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Put on a Hoppy Face!

Regular Contributor Lindy Michaels of BookStar on Ventura Blvd. in Studio City claps her hands with approval for IF YOU’RE HOPPY ($16.99, HarperCollins/Greenwillow Books, ages 2-5), written by April Pulley Sayre with illustrations by Jackie Urbanovic.

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Who doesn’t know and love the musical ditty, “If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands…?” But what if you’re HOPPY and you know it? What are you? Are you a frog? A bunny? What, I ask! Since they’re all HOPPY, you could be any of them or more, right?

Now, let’s see… what if you’re SLOPPY and you know it, what are you? No, no, your extremely messy children don’t count. But they will love this sing-songy, adorable, colorfully illustrated book as they try and guess who is GROWLY and FLAPPY and… well, you get the picture.

What I love about IF YOU’RE HOPPY is that it’s fun and silly and will even encourage little ones to come up with their own thoughts on who is hoppy and floppy and so on and so on!

But a warning! You can’t just read IF YOU’RE HOPPY. No, no, no. I insist that you sing it! And that will make you and your tots… happy. And if you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands!

lindymichaelspic1The very versatile Lindy Michaels aims to inspire young minds through children’s literature. Lindy owned L.A.’s first children’s bookshop, OF BOOKS AND SUCH (1972-1987) where she did storytelling, taught drama to children, had art and poetry contests and the like. According to Lindy, “It was truly a ‘land of enchantment.” She also spent years lecturing on realism in children’s literature at colleges in the state. For close to five years Lindy has worked for Studio City Barnes and Noble (BookStar) in the children’s section and does storytelling every Saturday at 10:30 a.m.

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Can They Get Any Cuter?

So Many Animals!

It’s no wonder kids get so excited about reading books about animals. There are so many cute creatures to discover and an abundance of fascinating facts to learn. Today Debbie Glade reviews three adorable books…

9780375858864Orangutans are Ticklish: Fun Facts from an Animal Photographer ($16.99, Schwartz & Wade, ages 3-7), written by Jill Davis, is a uniquely wonderful book. The book starts with photographer, Steve Grubman explaining what it took to get all those amazing photos of the animals in this book, including his frightening experience having a tiger run after him. And the photos of the animals in the book are uncommon indeed, as Steve waited for the perfect moment to capture each of them in rare poses. The descriptions about each creature, along with the photos are a great read. Did you know that, unlike a crocodile, when an alligator’s mouth is closed, you can’t see his bottom teeth? Or that a zebra has black stripes on a white background, rather than having white stripes on a black background? Read this book and you’ll find out why. And yes, Orangutans are undoubtedly ticklish!

all_agesyoung_childrenThose who love baby animals will delight in two ZooBorns books (Beach Lane Books, ages 2 & up), written by Andrew Bleiman and photographed by Chris Eastland. ZooBorns: Zoo Babies from Around the World is written from the perspective of the animals. ZooBorns: The Newest, Cutest Animals from the World’s Zoos and Aquariums is a bit more sophisticated and includes animals’ birthdates and facts. The photos in both of these books will melt your heart, and your kids will want to look at them again and again! You’ll enjoy them too.

debbieglade24Debbie Glade, today’s guest reviewer, is the author, illustrator and voice talent of the award-winning children’s picture book The Travel Adventures of Lilly P Badilly: Costa Rica, published by Smart Poodle Publishing. She visits South Florida schools with her reading, writing and geography programs. For years, Debbie was a travel writer for luxury cruise lines. She writes parenting articles for various websites and is the Geography Awareness Editor for WanderingEducators.com. She blogs daily at smartpoodlepublishing.com.

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Pants on Fire

514c3k0schl_sl500_aa300_HELLO, GOODBYE AND A VERY LITTLE LIE, ($16.99, Capstone/Picture Window Books, ages 4-8) written by Christianne C. Jones and illustrated by Christine Battuz, is reviewed by Lindy Michaels of BookStar on Ventura Blvd. in Studio City. (Editor’s Note: This book is one in a series of four Little Boost books helping to teach children valuable life lessons.)

I am not quite sure what kind of animal Larry is… sort of a hippo/horse/rabbit/donkey? What I do know is that Larry is a big, huge liar! He lies about doing his homework. He lies about building a playground. He lies about growing all the vegetables at the market. He lies about eating all the frosting his mother was going to put on a cake she was making.

