Super Halloween Read: Scaredy-Cat, Splat!

Want to get a bunch of six year olds to laugh like hyenas? Two words: Mrs. Wimpydimple Those two words set-off an explosion of side-splitting laughter that echoed throughout my daughter’s school. Being guest reader has never been so rewarding. Thanks, Scaredy-Cat, Splat! I have a feeling that author Rob Scotton imagined a scenario very similar to the one I experienced in my daughter’s first grade class when he wrote the latest addition to his extremely popular SPLAT the SCAREDY-CAT series of children’s books. Still, nothing says “thanks for taking time off from work to read to 20 wiggly, squiggly, … Continue reading

Red Hot Rescue Bunnies

Newbie is a Rescue Bunny trainee. Doreen Cronin is a children’s book author who realizes that her audience includes parents. Parents, who are often forced to read the same bedtime book, every.single.night. over and over and over again… and “Please, just one more time, Mommy! Puh-leeeeeeeeze!” Fortunately, I am not that mom any more. My first grader’s school entrance exam placed her firmly at a high third/low fourth grade reading level, so now she entertains me with her favorite stories at bedtime. Ah, bittersweet justice! Enter Cronin’s new picture book, Rescue Bunnies. The award-winning author of Click, Clack, Moo is … Continue reading

Summer Reading Series: Secret Agent Splat!

“Cats rule and dogs drool!” If Splat the Cat were old enough to drive himself to the mall, there’s no question he’d feature that phrase on a personalized tee. Only, you won’t find the dog-loathing kitty doing much shopping in Secret Agent Splat! Rather, the newest book in the Splat the Cat series finds our furry feline friend channeling his inner Sherlock Holmes to solve a mystery involving missing duck decoys. Just when you thought you knew everything about Splat, his supportive family, and his unlikely friends, author Rob Scotton unveils yet another deep, dark secret. This time we learn … Continue reading

Preventing Summer Brain Drain

The school year is winding down for millions of students across the country, and while most kids are thrilled to be getting a much needed break from studying, some parents are hoping that summer vacation doesn’t lead to brain drain. Summer learning loss is nothing new; however, it is avoidable. While most parents think summer school is the key to keeping their kids at the head of the class, there are a slew of other activities that can help preserve lessons learned in the course of an academic year. My daughter would rather give up TV and eat nothing but … Continue reading

Pages for Pooches

Or kittens, iguanas, birds, bunnies, and fish. Regardless of the type of pet you own, there’s a good bet that he or she is a treasured member of your family. So, why not document this special relationship by creating an entire scrapbook to commemorate your most cherished memories together? If the project seems a bit overwhelming, consider purchasing a pet-themed scrapbooking kit. Several companies sell collections of paper and embellishments (including stickers, die cuts, stamps and brads) with various pet themes, from farm to jungle animals, and of course, traditional domesticated pups and cats. Some of the cuter offerings I’ve … Continue reading

“Weirder School” Gets Weirder and Weirder

Just when you thought a snake-wearing zookeeper, who encourages elephants to paint and helps fish a kid out of a lion’s cage was a bit too wacky for comfort, along comes another installment of My Weirder School, which features a tech-loving teacher, who headlines an action-packed adventure that includes no less than 45 references to popular Beatles’ tunes. Get ready for another Dan Gutman page turner. Book 2 in the My Weirder School series is aptly titled: Mr. Harrison Is Embarrassin’! And if you are part of Gutman’s target audience (first through fourth graders) you will definitely agree that Ella … Continue reading

Dog + Donut = Delightful Read

If you give a dog a donut… you might end up with a nasty stain on your carpet. But in the wonderful world of children’s books, if you give a pooch a pastry with a hole in the middle, you get hours of reading fun. If You Give a Dog a Donut is lucky 13 for the famed writing/illustrating team of Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond. The duo is the mastermind behind the uber-popular and irresistibly delicious If You Give… series, which my 7-year-old daughter devours every chance she gets. In fact, we own the entire collection of If You … Continue reading

Pages of Pumpkins on Parade

We love them in pies, bread, muffins, and Starbucks has found a way to pair them with spice in a latte that is heaven in a cup. They are the great gourds of the season: pumpkins, pumpkins—-everywhere. Even in children’s books. Or, especially in children’s books. Fall is prime time for the giant orange orbs and there is no better way to get your kids excited about the versatile fruit than by digging into a plethora of eye-popping pumpkin-themed picture books. One of my daughter’s favorites is Pumpkin Cat by famed author/illustrator Anne Mortimer. The delightful seasonal tale details the … Continue reading

The 13 Nights of Halloween

Forget about drummers drumming, pipers piping, maids a milking and turtle doves. It’s Halloween, so bring on the marching mutants, dancing demons and singing skulls. All the dastardly icons of the candy-collecting holiday are on display for your viewing pleasure in debut author-illustrator Guy Vasilovich’s vibrant picture book, The 13 Nights of Halloween. The entire tale is can be sung to the tune of “The 12 Days of Christmas,” but that’s where the similarities end. There is no true love gifting foreign birds and golden rings in this book. Rather, Vasilovich counts down to Halloween by having a mummy present … Continue reading

Halloween Howlers

Knock, knock! Who’s there? Goblin! Goblin who? Goblin too much candy can give you a tummy ache. Knock, knock! Who’s there? Zombie! Zombie who? Zombie afraid, it’s just a costume. Knock, knock! Who’s there? Tomb! Tomb who? Tomb many hilarious Halloween jokes to miss out on! “Thank you. I’ll be here all week.” Or so says my 7-year-old, who has finally learned how to tell a knock-knock joke so it works. The milestones keep coming. No more: Her: Knock, knock! Me: Who’s there? Her: Telephone! Me: Telephone who? Her: Telephone… um… telephone in the closet. I’ll get it! Thanks to … Continue reading