favorite?

Another treat: In every scene there are some cute birds to be found, adding yet another activity to this fun busy book.

NOTE: Since the book is from England, in one scene with an elephant, “currant buns” are mentioned, so it would be helpful for parents/caregivers to know that a currant bun is sweet and full of raisin-like berries.

– Reviewed by Ronna Mandel

 

Play and Learn with Wallace: Giant Workbook by Roger Priddy

Play and Learn with Wallace: Giant Workbook
by Roger Priddy is reviewed by Rita Zobayan.

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Play and Learn with Wallace: Giant Workbook by Roger Priddy, Priddy Books/Macmillan, 2014.

Summer is lots of fun for children, but it can also mean learning loss for some students. This might be especially true for students gearing up to enter kindergarten. Play and Learn with Wallace: Giant Workbook (Priddy Books/Macmillan, $12.99 Ages 3 and up) with
content created by Ellen J. Bretherton, has over 300 activities that work on tracing, pen control, cutting and pasting, the alphabet, phonics, numbers 1-20, times table, days/months/seasons, colors/shapes/patterns, and telling time (both analog and digital).

Wallace the dog joins our young learners and helps them throughout the book. He’ll let them know what they need to do, such as “follow the direction of the arrows” or “paste the cutouts into the white squares.”

Number recognition is presented in fun games such as Matching Socks where you draw lines between socks or Bone Hunt where you match the dogs to their bones using number pairs.

For phonics, children will trace each letter and then draw a line to connect the sound to the picture that it begins with. They can also play Which Letter? where they look at each picture and then circle the letter that makes the starting sound.

Full of bright illustrations and photographs with multicultural persons, the Giant Workbook is engaging, as well as educational. The reward chart is a bonus. My youngest child has greatly enjoyed working her way through this book and hasn’t complained at all that this is “work.” I don’t think there’s a more positive review than that.

Maisy’s Placemat Doodle Book by Lucy Cousins

Maisy’s Placemat Doodle Book by Lucy Cousins is reviewed by Rita Zobayan.

 

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Maisy’s Placemat Doodle Book by Lucy Cousins, Candlewick Press, 2014.

My youngest daughter adores a certain mouse by Lucy Cousins, so Maisy’s Placemat Doodle Book (Candlewick Press, 2014; $11.99, Ages 3 and up) was a huge hit with her. With over 50 activities, it’s perfect for doodling, coloring, drawing, and, most importantly, using imagination. Each of the pages has a prompt and an illustration to inspire little hands to get busy with crayons, markers, or pencils. For example, your child can give these mugs some pretty patterns or can help draw some food that she [Tallulah] would like to eat. The prompts help children learn or reinforce colors, patterns, shapes and content knowledge.

As with all Maisy books, the illustrations are splendid in their simplicity, and Maisy’s friends are there to join the fun. Draw lots of teeth for Charley so he can crunch on this tasty carrot. Make his shirt striped. Panda has been eating tomato soup. Draw the TERRIBLE MESS he has made on his face and everywhere else!

The pages are 12.5” x 9”, so there is plenty of space to color. When we’ve been on our way to dine out, I’ve torn pages from the book and taken them with us. That way, my daughter has her placemat(s) at the diner, as well. In her words, “You could color it, look at it, and it’s fun.”

Check out this terrific My Friend Maisy/Maisy’s Fun Club site for kids.

 

Mighty Dads by Joan Holub With Art by James Dean: Book Blast & Rafflecopter Giveaway

Check Out This Book Blast Giveaway & Rafflecopter
for Mighty Dads by Joan Holub With Art by James Dean

Mighty Dads by Joan Holub and James Dean

About the Book

Title: Mighty Dads | Author: Joan Holub | Illustrator: James Dean| Publication Date: April 29, 2014 | Publisher: Scholastic | Pages: 40 | Recommended Ages: 3+ Summary: A new constructacular picture book from the New York Times bestselling creator of Pete the Cat, James Dean and bestselling author, Joan Holub.

Mighty dads, strong and tall,

help their children, young and small.

They keep them safe and bolted tight

and show them how to build things right.

Inventively told through James Dean’s colorful construction vehicle characters, MIGHTY DADS is an adoring dedication to hardworking fathers and the subtle ways they teach their boys and girls to follow in their tracks. The Dump Trucks learn to get dirty. Crane keeps his little one safe from harm. The busy Cement Mixer gives his daughter a hug. The Forklift cheers his son on. A surprising and touching view of a father’s love for his children, MIGHTY DADS is the perfect way to say: I’m proud of you!  

