Thursday, September 29, 2022

Early Readers: Book Buddies - "Ivy Lost and Found" & "Marco Polo Brave Explorer" [Review & Giveaway]

Ivy Lost and Found (Book Buddies #1) by Cynthia Lord & illustrated by  Stephanie Graegin


My thoughts: 
Absolutely adorable. Chapter books of appropriate story line, language, and comprehension that are entertainingly engageable are treasures to be sought. I believe the Book Buddies stories fit this and that they will bring joy to young readers.

Written with the grade 1 to 4 child in mind, they are illustrated with pencil drawings which are soft, cute, and interesting. I think children will totally enjoy holding and reading these sweet books.

In Ivy Lost and Found we find that Anne, the little girl in the story, has a beloved doll named Ivy. Anne grows up and Ivy is placed in a box in the attic. Later we find that Anne has grown to be an adult librarian and brings Ivy to the library to be placed on the shelf of "Book Buddies." This particular library has a toy lending area where children can borrow books and toys.

Toy lending libraries are a wonderful way to provide toys to children whose families don't have the financial means to give them toys with which to play. It is also a way gently used toys can find new homes. I highly approve this idea.

The sweet story reads with a gentle flow of words that will be familiar and yet a challenge to readers. I really look forward to seeing more from this author and illustrator in the series of "Book Buddies" and perhaps other young reader chapter books. Read a sample chapter  View/download activity kit 

About the book: A lonely doll helps a child adjust to a blended family in the first of a charming series about library toys and the children who borrow them, written by Newbery Honoree Cynthia Lord.

Ivy was Anne the librarian's doll when she was a young girl. But now she has moved to Anne's library to be its newest Book Buddy--a toy that can be checked out just like a book. Ivy isn't sure she wants to be borrowed, though. She'd rather go back to just being Anne's favorite toy. Fern, a child who visits the library with her stepfamily, also wishes things could go back to the way they were, when Fern had her dad all to herself. When Fern takes Ivy home, an unexpected outdoor adventure helps both of them find confidence and belonging in their changing worlds. This heartwarming story by Cynthia Lord, with a classic feel and gentle illustrations by Stephanie Graegin, is the first in a chapter-book series that pairs friendly toys with child characters who need them. 

Marco Polo Brave Explorer (Book Buddies #2) by Cynthia Lord & illustrated by Stephanie Graegin 


My thoughts:   
In Marco Polo Brave Explorer we have a very small felt mouse designed to be a Christmas tree ornament and is just the right size to keep tucked away in a pocket or little purse. He was Anne the Librarian's when she was a child and had been tucked away in a box in the attic when Anne had outgrown her toys.

Now as an adult and a librarian, Anne has brought Marco Polo the felt mouse Christmas ornament to the library to sit up on the "Book Buddies" shelf. He has a special role he plays in helping a little boy go to a sleepover and overcome his fear of being away from home.

Anne the librarian seems to know just which "Book Buddie" to match the children with and Marco Polo is a fine match for Seth. 

This is a simply delightful story and involves a family cat that has mischievously hidden a trove of items in his stash. Will Seth find Marco Polo without revealing to his friends that he needed to bring his "comfort toy" to the sleepover?

About the book: Can an intrepid toy mouse help a child venture out of his comfort zone? Book Two of an endearing illustrated series about friendly library toys and the children who borrow them.

Marco Polo is a retired Christmas ornament, but in his mind he is a great mouse explorer. Because he’s tiny and likely to be lost, he is the least-borrowed of the Book Buddies—toys that children can check out of the library just like a book—and he almost never leaves the library. But the little mouse finally meets the right match in Seth, a boy who is about to attend his first sleepover. If Seth were to bring the stuffed bunny he usually sleeps with, he’d risk being teased, but Marco Polo is the perfect size to hide away in his sleeping bag. Are both boy and mouse in for an unexpected adventure? Charmingly illustrated and offering a window into the secret life of toys (including a suspenseful glimpse at where all the household’s lost toys go), Marco Polo Brave Explorer explores common fears and quiet bravery and will leave readers eager for the next episode in the Book Buddies series. 


