Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Special holiday gift for girls: The Raymie Nightingale Three-Book Collection by Kate DiCamillo

From time to time, Chat With Vera has the opportunity to simply share a beautiful product. That is what this collection of Kate DiCamillo books is. Ideal for gifting to a girl at Christmas or any other time that is gift-giving-worthy. Take a peek.....

First came Raymie Nightingale, the “triumphant and necessary book”* that would become a National Book Award Finalist. Then followed the tender Louisiana’s Way Home, featuring “one of DiCamillo’s most singular and arresting creations” (The New York Times Book Review) and marking the first time the two-time Newbery Medalist had revisited the world of one of her novels. And finally, the much-hoped-for third novel, Beverly, Right Here, awaits its rapt audience. 

Here, the entire trilogy of novels — the perfect gift for both longtime fans and new devotees — is available in a beautifully designed set. Included are hardcover editions of:

Raymie Nightingale

A 2016 National Book Award Finalist! Two-time Newbery Medalist Kate DiCamillo returns to her roots with a moving, masterful story of an unforgettable summer friendship.

Raymie Clarke has come to realize that everything, absolutely everything, depends on her. And she has a plan. If Raymie can win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition, then her father, who left town two days ago with a dental hygienist, will see Raymie's picture in the paper and (maybe) come home. To win, not only does Raymie have to do good deeds and learn how to twirl a baton; she also has to contend with the wispy, frequently fainting Louisiana Elefante, who has a show-business background, and the fiery, stubborn Beverly Tapinski, who’s determined to sabotage the contest. But as the competition approaches, loneliness, loss, and unanswerable questions draw the three girls into an unlikely friendship — and challenge each of them to come to the rescue in unexpected ways.

Louisiana’s Way Home

The instant New York Times bestseller!
From two-time Newbery Medalist Kate DiCamillo comes a story of discovering who you are — and deciding who you want to be.

When Louisiana Elefante’s granny wakes her up in the middle of the night to tell her that the day of reckoning has arrived and they have to leave home immediately, Louisiana isn’t overly worried. After all, Granny has many middle-of-the-night ideas. But this time, things are different. This time, Granny intends for them never to return. Separated from her best friends, Raymie and Beverly, Louisiana struggles to oppose the winds of fate (and Granny) and find a way home. But as Louisiana’s life becomes entwined with the lives of the people of a small Georgia town — including a surly motel owner, a walrus-like minister, and a mysterious boy with a crow on his shoulder — she starts to worry that she is destined only for good-byes. (Which could be due to the curse on Louisiana's and Granny’s heads. But that is a story for another time.)

Called “one of DiCamillo’s most singular and arresting creations” by The New York Times Book Review, the heartbreakingly irresistible Louisiana Elefante was introduced to readers in Raymie Nightingale — and now, with humor and tenderness, Kate DiCamillo returns to tell her story.

Beverly, Right Here

Revisiting once again the world of Raymie Nightingale, two-time Newbery Medalist Kate DiCamillo turns her focus to the tough-talking, inescapably tenderhearted Beverly.

Beverly put her foot down on the gas. They went faster still.
This was what Beverly wanted — what she always wanted. To get away. To get away as fast as she could. To stay away.

Beverly Tapinski has run away from home plenty of times, but that was when she was just a kid. By now, she figures, it’s not running away. It’s leaving. Determined to make it on her own, Beverly finds a job and a place to live and tries to forget about her dog, Buddy, now buried underneath the orange trees back home; her friend Raymie, whom she left without a word; and her mom, Rhonda, who has never cared about anyone but herself. Beverly doesn’t want to depend on anyone, and she definitely doesn’t want anyone to depend on her. But despite her best efforts, she can’t help forming connections with the people around her — and gradually, she learns to see herself through their eyes. In a touching, funny, and fearless conclusion to her sequence of novels about the beloved Three Rancheros, #1 New York Times best-selling author Kate DiCamillo tells the story of a character who will break your heart and put it back together again.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary set of books from the publisher to facilitate this post/review. Opinions expressed are mine, information is publisher's. All are freely given here on this post.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Encyclopedia of American Indian History and Culture from National Geographic [Review & Giveaway]

Encyclopedia of American Indian History and Culture (ages 8-12-adult, hardcover $24.99)

My thoughts: As America gears up to celebrate the Thanksgiving season, school children across the nation reenact the "Thanksgiving Meal" shared by the Pilgrims and the Indians. American history is filled with episodes - many of which cause our minds and hearts to reel with visualized terror - from every corner of our United States.

In Encyclopedia of American Indian History and Culture the publishers at National Geographic Kids have compiled an extensive collection of organized information, historical and cultural, of Indians who lived in North America.

Categorized by geographic regions and the different tribes or groups of Indians who lived in that specific region, the book explores the range of Indian life from thousands of years prior to Europeans discovering the land mass.

Outstanding photographs of individuals and groups, both current and historical imagery detail the differences of peoples as well as their habits, clothes, utensils, etc. I am completely mesmerized by the beauty.

