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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Book Reviews by YOU:
The Story of America’s Birthday
by Patricia A. Pingry

Today, I bring you a review by Abby of Mommy Moments with Abby. She runs a day home in addition to caring for her own two children. She always has great ideas for activities to do with kids, and today she is visiting Cookie's Book Club to share a children's book recommendation.

The Story of America's Birthday, written by Patricia A. Pingry and illustrated by Stacy Venturi-Pickett, offers "a simple introduction to the American Revolution, the writing of the Declaration of Independence, and the significance of the Fourth of July." ~ Google Books

Abby's Review:
This 24 page board book is great for all ages.  The content explains to young children America’s quest for freedom and the Revolutionary War.  The illustrations have clean lines and are well done with actions in the pictures complimenting the pages content.  I enjoyed that there are enough bright colors to draw in younger kids and enough written details of the events for the older kids to follow. 

The story itself is a simplistic outline of the events of the American Revolution.  It is a great book for younger kids or a great starter book for the older kids experiencing interest in America’s History.  The words used are basic so all ages can understand the storyline.   I enjoyed that there aren’t too many words per page so I can get 1½ year olds to stay focused, while allowing the older 3 and 4 year olds to be excited over the events taking place in the story.  Don’t discredit the books ability to teach about the Revolution because the words per page are digestible even to little ones. 

It offers an outline with the key words highlighted in red, blue, or green.  The addition of some words in colors opens them up for questioning as the older kids notice the colored words.  I enjoy this because they are new words or topics such as “tax” or “colonies” that may not have been seen before by the child.  They can be explored further by becoming flash card words or just plan vocabulary words for kids 4 and above.

The illustrations depictions of the events were good representations of what was being described.  The people were dressed in period clothing with soft coloring which fit well with a story that is outlining a historical event.  The detail of the illustrations wasn’t overly complex and resultantly, did not take away from the content.  That said, kids are kids and they enjoy some bright coloring and flash.  Some additional flare could have been added to the book with glitter on the fireworks or scratch and sniff added to the page talking about tea.  Maybe, some glittering on the flag on the last page could have ended it with a little more bang. 

While, I may have added some scratch and sniff or glitter, I enjoy this book and the kids enjoy it too!  I’m hoping that I can keep this book in good shape to save for my kids, but may need to get a back up to save for them.  I light up 4 ½ birthday candles out of 5 on this American Birthday cake, losing half a flame for one or two pages which could have been combined and maybe more historical content added. 
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The Story of America's Birthday, by Patricia A. Pingry, illustrated by Stacy Venturi-Pickett is available from Amazon.com and other booksellers.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Wicked Day (The Tormay Trilogy) is now available!


Just had to let Christopher Bunn's fans know that The Wicked Day, the third and final installment in The Tormay Trilogy, is now available! - $2.99 at Amazon.com

Book two in the series, The Shadow at the Gate is also just $2.99 at Amazon.com. The first book in the series, The Hawk And His Boy, is just $0.99!

Check out my reviews of the first two books in the trilogy and interviews with the author, Christopher Bunn: 
The Hawk and His Boy
The Shadow at the Gate (guest post for Kindle Obsessed)
Click here to view a recent Off 68 article on Christopher Bunn and The Tormay Trilogy.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Once Upon A Time Read-a-Thon
Day 3

Today is day three - the final day - of the Once Upon a Read-a-Thon reading challenge. It's definitely been a challenge as these were some busy days for me, but I did manage to read a few books.

Once Upon a Read-a-Thon

My Reading List

Here is what I was hoping to read:
SHAKEN: Stories for Japan - various authors
Perfect Health - Deepak Choprah
The Scrubs - Simon Janus
The Zoo - David Monroe
The Sevenfold Spell - Tia Nevitt
And here is what I have read so far:
SHAKEN: Stories for Japan - various authors
Perfect Health - Deepak Choprah
The Sevenfold Spell - Tia Nevitt
There's still time - I might knock one more of these books off the list before the day is done. It was fun to have a goal and fun to participate in a reading challenge.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Once Upon A Time Read-a-Thon
Day 2

It's day two of the three day Once Upon a Read-a-Thon reading challenge!

Once Upon a Read-a-Thon

Today, I'm participating in a read-a-thon challenge hosted by The Bookish Type. The challenge is to write a synopsis for one of my read-a-thon books based solely on the cover. I chose the cover of The Sevenfold Spell, because... well, just look at it! It's a great cover.

