Category: Children’s Fiction

Napoleon

I wrote a book about an evil witch. She spent thousands of years collecting souls for her magical book. One day a young man named Jack was able to trap her inside the book. The book was stored safely inside a museum for over a hundred years. Then the museum was shut down and the book of souls was recycled. Now, Jack’s soul is trapped inside a baseball cap, and he’s trying to help Ishmael, who of course knew nothing about a witch, or a book of souls, or anything.

I’m not sure how to promote books. I don’t know anything about that. I do know a lot about history. So, I thought I would write about interesting people from history. People who potentially could’ve had their souls stolen by an evil witch. Those souls being collected into a book of souls.

Napoleon

August 15th, 1769 to May 5th, 1821

He was a brilliant military leader and the subject of the first adventure for Ishmael and his magical hat. I chose Napoleon because I thought he was someone that most people would recognize. He is a very famous person in history. However, like so many other famous people from history, we kind of take for granted that we know the whole story.

Saying to someone one, “Hey, you heard about that guy, Napoleon?” A person might get a response like, “Yeah, the short guy,” or something like, “Oh right, that French guy.” Both of those responses are right. Napoleon Bonaparte was French, and he could not dunk a basketball…except on one of those plastic kiddy nets.

There is so much more to Napoleon than his French-ness, and his shortness. He was the Emperor of France, a position that he created, from May 18th, 1804 to April 6th, 1814. He was the last truly successful French monarch (The kind that rules countries, not the butterfly). The King that ruled France before Napoleon didn’t do so well either.

Napoleon was known for his amazing military mind. He really knew how to put together a battle plan. He was also the type of General that led his troops into battle. He walked in front of his men and they followed his brave example. Other than his terrible decision to invade Russia without bringing his winter coat, Napoleon led a very successful military career.

That was why he was so confident he would be victorious on the 18th of June 1815 during the Battle of Waterloo. Famously, Napoleon refused to leave his tent and just assumed that he would be able to defeat the Coalition forces. The British and Prussian (Germany wasn’t a country yet) armies defeated the French. Napoleon suddenly found himself in a country that was no longer willing to support his warring ways.

 

This battle was how the Duke of Wellington dealt with Napoleon, to find out how Ishmael handles him, check out Ishmael and the Enchanted Baseball Cap here www.ishmaelbook.com

Book Review: Laugh Out Loud Christmas Jokes for Kids by Rob Elliott

The first-ever Christmas collection from the #1 bestselling author of Laugh-Out-Loud Jokes for Kids is finally here with hundreds of holiday- and winter-themed jokes to make the season bright.


The holiday season just got a whole lot merrier now that Rob Elliott is back with another instant classic full of fresh, frosty fun to bring the whole family together. These pages are bursting with laughter to warm up the fireside, the sledding slopes, and everywhere in between.
 

Why don’t lobsters give Christmas presents?

       Because they’re shellfish! 

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Release Date: September 2016
Age Group: Children, Family
Source:  Gifted
Reviewed By: Nat

Review:

This is a great family funny! I brought this book out at breakfast and read a few of the jokes out loud while my kids were fighting, wailing, gnashing their teeth getting ready for school. It started off with an eye roll and an “it’s too early for this” but by the time we were ready to go, I’d gotten a few smirks and a “this are so corny but funny when you get all excited reading them”. I’ll take it thank you very much!

My first grader thought a few were so great that he tried memorizing a couple to re-tell to his friends at school. He really got a kick out of the knock, knock jokes too. 😂  

🎅🏽 What’s Santa’s favorite candy?

    Jolly Ranchers, of course!

And a little trivia too.

What do you have in December that’s not in any other month?

    The letter “D” 🤓

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🎁🎁🎁 This little gem is a great gift for: any family, a children’s book exchange, teacher gift or even a stocking stuffer. I found it on Amazon for less than $5 (and it’s prime)! 🎁🎁🎁

Book Review: The Thank You Book by Mary Lyn Ray

I saved this little gem until today, in the Spirit of Thanksgiving, THANK YOU to all the authors, readers and friends who share the love of a good book!

You are special.

Summary:
“Perfect for fans of Margaret Wise Brown and Pat Zietlow Miller’s Be Kind, The Thank You Book explores the many ways of being thankful that can fill a child’s day. Timely, wise, and accessible, the poetic text and tender illustrations celebrate the powerful impact gratitude can have on our lives.”

Thank you isn’t just for learning manners.
It’s also for when something wakes a
little hum
a little happy huminside you
and you want to answer back.

The Thank You Book explores the many ways we can be thankful for the pleasures great and small that await us every day. Tender and poetic, it reflects on the role gratitude can play in our lives and celebrates the powerful impact it can have on us.

