Fill your house with stacks of books, in all the crannies and all the nooks. ~ Dr. Seuss







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Fancy Party Gowns

Fancy Party Gowns

by Deborah Blumenthal (Author), Laura Freeman (Illustrator)

The Story of Fashion designed Ann Cole Lowe

No one knew this designer of Jacqueline Bouvier’s (President John F Kennedy’s wife) wedding gown. Who designed Academy Award winner Olivia de Havilland’s gown in 1947?  And who was designing those lovely one-of-a-kind designer dresses for society women such as the DuPont’s, Posts and the Lodges in the 1960’s?

Ann Cole Lowe grew up helping her mother sew dresses for the elite in the town of Alabama. But when her grandmother died when Ann was 16, she was forced to step in and take over the sewing business. Later, Ann had the opportunity to go to New York to study design.  But she found herself alone in a segregated classroom. This didn’t stop Ann.

When Ann saw obstacles, she thought about what she COULD do, not what she couldn’t change.

Fancy Party Gowns segregated classroom

Ann was able to save enough money to start her own salon in Manhattan. She didn’t always have enough to cover her bills, but she kept on sewing!

One day a special order came from Washington. Ann had a opportunity to design and create dresses for a special bride and her wedding party. The bride was none other than Jacqueline Bouvier, who was to become Jacqueline Kennedy. But just 10 days before the wedding, her salon got flooded and ruined all her dresses. But,

Ann though what she could do, not what she couldn’t change!

Fancy Party Gowns kennedy wedding Fancy Party Gowns kennedy wedding gown

Finally she delivered her dresses although no one knew who the designer was. Why?

Because Ann Cole Lowe was an African American and life wasn’t fair!

Ann went on to make many more fancy party gowns. One day she was awarded “Official Couturier” for designing 33 Cinderella gowns for a fancy ball. Finally, Ann had gotten the much deserved recognition for a lifetime of work.

Fancy Party Gowns ann-cole-lowe

“Fancy Party Gowns” is a wonderful picture book biography of a Ann Cole Lowe, filled with fun filled facts and told simply but drawing inspiration. The untold story is beautifully illustrated bringing to life Ann’s colorful designs and gowns. The inside back and front covers have card layouts of Ann’s lovely gowns to ogle at. This is a perfect book for any young reader and teaches the never give up spirit, inspiring the readers to challenge yourself to look beyond what can’t be done.

“Fancy Party gowns” is a perfect book of an untold heroine, a un-celebrated but inspiring tale of a person who followed her life’s calling!

 

Find it here: LibraryAmazon

FTC DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of the above books from the publishers for an honest opinion. I have NOT received any compensation for this review. All reviews and opinions are entirely my own!


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Under Water, Under Earth

Under Water, Under Earth

by Aleksandra Mizielinska, Daniel Mizielinski

A Big Book!

Authors Aleksandra and Daniel Mizielinski have done it again. After writing “Maps” in a large book format, the duo author / illustrator bring to us “Under Water, Under Earth“.

“Under Water, Under Earth” is a stunningly illustrated journey into what lies beneath! In their trademark style of alternating between brief text and detailed illustrations, the author & illustrator duo, introduces a “whole world to explore just below the surface”.

The book format is very unique. It opens horizontally like a calendar and reads from both “ends”. I love the creativity behind the contents page illustration.

Under Water Under Earth inside6

The calendar format to flip through the book really works well for the way the information is lined out. Each double page spread takes a theme such as “coral reefs” or “sinkholes” and does a visual description of the topic. Here’s an example of “A history of diving suits” from the “Under Water” part of the book.

Under Water Under Earth inside 7

This page lays out the history of diving suits literally as a timeline from left to right. The leftmost diving suit runs all the way to the bottom of the page and the others are chronologically laid out with “call outs” of info texts alongside these.

Here is another interesting example from the “Under Earth” section. “Mponeng” is the world’s deepest mine, a gold mine in South Africa. This spread visually lays out information as a mine and each little section of the “mine” provides snippets of interesting information about this unique mine.