I think this large specialty encyclopedia would be especially nice for all libraries - school, home, public, and classroom. But I also highly recommend it for any family who carries Indian heritage as a source of pride in their heritage.

About the book: “This encyclopedia fills a gap in the availability of reliable information about indigenous peoples...It was produced under the aegis of expert consultants from each of those regions—experts who are not only members of Native communities but who are also professionally involved in the research, preservation, and documentation of indigenous matters….In sum, this book should be part of every classroom and school library.” - STARRED REVIEW, Booklist

More than 160 tribes are featured presenting a comprehensive overview of the history of North America's Native peoples. From the Apache to the Zuni, readers will learn about each tribe's history, traditions, and culture, including the impact of European expansion across the land and how tribes live today.

Features include maps of ancestral lands; timelines of important dates and events; fact boxes for each tribe; bios of influential American Indians such as Sitting Bull; sidebars on daily life, homes, food, clothing, jewelry, and games;   To help give kids the lay of the land, this reference is arranged by region, and all federally recognized tribes are included. Tribal members representing each region and experts at the National Museum of the American Indian at the Smithsonian Institution were involved in its creation.
Begins November 12
Ends December 1 @ 12:01 a.m. ET
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Winner's copy if provided and shipped directly to the winner by publisher or publicist.


This beautifully packaged and made water "pick" or flosser was a product I had long wondered if it should be incorporated into my dental health routine. Our family has been twice-a-year professional dental cleaning, braces, regular care and top product users as far as our dental health goes. We just never got around to getting the water flosser. Just used regular flossing, picks, and brushing to maintain our teeth.

I can see that it will take some practice to learn to use this beautiful tool effectively without totally showering down myself and the bathroom. But it might just be worth the major learning curve. There are 4 tips. At first I thought perhaps they were for different family members and that is a way to use them. However, one has a "brush" tip made of soft rubbery plastic material which I assume is for actually pressing up to the gum line the facilitate penetration of the water into the narrow spots.

The rechargeable battery is a plus and it recharges via an USB cord connection. Makes it great for travel since most folks travel with USB connectivity. I am looking forward to using this new dental hygiene tool and am sure my dentist will applaud.

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt: Christmas Activity Book from Candlewick Press [Review & Giveaway USA/CANADA]

ISBN: 9781536211382
Candlewick Press $9.99 Ages 3-7
My thoughts:  I just absolutely love this activity book. It is chock full of bright, fun, interesting activities. This is not your average word puzzle, maze, sticker book with coloring pages. No, this delightful book has things to make, activities to do, stickers to color, pre-colored stickers to stick. Just so much fun.

In the back there is a Christmas tree to which you affix a special sticker for each day in December ending with Dec. 25. What fun!

Crafts you can do with simple items. Things you can do with family. Just so much fun,.

Now, understand, that while Christmas to me and many people is about the birth of the Savior, Jesus, this particular activity book is strictly on the secular side of Christmas. There is still a place for fun and enjoyment without detracting from the real meaning of Christmas.

So find your kiddies one of these to help keep them entertained through the cold December days and brighten their days a bit.

About the book: Inspired by the animated special based on a beloved classic, this treasure trove of activities, fun facts, and more than a hundred stickers is the perfect gift for a magical time of year.

There’s so much to make, do, and discover in the countdown to Christmas! Whether kids like staying indoors to make crafts or stepping outside to explore, they’ll find plenty of ideas in this gem of a book. Would you like to create a wreath, design your own cards, or make a special cake for the birds? How about learning some seasonal jokes, looking for winter creatures, or completing a Christmas tree calendar with stickers? With easy-to-follow instructions, charming illustrations, and plenty of holiday spirit, this hands-on guide to making the most of the season will keep children entertained and inspired.

2 Winners
Begins November 11
Ends November 30 @ 12:01 a.m. ET
Open to USA & CANADA
a Rafflecopter giveaway 
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Winners' books are provided and shipped directly to the winner by publisher or publicist.

Once Upon a Dickens Christmas by Michele Griep

About the Book: Three Delightful Christmas Tales from Beloved Storyteller Michelle Griep

Pour yourself a cuppa, get lost in the merriment of the season, and enjoy a Dickensian Christmas in three stories from fan favorite Michelle Griep:

12 Days a Bleakly Manor: Brought together under mysterious circumstances, Clara and Ben discover that what they’ve been striving for isn’t what ultimately matters. What matters most is what Christmas is all about . . . love.

My thoughts:  We all know and love Christmas as depicted by Charles Dickens and have read, seen movies or plays, and recalled significant scenes from his famous tale. Our author, Michele Griep, takes us on a journey to the days of Dickens and we meet characters worthy of one the famous gentleman's tales.

This book is a collection of three Christmas tales so what I am doing is spreading my own reading joy out over the holidays. I just finished 12 Days at Bleakly Manorand it is certainly one I enjoyed.

It seemed as though some famously silly character types such as one would encounter in Alice's Mad Hatter Tea Party were part of the collection of folks gathered in the rich, cold, bewildering halls of Bleakly Manor. Though an elegant place, it was also a bleak place. Each person assembled had either lost something they needed to find or regain or they were in need of something. Riches, love, security, hope.

