Sunday, July 15, 2018

Author Gene Barretta Hit A Home Run!

The Bat Can Bat A Book Of True Homonyms

by Gene Barretta

Sports Fans: Time To Pull Out Fans To Keep Cool During The Games

The book starts with

"A Note to the Reader:
HOMONYMS are words that sound the same and are spelled the same but have different meanings, such as BOWL (a round dish) and BOWL (the sport).

HOMOPHONES are words that sound the same but are spelled differently and have different meaning, such as TALE (a story) and TAIL (a part of an animal).

HOMOGRAPHS are words that are spelled the same but pronounced differently and have different meanings, such as TEAR (to cry) and TEAR (to rip)."

After the Bat used his BAT to hit a home run during a baseball game, " . . . the president of the United STATES announced a groundbreaking law which STATES that every animal has the RIGHT to play sports." And with this declaration, the words begin to flow as the various animals either TRAIN for races by racing a TRAIN or begin playing various sports. But when the water buffalo's HORN gets stuck in the net, it's a sure thing that the HORN sounded, stopping that game.

The illustrations of watercolor on Arches cold-press paper, make this a very fun book that should bring smiles to little faces.

What Concerned Me: Should learning be this much fun? Kidding! I have no concerns.

What I Liked Most:  The illustrations made what could have been a so-so book, an extremely fun way of learning. The pictures are bright and complement the silliness of the story.

Author/Illustrator: Gene Barretta
Publisher:  Henry Holt and Co.(February 2018)


  • Approx. Word Count: 400
  • Ages: 6 - 9
  • Pages: 40

Friday, July 13, 2018

Vroom VROOM...The Race Is About To Begin!

Cool Cat Versus Top Dog

by Mike Yamada

A Cat Vs Dog  High-Speed Race

Cat and Dog argue over the smallest things. Though the story never tells us what they fight over, it does say, "In fact, they fought like - - well, like cat and dog . . . " So at the annual Pet Quest (a neighborhood pet race around the block), both are usually the fastest and winners. One animal might win one year and the other the next. They are rivals, it seems, both inside and outside the house they live in together.

Cat and Dog spend the year tinkering and tweaking their race cars so their chance might be better to win.

The remainder of the book, approximately two-thirds, is dedicated to the race.

What Concerned Me: Several things concerned me about this story. First, though the illustrations are bright, there seems to be so much going on that many of them make it hard to really see what's important. Secondly, much of the book is dedicated to the race and very little in the way of a story.

What I Like Most: For kids who love races and competition, this will definitely be a hit. And even the long race can be an exciting, page-turning experience for some little ones.

Author/Illustrator: Mike Yamada
Publisher: Lincoln Children's Books (February 2018)

Ages: 4 - 8
Pages: 32

Thursday, July 12, 2018

A Glimpse Of Winter Through These Wild Yet Gentle Eyes


by Daniel Salmieri

- One Snowy Day These Two Meet For The First Time -

This is a quiet tale of a wolf noticing a bear and a bear sighting a wolf as they are both walking in the snow. They decide to join each other after finding out that neither are lost, just enjoying the quiet of the woods.  

As they walk together they smell the wet bark of the trees, listen to the small sounds, and closely examine different shapes. They watch an owl circle and land above them. 

As the two walk on they see a large round white area. In the summer it is a blue lake. But for now, it is frozen so they walk out, clear the snow and see colorful fish below.

In time the two need to leave each other. But as the snow melts will they meet up again?

The illustrations are sparse and darkish to depict winter. The colors used are mostly black, grays, and shades of blue and purple. The fish are yellow, pinks and blues.

What Concerned Me: For those seeking a "story" book, this may not meet your expectations. This felt more like a beautiful appreciation of nature.

 What I Liked Most: The illustrations and text complement each other very well.

