Friday, July 21, 2017

Weird But True Know-It-All: U.S. Presidents by Brianna Dumont, illustrated by Adrian Lubbers [Review & Giveaway]

Durable Softcover $12.99
Ages 8-12
ISBN: 9781426327964
My thoughts:  National Geographic Kids Books is debuting titles that are perfect for celebrating not only our country’s amazing history, but learning more about our founding fathers — and those that followed in their footsteps. Weird but true! Know-it-all U.S.Presidents is simply packed with interestiing bits of information about each of the U.S. presidents. Some of it is funny, some intriguing, and some basic information about their presidency. It is quite a treat to learn some of this hitherto little known information. Some bears witness to the greatness of the man and some bears witness that they were simply humans with flawed personalities just as the rest of us are.

While this probably wouldn't be considered a go-to source for research papers, it certainly could be a springboard for such. Also, delving into the pages of this book will most certainly whet the appetite to learn more and dig deeper into the recesses of history.

This will make super reading (to stave off the dark pit of the summer slump) during the summer and then a handy resource for projects during the school year.

I highly recommend.

About the book:  Weird But True Know-It-All: U.S. Presidents by Brianna Dumont, illustrated by Adrian Lubbers (ages 8-12, $12.99, June 2017) - What's so weird about U.S. presidents? Plenty! Did you know that Abraham Lincoln was a great wrestler? That Ulysses S. Grant got a speeding ticket riding his horse – twice! Or that Benjamin Harrison was afraid of electricity? And let's not forget that President McKinley had a pet parrot that whistled "Yankee Doodle Dandy" duets with him. Every president — from the 1st to the 45th — is spotlighted, featuring important historical information alongside vignette’s highlighting the oddities of each prez. “Extras” include an introduction that delves into the powers of the President, Congress, Supreme Court, an explanation as to how the electoral college works, a glossary, an index and even a listing of the Presidents’ most outrageous pranks.
GIVEAWAY
Begins July 22
ENDS August 11 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only
a Rafflecopter giveaway DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from MMPublicity on behalf of National Geographic Kids Books and the author to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and freely given.

KISSES FOR KINDERGARTEN by Livingstone Crouse [Review and Giveaway]

My thoughts: Often books about going off to kindergarten with reluctance focus on the child's inability to separate from home and family to venture into the strangeness and unfamiliarity of kindergarten. In Kisses for Kindergarten the vibrant Stella Isabella Harden simply has another solution - her dog is going to hold classes and her dog says she doesn't need to go. Well, that is until the end of the book when they both realize that her dog can't help her with books.

I found the illustrations to be lively and cheerful - well, alright, downright funny. The joy exuding from the pages is sheer happiness. Stella Isabella is a cute, active, happy child and young readers will fall in love with her.
The rhyming lines and alliteration are fun and catchy. Rhymes always capture a child's attention when infused with rollicking rhythm and lively cadence.
Stella Isabella Harden
contemplating kindergarten
declared she didn't have to go,
because her puppy told her so.
This is a fun book and helps generate interest in going to kindergarten and presents it as a good opportunity for the child. After all, who doesn't want to learn to read the words on the pages of a book?
About the book: School is about to begin, and Stella Isabella Harden decides that kindergarten just isn't for her. Instead, she decides to spend the day learning from her puppy named Buster. Together these two adventurers plan a day full of playtime, teatime, naptime, and storytime.

After every "lesson," Stella gets the best reward: a kiss from her best friend and favorite puppy. But will she change her mind about kindergarten before the first day of school? Join Stella and Buster in this lyrical read-aloud and uplifting story about growing up.

About the Author and Illustrator:

Livingstone Crouse has spent the last 20 years either selling, editing, or writing books for children. He's even done all three at once! So recently he decided he'd focus entirely on writing the kinds of books he likes to read, books in verse that are filled with heart, word-play, and lots of laughs. Books like this one. Livingstone lives in a large, 200-year old farmhouse in New York's Hudson Valley with his husband and a dog named Kat. (And you can be fairly certain that Livingstone Crouse is not his real name. But don't tell anyone!)

Macky Pamintuan was born and raised in Davao, a city in the southern Philippines. As a young child, drawing was his favorite pastime and an activity that brought him delight and satisfaction. Early on, his parents discovered that giving him paper and pencil was a sure way to keep him busy, quiet, and out of trouble. He still remembers the day when he successfully drew Mickey Mouse and Superman, a huge breakthrough and a sweet triumph. He moved to San Francisco at age 21 and in 1998 enrolled in the Academy of Art College to pursue illustration. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in December 2003. When not illustrating, Macky enjoys playing basketball, his other true passion.
GIVEAWAY
Begins July 21
ENDS August 4 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy on behalf of the Silver Dolphin Books and the author to facilitate a review. Opinions are my own and freely given.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Crafts and Recipes to Entertain Kids at Home This summer - The Lemonade Stand Cookbook from Burnt Cheese Press [Review & Giveaway]

My thoughts: This excellently designed and wonderfully appropriate book for children is a must-have. I would have loved to have it when my children were young. So at the onset let me say that I encourage moms, aunties, and grandmas to get one for their young folks.

