Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Share, Big Bear, Share by Maureen Wright and Will Hillenbrand

Share, Big Bear, Share 
by Maureen Wright 
Illustrated by Will Hillenbrand
Published April 25, 2017
Two Lions
Ages 3-7 (from the publisher)
Review copy provided by publisher

Goodreads Summary
Big Bear’s forest friends eye his berries hungrily, but he doesn’t notice as he digs into his delicious snack. When the old oak tree says, “Share, Big Bear, share,” he thinks the tree has said, “Hair, Big Bear, hair!” One comical scene follows another as Big Bear keeps misunderstanding the old oak tree’s message until things finally get sorted out. Whimsical illustrations highlight the humor in this gentle story about the importance of sharing something special with friends.

My Thoughts
This book is the third "Big Bear" book. Just like in Sleep, Big Bear, Sleep and Sneeze, Big Bear, Sneeze, Big Bear misunderstands what is being said to him. When the old oak tree tells him to share his big bucket of berries with the other animals, Big Bear thinks he is saying something else that rhymes with share (hair, lair, chair). I can see children reading the line, "Share, Big Bear, share" all together to help him hear it. The repetitive text will also help them read along. Readers are exposed to rich vocabulary such as, lumbered, scampered, swerving, and beneath. 
The illustrations are wonderful. Each page is filled with color from top to bottom. The woodland creatures are adorable right down to the old oak tree. There is a lot to look at. I can see children holding this book an examining it closely to find the mice running away with berries and the red bird that likes to perch in the oak tree. 

This book would make a nice addition to any home, school or classroom library.

Check out the book trailer.

About the Illustrator
WILL HILLENBRAND has written and/or illustrated over 60 books for young readers including Down by the Barn, Mother Goose Picture Puzzles and the Bear and Mole series. He has lived almost all of his life in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he grew up as the youngest of four boys. He now lives in Terrace Park and was recently honored as Author/Illustrator in Residence at Kent State University.

Information about his books, selected readings, art process videos and activity ideas can be viewed at Connect with Will at

Find activities on Will Hillenbrand's website.

Thank you to Two Lions and Blue Slip Media for organizing this giveaway. 
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Thursday, April 20, 2017

How the Queen Found the Perfect Cup of Tea by Kate Hosford + Giveaway!

How the Queen Found the Perfect Cup of Tea 
by Kate Hosford
Illustrated by Gabi Swiatkowska
Published March, 2017
Carolrhoda Books
Picture Book
40 Pages
Review copy provided by publisher

Goodreads Summary
Each day when the Queen wakes up, three maids dress her, two more style her hair, and her butler James makes her tea. But when she grows dissatisfied with her brew, the Queen and James set out in search of the perfect cup. With each stop on their hot-air balloon journey, the Queen encounters new friends who expand her horizons in the kitchen and beyond.

My Thoughts
This book is about so much more than a snobby queen searching for a good cup of tea. I love the layers of possibility in this book. It can be shared with young readers to discuss friendship and shared with older readers to delve deeper into the themes of generosity, perspective and gratitude. 
The queen visits Turkey, India and Japan and sees how each child prepares the tea in a different way. This offers the reader a different view of how things can be done in a variety of ways with equally pleasing results. 
The author writes using a comforting, repetitive pattern as she meets each child, has tea, leaves in her hot air balloon and lands to meet the next child. I love the ending when the queen has found the "secret" to the perfect cup of tea. 

Gabi Swiatkowska created the unique illustrations in colored pencil giving the pictures a soft, muted feel. Stark, white backgrounds allow the characters to take center stage. She uses plain pencil to draw the ingredients and to outline the process each child uses to make tea. 

I really enjoyed How the Queen Found the Perfect Cup of Tea. It would recommend it for grades Pre-K-4. 

See what others have to say about this book:

Watch the Book Trailer

About the Author
Kate Hosford is the author of several picture books, including Infinity and Me, which won the New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Book award and was named an ALA Notable Children's Book. Her books have been translated into Chinese, Korean, French, and Romanian. Kate grew up in Waitsfield,  Vermont, where she enjoyed many cups of tea.  She now drinks tea with her family in Brooklyn, New York. To learn more, and to download a free curriculum guide, visit her website:
Twitter: @khosford_author

Making friendship and fun count
In the spirit of the book's message, Kate Hosford will donate $1 (up to $500) for every retweet of a review or interview from her blog tour to First Book. (Be sure to include .@khosford_author.) Established in 1992, First Book is a nonprofit social enterprise that provides new books, learning materials, and other essentials to children in need.