Release Date:  September 2018
Age Group: Childrens, Picture, Read-Aloud
Source: Publisher
Reviewed By: Nat

Review:
The Thank You Book‘s target audience may be children but this is such a sweet reminder to everyone to simply be thankful, in all things. 

“Thank You” and “I’m Sorry” are probably two of the hardest phrases for people to express to one another and yet they mean so much. Teaching young kids to say them may start out in an effort to teach a child good manners but it needs to progress into so much more. I think worldwide, we could use a good book full of Thank You’s right now. Life is hard but it can still be happy.

This book is a sweet and gentle expression of simply being thankful for the big and little things, the good and the not-so-good times and everything in-between. I loved how the simple pleasures in life that we may take for granted were celebrated. I mean, I am pretty grateful for puddles. They sure brought me a lot of joy as a kid. They have also saved my sanity when all my kids were little and I’d yell “Go play in the puddles!” It’s a real game-changer when you tell kids to go and get muddy.

Art.
The illustrations are beautiful and so detailed. I really enjoyed studying the pictures and finding little treasures (like the bear dressed as Harry Potter for Halloween!).

And I have to mention that the physical copy of this book, it is very nice quality! I know I am thankful for the good feel of a book. 

This would be a perfect book to gift for a new mom, preschool teacher, and/or makes a great read for a new Thanksgiving tradition. I paired my book with our Turkey on the Table this year. Even though it’s for a much younger audience than I have, it was still fun to read and have the older kids teach the younger ones about being thankful.

Hats off to Mary Ray & Stephanie Graegin for creating such a sweet reminder of gratitude.

Book to Movie Review: The House with the Clock in Its Walls

I am not sure where to begin… I’ll start with two names: Jack Black & Eric Kripke. Now sprinkle in Eli Roth’s debut into family entertainment and you have the oddest cocktail ever!

When you set out to scare, Eric Kripke is your man! One, glorious title Supernatural. Ahhhh, the Winchesters. Now combine Jack Black AND Kate Blanchet, pure magic!

I wasn’t sure how in the world someone from the realm of Supernatural was going to hone it in for a “family” friendly scare but man did he deliver. The House with a Clock in Its Walls was everything!

Louis was weird and it was a celebration to watch. This movie was jam packed with themes: family loss, bullying, the underdog, persistence, believing in yourself and so on.

I left loving the color purple, wanting a ginormous fireplace, feeling the need to burn all dolls and a little afraid of Jack-o-Lanterns. It was G-R-E-A-T.

🎃🕷💀😳🎃🕷💀😳🎃🕷💀😳🎃🕷💀😳🎃🕷💀😳🎃🕷💀😳🎃🕷💀😳🎃🕷💀😳🎃🕷💀😳🎃🕷💀😳
Scare factor according to The Mob

✔︎ Pre-teens: loved it.

✔︎ Middle schoolers: loved it.

𐄂 1st grader: had to sit in my seat and remind me he loved me and thought I “just needed a hug” right at that pumpkin filled moment. No crying. If your youngsters can’t handle the Goosebumps flicks, you might want to wait until they are a bit older and desensitized.

🎃🕷💀😳🎃🕷💀😳🎃🕷💀😳🎃🕷💀😳🎃🕷💀😳🎃🕷💀😳🎃🕷💀😳🎃🕷💀😳🎃🕷💀😳🎃🕷💀😳


THE HOUSE WITH A CLOCK IN ITS WALLS – In Theaters September 21
In the tradition of Amblin classics where fantastical events occur in the most unexpected places, Jack Black and two-time Academy Award® winner Cate Blanchett star in The House with a Clock in Its Walls, from Amblin Entertainment.  The magical adventure tells the spine-tingling tale of 10-year-old Lewis (Owen Vaccaro) who goes to live with his uncle in a creaky old house with a mysterious tick-tocking heart.  But his new town’s sleepy façade jolts to life with a secret world of warlocks and witches when Lewis accidentally awakens the dead.
Based on the beloved children’s classic written by John Bellairs and illustrated by Edward Gorey, The House with a Clock in Its Walls is directed by master frightener Eli Roth and written by Eric Kripke (creator of TV’s Supernatural).  Co-starring Kyle MacLachlan, Colleen Camp, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Vanessa Anne Williams, Lorenza Izzo and Sunny Suljic, it is produced by Mythology Entertainment’s Brad Fischer (Shutter Island) and James Vanderbilt (Zodiac), as well as Kripke.
Executive produced by William Sherak, Tracey Nyberg, Laeta Kalogridis and Mark McNair, The House with a Clock in Its Walls will be released by Universal Pictures.  www.housewithaclock.com
Genre: Adventure
Cast: Jack Black, Cate Blanchett, Owen Vaccaro, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Sunny Suljic and Kyle MacLachlan
Directed by: Eli Roth
Writer: Eric Kripke
Based on the Novel by: John Bellairs
Produced by: Brad Fischer, James Vanderbilt, Eric Kripke
Executive Producers: William Sherak, Tracey Nyberg, Laeta Kalogridis, Mark McNair

BOOKtober Fest: Kindle Unlimited Spooky Stories for Beginner Readers

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Each book has been Monster tested and APPROVED!

