Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover


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Book Report: Goodbye Kindergarten by Andrea Williams #BookBirthday

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Goodbye Kindergarten

Written by Andrea Williams

Illustrated by Vanessa Alexandre

Mascot Books; May 5, 2020

 

Coming soon! Happy May 5 Book Birthday!

Thank you, Andrea Williams, for writing this book. Thank you, Mascot Books, for sending a review copy of Goodbye Kindergarten.

What a year we are having! As some people say, the 4th year of April . . .Be sure to read to the bottom of the post for some ideas on ways to add closure to this school year.

Just in time for helping unsettled and disappointed young readers, Andrea Williams has her Goodbye Kindergarten book arriving on the book scene.

Andrea Williams decided to write a book for her kindergartners with the goals of saying goodbye, reminding the students of all the great things they did during the year, and giving students an opportunity to say goodbye and transition to the next grade.

Instead of being full of tears, Goodbye Kindergarten is uplifting as it reminds readers of what they learned, the friends they made, and the fun they had. Most of all, students are reminded that teachers are proud of them and they will never forget their students.

With this odd year of school, most schools have already closed for the remainder of the school year. Students are learning at home. This could be a fun time for young students, or a time of stress, anxiety, and uncertainty. At least in our district, our students did not even get a chance to say goodbye to their teachers, classmates, and classrooms. On a Friday, they learned school was closing. By the end of the weekend, they couldn’t even return except to pick up a packet, personal items, and a Chrome book. Shortly after, it was announced that school (as they used to know it) was over for the year.

Saying goodbye is an important step in adjusting to change. Goodbye Kindergarten will help kindergarten students (and preschool students, as they do some of the same activities) remember the good times and talk about what comes next. Goodbye Kindergarten will remind readers that even though classrooms are virtual, their teachers and friends remember them.

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What I Like About This Book:

~ the sharing of normal kindergarten activities

~ the remembering of all the things kindergartners do throughout the year

~ the joy and sense of accomplishment by both students and teacher

~ the opportunity to acknowledge the upcoming changes and the ending of kindergarten

~ the simple text, reminiscent of Goodnight Moon

~ the colorful illustrations

 

Amazon Blurb:

Kindergarten has been full of fun and learning, but the school year is almost done. Its time to say goodbye to your teacher and friends. No need to be sad! Celebrate the special people, places, and things in your classroom, and all the knowledge you’ll take with you into first grade!

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Some Ways to Add Closure to the School Year:

~ complete school work given by teachers; this will help your student feel the sense of accomplishment

~ celebrate the last day of school with a special breakfast, last day of school pictures, a walk down memory lane of favorite school memories (both at school and at home)

~ draw pictures of favorite school memories, or as you finish the school year, help your child journal about things he or she remembers (they draw, you help them write, or take dictation)

~ print photos you’ve taken during the school year (parties, field trips, classroom visits); let your child add them to a small photo album; label pictures with names and locations

~ ask the teacher to plan a virtual meet and greet (Zoom is quite popular for this); the last day of school would be a perfect time, though multiple visits would be great as well

~ call your child’s teacher and let your child visit

~ video your child doing something new and share the video with your child’s teacher; my daughter-in-law did a live video of my grandson riding a bike (without training wheels!), which was something new he learned. This was quite exciting for him! Having the teacher celebrate was a treat.

~ contact the parents of your child’s friends; arrange for them to have a virtual play date by using a computer app; they could work puzzles at the same time, draw a picture at the same time, share a favorite book, or eat a snack together (yet apart!)

~ revisit first day of school pictures; encourage your student to remember how he or she felt on that day; compare how he or she feels now

~ use technology to your advantage. If your child’s classroom used an app for keeping in touch (our preschoolers used Bloomz), reach out and contact families. I shared a picture of my two preschoolers (grands) on this app. Soon enough, most parents had shared pictures of the rest of the classmates. I shared these with my grands.

~ birthdays? Our granddaughter will turn 4 next week. Her mother has arranged a drive-by and wave birthday party.