GIVEAWAY
Begins September 29
Ends October 19 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Winner's prize is provided and shipped directly to the winner by publisher or publicist. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Planetarium: Welcome to the Museum by Raman Prinja & illustrated by Chris Wormell

 Planetarium: Welcome to the Museum 

ISBN 9781536206234
US $37.99 CAN $49.99

My thoughts: 
The Welcome to the Museum series has again produced a fascinating book to introduce youngsters to the unfathomable universe. Inquisitive minds will delve into the gorgeous illustrations and read the no-nonsense text to learn how man's concept and knowledge of the Universe has grown through the centuries.

A very large, oversized book whose very dimensions help one see more clearly the relational largeness of items in the Universe. The illustrations are really good.  

I have reviewed several of the "Welcome to the Museum" series books and recommend them highly.


About the book:  Welcome to the museum that is always open to explore. Step inside the pages of this beautiful book to discover galleries of galactic matter, expertly curated to bring you the experience of a fascinating exhibition in the comfort of your own home. Planetarium features all aspects of space, from the sun and our solar system to the lives of stars, the Milky Way, and the universe beyond. With stunning artwork from Dinosaurium illustrator Chris Wormell and informative text by Raman Prinja, a professor of astrophysics at University College, London, Planetarium is the perfect gift for budding astronomers and armchair stargazers alike.
GIVEAWAY
Begins September 27
Ends October 18 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA/CANADA addresses only
NO P.O. Boxes & Canadians must provide phone number
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Winner's prize is provided and shipped directly to the winner by publisher or publicist. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Mama, Sing My Song: A Sweet Melody of God’s Love for Me by Amana Seibert & illustrated by Sally Garland [Review & Giveaway]

My thoughts: This adorable little book is a joy to read and will be comforting to little one's when read aloud especially during snuggle time just before bed.

The affirmation of a mother's love for her little one is truly sweet. The spiritually affirming declaration that the little one is love even more by God than he or she is loved by a loving mother. What an opportunity to plant the seed of God's love, present time and everlasting, for His children.

This is a delightful book to get for your own child or for a gift.

About the book: When we look at our children, we see those one-in-a-million grins, their crinkled noses, and sweet eyes looking back at us, which soften our hearts. God designed those babies uniquely, and Mama, Sing My Song is a celebration of all that is lovely and true about your child. Let your little ones know they are safe, loved, and cherished in your family.


This affirming picture book for 4- to 8-year-olds

  • celebrates the love between parent and child;
  • encourages kids to embrace God's love for them;
  • provides kids the security and love they're seeking; and
  • highlights all that is good in our little ones.

With snuggly illustrations of animal families, Mama, Sing My Song

  • features unique presentation pages to write your little one's name, plus space to journal special messages and a prayer for your child;
  • includes a free downloadable song;
  • is a great gift for baby showers, Mother's Day, Christmas, and birthdays; and
  • has a beautifully designed cover, perfect for displaying in a nursery or in a gift basket.

Hold your little ones a little closer as you share this timeless, heartfelt love note with them.

WIN A COPY OF MAMA, SING MY SONG - CLICK HERE

PURCHASE IT - CLICK HERE


DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. This is a sponsored post in association with Tommy Nelson and/or HarperCollings Christian Publishing. Giveaway is hosted by publicist. Prize is provided and sent directly to winner/s by author, publisher, or publicist. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Fun children's books: "Books Aren't For Eating" & "Monsters Play... Counting!" [Review & Giveaway]

Books Aren't for Eating by Carlie Sorosiak & illustrated by Manu Montoya  


My thoughts: 
I just love this book. The elderly goat is the librarian and he doesn't eat the books. Instead, he delights in finding the perfect book for each of the library patrons.

And then one day a fellow goat comes into the library looking for a book. He finds one to his liking and immediately commences to eating it. He goes on to eat more and more much to the dismay of the elder goat librarian.

Mr. Goat Librarian is dismayed and goes home his thoughts consumed with how to help his fellow goat learn to love to READ books as he does and NOT to EAT books. 

His solution is one from his own personal experiences. 

I highly recommend this delightful read.

About the book: How can Leopold, goat and bookstore owner, find the perfect book for a fellow goat—one the visitor will enjoy reading, not munching?

Leopold the goat owns a delightful bookstore, and he has a talent for matching his customers with the ideal book—an adventure story for the girl in the rain boots, a novel about gnomes for the man who loves to laugh, and a book of birds for the woman in the feathered hat. But one day, another goat arrives and proceeds to eat every book Leopold offers. Can Leopold find just the right one to tempt this reluctant reader? This funny, charming tale of the transformative power of books is a celebration of that first special story that sparks a child’s love of reading.