Author/Illustrator: Daniel Salmieri
Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books (February 2018)


  • Approx. Words: 636
  • Ages: 4 - 8
  • Pages: 48

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Awesome Crafts and Facts About Lobsters And The Ocean

Coordinates With The Previous Book Review

There Might Be Lobsters by Carolyn Crimi

  • How To Draw A Lobster  Here is a fun YouTube for kids. It's something that can be watched and paused so children can follow along. 
Articco Drawing

  • Yet another YouTube with seven interesting Lobster Facts (for both kids and adults).    Test You Knowledge - True or False? Lobsters live 25 years?
Facts For Kids

  • has a craft that might work as a reminder of this book, especially children who share the dog's anxiety about new experiences. This craft is simple and has good instructions and pictures for a Salt Dough With Sea Shells Decoration.

Easy Peasy and Fun is one of the sites.

  • has a terrific array of 15 ocean crafts. They are all cute enough that you may want to do several with your child.
Click For Instructions by Iheartcraftythings

I am an Amazon Associate.  If you make a purchase, at no extra cost to you, I can make a small amount of money to help support this blog. Thank you!

Sukie Understands To Always Prepare For A Disaster Because . . .

There Might Be Lobsters

Carolyn Crimi and Laurel Molk

What if? 

Eleanor and her dog Sukie are at the beach. However, Sukie isn't too sure about being there since the beach holds some scary things like lobsters. And if Sukie doesn't see a lobster, there's still plenty of things to imagine. Even coming down the three steps to the beach itself is a challenge: the stairs are big and sandy, she might hurt a foot, she could possibly tumble head first down the stairs and need stitches. Nope. Better to stay at the top of the stairs with Chunka Munka, her stuffed toy monkey. Eleanor gives in and carries Sukie and favorite toy down the stairs to the beach.

Eleanor is hopeful they can play with a beach ball, but Sukie has other thoughts. She is a small dog and the ball is way too big and beachy. It might hit her nose and pop or knock her down. And everyone knows beach balls attract lobsters! Nope. Best to sit on the beach with Chunka Munka. Far away from the big beach ball.

Again Eleanor swoops up the two and heads toward the edge of the ocean. She tries without success to lure Sukie into the water. Sukie is sure the water has large waves, is salty and very wet. Plus, there is a definite possibility that she might be swallowed by a whale. Or worse, there might be lobsters in the ocean. Nope. Best to sit on the beach with Chunka Munka by her side. The two sit on the beach enjoying the sights while Eleanor floats on an inner tube in the ocean. 

But wait! Is that Chunka Munka floating out to sea! What's a dog to do now?

What Concerned Me: Nothing

What I Liked Most: This is a cute book about anxiety, friendship, overcoming fear, and empowerment. The soft watercolor, acrylic, and pen and ink illustrations complement this sweet, story beautifully.

This book made me smile. I understand Sukie! Go right ahead and pack those Band-Aids in your swim bag. :-) Just try not to anticipate a problem so much you're paralyzed.

Click For Related Crafts On This Site

Author: Carolyn Crimi
Illustrator: Laurel Molk
Publisher: Candlewick (May 2017)


  • Approx. Word Count: 503
  • Ages: 3 - 7
  • Pages: 32

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

When You Think Things Can't Get Worse . . . Think Again!


by T M Logan

#NetGalley #Lies     Available  (St. Martins Press) September 11, 2018

Joe Lynch and his 4-year-old son, William, are heading home when William spots his mom's car. He begs his dad to follower her into the parking garage of the Premier Inn so they can surprise her. Joe follows her thinking she is most likely meeting a client. By the time they get parked his wife Melissa is already inside. So Joe and his son head in to see if they can't locate her and say hi.

But what they find is a total surprise. Melissa and her best friend's husband Ben Delaney, a self-made techy millionaire, are arguing at a table. After watching a few minutes, Joe takes his son back to their car in the garage area and they wait. Finally, his wife rushes out and quickly leaves before he can wave her down. Ben isn't in such a rush. Joe is able to stop him and try to ask some questions. But Ben denies having seen Melissa and isn't in a good mood. A scuffle takes place and when Joe, who is much larger than Ben, gives him a shove. Ben falls, striking his head on the concrete floor and losing consciousness, blood trickling from his ear. For all the world it looks as though he might be dead. Joe is shocked since he was just defending himself with the shove and Ben had tripped over his own briefcase as he fell. William begins having an asthma attack so Joe is torn, take care of Ben, or rush home for an inhaler and then quickly return to Ben. Of course, his son's welfare wins out.