The story is a sort of mystery. A sort of romance. A sort of Dickens plot where it seems the underdog surely must regain some dignity or something positive.

Yes, there is a lovely heroin. Yes, there is a strong, dashing gentleman. Yes, there is a beloved auntie. And yes, there is a happy ending. But getting there...... well, that is the tale.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this story and highly recommend it.

As the holidays progress, I'll try to return here and give you my thoughts on the other two novellas encompassed within the folds of this beautiful book.


A Tale of Two Hearts: Pleasure seeker William Barlow needs a wife immediately to gain his uncle’s inheritance, and Mina Scott is just the girl to make him look respectable—too bad she turns him down. Ought he give her a second chance?


The Old Lace Shop: Recently widowed Bella White is finally freed from the domination of the overbearing men in her life, but when she enters into a business partnership with the handsome Edmund Archer, she begins to wonder if marriage is worth a second chance.

NOTE: This book is a limited print so if you are interested in having a copy, I suggest you do not delay in placing an order or snapping one off the shelves of your favorite book seller. They will surely sell out fast.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate a review. Opinions expressed are mine, alone and are freely given.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

For cat lovers, National Geographic Kids "Cat Science Unleashed" & "Cat Breed Guide" [Review & Giveaway]

Well folks, we missed National Cat Week in October. But for those of you who have cats in your home or in your life or wish you had cats in your life, I guess it is ALWAYS National Cat Time. So these two books are appropriate for you any time. Take a gander - oops! "a meow" at these lovelies.....

Cat Science Unleashed: Fun Activities to Do With Your Feline Friend (ages 8-12, Paperback $12.99) 

Part of the hugely successful Hands-On Science line (Dog Science Unleashed Fall 2018) Cat Science Unleashed contains 22 safe and cat-friendly activities that let you work alongside your cat to discover how your amazing feline friend thinks, moves, drinks, stays warm, gets clean, cools off, and more.

Step-by-step instructions, clear and interesting scientific explanations, and cool photographs shot specifically for this book reveal how catnip affects your kitty, how she can see so well in the dark, why she always lands on all fours and techniques for testing her vitals and tracking her fitness.  Also includes a behind-the-scenes look at current feline research.

Cat Breed Guide: A Complete Reference to Your Purr-Fect Best Friend (ages 8-12, Hardcover $19.99) 

From Russian Blues and Munchkins to Maine Coons and Persians, this comprehensive guide gives an overview of 71 different cat breeds. Each profile includes the breed's "cat stats": country of origin, size, coat color and pattern, grooming difficulty, and cat-titude. With the help of veterinarian Dr. Gary Weitzman and cat behaviorist Mieshelle Nagelschneider, kids will also learn how to choose the right cat for them, how to take care of their new feline friend, and how to understand its behavior. Fun feature spreads cover cats in popular culture, prehistoric cats, and the house cat's wild cousins.

Now, don't you just wanna go out and get yourself or your little ones a kitty to love on a bit?

Begins November 10—30 @ 12:01 a.m. ET
Open to USA
a Rafflecopter giveaway 
DISCLOSURE: I received complimentary copies of both books to facilitate a post. Any opinions expressed are mine alone and are freely given. Prize is provided and shipped directly to the winner by publicist or publisher.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Paper World: Planet Earth by Bomboland from Canlewick Press imprint Big Picture Press [Giveaway USA/CANADA]

ISBN13: 9781536208542
Hardcover $24.99
My thoughts:  Every now and then you find yourself holding a book that captures your interest in every imaginable facet. It is well crafted, sturdy, beautifully illustrated and colored, represents the text of the book in a unique and really attention-getting manner. Then you say to yourself, "Wow! This is So Nice!"

That's how I feel about Paper World: Planet Earth. What the publisher and illustrator have done with paper-craft is uniquely educational. You feel the Earth's terrain or levels of the sea. You see and feel the depth of each layer of the Earth and what each layer is made of.

You learn. Oh yes! You learn in bite-sized pieces tucked away under flaps you lift that are clouds, Earth shelves, or Magma Chambers venting through a volcano. Each lift of a flap is educational and fun.

But what is so impressive as well is the way you can drag your finger tips across the pages and feel the art. Paper World has truly crafted a fun and educational piece that won't soon be forgotten.

I highly recommend.

About the book: This guide to our planet shows paper being engineered like never before.

Paper World: Planet Earth uses ingenious paper cutouts to reveal the amazing details of our planet, from bubbling volcanoes to rushing rivers to the boiling hot interior of the Earth. With detailed art by studio Bomboland, a fact-filled text, and flaps and die-cuts on every spread, this one-of-a-kind novelty book will appeal to readers of all ages.

2 Winners - Each a Copy
Begins November 9
Ends November 30 @ 12:01 a.m. ET
Open to USA & CANADA
NO P.O. Boxes (Phone # Required for Canada Winners)
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Winners' copy is provided and shipped directly to the winner by the publisher or publicist.