Category Archives: Picture Book Review

Perfect Picture Book Friday: THE MANIC PANIC Plus Giveaway

Hello dear friends. I hope I am not confusing everyone in the middle of the #50PreciousWordsforKids Writing Challenge by posting a review for Perfect Picture Book Friday. But when I found out about this story, I knew it was one I had to share with all of you!

Picture this: you walk into a restaurant and notice a family already seated. Mother. Father. And a couple of kids. But something is odd. They are not talking with each other. Oh no. Each one is holding an electronic device. Tablet. iPhone. Video game player. 

I’ve seen this scenario many times. Have you? Believe me, as a parent of three children, I do understand the desire to have a peaceful meal. We used to bring crayons and paper…some restaurants even provided these supplies. I’m not sure if they do that now…maybe they just supply WiFi because they assume that even the youngest kids will be connecting electronically.

And yes…I agree…our kids need to be tech savvy…but screen-time is addictive and with this comes the inevitable disconnect with real people. And that is too, too sad. So, when I read Richa Jha’s fabulous THE MANIC PANIC, I realized she had found a way to put a humorous spin on this and perhaps, help everyone put down their devices and reconnect with life. PLUS…thanks to the generosity of Richa and Creston Books, we have a GIVEAWAY! Please leave a comment to be entered.

manic panic

MANIC PANIC

Written by Richa Jha 

Illustrated by Mithila Anath

Published by Creston Books (2018)

Ages: 5-8

Themes: Family interaction, limiting screen time

Synopsis: From Amazon: 

Some grown-ups have so much screen time that they just can’t cope when the wifi goes out. Luckily the grown-ups in Manic Panic live with a smart kid who loves to read and an adventurous grandma who knows how to have fun without the internet. Manic Panic is a wry look at the value of unplugged family time, even when someone is resistant to the real world. The illustrations add depth to the story, helping us to see all the small things we can miss when we’re glued to our phones.

Why I like this book:

  • Hilarious text that just about every modern parent and child will be able to relate to as the parents and child in the story switch roles.
  • Great illustrations that really help show the child’s frustration with her WiFi addicted parents. 
  • This is the perfect story to start a discussion on the importance of limiting screen time and increasing together time.

RELATED ACTIVITIES

  1. Visit CAMPAIGN FOR A COMMERICAL-FREE CHILDHOOD: http://www.commercialfreechildhood.org/blog/who-needs-screens-70-ideas-family-fun
  2. Make a list of things your family can do instead of screentime and then do them!
  3. Set screen-time rules and stick to them.

Don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered into the giveaway of a copy of MANIC PANIC thanks to author Richa Jha and her publisher, Creston Books! And remember that there are several things we can all do to help our favorite authors:

1. If we can, buy a copy of their books.

2. Write a review on Amazon, Goodreads, and other book reveiw sites.

3. Ask our local library to purchase a copy for their collection.

4. Tell friends about the book.

There is still time to send in stories for #50PreciousWordsforKids International Writing Challenge – please email your child’s precious words by Monday, May 7 at 11:59pm. I will be posting all of the stories next Friday, May 11.

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I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. I truly appreciate you spending your time here. And if you want to read more picture book reviews, please hop over to Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Friday link up.

 

Happy Book Birthday: LOVE, MAMA Plus Giveaway

I LOVE PICTURE BOOKS!
SO OF COURSE, I LOVE CELEBRATING NEW ONES!

CONGRATULATIONS

AUTHOR/ILLUSTRATOR JEANETTE BRADLEY!

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 Written and illustrated by Jeanette Bradley

Published by Roaring Brook Press (January 2018)

Ages: 2-6

Themes: Parent/child relationship

Synopsis: From Amazon:

With a heartwarming story and tender illustrations, Jeanette Bradley’s debut picture book Love, Mama is perfect for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and any day when a child needs a reminder of the strength of a mother’s love.

When Mama leaves her young penguin Kipling, he knows she’ll return home soon―yet he still can’t help but miss her. After all, Pillow Mama won’t read, Picture Mama won’t laugh, and Snow Mama is too cold to cuddle.

But then Kipling receives a special delivery from Mama, including a note that reads:

My love for you stretches across the wide ocean, 
through day and night, 
from earth to sky 
and back again.

And Kipling knows that no matter where Mama is, he is loved. Soon, Mama comes home, and Kipling ends the day where he belongs―right in her arms.

Why I like this book:

  • Heartwarming text…sparse yet beautiful lyrical language

  • Super illustrations engage the reader from the first page turn to the last

  • I love books that give children confidence in the love of their parents…and the realization that even if parents leave (for a day of work or for the night when they go to sleep) they will be back!

  • The perfect book for Valentine’s Day and a new favorite of mine for bedtime storytime.

 RELATED ACTIVITIES

TREASURE BOX

Jeanette was kind enough to share a super fun activity with us!