Under Water Under Earth inside5

The two sections work wonderfully together giving the reader a look of what lies underneath. Thematically the book feels unique, looks absolutely delightful and is packed with easy to read information. The Under Water section covers topics ranging from coral reefs to Titanic to underwater chimneys. The Under Earth section covers topics such as Caves and tectonic plates as well as Earth’s layers and underground utilities.  This 112 pages long book is worth its weight and is a great book for your home library, school library and makes a perfect book for gifting for a variety of age groups.

 

Find it here: LibraryAmazon

FTC DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of the above books from the publishers for an honest opinion. I have NOT received any compensation for this review. All reviews and opinions are entirely my own!


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My First Book of Hockey

My First Book of Hockey

by Editors of Sports Illustrated for Kids

A Sports Book for Rookies!

My First Book of Hockey is an non fiction children’s books introducing the little readers to the game. Editors of Sports Illustrated for Kids also have a “My First Book of Baseball” and “My First Book of Football” in the same series which follow the same pattern.

Imagine a little sports enthusiast wanting to understand what the game of Hockey is all about. What is the goal of the game? What are the specific rules? Who are the players and how many? What is the language used in the game? These are some of the questions that “My First Book of Hockey” tries to answer.

My First Book of Hockey inside 1

 

This introductory sports book, is cleverly laid out for the “rookie” reader. Taken from the many SI photographs, the editors choose players in various positions such as face-off, check, pass or slap-shot. A little character who probably represents the rookie reader, travels through the pages along side the cut outs of the actual players chosen to explain the game of hockey.

My First Book of Hockey inside 2

While I really like the idea of how simple language, limited text and use of cut out photography is used to make the game understandable to the newest of readers; I wondered why the editors seem to add the call out bubbles to either the players or the little character on the pages. The call-outs through out the book have nothing to do with the text on each page and are often just imaginary thoughts from the people seen on the page. This was quite distracting and sometimes even annoying.

I would have loved to see some more “game” language or strategy talk among players to make it more relevant.

I was excited to pick up these books. I think the layout and the simplicity works. However I what seemed to be an attempt at humor through the call-outs, fail in my opinion and I wish that this was done a little more cleverly or subtly. Overall, a good introductory start for the under 5 years age group.

 

Find it here: LibraryAmazon

FTC DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of the above books from the publishers for an honest opinion. I have NOT received any compensation for this review. All reviews and opinions are entirely my own!


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Beautiful

Beautiful

by Stacy McAnulty (Author), Joanne Lew Vriethoff (Illustrator) 

Re-defining beauty!

Every girl is unique! Every girls is talented and lovable. Every girl is BEAUTIFUL!

Beautiful girls are graceful.. beautiful girls are smart and talented.. beautiful girls light up the room! Challenging each frame is a vivid double page spread by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff’s breaking the stereotypical definition.

Beautiful move graceful

Stacy McAnutly redefines our preconceived notions of beauty. What makes a girl beautiful? Breaking away from each conceptual “idea” behind what makes a girl beautiful, Joanne Lew-Vriethoff’s bright and bold illustrations that upends the premise.

Beautiful dress

“Beautiful” is a picture book for both girls and boys. Colorful illustrations diversify the viewpoint of these bold, empowered and independent little gals.

“Beautiful” is a book after my own heart. Breaking away from stereotypical princess-y, floral “Pinkalacious” flavored themes, “Beautiful” is empowering and redefining. It is uplifting and real, it delights and makes you smile, and it completely surprises you! Re-think “beauty” and open your heart to these simply amazing little girls!

“Beautiful” is on a tour! Find more upcoming reviews here:

8/29 Flowering Minds

8/30 Kids’ Book Review

8/31 My Word Playground

9/1 Stacking Books

9/2 Unpacking the POWER of Picture Books

9/3 MomReadIt

9/5 Enjoy Embrace Learning

9/6 Geo Librarian

9/7 A Foodie Bibliophile

9/8 MamaBelly

9/10 Diapers and Daydreams

9/11 The Late Bloomer’s Book Blog

9/12 Unconventional Librarian

Find it here: Library, Amazon, Better World Books

FTC DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of the above books from the publishers for an honest opinion. I have NOT received any compensation for this review. All reviews and opinions are entirely my own!


