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

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by Mara Rockliff (Author), Iacopo Bruno (Illustrator)

How Ben Franklin Solved a Mystery that Baffled all of France

 “Mesmerized” is a story about Ben Franklin as he sets out to travel to France to recruit “help” for struggling revolutionaries. In France, he discovers many interesting scientific discoveries and amazing experiments. But one particular phenomenon has caught his attention.

People in France are talking about one Dr. Franz Mesmer who has discovered an amazing “Force”. A force that only Dr Mesmer can use to cure any ailment! People have been flocking to his residence for a cure by dozens.

Mesmerized Ben investigates

But not everyone is thrilled by this miraculous force. Doctors who practice traditional medicine are furious. Their patients won’t take their medicine any more. All they want is to go to Dr. Franz and be charmed by his magical wand that seems to cure all their ailments! Indeed, it seems as if Dr Mesmer has uncovered a force that is not like electricity or a gas or hot air inside a balloon.

So what was it then? asked the doctors. They presented their dilemma to the king of France. Finally, the king decided to call the one person who could figure out this whole mystery… Ben Franklin!

I love how this story is presented and the layout of the pages. The authors choose to highlight the principles of the scientific method: Observe, hypothesize, test and supporting evidence. Through the means of this incident of scientific mystery, the author engages the young reader through these principles. The layout of the pages and art work pop out and clarifies how Ben Franklin carries out his investigation and clears out the mystery for everyone.

Mesmerized the Scientific method

At the end there is a short write up with more information about the incident of Dr Mesmer and the discovery of hypnosis and Placebo effects.

A great real story to read about Ben Frankiln, about scientific method and a mystery to be solved.

Find it here: Library, Amazon, Better World Books

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Daredevil Duck

Daredevil Duck
by Charlie Alder (Author, Illustrator)

A tale about being brave!

 Daredevil Duck has as super-duper cape, an extra strong helmet and x-ray goggles! He is the bravest duck in the whole wide world…

Well.. kind of..

Daredevil duck WANTS to be brave.. he is always dreaming of being brave.. but he isn’t exactly “brave” L As a matter of fact, he is afraid of a lot of things. Like dark things or fluttery things or things that are too wet!

And sometimes the other ducks say mean things to him and tease him.

Then one day something unexpected happens. At first this scares Daredevil duck very much. But slowly and surely, Daredevil duck finds a way to go past his apprehensions. Daredevil duck takes the plunge and realizes he feels happy and very accomplished indeed Smile

Daredevil duck tries hard

Maybe being brave is not that difficult after all! 

Charlie Alder’s Daredevil Duck is a lovely picture book for all the little kids who feel overwhelmed or fearful of new adventures out there. Whether its conquering the monkey bars or sliding down an extra high slide, kids will relate to feeling bold and being joyful in small achievements.

What we loved about this picture book is the creative “lift the flap” feature which leads to discovering the various hilarious situations that the Daredevil duck finds himself in. Charlie Adler illustrates the book in charming bright colorful spreads to keep little readers and listeners engaged. We loved the silly worried expressions of the duck and the free flowing text that leads the eye to Daredevil’s mis-adventures.

If you have a little one who sometimes needs motivation to take on challenges, then this is a perfect book to add to your collection.

This blog post is part of a Blog Tour. Do visit the following links to read more about Daredevil Duck!

5/4 Wife Hat, Mom Hat

5/5 Geo Librarian

5/6 In The Pages

5/7 Stacking Books

5/9 Bea’s Book Nook

5/10 ReaderKidz

5/11 Coffee for the Brain

5/12 The Picture Book Review

5/13 Mrs. Brown Loves Bookworms

5/14 Mom Read It

5/15 Unpacking the POWER of Picture Books

5/16 Cheryl Rainfield

5/17 Unleashing Readers

 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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Go, Pea, Go!

Go, Pea, Go!
by Joe Moshier , Chris Sonnenburg (Author/Illustrator)

Eyes on the goal!

