Thursday, December 19, 2013

What We Found in the Sofa and How It Saved the World by Henry Clark

I realized I hardly ever do young readers books.  I know there are so many new ones being published but for some reason it is easier to flip through a picture book and get a feel for the story then it is a new novel.  That being said I was straightening and shelving in  the young readers or grades 4-6 section at Well Read the other day when I came across today's book.  I usually can tell if I like something by reading the first few paragraphs.  So when I came across this book I was so intrigued by the title that I checked out the first chapter.  I haven't finished it yet but what I have read so far seemed fun and fresh.

What We Found in the Sofa and How it Saved the World is a the debut novel by  Henry Clark.  It is a great book for kids who like humorous stories with a little adventure sprinkle in.  I love the three main characters River, Freak and Fiona.  The book has a contemporary feel but at the same time reads like the books I read when I a kid.  The story centers around the mysterious sofa and the unique crayon they find in it....I would tell you the rest but that would ruin the story....this is a great gift for the holidays for any child who loves an adventure story laced with humor.  I am hoping this is the start of more adventurous with these great new characters......

Oh check out Henry Clark's website....lots of fun stuff to read and see.  Website

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Smallest Gift of Christmas written and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds

The Smallest Gift of Christmas written and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds brings back memories of some Christmas mornings from when I was a kid.  How many times did I  have an idea of what I wanted only to be a bit disappointed.  The expectations were always grander than reality.  I love how the main character, Roland, makes wish after wish for the biggest present he can get. How he comes to realize that maybe small is perfect after all.  Didn't we always do the same...always wishing. I love how beautifully Mr Reynolds tells the story in his simple phrasing and wonderful illustrations.  The message is not a new one but it is one that all children (and some adults) need to be reminded of once in awhile.  I teared up at the last image....such a perfect story to read at this time of year. This is the perfect story time book.  This is also the kind of book that can be given as a family gift....even if there are no children in the house...

Monday, December 9, 2013

Pinkalicious Cupcake Cookbook by Victoria Kann

Looking at the weather this morning and saw that the whole country is in some sort of dreadful weather pattern.  Except of course Florida....which is apparently sunny and warm.  Since most people can't just pick up and go to Florida the best that can be done is stay in and get cozy.  I think baking is one of the coziest things to do on a cold winters day.

The Pinkalicious Cupcake Cookbook by Victoria Kann is the perfect new cookbook for kids to have fun with while hunkered down in your house.  There are 20 different cupcake recipes to make and enjoy.  While I am thinking this is geared towards girls (what with the pink theme and all), there are few decorating tips that might be a little bit gender neutral. Besides it doesn't matter if you are a boy or girl when it comes to eating these sweet treats.  What's great about the recipes are the step by step instructions that show you how to decorate different cupcakes.  Gluten free recipes are also included. There are also decorating tips for a multitude of holidays which makes it a perfect gift too.  This is a fun new cookbook for the baker in your life.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Dwarf in the Drawer: A Mischievous Parody by L. Van King illustrated by Chuck Gonzales

Today is Bring your Child to a Bookstore Day.  It is a great way to instill a love of reading in your child's life.

I thought I would do a really fun book for today.  It is considered a parody so it isn't necessarily a "children's" book although it does come with a cute plush.  I sometimes like to do a book that a grown up would appreciate while still being cute for children.

The Dwarf in the Drawer: A Mischievous Parody by L. Van King with illustrations by Chuck Gonzales is a clever attempt to counter the sticky sweetness of a certain book about a certain elf.  The Dwarf in the Drawer doesn't need to be hid nor does he report back to Santa what anyone is doing.  He is a bit lazy---love the line about Colbert---but charming too in his own way.   This is for the parent or grown up who is tired of hiding a certain elf and just wants to relax a bit for the holiday's.( I have nothing against a that "certain elf" but he reminds me too much of Christmas ornaments I had as a child...ones that I hid at the back of the tree because they were a little creepy---but that was just me.)  This is a fun book that is great to read on a night when you  are just too tired to do anything but sit and snuggle.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

O Christmas Tree: Its History and Holiday Traditions by Jacqueline Farmer illustrated by Joanne Friar

Tonight is the annual lighting of the Rockefeller Christmas Tree.  This was always one of my favorite events.  I really just like the actual moment when the countdown begins and the lights go on.  My Dad worked in the area when I was growing up so I have some very fond memories of going to see the tree.

O Christmas Tree: It's History and Holiday Traditions by Jacqueline Farmer and illustrated by Joanne Friar is the perfect book to  recommend today because it is a beautifully illustrated history of how the Christmas Tree came to be.  It isn't a story book per se but explains how and why we now put Christmas trees up in our homes.  I also like how there is a whole section that talks about growing Christmas trees and a listing with pictures of the different kinds of trees.  This is a perfect book to just have out at the holidays....something for a child to look at and learn from in a quiet sort of way.  I know so many children who love information type books...this book combines information with the wonder of the season.  A family tradition type of book.  

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Flashback Tuesday: Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner illustrated by Mark Buehner

As we head into winter (at least here on the East Coast) I thought I would suggest one of my favorite books about the fun part of winter: making snowmen!

Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner with pictures by Mark Buehner became an instant classic when it first came out.  I immediately knew that it would be wonderful to read aloud and use at story time.  I loved the story line of a child wondering why the snowman they made had changed and drooped a bit over night.  I love the imaginative explanation that follows from making snowmen angels to skating in the park to snowmen races.  I also love how Mark Buehner has hidden little pictures in the scenes to make the book a bit more interactive.  This is a book that has been so successful it has spawned a few sequels.  It is a must have book for any child's bookshelf.

Friday, November 29, 2013

The Wizard of Oz: The Official 75th Anniversary Companion by Jay Scarfone, William Stillman, Caren Marsh-Doll

Since the holiday season has officially begun I thought I would recommend a book for the whole family.  I loved watching the Wizard of Oz on TV when I was young.  It is one of my favorite memories growing up.  In fact I loved it so much it took me years to read the actual book.  When I did read it --- one slow Saturday night in the bookstore----I was amazed that except for a few details (silver shoes instead of ruby slippers and a few different  characters) the film was pretty close to the book.

The Wizard of Oz: The Official 75th Anniversary Companion by Jay Scarfone, William Stillman and Caren Marsh- Doll is a commemorative collectible book that has new stories from cast and crew plus beautiful stills from the film and previously unpublished information and photos from the making of the film.  This is a must have for any Wizard of Oz fan.  

If there is a child who loves the movie this would be a great time to introduce the original Frank L. Baum is one my favorite editions that I have written about before:

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum and illustrated by W.W. Denslow

There is also this favorite of mine that I wrote about from the master Pop-Up artist Robert Sabuda:

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum art by Robert Sabuda 

These make great gifts and would be a wonderful way to help with Small Business Saturday tomorrow....bookstores are like home to me which makes me think of Dorothy her famous line:

"There's no place like home...." 

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Eighth Menorah by Lauren L. Wohl illustrator Laura Hughes

Hanukkah is just a few days away.  Not only is it early this year but it coincides with Thanksgiving.  Today's book, while not about the duel holiday,  is a wonderful book about family and sharing.

The Eighth Menorah by Lauren L. Wohl  and illustrated by Laura Hughes is the sweet story of a little boy who is making a Menorah in Sunday School.  He wants to give it to his family but is worried that they already have too many.  He ends up doing a beautiful thing by giving it his Grandmother for her new home.  Not only does he share it with her but with her new community.  I love the this little boy, he is so sweet I wished I could hug him myself.  The illustrations are wonderful and match the text perfectly.  This is a great book to read to children as it shows them how to share and how giving can be better than receiving.  In old adage but one that really bears repeating.   A must have new Hanukkah book for children to treasure.  

Count 1, 2, 3 With Me by Connie Arnold illustrated by Ginger Nielson

Count 1, 2, 3 With Me by Connie Arnold and illustrated by Ginger Nielson is a cute little rhyming book for the preschool set.  I learned about Connie Arnold when she wrote to me about her first children's book Animal Sound Mix-Up a few years ago.  She has now introduced me to her second children's book.  I like this because it is a great book to read aloud to children and the illustrations are sweet and accessible. I especially love the sleeping "cats".  This is a great way to teach counting to children that can be read over and over again.  This makes a great gift for showers and 1st birthdays...or just something to bring during the holidays when visiting.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Mischievians by William Joyce

Today was an exciting day for me at the bookstore.  Anyone who knows me knows I love all things William Joyce....the man is pure genius in my book.  I have loved his illustrations and books for what seems like forever.  Which is why I got embarrassingly giddy when I came across his new picture book at the store today.  I opened it immediately to read it --- more embarrassment ensued when I snorted and laughed out loud while reading it.  My co-worker probably thought I was nuts.  Especially since we had just had a civilized discussion with a customer about the distinguished author Pat Conroy.  

The Mischievians by William Joyce is one of the funniest books I have read in a long time.  Not your typical picture book but then nothing Mr Joyce does is typical.  This is the book for the child (or grown-up) who have the usual questions, such as: Where's my homework? What happened to the remote? Where does belly button lint come from? and of course Why do socks go missing?

This book answers them all in the quirkiest way....we learn about The Mischievians who are "a race of global mischief makers"....

This is a must have new book----as I think all of William Joyce's books are must have books----but this one will make the child in your life giggle and laugh---which is always a lovely sound.  

I love the book trailer too!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Dot by Randi Zuckerberg illustrated by Joe Berger

Dot by Randi Zuckerberg  and illustrated by Joe Berger is the story of a little girl who loves all her technological gadgets.  How many of us know a child who is so much better at programming the DVR (I was going to say VCR--which dates me) or setting up apps on our phones.  I know I had to have my nephew upgrade my phone for me because I couldn't figure it out.  This is a cute picture book with an adorable new character who is sure to charm parents and children alike.  I like the illustrations because they have a retro feel but are obviously very contemporary.  I like the message of making time to go outside and play but still understanding that most children gravitate to computers etc.  This is a great book for the inquisitive child in your life.