“Larry, why do you lie so much?” his mother asked.
“I’m not lying,” Larry replied and explained he was “simply creating a fictional story. I’m telling a tall tale. I’m stretching the truth.”

Really? Really? Well,, one day Larry told a cute little girl, whom I can’t figure out what animal she looked like, either, that he could swim all the way across the near-by lake.

“No you can’t,” she said.
“Yes, I can,” insisted Larry.
“Prove it,” she replied.

Oh, oh. Would this end up being the very last lie Larry ever told? HELLO, GOODBYE AND A VERY LITTLE LIE is utterly delightful, with funny, imaginative illustrations. And, of course, with a very, very good moral and a happily ever after. What more could one want from a children’s book? Or… of course, I might just be lying about this entire review. No, no, no, I’m not! I swear. I would never lie to you!

lindymichaelspic2The very versatile Lindy Michaels aims to inspire young minds through children’s literature. Lindy owned L.A.’s first children’s bookshop, OF BOOKS AND SUCH (1972-1987) where she did storytelling, taught drama to children, had art and poetry contests and the like. According to Lindy, “It was truly a ‘land of enchantment.” She also spent years lecturing on realism in children’s literature at colleges in the state. For close to five years Lindy has worked for Studio City Barnes and Noble (BookStar) in the children’s section and does storytelling every Saturday at 10:30 a.m.

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Still Noisy After All These Years

NOISY NORA, written and illustrated by Rosemary Wells ($15.99, hardcover; $6.99, paperback, Viking, ages 1-5), is a tried and true classic according to guest reviewer Lindy Michaels of BookStar on Ventura Blvd. in Studio City.

What in blazes does it take to get a little attention from one’s parents when one has two needy siblings? That’s what little mousy Nora wonders. No, she’s not actually ‘mousy.’ She IS a mouse! “Jack had dinner early. Father played with Kate. Jack needed burping and Nora had to wait.” But Nora certainly did not go quietly into that good night.

9780670887224l“First she banged the window, then she slammed the door. Then she dropped her sister’s marbles on the kitchen floor.” This is what highly paid child psychologists like to call “getting negative attention,” big time. Sound familiar, mommies and daddies with multiple little ones? What could it possibly take for Nora to get any kind of attention, positive or negative? Here’s a hint. There’s a mad search and then, wait for it… a “monumental crash!”

All I can say, good children, everywhere, is please don’t try this at home. I’ve been reading NOISY NORA to little tykes since it was first published in 1973 and I never tire of telling this tale, nor laughing at adorable, albeit, noisy Nora’s antics, as she tries everything in her power just to get noticed. And trust me, get noticed she does! lindymichaelspic1

The very versatile Lindy Michaels aims to inspire young minds through children’s literature. Lindy owned L.A.’s first children’s bookshop, OF BOOKS AND SUCH (1972-1987) where she did storytelling, taught drama to children, had art and poetry contests and the like. According to Lindy, “It was truly a ‘land of enchantment.” She also spent years lecturing on realism in children’s literature at colleges in the state. For close to five years Lindy has worked in Studio City for Barnes and Noble (BookStar) in the children’s section and does storytelling every Saturday at 10:30 a.m.

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Are You The Next Great Children’s Book Author?

CALLING ALL ASPIRING AUTHORS!

box-and-book-lrDid you know that the annual Cheerios New Author Contest launches today! Do you have the ‘write’ stuff?
Are you an ambitious writer eager to pursue your dream of creating a children’s book that will be remembered years from now? If you are, you probably need no encouragement from us, so just click here to enter. The contest (www.spoonfulofstories.com), which is seeking the next great children’s book author, encourages aspiring authors nationwide to submit an original story, in either English or Spanish, for children ages three to eight.

In 2010, mom and small business owner Laurie Isop, of Renton, Wash., was named Grand Prize Winner and received a $5,000 cash prize. Also, beginning in late March, Laurie’s book How Do You Hug a Porcupine? will be featured in more than two million Cheerios boxes nationwide, with hard covers becoming available in July.

Isop offered some tips for raising kids who love books: “Start early, and don’t just read the words. Use as much inflection and drama as possible.” She encourages parents to offer a variety of books so children have lots of options. “Eventually they’ll find a character or subject they connect with, and voila! They’re hooked on reading!” She also says, “Don’t be afraid to conjure up your own books. When my youngest was four his preschool class got to visit a working construction site. That evening I wrote a little story on my computer. It was all of ten pages and had clip-art for illustrations. It was called Erik Visits the Construction Site. I used his name on every page and he just loved it; he begged me to read it to him again and again.”

