Read All About it: July Book Picks

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We are little late with this month’s book picks. But, as I say better late than never.

For us, we really look forward to the summer reading program at our local library. We have been attending special shows featuring magicians, acting troupes and much more.

We also still visit the library every other Friday to pick out new books to enjoy during story time.

Here are some of our favorite library book picks for this month.

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“Vanishing Valentines: Scooby-Doo Picture Clue Book”

We love getting these Scooby-Doo Picture Clue Books from our library. They have the regular story but instead of some of the words they have a picture. For example, instead of the word “Scooby-Doo” they just have his picture. We love this because the parents can read the words and our little one can say what the picture is.

If you own the book, there are flashcards of the picture words that are used in the back of the book that you can cut out.

The story is pretty short and cute and it is perfect for any Scooby fans out there.

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“A Day at the Fire Station” by Richard Scarry

I think it is important to introduce your kids to the classics. In my opinion Richard Scarry and his busy world is a classic.

The illustrations are great and it gives an in-depth look at a fire station, which is something that kids around preschool age are pretty interested in to begin with.

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“The Noisy Paint Box” by Barbara Rosenstock and Mary GrandPre

This was my favorite book of the bunch. Not only was it colorful with beautiful illustrations but it told the story of the abstract artist Vasya Kadinsky.

The story was really easy to identify with about a young boy who could see color when he heard different sounds like instruments at an opera. While he was forced into painting more realistic art he fought against it and painted what he wanted to paint and what made him happy.

I love that they made a book about an artist that was easy accessible to children.

In the back there are some examples of his work and it was fun to have Lily pick out her favorite painting, which was “Two Ovals.”

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“How to Wash a Woolly Mammoth” by Michelle Robison and Illustrated by Kate Hindley

This was a really sweet story about a little girl who wanted to wash her woolly mammoth. (Surprising I know!)

It is really great for little ones because it helps teach them sequencing and even cause and effect on a certain level.

A fun accompanying activity might be to ask your little one to talk about the steps they would take to wash their imaginary pet and then to draw a picture of the process or one of the steps of the process.

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“Pipsqueaks!: Maze Day A Book of Beginning Mazes”

Ever since Lily was a little baby she would watch “Baby Maze” on Baby First TV and she loved it.

This book features a bunch of different types of mazes that are not just your typical “labyrinthine maze.”

The illustrations are so cute and it is fun to try and see what all the mice are up to in the illustrations.

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“Players in Pigtales” by Shana Corey and Illustrated by Rebecca Gibbon

Any fans of the 1990s film “A League of Their Own” would love this book that follows the character of Katie Casey who wants to grow up and play baseball. She is told over and over that girls can’t do that until they start the women’s professional baseball leagues during World War II.

It is a wonderful story, not just for girls, but for everyone that loves baseball and is interested in learning more about this unique section of women’s sports history.

Tara’s Books of the Month

I don’t have any photos that I took of my book picks because most of them were read through my Kindle.

Catching Big Fish

“Catching the Big Fish” by David Lynch

I love David Lynch. “Twin Peaks” is my favorite series of all time and “Mullholand Drive” is one of my favorite movies.

This book talks a lot about Lynch’s beliefs in transcendental mediation and how it affects his every day life, how it drives his creativity and also stories about the various films and “Twin Peaks.”

I can’t recommend this book enough. There are a lot of chapters but they are all super short.

You don’t need to necessarily be a fan of Lynch. You can really get a lot from it if you want to develop your creativity.

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“Milk and Honey” by Rupi Kaur

It has been a long time since I read a book of poetry. After seeing it on the top 10 bestsellers I had to check it out.

The poems are very personal and share a lot about the author’s personal life including childhood abuse, her current relationships and finding herself.

Some of the poems at the beginning were uncomfortable to read, but later the poems were beautiful and really touching.

 

“The Lumberjanes”

I have never read a graphic novel before. But, since our library card includes membership to the ebook, television, movie, music and graphic novel renting site Hoopla, I thought I would give one a shot.

After a lot of research, I found the “Lumberjanes” series.

It is about a group of girls who are at summer camp when all these strange things start to happen. It reminds me of the Disney series “Gravity Falls” which I also love.

I read the first two volumes as ebooks and I had to request the third volume from the library in physical form because they didn’t have an electronic version.

 

That wraps up our books picks for this month (better late then never). Have you and your Mousekatots read any good books lately?

