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Picture Book Review & Giveaway Day 2

Win over $130 worth of picture books and bring a smile to your child’s face!

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 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!

Today’s theme is school.

Jacqueline Dembar Greene, the author of Speak Up, Tommy! ($17.95, Kar-Ben, ages 3-8) was inspired to write this picture book after reading about a police dog who was first trained in Israel to sniff out bombs and sense odd behaving individuals before being brought to America.  Catch was, he only understood commands in Hebrew!  In this story Greene has changed the characters around to focus on Tommy, a new boy in school who speaks very little English and when he does, his self-consciousness makes him barely speak above a whisper.  This prompts his teacher and classmates to ask him to speak up.  He is also teased by another student for having to learn to write in English, clearly no fault of his own. “You’re tracing letters?”  he is asked.  “We did that in Kindergarten.”

When Officer Sweeney from the local police department brings his police dog Samson to school, things begin to look up for Tommy.  It turns out that Tommy can communicate best with Samson using his Hebrew skills leaving teacher, classmates and even Officer Sweeney more than impressed. Poor Officer Sweeney explains to everyone that Samson ignores him, not understanding a single word of English. In the end, new friendships are forged  as Tommy’s confidence increases by helping out Officer Sweeney. Tommy is then enlisted to teach Hebrew to the policeman to better work with Samson and in return he’ll be taught English. The artwork by California illustrator Deborah Melmon makes the story come alive on every page and children will especially love the depiction of  tennis ball loving Samson.  A list of English/Hebrew Dog Commands is included at the end.

My Teacher ($16.99, Dial Books for Young Readers, ages 5-8 ) by author/illustrator James Ransome celebrates the power of terrific teachers. If every child had a teacher like the one Ransome writes about in My Teacher, parents could all rest a lot easier. While she never is named, she represents those special teachers who educated us, cared about us, inspired us and never lost the passion for sharing knowledge and wisdom with a new generation. Thanks James Ransome for this lovely and truly fitting tribute.

You Are My Wonders ($16.99, Philomel Books, ages 3 and up) by Maryann Cusimano Love with illustrations by Satomi Ichikawa is yet another glorious book with rhymes and artwork that jump off the page straight into your heart. As a parent I was touched by the sheer magic of the poetry and the beauty of every illustration. “I am your blank paper; you are my work of art. I am your lace doily; you are my glitter heart.” They had me at blank paper! 

**Recap – To be eligible for the giveaway: 

1. Read our blog this week
2. Like us on Facebook
3. Send us an email to 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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