Pea Junior is on a mission and an important one too. A mission where he needs all his focus and concentration. Pea Junior must keep his faith and have a can do attitude. His mission is to get to his potty .. Go, Pea Go!

But Pea Junior is not alone in this mission. He has his friends and family encouraging him along the way. He is tempted to stop and boogie with the backyard cats along the way.. He is tempted to stop and play with his friends at the pool. But Pea Junior is super charged and will not loose sight of greeting to his ultimate destination! Go, Pea, Go!

This is super sweet rhyming book on potty training for little ones. The story begins with Pea Junior suddenly realizing that he needs to “go”. The “race” to the potty begins. And although there are distractions along the way, Pea Junior stays on track.

Go Pea Go wont stop

Adorable and fun the illustrations are super cute with little Pea Junior and his friends colored brightly just right for little kids to look at. The bold shouts of “Go, Pea, Go!” which ends every verse add a nice fun rhythm to the narrative.

What we really liked about the book is that it comes with a nice race chart with stickers to keep score during potty training. And for those inclined towards a little bathroom singing, there is a nice little catchy tune that will keep the little ones on the potty long enough to accomplish their goal!Laughing

Go Pea Go chart

So grab this book if you are looking for potty inspiration!

This review is part of a blog tour:

4/22 A Girl and a Boy

4/23 Stacking Books

4/24 Geo Librarian

4/25 Art, Books, Coffee

4/27 Coffee for the Brain

4/28 Mrs. Brown Loves Bookworms

4/29 Unpacking the POWER of Picture Books

4/30 Booktalking #kidlit

5/1 Unleashing Readers


A Rafflecopter Giveaway

This contest will run from 4/22 to 5/4 @ 12 AM EST. We will give away ONE prize pack that includes a pea plush, pea beach ball, pea tote bag, pea hair clips, stickers, and a copy of the book. THREE people will win a pack including a pea beach ball, pea postcards, stickers, and a copy of the book. FIVE runners up will receive a copy of the book and stickers. Winners will be contacted by email and must notify us within 48 hours of the notification email with address and acceptance. Please note that winners can be from the US only.

Find it here: Library, Amazon, Better World Books

FTC DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of the book 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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Lost for Words

Lost for Words
by Natalie Russell (Author, Illustrator)

Writer’s Block!

Tapir has a brand new notebook and some nice pencils. He stares at the first blank page wondering what he should write! He stares and stares but nothing comes to mind. His page looks empty and he has no idea what to write!

Lost for words Not know

Tapir’s friend, Giraffe has some pretty good ideas about writing. In fact, Giraffe was writing an excellent poem about a tree. Giraffe sure had a way with words!

Tapir’s other friend Hippo is writing too.. Hippo is sitting in his nice muddy pool, making up a lovely rescue story with Hippo as the hero!

And then there is the lovely Flamingo. Flamingo is quite good with songs. This one poem that she currently writing about is how the sun shines brightly in the sky!

“I MUST be doing something wrong!” thought Tapir too himself. He felt quite lost for words Frown So he decides to find a nice quite spot, on the top of the hill, from where he could see a beautiful view and all his friends in it.. Maybe now he will find some ideas! Smile

Lost for words thinking

“Lost for Words” has a wonderful message. When Tapir finds himself comparing his abilities with the others, he suddenly feels quite incapable. But when he finds that nice quite corner to be alone and find confidence in what he can do.. he finds out that he could be quite unique too.. just like his friends!  I also love the three writing techniques that the author presented. Children will find inspiration in different techniques in which to express themselves.

The bright and colorful screen-print style illustrations in “Lost for Words” are very child-like and likable. The double spread art work with sunny skies, blue and green landscape will make this a fun to read book for kids.

“Lost for Words” may not be unique in its theme, but is very unique in the way the theme is presented. The surprise ending will leave a smile on every readers face Smile

Find it here: Library, Amazon, Better World Books

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Mini Myths

Mini Myths
by Joan Holub (Author), Leslie Patricelli (Illustrator)

Make a Wish, Midas!