Monsters Play... Counting! by Flavia Z. Drago 


My thoughts: 
Ten different monsters each have an activity and a physical trait that makes them specific to the number they hold in the count down.

A cute counting book that shows relationship between activity and physical trait and the aid that a specific number might hold for that activity.

A fun book.

About the book: The creator of Gustavo, the Shy Ghost presents a stylish, delightfully ghoulish board book that little ones can count on—with the help of monsters of all shapes and sizes.

Run like a monster!
Run like Pete.
Pete has SEVEN feet
for racing down the street.

Count from one to ten with these funny, flamboyant monsters! As children peruse one tongue, two ears, three eyes, and more, they may be inspired to swing, build, flutter, drum, and learn the names for different body parts, too. With monstrously bright illustrations and a rhyming text, this sturdy board book makes the perfect gift for a new arrival or a must-have addition to a toddler’s first library. 

GIVEAWAY
Begins Sept. 18
Ends October 11 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only
DISCLOSURE: I received complimentary copies to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Winner's prize is provided and shipped directly to the winner by publicist or publisher. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Hero for the Hungry: The Life and Work of Norman Borlaug by Peggy Thomas & illustrated by Sam Kalda [Spotlight & Giveaway USA/CANADA]

Hero for the Hungry: The Life and Work of Norman Borlaug by Peggy Thomas and illustrated by Sam Kalda (Feeding Minds Press; ISBN: 978-1948898096; Paperback $15.99; Ages 10-15; 160 pages). 

About the book: A moving and informative biography of the 20th-century American agriculture scientist whose innovations in crop varieties founded the Green Revolution and fed hundreds of millions of people around the world - with full-color chapter illustrations and STEM- and history-themed text features throughout.

Can a quiet Iowa farm boy grow up to change the world? Norman Ernest Borlaug did.

How? Science, true American grit, and a passion for helping those in need.

Born in 1914, raised on a small farm, and educated in a one-room schoolhouse, Norman Borlaug learned to work hard and excelled in sports. Against odds and adversity, Norm studied forestry and eventually became a plant scientist, dedicating his life’s work to ending world hunger. Working in obscurity in the wheat fields of Mexico, Norm and his team developed disease-resistant plants, and when widespread famine threatened India and Pakistan, Norm worked alongside poor farmers and battled bureaucracy to save millions from mass starvation. Often called the “Father of the Green Revolution,” Norm helped lay the groundwork for agricultural technological advances that alleviated world hunger. He won the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1970. He was a true hero for the hungry.

Sidebars include topics such as a deeper dive into the science Norm was using to produce new and better wheat varieties, agronomy, wheat genes, stem rust, nutrients and more. Back matter includes a timeline of events and discoveries and a call to action for readers to use science to solve problems and do small things to help with hunger and food waste.

Hero for the Hungry is excellent for a science class learning about genetics, an agriculture class studying agronomy, or a history or English class looking for a well-written biography on a hero scientist. Free lessons available this summer.

About the Author: Peggy Thomas has always loved true stories, and can’t remember a time when she wasn’t thrilled to find animal bones, musty encyclopaedias, or a history plaque by the side of the road. It's that same curiosity that has fueled the research and writing of more than twenty nonfiction books for children.

With a master’s degree in anthropology, Peggy explores a wide range of subjects, blending history and science to create award-winning titles. Her most recent books include Lincoln Clears a Path (Calkins Creek, 2021) and Full of Beans: Henry Ford Grows a Car (Calkins Creek, 2019), which earned NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Book, 2020 Best Book from the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture, and Book of the Year from the Henry Ford Heritage Association.

Peggy is a member of SCBWI, a blogger for Nonfiction Ninjas, and on the creative team behind Nonfiction Fest, a month-long celebration of writing nonfiction for children. Visit her at www.peggythomaswrites.com.