Also, here is a video showcasing Lily’s favorite book from this month:

 

 

Read All About It: March

March has been a very bitter month for us, when it comes to weather.

This means that we spent a lot of time indoors curled up with a good book and we went back to the library this month due to the height of flu season.

Here were our choices for the March bookbag.

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“If You Give a Moose a Muffin” by Laura Numeroff 

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Just like the famous “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” this story talks about what happens when you give a moose a muffin. As you can image the fun that ensues as the book escaltes from a simple muffin to a sweater and to a puppet show.

“What Pet Should I Get” by Dr. Seuss

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Recently this new Dr. Seuss book was discovered years after the author’s death. Just like all of his other books it spent a lot of time on the bestsellers list. What I really like about the book is that there is section in the back from the publisher about the importance of going to shelters to pick out your new pet instead of going to a pet store like the book states. (Please excuse the blurry photo. We were too excited.)

“Easter Surprise” by Catherine Stock

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This book is a sweet story that gets kids in the mood for Easter. The story is about two siblings who goes on a trip to a lake house during Easter. The beautiful watercolors enhance the story and give it a really sweet feeling. This is just one of many Stock’s holiday books.

“Oh No, Little Dragon” by Jim Averbeck

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This is a sweet story about a little dragon who loses his spark and is afraid that his Mommy won’t love him anymore and he tries so hard to get his spark back by making himself warm. It is only when he learns that his mommy will always love him no matter what that brings the spark back. Sweet story with cute and fun illustrations.

“Elephants Cannot Dance” by Mo Williams 

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If you couldn’t already tell by the picture this was our favorite book. Lily has always been a fan of the Elephant and Piggy books and she really liked this one. It tells the story of Elephant who has no confidence about dancing. However, he learns to accept himself as he is and celebrate his own unique qualities.

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For me, I haven’t done much reading this month. Between work, the blog and deciding to make Lily’s Easter dress I have had a full plate.

But, I have enjoyed reading these two books that came with my subscription to Calm Box that was a Valentine’s Day gift from the hubby.

Each book is full of either inspiration or tips on how to lead a less stressful life.

The beautiful illustrations and quick relaxation tips make for a nice read right before bed to help you remember what is important in life.

What has been on your book list this month? Leave your comments below.

 

Seuss-tastic Time

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A couple of evenings ago we had the opportunity to attend a special Dr. Seuss evening that was sponsored by our school district’s early reading program.

The event was really planned out well and Lily had the chance to hear three different Dr. Seuss books.

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After the books the kids had an opportunity to play some different Seuss themed games while the parents listened to a talk about how to incorporate reading into everyday life.

They even had a gift bag give away that included a copy of the book “Raising a Rock Star Reader.”

I never win anything, but I won the raffle. I was excited.

Then after a reading of “Cat in the Hat” we took a few photos and played some games before we received a wonderful giftbag full of several books including “Fox in Socks” and a couple other books as well as erasers, a pencil, pencil sharpener, stickers and bookmarks.

We had such a wonderful evening and we were so thankful for the district for putting on this wonderful event.

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How did you celebrate Dr. Seuss day? Leave your comments below.

 

 

Read, White and Blue

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Photo courtesy of Batton Rouge Moms

This week the country celebrates “Read Across America” in honor of Dr. Seuss’ birthday.

It serves as a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the tradition of reading not just by yourself, but reading to your children as well.

So, in honor of the celebration I wanted to share both Lily’s top three books and my top three books. (Lily decided on the number three because she is just three years old.)

Lily’s top three books of all times

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“Interrupting Chicken” by David Ezra Stein

This book always elicits giggles in our house.

The story is about a little chicken that is enjoying story time right before bed when she keeps on interrupting her father as he tries, and fails, again and again to read stories when the little chicken keeps on interrupting.

Can Papa finish one story before he is interrupted? Found out in the book.

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“The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh” by A.A. Milne

Every child that has grown up has visited his or her friends in the Hundred Acre Wood.

Pooh, Piglet, Rabbit, Eeyore and the whole gang’s tale of Heffalumps, Busy Backsons and becoming completely surrounded by water are one of our favorite stories to hear time and time again.

I am sure everyone has either wanted to play Pooh Sticks with Winnie-the-Pooh or gone bouncing with Tigger at least once in their childhood.

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“Creepy Carrots!” by Aaron Reynolds and Peter Brown

This is one of Lily’s favorites from way back when she was little.

