Sunday, January 22, 2023

Farm Boots by Lisl H. Detlefsen and illustrated by Renée Kurilla [Review & Giveaway]

ISBN: 978-1948898119
Hardcover $17.99

My thoughts: 
This is a delightful book that teaches the varied life of those who live on a farm and how each family member engages in the life and chores of the farm. Primarily, the focus is on boots and how each type of chore and each season brings a need for a different type of boot.

As a parent, my first thought was how does a family budget for so many boots but it was a consoling thought that the care and protection of the feet by using different protection is primary.

Colorful and delightful pictures illustrate the book showing a happy family and cheerful, frolicking animals. A nice, educational look at farm life.

About the book: Grab your boots it's time to explore life on a farm! In joyful verse follow a diverse cast of families as they work together to care for crops and animals on their farms through spring, summer, fall and winter.

Follow farming families as they work and play in boots, all year long. Whether it's springtime puddle-splashing, riding at the summer fair, or herding sheep into the barn in winter, there's a type of boot for every kind of weather and activity.

Each season brings adorable farm animals, farming equipment, and of course boots in this exploration of farm and country life.

From the creators of Right This Very Minute, Farm Boots depicts a wide variety of agricultural settings in all four seasons. It is a celebration of footwear, fun, and life, both on and off the farm.

About the author: Lisl H. Detlefsen is the author of a growing number of picture books. Her titles about agriculture include Time for Cranberries, illustrated by Jed Henry, and Right This Very Minute, her first book with illustrator Renée Kurilla. Lisl lives on a family-owned and operated cranberry marsh in central Wisconsin with her husband, two sons, two cats, and an ever-changing collection of farm boots for all seasons. Visit Lisl online: Website, Facebook, Twitter

About the illustrator: Renée Kurilla is a children's illustrator, author, and designer. She loves drawing nature, animals, and working on projects that require a little bit of research. She has illustrated many books for kids including Orangutanka by Margarita Engle, Chicks Rule! (by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen), Right This Very Minute (by Lisl H. Detlefsen), and the Ada Lace series by Emily Calandrelli. Renee has a BFA in Illustration and a Diploma in Graphic Design from Lesley University College of Art and Design. She currently lives in MA with her illustrator husband Keith Zoo, their 5 year old daughter, Zoey, and the fluffiest cat in the world, Timmy. Visit Renée online: Website, Twitter, Instagram

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.

Begins January 22
Ends February 18 @ 12:01 a.m. ET
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 publisher or publicist. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.

Saturday, January 14, 2023

Of Walden Pond: Henry David Thoreau, Frederic Tudor, and the Pond Between by Lesa Cline-Ransome and Ashley Benham Yazdani! [Review & Giveaway]

ISBN: 9780823448586
Hardcover | $18.99 US

My thoughts: 
A beautifully illustrated and written book. Thoreau and his life at Walden pond is familiar as his writings were a source of study when I was in school. Mr. Tudor I had never heard of. As much as Mr. Thoreau loved and protected Walden pond and his own privacy, this story of Mr. Tudor's blossoming ice business really came as a surprise to me. Though it was not even mentioned in this book, I can only imagine the stress Tudor's presence and his invasive ice harvest at Walden pond had on Thoreau and how Thoreau might have opposed it.

The story is basically about Tudor's success in creating a market for the ice that topped Walden pond and which he had cut into blocks and shipped to India. The "bounty" of Walden pond for both men is touched upon - the ice for Tudor and the "inspiration" for Thoreau. 

The text speaks to Thoreau's limited touch upon the natural resources of Walden pond with his tiny cabin in the woods where he had just enough room to write of the wonders of nature and the waters of Walden pond.

I really like this book and it gives a brief bio-introduction into Walden pond, Thoreau, and Tudor.

About the book:  Thoreau and Tudor could not have been more different from each other. Yet both shared the bounties of Walden Pond and would change the course of history through their writings and innovations.