Little Midas loves the color yellow. Its his most favorite color of all. His favorite blanky is yellow. His favorite food the banana is yellow. His clothes are all yellow (yes, even his underpants! Smile) When mom asks him to get dressed one day, holding out a nice pair of blue jeans and matching blue and white shirt, Midas won’t wear that! He wants his favorite yellow clothes instead!

Mini Myths Midas Inside1

But his most favorite toy, little Dinoboo, is green! What can Midas do about that?

Brush your hair, Medusa!

Medusa is a naughty little girl. She likes to jump up and down on her bed. She likes to show off her somersaults. But she DOESN’T like to brush her hair! She did rather brush her little toy mermaid’s hair.. but not hers!

Mini Myths Medusa  Inside1

Uh Oh! Its the door bell ringing and grand ma is here! And Medusa STILL hasn’t had her hair brushed! Smile

“Make a wish, Midas” and “Brush your hair, Medusa” are the second installment in the Joan Holub and Leslie Patricelli’s Mini Myths series. Like the first two books, “Be Patient, Pandora” and ” Play nice, Hercules”, this set of books are loosely based on two mythical characters, King Midas and Medusa. An author’s back note gives us a brief background on the actual mythological story surrounding the characters.

As with the earlier books, Joan Holub’s simple short words and sentences are perfect for a toddler read aloud story. Leslie Patricelli well known for her colorful toddler books “Yummy, Yuck” is a natural fit for the Mini Myth set.

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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If an Armadillo Went to a Restaurant

If an Armadillo Went to a Restaurant
by Ellen Fischer (Author), Laura Wood (Illustrator)

What DO animals eat?? Surprised

A silly, super sweet non-fiction, “If an Armadillo Went to a Restaurant” will answer this question. The picture book non-fiction gives you a peek into what different animals would order if they were to go to a restaurant.

Will they order a pizza or a sandwich? No!!

If an Armadillo went to a restaurant Giraffe

If an Armadillo went to a restaurant Ostrich

How about spaghetti with meatballs? No! No!! Smile

If an Armadillo went to a restaurant Armadillo

An Armadillo would probably prefer a plate of ants and worms (with a few beetles thrown in of course!) Wouldn’t that be delectable?? (GROSS!!)

Suited for 3+ year olds, this adorable book follows a pattern, introducing a new animal on alternate pages and asking the reader what food would best suit the palate of that animal. Find animals such as sea turtles, snake, butterflies, kangaroos and many more. We loved discovering the different types of food and playing a “guessing” game for each animal. And the “reveal” would leave the kiddo with lots of “eeeeww” and “yuuuuck” and similar sounding words!  The book ends with a question around what would the reader order if he/she went to a restaurant with a small kids menu… yum!

Gentle pacing, simple language and silly answers will keep the young readers engaged. Laura Wood’s cute kid-friendly art is colorful and eye catching. Her quirky animal renderings, pictures of various animal food on plates and adorable expressions on their faces are instantly lovable.

A great picture book non-fiction for libraries, classrooms and home reading.

Find it here: Library, Amazon, Better World Books

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5 Graphic Novels we Loved!

5 Graphic Novels we Loved!

1. Fairy Tale Comics edited by Chris Duffy

Fairy Tale Comics page
This is a collection of 17 of your favorite fairy tales. And along with your well known favorites like “Snow White” and “Goldilocks”, there are some unique finds too, like “The Prince and the Tortoise: from 1001 nights and “The Boy who drew cats”. What is unique about this collection is that each tale has been illustrated by 17 different artists who put their own unique “signature” on the tales. It is a delight to re-read your favorite and new tales in such a diversity of art in one single book. From Raina Telgemeier’s straight bold line comic art work to Brett Helquist’s more parchment colored art, this book is truly a very unique collection.