Tired of never being noticed and longing to be loved, Maddy took a very big chance. The wizard has promised beauty and admiration would be hers. All she had to do was help him to hold time still, just for a moment, but what happened in that moment was something she would give anything to undo. Her beauty was hypnotic – the people were hers to command - but she was tortured by the evil she witnessed that night and felt more lonely than ever. Her world was filled with tragedy, and her mind was turning to dark thoughts. The world was collapsing around her. What had she done?

Hmm... I think I'll stick to book reviews! I'm not sure writing synopses is my thing. It was pretty fun though. Thanks for the challenge, Casey!

My Reading List

Here is what I am hoping to read in the next three two days. Wish me luck!
SHAKEN: Stories for Japan - various authors - DONE - I read many, but not all, of these stories - there are some very good ones - I'll share my favourites in a future post. Perfect Health - Deepak Choprah - still working on this one! The Scrubs - Simon Janus The Zoo - David Monroe The Sevenfold Spell - Tia Nevitt
By the way, I am still reading:
this book about about Ayurvedic Medicine. It's so fascinating. I should have known better than to pick a non-fiction book for this challenge, but it was just its time. I am spending more time highlighting sections of the book on my Kindle than actually reading. I may set it aside just for a little bit. The other books are calling to me.....
Happy Reading!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Once Upon A Time Read-a-Thon
Day 1

Today is day one of the three day Once Upon a Read-a-Thon reading challenge. It's definitely going to be a challenge as I've got both of my 'boys' (BIG and small) home with me today and tomorrow. However, I have been granted two hours to go to the library for some shhh time, and then there's always some time to read before bed. Let's see how I do!

Once Upon a Read-a-Thon

My Reading List

Here is what I am hoping to read in the next three days. Wish me luck!
SHAKEN: Stories for Japan - various authors
Perfect Health - Deepak Choprah
The Scrubs - Simon Janus
The Zoo - David Monroe
The Sevenfold Spell - Tia Nevitt
Of course, I may not probably won’t get through all of these, and I reserve the right to change my mind if I start reading one of them and do not enjoy it!

I am currently reading:

I'm starting off with a book of short stories and a book about about Ayurvedic Medicine.

You can read my previous post about SHAKEN here. The proceeds from this book go to support victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.


Friday, July 8, 2011

Children's Author Spotlight: Raffi

Pre-kids I used to cringe at the thought of listening to Raffi. But then... it happened. A Raffi song made my son smile and I became and instant fan.

You probably know Raffi as a songwriter and performer. Raffi has written some fun versions of popular kids songs and in 1987 began releasing his Songs to Read series of books.

We sing a lot around here, so many of our books are really songs to read (see my previous spotlight on Sandra Boynton as an example).

Here are three of our favourite Raffi Songs to Read books:

Wheels on the Bus

This song has been a popular choice of parents and teachers for decades and for very good reason. It's a happy rhyming song about the adventures of the people who ride the bus. The illustrations by Sylvie Kantorovitz Wickstrom are equally jovial and bring the song to life.

Down by the Bay

"Down by the Bay is one of the best-selling Raffi Songs to Read. Irresistible art by Nadine Bernard Westcott depicts wonderfully amusing creatures such as a bear combing his hair, a goose kissing a moose, and a whale with a polka-dot tail." Source: http://www.raffinews.com/raffi/renaissance

If You're Happy and You Know It

"Children everywhere love to sing and clap along with this classic song... brought to life by Cyd Moore’s energetic artwork. The song becomes a delightful story about a surprise party where all the animals work together to do something nice for someone else." Source: http://www.raffinews.com/raffi/renaissance

At the back of these books, you can usually find the music for accompanying on an instrument, along with all of the verses.

"With two honorary degrees, the Order of Canada, and the UN’s Earth Achievement award, Raffi is a respected international figure, a global troubadour." Source: http://www.raffinews.com/raffi/renaissance

Plus, he makes kids smile, and that makes me smile!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

What Keeps You Reading?
Crazy for Books Blog Hop

I submitted a question to Crazy for Books, and it was selected for this weekend's blog hop.
"What keeps you reading beyond the first few pages of a book, and what makes you want to stop reading a book and put it back on the shelf?"

Book Blogger Hop

For me, the writing needs to be really good right from the start. I can judge this in a page or less. Next, I'm looking at the storyline itself and the pacing of the story. Is the author efficient in his or her writing from the start or does it seem that the story is dragging? I stop reading a book if the writing is not up to my own personal standards, but assuming that it's written well enough I'll continue to read so long as the story is interesting and coherent, the characters are believable and relatable, and the topic is of at least some interest to me.
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What do you think? What makes you pick up a book and keep reading? What makes you put the book back down? Share your answer here or link up!
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