Oh and the author Randi Zuckerberg has also written a book for grown-ups called Dot Complicated: Untangling Our Wired Lives--- on the same subject---and apparently she is the sister of Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook fame.  So I guess who better to help us use technology and social media without losing sight of the world around us.

Monday, November 11, 2013

For Veteran's Day--Book revisit: All the Broken Pieces by Ann Burg

All the Broken Pieces by Ann Burg (my sister) was published in 2009.  It was the first book I ever wrote about on this blog but I would like to revisit it again today---for Veteran's Day. It is the story of a boy from Vietnam who is adopted into an American family.  It deals with how he  comes to terms with his past.  It also deals with Vietnam Veterans and their experiences when they came home from the war...and much more.  this book is the perfect way to talk about Vietnam Veterans and their role in history.   My sister always speaks about how it is a very personal story for her because of what she witnessed of the Vietnam War as she was growing up.  I myself just remember images from the TV and how angry everyone was about the war.  Even though the book came out a few years ago she is still getting positive responses to the novel.  She recently wrote her monthly blog post about her most vivid memories of a Vietnam War Veteran.  She talks about seeing him in Washington Square Park in NYC and describes the feelings she felt that never went away and changed her perspective on history.  Below is an excerpt from her posting, to read the whole blog posting just click on the title below it is worth the read:

The Veteran of Washington Square ~ An Open Letter to Veterans Everywhere by Ann Burg

.....His appearance in my novel, All the Broken Pieces, was my way of honoring and thanking the Veteran of  Washington Square for sacrificing his youth and his innocence.
We lost a big piece
of ourselves in Vietnam,
and none of us will
ever be the same,
but we did some good too.
We made a difference.
  I wish my Washington Square Veteran could see this post or read my book. I hope that he has found some measure of peace. Whatever one’s opinion about Vietnam, or any war for that matter, all veterans deserve our respect and gratitude. From the deepest recesses of my heart, I wish them peace. 

To all who have sacrificed for our country---Thank You! -- RM

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Legend of the Jersey Devil by Trinka Hakes Noble illustrated by Gerald Kelley

A few weeks ago I told you about an event I planned for Educator's Night.  One of the authors who came to Well Read was Trinka Hakes Noble.  I have always loved her books especially her books about "Jimmy".  This time she came with her newest picture book that turns out taught me a huge lesson about my own state and it's greatest...scariest legend.  Since it is the day before Halloween I thought it was appropriate to talk about because it is New Jersey's spookiest story.

The Legend of the Jersey Devil by Trinka Hakes Noble and wonderfully illustrated by Gerald Kelley tells the story of a creature supposedly born on Halloween Night down in the Pine Barrens of NJ.  It is said to have goat hooves, bat wings and glowing eyes (oh and not to mention horns growing out of its head).  I remember hearing different stories of where this creature came and how it haunts the southern part of my state so it is nice to have a story that explains it so well.  As I said in my post about Educator's Night I loved the story Trinka tells of how most children don't know the legend and that this is where the New Jersey Devil's got their name.  This is not just a book for New Jerseyans but for anyone who loves to learn about legends that can scare the pants off them.....Great book for Halloween!

Oh and a bonus...Well Read still has some signed copies in the store!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

My First Kafka: Runaways, Rodents, and Giant Bugs By Matthue Roth, illustrated by Rohan Daniel Eason

I so love being surprised by the unexpected.  I got to the bookstore the other day and there sitting on the counter was one of the  most curious books I have seen in a long time.  A Kafka story done as a picture book.  I couldn't help but laugh but then realized it was real and that it was meant to be taken seriously.  At least I think it is.....

My First Kafka: Runaways, Rodents, and Giant Bugs by Matthue Roth and illustrated by Rohan Daniel Eason has three stories Kafka stories adapted for children.  Like I mentioned above, I thought it was a joke but realized when I read it that I was mistaken.  The stories are definitely written for children although they are a bit disturbing.  While I am not sure I would give this to the most sensitive children I know, there are few who would revel in it's macabre stories.  That being said I know far more grown-ups who will love this....especially a friend who loves anything Edward Gorey as the illustrations are very reminiscent of his art.  A great introduction to something so classic....

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Kitten's First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes

Did anyone see the moon last night? It was was still very large in the sky when I was out and about this morning at 7AM.  I was amazed that when I looked out my window in the middle of the night that the moon was so bright there were shadows on the ground.  It was a beautiful and inspiring sight to see.

It reminded me of today's book.

Kitten's First Full Moon written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes is a Caldecott award winning book.  Even thought the book is illustrated in black and white it still is able to convey the brightness of the moon.  Actually the shadows I saw last night outside my window were in black and white which reminded by of this book.  While the story is not a story of the Harvest Moon the images are magical and sweet.  This is a great read aloud book that is one of my favorites.  It is a great book to read by the light of the moon.....

Here is a video of the story....really sweetly done.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

100 Ghosts: A Gallery of Harmless Haunts by Doogie Horner

Today's book isn't necessarily a children's would be safe to say it isn't one at all but it is a book for all ages....and that means kids.

