Note to Readers

I have not received any compensation for writing this post other than a free digital or print copy of the book. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Sunday, January 31, 2010

New Children's Book Prepares Kids for Bedtime Through Yoga Poses

I've been practicing yoga and Tai Chi for years after having a panic attack. They're great ways to soothe both the mind and body. When this press release hit my email box, I was thrilled to see someone's bringing it down to a level that children will grasp. Incorporating yoga poses into a child's night time routine is something I think would help any child fall asleep faster and in a calmer frame of mind.


Kids Yoga: Bedtime Rhymes by Jeff Maier is a child's introduction to the practice of yoga 

IRVINE, Calif. (MMD Newswire) January 27, 2010 -- Kids Yoga: Bedtime Rhymes, a new book by longtime yogi Jeff Maier, is an illustrated story with instructive rhymes for yoga poses with the intent to ease children to sleep.

With colorful illustrations and easy-to-remember rhymes, Maier intends for his book to provide a positive, feel-good experience for a child's introduction to yoga. At the same time, Maier believes that yoga's peaceful words will calm children down at bedtime. While taking children through a sequence of poses to prepare them for bedtime, Maier mixes in the yoga philosophy of simple meditations. He ends the story with "keep breathing long and deep. Soon you will enjoy a well deserved sleep."

The inspiration for the book came to Maier when he could not find a suitable illustrated children's book on yoga for his son. Yoga poses like "cat cow," "down dog," "Superman" and "frog" are straightforward and uncomplicated. Maier wishes to share with readers the positive benefits he and his son have found in yoga. "Yoga leaves us blessed with grace and joy," he says.

Not just for parents who would like to get their children interested in yoga, Kids Yoga is intended to instill healthy and peaceful values in young children. Maier aims for his book to be as entertaining as it is instructive.
Kids Yoga: Bedtime Rhyme is available for sale online at and through additional wholesale and retail channels worldwide.

About the Author

Jeff Maier lives by the yogi philosophy and is the founder of the Peace and Love Project, a non-profit community project dedicated to raising the mass consciousness of the planet through community peace and love gatherings. Maier began his career by creating a worldwide sensation with his virtual reality interactive surf and snowboard simulators. He is now focusing his talents on creative writing, inspirational music and creating an online collaborative Web site to serve the planet. To listen to his new music, visit his Web site. He lives in Irvine.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Who's That, Baby? - Susan Amerikaner (Toddler Book)

Released January 2010

Reviewed by Bob Walch

Here's a clever way to engage your toddler in story time. This board book features a series of mylar mirrors that will reflect your child's face. As you read the story, the refrain "Who's that, Baby?" is repeated at the bottom of each two page spread.   

Featuring the animals from Winnie the Poo and photos of actual children, the text shows a variety of emotions. Try to have your youngster
respond with similar silly, smiling or serious looks. And don't forget to keeping asking, "Who's that, Baby?"

Eventually your little one should be able to turn each page and hopefully react in some manner to what he or she sees in the mirrors found throughout the book.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Princess's Blankets - Carol Ann Duffy (Picture Book)

Released November 2009

Reviewed by Bob Walch

Princess stories continue to be popular and Carol Ann Duffy's addition to this category of children's books is interesting, although it may be a bit too "edgy" for young children.

The princess featured here is always cold. In fact, she is so cold she never leaves her bed and the king has offered to reward a person in any manner he or she chooses if the individual can stop his daughter from feeling so cold.

At this point a dark stranger with magical powers appears to accept the challenge and win the princess's hand. Fearing his cold, stony eyes and leery of his aloof demeanor, the girl is not overly anxious to cooperate with this individual who may be able to banish the cold that has plagued her.

 Each time he asks, "How cold do you feel?" the princess responds by comparing the cold she feels to either the ocean, the forest, a mountain and then the earth itself. The stranger's response each time is to provide her with a blanket made from elements of each of these things. And, each time, the girl feels even colder.

Disgusted, the stranger eventually leaves and is replaced by a humble musician. Will he have the power to rid her of the chill she feels?

The illustrations that accompany this tale are very "atmospheric" and would be more at home in an exhibition of modern or surrealist paintings than in a children's picture book. This exploration of the depths of human fears, frailty and love combined with the unusual illustrations makes this a book better suited to older children or adults. The publisher suggests the appropriate age group is five and up. I disagree! Because of the content which merits some discussion, I'd say nine or ten years of age up through high school would be a better fit.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Where Does Joe Go - Tracey Campbell Pearson (Picture Book)

Released 2002

I'm all for supporting local authors. Tracey Campbell Pearson's books were a little too old for me as a kid, but I spent hours and hours reading her books to children when I babysat. Because Tracey lived a couple miles from my general babysitting radius, most parents had her children's stories on their shelves.

