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Follow Your Heart

The Very Fairy Princess Follows Her Heart ($16.99, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, ages 4-8) by Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton with illustrations by Christine Davenier is yet another hit from this successful mother daughter team. The Very Fairy Princess is a popular series and this latest one’s just in time for Valentine’s Day.

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Gerry, with plenty of sparkle inside and even more enthusiasm to share on the outside, is excited because one of her favorite holidays is just around the corner and she’s got a FABULOUS idea. Deciding to create a bunch of individualized, glittery and feathery Valentine’s Day cards (perfectly illustrated by Davenier) for her family and friends, Gerry sets to work. But, as fate has it, on the big day she accidentally grabs the wrong folder and takes her Daddy’s instead. Imagine the HORROR when it’s her turn to hand out the special cards. After comforting from her caring teacher Miss Pym, Gerry finds an original solution to her dilemma and everyone ends up EXTREMELY happy, especially Gerry when her Daddy shows up to save the day!  Eager for more info about the Julie Andrews Collection? Click here to find out more.

For this Valentine’s Day we’re also reading:

Apple Cake: A Recipe For Love written and illustrated by Julie Paschkis ($16.99, Harcourt, ages  4-8)

Hugs and Kisses by Rachel Hale ($6.99, LBKids, ages 1-4) 

Who Needs Love?  by Elise Primavera with illustrations by Laura Park ($16.99, Robin Corey Books, ages 5-8)

We Go Together:  A Curious Collection of Affectionate Verse by Calef Brown  ($9.99, Houghton Mifflin Books for Kids, ages 4-8) 

Welcome Easter and Spring

“When signs of spring are in the air,
we  look for babies everywhere!”

Pick up a copy of the board book version of Easter Babies: A Springtime Counting Book ($6.95, Sterling Children’s Books, ages birth to 3), and share some sunshine and number fun with your little ones.  Written by Joy N. Hulme with pictures by Dan Andreasen, this Easter book is a perfect introduction to baby animals and counting. Come along to the farm and count in rhyme:

“In grassy meadows 7 lambs,
frolic on frisky feet.

8 piglets wiggle near their mom,
to find a place to eat.”

Everything about this book is sweet and adorable from the darling illustrations of sleeping kittens to cheeping chicks. Celebrate this wonderful season and holiday with all the babies including yours and read this book today. Give it as an Easter basket gift or just buy it to keep in your diaper bag for warm weather outings.  Happy Easter!

Reviewed by Ronna Mandel

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year is Upon Us!

There’s no better time than the present to review holiday books! So today Debbie Glade weighs in on a new book about an uncommon tree – just in time for Christmas.

Henry Cole, author and illustrator of The Littlest Evergreen ($16.99, Katherine Tegan Books by Harper Collins, Ages 4 and up) really knows how to captivate the hearts of his readers. This is an enchanting story, with an environmental message, about a how a tiny evergreen grows into a Christmas tree and about what happens to him after the holiday is over. Mr. Cole’s illustrations are beyond exceptional – so much so that I found myself looking at them over and over again. He uses vivid acrylic paints in such a way that they have crisp edges to make featured objects contrast beautifully with the backgrounds. This artist has illustrated more than 50 children’s books, including several he has written himself. Every child, who celebrates Christmas and loves to choose a fresh tree every year, will also adore this book. It is withou-a-doubt one to keep and read every year before Christmas. It sure got me in the Christmas spirit!

Author Henry Cole

Turkey Monster Thanksgiving

I am so glad I got the chance to read Turkey Monster Thanksgiving by Anne Warren Smith ($5.99, Albert Whitman & Company, ages 7-10) because, though originally published in 2003, the characters as well as the message of this book remain timeless. How important is celebrating this annual holiday as society dictates? While my parents were not divorced, it was never as big a tradition to have a turkey dinner as it was simply to be together. In fact I recall quite a few Chinese restaurant visits over the years which suited my family just fine!

Katie Jordan is a 9-year-old whose dad is divorced and deadline-plagued, and whose 3-year-old brother, Tyler, is a mess-making machine. Mom left the family to pursue a solo singing career in the world of country and western music, but still sees her children when her schedule permits. Claire Plummer, Katie’s acquaintance (because though they walked to school together, Katie did not consider Little Miss Perfect a friend), was planning a big to-do with her dad for Thanksgiving. They were inviting 40 guests and doing things according to the book, or in this case Beautiful Living magazine because, since her mother died, Claire and her dad continued all the traditions begun by Mrs. Plummer. The countdown until Thanksgiving had officially begun.

Katie’s family, on the other hand, spent Thanksgiving in their pajamas and ate pizza not turkey, just the way her dad liked it. Yet this year, Katie was itching to do a Plummer-style Thanksgiving, including inviting guests, something her dad was adamantly opposed to.

“It’s a good thing we’re not having Thanksgiving dinner, I shouted.  “How can anyone eat next to … that?” I pointed at Tyler. “He has peanut butter up his nose. I am going to throw up!”

Katie was in a panic and determined to get the holiday right,  find some guests to invite and make a spectacular meal, turkey included. But could she get it all done in time and still get it right? Tweens will be eager to read Turkey Monster Thanksgiving to find out how Katie fares and whether it’s feast or famine for her family’s holiday.

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