100 Ghosts: A Gallery of Harmless Haunts by Doogie Horner is one of the sweetest and quirkiest books (pun intended because it is published by "Quirk Book")  I have seen in a long time.  It includes 100 images of different kinds of ghosts.....all that are just a sheet with holes for eyes and different captions.  There is a "shy" ghost (no eye cutouts) and even a Star Wars character (can you guess which one?)  Oh and the introduction is hysterical.  All in all a book for all ages.  A book to leave on a table and pick up when you feel the need for a scarily good giggle.  Makes a great gift for those hard to please people in your world.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Goldilocks and the Three Bears by James Marshall

Today is the wonderful illustrator James Marshall's birthday.  He has so many books that can be talked about that it is always hard to pick a favorite.  Most know him because of his marvelous story of two friends George and Martha.  So instead of talking about those books I want to recommend my favorite:

Goldilocks and the Three Bears retold and illustrated by James Marshall.....

I love this book because it isn't just a staid retelling of an old tale but because Mr Marshall injects so much humor and character into the story.  Goldilocks is not the sweet innocent girl that we grew up reading about.  She is more of a rebel and just a little bit "naughty".  I loved reading this to kids because they would really giggle at her antics.  The illustrations are priceless as Mr Marshall gives each characters such great expressions.  No wonder it received a Caldecott Honor for illustrations.  This is a must have book for every child's bookcase.  

Friday, October 4, 2013

Ollies Halloween by Olivier Dunrea

The joy of working in a bookstore is seeing new books as they come out of the box.  Yesterday we received a bunch of Halloween titles.   Here is my favorite:

Ollies Halloween by Olivier Dunrea  is a sweet Halloween title for toddlers.   I love Mr Dunrea's Gossie & Friends series.  I remember this book when it first came out in hardcover and thought it would make a wonderful board book. I am thrilled I was right.  These characters and stories are perfect for  the youngest among us.  I am so in love the with the characters and illustrations that I squealed when I saw this book.  I wished I had a little one to buy it for.  This is the perfect introduction to Halloween for the littlest trick or treater. Have I said I LOVE the illustrations? They are so precious and sweet.  A must have new book...

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Flashback Tuesday: Let it Fall by Maryann Cocca-Leffler

We are in the midst of a warm spell for the first day of October here on the East Coast.  That being said  I have been told by the various weather stations that the crisp air is right around the corner.

Let it Fall written and illustrated by Maryann Cocca-Leffler is a sweet book that is all about the Autumn season.  It has charming illustrations of little children playing in the leaves.  The words are very lyrical which makes it a great story time book.  This is for more of a preschool or toddler aged child.  It is also part of a series that deals with each season....which makes it perfect for a school setting.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Meet the Authors: Educator Night recap

When I started at Well Read in Hawthorne as their Part Time Event Coordinator we decided it would be a good idea to do an Educator Night.  It took some planning but we were able to get some great authors to come in and talk to some of our local educator's.  We also were lucky enough to get a representative from a local sales group to come and speak about new titles on their list.  All in all it was a great evening.  I learned so much. Here is a photo of our authors with their books.

From L to R: Alison Formento, Trinka Hakes Noble, Courtney Sheinmel, Ann E. Burg, Ann Malaspina

These are great books not just for the classroom but for children and parents to read together.  There is something for everyone.

Alison Formento known for her picture books like These Seas Count and These Bees Count! great stories that also inform children about the natural world around them. She also brought her new YA title Twigs the story of a young girl who may be small in stature but has huge problems that she must overcome.  Great coming of age story for the teen in your life.   

Trinka Hakes Noble who I have known for years and wrote one of my favorite story time books The Day Jimmy's Boa Ate the Wash brought along her new book and many others to talk about.  Her new book is The Legend of the Jersey Devil which is New Jersey's greatest and scariest legend.  I love how she told us that most kids don't realize NJ's Hockey team "The Devil's" is named for this spooky creature.  She also talked about her personal favorite because it is a story from her childhood called The Orange Shoes that deals with bullying.  

Courtney Sheinmel author of the Stella Batts series for ages 7 to 9.  These are such fun books that make great gifts and are even fun to read aloud.  I love the voice in these books.  

Ann E. Burg (my lovely sister) talked about how her new book Serafina's Promise (which I blogged about the other day)  and her first novel in verse All the Broken Pieces teach about other cultures in an easier manner.  She also talked about her book Rebekkah's Journey a little known story of WW II refugees in Oswego NY.    

Ann Malaspina brought her picture book biographies Heart on Fire the story of Susan B. Anthony and a women's right to vote plus Touch the Sky the wonderful story of the first African American woman to win a gold medal at the Olympics....loved learning about her.  

Like I said these great books are not just for teacher's to tell their students about but wonderful books that make great gifts for the child in your life. 

I really enjoyed this evening because I love talking about books and about how they can enrich the lives of not just children but everyone.   

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Serafina's Promise by Ann E. Burg

So excited that my sister Ann's book is now available.  It has been so long since she first told me about the story of the Haitian girl who wanted to be a doctor. 