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Eric Carle Books at Kohl’s

DEVOUR THESE STORIES

kohls

Kids are hungry to learn and this spring Kohl’s helps feed their need to read with $5 books and
plush toys from legendary author/illustrator Eric Carle through the Kohl’s Cares program.

veryhungrycaterpillarNow through the end of April, Kohl’s Department Stores are offering hardcover Eric Carle books and coordinating stuffed animal toys including The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Mixed Up Chameleon, The Grouchy Ladybug and The Foolish Tortoise.

To tempt the grown-up taste buds (and their wallets) this spring, Kohl’s is selling Crazy About Cupcakes by Krystina Castella for only $5. Overflowing with unique recipes for cupcakes, fillings and frostings, the book also includes tips on how to creatively decorate cupcakes. Now that takes the cake!

All books are available nationwide and as part of the Kohl’s Care program, 100 percent of the net profit from the sale of these featured books and plush toys goes to benefit kids’ health and education initiatives in communities across the country. Since its inception, Kohl’s has raised more than $150 million to help kids (and brought smiles to so many children

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A Whale of a Tale

9780312535667According to guest reviewer Lindy Michaels of BookStar on Ventura Blvd. in Studio City, out of all the incomparable William Steig children’s books, AMOS AND BORIS is the once closest to her heart.

Living by the ocean and always gazing at the blue sea, the little mouse, Amos, wondered what was out there beyond the horizon. And so, one day, he decided to build a boat, which he named “The Rodent,” and sailed away to see far away places.

He especially loved the nights, as he laid on his back, looking up at the starry sky and was “…overwhelmed by the beauty and mystery of everything…” Unfortunately, one night, so mesmerized by the beautiful sight, he accidentally rolled off his boat and into the dark, dark sea.

Through the night he tried to swim back to his boat, back to land, back to his home, but to no avail. And just as he felt all his energy leaving him, he was saved… by a whale! Boris! And yes, the great whale agreed to take Amos home. Along the way they talked of many things, sharing their deepest thoughts, their ambitions, their differences. And when the huge whale finally dropped the little mouse off at his home, they knew they would never, ever forget one another.

The years passed and one day during a horrific storm, the now older Boris was tossed around and around in the angry ocean, weakened by the violent waves and ended up beached on the very shore where his old friend, Amos, lived.

Could the tiny mouse possibly save his enormous, dear friend who once saved his own life? I won’t divulge the exact ending, but it will give readers, young and old, goose bumps and a lovely and satisfying sigh of… “ahhhh.”

lindymichaelspicThe very versatile Lindy Michaels aims to inspire young minds through children’s literature. Lindy owned L.A.’s first children’s bookshop, OF BOOKS AND SUCH (1972-1987) where she did storytelling, taught drama to children, had art and poetry contests and the like. According to Lindy, “It was truly a ‘land of enchantment.” She also spent years lecturing on realism in children’s literature at colleges in the state. For close to five years Lindy has worked for Studio City Barnes and Noble (BookStar) in the children’s section and does storytelling every Saturday at 10:30 a.m.

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Raccoons and Foxes Up-close and Personal

Fascinating Facts About Every Day Animals

Debbie Glade reviews these two books about wildlife from Firefly Books.

516hhuw27il_sl500_aa300_foxesIt’s fun to learn about unusual animals, but what about every day animals we encounter in parks and alleys? They’re fascinating too! Exploring the World of Raccoons and Exploring the World of Foxes by Tracy C. Read are informative little books that are packed with details about these foxescommon, furry creatures.

