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

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Arthur and Guen

Arthur and Guen
by Jon Koons (Author), Igor Oleynikov (Illustrator)

An Original Tale of Young Camelot

Arthur looks at his father, Sir Ector and brother, Sir Kay, two brave knights, as they prepare for the tournament. “One day, I will be a knight like you” little Arthur says. But Kay looks at him and laughs. “You can hardly carry my shield, grunt” he calls out to Arthur.  Arthur hates to be called “grunt” so he saunters away towards the woods.

On the other side of the woods, Princess Guenevere (Guen) is bored as she stares at the minstrel playing different instruments and the a magician conjuring birds out of a hat. She had come with her father to watch a tournament,  but Guen would rather BE a knight in the tournament! Guen thinks she is tough and brave, just like a knight! To escape boredom, she decides to go out for a walk in the woods and get some fresh air!

Arthur and Guen Bored

 Arthur and Guen stumble into each other in the woods. “I am princess Guenevere “ says Guen. “ I am Arthur” says Arthur not really believing that Guen was a princess. As the two “kids” introduce themselves and get to know each other, they find that the woods have some hidden dangers that they are about to encounter!

Arthur and Guen Meeting

In this funny, charming and very original tale, Arthur and princess Guenevere meet accidentally. The two find themselves in the midst of some unpleasant company very suddenly. Arthur decides to step up to the challenge at this young age and decides to take matters in his own hands to save his princess friend Guen. Smile It’s the same kind of courage that he would need in the very near future once he would become the king.

Arthur and Guen cornered

We loved this story! Jon Koons really draws a neat picture of Arthur and Guen as little kids trying to have fun. Imaginative and charming, Koons writes up a highly entertaining tale of the two beloved and well known characters in historical fiction. Igor Oleynikov uses board brush illsutrations with vibrant rich colors. Arthur and Guen’s expressions, Merlin’s appearance and the “bad guys” demeanor are perfectly captured!

Arthu and Guen end

 A fabulous tale, imagination at its best!

Find it here: Library, Amazon, Better World Books

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Mr. Pout-Pout Fish

Mr. Pout-Pout Fish
by Deborah Diesen (Author), Dan Hanna (Illustrator)



 Deep in the water,Mr. Fish swims about

With his fish face stuck in a permanent pout.

Can his pals cheer him up?

Will his pout ever end?

Is there something he can learn

From an unexpected friend?

 Poor Pout-Pout Fish has a permanent frown on his face! Wherever he goes, he spreads his “dreary-wearies” in the deep blue sea.

Pout Pout Fish Inside

His friends, Ms Clam, Mr. Jelly, Mrs. Squid and Mr. Octopus, try to cheer him up every now and then. But all Pout-Pout Fish has to say is ..

“I’m a pout pout fish

With a pout pout face,

So I spread the dreary-wearies

All over the place.” 

“Blub… Blub… Bluuuuuuubbb!”

Pout Pout Fish Inside3

It seems like nothing could really cheer him up! Mr Pout Pout was doomed to be pouty for the rest of his life! Until, an unusual fish friend swims by and surprises him Smile

Reading the Pout-Pout series of book is a sheer delight.. and not just for the kids! Try this book to read aloud in class and you will hear the kids echo you when you read “Blub.. blub..bluuuuubbb”! Kids will love the gently rhythm, alliteration and rhyme of this tale.

Pout Pout Fish Inside2

Adults will love the simple but important message. Sometimes we all have “pouty” days like Mr. Pout-Pout Fish. Then, we need friends to show us the bright side of things and to give us a little pick up. This story is a great way to teach kids that there is always a rainbow after a storm Smile

Read this one, and you will be looking for more! Mr. Pout-Pout Fish is a series that you will keep coming back to for quite some time.Smile

Find it here: Library, Amazon, Better World Books

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Greg’s Microscope (Science I Can Read Book)

Greg’s Microscope (Science I Can Read Book)
by Millicent E Selsam (Author), Arnold Lobel (Illustrator)

An “I Can Read” Science Book

Greg’s friend Billy recently got a new microscope. The box also came with some glass slides. Billy can see very tiny things really clearly. He can hairs on a spider’s foot. He can see little hooks in a bird’s feather. Greg wants one too. Greg wants to see tiny things too.