Book Trailer

Purchase

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository (free worldwide delivery)

Also available at Walmart, Target, and Barnes & Noble stores.

The Buzz

“Like the best 21st-century human dads, the vehicles don’t just show their kids the ropes—they also offer plenty of TLC (“Cement Mixer Busy/ gives a hug if Mixie’s dizzy”) and affirmation (“Forklift Wise/ cheers whenever Forky tries”). Dean’s decision to anthropomorphize the construction equipment solely through a highly stylized, often single, forward-facing eye takes some getting used to—imagine a cross between the Eye of Providence on the dollar bill and a Egyptian hieroglyph. But his construction sign–inspired palette and ability to convey calm, steady affection between parent and progeny quickly outweighs this visual idiosyncrasy, making this a book worthy of any young armchair foreman.” ~ Publisher’s Weekly

“This will make a good read aloud for those looking to update their trucks/machines storytimes.” ~ Goodreads Review

“The simple rhyming text will be fun at read alouds as children can do motions (roll, roll, roll or smooth, smooth, smooth)” ~ Goodreads Review

 About the Author: Joan Holub

Joan Holub author Mighty DadsJoan Holub is co-author of the best-selling Goddess Girls series, the Grimmtastic Girls series, and the Heroes in Training series. Her picture book Little Red Writing received three starred reviews and has been named to many Best-of lists. Her mighty cool dad inspired the creation of the picture book, Mighty Dads.

Website | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads | Facebook

About the Illustrator: James Dean

James Dean Author Pete the CatJames Dean is the creator of the best-selling Pete the Cat. Before James started painting Pete the Cat as a full-time profession in 1999, he wanted to paint cars and trucks. He loves things that go, and currently drives a 1971 VW bus camper and a 1959 Chevy truck. He worked as an electrical engineer for fifteen years before he decided to try to make a living with his paintings. James lives with his wife, five cats, and a pug named Little Emma.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Amazon Page

Want a Chance to Win a Copy of “Mighty Dads”?

Be sure to head on over to our review and giveaway of Mighty Dads for your chance to win a copy. Open US/Canada. Ends May 19, 2014. Just click on the cover below. Mighty Dads by Joan Holub and James Dean

* $50 Book Blast Giveaway *

Amazon $50 Gift Card Prize: One winner will receive a $50 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal cash (winner’s choice) Contest ends: May 31, 11:59 pm, 2014 Open: Internationally How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, Joan Holub and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com. a Rafflecopter giveaway

MDBR Book Promotion Services Copyright © 2014 Mother Daughter Book Reviews, All rights reserved.

Pocket Piggies Numbers! & Pocket Piggies Colors!

Pocket Piggies are back
in a new line of board books from Workman Publishing.

What’s cuter than one pocket piggy? Two pocket piggies – in a teacup!

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Pocket Piggies Numbers! with photographs by Richard Austin, Workman Publishing, 2014.

The Teacup Pigs of Pennywell Farm are back, this time starring in a new 22-page board book line perfect for tiny hands to hold. The simple language accompanied by Richard Austin’s adorable photographs will have your child “reading” in 1, 2, 3!

4 pocket piggies with a pup

5 pocket piggies in a row

6 pocket piggies in the snow

Counting from 1 to 10 is fun in Pocket Piggies Numbers! (Workman Publishing, $5.95, Ages 0-3) and the book is such a quick read, parents will love reading it again and again.

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Pocket Piggies Colors! with photographs by Richard Austin, Workman Publishing, 2014.

Pocket Piggies Colors! (Workman Publishing, $5.95, Ages 0-3) with photos by Richard Austin is the perfect companion book for Pocket Piggy Numbers! With only two words on a page, this book will hold the youngest child’s attention and have them reading right along.

Brown Dog

Orange Flowers

Purple Car

I don’t know how Austin managed to get the pocket piggie to hold a miniature red guitar, or push a baby buggy, but it’s easy to see why children and parents alike cannot resist the Teacup Pigs of Pennywell Farm. Now that’s something to oink about!

– Reviewed by MaryAnne Locher

Peppa Pig Book Series from Candlewick Press

If you have a preschooler, chances are you know of Peppa Pig as seen on Nick Jr., the mud-loving, outgoing piglet. Candlewick Press has released several Peppa Pig books that your young children are sure to enjoy. Read Rita Zobayan’s review below of two recent books in the series.

Peppa Pig and the Busy Day at School book cover

Peppa Pig and the Busy Day at School, Candlewick Press, 2013.

