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

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Forest Has A Song : Poems

Forest Has A Song : Poems
by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater (Author), Robbin Gourley (Illustrator)

A world of nature through poetry

A book of poem for kids

Forest has a Song is an invitation to explore nature through the eyes of a child. Listen to the pine-cones fall,  read the “Forest News” in the tracks left in the forest snow and find the squirrels secret hiding place. We loved reading these gentle rhyming poems for kids. Expertly written, the poems move through all the seasons in the forest.

Forest Has A Song Cover April Waking Poems for kids


Amy VanDerwater writes these poems from her memories of childhood in the forests of Adirondacks. As a child she would hike into the forests and study the trees, birds and other forest creatures. She listened to the sounds and imagined what they were. These sounds and calls became the basis for these beautiful poems.

Gourley’s illsutrations are soft watercolor paintings, capturing the greens of the forests, leaves and critters and at the same time capturing the yellows and browns of the fall and winter. This warm colorful book will truly “invite” you into the forest.

Forest Has A Song - Poems for kids


Snippet: Poem “Song” 

Silence in Forest never lasts long.
is everywhere
mixing in
with piney air.
Forest has a song.

Amy’s gentle poems for kids will entrance child and parent. Every poem in this book will invite you outdoors, to welcome nature and nurture it by creating your own memories.. just like Amy did.

Highly recommended!

Find it here: Library, Amazon, Better World Books

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Three Tales of my Father’s Dragon

Three Tales of my Father’s Dragon
by Ruth Stiles Gannett (Author)

A Dragon Adventure

A little boy, a dragon and an adventure! This is a recipe for unforgettable experience!

As a celebration of 50 years, Random House released this trilogy in a single book. This volume contains:

1. My Father’s Dragon

2. Elmer and the Dragon

3. Dragons of Blueland

This is a perfect set for chapter book readers. But it is also THE perfect read-aloud book for kids. Either way, this book will delight kids and parents alike. The author writes the book from his point of view. He refers to the little boy in the book as being his father. Hence the name “My Father’s Dragon”.

My Father’s Dragon: In this story, the author introduces us to the little boy ( as his father ) named Elmer Elevator. Little Elmer is looking for an adventure. He wishes he could soar into the sky like the birds. He shares his dream with an alley cat that he befriends. Hearing Elmer’s dream, the alley cat shares a secret. A secret that will take Elmer to the Wild Island where he will undertake a difficult journey to rescue a hostage baby dragon!

My Fathers Dragon cover1

My Fathers Dragon inside

Elmer and the Dragon: In the second tale, Elmer and the Dragon flee from the Wild Island and its wild habitants. But will they be able to make the long tedious journey back? Will they be able to safely reach the mountains of Blueland where baby Dragon’s family lives? And how will they escape the eyes of humans who would do anything to capture a real Dragon!

Elmer and the Dragon

Elmer and the Dragon1

Dragons of Blueland: The third tale is about Baby Dragon’s family. When Baby dragon finally finds his family, they are in great trouble. A group of men have found them and held them in captivity! How will Baby dragon help rescue his family. He has to go back to Elmer and ask his help one more time.

Dragons of Blueland

dragons of blueland (1)

Thanks to Read Aloud Dad who first pointed this book to us, we have been delighted to read it again and again!



First Adventure
Three Tales of My Fathers Dragon Blueland 
Map of Blueland

We loved the simple language and short chapters. We read this long into the night until we could not keep our eyes open. We loved the quirky and comical adventures on the Wild island and the silly wild animals on the island. We loved the wonderful black and white illustrations that gave us a peek into this fantastic world. But most of all we loved Elmer’s spirit, his “can do!” attitude in the face of danger. We loved how he never gave up on his friends and was practical and daring at the same time. This is a MUST read for any and all ages!

Find it here: Library, Amazon, Better World Books

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by John Rocco (Author, Illustrator)

Disconnect from the Digital World!

One hot summer night in the city the power goes out. The entire city is plunged into darkness. A family has been busy in the their daily chores. The TV has been running, the phone line was busy, the computer was on and dinner was cooking. But now the family can’t do any of those activities when the lights go off!


Blackout inside2

So they decide to escape the heat indoors and go up to the roof. To their surprise they find light, music and fun! The starlit sky shines down on the city block. The neighbors are having a ton of fun.. chatting up, eating ice cream before it melts, rollerblading and much more.