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The Fall of General Custard

The Fall of General Custard

by Matthew Damon (Author), Gideon Kendall (Illustrator) 

The Overthrow of a Leftover!

Life in the refrigerator is peaceful and quite. Queen Honeydew is a just and fair queen. Various food groups have their respective shelves and they are nice and neat. Every food has its own place in the fridge.

Then one day a fresh jar of maraschino cherries arrive. The fruits called out “hello!, come join us!” and so the cherries find themselves next to the jar of olives on the top shelf. Rosaline the cherry makes a new friend with Romeo, the olive. They played hide-and-seek and have such fun together.

Fall of General Custard friends

But there are grumbles and rumbles in the bottom shelves. General Custard, an unhappy old leftover, is causing quite a stir. He has a bone to pick! and demands the cherries to join the desserts and not sit with the fruit! But the fair queen intervenes and allows the cherries to make the choice. General custard is furious that the cherries won’t join the desserts and in the stealth of the night hatches a plot.. a plot to “foodnap” the cherries!

Fall of General Custard battle

Oh what is to happen in the peaceful land of fruits? Would the cherries be separated from the olives? and who will make a stand against the evil intentions of the sour General custard?

“The Fall of General Custard” is a delightful and engaging tale about a food fight that needs to be resolved asap! Matthew Damon writes with wit and rhyme. His sense of humor, simple rhythm and play of words makes this story entertaining and engaging. Gideon Kendall’s delightfully detailed art work pulls the reader in and keeps one hooked. We kept looking through all the food emotions and reactions… the food fight was really the most fun page to “watch”.

A perfect read out aloud book or a bedtime story! This is sure to be a favorite among kids!

Find it here: Library, Amazon, Better World Books

FTC DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of the above books from the publishers for an honest opinion. I have NOT received any compensation for this review. All reviews and opinions are entirely my own!


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What a Beautiful Morning!

What a Beautiful Morning!
by Arthur A Levine (Author), Katie Kath (Illustrator)

Beautiful inside and out!

L ittle Noah loves those days when his grandparents come to visit. Every morning is a wonderful, beautiful morning. Grandpa and Noah are first to get up while grandma sleeps in. They sing to a lovely tune while they cook up some breakfast and coffee for grandma.

What a Beautiful morning together

Grandpa and Noah look up their “docket of ideas”.. they always have so very many. And so many lovely mornings pass, until one day Noah finds that his grandpa forgets how to cut his french toast!

What a Beautiful morning forgetting

 A few days later, grandpa gets up startled from his nap and has forgotten who Noah was!!! Noah dashes outside, broken-hearted and not sure what has become of his beloved grandpa.

What a Beautiful morning forgetting things

Arthur Levine’s “What a Beautiful Morning” is a poignant, touching tale of aging and memory loss. The author’s simple to follow text highlights the joys of togetherness and the sorrow and hurt that comes with finding out something is wrong with your loved ones. Katie Kath’s brilliant watercolor artwork adds a superb dimension to the tale. The gentle yellow and brown hues draw you in enveloping the reader in the warmth of the relationship between grandchild and grandparent. The contrasting grays subtly draw out the feelings of sadness and loneliness.

With the help of his grandma, Noah learns to cope with his grandpa’s sudden forgetfulness. He learns to celebrate the times when grandpa is around and then be patient and wait until the next moment comes.

“What a Beautiful Morning” is a beautiful picture book, a tale of love and empathy, about finding your way back through compassion and patience. Highly recommended!!

Find it here: Library, Amazon, Better World Books

FTC DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of the above books from the publishers for an honest opinion. I have NOT received any compensation for this review. All reviews and opinions are entirely my own!


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Journey trilogy

Journey trilogy
by Aaron Becker (Author/Illustrator)

The finale!

Wordless Books are not a new phenomenon in children’s picture books. But Aaron Becker has mastered the art of visual storytelling through absolutely stunning artwork.

In his first book, Journey (winner of many awards!), Aaron Beckers tells us a story about a girl who is extremely bored! Mom’s cooking, dad’s on the computer and her sister is glued to an electronic device. So when girl spots a red crayon, she starts painting a bright red door.. which magically opens to a wondrous  imaginary world. Girl goes on an adventure of a daring rescue in this fantastic world.

