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Welcome! The ultimate luxury for me is curling up with a good book and a warm blanket. The next best thing is reviewing books and sharing them with others.

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15 10, 2015

Review: Sticker Creations: Under the Sea & Discover: Earth

By | October 15th, 2015|Categories: Ages 12 and Under, Children's Books, For Kids, Gift Ideas|Tags: , |3 Comments


under the sea book coverReviewed by Alyssa Katanic

As a homeschooling mom of seven children under the age of 13, I am constantly on the look out for books that will inspire a love of learning and appeal to a wide range of ages. The Smithsonian has come out with two great new books that fulfill both of those needs for our family.

Smithsonian Sticker Creations: Under the Sea by Emily Rose Oachs is as beautiful as it is informative. My children absolutely love the aquarium section of our local zoo and are attracted to any kind of Under the Sea type of programs that they can find – they have learned a lot! This fact made me wonder if they would find much interest in Sticker Creations: Under the Sea, or if they would be bored by the same general information in

6 10, 2015

Review: Ping Ping Panda’s Bamboo Journey by Maurice Pledger

By | October 6th, 2015|Categories: Ages 12 and Under, Children's Books, For Kids, Gift Ideas|Tags: , |2 Comments


ping ping panda book coverReviewed by Alyssa Katanic

To be honest, I have a literal bookshelf packed with board books for little hands. There are touch and feel books, lift-the-flap books, fiction, non-fiction and so on. I have come to the point where I need to be picky and weed out a few in order to make room for those that are truly worth keeping, such as Ping Ping Panda’s Bamboo Journey by Maurice Pledger.

Ping Ping is not simply another cute board book with a fuzzy panda on the cover. It is also not just another over simplified, lift-the-flap book. Pledger has done an excellent job of mixing a cute fictional story of an irresistible panda bear with a bit of information concerning different animals and their habits and diets.

As Ping-Ping Panda searches for more bamboo to eat, she runs into quite a few

29 09, 2015

Review: My Messy Body by Liza Fromer & Francine Gerstein MD

By | September 29th, 2015|Categories: Ages 12 and Under, Children's Books, For Kids, Gift Ideas|Tags: , |5 Comments


my messy body book coverReviewed by Alyssa Katanic

My Messy Body, part of the Body Works Series, by Liza Fromer and Francine Gerstein MD is a great picture book that plays off of a child’s sense of humor while explaining various bodily functions and the messes they can make. While the illustrations by Joe Weissman are playful and comical, the information given by Fromer and Dr. Gerstein does not talk down to children in the least.

Fromer and Gerstein do a great job of explaining the way our bodies work and the various messes that result in a way that kids will be able to grasp without too much difficulty, while still working in great vocabulary and medical terms and descriptions.  They have also included a glossary that further explains more difficult terms, and many interesting facts (some I never knew I

23 09, 2015

Review: God Made All of Me by Justin & Lindsey Holcomb

By | September 23rd, 2015|Categories: Ages 12 and Under, Children's Books|Tags: , |2 Comments


god made all of me book coverPlease join Justin and Lindsey Holcomb, authors of God Made All of Me: A Book to Help Children Protect Their Bodies, as they tour the blogosphere with Litfuse Publicity!

Reviewed by Amanda Schafer

God Made All of Me is a conversational book. The story is all in the form of a conversation between parents and their two children, but it’s also a great book to *start* a conversation between a parent and child. Taken from a scriptural stance, the idea is based on the fact that God made me and called it good, and to also recognize that we praise God for how he made us so wonderfully. By first establishing these two facts, we as parents can transition into teaching our children that because God made them and called it good, no one

28 08, 2015

Review: Let’s Chat About Economics! by Michelle Balconi & Dr. Arthur Laffer

By | August 28th, 2015|Categories: Ages 12 and Under, Children's Books|Tags: , |2 Comments


let's chat about economics book coverReviewed by Alyssa Katanic

It seems as if more and more families are working hard to pay off debt and to establish healthier financial habits. Many of us didn’t receive much financial instruction, if any, during our growing up years, and often have to face a few struggles before we recognize our need to learn more about it. As parents and caregivers we desire to protect our children from having to learn things “the hard way”, and this includes lessons having to do with finances, but where do we start when it comes to teaching our children how to make good financial decisions?

