Monday, September 27, 2021

Kobee Manatee Climate Change and The Great Blue Hole Hazard by Robert Scott Thayer - Published by Thompson Mill Press

Be sure to enter the #giveaway.
Maybe the author will sign winner's copy.
My thoughts:  Did you know that there is a whole series of books about Kobee Manatee? The current four distinct works about Kobee are delightful to read, teach much needed lessons, and are gently lovable. This newest - Climate Change and the Great Blue Hole Hazard - educates and entertains young children about our wonderful oceans and what's happening to them. 

As Kobee and his pals (all dressed in frankly unsuitable clothes) cavort from about the Caribbean, they see dying coral, plastic trash, and sea critter friends entrapped in plastic. 

The story is a beautifully illustrated, gentle, and entertaining read for children to read themselves or have read aloud to them. Kobee is a treasure. 

There are side bars of information that state the dire circumstances that ocean pollution and climate change cause. One fact that I found alarming is that about half the plastics ever manufactured have been manufactured since 2000. That is alarming to me considering that in that period of time there has been a concerted effort to slow and/or eliminate the use of plastics.

I highly recommend this children's book and think the entire series should be in school and public libraries.

About the book: The Kobee Manatee series is an award-winning, recently winning a Mom’s Choice Award, and beloved series about a loveable manatee (the cows of the sea!) and is the fourth book in the series by author Robert Scott Thayer. 

This book has already received praise from Kirkus Reviews. Kobee Manatee: Climate Change and The Great Blue Hole Hazard is the newest installment in the award-winning Kobee Manatee® Children’s Educational Picture Book Series. The story follows Kobee and his seafaring friends on a Caribbean adventure to help his cousin Quinn with her underwater café called Quinn's Seagrass Café. Their adventure is filled with interesting facts about climate change, and the danger plastic pollution is having in our oceans and on our coral reefs. Manatees eat seagrass and their food supply is dwindling due to warming seas. Each book in the series comes with an educational component for teachers and parents to use. Find it.... 
"Manatee is a lovable and magnetic host, leading readers into the waters that cover 70% of the earth while opening young minds to the connections between human actions and marine ecosystems. Creating opportunities, which inspire love for our marine animals can cultivate an environmentally responsible conscience that can last a lifetime." — Dr. Tracy Fanara, Host of Inspector Planet and expert contributor for this book in the series. 
Begins September 27
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 copy is provided and shipped directly to the winner by publicist, publisher, or author. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.

Sunday, September 26, 2021

A Christmas in the Alps by Melody Carlson.

My thoughts:  The yearly Christmas novellas from Melody Carlson are highly anticipated by folks who love a good, short read centered around a Christmas theme or during the holiday season. In A Christmas in the Alps Ms. Carlson takes the reader globally to search for a missing family treasure.

A Christmas in the Alps was a joy to read. Beginning with a youngish "spinster" lady who'd taken care of her grandmother until her death and then embarking on one of those "journey of a lifetime" trips to France pursuing connections to her family's past heritage. Kind of hard to get to France from the USA without flying and this lady is simply scared stiff of flying. But a dear friend encourages, guides, persuades, and entices her to make that trip. She did!

The excitement begins with her seat companion on the flight. He is handsome, kind, and talks her through her fears. When she arrives in Paris she does a bit of sight seeing and enjoys Paris at Christmas with its lit up gorgeousness. Then she goes on to the little town in the French Alps that was her destination.

Characters are beautifully developed by the author and I simply enjoyed meeting each one. I loved the "feel" of being in this sweet, historic, and gorgeous town as Nicole wander through it going about meeting family and making connections.

The story ends on a high note of joyousness and delight - totally appropriate for a Christmas novella. I totally enjoyed this read.

About the book: After a time of heartache and loss, Simone Winthrop discovers a tantalizing letter from her French great-grandmother, which seems to suggest that she is heir to a family treasure. Ever practical, Simone assumes the claim is baseless, but her best friend encourages her to find out for sure. Despite her deep-rooted fear of flying, Simone boards a jet to travel to Paris at Christmastime to uncover the truth.