{Click titles for KU link to download}

1. Arthur’s Halloween by Marc Brown

2.  This Book is Haunted! by Haven Dexter

3. Halloween Hustle by

4. Sammy’s Spooktacular Halloween by Mike Petrik

5. Go to School Little Monster by Helen Ketteman

>  Goodnight, Little Monster is also available o KU

6. There Was an Old Mummy Who Swallowed a  Spider by Jennifer Ward 

>  I ended up purchasing a hard copy of this one because we HAD to add it to our “Somebody Swallowed Something” collection. It was less than 5 bucks and totally worth it!

Book Review: All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold & Suzanne Kaufman

Summary: A warm, welcoming picture book that celebrates diversity and gives encouragement and support to all kids.

Follow a group of children through a day in their school, where everyone is welcomed with open arms. A school where kids in patkas, hijabs, and yamulkes play side-by-side with friends in baseball caps. A school where students grow and learn from each other’s traditions and the whole community gathers to celebrate the Lunar New Year.

All Are Welcome lets young children know that no matter what, they have a place, they have a space, they are welcome in their school.

Release Date: July 2018
Age Group: Childrens, Picture Book
Source: Review Copy from Publisher
Reviewed By: Nat

REVIEW

Illustrations
The illustrations of All Are Welcome is top notch. I love when I get an advanced copy of an unbound book and I really hit the jackpot with this one because several of its pages are poster worthy! The illustrations are beautiful and the attention to cultural detail was beautiful.

Storyline
I enjoyed reading this aloud and the rhyming text was fun. You can spend as much or little time as you want on each page, again the illustrations are great.The repetition of All Are Welcome Here was such a kind, beautiful mantra.

Message
To preface, here is the cultural learning environment of my elementary children: we live deep in Southeast Texas, we live in a small town of approximately 14,000, our town is at least 80% Caucasian and there are about 50 churches along our main street.

With that said, my children are well traveled and have experienced a lot of different cultures in their young lives. They live in a small Texas town but they live large. When I first previewed All Are Welcome, I quickly identified several culture specific norms that I was sure would be pointed out and followed-up with “why do they…“. And it would have been perfect and encouraged because that’s how we learn.

But when I read it aloud to my youngest monster (first grader), what I expected him to point out (i.e. the Jewish child’s cap or the little girls hijab) just wasn’t the case. He was more interested in what the students science experiments were and where the visually impaired child got his sunglasses because “that would have been my friend” and are the Chinese dances like the Hawaiians?

My older monster, who is in the 4th grade, was a bit more observant and had more detailed questions.

Why was there a LGBTQ flag displayed like it was a country? 

How was the pregnant mom pregnant if she was married to another woman?

😳😳😳😳😳😳😳😳

Yeah it got real, quick. This is the perfect example of when the phrase “Love is Love” just won’t cut it. I honestly wasn’t expecting this and it caught me off guard but it made me pause and think a minute.

Alright, I stewed on it for a week. And here were my take-away thoughts:

  1. Prejudices are truly a learned behaviors. Sometimes that’s a good thing and sometimes it’s not.
  2. Curiosity begins innocently and we need to be there to cultivate it. Whether you are for or against a cultural norm, you’ve got to be willing to talk about it. 
  3. I think the flag should not have been included and neither should the pregnant lesbian. It took away from the innocence of the message. 
  4. At the end of the day, All Are Welcome.

With that said, the book sleeve is the real gem. It unfolds into a poster that has each cultural different child represented with the phrase “All Are Welcome” at the bottom. This poster should be mass produced and sent to every single school district in the US.

Download HERE

Follow this link to download free bookmarks from the talented Suzanne Kaufman: HERE

Giveaway! Christmas in July, Merry Bookmas!

CHRISTMAS IN JULY! 
📖☀️🎅🏽🎁

This giveaway is simple, follow on Instagram and 💥BOOM💥 you might win your very own army of minions! Well, sort of… I’m not 🎅🏽 but I know him!


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