Serafina's Promise by Ann E. Burg (my sister) is not just the story of a little girl but of a resilient country and the power of hope. Written in verse, Serafina's Promise is a good read for a child who is interested in other countries and cultures. It would also make a great classroom read for teachers who are looking for something that will help students understand that no matter the place or circumstance, people are more alike than different. The verse novel helps make difficult concepts accessible to readers of all levels.  

Needless to say I love this book and not just because it is written by my sister.  That being said Serafina's Promise is a sweet and sensitive read.  I am so proud of my sister.....

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Tap the Magic Tree by Christie Matheson

Ahh Autumn...well technically it is still summer but it is back to school time--which means Autumn to me.  I hope everyone had a great summer.  It really did seem to go by really quickly.  Here on the East Coast the weather has been up and down but not is a beautiful day with perfect weather.

Enjoy today's book.

Tap the Magic Tree written and illustrated by Christie Matheson is a new book that is sure to become a classic at home and in the classroom.  This is a sweet interactive book that prompts the child to turn the page by tapping or shaking or patting the pages.  I love the soft pallet and the simplicity of the words and illustrations.  A wonderful new book to add to a child's library.

From the book:

There is magic in every tree.
The tall, silent one in the woods.
The small, bumpy one in the park.
Even the bare brown tree in your backyard.
As the seasons change, trees change, too.
They sprout leaves. The leaves change color.
Sometimes flowers bloom. Sometimes apples grow.
Trees shelter birds and feed squirrels and bees.
There is magic in every tree.
And in this book, you become the magician.
Tap, clap, wiggle, jiggle,
and then . . .
turn the page.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Flashback Tuesday: Miss Daisy is Crazy by Dan Gutman (My Weird School #1)

Here in the Northeast it is still summer vacation.  On the West Coast and places in between it is already back to school time.  I thought I would recommend a really fun series of books for kids about school---starting with the first book.

My Weird School #1: Miss Daisy is Crazy by Dan Gutman starts on the first day of school for AJ a precocious who hates school.  Luckily he has a very savvy teacher who he thinks isn't too smart.  In reality she is very smart because she plays into her students hands by making them "teach" her how to do things.  Reverse psychology at it's best.  Dan Gutman really knows how kids think which is probably why he is such a popular author.  This is a great series for the reluctant reader....just don't tell them that!  A must have series of books....

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Flashback Tuesday: Olivia Goes to Venice written and illustrated Ian Falconer

While I was helping a customer the other day at the bookstore I came across what I thought was a new Olivia book.  Imagine my surprise when I saw it came out a couple of years ago.

I have always loved Olivia...she has a spirit and enthusiasm that I wish I had.  I love all the Olivia books but I think
Olivia Goes to Venice by Ian Falconer is my new favorite.  Venice is at the top of my list of places to visit.  To see it through a precocious "child's" eyes is wonderful.  Years ago I met Ian Falconer and I remembered he told us that he based Olivia on his niece. Reading about Olivia again I realized she is just like my niece Celia who is creative and adventurous but who can also be stubborn and strong willed.  I truly believe there is nothing she can't do----just like Olivia.   This is the perfect book for the clever child in your life.  A must have book....

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Two great New Board Books: Dive In! and Dig In! by April Jones Prince illustrated by Michelle Berg

It has been a busy summer. So busy I haven't had time to post any new books.   I am hoping to get back into the swing of things.  I have been working part time at a really great independent called Well Read (New & Used) Books in Hawthorne NJ.  It is great because I get see new books and old favorites as they come in the door and onto shelves.  I just really loved today's new board books.

Dig In! and it's companion Dive In! by April Jones Prince and illustrated so sweetly by Michelle Berg are two new interactive board books that are about construction sites.  I have construction on my mind because of all the work that is being done around my neighborhood.  It seems like there is a new detour every day.  Anyway I know how children can be mesmerized by construction vehicles in general so these two books would make great additions to a child's bookshelf.  They have the cutest little mice doing the construction but it is what they are "building" is a surprise at the end.  Easy to read with movable parts that will keep little fingers busy.  Great books to read during a lazy summer's day.                    

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made by Stephan Pastis

Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made by Stephan Pastis is a great new book for middle grade readers that is sure to keep them laughing.  I was immediately drawn to the book when I saw it on the bookstore shelf.  At first glance the title suggests a character who is not sure of himself but it is just the opposite.  Timmy is full of so much confidence and self assurance that I laughed out loud thinking I know kids like him. He  is an endearing character too because he wants to become rich not just for himself but to help his Mom  pay the bills.  This is the perfect book for kids who like the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series which is probably what the author intended.  I like when an author grabs onto a genre but doesn't copy it verbatim.  I also like how it is a sweet funny book that doesn't talk down to the reader.  I can't wait for the next book in the series.....

Monday, June 10, 2013

These Seas Count! by Alison Formento illustrated by Sarah Snow

Yesterday at the annual BookNJ event I finally got a chance to meet Alison Formento an award winning author of popular nature picture books.  I have seen her books for awhile and heard such wonderful things about her.  She does phenomenal school and store visits that always enthrall the children she talks to.   I realized that even though she had been on my list of authors to suggest I never wrote about her.

