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







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On A Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein

On A Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein
by Jennifer Berne (Author), Vladimir Radunsky (Illustrator) 

“Curiosity has its own reason for existing.” – Albert Einstein

“On a Beam of Light” is a picture book biography on Albert Einstein. I have read quite a few picture book biographies on Einstein but this is the first and only book that has truly felt engaging and accessible for a younger audience.

How do you explain to young kids about how the mind of a genius physicist works? How do you communicate how a simple beam of light opened a world of wonders for young Einstein? And how do you express the eagerness with which Einstein wanted to learn about the world around him?

“On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein ” does more!

Berne tells the story of Einstein with great reverence and care. She describes his work through the qualities that drove Einstein to make discoveries. For example: she describes how a simple compass excited Einstein to the point that he shuddered, and thought “what other wondrous things remained to be discovered?”

Berne then goes on to describe how Einstein started to think. To really think and ask questions. How he drove everyone crazy with his questions and how his eagerness to learn the answers drove him to study.

On a Beam of Light questions

One day he was riding his bike. He saw a  beam of light.. and he wondered : How would it feel to ride a bike on that beam of light!

On a Beam of Light beam

His mind filled with questions, Einstein went on to study about light and sound and heat and magnetism. He discovered the secret language of numbers and the world that opened to him through them.

On a Beam of Light study

Berne goes on to describe other discoveries that Einstein made through simple examples and straight forward language. She describes Einstein’s habits and quirks and things that made him unique. She describes him as a curious person, a person who loved science and a man who wanted to be left alone to think and let his mind wonder and wander. But Berne also goes on to tell about a man who found comfort in simple things of life.

On a Beam of Light simple

She ends the book with a note that Einstein left us with many more big questions; questions that scientists are still working on.

This picture book biography is indeed a gem. Yes it is inspiring to read about Einstein, and even better to read about what really drove the man. You will find in this book many lessons for kids to learn from. But it is equally fun to read and learn about the great man himself. The illustrations, quirky and whimsical, are designed to reflect the eccentricities of Einstein himself. They are cleverly drawn to highlight how Einstein saw the world full of numbers and atoms and beams of light.

“On a Beam of Light” is indeed a “DO NOT MISS” read of this year.

Find it here: Library, Amazon, Better World Books


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The Secret Garden

The Secret Garden
by Frances Hodgson Burnett (Author), Finola Hughes (Reader)

“.. if you look at it in a way, the whole world is a garden.”

Frances Hodgson Brunett’s “The Secret Garden” was written in 1911 but is a timeless tale and is a classic children’s read.

The Secret Garden is the story of a 10 year old girl, Mary Lennox. Mary Lennox is a sour girl. She is  the most disagreeable looking child anyone has ever seen. Thin faced and with a thin body, with thin hair and a sour expression on her face, Mary Lennox never smiles. Her hair and face is yellow and she has always been ill one way or the other.

The Secret Garden_Inga Moore_Mary

Her father who held an important position in the English Government in India, has no time to look at her or talk to her. Her mother who is a great beauty of her time, cared only about herself and her parties. The mother has left the child to be reared by the aayah’s (servants) of the house. The aayah’s were strictly told to keep the child away from the parents if they were to keep the parents pleased. Governess’ were provided to teach, but none of them stayed long enough as they grew to dislike the child very much! It was no wonder then, that Mary grew up to be an unloved and a sour child.

So when Mary Lennox suddenly finds herself to be an orphan, she does not shed a tear. When she finds herself being shipped off to an uncle who is hunch-backed and lives in an old desolate place, Mary simply looks disinterested. But Mary is secretly intrigued by the stories about Misselthwaite Manor and its inhabitants.

And there is a surprise waiting for Mary at Misselthwaite Manor. A magic of sorts.. the magic of beautiful vast moors, the magic of a little robin who befriends her and the magic of The Secret Garden. Surprisingly, Mary finds herself making the most unusual of friends. Martha, the housemaid, who tells her stories about her mother and brothers and sisters all living in a small cottage at the edge of the moor. Ben Weatherstaff, the Manor gardener, who talks to Mary about the robins and the gardens. And Dickon, a 12 year old boy with a pony who is Martha’s brother, who shows her to grow things.

The Secret Garden_Inga Moore_Mary and Robin

Mary meets her uncle, who is heartbroken and lives as a recluse. And later in the story she meets Colin, her cousin, who like herself needs some of the special magic that makes Mary a little less contrary.

The Secret Garden_Inga Moore_Mary and Colin

I will leave you to read the rest of the story or listen to it or watch it. Either way, the story will enamor you.. leave you to seek out your own secret garden. I will leave you to fall in love with this story because one can make such promises of stories like these! It is no wonder then that “The Secret Garden” has been called the greatest Children’s story ever written.

The Secret Garden_Inga Moore_garden

We read The Secret Garden, written by Frances Hodgson Brunnett and illustrated by Inga Moore. I have to say this is one of the most beautiful book I have ever seen. The art work is marvelous and inspiring. We also heard the audio book, narrated by the most talented Finola Hughes (Best known for her award worthy work in TV series General Hospital). Her outstanding narration of the story alternating between British English and Yorkshire English is charming and adeptly executed.

This is a story of re-awakening of spirits, of growing to love and live and finding happiness in most unusual places and people. Drawn on strong characters, Frances Hodgson Brunnet’s “The Secret Garden” is a must read, a classic that you will read and want to read across generations!

Find it here: Library, Amazon, Better World Books


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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.
Melody
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!

MAPS:

dragonmap

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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Blackout

Blackout
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_inside1

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?

 

 

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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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thumbnail On A Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein article post
thumbnail The Secret Garden article post
thumbnail Forest Has A Song : Poems article post
thumbnail Three Tales of my Father’s Dragon article post
thumbnail Blackout article post
thumbnail The Pickle-Chiffon Pie Olympics article post
thumbnail Jenny and the Cat Club: A Collection of  Favorite Stories about Jenny Linsky article post
thumbnail Mrs Harkness and the Panda article post