Purpose of this Blog...

You may have noticed that not all books are equal in capturing children's imaginations and in cultivating those innocent, tender souls. My goal is to help you find the ones that do!
(Painting by Mary Cassatt: "Mrs Cassatt Reading to her Grandchildren" -1888)

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Children of Bookworms Get...Books!

Happy First Day of Fall!
I've been spending a lot of time doing Fall Cleaning because we are getting ready to do some remodeling.  I'm getting a home library!!!!

Wish it could look like this...
Haha!  Just kidding.  This is the Los Angeles Central Library Children's Literature Room.  You can ready my past post about my visit there by clicking here.

Below are a couple of photos I found on Pinterest.  I'd be really happy to style my home office/library after either of them! First, a very chic look...
This next one would be nice because my house is Cape Cod style...
Anyway, back to Fall Cleaning.  It's been exhausting going through and trying to organize all the mementos I've kept over the years! Birthday cards, Christmas cards, family letters...

And of course, I'm trying to sort through books.  I sent off four grocery bags of old paperbacks already.  

I. Have. So. Many. Books.
Many of them were in our sunroom - not a great place to store books. And now they're getting all packed up.  

Some are getting sent off to my kids, who have inherited (and will continue to inherit) their childhood favorites.
The children's books I'm keeping (as much for me as for my grandchildren who visit), and our grown-up books, are going into bins and boxes.  I've packed up six long bins and five boxes so far!!!
They'll be unpacked and put back onto shelves, once the library is finished. I can hardly wait! Any tips??

In the meantime, I'm bringing autumn inside, since there's not much evidence of it outside, here in Southern California!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Giveaway Winner...

The randomly chosen winner of Mary T. Wagner's cute chapter book, Finnigan the Circus Cat, is Theresa M. (I use List Randomizer on random.org to choose my winners.)

Monday, September 12, 2016

Don't Miss Out On Finnigan the Circus Cat!

Today I'm reviewing and giving away a fun little chapter book geared toward 7-10 year olds. Finnigan the Circus Cat is about a tiny foundling kitten who finds a home in a barn that also houses a former small town circus museum. There he meets a pair of "circus mice" cousins who become his closest companions.

The author (and illustrator), Mary T. Wagner, says she was inspired to write this book because of her own family's experience with a rescue kitty named Finnigan.  

Much of the story is closely modeled after that cat and his antics; and the fact that the author's younger daughter is a contemporary circus aerialist certainly didn't hurt the inspiration for this story either!  (You can read more about the "real Finnigan" here.)

This adorable tale (pun intended) is full of action and humor.  It reminded me a little of Beverly Cleary's The Mouse and the Motorcycle, where the comings and goings of a human family just serve as a backdrop for the real excitement that's going on between the animals.  

Lots of good old fashioned fun!  (Go here for some of my other favorite cat and mouse books.)

And, honestly, what child doesn't love a circus story?

Maximillian and Leroy are two circus mice cousins who think they've got it made at the old Farnsworth Circus Museum...no dogs, a safe path to a full pantry in the empty house, and a barn full of dry hay and old circus wagons to hang out in.

But when a new generation of Farnsworths move in, things start to shake up a bit. And when eight-year-old Lucy Farnsworth brings home a tiny rescue kitten and hides him in the barn because her dad is allergic to cats, Max and Leroy need to think fast if they're going to be able to stick around.

With the help of Boomer - the strangely silent family dog - Max and Leroy take the new kitten under their care and show him the ropes - figuratively and eventually literally...in the end it's Finnigan to the rescue!

You can find this book on Amazon (paperback or Kindle edition), here.  It's the first of a coming series, and I can't wait to read the others.

Today I'm giving away a paperback copy, signed by the author!  To enter for a chance to win, please leave a comment on this post.  Be sure to include your first name and last initial.

  • Giveaway ends at midnight, Friday, September 16, 2016.  
  • Winner announced Saturday, September 17, 2016.
  • The winner will have a week to contact me with a mailing address, so I can send the book off to you!

Friday, September 9, 2016

REDO: Con-GRATTIS to My Scandinavian Giveaway Winner!

Thanks again to all my wonderful readers who left comments to enter my Swedish Picture Book Giveaway.  

Since I never received an email or comment from the winner of this giveaway, I've let List Randomizer choose another one!

The winner of this Giveaway is:  Lisa W-R.  Joan C.

Congratulations, Joan!  

Please contact me via email (found in my profile linked in the right sidebar of this blog, under "About Me".) - send me your mailing address within a week, so I can get these three wonderful picture books off to you quickly.

(I used List Randomizer on random.org to choose my giveaway winner.)

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Have You Heard About the - Ahem - "Who Pooped" Series?

It's "back to school" time and that means back to learning!  And let me tell you, these picture books are so interesting, your kids might not even realize they're getting a science lesson!

The book I'm reviewing today is Who Pooped in Central Park? by Gary D. Robson, illustrated by Robert Rath.  Both men live in Montana, and they have done a whole series together of the Who Pooped? books.

The Who Pooped in the Park? series is an ideal tool for teaching young children about animal behavior, diet, and scats and tracks identification — it’s the perfect companion in the car or classroom, or in the field on your next trip to the park. Fun illustrations of the animals and their scat and tracks supplement the charming story, and a quick-reference chart at the back makes field identification a breeze.

Robson's picture book series started out in Yellowstone National Park, and the concept was so popular that other national parks began requesting their own editions. All of the editions feature 8-year-old Michael and his family touring different parks and learning about the animals through their poop and prints. The story is similar in all of them, but the animals and landscapes are all different. (Go here for a list of all the books).

In Who Pooped in Central Park? your child will explore this city park with Tony, Lily, Jackson, and Emma as they come across different animal scat (poop) and tracks (footprints) and discover which animal made them.

Each two-page spread features extra facts, "The Straight Poop", about some of the creatures found in Central Park, such as:

Eastern screech owls were reintroduced (brought back) in Central Park in 1998. "Owl pellets" that you might find under a tree aren't scat - they're bones, fur, and feathers that owls cough up after eating small animals whole.

My kids would have loved reading these books as we travelled around to places like Zion, Sequoia, and Kings Canyon National Parks!  The colorful pictures show nice detail, but are almost cartoon-like, which will make even the most reluctant readers pick up this book (the title helps too, haha)! 

At the end of the book is a handy reference of "Tracks & Notes", showing all the animals discussed in the book and that can be found in Central Park.

This series has sold over 400,000 copies to date, and Who Pooped in Central Park is the 20th title that encourages kids to put down Pokemon Go for a while; and it helps them identify the real animals, insects, and tracks in their own backyard--even in the middle of the city!