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

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What The Witch Left

What The Witch Left
by  Ruth Chew (Author, Illsutrator)

“A Matter-Of-Fact Magic Book”

What would you do if you found “magical” things in the bottom drawer of your dresser? Smile

Louise and Katie find the bottom drawer locked. Katie explains that Aunt Martha had to leave some of her things in the drawer before she had to go away. Curiosity gets the best of the girls and they seek out the key. What they find inside will take them on an adventure!

At first, the things they find (a pair of gloves, a bathrobe, a pair of boots, a mirror and an old dented metal box ) seem quite ordinary. The two girls have no idea that each of these objects have a magical quality about it.

Katie tries on the gloves first. They fit perfectly! Not only that, it feels as if she isn’t wearing the gloves at all. Before she gets a chance to take them off, her piano teacher arrives and she has to sit down for her lessons. Then it happens! As she starts to play, she finds her fingers easily flying over the keyboard. Her music is not just better, it’s impressive. Even the piano teacher is very surprised. After the session, she takes them off and puts them away. She then tries to play the piano. What do you know? Her musical abilities are back to where they were before! Louise wants to try them next. So she puts them on and takes her chalk to draw on the sidewalk. Lo Behold! Her drawings are indeed marvelous!

One by one, the girls figure out the magical qualities of the rest of the items. You have to read the book to find out what happens next

I first “discovered” Ruth Chew’s book and series at Randomly Reading. Alex’s review convinced me this would be a great chapter book to either read aloud or read on your own for 6+ year old’s. And I was not disappointed!

Ruth Chew’s books are super simple to read. The language is natural and conversations are fun. This magical adventure is not scary at all. The situations in her stories are every day events. This mix of every day happenings with a bit of magic makes it fun to read. We found ourselves wanting to turn to the next chapter and then the next  and the next..

Ruth Chew Page

Now we can’t wait to get the next one to read. Fortunately, there is a series of fantasy chapter books by Ruth Chew. Hope you get to give this one a read!

Find it here: Library, Amazon, Better World Books

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The Magic Nesting Doll

The Magic Nesting Doll
by Jacqueline K. Ogburn (Author), Laurel Long (Illustrator)

 A Magical Matryoshka 

One day Katya’s grandmother takes out a little Matryoshka, a magic nesting doll, and gives it to Katya. She warns Katya to only “open” the doll when she is in trouble. The dolls can be opened only three times and after that the “magic will be gone!”

Katya’s grandmother passes away and Katya sets out into the world on her known. She arrives at a city where “it’s always winter and it never thaws, the night is without a moon and a dark without dawn”. Also, the handsome young price Tsarvitch who has been turned to living ice! Katya is so intrigued by the Ice Prince that she decides to go take a look at him at his palace.

Katya decides to climb a tree to take a peek. She gets a glimpse of the frozen prince and her heart fills with pity. But the evil Grand Vizier catches her and asks the guards to put her in the dungeon. Poor Katya is trapped in the dark tiny cell and longs to get out. She remembers the Matryoshka dolls and decides to open one of her magic nesting dolls. As soon as the top half of the doll come out, a sleepy bear steps out.

Magic Nesting Doll Bear

The magical bear asks Katya what her wish was. Katya says “I swore to break this spell, and I would like to get out of this dungeon”. The bear immediately asks Katya to jump on his back and he tears out of the cell and dungeon. The bear then gives a great roar and immediately the cold wind changes and warm winds blow and thaw out the trees. The bear then takes Katya to see the Trasvitch.

The bear takes Katya to the Tsarvitch’s room and disappears, but the spell has not broken. The prince is still in deep slumber although he is less icy than before. When Katya sees his handsome face, her heart fills up with emotion that is more than pity. But once again the evil Grand Vizier catches Katya and this time puts her in a deep ravine. Katya then finds herself opening the second Matroshka doll.

Will Katya finally break the spell? Will the magical Matryoshka dolls work their way into putting an end to town’s spell? Will there be a happy ending for Katya and her prince?

Magic Nesting Doll Tsarvitch

This charming Russian fairy/folk tale will keep you wanting to read more. The story telling is easy to read and read aloud. But it is beautiful art in this book that makes it an amazing book to read. You will find illustrations that art detailed and and rich in purple, blue and red hues. Full page oil paintings of the inside of palace, the beautiful countryside and the incredible detail work on each page makes this book very special.

A wonderful folk tale with brilliant art work!

Find it here: Library, Amazon, Better World Books

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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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