During the long flight, Simone meets the charming Kyle Larsson, who's on his way to France to become an apprentice clockmaker. Though they abruptly part ways, an unexpected rendezvous in the French Alps at Simone's family's clock factory may lead to the discovery of the family treasure . . . and so much more.

For anyone who is wearying of staying home, Melody Carlson invites you to spend Christmas with her in the beautiful French Alps this year. So pull on your mittens, tie your scarf tight, and prepare yourself for a magical mountain holiday. 

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

Thursday, September 23, 2021

A Picture of Hope (Heroines of WWII) by Liz Tolsma (from Barbour Publishing)

My thoughts: 
I enjoy reading historical fiction and especially Christian historical fiction. World War II is not a favorite period of mine about which to read though my family lived through the era and three of my uncles were in the US Army during the war - one whose life was lost.

Liz Tolsma is an author of significant expertise in writing and in garnering historical facts to frame her stories. In A Picture of Hope she has drawn from actual events, real people, real happenings though she has not used the real people nor locales. The story is a work of fiction but has the feel of authenticity.

War is terrible and this story lightly touches on the cruelty of the enemy. I say lightly because it doesn't go into the gross details of happenings but gives enough insight that you know it was harsh, mean, cruel, and inhumane.

The characters were nicely developed and I have my likes and dislikes amongst them. I liked the hero, Jean-Paul the French resistance fighter. I liked the old nun. I frankly didn't like the heroine, Nellie, and found her to be an inconsiderate, impulsive, dangerous individual though she was also sweet, kind, and smart. She put the others at risk on several occasions with her impulsive actions.

War ends, thankfully. Our story ends on a happy note. We know from our history lessons which side won the war. Our hearts and actions must take lessons from World War II's evils and work daily to overcome new evils. 

An interesting read and a journey of escape during a war torn period. 

About the book: Full of intrigue, adventure, and romance, this series celebrates the unsung heroes—the heroines of WWII. 

 Journalist Nellie Wilkerson has spent the bulk of the war in London, photographing mothers standing in milk lines—and she’s bored. She jumps at the chance to go to France, where the Allied forces recently landed. There she enlists Jean-Paul Breslau of the French underground to take her to the frontlines. On the journey, they stumble upon a great tragedy, leaving a girl with special needs being orphaned. 

 Can Nellie and Jean-Paul see the child to a safe haven while being pursued by the Nazis, who are pressed by the advancing Allies and determined to destroy all they can before they flee? 

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

Great "rebate" site for super deals

I have found a "slew" of super items on this "rebate" site. Some discounted and some 100% rebates.

Give it a try - totally safe! Pictures of my recent #finds

(Note: the coffee is FABULOUS)


Tuesday, September 21, 2021

"The Unlikely Yarn of the Dragon Lady" by Sharon J. Mondragon from Kregel Publishing [Giveaway-USA]


My thoughts:  I had no idea I would enjoy this book about a group of middle aged and older ladies in a knitting group making prayer shawls. It totally surprised me.

Characters who rub everyone the wrong way. Charmers. Sweet ladies. Young folks in difficulties. The whole gamut of characters was sprinkled through the story and life events that changed lives.

A slowly dying church, a group of ladies, the need of interventional prayer in the lives of folks in the community. The story is about the extent that this group touches the community and how their own personal lives evolve and change for the better.

I totally love this story and it is truly a wonderful piece of women's fiction.

About the book: A knitting group's change of scenery changes lives in unexpected ways

Margaret, Rose, Jane, and Fran had a good thing going: meet every week in the quiet of their peaceful chapel and knit prayer shawls. No muss, just ministry. That is, until their pastor boots them out of the church in his last-ditch effort to revive the dwindling congregation.

