Happy Holidays book lovers!
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers and I are teaming up with a little giveaway to start the holiday season. I have four wonderful little books about animals to give away to one US resident. Entries are easy. Just enter in Rafflecopter and that’s it.
Here’s some info about the books:
UNDERWATER DOGS: KIDS EDITION by Seth Casteel
A picture book companion to the New York Times bestselling photography book, Underwater Dogs. Features over forty colorful photographs of doggies chasing their favorite toys underwater. Includes a full color poster and information about each dog breed (a great learning tool for young dog lovers!).
DOGGY KISSES 1,2,3 by Todd Parr
(who doesn’t love Todd Parr?)
Meet 10 colorful, lovable (and sometimes slobbery) canine friends! From one doggy kiss all the way up to ten, each page stars playful pooches showing love the best way they know how.
ANIMALS IN UNDERWEAR by Todd Parr
From alligator to zebra – there’s no better way to learn the alphabet than with animals…in underwear!
MR. TIGER GOES WILD by Peter Brown
Mr. Tiger lives in a world that is inhabited by proper ladies and gentlemen, where manners and etiquette are of the upmost importance. Tired of being so formal at all times, Mr. Tiger runs away to the jungle to loosen up, have fun and be..wild. But will he go to far? From Caldecott Honor and New York Times bestselling artist Peter Brown comes a story that celebrates individuality and emphasizes that there is a time and place for everything..even going wild.
Otto’s Backwards Day
Authors: Frank Cammuso with Jay Lynch
Publisher: TOON Books
Disclosure: A free copy of this book was furnished by the publisher for review, but providing a copy did not guarantee a review. This information is provided per the regulations of the Federal Trade Commission.
Otto’s Backwards Day is a charming 32-page beginner’s-reading book, age-rated for 4- to 8-year-olds, or preschool to the 3rd grade. It is a “real book”, a hardcover, which is in the format of a comic book, to make it more accessible to children familiar with the comics.
Otto, a little orange cat-boy, is having a birthday tomorrow. He wants his cake and presents today. His parents tell him that he has to wait for tomorrow, not to be officious, but that’s when his party is and all his friends are coming. Otto doesn’t want to wait; “Who needs family and friends when I have the important things? Cake, ice cream, balloons…” Otto’s father tells him that he has things backwards, and to go to his room to think about it. While there, someone steals all his cake, decorations and presents. Otto chases the thief into scientist Professor Barkwords’ house next door, where the Professor has just invented a dimensional doorway into the backwards world, where people wear their underwear outside their clothes and rats chase cats. Otto and Toot, the professor’s robot, chase the thief into the backwards world, and they have a colorful adventure there in which Otto learns that family and friends are more important than cake, decorations, and presents.
Otto is a spunky cat-boy. Children can learn from him that self-reliance is important, but so are family and friends. The dimensional doorway is named Palindrome, so children will also have their vocabularies increased from that and the palindromic words that Otto encounters, such as radar, kayak, and race car. The text alternates between regular prose and clever poetry that does not break the flow of the story.
TOON Books, an imprint of juvenile-specialty publisher Candlewick Press, consists of books designed to ease young children into reading. They are designed both to be read by children alone, and for parents to read aloud to children as a family activity. Their titles have received favorable reviews from School Library Journal, Booklist, and Kirkus Reviews. Frank Cammuso and Jay Lynch are both professional cartoonists. Cammuso is also an award-winning political cartoonist, and has written for The New Yorker and The New York Times, among other publications. Otto’s Backwards Day is their second book featuring Otto, following Otto’s Orange Day. This is highly recommended for beginning readers, and to encourage children to start their own libraries.