You can print out the template here: 

heart template copy

What you need:

 

Small cardboard box

Paper for cutting out hearts (see templates)

Used postage stamps cut off envelopes

Glue stick

Stamps and stamp pad for “cancelling” the stamps

“Treasures” to put in the box, like rocks, feathers, pom poms, buttons, beads, or other found objects

 

Cut stamps off envelopes, or use Easter Seals:
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Print out the heart template on pink paper, if you have it:
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Cut out hearts:
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Glue old postage stamps onto box using glue stick.  Then “cancel” the stamps with whatever rubber stamps you have on hand
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Write a love note to someone you love:
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Fill your box with treasures, add your heart, and give it to someone special!
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I hope all of you will join me in celebrating the debut picture book authors and illustrators of the wonderful stories that will be coming this year. I’ll be shining the spotlight on them for book birthdays and for Perfect Picture Book Fridays.

But as parents or teachers or just picture book lovers, do you ever wonder how you can help your favorite authors?

1. One of the best ways is to post a review on Amazon, Goodreads, and other book review sites. 

2. Ask your local library to order the book…many libraries honor patron requests and some even have online request forms.

3. Buy a copy of the book.

4. And most importantly…TALK ABOUT THE BOOK…to friends, family, and anyone who will listen!

Please leave a comment below to be entered in a drawing for the copy of LOVE, MAMA that author/illustrator Jeanette is graciously giving away.

To learn more about Jeanette and her work and to download an educational guide for the book: http://www.jeanettebradley.com/

And just a few more important notes:

1. I’m participating in Julie Hedlund’s 12 Days of Christmas...an inspiring challenge to help kick off your writing year by looking back on 2017 and looking ahead to what you hope to accomplish in 2018.

2. Tara Lazar’s StoryStorm started yesterday…and I’ll be joining in as a participant as well one of the guest bloggers…I’m up on January 25th…I hope you’ll register and stop by as many days as you can on Tara’s blog…there are prizes and inspiring posts. In fact, two of my book deals this year were PiBoIdMo/Storystorm ideas from years past and in my post, I’ll be talking about how to take an idea to a published book.

3. I just received the color layouts for Sweet Dreams, Sarah…although there are still some tweaks needed…I’ve got my eyes on the October 2018 launch date, but am open to the possibility the book might not pub until Jan/Feb 2019. In which case I might just have FOUR books launching in ONE year. I will definitely need your help!

I’m looking forward to a stellar year with all of you!

Thank you for joining me on this grand adventure!

An Interview with CAP’N REX AND HIS CLEVER CREW and more

 Ahoy there, mateys!

I’m so happy you’ve come aboard today because we’ve got a treasure chest of awesomeness in store for you…all thanks to Henry Herz, author of the brand-new pirate picture book, CAP’N REX AND HIS CLEVER CREW. First a book review…then a Q&A with Captain Rex and his clever crew, .and then links where you can find yummy pirate recipes and fun stuff to do

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Written by Henry L. Herz

Illustrated by Benjamin Shipper

Published by Sterling Children’s Books (August 2017)

Opening Lines:

Captain Rex and his dinosaur pirates sailed the seven seas.

Synopsis

Captain Rex and his dinosaur pirates sail the seven seas in search of buried treasure. But whenever they hit an obstacle—like a giant shark or pea-soup fog—the crew members are quick to say they can’t overcome. To this, Captain Rex always glares with teeth bared and says, “CAN’T YE?” And, somehow, the crew always comes up with a clever solution. This delightful story highlights the value of one’s creativity and determination in tough situations. It will encourage kids everywhere to think and say, “I can!”

Why I like this book:

  • Just the right amount of piratey language
  • Great read aloud
  • Bold colorful and quirky illustrations that will keep a child turning the pages
  • Wonderful combination of humor and heart

What others are saying about this book:

“Arrr, if ye be lookin’ for a rollicking read about pirate treasure and persistence, REX marks the spot.”
Molly Idle, Caldecott Honoree author/illustrator of TEA REX
“A darling book about problem solving and utilizing arrr! gifts. And the gorgeous illustrations are a treasure. Pure gold!”
Sherri Duskey Rinker, NY Times bestselling author of MIGHTY, MIGHTY CONSTRUCTION SITE
“This story will certainly thrill the pirate in your house. Through humor and ingenuity we learn that anything is possible!”
Barney Saltzberg, NY Times bestselling author/illustrator of BEAUTIFUL OOPS!
“Pirates, dinosaurs, a voyage to a volcano? Well, shiver me timbers! There be surprise and rollicking adventure within these gorgeous pages. CAP’N REX gives readers a taste of pirate etiquette in this see-worthy treasure.”
Pat Cummings, Coretta Scott King Award winning author/illustrator of MY MAMA NEEDS ME
“Cap’n Rex and his jaunty crew take us on a jolly journey, fraught with perilous adventures. Sticking together and using their wits to overcome obstacles at every treacherous turn, these dino heroes are destined to rake in their fabulous bounty. Gorgeous textures and sumptuous-shaped illustrations help make this book a delight for any young pirate.”
Joe Cepeda, Pura Belpre Honoree author/illustrator of I, FREDDY
“A clever yarn about overcoming obstacles that will have little buccaneers chanting “Can’t ye!” even after the last page has been turned.”
Corey Rosen Schwartz, author of NINJA RED RIDING HOOD
To find out more about author Henry L. Herz:
 