Uptight Margaret isn't having it. Knitting prayer shawls where people can watch is the most ridiculous idea she's ever heard of, and she's heard plenty. Prayer belongs in the church, not out among the heathen masses. How are they supposed to knit holiness into these shawls if they're constantly distracted by the public? But with no choice, the others embrace the challenge. They pack their knitting bags and drag Margaret--grumbling the whole way--to the mall with them. She can't wait to prove them all wrong when it fails miserably, and show the pastor that she always knows best.

Without the familiar mold the group has been stuck in, their own losses, pain, and struggles rise to the surface. And the people and situations they encounter every time they try to sit quietly and knit are taking them a lot further out of their comfort zone than they ever imagined. Can they find the courage to tackle the increasing number of knotty issues they learn about in the community--or will the tangle be too much to unravel?

Read an excerpt - click here

About the author: Sharon J. Mondragon's debut is warm and delightful, full of real laughter, grief, and personality. It beautifully illustrates the power of women across generations to reach people for Christ.

Sharon J. Mondragon is not just a nice lady who knits. She’s the author of award-winning fiction that takes you to the place where courage and kindness meet.
Like some of the characters in The Unlikely Yarn of the Dragon Lady, she was once content to live well within her comfort zone. At the age of 19, however, she realized that she would not have much to show for such a life. She accepted the challenge and recklessly prayed for adventure.

The ensuing years as an Army spouse and the mother of five wildly individual children were filled with both thrilling and devastating moments, undergirded by the faithful hand of the God who inspired the prayer. The Army years are over, but the adventure continues in Midlothian, Texas where Sharon lives with her husband, her laptop, and her yarn stash. Learn more at
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Read With Audra publicist is responsible for providing and shipping the winner's prize directly to the winner.

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Aunt Ida Clare by Michele McCarthy [Review & Giveaway]

My thoughts: 
I immediately fell in love with Aunt Ida Clare from the first couple of pages. A gem! She is jovial. Sweet. A loquacious, vocabulary expanding lady. 

Aunt Ida Clare is an encourager and a declarer (one who declare truth). She teaches by example how to think and speak in a positive way using words "seasoned" with a sprinkle of salt.

She goes on to share how Jesus is The Word and came as The living Word and the words of the Bible are His Word. 

This is an especially good book and it is a thoughtful and yet sparklingly wonderful joyful read.

And "I do declare" and wonder if anyone thinks this special Aunt's name is "I-da-Clare" as I surely do.

About the book: 2021 Best Fiction Children's Book, 1st Place Golden Scroll Award and 2021 Children's Fiction Book of the Year, 2nd Place Christian Markets Awards

Rosalina is not quite sure what to think of their new babysitter, her Aunt Ida Clare. Aunt Ida is quite the sight. Aunt Ida Clare declares the truth and purpose behind speaking life-giving words to an unsuspecting brother and sister when she whips out her shiny little object. She is positively the best thing to happen to these impressionable children one school day afternoon.

Parents and children alike will fall in love with Aunt Ida Clare.
  • 2021 Best Fiction Children's Book, 
  • 1st Place Golden Scroll Award and 
  • 2021 Children's Fiction Book of the Year, 
  • 2nd Place Christian Markets Awards
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michele McCarthy is an award-winning author, teacher, and speaker. She is an Advanced Writers and Speakers Association member as well as a co-founder of Living Write Texas. With a dose of humor and fun, her passion is to help children see themselves the way God sees them.
Begins September 19
Ends October 10 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
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 prize is provided and shipped directly to the winner by the author or publicist.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Birthdays, the Galaxies, and Engineering books to tickle a girl's fancy [Review & Giveaway USA/CANADA 2 winners]

How to Have a Birthday by Mary Lyn Ray & illustrated by Cindy Derby 

My thoughts: 
Essentially the story celebrates the ways and joys of celebrating one's birthday. It is uniquely one's own. This is a cheerful story of ways (vaguely presented) one celebrates a birthday.