Greg’s father explains that microscopes can be very expensive. But seeing Greg’s enthusiasm, he decides to look for one and finally finds a nice one for Greg. But there are no slides for Greg too see into! So dad asks him to “go find his own tiny things”.

Greg's Microscope tiny things

Thus begins Greg’s journey into looking at tiny things under a microscope. This little book  is a wonderful “I Can Read” Level 3 book. This reader is the perfect companion gift if you were considering buying a Microscope. As Greg leans into his microscope, he finds a world of tiny things to discover.

Greg’s enthusiasm and curiosity is addictive. Greg’s mom and dad get excited too and want to take a peek into Greg’s microscope every now and then.  We loved looking at all the wonderful things that Greg could see under his microscope.

Greg's Microscope New microscope

I personally loved this book! A reader + science book. The words are simple and the sentences are short. The science “experiments” are also very simple. A pinch of salt, a little dust, even a piece of wool. Under the microscope, these simple things look absolutely fantastic.

Be warned this book is contagious! Once you read it, you simply have to have a microscope! Read “Greg’s Microscope”, you’ll find your little one discovering a completely new world of tiny things!

Find it here: Library, Amazon, Better World Books

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Diggin’ Dirt: Science Adventures with Kitanai the Origami Dog

Diggin’ Dirt: Science Adventures with Kitanai the Origami Dog
by Thomas Kingsley Troupe (Author), Jamey Christoph (Illustrator), Paul McDaniel (Consultant Editor), Lindgren & Smith Inc (Contributor), Terry Flaherty (Contributor)

An Origami Science Adventure series book!

Capstone Publishers bring together a series of Non Fiction picture books where “Art and Science collide in exciting science adventures”. Each book in the series features a fold origami character that journeys through a scientific exploration.

In “Diggin’ Dirt”, Kitanai is a fold origami pup. His “master” sets him out into the garden where the newly formed Kitanai finds himself surrounded by dirt! At first his papery feet feel filthy. Kitanai has no idea what dirt is. Along comes help in the form of a little earthworm called Roger. Roger shares with Kitanai all the important facets of dirt.

Diggin Dirt Kitanai Roger

This 24 page book is filled with interesting facts. Kids will learn about the many layers of the soil and the ones below. In friendly tones and simple to understand language, Roger explains what makes “soil” special, and where the “nutrient” in the soil come from.

Roger further explains how he himself is such a crucial part of the healthy soil. He explains how earthworms like him help break down the dirt and help the rainwater and air go deep into the soil when the earthworms dig tunnels.

“Diggin’ Dirt” has clever illustrations, a mix media of realistic nature photographs and digital illustration. This book is sure to capture the attention of the youngest in the household.  Our favorite part was at the end of the book, where we found simple instructions to make our very own, cute little origami dog!  Smile

Find it here: Library, Amazon, Better World Books




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Soccer Star

Soccer Star
by Mina Javaherbin (Author), Renato Alarcao (Illustrator)


Paulo Marcelo Feliciano, aka “Felino”, the captain of the local soccer team dreams of big wins! After all, he has a strong team.  Carlos who shines shoes during the day, will score goals with his fancy footwork. Jose who dives off of bridges for tourists, will one day dive for the team. Givo who works tirelessly on carnival floats for the dancers, will dance with the ball as his fans cheer him on. And Pedro climbing the coconut tree at the coconut grove will climb to glory with his trophies.

Soccer Star Dive

Soccer Star Climb

But for now, Felino must dribble his way towards the docks. He is headed out to the ocean with Senhor da Silva on his boat to catch fish from the sea. Later that evening the boys have a big game. Felino looks up at the sky, at the wild storm clouds gathering and hopes that the clouds will simply disappear.

Finally it is time to head back. Felino’s friends are already there waiting. They prepare and plan for the big game.