I recently borrowed a copy of Where Does Joe Go because Joe, famed hero of this book, passed this month. To locals, Joe is an iconic figure, to children, he's the mysterious character in the book that disappears every winter leading to the characters within the story trying to guess where he goes. Text is perfect for beginning readers and entertaining for parents who will find this becoming their child's favorite.

Joe Rotunda, Jr. was owner of Joe's Snack Bar, the best place for french fries and a place that, as children, we were willing to hop on our bikes and ride for a couple miles to enjoy the fries or a creemee. The open sign on Joe's is the signal that spring is here and winter is over. I have my fingers crossed that Joe's does reopen in a few months, but until then it's sad to think that Joe is not coming back!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Will Be Back

Knocked down by viral bronchitis that's making its way through our house. So reviews are on hold until I can spend two seconds without dealing with a coughing attack...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Second Strong Quake Hits Haiti

In case you haven't heard, an aftershock hit Haiti again this morning, 6.1 on the Richter scale. I know how tight times are, but if you have any money whatsoever that you can donate to help the country recover, Amazon has a safe and secure page set up.

Haiti Earthquake Fund at

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Baby at the Farm - Karen Katz (Picture Book)

Released January 2010

Reviewed by Bob Walch

Karen Katz is back with another of her popular "Baby" board books. In this interactive adventure Baby is visiting a farm where he sees a cow, some tiny pigs, a little lamb, a whole lot of yellow, fluffy chickens, and a big, brown horse. Besides petting the farm critters, Baby gets to collect a basket of eggs and jump in a pile of hay. Now that's a perfect day for an adventure on the farm!

Along with the large, vibrant color illustrations, this touch-and-feel book also features a few pages where the child can run his or her little fingers over a substance that resembles the animal's coat. There's some soft, white, faux, lamb's wool and some stringy brown material that suggests a horse's mane.

As you read this story to your preschooler ask him or her to close his or her eyes and then identify the animal by feeling the "patch". You can also practice name recognition or even what sounds each animal makes.

Since this is such a simple text you are given the opportunity to create your own story or turn paging thorough the book into a game. Here's were mom or dad's creativity enters the read aloud session!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Capstone and Sports Illustrated KIDS Collaborate on New Sports Stories: Books Inspire Sports Super Star Contest for Kids

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Jan. 18, 2010 – Capstone, the leading publisher of children’s books in the U.S. education market, has partnered with Sports Illustrated KIDS, the award-winning sports magazine publisher, to create a new line of high-interest nonfiction and fiction sports stories for elementary and middle school grades, especially for struggling and reluctant readers.

Greatest Sports Stars, The Science of Sports, and Sports Illustrated KIDS Graphic Novels debut this month under the publishers’ imprints Capstone Press and Stone Arch Books. Capstone had access to Sports Illustrated KIDS’ extensive collection of photographs, resulting in compelling books packed with exciting sports action photos.

Inspired by its partnership with Sports Illustrated KIDS, Stone Arch Books is sponsoring a nationwide contest which invites students in grades 3-6 to create their own sports super star. Kids can enter for a chance to have their fictional character featured in an upcoming Sports Illustrated KIDS Graphic Novel. The first place winning student, along with his/her school, will be included in a page at the back of the book. Online voters will choose their favorite sports character from the top five entries posted on the contest website

“We’re inviting kids to use their imagination and create a strong character critical to any story’s success. We’re looking forward to finding some really creative characters,” said Lori Benton, General Manager/Publisher of Capstone Fiction. “Kids have a chance here to vote on who they really want to read about. Their votes will ultimately decide the next character in our series.”

The top 50 entrants will receive two free Sports Illustrated KIDS Graphic Novels, one for the student and one for the school library. Contest runs through March 1, 2010.
The Sports Illustrated Kids books are available at or by calling 800-747-4992.                
About Capstone
Capstone is the leading publisher of children’s books and digital products and services, offering everything from nonfiction, fiction, and picture books to interactive books, audio books, and literacy programs. Imprints and divisions include Capstone Press, Compass Point Books, Picture Window Books, Stone Arch Books, Red Brick Learning, Capstone Digital, and Heinemann-Raintree. Visit us at

About SI Kids:
Sports Illustrated Kids, the first sports magazine written for kids ages 8 and up, connects with its readers through their passion for sports.  The magazine offers kids the access to athletes and sports information that they want with in-depth reporting, action photography, first-person athlete accounts and other features.  The magazine, books and website, promote positive values, good sportsmanship and the fun of reading.