Key to the whole book is that it is a day, it is your day, it is your birthday. So while some don't celebrate with cake, presents, recording one's height, or blowing out candles, one can look forward to and celebrate the day they are one year older.

Sweet, cheerful book.

About the book: Joyful and utterly unique, this vibrant picture book celebrates the best birthday gift of all: a whole day that is yours to unwrap.

Wise and infinitely cozy, Mary Lyn Ray’s simple text and Cindy Derby’s fluid, playful illustrations invite readers of all ages to view that most extraordinary of ordinary days in a simple but festive new light, as if for the first time. What makes birthdays special? Whether you are turning three or one hundred and three, whether you are feted by others or sing yourself happy, the anticipation and surprise of the day you were born never fail to deliver “that shivery feeling that belongs only to a birthday.” An ideal gift for new and expectant parents, for children marking a birthday or attending their first party—for everyone who was ever born! This exuberant celebration in words and pictures will leave you feeling a warm connection to the cycle of life and growth.

Ada and the Galaxies by authors Alan Lightman & Olga Pastuchiv. Illustrated by Susanna Chapman

My thoughts: 
Ada is certainly a precocious little girl, quite lively, inquisitive, and loveable. I love the interaction between Ada and her grandparents who live on an island in Maine. Ada goes to visit them and wants to see and learn about the stars. She can't see stars in the night sky in New York because of all the lights. Maine is different  and the opportunity will hopefully present itself.

The book is a product of MIT Press and is the first children's book by MIT Professor Alan Lightman who draws from his personal family background for this book. We are told numbers given in the book are accurate as is the assumption that there are "people" on planets in other galaxies. 

I realize this is a story for preschool and early elementary age children, but I truly expected more "star" and "galaxy" in the book. There are pictures taken from the Hubble space telescope camera which brings authenticity to the story. 

All-in-all, the book is charming, a delightful read for little ones, a grand multi-generational story, and a bit of science to whet one's interest. 

About the book: Stargazers rejoice! In his first book for children, renowned physicist Alan Lightman and collaborators, with help from the Hubble telescope, light up the night sky.

New York Times best-selling author Alan Lightman, in collaboration with Olga Pastuchiv, brings galaxies close in a stunning picture-book tribute to the interconnectedness of the natural world. Layering photographs taken from the Hubble telescope into charming and expressive art, illustrator Susanna Chapman zooms in on one child's experiences: Ada knows that the best place for star-gazing is on the island in Maine where she vacations with her grandparents. By day, she tracks osprey in the trees, paddles a kayak, and hunts for shells. But she's most in her element when the sun goes down and the stars blink to life. Will the fog this year foil her plans, or will her grandfather find a way to shine a spotlight on the vast puzzle of the universe . . . until the weather turns?

The Girl Who Could Fix Anything: Beatrice Shilling, World War II Engineer by Mara Rockliff & illustrated by Daniel Duncan 

My thoughts: 
I absolutely love this biographic picture book. I knew women's roles during World War II were significant and important in a variety of fields. I had not heard of Beatrice Shilling and her achievements as an engineer.

This well written and enjoyable read coupled with the wonderful illustrations, will definitely encourage young readers to pursue reading about the accomplishments of real people doing really important things. And of course, the achievements of women in fields typically not attributed to women's accomplishments.

I highly endorse this book for public and school libraries as well as private collections. 

About the book: This true story of a woman whose brilliance and mechanical expertise helped Britain win World War II is sure to inspire STEM readers and fans of amazing women in history.

Beatrice Shilling wasn't quite like other children. She could make anything. She could fix anything. And when she took a thing apart, she put it back together better than before.

When Beatrice left home to study engineering, she knew that as a girl she wouldn't be quite like the other engineers--and she wasn't. She was better. Still, it took hard work and perseverance to persuade the Royal Aircraft Establishment to give her a chance.