I would like to thank the publisher for offering a giveaway of this wonderful book. 
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Monday, April 17, 2017

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? April 17, 2017

Please visit the amazing blogs: Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers who host this terrific meme each week.

Click on the book covers to learn more. 

Before you read this post, you may want to enter to win TWO of Jane Yolen's new picture books, On Bird Hill and On Duck Pond. Click here.

BEAUTIFUL! Just get it, trust me.

Magic Tree House meets Shakespeare. Really neat concept. 
Grades 3-5. This one comes out in May. 

Finished Listening
This one was a miss for me. Grades 4-6

Just Starting

What are you reading friends?

Thursday, April 13, 2017

On Duck Pond by Jane Yolen Blog Tour Day #4!

Welcome to Day #4 of the On Duck Pond Blog Tour!
To celebrate the release of On Duck Pond by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Bob Marstall (4/11/17), blogs across the web are featuring exclusive content from Jane and Bob, plus 10 chances to win a set of On Bird Hill and On Duck Pond !
Favorite Childhood Picture Book and Writing Music by Jane Yolen
It was World War 2 and  my mother, baby brother and I were living in Virginia with mommy's parents because my father was off in Europe as a war correspondent. At that time, my favorite book was The Story of Ferdinand, about a Spanish bull who refused to fight. I took it out of the library every week for months. Easy to see why it was a favorite! I am very musical--used to sing with a guitar player at college parties, and small clubs. But I never listen to music while I am writing because I need to hear the music of the words in my head, not be driven by the music on a player. Though I have many friends--good writers--who write with music, it is forbidden in my writing room. When NOT writing, I listen to classical, folk, folk rock, and jazz.
Stop by Mundie Kids tomorrow for Day #5 of the tour!
Blog Tour Schedule:
April 10th – Word Spelunking April 11th – Mrs. Mommy BookNerd April 12th Foodie Bibliophile in Wanderlust April 13th – Late Bloomer's Book Blog April 14th – Mundie Kids April 17th – Life Naturally April 18th – Chat with Vera April 19th – The Kids Did It April 20th –  Books My Kids Read April 21st – Marianna Frances
From award-winning and NY Times bestselling children’s author of more than 350 books, Jane Yolen, and award-winning illustrator, Bob Marstall, On Duck Pond is the first sequel to the acclaimed On Bird Hill, which launched the children’s picture book series written for the esteemed Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the world authority on birds. 
In On Bird Hill, Yolen and Marstall took readers on a surreal journey with a boy and his dog, as they stopped, looked, and noticed things along their path—ultimately discovering the miracle of the birth of a baby bird. On Duck Pond continues the journey of the boy and dog story, this time in a new place—a serene pond, filled with birds, frogs, turtles and other creatures going about their quiet business. Their intrusion stirs the pond into a cacophony of activity, reaching climactic chaos, before slowly settling back to it’s quiet equilibrium. 
This beautiful and enchanting sequel is sure to delight On Bird Hill fans and millions of readers and fans of Jane’s popular classics.
About the Author: Jane Yolen has authored more than 350 books, including the Caldecott-winning Owl Moon, which every budding young ornithologist owns, You Nest Here With Me, which is a popular new favorite, and the New York Times bestselling series How Do Dinosaurs. Jane Yolen’s books have been translated into over 20 languages and are popular around the world. Janes husband, David Stemple, was both a well known bird recordist and a professor of computer science and he taught the entire family how to identify birds. Many of Jane’s books are about wildlife subjects, especially the winged kind. Jane lives in Hatfield, MA. Visit her online at
About the Illustrator: Bob Marstall is the illustrator of nine nonfiction children’s books, including the The Lady and the Spider, which sold over a quarter-of-a-million copies and was a Reading Rainbow selection. Bob has also been honored with an ALA Notable; an IRA Teachers’ Choice; a Smithsonian Magazine Notable Book for Children; and three John Burroughs selections.
In addition, two of Bob’s books are included in the New York Times Parent’s Guide’s “1001 Best Books of the Twentieth Century.” Bob Lives in Easthamton, MA. Visit him online at
About the Cornell Lab: The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a world leader in the study, appreciation, and conservation of birds. Our hallmarks are scientific excellence and technological innovation to advance the understanding of nature and to engage people of all ages in learning about birds and protecting the planet.
  • One (1) winner will receive a set of both On Bird Hill and On Duck Pond -- a great Earth Day gift!
  • US only
  • Enter below.
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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

One Good Thing About America Blog Tour Day #2!