This study in opposites contrasts the austere philosopher with the consummate capitalist (whose innovations would change commercial ice harvesting and home refrigerator s) to show how two seemingly conflicting American legacies could be built side by side.

tax dodger
nature lover
That's what they called

good for nothing
That's what they called

Celebrated author Lesa Cline-Ransome takes her magnificent talent for research and detail to plumb the depths of these two history-makers. The graceful text is paired with Ashley Benham-Yazdani's period accurate watercolor and pencil artwork. In winter, readers see Tudor's men sawing through the ice, the workhorses dragging the ice, and Thoreau observing it all; in spring, summer, and fall, the ice continues its journey across the globe with Thoreau and Tudor writing and reflecting in their respective diaries.

An Author's Note, which explores how Thoreau's writings influenced such figures as Martin Luther King Jr., Robert Frost, and Mohandas Gandhi, is included. 
Begins January 14
Ends February 10 @ 12:01 a.m. ET
Open to USA addresses only.
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Holiday House Books 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, January 12, 2023

The Further Adventures of Miss Petitfour by Anne Michaels & illustrated by Emma Block

My thoughts:
  This is an adorable chapter book for ages 6 to 9 (according to seller's information). I, however, think that the style of writing and quantity of text make this suitable for a more broader reading age. Perhaps upward to age 12. The story meanders with off-shoot thoughts and explanations frequently tucked in the middle of a paragraph describing a scene or action.

While it can be a bit confusing, it can be a delight as well. That's because it is so akin to how a person tells a story. Sometimes it is just hard to stick to the point without telling the listener or reader something else that pops into the storyteller's mind. I just love it.

Whimsical. Sweet. Entertaining. A bit magical in its charm. And for cat lovers a sheer delight.

The illustrations are lovely, charming, very appealing. The text is divided into about four chapters or "stories." The chapters are longish for young readers, but challenges are how one learns and grows in skill.

I recommend this lovely book.

About the book: For fans of Mary Poppins, heroine Miss Petitfour and her feline friends return for more flights of fancy in this cozy, charming collection of illustrated stories.

Miss Petitfour enjoys having adventures that are "just the right size" for a "single, magical day." With her sixteen cats and the aid of a tablecloth as a makeshift balloon, Miss Petitfour soars — which is to say, she rises high in the air and flies — over her charmingly eccentric village, encountering adventures along the way. One never knows where the wind will take her in this delightfully seasonal collection of magical outings: perhaps to the aid of dearly loved friends and neighbors, including a hapless handyman and an onion-loving baby, or to a coconut-confetti parade, or in search of keys, lucky charms or even simply the perfect tablecloth for her next flight. A witty, whimsical, beautifully illustrated collection of tales that celebrate language, storytelling and all the pleasures of life, large and small!

DISCLOSURE: I won a copy on the Early Reviewer's program. I am not required to review. Opinions are mine, alone.

Sunday, January 8, 2023

"I Don't Care" and "The Universe In You: A Microscopic Journey" [Review & Giveaway]


THE UNIVERSE IN YOU. A Microscopic Journey by Jason Chin

Published by Neal Porter Books
Hardcover | $18.99
ISBN: 9780823450701
Age: 8-12

My thoughts:
What begins and ends as a charming children's story book has sandwiched in the middle a full-blown science exploration into the makeup of living matter on earth.

It begins by comparing the tiniest bird in the United States to the next smallest creature. It is measuring in centimeters, then millimeters, and goes on to explain matter down to the break down of atoms and on to quarks, etc. that are the building blocks of the universe.

From illustrations of children and hummingbirds to diagrams of atoms, molecules, DNA, etc. the explanation goes, or gallops, across the pages, It is intended for the age 8 to 12 child. It is "heady" material for the average child but should open the mind of children interested in deeper science than that of birds, plants, rocks, and water.

School and public libraries should definitely have copies of this book. I even encourage teachers of science classes to get a copy. Parents with children who are seekers and inquisitive should definitely have a copy. But it isn't necessarily a bedtime read.

About the book: Themes: Measurement, Science & Nature, Shapes
Jason Chin, winner of the Caldecott Medal for Watercress, dives into the microscopic building blocks of life in this companion to the award-winning Your Place in the Universe.

In Your Place in the Universe, Jason Chin zoomed outward, from our planet, solar system, and galaxy to the outer reaches  of the observable universe. Now, Chin reverses course, zooming in past our skin to our cells, molecules, and atoms, all the way down to particles so small we can’t yet even measure them. 

Like its companion, The Universe in You is a mind-boggling adventure that makes complex science accessible and enjoyable to readers of any age.