Blackout fun

Inspired, mom, dad, brother and sister find something to do together. They take out a good old board game and get busy together!

blackout inside 3

With full bleed illustrations moving from color to black and white and back, the author/illsutrator, John Rocco’s Blackout is a perfect read in today’s outrageously connected world! It gives us a glimpse back in time when things were much simple, when people would hangout on the street corner and talk and when family time meant a nice board game played together. A Caldecott Honor Award Book, Blackout is a must read for every “connected” household!

And when the lights come back on again, everyone seems to go back to where they were.. or do they?Wink

Find it here: Library, Amazon, Better World Books

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The Pickle-Chiffon Pie Olympics

The Pickle-Chiffon Pie Olympics
by Jolly Roger Bradfield (Author, Illustrator)

A Boisterous Sequel!

 Princess Sierra returns home after graduating from Princess College. She is ready to get married. This “flaming red hair” beauty wants to marry her sweetheart with “curly hair and dimples” – Prince Charminger. But her father, King Rupert doesn’t find the prince so charming. So what does he do? He arranges a Pickle-Chiffon Pie Olympics. A competition where the would-be-suitors compete to win the princess’s hand in marriage.

Pickle Pie Olympics 2

Roger Bradfield was forced out of his retirement to write The Pickle-chiffon pie Olympics as a sequel to the Pickle-Chiffon Pie which was written almost 50 years ago! The characters  have interesting names and so do the games themselves. The dragon wrestling, giant climbing and moat swimming games will leave you wanting for more  The events in the Olympics are stamped with his highness royal seal there is not a chance even an adult will doubt its authenticity!

Pickle Pie Olympics 1

Pickle Pie Olympics 3

We love reading this book. It is so playful and fun with funny contestant characters, unusual and silly Olympic events and even a surprise ending! The book is illustrated with fun watercolors paired with silly, but comical story. This book is such a silly read aloud story for both adults and kids.

Find it here: Library, Amazon, Better World Books

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Jenny and the Cat Club: A Collection of Favorite Stories about Jenny Linsky

Jenny and the Cat Club: A Collection of  Favorite Stories about Jenny Linsky
by Esther Averill (Author, Illustrator)

A collection of stories!

Jenny Linsky is a shy black cat who lives with her master who is a sea Captain. Her most favorite thing is her cozy red scarf given to her by the Captain as a present. During her first few days at the Captains house, Jenny notices a gathering of local cats at the Cat Club. She wants very much to be a part of the club, but is too shy to ask! Also she needs to have a special talent to be able to join.  What will Jenny do?

Jenny and the Cat Club inside

Join Jenny in her many adventures with the Cat Club and close friends like Pickles the Fire Cat. Told in simple and clear language, this series of gentle tales are a wonderful addition to your home library. We promise you an instant addiction to all of these stories.

Included in this series:

1. The Cat Club

2. Jenny’s First Party

3. When Jenny lost her scarf

4. Jenny’s adopted brothers

5. How the brothers join the Cat Club

Jenny and the Cat Club brother

Each of the story has a moral and learning. In “The Cat Club”, Jenny learns to deal with her shyness and overcome her fears. In “When Jenny lost her scarf”, Jenny learns about faith and trust in friends. And in ” How the brothers join the Cat Club”, Jenny learns about sharing in a completely new way. The sheer qualities and virtues that the stories bring out is amazing! Absolutely Delightful!

Find it here: Library, Amazon, Better World Books

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Mrs Harkness and the Panda

Mrs Harkness and the Panda
by Alicia Potter (Author), Melissa Sweet (Illustrator)

Story of America’s First Panda

It is the year 1934. A period of time when women were too “dainty” to go exploring. But Mrs. Harkness has one and only one ambition — to bring back the Panda that her husband was supposed to. But Mr Harkness had unexpectedly died in China and now it’s up to Mrs. Harkness to bring back the very first Panda to America. Can she do it?




Mrs Harkness and the Panda inside

This is a superbly written and illustrated book of the real story about Mrs. Harkness who brought the first Panda to America. In a time when there was no television or internet, the only way to actually see these adorable bears was to visit China. But when her husband dies, its left to Mrs. Harkness to venture onto an incredibly difficult and dangerous journey. Everyone calls her crazy. But against all odds, Mrs Harkness is determined to bring back a baby Panda.