Do you have any other great ideas? I’m sure we’d all love new ideas. Share them in the comments. Thanks!


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Book Report: Kelan and The Magical Glove by Kelan Davoud #BookBirthday

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Kelan and The Magical Glove

Written by Kelan Davoud

Illustrated by Eric M. Strong

Mascot Books, March 2020

 

Kelan and The Magical Glove is a fun adventure for readers who love Legos, Fortnite, and using their imagination. Thank you, Mascot Books, for sending a review copy.

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*spoiler alert* Kelan and his best bud love Legos, Fortnite, and hanging out. But after one bullying session by Billy the Bully, Kelan has to use a long stick to retrieve his new Lego set from beneath poison ivy. That is when he discovers a sparkly glove. This magical glove turns Kelan’s creations into real life things! Kelan and his friend are able to soak Billy and his sidekick, but Billy promises revenge.

Kelan and The Magical Glove is full of boy adventures. Legos, gaming, and problem bullies. Using the fantasy of the magical glove, Kelan now has a resource to help him stop the bullies. Creative, imaginative, and full of fun. With illustrations resembling cartoons and graphic novels, elementary-aged readers will be drawn to the story and adventures. Lego lovers will dream of finding their own magical glove.

 

What I Liked About This Book:

~ Fun, imaginative, and problem-solving

~ The themes of friendship and bullies

~ The magical glove (I want one!)

~ Bright, colorful illustrations

~ The hint of further adventures, since Billy threatens revenge . . .

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Amazon Blurb:

Kelan and his best friend Noah are fed up with bullies. At every turn, their tormenters come up with new and creative ways to make Kelan and Noah s lives miserable. Luckily, everything changes once Kelan finds a sparkly, colorful glove in the forest. They soon discover that whenever Kelan wears the glove, magical things start to happen! Finally, Kelan and Noah are able to put a stop to their bullies mean pranks. Join our friends as they figure out how to stand up for themselves with the help of one magical glove, a few Legos, and their imaginations!

Find Kelan and The Magical Glove at Amazon.

 


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Book Report: Be a Superhero in the Kitchen by Donna Glass #BookBirthday

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Be a Superhero in the Kitchen

Written by Donna Glass

Illustrated by Alejandro Chamberlain

Mascot Books, March 2020

 

Friends, if you are stuck at home with young children (and most of us are right now, due to COVID-19), I have a great idea for you. It’s time to enlist your superheros and teach them to cook!

Why not? Plenty of time, cooking reinforces OH SO MANY skills (math, reading, science, nutrition, fine motor, life skills), and your enlistees will be SUPER happy to help you make a meal!

Thank you, Mascot Books , for sending a review copy of Be a Superhero in the Kitchen by Donna Glass. I didn’t know I was getting a very cool COOKBOOK!

Let’s dig in!

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Why I LOVED this Book:

~ Super colorful and engaging

~ Each page spread is an entire recipe, filled with simple directions, ingredient lists, and illustrations; Cautions are listed along the way

~ 20 different recipes are included for entrees and side dishes, desserts and breads, and even a beverage

~ Superhero Cooking Tips are listed right at the beginning of the book! Yay!

~ The superhero theme is wonderful. I love how it is continued throughout the entire book. Kids will LOVE being a SUPERHERO chef!

~ This book is perfect for teaching young readers and chefs how to TAB a favorite recipe with a sticky note. The age old method of quickly finding your place…

~ Well written, fun, interesting, and very useful

~ With so many families caring for and homeschooling their children and grandchildren right now, this “activity” book is perfect. Plus, you get help making dinner.

~ Scroll down to the bottom of this post and follow the link to order your own copy.

Let’s get cooking!

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Amazon Blurb:

Every caregiver knows the trials of feeding a picky eater. Some nights are truly a battle. Nerves are frayed, and a pleasant, relaxing dinner can quickly be filled with tears, tantrums, and some nights, a battle of wills. Well, my goal with this book is to tip the scales in our favor. One surefire way I’ve discovered to get my picky eaters to eat is to let them help make the meal. After all, food tastes better when you’ve had a hand in fixing it. Let your child try their hand with the recipes in this book. A child who becomes the superhero of dinnertime is one who eats super well.

