Review: Somebunny Loves Me


Somebunny Loves Me

Author: Parry Gripp

Publisher: National Geographic Kids, 2018

Source: ARC

With Valentine’s Day already here, I have a book that would be a nice, last-minute gift for the younger set. (I’m also thinking Easter baskets, here, especially with the sweet little bunny on the cover).

Whether you are considering getting a new pet or perhaps your young readers simply love all kinds of animals, this new book by National Geographic Kids is a great choice. Readers are introduced to all kinds of BFFs: kittens, puppies, goldfish, chicks, turtles, lizards, ponies. Each verse focuses not only on what good friends these animals can be, but how we need to care for and love them in return.

The photographs are engaging. Who wouldn’t want one of these adorable little critters? (OK, I’m not a big lizard fan and it doesn’t seem cute to me, but tastes do differ.)

I like the message of this book. Pets are fun, pets are lovable, pets require responsibility (and not just on the part of Mom or Dad). What I also like is that if you go online to, you can sing along with Gripp!


Note: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.


Review: There’s No Such Thing as Bad Weather

there's no such thing as bad weatherReview:

There’s No Such Thing as Bad Weather – A Scandinavian Mom’s Secrets for Raising Healthy, Resilient, and Confident Kids

Author: Linda Åkeson McGurk

Publisher: Touchstone, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 2017

Source: Personal Purchase

Remember the last time you suggested to your kids to go out and play? I’ll bet that suggestion met with plenty of resistance. “It’s too cold (or hot).” “It’s snowing (or raining).” “There is nothing to do outside.” Or maybe you simply heard, “I don’t want to.”

There is plenty of research that tells us that yes, kids should go outside. (It’s good for adults, too, but we’re talking about kids here….) Åkeson McGurk cites many of excellent resources, but what I really like it that it is tempered with plenty of good, old-fashioned common sense. She has children herself, raised in the United States, so she understands the subject not only from a professional standpoint, but a personal one as well.

I’d like to share Åkeson McGurk’s Scandinavian mom’s “Get Up and Go Outside” manifesto:

  1. There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes.

Scandinavians have found ways to deal with long, dark, and cold winters. “Snow happens. Sleet happens. Ice happens. Cold temperatures happen. Life goes on.” And it can go on without whining! (much, anyway) Not only are there ways to make your indoors comforting, (check out pg. 11 for ideas), but it’s no reason not to continue to embrace the outdoors – which brings us to….

  1. Dress for the weather.

This section gives plenty of suggestions for how to dress for the weather each season. I’ve got an additional idea: check out the L.L. Bean catalog.

  1. Fresh air is good for you.

More and more research is showing that outdoor time may be just the antidote we need for many of our current issues. It may help lessen symptoms of ADHD, anxiety, and depression. It also helps prevent obesity, lower risk of infections and help with Vitamin D deficiency. And as for the cost of treatment vs. the cost of outdoor time – let’s just say it is one of the biggest bargains you will ever find.

  1. Just let them play.

It doesn’t have to be like school (and shouldn’t be) – completely scheduled and regimented. Unstructured outdoor play helps a child’s development just as much, which again which brings us to the next point….

  1. A little dirt won’t hurt.

Don’t put the kibosh on mud pies. It really won’t hurt and as Åkeson McGurk’s research shows, it may even be helpful in resisting immunological disorders.

  1. Freedom with responsibility.

Although the great outdoors is wonderful for kids, as with everything else there needs to be a balance. Just because they are outside (and perhaps out of eyeshot some of that time, depending on the ages involved) they are not running wild. Not matter where you live, there are some risks and appropriate – but not overprotective – supervision is needed.

  1. Unplug to connect.

We can learn to live with a lot less technology. Yes, it is necessary to our modern lifestyle, but we can learn to do things like TALK and not TEXT each other. Truly, a break from the electronics is good and outdoor activities give us opportunities to make that change.

  1. It takes a village.

One parent (or a couple) alone probably can’t completely convince their kids that the outside is wonderful. Find some like-minded friends, or get involved with school programs and clubs that make outdoor time an integral part of their program.

  1. We are one with nature.

This is my favorite tip. As Åkeson McGurk says, “Children and nature make a really good fit” (pg. 258). However, I feel it is even more important than that. We all need to remember that we are one with nature. How we interact with nature affects all of us in so many ways. We would do well to remember it.



Review: Hey Baby!

hey babyReview:

Hey. Baby! – A Collection of Pictures, Poems and Stories from Nature’s Nursery

Author: Stephanie Warren Drimmer

Publisher: National Geographic Kids, 2017

Source: ARC

Not all kids like to read or listen to fictional stories. Some prefer nonfiction. For those kids, Hey, Baby! is the type of book I would recommend. It is such a positive, feel-good book, I think it would make excellent bedtime reading – and don’t be surprised when the adult finds it just as interesting as the younger audience.