Life Gets in the Way

My goal is to post daily, but life's gotten in the way. Last week, being exam week, had me shuttling kids from school earlier than expected cutting into my usual routine. Then the week ended with the lose of brakes on my husband's car prompting us to sit down and decide if it was worth repairing the car or best just to push up our purchase of a new one.

In the end, his car was replaced. It was a great car for the 12 years and 145k miles we had it. Definitely proof that you can get outstanding service from a car if you put a little TLC into it.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Dinosaurs Love Underpants - Claire Freedman (Picture Book)

Released January 2010

Reviewed by Bob Walch

Here's a wacky celebration of underpants and all the trouble they caused during prehistoric times. In this delightfully silly picture book young readers will learn that when cavemen decided to "cover up", they set off a chain of startling events that led to the demise of the dinosaur.

Yes, as ridiculous as that may sound, indeed that's what happened. The dinos were so taken by prehistoric man's new fashion statement that they began fighting over who could find the most colorful and outrageous undies themselves. Of course, this exposed a nasty jealously streak in the large creatures and soon they were ripping, tearing and clawing at one another's "unmentionables!"

This sad state of affairs turned into a tragic conflict known as the  Underpants War. When the dust finally settled and the fragments of undergarments floated back to earth, the dinosaurs had become extinct.

This inside scoop on the mystery of the sudden disappearance of these fantastic creatures will have your little paleontologist giggling with glee as you read the rhymed text of this picture book aloud.  

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Mystery Continues in Camp Club Girls Books 3 & 4

Barbour Continues Contests to Kick Off New Titles

Uhrichsville, OH—Girls ages 8 to 12 will enjoy the mystery, mayhem, and adventure found in the new Camp Club Girls series written specifically for them! McKenzie’s Montana Mystery and Alexis and the Sacramento Surprise, books three and four in the 24-book series, release from Barbour Publishing in March 2010.

In McKenzie’s Montana Mystery, Bailey and McKenzie arrive in Montana to help at a horse ranch and are immediately entrenched in mysteries. Can the Camp Club Girls help Bailey and McKenzie save the ranch? In Alexis and the Sacramento Surprise, dinosaurs seem to come to life each night. Can Alexis and Kate crack the case and keep Miss Maria’s dreams—and her nature park business—alive?

Each of the 24 titles focuses on one girl, though the other characters are involved in each story and use their special skills—analyzing, spiritual insight, gadgetry, physical strength and research—to help the whole team stump adversaries and master the mysteries they encounter. Join the Camp Club Girls in their new series as they find hidden jewels, destroy terrorist plots, uncover intrigue, rescue their friends and so much more! Kate’s Philadelphia Frenzy and Bailey’s Peoria Problem, books five and six in the series, release in May 2010.

To promote the new Camp Club Girls series, Barbour Publishing will be holding both reader and store contests. Readers will be offered a chance to win the “Kate’s Gadget Girl” grand prize gift basket worth over $2,000. Named after one of the Camp Club Girls characters who loves gadgets, the grand prize includes a MacBook computer, Nintendo Wii, iPod Nano, Canon digital camera, video journal and many more cool gadgets. Running from January to August 2010, the readers’ contest also offers twenty-five monthly winners a Camp Club Girls backpack full of goodies. To sign up, readers can fill out a form found inside the books or enter online at Retailers can also win some great prizes by entering the Camp Club Girls retail contest. The grand prize winner will receive $1,000 in store credit and a $100 Pizza Hut gift card for a staff pizza party. Three runners up will receive $500 store credit and a $100 Pizza Hut card. Contestants will be judged on creativity, sales and overall promotional support of the series. For more information about the series and contest details, contact your Barbour rep at 1-800-852-8010.

McKenzie’s Montana Mystery by Shari Barr. March 2010. $5.97. 160 pages. ISBN 978-1-60260-269-4. Find this title and its press materials online at or visit this link: .

Alexis and the Sacramento Surprise by Erica Rodgers. March 2010. $5.97. 160 pages. ISBN 978-1-60260-270-0. Find this title and its press materials online at or visit this link: .