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To purchase a copy of Be a Superhero in the Kitchen, click this link:

Purchasing Information


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Book Report: Andres and His Rubik’s Cube Madness by Andrea Alvarez #BookBirthday

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Andres and His Rubik’s Cube Madness

Written by Andrea Alvarez

Illustrated by Ana Sebastian

Mascot Books, March 2020

 

Andres and His Rubik’s Cube Madness is the perfect book for these anxious days! If you and your child are stuck at home due to the coronavirus, get yourself a copy of this book and your own Rubik’s cube. Accept the challenge!

Much thanks to Mascot Books for sending a review copy. Happy book birthday, Andres and His Rubik’s Cube Madness (March 3, 2020).

I loved reading this book about Andres. Introduced to the Rubik’s Cube by a new neighbor, Andres was inspired and challenged to try to solve the cube. He eventually discovers that there are Rubik’s Cube competitions all over the world and decided he wanted to compete. Hard work, practice, and dedication helped Andres learn ways to solve the cube.

I was amazed at how FAST Andres and other competitors solve the cube. At the time of the printing, Andres had a personal best time of 8.33 seconds to solve the cube. That is seconds! I take longer to sneeze. Congratulations, Andres!

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Why I Enjoyed This Book:

~ The story is wonderful! Based on a true story, the author (mother to Andres) shares how he decided to accept the Rubik’s Cube challenge.

~ I learned so much about Rubik’s Cubes. There is an entire community built around competing and solving the puzzle cubes.

~ Excellent illustrations perfectly match and enhance the story. The reader is engaged in the story and illustrations.

~ Information is included for readers to use as they learn the algorithms to solve the cube.

~ Good writing and great story telling!

Our state just closed ALL schools for 6 weeks. That’s a long time, friends. I think this book AND several Rubik’s cubes might just help us to fill the long, long hours.

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Amazon Blurb:

When Andres saw the new kid in the neighborhood solve a Rubik’s cube super fast, he wondered if he could learn to solve one too. He tried twisting and turning the multicolored cube but it seemed impossible. With a little encouragement from his mom, Andres began to practice every day. And when he discovered a Rubik’s cube competition to qualify for the biggest championship, he knew he had to try!

Andres and His Rubik’s Cube Madness is based on the true story of Andres a boy who cleverly practiced hard and learned hundreds of algorithms to solve the Rubik’s cube in lightning speed. He was dedicated and persistent, but most importantly, he never gave up.

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Book Report: Jessica Tandy, The Girl Who Loved Candy by Susan Dils

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Jessica Tandy, The Girl Who Loved Candy

Written by Susan Dils

Illustrated by Juan Diaz

Mascot Books, 2020

 

What happens when Mom finally gives up on the whining and lets her daughter eat all the candy she wants?

Yikes! Most can (correctly) predict the consequences of this sweet-tooth folly. Quick, make a list of what you think happens. I bet you’ve guessed at least one disastrous consequence!

Thank you, Mascot Books, for sending a review copy of Jessica Tandy, The Girl Who Loved Candy.

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Why I Liked This Book:

~ Like Jessica, I love candy (though I rarely eat it due to the consequences of too much sugar)

~ Jessica, free to eat all the candy she wants, gorges herself, and then suffers overwhelming health issues

~ This book really lets readers know what will happen if too much sugar is in your diet (cavities, rotten teeth, poor health, grumpy attitude, sleepiness, general malaise)

~ The real consequences of eating straight sugar, even with brushing, are mouth and health issues; I’m glad this is included in the book

~ The book shares the path back to good health (and renewed friendships)

~ Love the importance of eating healthy, which was shared in ways I thought not too pushy

~ Great illustrations

~ I did want to shake the mom a bit (really? Jessica could eat ALL the candy she wanted??? But then, where would the story be?)

~ Fun and engaging, told in rhyme

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Amazon Blurb:

Oh, how delicious it would certainly be
If we could all eat what we wanted freely!
Join Jessica Tandy in this humorous tale as she learns a lesson the hard way, finding out that poor eating habits can lead to a lot more than just cavities.
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Book Report: What is An American? by Matt Scott #bookbirthday

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What is An American?

Written by Matt Scott

Art by Ana Sebastian

Mascot Books, 2020

 

What perfect timing for What is An American? by Matt Scott! After all, it is an election year and it’s bound to be spicy. To say the least. Thank you, Mascot Books, for sending a review copy of this patriotic book.

While What is An American? is not what I first expected, it is a picture book about the American dream, one of the foundations of being an American. It’s about being a dreamer, a believer, a keeper of others-potential with every breath.

Freedom, liberty, and justice for all. All.

What is An American? made me reflect on what it means to be to be an American.

Starting with young children, Matt Scott encourages readers to fuel up, dream big, and follow their dreams. A self-help book of sorts, What is An American? challenges readers to believe and reach for the stars, since Americans are free to follow their dreams.

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What I Liked About This Book:

~ the exploration of the American dream

~ the reminders of our task of caring for the American dream, keeping it strong, and caring for America for ourselves and future generations

~ the nod of thanks for those who have established and preserve our freedoms

~ the patriotic theme and feel of the book

~ how the book helps readers see that they can dream; the “I can” mentality

~ the way this book will open discussions about what it is to be an American and what that means (past, present, and future)

~ colorful, patriotic illustrations

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Amazon Blurb:

What is the American Dream?
It all starts with YOU… Saying and knowing and practicing discovered truths to life… no matter who you are, or where you are…
America was created to allow for these truths in Freedom and Liberty and Justice, for ALL!
It s time to teach what this means again.


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Book Report: Just Bunny and the Great Fire Rescue by Jeanne LaSala Taylor #BookBirthday

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Just Bunny and the Great Fire Rescue

Written by Jeanne LaSala Taylor

Illustrated by Ana Sebastian

Mascot Books; February 4, 2020

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Every child has that one special lovey, you know, the one where tragedy will strike if it goes missing. No sleep, no rest, no snuggles-but plenty of tears and agony (for both child and parents).

Just Bunny and the Great Fire Rescue is the story of such a lovey, Just Bunny, who is accidentally left behind when Francesca, her sister, and her mother hurriedly leave a restaurant due to a kitchen fire. Disaster strikes once Francesca realizes she does not have Just Bunny. After racing back to the scene of the fire, a firefighter is quick to recognize the loss and is able to save Just Bunny from certain doom.

In honor of the Fire Department of New York, and a certain Captain Anthony Matteo who rescued Just Bunny, a portion of the proceeds from sale of this book will be donated to the NYFF Burn Center Foundation. Jeanne LaSala Taylor wrote this book based on a true story.

Thank you, Mascot Books, for sending a review copy of Just Bunny and the Great Fire Rescue.

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What I Love About This Book:

~ Just Bunny! I love that most every child has a favorite stuffed lovely. Just Bunny is perfect.

~ Francesca and her mom and sister are out playing at the park and decide to eat dinner out, enjoying a normal day.

~ This book honors firefighters who rescue others from disaster and put their lives in danger to help.

~ Fun, colorful illustrations

~ Big city New York life is on show in this picture book

~ Based on a real story

~ A portion of the proceeds will go to help burn victims

~ Fun rhyming tells the story

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Amazon Blurb:

Just Bunny is Francesca’s right-hand stuffy who has been with her through thick and thin since day one.

Nothing can tear these two apart except, maybe, a fire! Thankfully, one of New York’s Bravest is on the scene to prove that selfless acts of kindness happen every day.