August 28th is the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s landmark “I Have a Dream” speech, a watershed moment in the struggle for civil rights and Random House Children’s Books has been celebrating with a fabulous Civil Rights Movement blog tour. Today, it is my great honor to be part of that tour and I have a fabulous guest post here at AmoXcalli, by Matthew Olshan, author of THE MIGHTY LALOUCHE (illustrated by Sophie Blackall). Random House Children’s Books has put together an I Have a Dream enhanced website featuring the new picture book by Kadir Nelson, I HAVE A DREAM. The book is stunning, the paintings really pay tribute to the man, the movement and the speech. The book also contains a CD with the full speech.
Please join AmoXcalli, Random House Children’s Books and all the others on the tour in celebrating the Civil Rights Movement and Dr. King’s historical speech.
The Promise of Freedom, Then and Now by Matthew Olshan
The word “freedom” blazes an incandescent trail through Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream Speech,” but what does he mean by it? What, exactly, is the freedom he dreams of, the kind that will ring from the mountaintops, that will cause the American people to join hands and sing ecstatically, “Free at last!”
Freedom from what? Freedom to do what?
Freedom from injustice, certainly. Freedom to pursue the American Dream.
For Dr. King, the American Dream is rooted in what he calls its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”
He says this knowing all too well the irony in those sacred words from the Declaration of Independence. The men who wrote them didn’t really believe that men were created equal. Many of the Founding Fathers owned slaves. And slaves weren’t created equal. You couldn’t own someone who was your equal; therefore, slaves weren’t men. At least, not fully. A slave was some fraction of a man. Call it three-fifths.
But those imperfect, 18th Century men were dreamers, too. They invented a country that promised more than it could deliver. They drew up a constitution with the goal of forming a more perfect union — not a perfect union, mind you, but a more perfect union. They understood that we live in the world; that the world is full of injustice, greed, and cruelty; that people generally want to do the right thing, but aren’t always strong enough to do it.
Ours has been a history of forgetting our promises, then remembering, and lurching, sometimes violently, towards the light.
Even some of our greatest triumphs have fallen short. Take the Emancipation Proclamation. Church bells rang out across the land on January 1st, 1863. Freed slaves and abolitionists alike were overjoyed. Surely there were ecstatic cries of “Free at last!”
But the Emancipation Proclamation didn’t free all the slaves. President Lincoln couldn’t risk losing the border states. The slaves in Maryland, Delaware, and Kentucky may have heard distant ringing that day; alas, the bells weren’t ringing for them.
The century that followed the Emancipation Proclamation saw many gains for people of color, but also great backsliding. In states like Mississippi, Georgia, and Alabama, equality wasn’t simply an impossibility; in huge swaths of the country, it was no longer even a dream.
Dr. King’s speech, smoldering with anger and yet brimming with hope, was meant to remind Americans of their creed, that promise of equality dating back to the Declaration of Independence.
Our union is certainly more perfect now. The scourge of slavery is long past. The worst abuses of Jim Crow are over.
But their legacy remains.
We’ll always need voices like Dr. King’s — righteous, melodious, idealistic, and stern — to remind us of the nation we were; the nation we are; and the nation we hope to be.
History shows us how easy it is to forget.
Matthew Olshan is the author of several novels for young readers, including Finn and The Flown Sky. The Mighty Lalouche, a collaboration with the award-winning illustrator Sophie Blackall, is his first venture into the world of picture books. Their next collaboration, Henry and Henri, which will be published by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, is the story of the first international flight: a balloon ride across the English Channel in 1785, taken by an Englishman and a Frenchman who absolutely hated each other.??Matthew also writes serious literary fiction for adults. Look for Marshlands, a novel of military occupation and empire, due out from Farrar, Straus, and Giroux in February, 2014
Good Night Captain Mama
Graciela Tiscareno-Sato (Author) , Linda Lens (Illustrator)
Publisher: Gracefully Global Group LLC; Bilingual edition (June 4, 2013)
I typically don’t review self-published books at all. I have my reasons and the main one is that I’m just not keeping up with regular reviews like I used to. To open myself up to a deluge of self-published or indie books is frankly something I can’t afford to do. That said, I do make the occasional exception. GOOD NIGHT CAPTAIN MAMA is one.