These Seas Count by Alison Formento and illustrated by Sarah Snow is a wonderful picture book for children to help them learn how important the ocean and beaches are to our world.  It is the perfect book to read to children before they start their summer vacation--especially if they are going to the beach.  I love how Ms Formento doesn't talk down to the reader and tells her story simply and sweetly.  I also love Ms Snow's beautiful collage paintings which perfectly match the gentle text.  These are perfect a nature loving child's bookshelf and they make great gifts for a teacher's classroom.

Other books in the series are just as wonderful:

This Tree Counts

These Bees Count

In this environmentally conscience age these are must have books to own....

Monday, May 20, 2013

That is Not a Good Idea! by Mo Willems

I love when I find a book that will appeal to both a child and an adult.

Mo Willems presents That is Not a Good Idea! is a funny new book by the Caldecott author of all the Pigeon, Knuffle Bunny and Piggie books.   What I loved about this book is the how it is supposed to be like an old silent movie.  It is all dialogue with repetitive phrases which makes it a great story time/read aloud book.  It has a bit of dark humor about it so parents might want to read it first before reading it to their children.  Most kids won't mind the somewhat surprise ending but some kids might be sensitive.  I actually think this is one of those books that would make a great gift for a grown up to enjoy.  

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Ollie and Claire by Tiffany Strelitz Haber illustrated by Matthew Cordell

Ollie and Claire by Tiffany Strelitz Haber and illustrated by Matthew Cordell is one of my favorite new books.  When I read it for the first time I thought it would make a perfect story time book.  I love how they do everything together ---the two of them doing yoga is my favorite spread.  The illustrations are wonderful and they match the story perfectly. This is a great book about friendship that is a must have on any child's bookshelf.

I was also so happy that the bookstore I now work in (Well Read New & Used Books in Hawthorne, NJ)  was able to get Ms Haber to come for a story time and signing.  She had great success with her first book:
The Monster Who Lost His Mean---another really cute book to read aloud.

As I stated above:  Tiffany Strelitz Haber will be at  Well Read New & Used Books this Saturday May 18th from 2-3PM.  I would love to have a big crowd to greet her.  Hope to see you there!!!!!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Flashback Tuesday: Leaf Men by William Joyce

I originally wrote this post a few years ago.  It is still one of my favorite books.   Low and behold they have made a movie based on the book called EPIC.  It looks like a great movie....exciting and thrilling. While it isn't the story of the actual book it has enough of it's essence to make me want to see it.  I almost feel like the original book (by the wonderful William Joyce) is the perfect introduction to the film.  A sort of prequel.  I truly recommend reading the original book before you see the movie.  

The Leaf Men

(My original posting from 2010  follows----still relevant!)

I was reminded this past weekend of one of my favorite books.  While I was visiting my sisters new house she gave me a tour of her garden.   The previous owner was an avid gardener so there was much to look at.   My sister likes to garden too and I know that the garden was a huge selling point for her.   While she was showing me one section I saw three little ceramic birds just sitting there....she had told that when she was clearing out that section of the garden she just found them sitting there among the leaves.   It reminded me of the book I am suggesting today.

The Leaf Men (& the Brave Good Bugs)  by William Joyce is about a magical garden that has bugs saving the day and a "mysterious long lost toy" ~ which is what finding the ceramic birds reminded me of.   This is truly a special book about love and friendship.   I love books that bring magic and imagination to the old woman in the book says "....anything can happen on a beautiful moonlit night"....

Perfect for this time of year as gardens start to bloom....

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Wee Rhymes: Baby's First Poetry Book by Jane Yolen illustrations by Jane Dyer

For poetry month I was looking for something new to talk about.  I was so happy to find a new poetry book for children that makes a perfect new baby gift.  I have been thinking of newborns lately.  My  cousin just had a  baby shower for their daughter and my sister-in-law has a new born nephew.  Which means today's book will come in handy.  

Wee Rhymes: Baby's First Poetry Book by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Jane Dyer is the perfect gift for a new baby.  I have always been a fan of both Jane's especially when they work together.  I love the rhymes in this book because they are ideal to read while you cuddle with a little one. I also cannot never get enough of Jane Dyer's illustrations.  The pictures are warm and inviting as always and they truly warm the heart.  This is a must have new book for new families to treasure and enjoy!

Note: I am now linking my book suggestions to Well Read New & Used Books ~

Saturday, April 6, 2013

That's How Much I Love You by Julie Rudi illustrated by Tiphanie Beeke

Today is apparently National Love Our Children Day---which of course should be every day.   I found a sweet little book that is perfect to read to little ones as you snuggle on the couch or in bed at bedtime.

That's How Much I Love You by Julie Rudi and illustrated by Tiphanie Beeke is a new little padded board book perfect for tiny hands.   It has sweet illustrations of animal mama's and their little babies.   I think is a wonderful addition to a toddler's library. I think it would make a great new baby gift. I love the author pairs up everyday things like a sock with a shoe or flower and a pot in a beautifully visual way.  A great way to tell a child how much you love them.


