Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Have You Seen My Tail?

Mother Daughter Book Reviews is pleased to be coordinating a Book Blast for the adorable picture book "Have You Seen My Tail?" by Kathryn Harper.

Have You Seen My Tail? by Kathryn Harper

About the Book

Title: Have You Seen My Tail? (Katie-Jane, Book #2) | Author & Illustrator: Kathryn Harper | Publication Date: July, 2014 | Publisher: Green Cup Publishing | Pages: 36 | Recommended Ages: 3 to 8 Summary: Anyone who has ever struggled to accept - or longed to experience - change of any kind will be able to relate to Katie-Jane's second story, "Have You Seen My Tail?" Using rhyming verse, and laugh-out-loud moments, Katie-Jane begins this story feeling bored. She is surprised and shocked as she meets a butterfly, a frog and a snake; who are all struggling to accept the recent big changes in their lives. Different perspectives help all four characters to accept their own situations, and embrace change in the way life offers it to them. "Have You Seen My Tail?" is the second book in the six-part Katie-Jane series, designed to encourage the reader to 'be the very best version of you.'  

Sneak Peek

Have You Seen My Tail? by Kathrn Harper - Inside Page  

Purchase

Amazon | Book Website

You can also purchase the first book in the Katie-Jane Series, "Am I a Chameleon?" by clicking the book cover below:
Am I a Chameleon by Kathrn Harper  

Early Buzz About the Book

"Author Kathryn Harper offers insightful questions and answers at the end of the book explaining how she feels about change. I love how these insightful thoughts give the reader a chance to verbalize their own feelings. Like her other books, the illustrations are beautiful and vivid. Each of the animals has a wonderfully rich texture, color, and personality. The Katie-Jane books continue to not disappoint, I look forward to seeing the next books in the series." ~ 5 Star Review, Katherine R., Amazon
"Katie-Jane is a very sweet character in "Have You Seen My Tail?" She helps to explain change in a gentle and unsuspecting way. This is the second book in the series for Author, Kathryn Harper. She writes a relatable story that children all over the world can grasp and understand. " ~ 5 Star Review, Mary Jo P., Amazon
 

About the Author: Kathryn Harper

Kathryn Harper
I have always loved to write, draw and create, but my books are inspired by more than my love for their medium. As a child I was selective mute. Both my struggles and my breakthroughs are a source of inspiration toward creating Katie-Jane and her stories. I grew up in the UK, after living in Johannesburg between the ages of two and five. Today I live in Wanaka, New Zealand, with my two gorgeous children and partner, Simon. I feel incredibly lucky to be able to call this place home, where an adventure can begin every time we step outside.

Website | Facebook | Goodreads

 

* $25 Book Blast Giveaway *

Amazon 25 gift card
  Prize: $25 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal cash (winner’s choice) Contest ends: August 21, 11:59 pm, 2014 Open: Internationally How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, Kathryn Harper and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com. a Rafflecopter giveaway MDBR Book Promotion Services

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Absolutely Almost


Albie is a fifth grader living in NYC, a boy who is almost good at many things. Almost, but not quite. Albie regularly miscalculates the tip for the man who delivers his Chinese food. Albie only wants to read Captain Underpants, not the more literary books written for fifth graders. Albie struggles with his spelling list each week. Albie also possesses one of the kindest, most compassionate, most sincere hearts recently depicted in children's literature. He knows that he doesn't live up to his parents expectations and that the cool kids in school ridicule him. Albie's best friend still attends his former school, leaving Albie to forge his own way this school year. All of these regular life struggles form a story of a simple boy endeavoring to find his way during the oft-turbulent pre-teen years.