Why am I making an exception? I’m doing this because I think this little gem is a very important book in a lot of ways. I do have some critiques, but whatever the book’s problems it remains important.
GOOD NIGHT CAPTAIN MAMA is the story of a mother and child. The mother is in the military and is explaining to the child what her various badges on her flight suit mean. The mother is a Latina, a woman in a typically male industry and in a position of authority in what would also be a typical role that a man would fill. That’s why the book is important. Mama isn’t in the kitchen rolling out tortillas, or in the store shopping – it’s her son’s bedtime and instead of settling down for the night herself, she’s preparing to go on a mission.
So much of what we read and see about Latina women is stereotypical. You’d think it was still the 1950s for how we are portrayed. If we’re not cleaning a house, we’re either beauty queens or something a lot less savory. I can’t remember a time where I’ve EVER read about a Latina Captain before. That’s huge. It shows Latino children that they can aspire to something more, be more. Young women and girls will have role models that do more than shake their behinds and sing.
As mentioned above, I did have a few small problems with the book. The author did a good job with description, but I would have liked to see more story and less show and tell. It could have been absolutely riveting with a stronger story and I do think the author is capable of that. She has a story to tell, a good one and she does it, though a little matter of fact and instructional. I think given time, she will become more polished in her storytelling, more experienced and confident in her voice. I’d love to see more Captain Mama stories in the future. It would be a tremendous series and one of great value. I think our children need these books and Captain Mama is a wonderful character with tons of potential.
All in all, GOODNIGHT CAPTAIN MAMA is a must-have for any child, especially girls or children with parents in the military. The book is bilingual (English and Spanish) with lovely illustrations and I think it should be in every library and school.
This review is part of the Condor Book Tour with the following participating blogs:
? Mon July 1st NW Prime Radio Live Interview at 11am Pacific!
? Tues July 2 Knitting and Sundries
? Wed July 3 Latina Book Club
? Thurs July 4 Mommy Maestra & NBC Latino
? Fri July 5 Amoxcalli
? *Mamiverse publish date TBD
You can purchase CAPTAIN MAMA on Amazon.com
Suggested hashtag: #captmama
About the Author
This book was inspired by a conversation the author had with her son the night before a Veterans Day event at his preschool. As Graciela donned her uniform, her son entered the room on his way to bed when he spotted her in her “costume.” His curiosity and the questions he asked led Graciela to write the first draft of the manuscript that same night.
Graciela Tiscareño-Sato is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley. She completed the Aerospace Studies program as an AFROTC (Air Force Reserve Officer Training Program) scholarship cadet while earning her degree in Architecture and Environmental Design. During her active duty career in the U.S. Air Force, she deployed to four continents and dozens of countries as aircrew member, instructor and contingency planning officer. Flying many combat sorties over Southern Iraq in the NO FLY Zone after Operation Desert Storm earned her crew the prestigious Air Medal on her first deployment. She served with a NATO Battle staff in Vicenza, Italy, as a military liaison officer at the U.S. Embassy in Quito, Ecuador and much more. She earned a Master degree in International Management from the School of Global Commerce at Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington before leaving active service.
After an international marketing management career with Siemens, she created her global marketing and publishing firm, Gracefully Global Group, LLC. In November 2010, she received “Entrepreneur of the Year” honors at the LATINAStyle Magazine Gala in Washington D.C. Graciela actively mentors students who need education and career roadmaps, a central focus of her four-time award-winning book, Latinnovating. She is a sought-after keynote speaker, workshop leader (personal branding for military veterans) and lecturer in classrooms, business schools, corporate events and conferences around the nation. Graciela and her family live in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Author: Rodrigo Folgueria
Illustrator: Poly Bernatene
Age Range: 3 – 7 years
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (March 26, 2013)
This is one of the most charming books I’ve had the pleasure of reading in a while. I fell in love the story of a pink pig who just wanted to make friends. The illustrations on textured paper are big, colorful and comical. Children, both in the age group it targets and a little older, will adore it. The book shows that making friends isn’t always easy, but worth the trouble. It also shows children that just because someone is different, that’s no reason to be suspicious of them. Sometimes, people do just want to be your friend. In a world gone a little mad lately, this simple message of friendship is very welcome and assuring.