Does it just address the budding entrepreneur who wishes to set up business on the front lawn? Absolutely not, though it has wonderful tips and instructions along that line.

This book is replete with a variety of yummy items requiring a sparse amount of ingredients that boys and girls can produce in the kitchen. Then not to be left out, the artsy can find several fun crafts to occupy and bring them a bit of creative joy.

The pictures are so beautifully done and the layout great. I love the happy children shown throughout the book. It simply speaks joy and happiness and exudes the possibility of happy times spent becoming a lemonade stand owner or simply making mom and dad a glass of cranberry lemonade or strawberry lemonade.

SAMPLE RECIPES and CRAFTS:

  • LOL (Lemon-Orange-Limeade)
  • Watermelon Agua Fresca
  • Polka Dot Blondies
  • Chocolate-Dipped Marshmallow Pops
  • Sunflower Crunch Balls
  • Hayley's Flower Pencils
  • Friendship Bracelets
  • Fingerknit Scarves
About the book: Lemonade stands . . . kids have been running them for decades, whether to raise money for a new bike, for a charitable cause, or simply to conquer boredom. Inspired by dozens of kid experts from all over the country, author Kathy Strahs pours her expertise as a food writer, entrepreneur and mother of two school-aged children into the ultimate guide to setting up your own lemonade stand. Step-by-step illustrations and full-color photographs of each recipe and craft make each page easy and fun to dive into. Find delicious drinks, such as Classic Lemonade and Cold-Brew Iced Tea, sweet treats such as Polka Dot Blondies and Chocolate-Dipped Marshmallow Pops, grab-and-go snacks such as Owen's Cheddar Chompers and Sunflower Crunch Balls, and creative crafts such as Hayley's Flower Pencils and Friendship Bracelets. Tips for setting up a successful stand, packaging ideas, cooking technique tutorials, and real-life "stand stories" from kids themselves are sure to inspire kids everywhere to "give life a squeeze."

Crafts and Recipes to Entertain Kids at Home This summer (find it on Amazon - click here The Lemonade Stand Cookbook )from Burnt Cheese Press.

GIVEAWAY
(Limited Time Available)
Begins July 19
Ends July 27 at 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy to facilitate a review. Opinions expressed are solely my own and freely given.

Monday, July 17, 2017

This Book Stinks!: Gross Garbage, Rotten Rubbish, and the Science of Trash by Sarah Wassner Flynn (National Geographic Kids) [Review & Giveaway]

My thoughts:  The title of this National Geographic Kids' book is a bit misleading because the "book" doesn't stink. No, the book is about garbage that stinks. And we all know that rotting garbage is putrid smelling and no one wants to be around it.

Reading through This Book Stinks! is basically a journey of bold infographics that give facts - interesting and stunning, about all the stuff that today's people around the world use, abuse, and trash. The mind-boggling facts and images of the huge mountains of trash dumps and landfills cause deep concern to this reader. Designed as a book to inform and education young readers of the importance that acceptance of their own individual responsibility to reduce the production of waste in the world, it is still entertaining.

The pictures and graphics are great and so well done. The coupling of factual information and statistics that even a child can understand are well presented with text that informs in bite-size pieces easily absorbed.

Who will enjoy this book? Kids, of course, and parents will also become enlightened. I do advise, though, that constraint be exercised regarding the information on "dumpster diving" as it can lead to forays into some nasty stuff while the seeker hopes to find treasures to use or up-source.

About the book: Get up close and personal with a wonderful world of waste. From composting and recycling, to landfills and dumps, to how creative people are finding new ways to reuse rubbish. It's fun to talk trash when it's jam-packed with infographics, thematic spreads, wow-worthy photos, sidebars, serious stats, and fabulous facts. Also included are quizzes and activities to inspire kids to take action, be proactive, and rethink the things we throw away.
GIVEAWAY
Begins July 17
Ends August 7 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only
a Rafflecopter giveaway DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate this review on behalf of National Geographic Kids. Opinions are my own. I was not compensated.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Getting frugal with our pocket book and with the enviroment

The world is full of stuff. The stuff that makes life pleasant, beautiful, enjoyable, doable, workable, easy, tasty, and so much more. The stuff that we buy, make, grow, and bring into our lives to enrich it and make life as good as possible.