Absolutely Almost provides an interesting narration for today's middle grade reader: the plight of the average child. Albie is not really good at anything. He's not a stellar student; he doesn't have any outstanding hobbies. He is kind and compassionate, but those traits are often overlooked in the search for a tangible talent. His parents are not particularly understanding and often push him to "do better". As a parent of 4 myself, Albie's perspective of his parents demands, even their relative lack of involvement in his education and the detail of his days, resonated heavily with me. Albie's new babysitter, Calista, appears to be his savior, and while most kids reading this novel will fall in love with her, I found her sugar-enabling, school-skipping, Peter Pan-type behavior to be a bit over the line. That said, she is sympathetic toward Albie in a manner he desperately needs, and she frequently points out life truths that help him along the way. One of my favorite exchanges between them occurs while they are discussing the fact that Albie may never find something in life that he's good at:
"I want to be something I'm good at." [Albie] said.
Calista...looked more serious than normal. "You should do something because you love it, not just because you're good at it."
"But you're good at art, and you love it." [Albie] told her.
She nodded. "Did you ever think maybe the love part comes first? Find something you want to keep doing forever, even if you stink at it. And then, if you're lucky, with lots of practice, then one day you won't stink so much."
"But what if I'm not lucky?" [Albie] asked her. "What if I do find something I love, and then I always stink at it?"
Calista smiled her thoughtful smile. "Then won't you be glad you found something you love?"
Albie's struggle does not reach a tidy conclusion by the end of the novel. Although Albie does have a better sense of self, I could easily see Albie's story being open for a sequel. Either way, Albie will leave many children identifying with his plight and even more children rooting for his success.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Flight of the Mite

Flight of the Mite 
  Title: Flight of the Mite | Author: Grayson Smith | Illustrator: Alana Kyle | Publication Date: 2013 | Publisher: Peppermint Toast Publishing: Independent | Pages: 32 | Recommended Ages: 3 to 8 | Reviewed by: Renee and Dominic (Mother and Son) Information About The Book: A tale of wonder and imagination, Flight of the Mite is a children's read-aloud picture book, written by Grayson Smith and illustrated by Alana Kyle. As a tiny mite stares in wonder at the nighttime stars, she becomes certain that if she were only able to travel to them, she would meet a world of wondrous creatures. She determines to build a flying contraption, and through persistence, ingenuity, and wise counsel, journeys to the nearest star. There she encounters the Others of her dreams and finds herself on an adventure where she learns that her imagination is her most important tool! This story of imagination, courage, and determination is perfect for the little mite in your life! Flight of the Mite is the first book published by the independent small press, Peppermint Toast Publishing, out of New Westminster, British Columbia. Peppermint Toast Publishing strives to work with emerging authors and artists towards the high-quality and environmentally-friendly publication of children's picture books and literature, in profit-sharing partnership with local charitable organizations.  

Purchase

Peppermint Toast Publishing is happy to be contributing $3 from the sales for each copy of Flight of the Mite sold, going to help sick kids get better at BC Children’s Hospital. Visit their Online Store to purchase your copy!

Peppermint Toast Publishing | Amazon (Canada)

 

The Buzz About the Book

Mother and Son Review by MDBR: "Flight of the Mite is a delightful, rhyming picture book featuring an adorable little mite who dreams big as the main character; a magical story underscoring the importance of imagination in children's development; and absolutely gorgeous and whimsical illustrations. I highly recommend this book to children ages 3 to 8 and I think it would be a great choice for reading aloud to children in a classroom or library setting."
"This is our new favourite story to read and will be a book that we will be keeping to pass down to future member of our family." ~ Raincity Parent
"This wonderful piece of children’s literature is well crafted and appropriate for children and adults, the message is clear, embrace diversity, ones weakness may actually be strength. The most interesting and entertaining part is that there is a consistent rhythm and rhyme to the story, keeping the powerful message light and playful." ~ Active Lee Dadding
" I have read the sweetest story!...The combination of these two talents [i.e., the author and illustrator] working together has left us with a sweet rhyming story about a little mites big imagination." ~ Moments in Mommyland
"I recently received a new children’s book to review called Flight of the Mite. So of course I went to the best critic in the house – my 4 year old son[...]. We sat down to read the story together and discovered a delightful tale about imagination and discovery... The illustrations are delightful and [my son] insisted that we stop to discuss some of them along the way. There was more than one “wow!” over a picture of the mite climbing a dandelion." ~ Prenatal to Parenting
 

About the Author: Grayson Smith

Grayson Smith
Grayson Smith was born in Alberta, but attended a boarding school in Germany for 11 years. After high school, he attended SFU, where he obtained a degree in Criminology and met his beautiful wife, Linda. Throughout university, Grayson wrote stories when he should have been paying attention in class. After completing his degree, he became a police officer, and still enjoys that job thoroughly. As of 2012, Grayson gets to re-envision the world through the eyes of his baby son, Josiah. Writing is a wonderful way for Grayson to express the silliness and vagary that simmers beneath his well-practiced outer layer of respectability and professionalism.    