Hey! Baby is divided into sections like Mountain and Plains Babies, River and Rain Forest Babies, and Ice and Snow Babies. Each section contains a folktale, like “How the Zebra Got Its Stripes” or “Why Porcupine Has Quills.” Each section also contains a rescue story. “The Perfect Pair” is about the rescue of two baby elephants. The book also contains poetry. “The Eagle” by Alfred Lord Tennyson and “Seal Lullaby” by Rudyard Kipling are just two of the offerings. And of course there are plenty of plain old animal facts. Did you know that baby hedgehogs are called hoglets and eat slugs, worms, and birds’ eggs? Or that geckos are considered good luck?

The photography is superb. A reader could spend hours just pouring over the pictures. One feature included in each section is called “Tot Lot” and gives a mini-lesson along with a picture on several additional animals of the area.

This book is a great addition for a classroom or home library and is something I believe young readers will refer to again and again.


NOTE: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Review: Weird but True! Christmas


National Geographic Kids

Weird but True! Christmas: 300 festive facts to light up the holidays

Source: ARC

To help get everyone in the holiday spirit, I am sharing Weird but True! Christmas. It’s the type of book I love to have on-hand for the holidays. Why? It’s a great book to have in your little sack of surprises on a long road trip – you know, to pull out when you first hear the words, “Are we there yet?” Perhaps you are expecting young guest to be around your home. Lay it out on the coffee table or a bedside table where they will (hopefully) notice it as they go romping around. If not, pull them into your lap and share it together. It’s filled with the type of information that keeps kids entertained. Here is a little quiz to give you a sample:

  1. Which U.S. President held an indoor snowball fight?


  1. What is the traditional mode of transportation to church on Christmas Day in Caracas, Venezuela?


  1. What to people in Bolivia bring to church on Christmas Eve?


  1. Did you know that some Christmas lights can be seen from outer space?


  1. Which U.S. state was the first to recognize Christmas as an official holiday?


Curious about the answers? Check out the pages listed below:

  1. 73
  2. 65
  3. 129
  4. 139
  5. 195


Note: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Review: Ultimate Dino-Pedia


Ultimate Dino-Pedia

Author: “Dino” Don Lessem

Reviewed by: Paleontologist Dr. Darren Naish

Illustrated by: Franco Tempesta

Publisher: National Geographic Kids, 2017

Source: ARC

Kids love dinosaurs. The fascination with these creatures from the past never fails. If you’ve got a dino-enthusiast on your holiday gift list, this is the book to buy. It would also be a good classroom resource.

Ultimate Dino-Pedia has the latest scientific discoveries. There is plenty of new dino facts on things like dino weapons and dino pee (yes, apparently they have discovered some). There is a detailed explanation on how fossils form. And there is a dino dictionary, listing hundred of dinosaurs. About eighty-five dinosaurs have feature pages.

Some of the dinosaurs featured are familiar, like the Tyrannosaurus. Others are not so well-known. The Edmontosaurus  was one of the last of the noncrested duckbill dinosaurs. Timurlengia was about the size of a horse. Rebbachisaurus was very like the Diplodocus, but lived in Africa (Diplodocus lived in North America) and at a much later time period. The Paralititan was a giant swamp dweller, found in what is today the Sahara desert. After this little hint of what the book is like, I think many people will be glad to hear that the dictionary contains a pronunciation guide.

Each of the featured dinosaurs is illustrated with a realistic painting depicting the dinosaurs in their natural habitat. Wonderfully clear and beautifully detailed, the pictures alone can entertain one for hours.



Note: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Review: Bet You Didn’t Know! 2017


Bet You Didn’t Know! Fascinating, Far-out, Fun-tastic Facts

National Geographic Kids, 2017

Source: ARC

It’s time for another quiz/list of fun-tastic facts!

  1. A cow can produce enough milk in its lifetime to make ____ gallons of ice cream. Answer: 9,000 gallons (pg. 8)
  2. What is the difference between effect and affect? (Check the explanation on page 14.)
  3. Did you know: Frogs croak louder when bad weather is approaching? (pg. 17)
  4. How many colors can your eye see? Answer: 10 million. (pg. 36)
  5. A dog’s nose print is as unique as a human fingerprint. (pg. 44)
  6. A single hive can house up to ____ bees. Answer: 80,000 (pg. 103)
  7. A golden hamster’s check pouches extend all the way to its hips! (pg. 113)
  8. What is the smallest flying mammal? Answer: the bumble bee bat (pg. 118)
  9. Mosquitoes prefer to bite people who have smelly feet. (pg. 154)
  10. What is the difference between an herb and a spice? (Herbs come from the leafy parts of plants, spices come from other parts. pg. 168)

This selection from National Geographic Kids has facts on all types of subjects: animals, dragons, dinosaurs, space, insects, holiday facts, chocolate, Presidents, Antarctica, ancient Egypt, oceans, colors, cats, and dogs. It’s pretty diverse! It really is fun and guarantees hours of entertainment.