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Book Report: The Adventures of Princess Pudding Pie by Saureen Naik Desai

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The Adventures of Princess Pudding Pie

Written by Saureen Naik Desai

Illustrated by Marco Mazzarello

Mascot Books, February 2020

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Doesn’t the name Princess Pudding Pie make you want to read about her adventures? I know it grabbed my attention. Thanks to Mascot Books for sending a review copy.

The Adventures of Princess Pudding Pie, written by Saureen Naik Desai, is the story of Princess Pudding Pie, a young girl who loves to travel, taste delicacies, and enjoy the different places she visits. With passport in hand, Princess Pudding Pie heads out to explore a variety of international locations.

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What I Liked About This Book:

~ Princess Pudding Pie (I love that name)

~ Princess Pudding Pie has a pie (complete with pan, which frames her face) for her head. It’s not weird, but pretty cute.

~ Princess Pudding Pie tells how to say hello in the language of each place she visits (I was wishing for pronunciation on a few of them, but still loads of fun)

~ I love how Princess Pudding Pie wears a themed outfit for each country

~ Each spread for every country shows a famous landmark for that country

~ Told in rhyme, this book shares about delicious treats from international countries, but readers are encouraged to eat healthy foods first and then sample sweet desserts

Young readers will enjoy traveling with Princess Pudding Pie. I think it would be fun to choose a favorite treat and make that for the family. Yummy! Or, let’s dream big, travel to a favorite international location and taste the treats there!

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Amazon Blurb:

Princess Pudding Pie is a smart, sassy, free spirited globetrotter! She loves visiting new countries and learning all about different cultures, traditions, and delicious delicacies. Princess Pudding Pie is excited to take you on an adventure around the world tasting new and interesting desserts, all while visiting symbolic landmarks, collecting neat souvenirs, and learning about traditional dress. She ll even teach you how to say hello in each country s native tongue. Join Princess Pudding Pie as she shows us how much beauty and elegance our world has to offer.


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Book Report: Oh, The Places You’ve Been by Ben Everard & INTERVIEW

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Oh, The Places You’ve Been

Written by Ben Everard with Mary Everard

Illustrated by Andrea Alemanno

Mascot Books; BOOK BIRTHDAY on February 4, 2020

 

Happy Book Birthday to Oh, The Places You’ve Been! (February 4, 2020)

Thank you, Mascot Books, for this review copy of Oh, The Places You’ve Been.

I don’t know about you, but I’m one of those people who will stoop to pick up a forgotten coin, no matter the value. Pennies seem to be the most popular coins to leave behind, most likely due to the low value. BUT only 99 more, and I will have a dollar.

The appearance of these dropped or discarded pennies does make one wonder. How did it get here? Why does it look like this? Where has it traveled?

Oh, The Places You’ve Been is told from the viewpoint of a lost penny. With great imagination, the penny tells a young girl about many of the places it has traveled, rested, stayed, and escaped. This story is told in rhyme.

BE SURE to READ all the way to the bottom for an INTERVIEW with Ben Everard.

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What I Liked About This Book:

~ the imagination! I love considering where my coins have been.

~ the periods at the end of the sentences are tiny pennies! Very cute.

~ the story of the coin. I mean, if only we could have all of the same experiences, life would be grand.

~ the illustrations are mostly at the eye level of the penny

~ this story is told from the viewpoint of a penny. Now that is unique and fun!

~ lovely colors and a variety of illustrations

~ the ending page asks the reader to consider “Where has your penny been?” I love thinking about this. Great job!

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Amazon Blurb:

Where has your penny been? Oh, the Places You’ve Been is a delightful picture book following the life of a small penny. From city sidewalks to snowy mountaintops, fields full of fireflies and all the way to the Moon, a young girl learns this little coin has traveled far and wide to end up in her pocket. But how can something so small have traveled so far? This playful rhyming tribute to Dr. Seuss explores how even small, long-forgotten things have amazing stories to tell.

