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.”

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Big Turtle - David McLimans

Released October 2011

David McLimans
Bloomsbury Kids

Reviewed by Bob Walch

Caldecott Honor winner David McLimans puts a unique spin on this Huron creation story .When the book opens there are just two parts to the world – the animals in the lower Water World and the humans above in the Sky World.

Then one day Sky Girl takes a tumble into the Water World. Although she is saved by two swans, Sky Girl is unable to get back to her home. At this point Big Turtle comes up with an idea. Why not create a new home for Sky Girl on his great shell using earth from the bottom of the sea?

Thus, a new world comes into being between the sky and the sea and Sky Girl becomes “Earth’s” first inhabitant.

McLimans’ illustrations that capture the vibrancy of native art make this wonderful story come alive.  Big Turtle is a good way of introducing children four years of age and older to folklore and the colorful art that often accompanies it. 


Friday, December 23, 2011

Franklin's Christmas Gift - Paulette Bourgeois

Released November 2011 (Kindle Edition)

Paulette Bourgeois
Open Road Media

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

I have a soft spot in my heart for Franklin the turtle. Of all the children's shows my kids insisted on watching, Franklin was one show I didn't mind joining them. It's been years since I last read Franklin's Christmas Gift, but I love it now just as much as I did then.

Franklin's school is holding an annual toy drive, and every student must choose a toy to give to a child in need. He's excited, but after going through his toy box, he can't part with anything. Time's running out for Franklin to learn the true meaning of giving. Will he find a toy in time?

While many children look at Christmas as a time that Santa magically appears and brings presents, Franklin's Christmas Gift helps to show them that not every child is that lucky. It delves into the true meaning of giving. What Franklin learns is done so in a non-preachy manner so most children should happily accept the message and put that lesson to good use.

If you're looking for a special Christmas story this year, Franklin's Christmas Gift is available in hardcover, paperback and now for the Kindle.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Poindexter Makes a Friend - Mike Twohy

Released May 2011

Simon & Schuster

Reviewed by Bob Walch

This tale of a very shy little pig who stays away from people and loves reading aloud to his stuffed animals will appeal to youngsters four years of age and older who don’t easily  make friends.

Poindexter loves to go to the library where he reads and sometimes helps the librarian return books to the shelves. One day another shy youngster, a turtle named Shelby, comes in asking for a book on how to make friends. Mrs. Polen asks Poindexter if he would like to help Shelby find the book he is looking for.

This simple request turns out to be the perfect way of bringing both shy youngsters out of their shells. By the end of the story both Poindexter and Shelby leave the library holding a book between them that they will share together with Poindexter’s favorite stuffed animals.

This is a nicely thought out picture book that will resonate with young readers who perhaps find making friends a little difficult.  As you’ll see as you follow Poindexter’s adventures, being able to share something or assist someone in doing something is a good way to break down barriers and make the person feel more at ease.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Beyond the Grave - Mara Purnhagen

Released August 23, 2011

Mara Purnhagen
Harlequin Teen

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

The final story in the "Past Midnight" series, Beyond the Grave finds Charlotte Silver battling "The Watcher" once again. This time, Charlotte's not alone. While evil lurks in the world, there are also protectors who have the same powers as a Watcher and Charlotte's about to meet her protector.

On another front, Charlotte's romance with Noah is going well. That is until he starts sleepwalking and waking up in unusual places not remembering a thing that's happening. Could the Watcher be using Noah as his next human host?

If you've been following the series, you know the story and are familiar with the main characters. For those new to the series, I recommend reading the other books first. Beyond the Grave does go into some detail regarding past books, but I personally feel it's worth reading them all. They're all great books so it's not a hardship to read them in order. Fans of paranormal teen romances will love this series. It's a bit of a blend of Ghost Whisperer, Ghost Hunters and Paranormal Activity with a dash of romance that really gets the reader involved with the characters' lives.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Mooshka, A Quilt Story - Julie Paschkis

Released March 2012

Julie Paschkis
Peachtree Publishers

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

I highly recommend pre-ordering Jule Paschkis's Mooska, A Quilt Story because it's really unlike most children's books you find today. There's no rhyming scheme and no silly pictures, what it does capture is family history and really the importance of family. That's what made the book really stand out and drew me into the story.

Young Karla loves her quilt. Mooshka's been telling stories about the history of each piece of fabric that was lovingly sewn to create Karla's quilt. Yet, when her baby sister is born, Mooshka becomes silent. Karla's devastated and can't imagine why Mooska stopped talking. Not only does Karla have to share her bedroom with her new sister, but her favorite quilt seems to have given up on her. What will it take to get Mooshka to talk again?

The illustrations capture the look and feel of the quilt and all of its different colors and textures. I'm sure children will love the colorful pictures and the stories that Mooshka tells. The story is endearing and if my children were still young enough for picture books, I know this would have been a favorite for all of us. Mooska comes out in March 2012 and is a fun story filled with beautiful illustrations.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Happy Hauliday's Winner Announced

Congratulations to Jennifer Miler, blogger for Where the Best Books Are. She and one of her readers won Chronicle Book's Happy Hauliday's Contest.

For those who didn't win, enter "haulidays" when checking out and earn free shipping and up to  a 35% discount.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Final Day to Enter the $500 Happy Haul-idays Contest from Chronicle Books

The final day to enter to win Chronicle Books' Happy Haul-idays contest is today. You have until 11:59 pm EST to enter. Do so by posting a message here:

Good luck to all who have entered!