Now the mystery really begins, when Joe returns Ben and his car aren't in the garage. Joe also realizes he's missing his cell phone and wristband. He can't locate either.

Later, that night he carefully asks a few questions to his wife. Eventually, she admits that she and Ben met but it was totally business-related, giving the exact topic they were discussing. Joe is totally relieved and even sorry that he suspected anything. But now that certain thoughts have entered his mind, will they be dispelled that easily?

In time Ben's wife reports her husband missing. By now Joe has shared what happened in the garage with his wife. She encourages him to tell the police only half-truths to protect himself. Not agreeing at first, he finally listens to her counsel. So when he is questioned by the police, he gives the story Melissa rehearsed with him. But will she give that same story to the police?

What Concerned Me: I missed doing things around the house because I couldn't put the book down. (Then again, who needs a clean house when you're reading a good book?) In all honesty, the ending felt slightly off, but not enough to cause much concern.

What I Liked Most: This book grabbed my attention from the get-go. There is a very small cast of characters, but they are well developed and believable. The twists and turns are around every corner and kept me guessing until the end.

I will be watching for this British author's next book.

Available In Hardback, Paperback, and Kindle
If You Have A Kindle Click Below For the First Eight Chapters, Free Of Cost

    Click This Link To PreOrder The Hardcover Book

    Monday, July 9, 2018

    Rabbit and Possum Crafts, Recipes. . . And More

    Coordinates With The Previous Book Review

    Rabbit and Possum by Dana Wulfekotte

    Crafts, Recipes, and Information : 

    • This Rabbit Recipe is from  The cupcakes look so cute and there are easy-to-follow pictures and instructions given.
    Click For Instructions

    • Growth Mindset vs Fixed as it pertains to the book Rabbit and Possum. Use this video to get some ideas for classroom or individual talks. As I mentioned in the earlier book review, Possum seemed almost defeated and paralyzed regarding his situation, while Rabbit was all about finding a solution. Though it took several different attempts by Rabbit to achieve the desired goal, Rabbit never quit trying or thinking of various ways to solve the problem.

    •  Possum Facts: How well do you know North America's only marsupial? Play the possum edition of “Fact or Fake” with Wildlife Expert David Mizejewski. 

    Would You Agree That Possums Are Awesome?

    • A wonderful way to promote reading is to create a fun Rabbit Bookmark

    • Here is a No Sew Sock Rabbit that kids are sure to love. You will need: 

      • sock (s)
      • rice
      • twine
      • scissors
      • ribbon
      • black permanent marker
      • Lg tape roll to guide rice into the sock (optional)

    Shop Related Products:

    Possum Seems To Be Up A Tree Without A Tall Ladder!

    Rabbit And Possum

    Dana Wulfekotte

    Somebody Needs To Solve A Big Problem Fast

    Possum wakes with a start when he hears rustling in the bushes. He is positive that a monster is making the noise, so he sprints to the nearest tall tree and climbs up high. After chastising him for being a "scaredy-possum" Rabbit attempts to follow him up the tree. Why? Maybe he's a scaredy-rabbit? But it turns out rabbits aren't very good at climbing and when he falls he breaks the lowest limb off the tree, trapping Possum since he has nothing to step on when he wants to descend.

    Time for Rabbit to come to the rescue. There are several thought bubbles showing Rabbit's funny ideas, such as a beaver gnawing through the tree trunk, birds carrying Possum down safely, and raking a pile of leaves for Possum to fall into. However, none of the problem-solving ideas makes Rabbit feel too comfortable. Meanwhile, Possum is stretched out on the limb with a speech balloon, "I'm DOOMED! I'll be stuck up here forever!" At this point, you might notice that Possum is contributing nothing to finding a way to get down safely.

    Eventually, Rabbit sees a moose in the distance. The same moose that scared Possum in the first place, since the reader saw portions of it behind the bushes. But will a monster-of-a-moose be willing to help? And how?