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Welcome, Ben Everard! Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m grew up in Crystal Lake, Illinois, went to college at the University of Miami, then attended law school at The George Washington University Law School.  I met my wife, Mary, in college and we were married right after I graduated law school.  I began my career as an attorney at Quinn Emanuel in Los Angeles.  After three years as a corporate litigator, I left the active practice of law to pursue a path producing films.  I’ve been very fortunate to work on a few wonderful films, including LIGHTS OUT and THE LAUNDROMAT.  Currently we are filming an upcoming movie called YES DAY with Jennifer Garner, which will be a Netflix original film.  We are very excited by it!  I have three beautiful children and live in Manhattan Beach, CA.
That’s exciting, Ben!
What was your inspiration for Oh, The Place You’ve Been?
Oh, The Places You’ve Been is inspired by a number of things.  I have to give credit to my Grandmother, who taught me at a young age that finding a penny off the ground should be interpreted as someone you’ve lost in your life saying hello to you.  Obviously it’s not a literal interpretation, but a metaphor that I think highly of. Because of that lesson, I’ve always picked pennies off the ground when I see them.  I remember finding a penny that was from the 1940s one time, and it made me pause and think of all the places that penny must have been in its existence.  Once I had children, I started reading children’s books regularly.  I love the classics – Dr. Seuss’ Oh The Places You’ll Go is the first book I read to each of my children.  And while I am a big fan of quality children’s books, I certainly came across a large number that I didn’t think had a great message and felt like noise more than anything else.  Instead of complaining about that, I set out to see if I could do one myself.  Whether or not I’ve succeeded others will decide, but it certainly was a more lengthy and complicated process than one might think.  I also did it in part as a lesson to my children – if you set your mind on a goal or objective, work hard at it until you accomplish it.  I was rejected by MANY publishers, but the book exists.  Failure is a part of the journey.
That’s neat that your grandmother inspired this book. I totally agree with you about picking up pennies.
What was the writing journey you took as you wrote this book?
Hard work, editing, more editing, soliciting feedback, then rejection, rejection, rejection, and finally publication.  It took well over a year.
Rejection. It’s a part of the process. You just have to keep going forward. And you did!
What special plans do you have to celebrate the birthday of Oh, The Places You’ve Been? (February 4, 2020)
I’d be thrilled to hear that a child or two enjoys the books.
That would be great news!
Surprise us! What else would you like to share?
YES DAY, our upcoming movie, comes from a children’s book by Amy Krause Rosenthal.  I hope it helps bring more picture books to the big screen.
I’m very excited to hear this! Fantastic news!
Thank you, Ben, for visiting with us. Congratulations and best wishes with Oh The Places You’ve Been and YES DAY.
You can find Ben at Instagram.com.
You can find Oh The Places You’ve Been at:


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Book Report: Happy Book Birthday to SKY DRAGON by James Blackburn

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SKY DRAGON

Written by James Blackburn

Illustrated by Stephanie Fliss Dumas

Mascot Books; January 7, 2020

 

Thank you, Mascot Books, for this review copy of SKY DRAGON. I am delighted to read it and share it with you, friends. I love this story written in rhyme, the colorful illustrations, and the message to keep trying to do what you want (or need) to do in spite of the challenges you face.

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Why I Like This Book:

~ Dragons! Drake is adorable. He’s young and must get out and play like any other human or animal youngster.

~ Fun telling of the story through rhyme

~ Age-appropriate actions by Drake. This book is geared towards 5-6 year-old readers, but I imagine younger and perhaps older readers will enjoy reading about Drake.

~ Colorful illustrations

~ Doing things a young dragon would normally do accidentally puts Drake in a challenging situation.

~ Despite being handicapped with a clipped wing, Drake enjoys his dragon life doing dragon things.

~ This book shows how perseverance and hard work will help you get what you need done or get where you need to go. It also builds empathy for others who are not the same as we are.

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Amazon Blurb:

Drake the Dragon, born with a lame wing,

seeks to see what this new day will bring.

Through hapless adventure, where he dare not go,

Drake mistakenly tumbles into the world below.

How will he make it back to his home above?

Well, of course: through courage and bravery, and with lots of love.

 

Happy book birthday, SKY DRAGON!