Welcome to Day #2 of the One Good Thing About America Blog Tour!
To celebrate the release of One Good Thing About America by Ruth Freeman (3/14/17), blogs across the web are featuring exclusive content from Ruth and 10 chances to win a copy of One Good Thing About America, as well as a chance to win a Skype visit with Ruth in the Grand Prize Giveaway!
Is It Ever Easy Being New? by Ruth Freeman
Who hasn’t been new somewhere, sometime in their lives? There’s the first day in kindergarten, moving to a new school or town, the first day at a new after-school program or summer camp. I’m wondering: is it ever easy? I don’t think so. Not if you’re by yourself, without friends or family.
And what would it be like if you couldn’t speak the language? If you wanted to ask a question or say the answer, but didn’t know the words? I was in Paris once by myself for a week. I knew some French but it was pretty rusty and I certainly couldn’t get the words out quickly. I remember looking, watching what everyone else was doing. I felt like my eyes were so big. That’s why I described Anaïs as “a big cat with yellow eyes.” She tries “to read what the faces say” but the words go by too fast. I remember thinking to myself, am I in the right line? what does that sign say? where do I put my ticket?
There were other times when I was new somewhere: the first time I slept over at a friend’s house, the first time I went to a summer camp, my first night at college. Those memories are still so clear and sharp, probably because I was scared and homesick! An older man I know told me he can remember everything about his first day at a new school in 4th grade…more than 50 years ago. No one had told him he needed a nickel to buy a carton of milk so he just took one without paying and got in trouble. It was so embarrassing he’s never forgotten it. Being new is not easy. And imagine what it would be like if you didn’t know the language.
While I was working on my story I asked my students about when they were new in America. Several told me about saying, “Yes, yes, yes” and smiling at everything anyone said. A girl told me the school cafeteria food looked so awful she didn’t eat it for weeks. She said, “it looked like something from my nose!” Watching students shiver and slip on the ice, but also stop in their tracks with the first snowflakes. These memories all became 
Anaïs’ memories in the story.
Everyone has been new at some point in their lives. It’s not easy, is it? But we learn to fit in, to make friends. If we don’t know the language, we start to learn it. And the next time we’re new somewhere, it will be a little easier.
by Ruth Freeman
Stop by Mrs. Mommy BookNerd tomorrow for the next stop on the tour!
Blog Tour Schedule:
April 10th – Geo Librarian April 11thLate Bloomer's Book Blog April 12th Mrs. Mommy BookNerd April 13thKristi's Book Nook April 14thLife Naturally April 17th – Books My Kids Read April 18th – Chat with Vera April 19th Word Spelunking April 20th – Middle Grade Mafioso April 21st – The Hiding Spot
Follow Ruth: Website | Facebook Publisher: Holiday House
ONE GOOD THING ABOUT AMERICA is a sweet, often funny middle-grade novel that explores differences and common ground across cultures. It's hard to start at a new school . . . especially if you're in a new country. Back home, Anaïs was the best English student in her class. Here in Crazy America she feels like she doesn't know English at all. Nothing makes sense (chicken FINGERS?), and the kids at school have some very strange ideas about Africa. Anaïs misses her family . . . so she writes lots of letters to Oma, her grandmother. She tells her she misses her and hopes the war is over soon. She tells her about Halloween, snow, mac 'n' cheese dinners, and princess sleepovers. She tells her about the weird things Crazy Americans do, and how she just might be turning into a Crazy American herself.
About the Author: Ruth Freeman grew up in rural Pennsylvania but now lives in Maine where she teaches students who are English language learners, including many newly arrived immigrants. She is the author of several acclaimed nonfiction picture books. One Good Thing About America is her first novel..
  • One (1) winner will receive a signed copy of One Good Thing About America for their personal collection, as well as a 30 minute Skype visit with Ruth Freeman to the school of their choice and a signed copy for the school's library.
  • Enter via the rafflecopter below
  • US Only
  • Ends 4/23 at midnight ET
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In addition to the Gand Prize Giveaway, the publisher is offering an additional giveaway of a copy of the book! Enter below!