Both books have excellent close-up photographs that make the animals look so cute, you can’t help but love them. Readers will discover facts about the animals’ physical traits, their habitats, their natural talents as well as their mating habits.  Did you know that the raccoon’s black mask on its face helps to reduce glare so it can see better at night? Or that both a baby raccoon and a baby fox are born blind and completely foxeshelpless and do not even open their eyes until they are 2 – 3 weeks old? A fox can jump seven feet and has keen eyesight similar to a cat! And a raccoon is highly intelligent and has a fantastic memory. These two books are perfect for curious young readers who are always a lot of questions about animals. Parents will enjoy them too.

debbieglade2Debbie Glade, today’s guest reviewer, is the author, illustrator and voice talent of the award-winning children’s picture book The Travel Adventures of Lilly P Badilly: Costa Rica, published by Smart Poodle Publishing. She visits South Florida schools with her reading, writing and geography programs. For years, Debbie was a travel writer for luxury cruise lines. She writes parenting articles for various websites and is the Geography Awareness Editor for WanderingEducators.com. She blogs daily at smartpoodlepublishing.com.

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Let’s Save the Animals: A Flip-the-Flap-Book

514uplvdt8l_sl500_aa300_As soon as young children see the cover and unusual shape of Let’s Save the Animals: A Flip-the-Flap-Book (Candlewick Press, $12.99, ages 4-7), by Frances Barry, they’ll be compelled to open it. Kids aren’t the only ones who love turning over all the flaps to see what’s on the other side; parents like me enjoy it too! With simple prose and illustrations, readers learn a little bit about some of our earth’s most endangered species. There are also tips in the back of the book suggesting how readers can help protect these species. This book is a perfect way to introduce the youngest readers to saving the earth and the creatures who live on it.

debbieglade2Debbie Glade, today’s guest reviewer, is the author, illustrator and voice talent of the award-winning children’s picture book The Travel Adventures of Lilly P Badilly: Costa Rica, published by Smart Poodle Publishing. She visits South Florida schools with her reading, writing and geography programs. For years, Debbie was a travel writer for luxury cruise lines. She writes parenting articles for various websites and is the Geography Awareness Editor for WanderingEducators.com. She blogs daily at smartpoodlepublishing.com.

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Lindy Loves DOG LOVES BOOKS

50785403DOG LOVES BOOKS, (Random House Children’s Books, $19.99, ages 4-8) written and illustrated by Louise Yates, is reviewed today by Lindy Michaels of BookStar on Ventura Blvd. in Studio City.

I love books. Dog Loves Books. Just like dog, I remember the first day I opened my beloved OF BOOKS AND SUCH, L.A.’s first children’s bookshop. And just like dog, I bathed, dressed in my favorite hippie outfit (hey, it was 1972!) and waited with baited breath for my first customer to open the red door and enter my land of enchantment.

But for dog, no one entered his life’s dream. Okay, that’s not quite true. A woman did come in, but asked for a tea with milk and two sugars. Then a man entered asking for directions. Slightly depressed and bored, dog reached for a book and started to read… as it happened, a book about dinosaurs.

Then a quite magical thing happened. When he read, he forgot that he was alone, that he was even in his book store. And when one adventure ended, dog simply reached for another book off the shelf and wonder of wonders, a new adventure would quickly begin.

All that reading, more than he had ever done before, made him an expert in literature, so when customers did finally start flocking into his shop, dog knew just the right book to recommend. I love Dog Loves Books with its wonderful pastel illustrations. And children will, too. There is no doubt it will inspire them to discover new places, learn new things, meet new people and animals, all that are tucked into the pages of books, just waiting to be discovered.

lindymichaelspic2The very versatile Lindy Michaels aims to inspire young minds through children’s literature. Lindy owned L.A.’s first children’s bookshop, OF BOOKS AND SUCH (1972-1987) where she did storytelling, taught drama to children, had art and poetry contests and the like. According to Lindy, “It was truly a ‘land of enchantment.” She also spent years lecturing on realism in children’s literature at colleges in the state. For close to five years Lindy has worked for Studio City Barnes and Noble (BookStar) in the children’s section and does storytelling every Saturday at 10:30 a.m.

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Check Out The Shoes

Guest reviewer Lindy Michaels of BookStar in Studio City writes about PETE THE CAT…. I LOVE MY WHITE SHOES (HarperCollins, $16.99, ages 3-7) by Eric Litwin with art by James Dean.

9780061906237Pete, the cat, loves his very white shoes and sings about just how much he does. Now all join in! “I love my white shoes, I love my white shoes, I love my white shoes!” But, oh no! And horrors, too! One day he steps into a large pile of… strawberries and his shoes turn… RED!

Most cats in this situation would go meowing back to their momma, but not Pete. He goes with the flow, now singing about how he loves his red shoes. Sing it loud! “I love my red shoes, I love my red shoes, I love my red shoes!”