Mrs Harkness and the Panda Su-Lin

Ruth Harkness

It is easy to fall in love with this story. The adventure and danger will capture any child’s imagination. The language is rich and supported by Melissa Sweet’s trademark artwork. We loved this story of a very determined simple woman who showed courage and mental strength at a time when all odds were stacked against her.

Find it here:  Library, Amazon, Better World Books

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Of Thee I Sing

Of Thee I Sing
by Barack Obama (Author), Loren Long (Illustrator)

A Letter To My Daughters

If you want to inspire the young generation by portraying celebrated and highly influential and virtuous personalities, this is the way to do so.

But more so, it is a letter from a father to his daughters. Touching, moving and inspiring, this book is for all ages. Uplifting and informational at the same time, this book pays homage to individuals who have led this country on a new and exciting journey.


Of Thee I Sing AE

The 44th President of the United States of America, Barack Obama, presents a brilliantly illustrated introduction of  13 American icons and heroes:-

1. Georgia O’Keefe – creativity

2. Albert Einstein – smarts

3. Jackie Robinson – courage

4. Sitting Bull – healer

5. Billie Holiday – singer

6. Helen Keller – strength

7. Maya Lin – honor

8. Jane Addams – kindness

9. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. – perseverance, compassion

10.Neil Armstrong – explorer

11. Cesar Chavez – inspiration

12. Abraham Lincoln – togetherness, belonging

13. George Washington – justice


“Have I told you…?” begins the book and each page celebrates the life of each one of these visionaries. Each page introduces a new quality or virtue of each personality. Each page opens the door to a life that left the world a better place in a unique way.

Of Thee I Sing AL

The illustrations are superb. The quality of the prose is poignant and the art work captures this beautifully. Loren Long captures each personality thoughtfully and in their “element”. Each page continues to gather the personalities along side of the 2 daughters and ends with a brilliant “finale” of a crowd of children amidst the 13 heroes of the book.

Of Thee I Sing Final

Ultimately this book is about the potential of each and every child (within us) to pursue and achieve our dreams and forge our own paths. We loved reading through the book and finding ourselves wanting to know more about each of these personalities. We found ourselves talking about how each of them faced an impossible task yet they found the strength to overcome their hurdles. A brilliant non-fiction book with a brilliant message that no matter where we come from, it is important to do the best we can!

Find it here: Library, Amazon, Better World Books

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The Hundred Dresses

The Hundred Dresses
by Elenor Estes (Author), Christina Moore (Narrator)

A story about Bullying!

There is so much going on in this book. Friendship and bullying, courage and regret, peer pressure and forgiveness. It is no wonder that the book is a Newbery Honor Book.

This is a story of 3 girls. Peggy and Maddie are best friends. They are classmates and are inseparable. Wanda Petronski, however, is a loner. She has no friends. She comes from a shabby part of town and wears the same shabby blue dress every day to school. One day in an effort to “blend in”, Wanda mentions that she actually has One Hundred Dresses of all kinds all lined up in her closet. This little lie sends her classmates into peals of laughter. From then on at every recess, Wanda Petronski is asked over and over again about her infamous one hundred dresses.

The Hundred Dresses inside

While Peggy and Maddie are part of the “daily routine”, Maddie really wishes it would stop. She understands why Wanda said what she said and wishes Wanda would just stop talking about her dresses. But at the same time she does not have the courage to say something about it. She also does not want to be singled out by the others.

One day Wanda stops coming to school. A note from her dad explains that they are moving to a big city where people with names like “Petronski” are not “funny”. Maddie lives the next few days with a heavy guilty conscious. She hopes that she gets a chance to make amends with Wanda.

The Hundred Dresses inside2

Elenor Estes does a brilliant job in capturing different view points on the single topic of bullying. She captures beautifully the situation as well as the nuances of emotions. On one hand Elenor highlights the intense guilty conscious of the character of Maddie and on the other hand she brings out the desperation of a singled out lonely girl Wanda and her need to “fit in”.

This is a book for every girl and boy. The language used in this book is meant for 3rd graders. But one can easily listen to the audio book and follow along. Christina Moore’s narration is superb to say the least. A gem of a story, so true to real life situations and so thought provoking, that you the reader will stop and think how you can make the most of this learning experience for your child!

A must read !

Find it here: Library, Amazon, Better World Books

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