The illustrations really are beautiful. The expressive faces of pig and frogs are wonderful. They say it all and the text/story provides a little extra detail. The pig’s rather large face is completely lovable and cute. I can see small children falling in love with it. The text is wonderful too – it grows larger as the ribbits do and provides emphasis to the story.
When the pig ends up in a tree with lots of little bird friends my middle-grade grandchildren laughed aloud in pure enjoyment.
Lovely, charming and highly recommended.
Book Description from the publisher:
A group of frogs are living happily in a peaceful pond, until they discover a surprise visitor: a little pink pig. Sitting contentedly on a rock in the middle of their pond, the pig opens his mouth and says: RIBBIT! The frogs are bewildered at first, and then a bit annoyed—”What did that little pig just say?”, “Does he think he’s a frog?”, “Is he making fun of us?”
Soon the pig draws the attention of all the nearby animals; everyone is curious to know what he wants! After much guessing (and shouting) and a visit to the wise old beetle, the animals realize that perhaps the pig was not there to mock them after all—maybe he just wanted to make new friends! But is it too late? This is a warm, funny, and beautifully illustrated story of friendship, with boisterous RIBBIT!s throughout—perfect for reading aloud.
About the Author & Illustrator
RODRIGO FOLGUEIRA studied art at Buenos Aires National School of Fine Art and works as an author and illustrator, specializing in children’s books. He lives and works in Argentina.
POLY BERNATENE graduated from Buenos Aires Art School and has worked across many different genres including advertising, animation, and comic books. He has published more than 60 children’s books all over the world. He lives and works in Argentina.
Writer: Steven T. Seagle
Illustrator: Marco Cinello
Livingston is a fruit bat in a country orchard who feels out of place. So, despite warnings, he goes one day to check out the big city. In the city, he finds a bat in a cage that he thinks needs help… but instead this mean bat bites him and makes him a vampire bat! Finding it even harder to fit in, Livingston runs away from home again and finds a spider mentor who helps him hone his new skills and create the identity of BATULA. When an unexpected crisis arises, can Livingston use the new skills he’s learned as BATULA to save the day? Written by Steven T. Seagle (part of Man of Action Studios), and drawn by Marc Cinello (whose credits include work on SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS), this book is both humorous and touching for young audiences.
Disclosure: A free copy of this book was furnished by the publisher for review via Netgalley, but providing a copy did not guarantee a review. This information is provided per the regulations of the Federal Trade Commission.
The grandkids and I have been doing a lot of reading this summer and we have some recommendations for you from our Random House Children’s Books stack. We’re great fans of RHCB because of the great writing, print quality and storytelling. Some of them are new books from favorite authors and others are completely new to us. We hope you will find these books equally appealing. Don’t forget that the Cybils nominations are coming up in October, so make your notations, we’re sure some of these will make the noms.
OLLIE & MOON: FUHGEDDABOUTIT! By Diane Kredensor
Reading level: Ages 3 and up
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (May 22, 2012)
Our family fell in love with the first Ollie & Moon book, so we were excited about this one. We love the great photos and the silly antics of Ollie and Moon, who are the best of friends. In this latest story, Ollie & Moon roam New York City. The full color photographs of Central Park, Chinatown and other landmarks are a stunning backdrop for the animated and comic figures of Ollie & Moon. It’s a great way to teach your kids about the city. The story is funny as are all the Ollie & Moon stories. It’s silly and wonderful with all the qualities of a cartoon, which is not surprising since the author is an animator and Emmy-award winning artist.