Impeccably researched, wholly engrossing, and with extensive backmatter for additional learning, The Universe in You is another knockout from the award-winning creator of Redwoods, Grand Canyon, and other distinguished works of nonfiction for young readers. 

I Don’t Care by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Molly Idle and Juana Martinez-Neal 

ISBN: 89780823443451
Hardcover | $18.99
Ages 3 - 6

Neal Porter Books/Holiday House had the honor of publishing I Don’t Care, a lyrical story of friendship by New York Times bestselling author Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Caldecott Honorees Molly Idle and Juana Martinez-Neal.
My thoughts:  Charming, delightful, winsome. Beautifully written to engage the attention and heart of the young listener. The text with it's light rhyme frolics across the pages showing two beautifully drawn young girls who seem at odds with one another yet don't really care what the other thinks.

As the story progresses they are drawn to each other and become very caring of each other. I absolutely love the illustrations. The captivating expressions of these two girls as they traverse the emotional journey that carries them from standoffishness to joyful togetherness.

I highly recommend.

About the book: I Don’t Care is truly a special picture book. With bouncy, rhythmic text, Julie celebrates the similarities and differences between two unlikely best friends. Like the two stars of this story, co-illustrators—and real-life besties—Juana and Molly know that differences just make a good friendship stronger. As artwork passed back and forth between their mailboxes, childhood versions of each artist came to life and came together on the page into one unified creation.
Named one of the fall’s most anticipated releases by both BookPage and Kirkus Reviews, critics agree this delightful picture book is one friends of any age won’t want to miss. Julie, Juana, and Molly would love to speak with you about how a manuscript from the point of view of one child grew to be a story of true collaboration between author and illustrators—the likes of which are not often seen.

Begins January 9
Ends February 3 @ 12:01 a.m. ET
Open to USA addresses
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, January 3, 2023

The Rose and the Thistle by Laura Frantz [Review & Giveaway]

ISBN 9780800740672
Revell Books

My thoughts: What a delight when I saw that Laura Frantz had a new book - The Rose and the Thistle - coming into print. I could hardly wait to get my hands on a copy. Her writing is luscious, skillfully weaving a thread of story with history embedded into the very core. I delighted in anticipation for this book because it is set in Scotland (mostly) and involves rivaling royalties during the Jacobite uprising in the early 1700s. It also is part of the author's family history drawn from her Scottish roots, family history, and castles.

As with probably many of the readers, I also have Scottish roots. I can't truly trace mine back as specifically as Ms. Frantz but it's there and my roots are Houston "clan." What a joy it would  be to be able to really make a connection. Back to the book.....

I love how even though the two main characters are from opposition sides of the Jacobites, there is also a connection the predates the current conflict. I love the scene where Blythe has escaped armies attacking her family home and fled using the perilous back roads amid a torrental rain and ensuing muddied roads to arrive  in the middle of the night, personally drenched and shivering cold. She is greeted roughly and rudely by the "laird" of the castle and escorted to an isolated tower room.

The story is long. The characters deftly woven and fleshed out. The political tumult (closely tied to the religious conflict between ruling Catholics and Protestants) frightful. The danger breathtakingly frightful.

I totally enjoyed the book and congratulate Laura Frantz on another treasure and glimpse into history. Well written. Clean. Delightful. 

About the book: In 1715, Lady Blythe Hedley's father is declared an enemy of the British crown because of his Jacobite sympathies, forcing her to flee her home in northern England. Secreted to the tower of Wedderburn Castle in Scotland, Blythe quietly awaits the crowning of a new king. But in a house with seven sons and numerous servants, her presence soon becomes known.

No sooner has Everard Hume lost his father, Lord Wedderburn, than Lady Hedley arrives with her maid in tow. He has his own problems--a volatile brother with dangerous political leanings, an estate to manage, and a very young brother in need of comfort and direction. It would be best for everyone if he could send this misfit heiress on her way as soon as possible.

In this whirlwind of intrigue, ambitions, and shifting alliances, Blythe yearns for someone she can trust. But the same forces that draw her and Everard together also threaten to tear them apart.
Begins January 4
ENDS February 3 @ 12:01 a.m. ET
Open to USA addresses only
DISCLOSURE: I was provided 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 author, publicist, or publisher. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.