Soccer Stars

Just then Maria, Felino’s sister arrives. Like her brother, Maria loves soccer. She watches her brother and his team play the game. She practices some moves with Felino as they walk to school daily. She impresses Felino with her bicycle kick! But when it comes to playing the game, the boys have one rule: “no girls!” But Maria doesn’t lose hope. She runs to the team and asks “Please can I play on your team”. Although Felino supports her, the other boys frown and say no.

Soccer Star Maria

The game begins. The team is strong. Jose jumps to fend the attack.. and whoosh! He falls on his wrist. It’s not broken, but Jose needs rest. The team is short one player. Maria watches eagerly… will this be it?Will the boys finally let her play?

“Soccer Star” is a story set in the Brazilian favelas. The boys on the street carry the burden of supporting their families. Born and raised in the midst of poverty, these kids face unusual responsibilities. Instead of going to school, they go to work. However, despite their circumstances, the kids have a passion that brings them together. One that lifts them from their daily drudgeries and give them a dream to rise above their circumstances. “Soccer Star” is a beautiful picture book that tells the story of these boys, who above all else want to be just that.. Soccer Stars!

“Soccer Star” is also the story about Maria. A girl who dreams of playing like her brother. A girl who works hard and plays hard. This is the story about Maria who wants to prove herself .. given a chance!

Soccer Star with Maria

Renato Alarcao’s digitally colored ink illustrations are refreshing. There is an unusual warmth to the characters, a die-hard optimism that he captures in the faces and to the pages adding to the theme of hope and inspiration. Children will delight in the art that joyfully depicts the sport and the sheer fun factor of the game.

We absolutely loved this book. Mina has done it again! Mina has written two other books “Goal” and “The Secret Message” which are just as wonderfully done. Overall this book is a big SCORE!

Find it here: Library, Amazon, Better World Books

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Three Ladies Beside the Sea

Three Ladies Beside the Sea
by Rhoda Levine (Author), Edward Gorey (Illustrator) 


“Once there were three houses

That stood beside the sea;

In each house lived a lady

Of great Nobility.”

The three ladies, Edith, Catherine and Alice were friends who lived in the three houses beside the sea. Edith was a jolly lady, Catherine was always smiling. Alice however had the unusual hobby, she loved to climb a tree.

Three Ladies Beside the Sea houses

Now Edith and Catherine were not the kind to interfere. The two ladies thought that it would be very indiscreet to talk about this unusual activity!

Three Ladies Beside the Sea ladies

Edith, Catherine and Alice liked to sit by the sea shore and play music occasionally. On one such occasion, while Alice was fetching tea for everyone, Edith and Catherine mused why they simply didn’t ask Alice about her tree climbing and gazing obsession.

Three Ladies Beside the Sea Alice

Alice admits that her unusual passion to be very inconvenient, but she is still driven to climb the tree. Edith and Catherine, being good friends, offer to help of course! But will their suggestions work? Will Alice ever come down the tree? 

“Three Ladies Beside the Sea” is a charming and eccentric story, with an Edwardian style to it. Written in rhyme, this imaginative tale is illustrated by Edward Gorey. Fans will relate to his pen and ink sketches. Although Gorey is known for his “dark” Poe like artwork, his drawings work superbly in this short poem-story.

We liked this simple tale of friendship and trust. The underlying message seems to be that friends can be unusual and quirky, but they are still friends! For grown-ups there is a more sublime message of loving, longing and of dreaming on!

A lovely little treasure to read and re-read.

Find it here: Library, Amazon, Better World Books

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by Aleksandra Mizielinska , Daniel Mizielinski (Authors, Illustrators)

Visual Treat!

Big Picture Press released “Maps” a “celebration of the world, from its immense mountains to its tiny insects – and everything in between”. And indeed what a visual delight this book turned out to be!  With 52 HIGHLY detailed and illustrated Maps, this book is a gem. It’s an atlas for the very curious child.

Here is what you will find inside!

This gigantic book (14.6 inches * 10.8 inches) opens to inside cover page “Contents”. The contents itself is a double spread illustrated map of the world. This page allows the reader to quickly jump to a map of the region or country of interest.