The story is about a bunny that cuts through this field on his way to and from school where he plucks a few carrots from the garden to eat.

Everything seems to be going fun until he starts to think the carrots are following him.

The book is more cute then creepy and reminds me of a cheesy monster movie.

It is also a Caldacot award winning book, so you know it must be good.

Tara’s top book picks

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Photo courtesy of Pinterest

“Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen

This is my all time favorite book. I love the regency time period and Lizzy Bennet is one of my all time favorite literary heroes. She bucks the system when she won’t marry the creeptastic Mr. Collins (can you blame her?) and is holding out for love.

Mr. Darcy is also such a dreamy character (even though he is a jerk throughout half of the book) that has Austen fan girls swooning for days.

The story really talks about the dangers of pride and of course the prejudice that people pass each day.

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“She’s Come Undone” by Wally Lamb

When I first read this novel many years ago, I had to keep on checking the front cover to double check the gender of the author.

Lamb did a wonderful job being the voice of a girl that grows into a woman and has to face many challenges during this transition.

Dolores Price spends her time feeding her soul with junk food until she turns into a young adult where she goes through a rebirth that helps to transition her life.

Really great story that deals with difficult themes.

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“Memoirs of a Geisha” by Arthur Golden

What stood out to me the most was how well Golden did at transporting the reader to another place and time. Somewhere that most readers would never have experienced and make it seem like a place they know so well.

The story follows a group of girls as they train to become geishas before and during World War II.

Becoming and being a geisha was an art form that was much more than “entertaining” a gentleman, and Golden really goes into depth on explaining this.

The film version of the novel was a really good adaptation that stayed pretty faithful to the book.

What are your favorite books to read with your little one or on your own? Leave your comments below.

Lost in a Good Book

Half way through last year we decided to add another component to Lily’s bedtime routine by choosing a children’s chapter book and reading a chapter from it each night.

So far we have read a couple Kingdom Keepers books, “The Secret Garden,” the two books that comprise “Bednobs and Broomsticks,” and many more.

Our most recent book was “The Land of Stories,” by Chris Colfer (yes, the same Chris Colfer that starred in “Glee”).

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This first book, “The Wishing Spell” is one out of five and follows the story of two twins, Alex and Connor, who fall through a mysterious book that transports them to a place where all their favorite fairy tale characters live including Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Goldilocks, Snow White, the Evil Queen and many others.

The problems arise when the twins have to assemble all the items that are needed for the wishing spell to get them home. Finding these items is easier said than done because they are the hallmarks of famous fairy tale characters like the spindle from Sleepy Beauty, a gem from Snow White’s coffin and more.

Can they make it in time before the Evil Queen tries to cast the spell first?

We enjoyed the book a lot.

It was nice that a lot of classic fairy tale characters were included in the book and it was a great journey story that followed the twins through the different lands that comprise the land of stories.

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A map has been included in the front of the book. (I am a sucker for a book that has a map in the front.)

We really enjoyed the book. It had a great story and message and it was really engaging.

The only downside was that the chapters were a little long for our purposes (it made for a late night if we read an entire chapter sometimes) so we solved it by splitting some of the chapters into two nights.

We are reading the fourth “Kingdom Keepers” book right now, but after it we are going to read the second book in the series.

Have you and your kiddos read any great books lately? Leave your comments below.

 

Holiday Book Bag

With the Christmas and holiday season right around the corner, we wanted to take one more trip to our public library to stock up on some books to keep us busy during the holiday season.

So I wanted to show you what we have in our:

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We are lucky enough to have a wonderful library that has a lot of books for adults downstairs and then a great children’s library upstairs.

I am a big lover of cozy mysteries (mystery books that are not overly violent and often feature a sleuth who is not a professional in the business.) Luckily, our library has a wide selection of these types of books.

My cozy mystery choice for over the holidays is:

“Gingerbread Cookie Murder” by Joanne Fluke, Laura Levine and Leslie Meier

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This book is really unique because it contains three different stories in one book and they all have to deal with murder and gingerbread. (How is that for a niche book subject?)

The first story is “Gingerbread Cookie Murder” by  Joanne Fluke.

Fluke is the author of the Hannah Swensen novels that feature the owner of a bakery as the heroine of the books. (Some of the books have been made into movies for the Hallmark Channel and feature Alison Sweeny in the role.)

This time Hannah finds her neighbor murdered with a box of her gingerbread cookies nearby. She soon discovers he had a list of enemies longer than her Christmas shopping list. Will Hannah be able to solve the crime?