But when World War II broke out and British fighter pilots took to the skies in a desperate struggle for survival against Hitler's bombers, it was clearly time for new ideas. Could Beatrice solve an engine puzzle and help Britain win the war? American author Mara Rockliff and British illustrator Daniel Duncan team up for a fresh look at a turning point in modern history--and the role of a remarkable woman whose ingenuity, persistence, and way with a wrench (or spanner) made her quite unlike anyone else. An author's note and a list of selective sources provide additional information for curious readers.

Begins September 16
Ends October 9 at 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open USA/CANADA. NO P.O. Boxes.
Canadian winner's must provide phone number.
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Winners' prize is provided and shipped directly to the winner by publisher or publicist. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Grumpy Frumpy Croissant by Mona K. & illustrated by Korey Scott

My thoughts: 
This is a bit of a far fetched tale of bready items at the breakfast table that is illustrated with quirky, cartoony characters. The grumpy episode begins when Croissant comes to the table unhappy, and from then on nothing suits.

Typical early morning scene in many homes? Perhaps. But like I said, a bit far fetched. I don't see the symbolism where angry grumpy frumpy croissant loses his butter dwindling down in size. I don't see the symbolism of everyone taking a slurp of milk to help them calm down.

I do like the take a deep breath and count to 10 technique to facilitate calmness and patience. 

All in all, an ok book but not a favorite of mine. 

About the book: Grumpy Frumpy Croissant isn't happy, and he's taking it out on the breakfast plate! Toast, Scone, and Milk think he's being mean, but Croissant thinks they're being mean. A sip of Milk and ten deep breaths help everyone calm down and talk to each other.

Beneath the charming, hand-drawn illustrations in Grumpy Frumpy Croissant is a lesson about misunderstandings that any child can grasp. Croissant learns about about letting anger pass by stopping and breathing, and how he hurts other's feelings when he yells. It's a simple story for parents to introduce ideas of managing feelings to children. Grumpy Frumpy Croissant also features:

  • Croissant recipe that parents can make with their children.
  • Full-page coloring activities featuring the characters in the books 

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

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Roar Like A Lion - Kids Devotional by Levi Lusko [Review & Giveaway USA--ENDS 9/24]

My thoughts: In today's world of uncertainties and an emotional atmosphere rife with strife and a world where Covid constraints and fears prevent much in the opportunity for families to gain strong fellowship with other Christians and benefit from good, faithful Biblical instruction, we are in sore need of good books that lead and guide us in our walk with God.

Road Like A Lion can be used in family devotionals or by a kid for his own quite-time or personal devotions. The book encourages kids in their walk with God. Encourages them how to be a light in the world. How to overcome the fear of witnessing to others and of showing kindness to others.

Well written in a style that is good for listening when read aloud or for the older child to read to themselves. Very understandable. Very relatable. And a good "did you know" side bar for each day's devotional.

With 90 of these timely devotionals, you'll get 3 months of quality spiritual education. Published by Tommy Nelson an Imprint of Thomas Nelson Publishing, this Christian book of devotions and prayers will have a positive spiritual impact on your family.

About the book: 
Kids are wrestling with tough issues these days—peer pressure, purpose, unexpected change or loss, and wondering where their faith fits in with it all. Roar Like a Lion encourages your kids to "run toward the roar" as they face their fears, knowing that God is with them every step of the way. 

Pastor and bestselling author Levi Lusko is known for making tough topics accessible while drawing his readers toward a richer spiritual life. In his first children's devotional for ages 6 to 10, Levi tackles real issues our kids face with a lighthearted and approachable tone. Kids are equipped to approach both fun moments and tough times with their hearts set on God's faithfulness with the help of fascinating stories and facts, eye-catching art, Bible verses, prayers, and simple action steps. 