And you guessed it, Pete keeps stepping into piles of different colored “things.” Yikes, even mud! But no catastrophe will crumple this cat.

Children will love to guess what Pete steps into next, as they sing along with him. Will his shoes ever turn white, again? Open this ‘colorful’ book and find out!

lindymichaelspic2The very versatile Lindy Michaels aims to inspire young minds through children’s literature. Lindy owned L.A.’s first children’s bookshop, OF BOOKS AND SUCH (1972-1987) where she did storytelling, taught drama to children, had art and poetry contests and the like. According to Lindy, “It was truly a ‘land of enchantment.” She also spent years lecturing on realism in children’s literature at colleges in the state. For close to five years Lindy has worked for Studio City Barnes and Noble (BookStar) in the children’s section and does storytelling every Saturday at 10:30 a.m.

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Listen Some More to What Lindy Says

lindymichaelspicThe very versatile Lindy Michaels, whose passion is to inspire young minds through children’s literature, is back again today to tell you about some books she adores.

Lindy owned L.A.’s first children’s bookshop, OF BOOKS AND SUCH (1972-1987) where she did storytelling, taught drama to children, had art and poetry contests and the like. According to Lindy, “It was truly a ‘land of enchantment.” She also spent years lecturing on realism in children’s literature at colleges in the state. For close to five years Lindy has worked for Barnes and Noble in the children’s section and does storytelling every Saturday at 10:30 a.m. where we first met. I think she might even be more gaga over kids’ books than me, if that’s possible!

And don’t forget this upcoming event at BOOKSTAR, 12136 Ventura Blvd., Studio City 91604, (818) 505-9528, on Sept. 4th. Ted Jacobs has set children’s poetry to Celtic music, has two CDs out and he and his group will be doing a concert at BookStar on Sept. 4, during Lindy’s regular Sat. 10:30 am storytelling. “It’s going to be fabulous!!”

In today’s post she’s chosen to share some more of her particular personal favorites:

9780399233920lYOU ARE MY I LOVE YOU
Written by Maryann K. Cusimano Love and illustrated by Satomi Ichikawa

“I am your parent. You are my child.
I am your quiet place. You are my wild…”

And so begins a love letter from a parent to their child. With sweet and gentle illustrations, this is the perfect gift for new parents and later, such a lovely sentiment to read to little ones to show how much they are, indeed, loved.

9780399233920m_011“… I am your dinner. You are my chocolate cake.
I am your bedtime. You are my wide awake…”

There is no doubt that this book will be treasured
and touch your heart for a very long time. Simply beautiful.

“… I am your lullaby. You are my peek-a-boo.
I am your goodnight kiss. You are my I love you.”

cvr9780689505690_9780689505690THE THREE LITTLE WOLVES AND THE BIG BAD PIG
Written by Eugene Trivizas and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury

Of course, we all know the story of the three little pigs and the big bad wolf. But trust me, the Big Bad Pig makes that wolfy seem like the nicest guy on the block.

No matter how strong the little wolves build their houses: brick, then cement and finally with armor plates and barbed wire, the Big Bad Pig uses everything from a sledge hammer, to a huge pneumatic drill, and finally TNT, to ‘blow’ their houses down.

But then the little wolves have an ingenious idea, however unlikely, for their fourth and hopefully last house!

Would there be a happily ever after for the three little wolves? This very funny and delightful story ends with a message both children and parents will get a kick out of and ultimately, even learn a life’s lesson.

9780670878550lJOSEPH HAD A LITTLE OVERCOAT
Written and illustrated by Simms Taback

The story, the Caldecott winning illustrations, the message, oh my!

“Joseph had a little overcoat. It was old and worn… So, he made a jacket out of it and went to the fair…”

And then continues the saga of Joseph the tailor’s much loved overcoat that keeps getting smaller and smaller. Not being able to give it up, after the jacket, he makes a vest out of it, then a scarf, a necktie, a handkerchief and finally, a mere button he uses to hold up his suspenders. And then, oy vey, he loses the button.

Okay! I won’t keep you in suspense.

“… So Joseph made a book about it. Which shows… you can always make something out of nothing.”

book_01LOST AND FOUND
Written and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers

penguinhug_thmOne morning, a boy finds, of all things, a sad looking penguin at his front door. Since the penguin say nothing, the boy asks the birds in his yard and even his rubber ducky, when he takes a bath, where the penguin might have come from, since it must be lost.