But stuff gets worn out, has wrappings that we toss away, has scraps that need to be tossed and simply gets replaced by more stuff.

But the stuff that gets replaced or becomes too worn out to continue to use or that we just simply don't want anymore, gets tossed into the trash container, picked up by the trash collector, and tossed onto the trash dump. Then what happens?
That's the story of stinky, mountains of trash. Its origin and its destination. But it is destined to remain in piles, floated down rivers, dumped into the ocean and swirled into the Garbage Patch of the Pacific. 
But we can each do a little to stop the piles of trash, and in the course of helping the world a bit this way, we help ourselves. We help our budget. We get to feel good about things.

So let's get frugal. Let's get into living smart. Let's do a few little things....

  1. Broth: You don't have to purchase a can of broth when you need it for gravy, sauces, or soups. You can make your own. Did you buy a rotisserie chicken? Slice off the meat and then boil the carcass (bones, skin - yes, the skin, and remaining bits of meat) with a bit of salt and pepper. Then strain the broth and save. Pick the meat from the bones and save for the soup you make with this delicious broth. You can use the broth and meat within a few days after refrigerating or you can freeze it for later use. And there is no can for the trash container! Another opion is you can purchase some chicken parts or the whole bird and boil to make your broth. Then you have lots of wonderful, tender, tasty meat to use for casseroles, salads, or creamed dishes. This way you don't have to purchase canned chicken with all the additives. And.... no can for the trash container!
  2. Bags: We all know about the reusable bags you take to the stores so you don't have to bring home the store's little plastic bags (or paper bags). Well, those little plastic bags are terrible for the environment. I feel so good when I remember to take my own bags to the store and use and reuse them over and over again. No, I'm not perfect and I sometimes forget them. But I am trying to cut down on my plastic footprint on this sphere we can home.
  3. Linens: If you have a sewing machine and can sew a relatively straight line, you can do lots with towels, sheets, and shirts that are wearing thin. Cut them down to use for other purposes. A towel getting worn in the middle? Cut it down for a kitchen dish cloth or a cleaning rag to use and reuse. Sheets getting worn in the middle? Cut them down and make pillow cases. A pillow case is just a strip of cloth stitched into a rectangle and hemmed at the open end. Just look at the ones you already have, cut a "pattern" allowing for seams, and make them. Or you can cut a large sheet down for a child's bed or a crib or just a light cover to toss over a sleeping child. Napkins can be made from bits of sheets or the backs of Dad's shirts that are too worn to wear. This way you don't buy as many cloth or paper napkins. You have a colorful assortment for the family to use and reuse. You've saved money. You've purchased less items. You've slowed the growth of the trash pile a little.
  4. Bottles: Try to use your own refillable water bottle. All those plastic water bottles that folks purchase in daunting quantities end up in the landfill. They just don't degrade. They are there and they stay there. Try to avoid them as much as possible. If you must use them, be sure you recycle the plastic.
  5. Coffee to go: Do you love your coffee house buys? Love to get that special blend as you're on the go? Some shops let you bring your own travel mug and they fill it (you purchase the drink). That way you don't toss another disposable cup in the trash container and some shops even discount you a little for not needing their disposable cup. To be a frugal coffee drinker, though, make your own drink at home and take it with you. You've saved money and maybe helped the environment a little.
Is that all? Of course not. It is just a start. There are lots of ways to live frugal and there are lots of ways to help manage the environment. You don't have to be a miser or "tree hugger" to do any of these. It is just good common sense and a caring attitude.

©Chat With Vera. Permission to use this written material wholely or in part may be acquired by contacting Vera via email in the side bar. The Youtube Garbage Pile of the Pacific was gleaned from the internet and used solely for the purpose of enlighting my readers and not for personal gain. Permission granted to use the written material can be granted by Chat With Vera and does not include granting permission to use the video.

Friday, July 14, 2017

If You Were Me and Lived in .... CUBA & Oh Susannah: It's In the Bag by Carole P. Roman [Review & Giveaway]

ISBN: 978-1947118485
Softcover $12.96
My thoughts:  The author has written extensively about countries around the globe introducing children to cultures that vary and yet prove to be somewhat similar. Just what is it like to be a child living in..... Cuba?

We explore the daily life, food, and special events of a couple of kids living in Cuba. It seems that the family in the story eats a lot of rice dishes. Of course their name for rice is different from "rice" and it seems they combine it with meats and vegetables. The island's history is touched upon and entices the reader to delve into the settlement of the Spaniards on this little island so far away from Spain.

The glossary in the back of the book is helpful with word or phrase meanings and proncunciation.

Another interesting introduction to world cultures by Carole P. Roman.