This 90-day devotional covers highly relevant topics such as: 
  • Roar Like a Lion covers highly relevant topics such as:
  • Facing fears about school and friendships
  • Dealing with peer pressure and bullying
  • Handling new challenges, disappointments, and grief
  • Having courage to try something new
  • Understanding how we each fit into God's great story
Downloadable Parent Guide: LINK
Additional Downloadable Resource: LINK

With eye-catching art, fascinating stories and facts, Bible verses and prayers, and simple action steps, this 90-day devotional will help your kids approach both fun moments and tough times with their hearts set on God's faithfulness. order ROAR LIKE A LION -
Begins September 14
Ends September 25 @ 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 copy is provided and shipped directly to the winner by publicist, publisher, or author. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.

Friday, September 10, 2021

Trendy, cool, fun caps with a bit of joy - Smiley Face Caps [Review & Giveaway - USA]

Isn't she cute as a button!!!???
What's not to like about these cute caps?

A little bit trendy, but not "too out there." We all need a bit of trend in our days especially with the overhanging shadow of the dreaded Covid-19 still on the horizon.

Put a smile on it. Put some joy in it. Put some happiness in your day and the day of others that see this cute cap perched atop your head.

Cute smiley faces are tops! Silver, gold, pink, blue, and classic "yellow smiley." What do you think of this cutie in the pink cap with silver smiley? 

Or "Mr. Cool" in the white cap with smiley? Caps are made of cotton twill and have adjustable strap at back. 

Check out ShopGalNY's Etsy store (click here). Under $20 and lots of fun in that purchase! Kid's size caps, too. Order on her Etsy store on via Instagram. Find her at @ShopGalNY on IG.

1 Smiley Face Cap (no color choice)
Begins September 10
Ends October 2 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary cap to facilitate my review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Winner's prize is provided and shipped directly to the winner by ShopGalNY. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

"Born to Sparkle" & "Book of Hugs" [Review & Giveaway - USA/CANADA]

BORN TO SPARKLE - A Story About Achieving Your Dreams 

Hardcover $12.99
Flower Pot Press

My thoughts: 
This cover is so cute and sweet and the title's letters are glitzy sparkly. 

Written by a young Down Syndrome lady, she has determined within herself to push herself, and not limiting her dreams and desires to move forward to achieve those dreams.

This little book is simply a line of encouragement to all young people - whether they have perceived limitations such as Down Syndrome - to dream big and work hard at achieving those dreams.

A cute book and very positive encouragement.

About the book: Author Megan Bomgaars, who has Down syndrome, is an activist, TV personality, and entrepreneur. This Fall, she adds “published children’s book author” to her list of accomplishments with her debut title arriving in stores nationwide.

Inspired by Megan’s moving “Don’t Limit Me” speech, Born to Sparkle encourages young readers to dream big and work hard to make those big dreams come true. Whether you dream is to become an astronaut, firefighter, dancer, teacher, chef or anything you can imagine, you can achieve it because, just like Megan, you were born to sparkle!

Never condescending or preachy, Megan’s pitch perfect story reassures, that there are no limits and anything is possible if one follows their dreams and works hard. It’s about doing your very best to make dreams happen. Be brave. Study. Learn. Practice. Ask questions. Educators and parents will revel in this uplifting, inspiring picture book with a cast of stuffed animals leading by example at each turn of the page.

About the author: Megan Bomgaars is an amazing woman who works hard to achieve her dreams every day. She starred on A&Es Emmy Award-winning and Critic’s Choice Real TV Award-winning reality television show Born this Way. Megan currently attends college and has already started her own business, starred on a TV show, and travelled the world as a public speaker. She was even invited to the White house by Michelle Obama to attend the “Beating the Odds Summit.”  This is Megan’s first children’s book.

About the illustrator: Peter John Olcyzk was born in Manchester. He studied art foundation at Manchester Metropolitan University and then illustration at Stockport College. He uses his own experiences and memories to put himself in the mind and shoes of a child when he illustrates, as well as being greatly influenced by stories, music and nature. He currently lives in the Highlands of Scotland with his wife and two young children.

BOOK OF HUGS - A Story About Achieving Your Dreams

Hardcover $12.99
Flower Pot Press

My thoughts:
  Who doesn't love a loveable bear book and especially one with lots of hugs?