About the Authors
DIANE KREDENSOR’s grown-up years have been spent pursuing a successful career in animation. She still hasn’t grown up all the way, for which she’s proud. Diane is an Emmy Award-winning artist for her work on Pinky and the Brain, Clifford the Big Red Dog, and WordWorld, to name a few. This is her second children’s book with Random House. Diane happily lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her partner, their son, and two cats who bear a passing resemblance to Ollie and Moon. Visit Diane at DianeKredensor.com.
MIKE MESKIN is a Mac wizard who happens to shoot lovely photographs in his spare time. He lives in New York with his wife and son.Read More»
It is books like this one that reminds me of why I adore picture books and love to review them. There is something about children’s literature that just oozes joy and wonder when a book is done well. Simple illustrations and spare but eloquent writing can convey so much. WHEN I WAS SMALL does this beautifully.
The story begins with Henry, an adorable little boy that looks remarkably like my grandson Aiden (which instantly made me love him) asking his mother to tell him a story about when she was small. What follows is a charming and fanciful story about a very tiny, Thumbelina-sized tiny girl.
The language is simple and concise, letting the ethereal and powerful illustrations do most of the telling. The illustrations, done in pen and ink have this Old World feel to them and makes me think I’d stumbled across the book in a used book store. It’s got this vintage look and feel and has a dreamlike quality.
Each page is such a pleasure to read and look at. The reader is tempted to linger and examine the drawings. When I read it to Aiden and his sister Jasmine, they both asked me to read it again and again. Jasmine really loved a drawing of Henry’s very tiny mother feasting on a very large raspberry, while Aiden loved the illustration of her being borne away in the mouth of a cat.
Both children and parents will love this book. It is simply enchanting and a strong message about the power of story.
Curious little Henry from the award-winning books When You Were Small and Where You Came From has a new question for his mother in this charming new picture book. “What was it like when you were small?” he asks. His mother proceeds to describe her adventures to him, all about when she was little – very little!
About the Author
Sara O’Leary is a playwright, fiction writer, and literary journalist. She teaches Writing for Children and Screenwriting at Concordia University in Montreal.
About the illustrator
Julie Morstad is an award-winning illustrator and fine artist known for her surreal, whimsical work. Illustrator of numerous children’s books, including Singing Away the Dark and When You Were Small and its two sequels Where You Came From and When I Was Small, Julie has exhibited her work in galleries, animated two music videos with her brother, filled up stacks of sketchbooks, and made countless pots of soup and many loaves of bread. She lives in Vancouver with her family.
Disclosure: A free copy of this book was furnished by the publisher for review, but providing a copy did not guarantee a review. This information is provided per the regulations of the Federal Trade Commission.
Who Put the B in the Ballyhoo?
Author: The Spectacular, Never-Before-Seen Carlyn Beccia
Reading level: Ages 4 and up
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children; None edition (April 9, 2007)
Who doesn’t love the Circus?
I know that I have always found it magical. Well, except for clowns who terrify me. I’ve always been fascinated by the art as well. Circus art is so colorful and fun.
I stumbled onto this wonderful little book at one of my favorite used bookstores Read Books in Eagle Rock just the other day and just had to have it. When I brought it home to my grandkids, they fell in love just as deeply as I. I think there’s going to be some debate as to who actually gets to keep it…and if my friend Rick DeMott sees this review, I may have to lock the book away. His fascination with circus performers is legendary.
WHO PUT THE B IN THE BALLYHOO? is an alphabet book as hinted by the subtitle “The Most Amazing, Bizarre, and Celebrated Circus Performers.” Each letter is represented by a marvelously colorful circus poster with fascinating little bits of circus trivia explaining the poster below it.
