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)

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Book Cats

“The name that no human research can discover-- 
But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess. 
When you notice a cat in profound meditation, 
The reason, I tell you, is always the same: 
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation 
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name: 
His ineffable effable 
Deep and inscrutable singular Name.” 
 ― T.S. Eliot, Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats

Some Popular Book Cats...

Go here for my past post about T.S. Eliot's Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats.  (Edward Gorey's illustrations are amazing!)

You can read my review of The Cat at Night by Dahlov Ipcar here.

Who wouldn't be smitten with The Tale of Tom Kitten by Beatrix Potter?

Or the story of Millions of Cats, by Wanda Gag?

Paul Galdone's telling and illustrations of the Three Little Kittens nursery rhyme is adorable.

My grandson's choice would be Pete the Cat - all the stories are rollicking good fun - from Eric Litwin - with illustrations by James Dean.

And don't forget this guy...

Last, but certainly not least, I can't leave out Lewis Carroll's Cheshire Cat...

Update, November 3, 2015:  Hat tip to my blogger friend, artist and author Valerie Greeley (you'll find her over at Acornmoon) for a wonderful addition to this list, The Molehouse Cat.  I had never heard of this lovely cat story, but found an amazing Youtube video of the book that I've embedded below.  Enjoy!!!!!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Some Vintage Goodies On My October Bookshelf!

I spent yesterday gathering some October/Fall themed books off my shelf; and today I'm trying to decide which volumes to put in a book basket I'm assembling for our church's annual Oktoberfest Silent Auction.

This year some of the proceeds from our annual fundraiser will go to IOCC's Syrian Relief Fund.  Our church youth group and women's group are also making emergency kits to send in for Syrian Refugees.  (For more information about how to donate, go here.)

About the fabulous fall line-up of books you see pictured.  Most are vintage, but I'll start with the new ones first...

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, the new illustrated edition from Jim Kay!

I can't tell you how excited I've been to see this book in person.  It will not disappoint, and will be such a great read aloud for fall (or anytime).

Jim Kay's illustration of "the Boy Who Lived".
Inside cover endpaper loveliness - Hogwarts.
One of my favorite illustrations - Hagrid and Harry.

Murder at Mansfield Park (2010), by Lynn Shepard.  I'm having a bit of trouble getting into and excited about this one.  I enjoyed Death Comes to Pemberly (2013) by P.D. James more, but maybe that's because I liked Pride and Prejudice more than Mansfield Park in the first place?  (Young adult)

Whoo's There: A Bedtime Shadow Book (2005), by Heather Zschock, illustrated by Martha Day Zschock.  This is such a fun and unique book!  You read it with the aid of a flashlight, which you shine through the page ''windows'' to cast pictures on the wall as you read with your child at night.

Sarah, Plain, and Tall (1985), by Patricia MacLachlan.  2015 marks Sarah's 30th Anniversary of publication, so I couldn't leave out this classic Newbery Medal winner! Sarah, Plain and Tall gently explores themes of abandonment, loss, and love. It's a surprisingly short book that delves deeply into the characters of Sarah and the family she joins to wife and mother.  Below is the edition I grew up with...

Pumpkin, Pumpkin (1986), by Jeanne Titherington.  Simple story in a sweetly illustrated picture book for fall: A young boy named Jamie plants a pumpkin seed in the spring and, after watching it grow all summer, carves a face in it for Halloween! But best of all, he saves some seeds that he will plant again next spring. (ages 2-4)

Costumes for Nursery Tale Characters, (1975), by Jean Greenhowe.  Let's hear it for Literary Costumes! (go here for my previous post)  I found this fun vintage book at my library bookstore, and couldn't pass it up.  Starting with a basic one-piece tunic and pants pattern, some of the character costumes include Cinderella, Robin Hood, Friar Tuck, Little Miss Muffet, and Little Red Riding Hood.

Now all I need to do is make a final decision about how to pack my basket of books for the silent auction.  And if I have time, I might put together a centerpiece basket of fall foliage to auction off as well, like the one pictured below that I saw at my sister's church over the weekend!  Happy October!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

"The Secret Lives of Animals" - Blog Tour & Publisher's Giveaway!

Do you have a child who loves random facts about animals?  I'm happy today to be one of the stop-offs along a blog tour introducing a brand new not-to-be-missed book, The Secret Lives of Animals.

The book's intriguing subtitle will grab the attention of its target audience: kids aged 6-12...
1,001 Tidbits, Oddities & Amazing Facts about North America's Coolest Animals

I just love this book.  When my review copy arrived, I thoroughly enjoyed reading through it and immediately sought the opinions of four experts: my three home-schooled goddaughters and their mom.  They all agreed that it's a fun book, and one they would enjoy sitting down together with! 

The authors, Stacy Tornio and Ken Keffer have done an excellent job with the text which is at once informative and engaging. Their enthusiasm for the world of animals and nature is contagious! (This is their second book collaboration.  Their first was The Kids' Outdoor Adventure Book.)  

Having written a volume that's perfect for home schooled or traditionally schooled children, Ken and Stacy are inviting kids to become privy to lots of lots of random amazing facts and secrets about North American animals.

Take for example, the OWL:
Owls fascinate people all over the world.  They have gained a lot of popularity in the past several years, maybe in part because of Harry Potter.  Actually, there have been lots of owl characters in movies and literature over the years...

Little Known Facts
1. While owls mostly stick to themselves, a group of owls is called a parliament.
2. It might seem that owls can turn their heads all the way around, but that's not really the case.  They can turn their heads about 270 degrees but not a full 360 degrees.
3. Some owls often have to survive in the cold because their range goes well into northern areas.  One thing that allows them to do this is having feathers that go all the way down on their feet too.
4. Owls don't create (or excavate) their own nests out of trees.  Instead they find nests that have been created by other birds...
...and it goes on and on!  Twelve facts in all for the owl!

The chapters are organized by animal classifications. There are a couple of pages devoted to every animal, with a nice illustration by Rachel Riordan for each one. At the back of the book there's also an index of animals by state and province. 

In addition to the "little known facts" about each animal, your child will read about the animals' sizes, what they eat, who eats them, and where they hang out.  There are also science Q&A's, animal "all star picks" from around the world, and "go outside" challenges.

Shoes, book, and t-shirt giveaway! Click to enter publisher's giveaway.


The publisher is doing a cool giveaway, which you can learn about and enter by going HERE.  (There’s an added fun part…whoever wins gets to choose a friend to send a book and t-shirt to as well!)

The Secret Lives of Animals is available on Amazon and from Barnes and Noble.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Fall Giveaway Winner Announced...

The winner of my book giveaway, A Gift For Matthew, is Angie.  Congratulations, Angie, and thank you to all who participated and left such kind comments about this wonderful new picture book from Nick Muzekari and Masha Lobastov!