Friday, January 8, 2010

Capstone Launches New E-Commerce Website

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Jan. 7, 2010 – Capstone, the leading publisher of children’s books in the U.S. education market, announces the launch of its new website The website integrates all titles from the publisher’s imprints (Capstone Press, Compass Point Books, Picture Window Books, and Stone Arch Books) and divisions (Capstone Digital and Red Brick Learning) into one site, and displays all product formats, including reinforced library binding, paperback, and digital.  

Showcasing Capstone’s comprehensive learning solutions for preK-12, the site allows customers greater flexibility when browsing and searching for products. Customers can browse based on their needs (such as by emergent reader or struggling reader), or can search based on state correlations, program reading levels, reviews, awards, genres, and more. Additionally, customers can now more easily manage, export, and e-mail their booklists.

“Based on our customers’ needs and feedback, we’ve created a completely new website which provides an easier browsing and shopping experience for customers, and leverages our Capstone brand. We’re confident customers will love seeing the full breadth of our products and services in one spot and will appreciate the flexibility and resources the site offers,” said Tom Ahern, CEO of Capstone.

The new site offers easier navigation and location of single titles and sets by highlighting reviewed titles, award winners, new releases, and best sellers. With the new “look inside” feature powered by Google Preview, customers can preview books before selection. A wealth of new educator resources are also available on the site for free.

All customer account information from the previous individual e-commerce sites, including booklists, shopping carts, and library processing specifications, transferred over to the new Capstone site.


About Capstone
Capstone is the leading publisher of children’s books and digital products and services, offering everything from nonfiction, fiction, and picture books to interactive books, audio books, and literacy programs. Imprints and divisions include Capstone Press, Compass Point Books, Picture Window Books, Stone Arch Books, Red Brick Learning, Capstone Digital, and Heinemann-Raintree. Visit us at

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Coming Soon: The Book Thief (Young Adult)

I'm reading a book along with my daughter. Not my usual story, but she's reading it for school and was struggling with some of the narrative, so I thought I'd read it too so that I know what it's about.

Therefore, expect a review soon.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Navigators: Animals - Miranda Smith (Non-Fiction)

Released September 2009

Reviewed by Bob Walch

You are invited to enter the amazing world of animals in this visual guide that features 3-D artwork and fascinating information about reptiles, mammals, birds, fish and amphibians.

Whether it is crawling into a meerkat burrow, looking out for a pit viper attack, or diving into the ocean depths to meet some extraordinary fish, young readers will see and discover some fascinating tidbits about these creatures' behaviors.

The twenty, double page spreads the book offers cover avoiding predators, hunting skills, finding food, giving birth, and a host of other subject areas. The information in each spread is attractively illustrated and presented in an easy to grasp format. Web links are also provided for the child who wants to learn more about a particular animal or subject.

Given the eclectic nature of the material in this book it serves as a starting point from which a child can launch a more detailed study. For example, learning that the monarch butterfly travels 2,000 miles each year on its migratory flight will hopefully trigger a desire to know more about these remarkable insects.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Reviews Coming Soon

Now that the holidays are over and everyone's back at school or work, I'll be able to get back to reading.

Reviews that are upcoming include:

Friday, January 1, 2010

Lesser-Known Giants of the 20th Century (Non-Fiction)

Released April 2009

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

By middle school, kids throughout the nation usually face requirements of reading at least one biography or non-fiction offering and doing a report on the person/people they've read about. One of the problems I've seen both my children face is choosing a person that everyone else decides to pick. With Lesser-Known Giants of the 20th Century, teens learn about a number of people who impacted the world around them but don't get the same attention as the Helen Keller's or George Washington's of the world.

Some of the historical figures in this book were new to me, but others were not. Margaret Chase Smith I've heard about. Most likely because of my proximity to Maine and fact that I adore that state. Paul Winchell, the voice of Tigger (Winnie the Pooh) is another I knew, though I had no idea of the horrific upbringing he'd faced. Others like A.P. Gianni, son of Italian immigrants who went on to change the world of banking, were new to me. Or, Branch Rickey, a man who pushed for the first blacks to enter professional baseball leading to Jackie Robinson's joining the Dodgers.

Charles Aulini's book is packed with careful research and intriguing portraits of some lesser-known men and women. Others within the book include:

  • Moe Berg
  • Medgar Evers
  • Katherine Graham
  • Ignacy Jan Paderweski

Anyone who reads my reviews knows I'm an advocate for affordable books, especially in this economy. The $20 price tag on this trade-sized paperback is a little high. However, unlike many books that come my way, this book lacked common grammatical errors and obviously had been edited with precision. For that, I think the price is a little more justified.