Jasmine’s favorite page, (no surprise) is that of Patty’s Performing Pigs representing the letter E not P. E is for Enchanting. “These pigs weave a spell/ only to be broken/ by the not-so-sweet smell,” it reads, which makes her giggle almost as much as the depiction of a pig in a tutu lifting its leg in the movement of a can-can dance. Aiden on the other hand, went straight for the Strongman’s page.
Tribute is paid to the flea circus too, with the letter F. The grandkids were stunned to hear me read that people actually trained fleas to perform. They also burst into that wild, untrammeled laughter that I love to hear. I hope they don’t start looking to start their own flea circus, though I wouldn’t put it past Aiden.
The artwork is beautiful and each circus bill (poster) is filled with little details as well as rhymes that make the reading of each bill fun as well as educational. The verbiage below each bill is even more interesting and great for the adults reading, although adults will love the rhymes as well. They certainly made me smile. Of particular interest to me too was the lovely lettering. The book really feels like a trip to a museum of circus art. Bright, bold colors are sure to attract even the most reluctant reader. Each page is so beautifully done that I wished they were framed works of art.
Ballyhoo is a wonderful tribute to the circus, with homage paid to those performers of old, including the great Harry Houdini. It’s a great way to teach children their alphabet, to read, to be interested in art, and to learn the history of the circus and circus terminology that still peppers our modern-day language today. Did you know the expression “hold your horses” originated with the circus? I found the book to be most lovingly done with great care to truly represent the heyday and art of the circus.
Finds like this are the reason I haunt the fabulous, but sadly disappearing used bookstores around my hometown of Los Angeles and everywhere else I roam. I still grieve for Acres of Books… The book cost me eight dollars and a nice time chatting with Jeremy, one of the shop owners. If you’re in the L.A. area, please stop by this charming little shop on Eagle Rock Boulevard. Stop in and say hello to Debbie and Jeremy, take a look at their amazing collection of new magazines and buy a used book or two. Jeremy also tutors the local kids, so if you have a child that needs tutoring, you won’t find better than a guy who tutors in a bookshop. You won’t regret it and you might find another copy of Ballyhoo or something equally grand.
Note: When researching this wonderful illustrator/author, I was thrilled to be reminded that she was a Cybil’s finalist in 2011 for I FEEL BETTER WITH A FROG IN MY THROAT. Can we pick em or can we pick em? Oh yeah, Ballyhoo won the Golden Kite for illustration too.
About the Author:
Carlyn Beccia is the author and illustrator of Who Put the B in the Ballyhoo?,Houghton Mifflin, an alphabet book illustrating the most famous circus stars throughout history. Her latest book, The Raucous Royals uncovers the biggest true and untrue rumors throughout European history. She describes it as a ‘history lesson meets tabloid magazine’. Carlyn enjoys telling the stories behind the people who changed history and strives to make history exciting for all ages.
She attended the University of Massachusetts on a 4-year art scholarship and graduated in 1995. She worked as a graphic designer for 10 years before returning to her first love ‘ illustration. In 2005, Carlyn was the Grand Prize Portfolio Winner in the Society of Children’s Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI) portfolio exhibition. In 2006, she was awarded a certificate of merit in The Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles, Illustration West 44 Annual and was also the Grand Prize Portfolio Winner in the New England, Society of Children’s Writers & Illustrators (NEW ENGLAND SCBWI) portfolio exhibition.
Carlyn paints with ‘digital oil brushes’ to create a unique and deeply textured art. She enjoys giving live demonstrations of how art is created on the computer and encourages kids to experiment with the digital medium.
Download a full teacher’s guide at:
*Dear FTC, a.k.a. nosy overseer of what I do with my books, I bought this book with my own money and even better, am supporting my local, used bookstore (one of the owners is a school librarian) therefore I don’t need to disclose a darned thing. I just felt like yelling at you. Love, Me.
Spring is here! Inside or out, award-winning artist Salina Yoon’s KALEIDOSCOPE makes the day brighter with colliding colors! Check out the video here!