Monday, April 10, 2017

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? April 10, 2017

Please visit the amazing blogs: Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers who host this terrific meme each week.

Click on the book covers to learn more. 
Gorgeous! A must-have for any collection!

While this one had some interesting parts and a few twists, it did not resonate with me the way it has with some who have read it. 

Still working on...


What are you reading friends?

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Two New Titles in Animal Planet's Animal Bites Series: Baby Animals and Animals on the Move

Animal Bites: Baby Animals
by Dorothea DePrisco
Published March 2017
Animal Planet
80 Pages
Review copy provided by publisher

Goodreads Summary
With more than 200 adorable photos of baby animals and their families, there's serious "aw" factor on every page of Animal Planet Baby Animals. This fun addition to the Animal Bites series provides kids in the first years of schooling with the perfect bite-sized view of their favorite animals. Arranged thematically with a focus on animal behavior and family relationships, young readers will explore sections about life cycles, feeding, play time, conservation, getting around, and much more. Special book features designed for this age group include simple infographics and 'All Grown Up' animal facts to help kids learn more about how young and adult animals differ-just like humans! For more Animal Bites books, check out Animal Planet Ocean Animals, Animal Planet Polar Animals, Animal Planet Wild Animals, Animal Planet Farm Animals, and Animal Planet Animals on the Move.A portion of the proceeds from the sale of books in the Animal Bites series benefits the principal partners of R.O.A.R. (Reach Out. Act. Respond.), Animal Planet's initiative dedicated to improving the lives of animals in our communities and in the wild. 

Animal Bites: Animals on the Move
by Dorothea DePrisco
Published March 2017
Animal Planet
80 Pages
Review copy provided by publisher

Goodreads Summary
With more than 200 gorgeous photos of animals in their natural habitats, there's action and adventure on every page of Animal Planet Animals on the Move. This fast-moving addition to the Animal Bites series provides kids in the first years of schooling with the perfect bite-sized view of their favorite animals. Arranged thematically with a focus on animal behavior and family relationships, young readers will explore sections about migration, fast and slow, hunting and playing, and animal movement on land, in the air, and in water, Special book features designed for this age group include simple graphics and 'Just Like Me' sidebars with fascinating animal facts for young readers to learn more about themselves and the amazing animals that share our world.

My Thoughts
I have blogged about the other books here and really love this series. 
Both books are chocked full of gorgeous photographs of animals in the wild. The baby animals are almost too adorable to take. 
Both books are organized with colored tabs on the tops of the right side pages indicating what kind of information is presented on the page. Information is presented in text boxes and captions. Back matter includes a glossary, index and activities to try.
This series is perfect for students who are just starting to read this kind of nonfiction. I would recommend it most for grades 2-5, but younger children will enjoy the photos and hearing about the animals. I can't wait to share these books with my 4th graders.
These two are great additions to this wonderful series. 

Monday, April 3, 2017

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? April 3, 2017

Please visit the amazing blogs: Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers who host this terrific meme each week.

Hi friends. I have some exciting news (well exciting for me any way)! I have recently been elected to the Maine Student Book Award Committee. The MSBA is our state list for grades 4-8. I have been wanting to be a part of this committee for some time now and I am really excited. I will be reading and sharing lots of 2017 titles here as I read like crazy to find great books for Maine students to read. 

Here are my books from the last couple of weeks. Click on the covers to learn more.

A sweet novel about a boy with autism and the skunk 
he wants to keep as his own. Grades 3-5

New picture book. Two brothers use their imagination when playing outside. Review here

I love these two friends. I have a giveaway of this book running now. Click here

I loved Counting by 7's so I was excited for this one. Unfortunately I didn't like it as much as many of the people that have read it. Grades 4-6

I am a big fan of Ronald Kidd's Night on Fire. I enjoyed this galley, but it is definitely YA in my opinion. Fans of Edgar Allen Poe will appreciate it most. 

Just Started

Listening to..

What are you reading friends?