Book of Hugs takes the reader (or listener) through a foray of types of hugs and this is done in a gently, jovial reading style. 

Especially good to note is the encouragement to "first ask permission" before giving a hug.

A cute book.

About the book: Motivational speaker, disability advocate, and restaurateur Tim Harris’ debut picture book, Book of Hugs, publishes this September. Inspired by Tim’s love of giving big bear hugs and his restaurant that offered up hugs on the menu, this charming how-to guide inspires readers with plenty of reasons to give someone a big hug!

Colorful characters Teddy Bear Tim and his trio of energetic monkey friends share tips on delivering the very best hugs – no matter whether they are happy hugs, sad hugs, fast or slow hugs. Every type of hug is about sharing love. As the book says, “Love is the most important part!”

In our new world of pandemic etiquette and a post #MeToo era, setting and respecting boundaries and gaining consent are among the most important practices we can instill in children. Book of Hugs is an entertaining story that can lead into deeper discussions about permission and new norms.

“Affirms the joy of hugs while highlighting the importance of consent.”  –Kirkus Reviews

About the author: Tim Harris is a motivational speaker, business owner, and disability advocate. He is really good at giving hugs. For a long time, Tim owned his own restaurant and he even had free hugs on the menu. They were so popular that Tim has now hugged over 75,000 people, including the president of the United States! Tim really does love hugs, mostly because he loves LOVE and that is what hugs are all about. This is Tim’s first children’s book.

About the illustrator: Charlie Astrella graduated from the University of Teesside with a First Class Honors Bachelor of Arts degree in Computer Animation. He now works in 3D modeling, animation, and 2D illustration to create works of art he is proud of. He has experience in advertising, product design, video games, and children’s books.

Begins September 7
Ends October 2 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA & CANADA addresses.
About Flower Pot Press: Since 2005 Flowerpot Press has been planting the seeds that help young minds grow, offering a broad range of books.  The Hayes family has been in the publishing and media business for two generations now. The family members grew up living in the midst of the golden periods of publishing and media distribution.

Watching and participating in the growth of their father’s children’s publishing business, they learned from the ground up and understood the unique character and needs that publishing for young children demanded. Anne and Pat served in every role from warehouse operation to acquisition, design, licensing, printing production, and editing to name a few areas.

As entrepreneurs, they separately and together founded companies still owned, integrating other media such as video and music. This well-rounded creative team uses a hands-on approach in every aspect of the business, first and foremost because they love it. Pat is also a published author in his own right. Anne (our publisher and CEO) lives in the Toronto area with her husband and family operating the Canadian office of Flowerpot Press, while Pat and his family live in Franklin, Tennessee, and operate the US office of the company.

Monday, September 6, 2021

Barn At Night [Review & Giveaway 3 winners-USA]

ISBN: 978-1948898058 
Ages 4-7 | $17.99 Hardcover
My thoughts:  The story opens on a beautiful wintry night and the farm is covered in snow. Father and child leave the warmth of their house and traipse out to the barn. The night is still. Quiet. And the animals gently welcome them into the barn.

It isn't night, it is pre-dawn and they have awakened to do the farm chores. Step by step the illustrations take the reader gently and beautifully through the house, across the ground, into the barn. The animals are awake and awaiting their arrival.

Time for feed and water. And then it is also a time for a wonderful surprise of new life begun during the dark hours of the night.

Beautifully written and softly illustrated, the book is a gentle introduction for the young child to life (and chores) on the farm.

About the book: A beautiful and sweet celebration of a barn at night will help children fall asleep and also learn more about life on a farm. This after-dark journey out to the barn, even on the coldest winter evening, can be a warm and welcoming scene. The young narrator gently details what actually goes on in a barn at night. Who is awake, who is asleep, and who is just making their first appearance in the barn? Smells, sounds and sights are quietly revealed to young readers.