About the Illustrator: Sam Kalda is an illustrator and artist based in Saint Paul. His commissioned works include editorial, book, advertising and pattern illustration. In 2017, he received a gold medal in book illustration from the Society of Illustrators in New York. He also won a medal from the Cheese Club in college for being able to identify the most amount of, well, cheeses. His first book, Of Cats and Men: History's Great Cat-loving Artists, Writers, Thinkers and Statesmen, was published by Ten Speed Press in 2017. He recently illustrated his first picture book, When We Walked on the Moon, written by David Long and published by Wide Eyed Press in 2019, as well as the follow-up, When Darwin Sailed the Sea.

He lives in an old house with his husband and two cats, Arthur and Frances. In their role as studio assistants, the cats specialize in houseplant demolition and pencil relocation. He enjoys futzing around in his garden, going to estate sales, and taking long walks. So basically, when he's not working, he's retired. He's taught at CUNY Queens College and Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Visit him at www.samkalda.com.

About the Publisher: Feeding Minds Press is a project of the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture, whose mission is to build awareness and understanding of agriculture through education. We focus on helping young readers understand where their food comes from, who grows it, and how it gets to them and believe in cultivating curiosity about food and farming and how agriculture plays a role in our daily lives. All books from Feeding Minds Press have accompanying lessons, activities, and videos to further learning available on their website, www.feedingmindspress.com.

GIVEAWAY
Begins September 16
Ends October 4 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open USA/CANADA addresses only
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy. Giveaway prize is provided and sent directly to the winner by publisher, author, or publicist. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Three new National Geographic Kids Books releases that kids will LOVE -- space, dinosaurs, & animals of all kinds [Review & Giveaway]

All three of these middle grade titles are ideal for kicking off the school year, celebrating STEM/STEAM Day on November 8th, and holiday gift giving. 

 

National Geographic Kids Dinosaur Atlas: When they roamed, How they lived, & Where we find their fossils (ages 7-10)



My thoughts:
The continuing growth of information about dinosaurs is both interesting and captivating and this is especially true for those young folks who find the strange beasts fascinating.

I found it interesting that the artist has rendered the vast variety of these ancient reptiles (and birds) based on assumptions formulated from geological finds across the globe.

I found the well presented information showing the various areas on Earth and the specific dinosaur finds that have been made in each area of particular interest. Of course, these are fossils found through excavations that are retrieved by specialists in their field.

The chart at the end of the book with the names of the dinosaurs is certain to be a valuable tool in study.

This is another good book for all types of libraries and for the youngster that is particularly interested in these ancient beasts.

About the book: As one of National Geographic Kids' lead titles this Fall, the one-of-a-kind Dinosaur Atlas is a standout in every way.  The oversized hardcover format showcases stunning, full color dinosaur illustrations on every page and the custom-made, kid-friendly maps were created by National Geographic's legendary cartography and exploration experts. Vetted and curated by Dr. Steve Brusatte -- a paleontologist on faculty at the School of Geosciences at the University of Edinburg, a PhD recipient from Columbia University, and the science consultant for the Jurassic World franchise -- this atlas contains the most detailed and accurate information not only about dino "fan favorites" but also about the most recent dinosaur discoveries from less explored dig sites around the world. 

With more than 75 prehistoric creatures featured, the Dinosaur Atlas takes readers on a tour of every dinosaur-inhabited continent, from Pangea to the modern day, revealing which creatures lived there, what their habitats were like and where dinosaur bones are being found today. Special sections introducing the dinosaur family tree, a prehistoric era timeline, the geography of the prehistoric globe, what happened to the dinosaurs, and a dinosaur dictionary  (with phonetic pronunciations) are also included . Lastly, readers will find inspiration from profiles of diverse paleontologists from around the world. Perfect for gift giving, school, library and family bookshelves and to satisfy even the most dino-obsessed. 
 

Can't Get Enough Space Stuff: Fun Facts, Awesome Info, Cool Games, Silly Jokes, and More! by Julie Beer, Stephanie Warren Drimmer  (ages 7-10) 



My thoughts: 
National Geo Kids has produced another enticing book that is fun, educational, and entertaining. Kids will enjoy learning these factoids that are grouped interestingly together. 

The jokes and riddles are nice breaks in learning to share a laugh or two with parents and other kids.

Another great book to add to your library for your STEM minded kids. 