Maps Contents

Right after the title page, the book opens to a gorgeously illustrated double page spread of a world map showing the seven continents of the world, the five oceans of the world,a compass and a sample of few sea creatures that one would see at a 50,000 feet view of our world.

Maps Contents Detail Page

Following which comes the main contents of the book: the Maps! The maps in this book is organized by Continent, so the opening page for each “group” of countries is the map of the continent to which it/they belong to along with a few highlights such as : how many countries, overall population and the size in Km. and Miles.

Let’s take a quick glance at what the actual page of a country looks like. These are the real highlight of the book. Each country is a double page spread either in portrait or landscape mode. Each map has delightful details to be discovered. For example, this map of Iceland gives you a small info detail at the right hand corner. This includes, the capital, the language, population, area/size and the map.

Maps Iceland

Apart from the “statistical” facts that you find on the map, we delighted in finding details such as different kinds of flora and fauna that one finds in Iceland. We found cultural curiosities like who are some of the famous personalities from this region. What do people in Iceland traditionally dress like? What are the natural wonders that one would visit if we made a plan to travel to Iceland? What is the local food in this area? I could go on… but there is just TOO much to discover, to find, to learn and enjoy.

Maps Ghana

Maps closeup

The author/illustrators go above and beyond traditional cartography and show surrounding geography. In the case of the map of Iceland, we see the sea life in the oceans around Iceland.

Our only complaint would be that this is not a complete world map. The countries/maps highlighted in this book:

1) Europe: Poland, Czech Republic, Iceland, Finland, Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands, France, Spain, Italy, Greece, Romania, Austria, Belgium, Sweden, Switzerland

2) Asia:  Russia, Mongolia, China, Nepal, India, Thailand, Japan, Jordan

3) Africa: Morocco, Egypt, Ghana, Tanzania, Namibia, Madagascar

4) North America: Canada, United States of America, Mexico

5) South America: Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Chile

6) Australia and Oceania: Australia, New Zealand, Fiji

7) The Arctic

8 ) Antarctica

The author/ illustrator duo make use of earth tones for the basic art layout giving this a genuine “old world” feel. Decorative borders adorn each page. Fine line drawings and cartoon like rendering of illustrations add to the charm of the book. We simply loved pouring over the book looking for small nuggets of information about various places that we had visited in the past.

In summary, this book is not just an educational tool, but a fun visual treat for anyone looking for learning about geography and cultures around our world. It was tempting to make a big list of places that one wants to visit and mark them off of this big book of Maps!

Find it here: Library, Amazon, Better World Books

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Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters

Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters

by John Steptoe (Author, Illustrator)

An African Folk Tale

In a small village somewhere in Africa, a man named Mufaro had two very beautiful daughters, Manyara and Nyasha. Everyone agreed that the girls were very beautiful and Mufaro was a proud father.

But the two girls were very different in personalities. While Nyasha was kind, considerate and caring, Manyara was rude, selfish and bad-tempered. Manyara knew that the villagers favored Nyasha for her gentle nature and was extremely jealous of her sister. When their father was working, Manyara took every opportunity to be mean to her sister and put her down.

Mufaros Beautiful Daughters inside6

One fine day, the king who lived in the neighboring city declared that he was looking for a wife and invited “The most worthy and beautiful daughters” to present themselves before him. Mufaro decides that both his daughters should present themselves to the king. Manyara, however, has other plans. She wants to reach the city before her sister does, to get an advantage over her sister.

So Manyara sets out in the middle of the night, hoping to reach the city before her sister. What happens next? On a magical journey through the forest, Manyara learns that all is not what it seems.

Mufaros Beautiful Daughters inside4

“Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters” is a story of test of character. It builds upon themes such as sibling rivalry and jealousies. Beautifully illustrated, this Zimbabwean folk tale is memorable. A folk tale with a great moral to learn from and a story that is stunningly illustrated captures the essence of the African culture. Steptoe’s illustrations have an element of realism to them. He does a superb job of introducing the culture, lifestyle, the flora and fauna of the region.

Mufaros Beautiful Daughters inside5

A delightful story, enchanting plot and engaging illustrations. A making of a perfect Folk tale!

Find it here: Library, Amazon, Better World Books

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