The second story is “The Dangers of Gingerbread Cookies” by Laura Levine.

Jaine Austen has been recruited to help her parents’ retirement community play when the actor playing the gingerbread cookie falls to his death during the play. Was it an accident or something more? It is up to Jaine to find out.

The final story is “Gingerbread Cookies and Gunshots” by Leslie Meier.

Lucy Stone discovers the body of the father of a five-year-old boy who had gone missing. When gingerbread cookie crumbs that Lucy gave to the boy are found on the body she sets off to find the killer before he strikes again.

Honestly I picked up the book because I really wanted to read Fluke’s story, but if I have time I might check out the other two.

When it comes time for Christmas and over the winter I really like to find a sweet romance. Not one of the bodice rippers that features Fabio and some woman half clothed with her hair flapping in the breeze, but a sweet story that is full of heart and gives you the warm and fuzzies.

My go to author is Debbie Macomber.

Some of her books were made into the widely popular drama series “Cedar Cove” on, you guessed it, the Hallmark Channel.

So I picked:

“The Perfect Christmas” by Debbie Macomber

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This book I actually started reading as an e-book from our library, but my time was up and the book “poofed” away from my bookshelf when I was only a few chapters in and I thought I would get it in hard copy form and finish it.

When 33 year-old Cassie Beaumont receives a Christmas card from a friend depicting her perfect family, single Cassie decides to take fate into her own hands.

She makes a sizable investment into a very exclusive matchmaker, Simon Dodson, who guarantees a match or your money back.

But before Simon will introduce Cassie to her match, she must complete three holiday tasks: be a charity bell ringer, dress as Santa’s elf at a children’s party and prepare a traditional turkey dinner for her family.

Will Cassie be able to complete the tasks and find love? What does Simon have planned for her?

The few chapters I read were really cute and I am looking forward to finishing the book.

Those were the two books that I choose. I am hoping to at least read two of the stories while I am on vacation from work, but with a little one you never know.

For our little bookworm, who also loves to read, I choose mostly Christmas books, except for a book from her favorite series.

“Happy Pig Day” by Mo Williams

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This book, that is part of the Elephant & Piggie series, teaches children about how to include their friends.

When Piggie is celebrating the very special Pig Day, Gerald her elephant pal starts to feel left out. Will Piggie notice and find a way to include Gerald in the festivities?

Lily loves these series of books that feature very few words on each page and almost always garner a laugh from the little readers.

“The Animal’s Santa” by Jan Brett

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I was immediately drawn to the books because of the beautiful illustrations. Lily and I previously read another book by Brett and we enjoyed the illustrations. Because there is a lot of text on each page for pre-schoolers, the intricate illustrations help distract the little bookworms and make them less antsy while you read.

The books tells the story of Little Snow, a white rabbit who is celebrating his first Christmas, as he learns who is the Santa for the animals.

On Christmas Eve, Big Snowshoe, who is Little Snow’s big brother, figures out a way for the animals to catch a glimpse of Santa.

“Henry the Christmas Cat” by Mary Calhoun and illustrated by Erick Ingraham

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If you have read Mousekatots before, then you know that we have two sweet kitties. So, anytime there is a book that features a cat we snatch it up. So when we found a book that featured a cat and Christmas we had to check it out.

In this book, Henry is a Siamese cat that follows his family everywhere. When he finds out that his boy is acting in a Christmas play he decides he wants to see what this is all about and sets out to find his family.

On his journey he becomes an accidental shepherd and steps in to save the day and the play.

“Llama Llama Holiday Drama” by Anna Dewdney

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If you have a little one then you are probably familiar with the Llama Llama books.

In this story Llama Llama is struggling to remain patient for Christmas to arrive while he helps with all the holiday preparations like decorating, shopping and making Christmas cookies.

This is something all little ones can identify with.

“On This Special Night” by Claire Freedman and Simon Mendez

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For us, teaching Lily the reason for the season is something that is important.

We have a few books that take on this subject, but I really liked that this story was told from the perspective of the animals that were in the manger when Jesus was born.

Little Cat and Mother Cat end up joining the other animals that are going toward the special light that lead them to a very important someone who embodies peace, love and joy.

So, those are the books that we chose from the library to enjoy during the holidays.

What is your favorite holiday book or what books do you plan on reading over the holidays? Leave a comment below.