About the book: Featuring more than 200 extraordinary illustrations and photographs, detailed diagrams and infographics and a winning combination of comprehensive articles that do a deep dive into outer space research, fast facts and first-hand accounts from experts, Can't Get Enough Space Stuff is the ultimate book for space enthusiasts.  This book covers it all -- get the scoop on space food, space junk, space volcanoes and NASA's future plans for reaching Mars and Europa.  Learn about how scientists are looking for life on other planets, cutting edge space technology, mind-blowing black holes and the International Space Station.  Hands-on activities you can try at home are a terrific resource for STEM studies and science fair projects and a fun way to celebrate World Space Week (October 4-10, 2022)!
 

5,000 Awesome Facts (About Animals) (ages 8-12) 



My thoughts: 
I am totally in awe at the "awesome facts" about animals this huge book contains. Pages are packed with a plethora of information ingeniously crafted into categories that permit engaged educational impact.

In fact, the facts are so numerous that one can simply drown in their abundance. So careful dieting of reading time might be called for in this case. But none-the-less, the book is shelf-worthy for any thinker's library and would make a much appreciated gift.

Highly recommended by this reviewer.

About the book: Ever wonder how smart a chicken is? Why a tiny island is home to thousands of venomous snakes? What sound a rhino makes when it’s happy? 5,000 Awesome Facts (About Animals) -- a big, beautiful and gift worthy book for animal lovers and the fact-obsessed -- leaves no habitat unexplored or unusual animal ability unmentioned.  
 
A clever note to readers at the end of the book "pulls back the curtain" and shares the process of how a book like this is created, the breadth and depth of the expertly researched and extensive menagerie of animals included and the design genius behind this captivating and colorful collection:
"Just how did we get 5,000 awesome facts about animals into this book? First, we came up with a list of all kinds of critters and their cool and crazy habits, habitats, and traits: from hovering hummingbirds and precious pets to burying beetles and gigantic gorillas, from creatures that swim in the sea to those that fly high. Then we figured out how to fit all these facts about Earth’s amazing animals on the pages. It was kind of like doing a jigsaw puzzle! Some topics have 15 facts. Some have 25. Some even have 100! We carefully researched each and every fact to make sure it’s absolutely true. And we illustrated and designed the pages so well that you’ll never want to stop looking at them. Then we added up all the facts to get to 5,000. It didn’t take 5,000 people to make this awesome book—but it did take a colossal crew of writers, editors, photo editors, and designers—the most awesome book team around!"
GIVEAWAY
All 3 Titles to 1 Winner
Begins September 14
Ends October 8 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only
DISCLOSURE: I received complimentary copies to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Prize is provided and shipped directly to the winner by publisher, publicist, or MMPublicity. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.

Monday, September 12, 2022

Dear Wild Child: You Carry Your Home Inside You by Wallace J. Nicols & Wallace Grayce Nichols, illustrated by Drew Beckmeyer [Giveaway]


"The art echoes the text’s emphasis on beauty rather than loss. . .In the event’s aftermath, the affecting story’s tone remains openhearted, concluding with sentiments that encourage resilience and reflect on the nature of home." Publishers Weekly

"It’s a touching sentiment that reminds readers of all ages that our lives are defined not by our material possessions but by the memories we make... Intricate and emotional." --Kirkus Reviews

In the shade of ancient redwood trees, by a creek, not far from the ocean, a father builds a house for his newborn daughter, where she grows up wild and strong in their coastal canyon home. When a wildfire takes back their beloved house, a father writes his now-grown daughter a letter telling her it’s gone. Inspired by the real letter the author wrote his daughter, this poignant story—written together by father and daughter—joyfully declares that a home is more than just wood and stone; it is made of love and can never be taken away. You carry home with you wherever you go.


About the Author & Illustrator: Wallace Grayce Nichols is a student of sustainable design, problem solver, and water lover. Her father, 
Dr. Wallace J. Nichols, is a marine biologist and the author of the bestselling book Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do. Home is the slow cast of California. Website | Twitter | FacebookInstagram

Drew Beckmeyer is a fine artist, illustrator, and elementary school teacher. He lives in Northern California. Website | Instagram

Additional Links:
Buy the Book
Add on Goodreads

Rafflecopter (The rafflecopter will be live from 12:01am ET 9/12 to 11:59pm ET 9/25. 10 winners will receive a hardcover of Dear Wild Child. USA/CANADA only.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy. This post and giveaway sponsored by MMPublicity and/or author/publisher. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.