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Reference Sunday: SAFARI A Photicular Book created by Dan Kainen written by Carol Kaufmann

I love when I find books that can be shared by the whole family.  Today's book is just that kind of a book.  It is informative and very entertaining.

SAFARI a Phototicular Book created by Dan Kainen and written by Carol Kaufmann is a fun way to learn about wild animals while going on a virtual safari.  This is done with 3D animation perfected in an astonishing way from the original Scanimations.  I originally wrote about the process in 2009.   I always thought the original books were amazing until I saw this book.   The photographs and the movement really look like you are watching a video of animals in the wild.  The text is easy to understand with lots of facts and information.   This is a perfect gift to bring to a family with lots of different age children.  There is something for everyone.

Oh check out the video below----amazing:

Monday, March 4, 2013

Who Says Women Can't Be Doctors by Tanya Lee Stone illustrated by Marjorie Priceman

Who Says Women Can't Be Doctors: The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell by Tanya Lee Stone and illustrated by Marjorie Priceman is a wonderful new picture book biography about the first American female doctor.  I think this is the perfect book to come out just in time for Women's History Month.   It isn't a dry biography for children but a great introduction to an important historical figure.  It is funny that most children today wouldn't understand that there was a time when women were not able to become doctors. That women or girls weren't "smart enough" to study medicine. This book should help teach children today about this pivotal time in US history.     I love the illustrations having always been a fan of Marjorie Priceman and this book is now one of my favorites.   Tanya Lee Stone does a superb job of telling the story of a woman who persevered through discrimination and adversity to become a pioneer of a woman's right to be what they want to be.   An inspirational must have new book.  

Thursday, February 21, 2013

A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin by Jen Bryant illus by Melissa Sweet

I love doing research for new books.  I am constantly on the look out for a new book that will excite me.   I was going through publishers online catalogs when I came across today's book.   I loved the title and the cover but had never heard of Horace Pippin.   The great thing about how online catalogs have evolved is that we can now see inside the books ----not just read the copy on the page.   What I found fascinating about Horace Pippin was that I did know him by his art,  I just never caught his name before.

A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin written by Jen Bryant and illustrated beautifully by Melissa Sweet (she is a favorite of mine) is a great picture book biography of an American artist with a truly inspiring story.  When I read about this book I got curious so I looked up his art and realized I had seen his work before.   This is a great book to read to children to not only introduce them to great art but to teach them that if they persevere they can do anything.   Horace Pippin's story is inspirational because he was able to overcome serious injury just to regain what he loved to do best.  Jen Bryant weaves her words to tell us the story of a man who  loved  drawing and how after being disabled during WW I he fought to regain his abilities.   I love how Melissa Sweet's illustrations complement the words and Mr Pippin's art as well.   His paintings are distinctive, thought provoking and very diverse.   He is a true American Master.   This is a must have book for any child's library.

He was born on February 22, 1888 so tomorrow would be the anniversary of his birth ~ which makes it a perfect time to celebrate his life.  

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Flashback Tuesday: Abe Lincoln: The Boy Who Loved Books by Kay Winter illus by Nancy Carpenter

In honor of Abraham Lincoln's birthday I thought I would share a recent favorite of mine.   Lincoln has been in the news lately because of the wonderful new film in theaters called "Lincoln".    

Abe Lincoln: The Boy Who Loved Books by Kay Winters and illustrated by Nancy Carpenter is a great introduction of this great President to children.   I love this book because it tells the story of a little boy who learned to love reading.   It points out that his mother instilled in him the importance of reading.  In very simple prose Kay Winters explains how even after his mother's death he still yearned to learn.  I love how she explains how thrilled he was because when his step mother came into the family she brought books.   He loved books and would borrow them whenever he could. Always going out of his way to bring bring them back, which is every librarians dream.    I loved the illustrations too.  They are simple and engaging.  This makes a great read aloud for President's Day and beyond.   

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Boy Who Cried Bigfoot! by Scott Magoon

I always love a book that has a moral but tells it subtly.  I also love a fractured fairy tale or at least a new spin on an old story.   Such is the case with today's book. 

The Boy Who Cried Bigfoot written and illustrated by Scott Magoon is a retelling of the The Boy Who Cried Wolf.   Ben is a boy who tries to convince his family and friends that he has seen Bigfoot.   He goes to great lengths to prove it too.   I loved the illustrations in this book.   The fact that Mr Magoon sets his story in the past is quite charming.   There is plenty of humor for both kids and adults to find enjoyment in.  I especially love his little puppy who is so expressive!  Best of all it teaches a lesson about honesty without being preachy.   The boy learns a good lesson about telling the truth, repentance and forgiveness.   I always feel parables are a great way to learn something.    A must have new book.  

Oh visit the author's website....great background on the book plus famous video of "Bigfoot"! Click below:

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Flashback Tuesday: Night of the Gargoyles by Eve Bunting illustrated by David Wiesner

Happy Birthday David Wiesner!  In honor of this Caldecott winner's birthday I thought I would reach back and recommend one that I have always loved.  It is a bit of scary and somber book that is probably not suited for the very young but I find it a great read aloud with wonderful illustrations.