In Peppa Pig and the Busy Day at School, Peppa and her friends are busy preparing for Special Talent Day. However, Madame Gazelle reminds the class that there is much to do before the show. The students must practice their numbers and the alphabet. Next, they play store when they practice social skills and money management. This very busy day also includes art, lunch, recess, and music! Finally, it’s time for the Special Talents show and the class is excited, but Peppa Pig begins to worry. Everyone else seems to have better talents and then Suzy Sheep unknowingly performs Peppa’s talent, and Peppa thinks she has nothing else to show.

“I don’t have a special talent that hasn’t been done already,” says Peppa.

“Of course you do,” says Madame Gazelle. “Think of something you really like to do.”

Peppa is quiet. She thinks. Then she smiles. “I know!” she says. She grabs her boots. “Follow me!”

The cast of characters are friendly and school structure is realistic. Not everyone gets everything right. For example, when the eager students pick their instruments, the music doesn’t quite sound the way they hoped.

Everyone plays together: Boom, bang, crash!

“Oh, my!” cries Madame Gazelle. “That sounds a bit more like noise than music! Let’s go one at a time…then each of you can join in.”

Thus, the students learn how to manage themselves and listen well. Peppa Pig and the Busy Day at School is a great example from which preschoolers can learn the components of school and how to cope with its demands.

(Peppa Pig and the Busy Day at School; Candlewick Press, Hardcover; $12.99; Paperback, $4.99, ages 2-5)

Peppa Pig and the Perfect Day book cover

Peppa Pig and the Perfect Day, Candlewick Press, 2013.

For hands-on fun, Peppa Pig and the Perfect Day presents an opportunity to read and play. Peppa and her family are spending a perfect day together. They ride past a duck pond and picnic in the park. Later, Peppa’s friends, Danny Dog and Suzy Sheep, come over to play. Next, Peppa’s family and friends gather on Grandpa Pig’s boat for sailing fun.

Your little one can play as you read. The book comes with a sturdy fold-out playmat that features the seaside, gas station, grocery story, duck pond, and Peppa’s house.  Add the removable car and boat pop-ups, the press-out characters (Peppa, her family, and some friends), and the reusable stickers (including life vests—how thoughtful!), and you have a Peppa Pig play world. My four-year-old daughter greatly enjoys playing with this book. (And though she’d probably be too proud to admit it, my nine-year-old has been spotted playing alongside. In fact, she was the one who assembled the car and boat.)  Peppa Pig and the Perfect Day provides playtime fun.

(Peppa Pig and the Perfect Day; Candlewick Press; $17.99; ages 3 and up)

 

Holiday Gift Guide – Play-Doh Christmas Craft Fun

PLAY-DOH HELPS KIDS MAKE MAGIC THIS CHRISTMAS

Cover art for Play-Doh Christmas Craft Fun

Play-Doh Christmas Craft Fun, by Susan Amerikaner with art by Kara Kenna, Silver Dolphin Books, 2013.

Play-Doh Christmas Craft Fun, written by Susan Amerikaner and illustrated and digitally composed by Kara Kenna (Silver Dolphin Books, $14.95; Ages 3 and up), is reviewed today by Rita Zobayan.

Christmas is upon us, which undoubtedly means presents. Why not combine two perennial kid favorites—Play-Doh and books—and delight the youngsters in your life? Silver Dolphin Books and Hasbro have done exactly that. The Play-Doh Christmas Craft Fun set includes four cans of Play-Doh, a plastic knife and roller, and 15 projects wrapped into a 32-page activity book.

Santa is on his way to Jolly Town, and Penguin, Cat, and Dog need your help to get the town ready! Help them prepare a tree, a candy cane, a bow, advent candle, a stocking and 10 more fun, Christmas-themed items. Each project is presented in three easy-to-follow steps with accompanying photographs.  Then the project is highlighted in the two-page spread artwork.

Time for presents! Let’s make one.

1. Shape two square in any colors you like. Make one thinner than the other. Then make five small rolls.

2. Put the thin square on top of the bigger one. Flatten the rolls into strips and fold them over. Roll out several tiny round pieces.

3. Use the folded strips to make a bow. Make a ball for the middle of the bow. Decorate with the tiny round pieces.

This gift is ready to go under the tree! Great job! Maybe next year you can work at the North Pole!

The artwork consists of Play-Doh figures on a backdrop. They’re fun and inviting scenes. See the cozy fireplace where you can hang your stockings. Step into Mrs. Claus’ kitchen where she’s busy baking gingerbread cookies, with your help, of course! Watch the snowflakes cover the trimmed tree!

Create some Christmas memories with the Play-Doh Christmas Craft Fun activity book and set.

 

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