Aaron Becker Journey inside

What is more magical, the visual story that the author draws us into page after page, or the amazingly detailed world that you discover as you read through the book? Hard to tell! We were hooked!

So when the author’s second book “Quest” came out, we made a beeline to the bookstore to take a look. This time, girl has a friend with whom he goes on an adventure.. a mystery they must solve by collecting a few crayons and rescuing a very important person! “Quest” is equally beautifully, equally engaging and just as fantastic as “Journey”.

Aaron Becker Quest inside

Wordless picture books takes not just artistic skill but the vision to create a compelling storyline. I can imagine that it would be easy to lose the reader or to have too much on a page and distract the reader. So the skill lies in having the right balance of art and leading the reader in the right direction. Aaron Becker has done so magnificently! So ready for the last one in this series? We just had the cover reveal:

Aaron Becker Return cover

 Meant for young and old, seasoned readers and reluctant readers alike, there is really no age bar for the Journey trilogy. And when you have read the Journey trilogy, I am sure you will agree that this set is truly stunningly beautiful!

And thanks to Candlewick Press, here is how you can win a prize pack of 1 copy of Journey and 1 copy of Quest! (Open to US/CA only!)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

FTC DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of the above books from the publishers for an honest opinion. I have NOT received any compensation for this review. All reviews and opinions are entirely my own!

Find it here: Library, Amazon, Better World Books


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Greater Estimations

Greater Estimations
by Bruce Goldstone (Author)

How many rubber duckies are on the cover?

Every day we see objects around us. We find clumps of rocks in the backyard, a line of trees or maybe a group of birds flying in the sky. Have you ever wondered how we can use simple tricks to estimate small Estimations?

Greater Estimations opens with an army of rubber duckies marching towards you! It’s literally a quack attack J Can you count how many are there in this army? Counting one by one, the author claims, is bound to give you a headache!

Eye training” is a simple and effective way to train oneself to recognize groups of say 10 rubber duckies. Now if you can eye train 10, then let’s try looking at a 100. Goldstone shows you that by seeing a small and then large and then larger groups, you can train your eyes to estimate how many objects you can see.

Or how about this batch of skydivers?

Greater Estimations how many

 “Clumping” is a way to divide and estimate. Identify a group of 50 and then mutlitply!

Can you try to estimate how many candies fill this picture?

Greater Estimations how many2

A large part of the book focuses on different estimation techniques like eye training, clump counting and box counting and estimating items in containers. The progression is from simple techniques to some more complex ideas such as how tall things could be or how heavy.

Greater Estimations how tall

What’s not to love about “Greater Estimations”? From growing math vocabulary to having fun counting real life objects, this book is for the whole family!

Find it here: Library, Amazon, Better World Books


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A Rock Can Be

A Rock Can Be
by Laura Purdie Salas (Author), Violeta Dabija (Illustrator)

Rocks are everywhere!

Laura and Violeta have done it again! The third in a series of non-fiction picture books (“Water Can Be” and “ A Leaf Can Be”), “A Rock Can Be..” is a stunningly beautiful, easy to read and fantastic non fiction reading for kids of all ages.

In “A Rock Can be”, Laura and Violeta asks the reader to imagine how and where you can find different types of rocks. A rock is not just a simple static stone lying in the backyard. It can be a Tall Mountain..

A Rock can be Tall mountain

Or a “lake skimmer

 A Rock can be cover Rock skimmer

Or even a “moon rock

 A Rock can be cover Moon Rock

This little picture book packs so much information. What is fascinating that with just a series of short rhyming couplets, the author and illustrator duo highlight that a rock can be found in so many places and can be used in so many ways. From fossilized bones and earth’s crust to a volcanic rock and cliff side home for birds, A rock can be so many many things!

The book ends with a double spread providing more detailed explanation of each of the rock presentations in the book. An absolute gem of a book, a conversation starter for classroom and home libraries!

FTC DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of the above books from the publishers for an honest opinion. I have NOT received any compensation for this review. All reviews and opinions are entirely my own!

Find it here: Library, Amazon, Better World Books


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