Then, after researching the subject, he learns that penguins come from the South Pole… so very far away. But wanting to take the penguin back to his home, the boy, with the penguin’s help builds a boat and they start off on their long voyage. Although the penguin never says a word, the boy tells him stories to pass the time.

Finally arriving at the South Pole, the boy drops off the still silent penguin with an umbrella, in case the weather gets bad. On the way home and with no one to tell stories to, the boy thinks. And thinks. And then he realizes something very important. The penguin wasn’t lost at all. He simply was lonely.

The satisfying ending to this incredibly lovely book will stay with children and adults, alike. Without a doubt, this is one of my very favorite children’s books.

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Local Author Gerry Renert Reading at Bookstar

nathan1You’ve read the review, now meet the author of Nathan Saves Summer at Bookstar this coming Saturday. I will be there, too, so please stop by to say hello!

Who: Local author Gerry Renert

What: Author reading and book signing of Nathan Saves Summer

When: Saturday, July 17th reading at 10:30 a.m.

Where: Bookstar B&N/Studio City Theatre

12136 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604

818-505-9528

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A Pond, A Hippo and Tons of Summer Fun

RTP Portrait BooksI recently took a look at a new children’s book called Nathan Saves Summer (by Gerry Renert with illustrations by Carrie Anne Bradshaw, $16.95, Raven Tree Press, ages 4-8) written by local Pacific Palisades author Gerry Renert, co-creator of the animated preschool TV series ToddWorld. It’s not hard to recommend a story which, in addition to being ideal for summer reading, also encourages our kids to pursue their dreams. Plus, the book is supported by the USA Swimming Foundation.

Meet Nathan, an adorable hippo who yearns to become a lifeguard at the pond, a popular summer vacation spot in the wild. And while he seems ideally suited to serve as a water safety supervisor, his animal friends think otherwise, bombarding him with a bevy of excuses to hinder his pursuit. So swim season after swim season, the lifeguard job eludes the humble, helpful and hefty hippo, culminating with a rescue attempt on a tiger cub that actually empties the pond of all its water!

RTP Portrait BooksConvinced that their summer swim spot is shot, the giraffes, monkeys, zebras and all the rest of Nathan’s pals prepare to move on as Nathan decides to throw in the towel forever. However, good fortune soon finds Nathan when two penguins make a startlingly discovery helping him save the day and ultimately, the summer. In addition to the colorful tale spun by Renert, children will enjoy Bradshaw’s warm and witty watercolor illustrations.

Free activities as well as an audio sample for the author’s narration of the book are available by clicking here. This title is available in English–only or bilingual English–Spanish editions.

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Postcards about Planet Earth: Q & A

ask-drkfisher_pearth-6Ask Dr. K. Fisher About Planet Earth ($10.99, Kingfisher/Macmillan, ages 4-8) is a clever, sturdy hardcover book by author Claire Llewellyn. Full of postcards and letters written by animals who pose the most unusual questions to expert Dr. Fisher, this book is sure get kids thinking about Mother Nature. For instance, a salmon wants to know what life will be like for him when he swims from the river to the ocean. Dr. Fisher helps the salmon rest easy by telling him this is a completely natural and safe process for him. All the ask-drkfisher_pearth-7letters teach young readers about the animals and the places where they live.

9780753463048Each of the postcards and letters, both to and from Dr. K. Fisher, are craftily illustrated by Kate Sheppard. This makes the book extraordinarily fun to read. There’s a simple glossary and an index in the back of the book as well.

ask-drkfisher_pearth-12The best aspect of this book is that it teaches kids fascinating facts in a subtle way rather that pounding them over the head with them. I suppose I already knew there are three different layers of the earth, and the core is too hot for any creature to survive. But somehow, seeing an illustration and reading a real simple description, really hit home with me.

debbiegladeDebbie Glade, today’s guest reviewer, is the author, illustrator and voice talent of the award-winning children’s picture book The Travel Adventures of Lilly P Badilly: Costa Rica, published by Smart Poodle Publishing. She visits South Florida schools with her reading, writing and geography programs. For years, Debbie was a travel writer for luxury cruise lines. She writes parenting articles for various websites and is the Geography Awareness Editor for WanderingEducators.com. She blogs daily at smartpoodlepublishing.com.

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