Henry_sword
So hold onto your hats, me hardies…now that you’ve got a little background on this story, I know you are anxious to meet my special guests, the four characters from CAP’N REX & HIS CLEVER CREW. We’re sitting in a park, because we cannot all fit inside my house. And really, you don’t want dinosaurs sitting on your furniture.
ME: Hello there! Thank you all for being here (and for not eating me).

 

Cap’n Rex: 

It’s arrr pleasure to be here, lassie. We can spare a few moments before we must resume sailing the seven seas in search of buried booty. Our frigate is double parked at the yacht club.

ME: Can you tell me what it’s like to be characters in a picture book?

 

Kyle (the ankylosaurus): I like the colors that the illustrator used to draw me. I like how the author shows me as strong and brave. But, as a crewman, I always have to follow the captain’s orders.

 

Cap’n Rex: Aye, as it should be, laddy! I know what’s best fer ye!

 

Terry (the pterodactyl): I like that we get to wear clothes – it can get cold out on the high seas. I like that the author lets me fly. Sometimes when there are obstacles, the best way around them is to go over them.

 

ME: Speaking of obstacles, what is the theme of CAP’N REX & HIS CLEVER CREW?

 

Pat (the apatosaurus): Hmmm. I couldn’t say.

 

Cap’n Rex: Can’t ye? (note: Rex is glaring at Pat with teeth bared)

 

Pat:Oh, well, I guess the lesson of the story is that if you are persistent and think outside the box, you can solve pretty much any problem.

 

Cap’n Rex: Aye, yer a clever lass. It’s amazin’ what a powerful creativity stimulant the threat of being eaten can be.

 

Pat:Persistence is a particularly potent property for pirates to possess.

 

Cap’n Rex: Belay that alliteration!

 

MR: Let’s move on. How was the book title chosen?

 

Kyle: The origin of this story was the idea that if kids like pirates and they like dinosaurs (and who could blame ’em), then kids’d REALLY like a story that combined both. Sort of a literary Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. In fact, the author was going to write about dinosaur SPACE pirates. Can you imagine us sailin’ the stars?

 

Terry:That’s flying too high, even for me. Luckily, the author’s critique partners said that was mashing up too many things. So, we sail a frigate, not a spaceship. And did you notice how our ship is shaped like a giant triceratops head?

 

Cap’n Rex:None of ye arrr answering the lass’s question! The original title was going to be DINOSAUR PIRATES. As the artwork was being finalized, the author discovered that another book was coming out with that very title. So, at my (humble) suggestion, the author changed the name to better reflect the story (and to include me name).

 

ME: Where can people find out more about you?

 

Pat: The author’s website at www.henryherz.com be full o’ free fun features…

 

Cap’n Rex: BELAY THAT ALLITERATION!

 

Pat: including a downloadable study guide, a book trailer video…

 

Cap’n Rex:I cut a fine figure.

 

Pat:and chestfuls of information about famous pirates, pirate language, ships, recipes, movies, activities and jokes. 

 

Kyle: There’s also a Goodreads Giveaway right now where readers can enter to win a free copy of the book.

 

Terry: And in September through December, readers will have a chance to win original signed art from the illustrator!

 

Cap’n Rex: Well, the tides are shifting. We must take arrr leave.

And

ME Thank you for visiting! And safe journey!!!!!

Oh my gosh! Do you believe that, dear readers? A Q&A with a bunch of pirate dinosaurs…now THAT is a first on Picture Books Help Kids Soar!

And here’s another first…we’ve got to catch up on some giveaways. A week ago,

we interveiwed Moose the dog and Maria Gianferrari offered a copy of HELLO GOODBYE DOG…and the winner is:

JANE HEITMAN HEALY

Then, we had a book review of Susanna Hill’s newest picture book, THE ROAD THAT TRUCKS BUILT…and the winner is…

ANDREA MACK

And then we had a book birthday for Lisa Amstutz’ APPLESAUCE DAY…and the winner is…

MONA PEASE

I’ll be contacting all of you to arrange for ythe shipment of your books!

 

Thank you so much, dear friends. Your faithful comments really mean a lot to me and to our guests. Plus I’m grateful for all of the social media shares on Facebook and Twitter! Please don’t forget that Amazon and Goodreads reviews are needed by authors…take a few minutes and review this or one of your other favorite books!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and please excuse any typos that I didn’t catch…my vision is still somewhat blurry.

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