About the Illustrator: Alana Kyle

Alana Kyle, Illustrator
Alana Kyle was born and raised in the Lower Mainland. As a small child, she was sweet, quiet, and frequently lost inside her own head. Ever since she was young, she was motivated by her love of artistic creativity and attention to detail, and remains captivated by storybooks and imagination. Alana attended and graduated from Emily Carr University of Art + Design with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, and also obtained a three-year diploma of Illustration and Design from Capilano University. She works as an illustrator and graphic designer, and lives in Coquitlam.  

Links to More Information

Peppermint Toast Publishing | Twitter | Goodreads

Facebook (Peppermint Toast Publishing) | Facebook (Flight of the Mite)

 

* $25 Book Blast Giveaway *

Amazon 25 gift card
  Prize: $25 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal cash (winner’s choice) Contest ends: August 19, 11:59 pm, 2014 Open: Internationally How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, Grayson Smith and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com. a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Friday, July 18, 2014

Flashback Friday: Ginger Pye


Ginger Pye is the name of the sweet and playful pup that Jerry Pye cleaned church pews saving his hard earned coins until he finally had saved a dollar to buy her. Jerry brings Ginger home, and he becomes part of the family, following Jerry around town. On Thanksgiving Day, Ginger disappears from the Pye's backyard. Jerry makes every effort to find Ginger, while also trying to figure out who the mysterious figure is who's been following them. 

Ginger Pye won the 1952 Newbery Award, and it's fascinating to see the reaction to it now. If you look at the reviews on Amazon or Goodreads, you'll find as many negative or mediocre reviews as positive ones. The story is definitely set in a different time, but the writing is from that time too. If you need high excitement or wild adventure, this probably isn't the book for you, but if you want a sweet story from an earlier era, Ginger Pye is a beautiful read. In reading it aloud to my own kids a couple of years ago, I found that it took a few chapters to captivate them, but they all loved it by the end. I think kids really do appreciate a simple and sweet story as much as a highly adventurous one. They sometimes just have to be exposed to them.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Electric Ben


The life of Benjamin Franklin is covered in many-a children's book, some I've even posted about previously. But never has Ben Franklin been presented to children quite like this: bold, unconventional, witty, and decisive. From Ben's boyhood in Massachusetts through his various jobs as a printer, publisher, editor, writer, thinker, inventor, statesman, and diplomat, Electric Ben journeys through Ben's life in great detail infusing bits of information not generally found in other children's biographies about him. Covered in these oversized pages are many of Ben's inventions, depicted through text and illustration, as well as his many contributions to the formation of our country, including his many trips abroad and the letters and pamphlets he wrote to aid the cause.


This book is recommended for K-3, although I'm not quite sure I agree with that assessment. The text is rather dense for a kindergartener, even if it is read aloud. My first grader enjoyed listening to it read aloud last year, although not all first graders would. My fifth grader chose this, at my urging, for a biography last year, and he very much enjoyed that he found plenty of information that he needed, while the illustrations kept his interest visually. Whatever ages decide to read this will definitely find a gem of a biography, and I foresee Electric Ben being read often in our household for many years to come!


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Jack the Boogey is My Real Name

Mother Daughter Book Reviews is pleased to be coordinating a Book Blast for "Jack the Boogey is My Real Name" by Davon Washington & Chase Washington, a delightful bedtime picture book for children who are afraid of the dark.

Jack the Boogey is my Name by Davon Washington

About the Book

Title: Jack the Boogey is my Real Name: The Truth about "The Boogeyman" | Authors: Davon Washington & Chase Washington | Illustrator: Ana-Gabriela Stroe | Publication Date: January 1, 2014 | Publisher: Bedford House Books | Pages: 32 | Recommended Ages: 3 to 8 Summary: Have a child that's afraid of the dark? Are you a little curious about what happens when the lights go out? This delightful children's picture book will not only enhance the night time reading experience but bedtime in itself will never be the same. Jack The Boogey encourages kids to push through their fears, persevere and always do the right thing. One of the world's most feared creatures may have just become the most loved.  