Let’s Chat About Economics! by Michelle Balconi and Dr. Arthur Laffer is a four chapter picture book aimed at intermediate school aged children. Teamed with Dr. Laffer’s economics wisdom, Balconi does an excellent job using the

20 08, 2015

Review: The Fog Diver by Joel Ross

By | August 20th, 2015|Categories: Adventures & Thrillers, Ages 12 and Under, Children's Books, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Series, Young Adult|Tags: , , , , , , , |3 Comments


the fog diver book coverReviewed by Caleb Shadis

The Fog Diver is the first book in a new young adult series by Joel Ross. I have to say I found it to be a great beginning! We meet Chess and his salvage crew while Chess is ‘diving’ for things to collect from from the ‘Fog’. A couple generations earlier a nano-tech was set loose to fix many of the issues affecting the planet in order to save it. Turns out it got wise enough to understand that humans were the constant problem that needed to be cleaned up after. So the little buggers started killing people.

In the end, people had to move to mountain tops to escape the ‘Fog’ of nanites that to all humans, looks just like a fog covering the entire Earth other than the mountain tops.  However, it did not

20 06, 2015

Review: A Flag for the Flying Dragon by Carole P. Roman

By | June 20th, 2015|Categories: Ages 12 and Under, Children's Books|Tags: , |3 Comments


flag for the flying dragon book coverReviewed by Alyssa Katanic

Every pirate ship needs a piratey flag, and everyone knows how important a flag is, as it represents all who stand beneath it. Thus, Captain No Beard has been on the search for the perfect flag! Meanwhile, however, there is trouble stirring amongst his crew. Everyone has a job to do… well, almost everyone!

In the latest Captain No Beard Story, A Flag for the Flying Dragon, by Carole P. Roman, First Mate Hallie’s baby brother Zachary, dressed in his super cute, pinned cloth diaper, has joined the crew! But where, exactly, does he fit in? It is too dangerous up high in the crow’s nest, Cayla doesn’t want to share her swabbing duties, and Zachery is a bit too forceful when it comes to cracking coconuts, especially when he misses them and

15 06, 2015

Review: Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan

By | June 15th, 2015|Categories: Ages 12 and Under, Children's Books|Tags: , , |2 Comments


echo book coverReviewed by Nina Longfield

In a forest in late nineteenth century Germany, a boy, Otto, becomes lost. Three enchanted sisters find him. They present Otto with a harmonica for strength then show him the way back home. This is a setting suited for a Brothers Grimm or A.E. Houseman fairytale. So begins Pam Muñoz Ryan’s enchanting novel Echo.

Echo is a rich layering of story work. There are fable and coming of age with social and historical elements interwoven throughout this novel. In showing Otto the way home, he must make a promise. Almost fifty years later, with the rise of Nazism in Germany, Friedrich finds an old harmonica that is seemingly magical. Muñoz Ryan depicts the ‘average’ German family of the early- to mid-nineteen-thirties at the rise of Hitler. Friedrich’s family is hard working. Their lives revolve around music until

22 04, 2015

Review: How to Destroy the New Girl’s Killer Robot Army by Mick Bogerman

By | April 22nd, 2015|Categories: Ages 12 and Under, Children's Books|Tags: , , , , , |2 Comments


killer robot army book coverReviewed by Jessa Larsen

Mick and Finley may have survived zombies and pirates, but can they survive the new girl in town? When Savannah Diamond moves to town, she could be the downfall of Mick’s peaceful neighborhood. Well, when mermaids aren’t trying to eat the townsfolk anyways. She ruins everything for Mick. First she steals his favorite hangout spot, then she beats him in gym class, THEN she takes away Finley’s attention! He can’t be counted on if he’s busy mooning over the new girl.

Mick comes up with a brilliant plan to get her kicked out of school and, at first, things look like they’re going to work out perfectly. But Savannah isn’t one to take an attack and leave peacefully. She likes it here in Beachwood and she plans on retaliating, without mercy. If Mick can’t swallow his pride,

13 04, 2015

Review: Ella by Mallory Kasdan

By | April 13th, 2015|Categories: Ages 12 and Under, Children's Books|Tags: , |2 Comments


ella book coverReviewed by Christen Krumm

I have always loved Kay Thompson’s sassy, precocious Eloise–the little girl that lives in the Plaza (can I live in the Plaza?). Mallory Kasdan has written a cheeky parody updated for the girls of today.

Ella is an urban child who lives at the Local Hotel. She has an iPad and is always bugging the Desk Clerk about the Wifi. The bell boys have beards and wear skinny jeans, and she hangs out with Maverick, the bouncer for the rooftop bar. Ella has a Manny (male nanny) with tattoo sleeves, who plays guitar and makes films. Her dog’s name is Stacie who is every bit as diva as Ella (Stacie is a  dachshund who rides in a purse). Ella also has a pet fish named Rasta. Ella’s bedroom is huge (I want her bedroom) with a loft