Michelle Houts' lyrical poetry paired with Jen's glowing watercolors create a warm and wonderful bedtime story - best shared together. Downloadable coloring pages can be found at: Barn at Night Activity

About the author: Michelle Houts is the author of more than a dozen books for young readers. Her debut novel, The Beef Princess of Practical County, has been featured by the American Farm Bureau Foundation and won a Best Book of the Year from Nebraska Farm Bureau. Houts writes from a restored one-room schoolhouse in Ohio. 

About the illustrator: Jen Betton grew up playing on friends' farms in Pennsylvania. Illustrating Barn at Night gave her a delightful excuse to lurk around old barns and feed goats. Her other books include Hedgehog Needs a Hug (winner of Pennsylvania’s Keystone to Reading Award), which she both wrote and illustrated, and Twilight Chant, written by Holly Thompson. She now lives with her family near Dallas, Texas. You can see more of her work at

About Feeding Minds Press is a project of the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture. The mission of the Foundation is to build awareness and understanding of agriculture through education. The goal of Feeding Minds Press is to publish accurate and engaging books about agriculture that connect readers to where their food comes from and who grows it.  

3 Winners in USA
Begins September 6
Ends September 30 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
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DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Winners' copies are provided and shipped directly to the winner by publicist, publisher, or author. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

"The Day Time Stopped" & "Where Is Everyone?" from Prestel Junior International

The Day Time Stopped by Flavia Ruotolo (October 2021; ISBN: 978-3791374895; Hardcover $14.95; Ages 5+; 48 pages)

My thoughts: 
Actually, this isn't a book about time standing still but simply the concept of what happens in one moment in time around the World. The picture book takes the reader to places across the Globe that is Planet Earth and what someone is doing in that spot on Earth at the same moment in time that the initial character is licking a popsicle.

In a simply shown story in text and pictures the reality of time zones and what can happen in each of the time zones is presented. You're not actually aware that this is what is taking place, because this concept is foreign to a young child. But you see what can be happening.

The last couple of pages, explain why it is not the same time all around the globe. This presents a grand opportunity to explain "time" to a young child.

About the book: One afternoon in Italy, a little girl is about to take a bite of her delicious popsicle when time . . . stops. At that very moment, across the planet, people and animals are frozen in action— captured by this book’s warm, quirky illustrations and clever, time-stamped captions. A penguin hatches in South Georgia; a little girl gets a haircut in Brazil; a family sits down to breakfast in California; a tiger falls asleep in Bangladesh; a boy’s football ball gets stuck in a tree in Cape Verde. The sheer enormity of planet Earth can be impossible for young kids to grasp. Here, in this playful introduction to time zones, hemispheres, and life in different climates, kids will identify with all the ordinary things going on at the same time in our extraordinary world

Where is Everyone? by Tom Schamp (September 2021; ISBN: 978-3-7913-7450-5; Hardcover $14.95; Ages 2+; 14 pages)

My thoughts:
 Each page has a lift-the-flap to discover who is behind the flap. These are different from the usual behind-the-flap items seen in kiddie books. The humps along the back of the couch hid the humps of the camel. In the cold of the 'fridge hides a Polar Bear.

Kiddies will delight in lifting the flap as the book is read to them and discovering what is behind the flap but also they will have their imagination stimulated a bit.

Originally published as a Danish book, it bodes well for introducing it to young English kiddies. 

About the book: A toaster, a refrigerator, a sink, a bed, a car. Most kids can recognize these and other things that are part of their everyday lives. Leave it to Tom Schamp to imagine a different way of seeing them. As kids pore over these brightly colored and highly detailed pictures they’ll be delighted to discover a monkey on a surfboard and an elephant in a bowler hat— all inhabiting the same shapes they recognize in their homes. Each whimsical illustration offers a chance to explore, discuss, and giggle at the unexpected. Every page will encourage kids to think creatively and differently about the world around them and the possibilities that lie hidden in the things we see every day.

I received complimentary copies to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given.