Abou the book: Join Carole P. Roman when she visits the exciting island of Cuba in the newest book of her informative series. Learn about the varied customs and cultures. Travel to the Caribbean to discover what you would eat and do for fun. See the country through the eyes of a youngster like you and understand what life is like in this exciting place.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

ISBN: 978-1543034615
Softcover: $8.99
My thoughts:  The author's foray into early reader chapter books is interesting and provides more than just an entertaining story about Suzannah. It teaches that Suzannah, and all of us, can't simply tuck our problems away and out of sight just because they are difficult.

Suzannah learns to ask for help in solving those nagging and tedious emotional, learning, or social problems. The book is short with 34 pages but fairly complex for a young reader. Suzannah goes about her day toting around her ever-present backpack into which she puts problems with which she has difficulty - math tests, invitations, book report - so many hurdles.

The picture of Suzannah at the start of the book and on the cover are charming and you just want to love this sweet little girl. I would love to have seen the illustrations larger and sprinkled thoughout instead of tiny thumbnail images at the beginning of each chapter. I love the way mom and dad come to her rescue and help Suzannah find solutions.

I'm looking forward to more from little Suzannah and just wish this were a hardcover book so that libraries would add it to their collections.

About the book:  From award-winning author Carole P. Roman comes a new chapter book featuring Susannah Logan, a young student having a very bad day. It all begins with homework trouble and an invitation to a sleepover that she doesn’t want to go to. Would you want to go to a sleepover in a creepy house? Rather than dealing with her problems, Susannah stuffs them into her backpack. But how much can a backpack take? Will she be able to confront her worries before the backpack bursts? Or will she just continue to hide them away? Join Susannah and her friends in this story sure to charm busy young readers everywhere.
GIVEAWAY
3 winners chosen to receive 1 copy of each book
Begins July 14
Ends August 6 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
About the author: Carole P. Roman is the award-winning author of over fifty children's books. Whether it's pirates, princesses, or discovering the world around us, her books have enchanted educators, parents, and her diverse audience of children. She hosts two blog radio programs and is one of the founders of a new magazine, Indie Author's Monthly. She's been interviewed twice by Forbes Magazine. Carole has co-authored a self-help book, Navigating Indieworld: A Beginners Guide to Self-Publishing and Marketing. Oh Susannah is her first Early Reader Chapter book series. She lives on Long Island with her husband and near her children and grandchildren.

Her series include:

  • Captain No Beard
  • If You Were Me and Lived in- Cultural 
  • If You Were Me and Lived in- Historical
  • Nursery series
  • Oh Susannah- Early Reader
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from the author to facilitate this review of my own opinions. I was not compensated. Winner's copy is provided directly to the winner by the author.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Double Take! A New Look at Opposites by Susan Hood & illustrated Jay Fleck [Review & Giveaway USA/CANADA]


ISBN: 978-0763672911
Hardcover $16.99 - Ages 3-7
My thoughts:  Educational and entertaining books are always winners - well, that is if they capture the attention of the child, engage their minds, and provide illustrations and text that prove accurate and enduring. There is a plethora of "counting" books and a goodly number of books that teach shapes and, yes, opposites. The author, Susan Hood, has presented a new perspective on opposites. Perspective is what it is all about in most everything in life whether you view the trees from the mountain top, or from the flat lands. How one looks at things from their own perspective.

So in Double Take! A New Look at Opposites the young reader is introduced to a new perspective on opposites. Looking at that which is opposite as it relates to you or others or one item to another.

The presentation in rhyming text about what is near and what is far and how they are opposites is taken into account with varying perspectives. A look at strong and weak, close and far and then the author states that "a careless assumption can be a mistake." Again, looking at things more than once or from a different perspective changes one's outlook.

This is quite a good book with cute illustrations that are simple, uncluttered and definitely fun. A good educationally and entertaining book - at least from my personal perspective. (By the way, I intentionally used the word perspective to get across the value of looking at things from more than one angle or point of view.)


About the book: When it comes to opposites, it’s all a matter of perspective! Lively text and fun retro art engage kids in the finer points of a favorite concept.

Do you know opposites, yes or no? On. Off. Asleep. Awake. Opposites are a piece of cake . . . right? Not so fast! Time for a quick double take. Who knows what’s BIG unless there is SMALL? Does SHORT mean a thing except next to TALL? What is ABOVE and what is BELOW? The answer depends on who wants to know! Writer Susan Hood and illustrator Jay Fleck lead us on a topsy-turvy fun-house journey into the concept of opposites and takes it to the next level — with detours into relative terms and points of view (and a dollop of yin and yang for good measure).
GIVEAWAY
Begins July 13
Ends August 3 at 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA & CANADA - No P.O.Boxes.
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Candlewick Press to facilitate this review which I happily and freely give. Opinions are my own, alone. Your "perspective" might, of course, be different. This is a fun book with which to learn.