2. Odd Duck by Cecil Castellucci

Odd Duck cover
We fell in love with the very predictable Theodora and her new quirky “odd” friend Chad. This is a story about friendship, impressions and acceptance.
The author/illustrator duo have created a charming story in a “graphic novel” format. Word balloons, clear pastel colors and strong lines with lots and lots of whimsical, quirky details makes this book very endearing! This tale has an age old theme of “be yourself”. The unique twist however comes when the “Odd Duck” seems to think that their world is quite normal while the others are somehow “different”. At the end, however, the “Odd Duck” realizes that being different, isn’t that bad after all..

3. Monster on the Hill by Rob Harrell 

Monster on the Hill page

Do you want to read a fun, goofy and super silly tale about monsters? If you answered with a resounding “YES” then this is the book for you !! Rob Harrell’s Monster on the hill is not scary at all. While other monsters in their other hometowns are scaring people silly, Stoker-on-Avon’s monster is moaning and groaning and sulking all day long. Bottom line: Stoker-on-Avon’s monster sucked! Now its up to two very unusual partners to solve this monster’s problems and get him back on his feet.

4. Hereville series by Barry Deutsch

Hereville series cover

Hereville, a contemporary Orthodox Jewish community, is the home of an 11 year old girl, Mirka. But Mirka is a restless soul. Her wise stepmother tries to quiet her restless spirit by teaching her to knit. Mirka, however, has other ideas. A talking pig encounter takes Mirka on an extra ordinary journey that ends up with Mirka having to sword fight an alien for her life! So what’s so unique about this series? We loved reading about the traditional background of a restless modern 11 year old girl. Her emotional tug of war with her upbringing, customs and her desire to do the “unthinkable” (such as fight aliens and save the world). The author does a superb job of blending the unreal and the real while keeping everything on track. Can’t wait for more of Mirka!

5. El Deafo by Cece Bell

El Deafo cover
One day little Cece falls ill with meningitis. As she recovers, the family and Cece realize that she has lost her hearing. Over the next few months, Cece has to get multiple hearing tests and then ends up having to wear a hearing aid for her life. As little Cece slowly settles into her “new” regular life as an hearing impaired child, she struggles to blend in, make friends and find something special. And one day she realizes that she indeed has a super power. Something that makes her special.. her hearing aid picks up voices from far away. A talent that no one else poses. And thus “El Deafo” is born. We loved this tale for all the conversation starters it provides. A serious subject told with so much heart, a little bit of humor and with a lot of poise, this book is a MUST read for everyone!

Are graphic novels “real” books? Should they count towards reading?

Prejudices: I have come across this question many times. Some parents and educators believe that graphic novels are not serious books or should not be counted as good reads or encouraged. Schools do not allow graphic novels for book reports and other literacy based projects. However, graphic novels have come a long way. They are smart, mature reads. As you can see from above examples, the story telling is very unique and fresh. The format lends itself beautifully for girls and boys. Topics range from serious (El Deafo) to quirky (Mirka) to good old fun (Fairy tales).

Here are a few benefits to reading graphic novels:

Foster love for Reading:  Graphic novels can be a great motivation for reading books. I know many kids tire from their regular reading and need a break. A graphic novel is a wonderful way to provide that break. It is a fun way to get reading done, diversify reading habits and work on reading longer too!

Story telling: The creativity that goes into building stories in this format is simply superb. Artists use so many different visual cues to send subtle messages to the readers. For example: Look at the picture below of Cece finally realizing that something was different. This single page is so powerful in the way it expresses the confusion and fear Cece feels. It is hard to imagine this being in any other format. Matt Phelan, a veteran graphic novel artist and store teller, explains it beautifully with his book “Bluffton”:

Struggling or reluctant readers: Graphic novels are dimply the best way to get reluctant readers excited about reading. It builds reading confidence and kids also end up reading longer!

What are your thoughts around graphic novels? Have you read one recently?