Sneak Peek

Jack the Boogey - Inside Page - Davon Washington  

Purchase

Amazon | Book Website | Goodreads

Receive a FREE "Monster Repellent" Sticker with the purchase of "Jack the Boogey is my Real Name". Just click the image below for more information.

Monster Repellent Sticker Davon Washington

The Buzz

"I highly recommend this adorable tale to children who don't want to go to sleep at night because they are afraid the Boogeyman will get them! They just might discover that this isn't true. " ~ 5 Star Review, Amy G., Amazon
"My little one and I thoroughly enjoyed the story (he made me read it twice as soon as I took it out of the package and I had to distract him with Monsters University to get away to write a review), but the real treat to me was stashed in the cover blurb hidden away in the back of the book. It's written by Davon Washington and his son, Chase. Davon wanted to help young Chase understand how much work and effort went into providing the nice things he had, so he let Chase make this a project in which they could collaborate and Chase could get an idea of the value of hard work. To me, that's the best part of the story! " ~ 5 Star Review, Breeni B., Amazon
"I loved this book! The illustrations were such a big pull for me. It almost felt like watching a tv show in the sense that you are brought into the world of Jack the Boogey instead of trying to imagine the scariest non-monster possible. I do think that this is a great read for Young Readers because of the conflict and resolution. I enjoyed that Jack showed vulnerability (being upset over the children's misunderstanding that he was actually a helpful GOOD monster) and that it was OK to show emotion. This is a great lesson for all young readers. Sometimes when they see life lessons happening via forms of entertainment (books, movies, tv, et al) vs. just hearing about it from their parents, it sinks in a bit more." ~ 5 Star Review, LaToya, Amazon
 

About the Authors: Davon & Chase Washington

Davon Washington
Davon Washington is an entertainment executive who was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. Davon has made a career out of helping people bring their artistic dreams to fruition. The same people who more often than not do very little to enhance the tender minds of the culture that supports them. Creative thinking isn't a skill that you learn as an adult. It starts with that same imagination that we let run wild after we've mastered harder tasks like walking, talking and using the bathroom ourselves. It's Davon's mission to build a nation of creative thinkers one book at a time. Davon and his six-year old son, Chase collaborated to bring Jack the Boogey is My Real Name to life. This is their first book.  

Book Website | Tumblr | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

 

* $25 Book Blast Giveaway *

Amazon 25 gift card Prize: $25 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal cash (winner’s choice) Contest ends: August 12, 11:59 pm, 2014 Open: Internationally How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, Davon Washington and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com. a Rafflecopter giveaway MDBR Book Promotion Services

Monday, July 14, 2014

Hope Is a Ferris Wheel


Hope Is a Ferris Wheel is the story of Star Mackie, who is struggling to find friends and her place in a new school following a move to California from Oregon. Star appears to be the only one at school who lives in a trailer park, and her "layered cut" is constantly misidentified as a "mullet" by the other kids. She decides to start a club at school to help her find friends. After a false start with the Trailer Park Club, she finds limited success with the Emily Dickinson Club. With a mom who's often distracted by her own issues, a sister who attends a school for delinquents, a father who's missing, and a teacher who thinks she's not capable of much academically, Star innocently and honestly navigates her way through the school year.

Star Mackie is such a likable character that you can't help rooting for her from the first paragraph. She tends to see the best in everyone, even those who might not outwardly seem to have many redeeming qualities. Star is definitely naive, but it comes across as genuine, not cutesy. There were two events in the book that really made Star an authentic character for me, the first was when she fell in love with the first Emily Dickinson poem she heard, and the second was a tragic reveal of information that I don't want to spoil. Star radiates honesty in every emotion depicted, confusion over being spurned by her sister, feelings of betrayal by her mother, hope for a relationship with her father, devotion to her beloved Emily Dickinson poems. As a side note, the cover art is pretty great as well. I loved the vintage look of the ferris wheel and the carnival typeface.