Night of the Gargoyles written by Eve Bunting and illustrated by David Wiesner is a magical story of statues coming to life.   According to the publisher it is meant for ages 9 and up but there are a few younger children I know who can handle this kind of scariness.  I have always been fascinated by gargoyles.   There have been quite a few books about gargoyles for children through the years, even a series or two, but this has always been my favorite.   I think because I have always liked fantasy I loved the idea of magical creatures coming to life after the sun goes down.   Growing up and visiting NYC with my father I marveled at the statues on the uppermost floors of old buildings.   Even when I worked in the city I loved to look at the buildings across from mine with their fearsome sculptures standing watch.   I love the rhythm of Eve Buntings words which make it a great story time book.   Most of all I love the illustrations.  The mere fact they are black and white charcoal drawings makes them timeless.   The detail is amazing and wondrous.   I have always loved his artwork but this holds a special place in my heart.   This is a book for all ages and a must for anyone who loves mystery and fantasy in their lives.    

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Flashback Tuesday: The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

Yesterday the ALA Youth Media Awards were announced.   For that reason I thought I would recommend personal favorite that won the Newbery Award back in 1959.  I don't usually talk about young readers or even teen books but every once in awhile I like to change it up a bit.  

The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare is a wonderful book that  brings back fond memories of long summer days and reading in the backyard.   The book cover I am showing is the exact book cover I had when I first read it.   The covers may have changed through the years but the story is timeless.   I was enthralled with the character of Kit and how she struggled to find her place in a new world that was so different from the world she grew up in. I loved the character of Mercy who even though she is disabled in body she was strong in mind and spirit.   Characters that are just as relevant today as they were when they were created.    This is the way I liked to learn history.  I always find it is easier to learn history through historical fiction.     Of course I also loved the fact that it was a bit of a love story but that is just the "girl" in me.   As I said so much of the story is applicable to our lives in the 21st century.  Even today people are suspicious of anyone who is different.  It takes a courageous person to stand up for truth and do what is right.   This is a classic and award winning book for a reason,  beautifully written and memorable.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Reference Sunday: US PRESIDENTS Oval Office All-Stars by Dan Green illustrated by Simon Basher

In honor of Inauguration Day I thought if would great to recommend a book on the Presidents of the United States.   There are quite a few on the shelves that have been updated to include the 2012 election but non as humorous and informative as today's book.

Basher History: US PRESIDENTS Oval Office All Stars created and illustrated by Simon Basher and written by Dan Green with Dr. Edward L. Widm a presidential historian is a great introduction to each of our United States Presidents.   I like that it is not overwhelming and tedious to read.   The information is  quirky and different.   I think children like to learn more than just the usual facts about anything.   While the illustrations are a bit cartoonish they do fit the style of the book.   I think this would be a great companion book to a more serious biographical book on the Presidents of the United States.   Sometimes kids need to see that not all history is just dry facts and figures.  

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Insomniacs by Karina Wolf illustrated by Brothers Hilts

While doing some work in the library I stumbled across the most enchanting new book.

The Insomniacs by Karina Wolf and illustrated by the Brothers Hilts (two actual brothers) caught my eye across the library floor.   First off I usually have trouble sleeping myself so the title drew me in, then it was the sweet Goreyesque illustrations that made me look more closely.   It was the most charming read.   Such a wonderful book that truly captivated me.     It has a nostalgic feel but with a modern sensibility.   I don't know what I love more the lyrical story or the mesmerizing illustrations.   I think this is a wonderful story time book that is also the perfect bedtime book.   I can see it being read during a pajama story time in the library or at bedtime with your little one.   This is a must have new book that has classic written all over it.  A must have book for any child's bookshelf and a perfect gift for families.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Baby Penguins Everywhere by Melissa Guion

Happy New Year!  I can't believe it has been awhile since I posted anything new.  Here is a new book that I just love.

Baby Penguins Everywhere written and illustrated by Melissa Guion is a wonderful new book by a new author.   As usual it was the very sweet cover illustrations that drew my attention (Who doesn't love "baby penguins").    When I finally looked at the book I marveled at it's sweetness.  This is a great story time book and if I was still in the bookstore I would have many opportunities to read it to children.   Besides the obvious "winter story time" I would also read it for "Mother's Day"  or even a "family" story time.   The message is subtle that even though a parent loves to be with their children they sometimes need to recharge themselves with a little alone time.   I know the feeling, while I love to be with my nieces and nephews it can be overwhelming sometimes and I relish my quiet time.

I also see this as a gift to new parents.   New parents can't imagine that they would want to spend any time away from their child they shouldn't feel guilty for wanting to have a bit of quiet time to themselves.  I now so many Moms who do so much with and for their children but at the same time relish the time when the house is quiet and they can sit and read a book alone.  

Melissa Guion has done a wonderful job with her first book ---- I can't wait to see what she comes up with next.  A must have new book for any family library!