    Wulfekotte’s pencil on paper and digitally colored illustrations are very complimentary to the story.

    What Concerned Me: It felt like an opportunity missed not to show Possum's fall to freedom.

    What I Liked Most: Though simple, I would have to say the illustrations are a big part of this book. 

    And if you want to discuss anything about the story, it opens a wonderful opportunity to bring out the fact that Possum could have been problem solving himself, even if they too were silly ideas. It would have helped him feel less helpless and a bit more in control.

    Activities To Accompany The Book

    Author / Illustrator: Dana Wulfekotte
    Publisher: Greenwillow Books (February 2018)

    4 Stars

    • Approx. Word Count: 361
    • Ages: 4 - 8
    • Pages: 40

    Sunday, July 8, 2018

    Duck and Alligator Crafts and More

    Coordinates With The Previous Book Review

    A Duck And Alligator . . . Or Is It A Crocodile? 

    Crafts and More

    • Origami Duck This craft is for older kids, but the duck is so cute and the instructions are shown very slowly. In fact, it's pretty simple to watch, pause until the folds are made, and watch again. I think you'll like this craft.

    • DIY Fabric Duck Another fun craft to make with kids is this fabric duck. The sewing is very easy and done with a needle and thread (not a machine).  Though the YouTube says for a baby shower, these would be perfect to make with a child.
    You will find a list of supplies below:
      • white cotton fabric
      • orange felt
      • black felt or googly eyes
      • stuffing
      • ribbon
      • glue gun
      • scissors
      • needle
      • white thread

    • Alligator and Crocodile Facts: by  Thinking Captain

    • After that fun video about alligators and crocodiles, here's a very easy alligator project from 
    Click For Instructions

    Shop Related Products

    Saturday, July 7, 2018

    Somebody Should Claim This Feathered Friend!

    Nobody's Duck

    Words and Pictures by Mary Sullivan

    Who Can Walk Away From A Cover and Title This Cute?

    Alligator watches from the window as a duck sits on the lawn painting her toenails. That same evening Alligator peeks out the window wearing PJs. The duck is wearing a nightcap and is sound asleep holding a stuffed bunny. 

    The next morning Aligator steps outside and hollers, "Hey!! Hey, Duck." 
    Duck appears to be clueless as the answer is "Who? Me?"
    "Yeah! You! Whose duck are you?" asks the Alligator.

    Duck reaches inside her satchel and pulls out a "thinking cap." After lots of thinking the reply is, "I'm nobody's duck!"

    That does it. Alligator grabs a wagon and pulls duck (who is now wearing a sun hat and enjoying the wagon ride) to various places to ask if the duck belongs to any of the individuals. They travel to the library, movie theater, and so on. Each place the alligator gets a definite NO. The duck doesn't belong to the giraffe librarian, the pig cashier at the movie theater, the elephant Go-Kart cashier, etc. However, at each place, the duck manages to gather fun things to put in the wagon with her. And each stop offers the reluctant gator something new to experience.

    We see the duck checking out multiple books at the library while Alligator seems extremely unfamiliar with books. At the movie theater, they watch Dogzilla, Monster from the Pond! Duck has 3-D glasses, a box of popcorn and a drink. She is obviously enjoying the movie while Alligator is biting nails. 

    The very sparse text is in the form of speech balloons. But not much text is necessary since the illustrations tell a fun, even hilarious (and I use that word sparingly since it is used too often regarding picture books) story.

    So who does that fun duck belong to?

    What Concerned Me: Only one itty-bitty concern. While the last page is cute, it felt a bit off and I wasn't sure little ones would understand. 

    What I Liked Most: Pretty much everything, but if I had to choose I guess it would be the illustrations, which were digitally drawn and colored. This is a fun book of silliness and experiencing unexpected friendships.

    Author/Illustrator: Mary Sullivan
    Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (February 2018)

    5 STARS

    The Illustrations really worked for me!
    My Illustrator's Award

    • Approx. Word Count: 123
    • Ages: 4 - 7
    • Pages: 40
    Book                        Kindle