*NOTE: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Review: Math Lab for Kids


Photo Credit:


Math Lab for Kids: Fun, Hands-On Activities for Learning with Shapes, Puzzles, and Games

Authors: Rebecca Rapoport and J.A. Yoder

Publisher: Quarry Books, an imprint of Quarto Publishing Group USA Inc., 2017

Source: Public Library

Age 6-10

I have been seeing a lot of math books on the market lately. Although I’m glad to see some interesting STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) books becoming available, I was still curious. It seems so unlikely that a kid would pick this up as a book to read. I wondered if these activities could possibly be as fun as the titles claim.

For this book, at least, the promise of fun is truly fulfilled. There are lessons in geometry, topology, and graphs, to name just a few of the topics covered. I tried a few of the labs myself. I made the gumdrop pyramids (and sampled plenty, just like any kid would. Can’t imagine there are going to be too many complaints with this activity). I drew some parabolas but then stitched some, too. For kids who like gross motor activities, one lab takes students out-of-doors to make a giant ellipses.

I like how the activities in this book can be adapted to many age groups. I’ve seen preschool aged children working on similar activities to the shape labs. We used straws that had been cut to smaller lengths and balls of play dough (a homemade edible version, just in case). And I have seen much older kids making fractal snowflakes. Though some supplies are needed for the activities, most are things readily on hand or inexpensive to purchase.

I still don’t know if this is the type of book children will pick up on their own, but parents and teachers should. Do the activities with them. And perhaps you might not mention the word math. It’s kind of like hiding vegetables in favorite treats. Sometimes what they don’t know won’t hurt them.

For more information:

Review: Creepy Creatures (Zombies)


Creepy Creatures: Zombies

Author: Sarah Tieck

Publisher: Big Buddy Books, an imprint of Abdo Publishing, 2016

Source: Public Library

Looking for some Halloween-themed nonfiction books? The Creepy Creatures series is an option for those who also want a bit of a fright with their facts. Though I read the Zombies volume,  there are also books available about aliens, Bigfoot, vampires, mummies, ghosts, werewolves and witches.

Zombies gives some information about what a zombie is and whether or not they really exist. There are a few examples of modern-day zombie movies and stories (although plenty of other examples that came immediately to my mind were not mentioned at all). Historical information about zombies – where they originated and how the legends differ – was included.

My biggest complaint about this book is that it is neither here nor there. I think younger readers might find the pictures and some of the information a little too frightening. Yet slightly older readers will not find the book gory or detailed enough. I happened to fall into the second category and found myself wanting much more.

Review: Muddy


Muddy: The Story of Blues Legend Muddy Waters

Author: Michael Mahin

Illustrator: Evan Turk

Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2017

Source: Public Library

Muddy tells the story of Muddy Waters. Throughout his childhood in one of the poorest and most heavily segregated areas of Mississippi to his later years as an influential artist in American music, Muddy’s life embraces music. He was persistent and determined and despite many difficulties and disappointments, he continued to have the ultimate faith in the music of his heart.

This picture book reflects the raw emotion of Muddy’s own music. The language is like music itself. “It was shake off the dust and wring out your worries and laugh and cry and feel alive music.” That may describe Muddy’s blues, but it also describes the language used in this book.

The illustrations, too, add to the beautifully written text. It’s primitive and raw and full of deep, rich colors. We can even feel the music through the illustrations. My favorite pictures are of Muddy Waters himself while playing his music. They depict his belief and love for his songs. We can sense the energy of the listening audience.

Reading this book will inspire readers to actually listen to his songs. Fortunately, there is a list of available “Best of Muddy Waters” compilations noted at the end of the book. Really, it’s time to listen to those old blues songs!

Review: Octopuses One to Ten

octopuses one to ten

Photo Credit:


Octopuses One to Ten

Author: Ellen Jackson

Illustrated by: Robin Page

Publisher: Beach Lane Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster’s Children’s Publishing Division, 2016

Source: Public Library

October 8 (today) is World Octopus Day, and in celebration, I will review Octopuses One to Ten.

At first glance this may seem like just another simple counting book. It is not. The intended audience is for grades K-3. Yes, it counts, but it also includes plenty of scientific information about octopuses. By combining both the math and the science, we get a book that is both new and interesting. For instance, did you know that octopuses have three hearts (#3) and nine brains (#9)?

I also love the illustrations because they are more than simply pictures of octopuses. That is interesting enough by itself, but what I really like is that when readers are exploring the ten types of octopuses listed in #10, there are extra pictures that show the size of each one in relation to the size of a person. The giant Pacific octopus can grow bigger than a man, while octopus wolfi is about the size of a thumb.

At the end of the book are included a few “octopus” craft projects that I am sure the kids will love. (Who wouldn’t want to gobble up an Oreo octopus?)

Learn more about Ellen Jackson at:

And Robin Page at: