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Bookscoops Fall 2013 Giveaway and Review: Only Cows Allowed by Lynn Plourde illustrated by Rebecca Harrison Reed

Posted by hollybookscoops on October 17, 2013

 

 

 

only cows allowed

 

Children will enjoy the vivid watercolor illustrations and the puns that fill the pages of this down-home country book. Adults will love it too- it’s especially perfect for those country romantics who think that moving to the country and starting up a farm are the ultimate dream. If you know someone like this, Only Cows Allowed by Lynn Plourde would make a great house-warming gift! Illustrator, Rebecca Harrison Reed, captures the joy of a brand-new ‘real’ farmer and all the new animals that make up his farm. The first ones to take over the red barn are the cows, who decide they are the best thing that happened to country living and no other animal is needed- much less allowed.

 

As all the other animals prove they have a place on the farm and make themselves at home in the barn, the cows are not happy. When the cows begin to feel outnumbered, they skip out. Check out the book to find out where the cows make their new home. Or… check out this video by Author Lynn Plourde on her fabulous website, Lynn Plourde.com!

 

At illustrator Rebecca Harrison Reed’s website you can see the awards she won for her wonderful illustrations in Only Cows Allowed in 2012!

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Rebecca Harrison Reed, illustrator of Only Cows Allowed!

Bookscoops is running a giveaway of one hardback copy of Only Cows Allowed! generously provided by publisher Down East Enterprise, Inc. To enter, please leave a comment about your craziest life dream- whether it’s to start a farm or run a marthon. Leave your answer in a comment on this post, or on our facebook page, for one entry each place. You can also share this review and giveaway via facebook, twitter or instagram. Please leave a comment letting us know what you did, so we can enter you as many times as you deserve! Entries are limited to continental United states only, and our giveaway closes at midnight, MST, October 25, 2013.

 

Posted in Award Winning Books, Children's Literature, Giveaways, Picture Books | Tagged: , | 15 Comments »

Princess April Morning Glory by Letitia Fairbanks

Posted by hollybookscoops on April 19, 2013

princess april morning glory

I love fairy tales, and old things, so what could be better than an old fairy tale brought to life once again? Princess April Morning-Glory by Letitia Fairbanks is full of beautiful hand calligraphy and watercolor illustrations. It’s like an illuminated manuscript resurrected from the Hollywood vaults. It is clear to see why it remained unprintable for so many years- especially since the original is produced on hand-made paper with silver and gold leaf!

It’s books like this that make me glad for the benefits of self-publishing. I know a lot of questionable things get published through self publishing, but I know at least one little princess (besides me) who was spell-bound by this long-undiscovered treasure. I borrowed my neighbor’s daughter and read the story to her along with my son. My 3yo kept talking about the different pictures in the beginning pages although he eventually grew quite wiggly before the story was over. However, my neighbor’s daughter didn’t move a muscle. Princess stories are definitely more poplar among the female folk I know. I would love to see pictures of the original in person, since they had gold and silver foil and were done on handmade paper (the original must be even more of a treasure than this reproduction). Check out the book trailer at the Princess April Morning Glory site to see some of the interior artwork and get a sneak preview of the story. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

**I received an ARC (advanced reader copy) of this book for review, at no cost to me. The opinions are my own.

Posted in Children's Literature, Picture Books, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

A Few Things on My Summer Reading List…

Posted by hollybookscoops on July 20, 2011

 

It’s been a very busy summer, as I’m sure you all agree. Cari and I spent our first full week of summer vacation at the WIFYR 2011 Writer’s conference (Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers). Boy did we come home changed! Cari took the YA novel class by Emily Wing Smith and I (Holly) took the Picture Book class by Kristyn Crow. I think my inner creator grew three sizes. At least! So, due to opportunities to submit manuscripts and all the entailing writing and revising, things here at Bookscoops have slowed down. I know, you thought they were already slow. It’s probably a little more honest to say they practically came to a standstill. Sorry about that!

I thought that I would make a quick list of some of the books that I have read and enjoyed this summer. I know, I know. How can I have time for reading, if I have no time for blogging? The key to reading even when you’re busy is having a book every place you might have a moment to read. Even with four kids, there is always a moment to read. Like, that 3 minute time slot when everyone is taking forever to buckle their seatbelt… don’t get mad, read! They’ll get the point eventually, and even if they don’t, you’ll get more reading time :) So, without further ado, here is the list:

Hitch by Jeanette Ingold: I actually re-read this book on accident. Apparently, I had no memory of the original first two chapters. Or the cover. But I did, all of a sudden, have one of those Ah Hah! moments, and it all came rushing back. Despite my questionable memory, I did love this book the first time, and the second time. So, since it was worth the re-read to me, it’s definitely worth a look for you. Did you know that during the Great Depression there was a government funded program that paid young men to work? Most of these young men worked on National Parks and agricultural projects. It was amazing. What a concept- provide jobs, and improve our country, all at the same time. I’m a little curious to know why no one has thought of this during our current recession. I have read multiple times in the news about how difficult it is for young people to get jobs these days. Perhaps we are not yet desperate enough to do this kind of back breaking labor.

Miss Spitfire by Sarah Miller: How many of you have ever thought of the Helen Keller story from the teacher’s perspective? I loved this peak into the life of Annie Sullivan. Amazing, and profound. I can’t believe what she rose above to become Helen Keller’s key to life. Annie and her brother spent time sleeping in the corpse room at a sanatorium after their mother dies and their drunk father abandons them to relative who can’t handle their handicaps or Annie’s spunky attitudes. Defnitely a must-read.

Dark Fire and Fire World by Chris D’Lacey: Books 5&6  in his Dragon series. My soon-to-be 5th grader and I have been fighting over these all summer. I steal the book from him after he goes to sleep and he steals it from me in the morning. All the time in between is a free-for-all. When his friends are over or he’s at swimming lessons, it’s my turn. I just finished Fire World last night. Anyone interested in dragons and who likes fantasy will find these books a fun escape from reality. If you are, or have, a voracious reader that needs something new to read, this series will keep you busy for a good amount of time as each one is three inches thick.  Fire World was quite different than I expected, there definitely will be at least one more book to come. It’s been fun tag-teaming the series with my son, I look forward to the next one- actually, we both do!

Picture Books

The Three Little Gators by Helen Ketteman, illustrated by Will Terry: This is a fun remake of the three little pigs, with gators and a big bottom boar. The author and illustrator are the same as the fun fractured tale of the Little Red Hen: Armadilly Chili (loved this one too!)

Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy by David Soman and Jacky Davis: a husband and wife team. I was tipped off to this book by a friend I met at the WIFYR conference (Thanks Christy!). It’s a fun book about compromise and friendship- the text is honestly a little long for my taste, but the pictures are adorable.

Mudkin by Stephen Gammell: A rolicking tale of fun in the mud, imagination… you get the drift. Perfect for my kids who turned our backyard dirt pile into a mud slide. What’s amazing about this is that there are only around 55 words! The rest is all illustration. Sometimes I wish I had more experience with illustration. I would love to be like Stephen Gammell and be able to tell stories through my art as well as my words. Maybe someday…

My Cat, The Silliest Cat in the World by Gilles Bachelet: Take a look at the cover. No, that is not an elephant, it’s a cat. Really. I’m not kidding. Neither is Gilles Bachelet. We loved this book, over and over and over. There’s just something inherently hilarious about a cat that’s an elephant. The twist at the end, was very satisfying. Your kids will love this book!

Fuddles by Frans Vischer: Fuddles is a spoiled, fat house-cat. Fuddles dreams of adventure, but when he experiences the real thing, he’s not so sure he dreamed the right dream anymore.

Blue Chameleon by Emily Gravett: Physical comedy in a picture book! An adorable chameleon changes color and shape as he tries to match the things he encounters. What he really wants is a friend- someone like him. This is another author-illustrator project, with few words, and lots of laughs.

Owls Backyard Animals by Nick Winnick: A fun non-fiction picture book full of fun information about these varied creatures of the night sky.

These aren’t all the books I’ve read- just some of them. I do read adult books too, which I don’t review here- anywhere, actually. Plus lots of books that are still in the que for special features, coming soon. I went to a few great book signings and I’ve gotten some fun review books in the mail. Stay tuned for more fun reads!

Posted in Books for teaching history, Books for teaching Math and Science, Children's Literature, Fantasy, News, Non-Fiction, Picture Books, Uncategorized, Young Adult Fiction | 3 Comments »

We Made Out Like Bandits!

Posted by hollybookscoops on January 24, 2011

It’s been a busy new year, and before January is officially over, I wanted to mention how much we loved the books we got for Christmas! My family and I love books. We love to give them and get them. Well, except for my husband, who mostly loves to give them to me. After the wrapping paper was stuffed into bulging garbage bags, and we had a moment to breathe, I took an inventory: 31 Books! We had a Dragon book, a Flat Stanley book, 3 Star Wars sticker books, 4 Animorph series, some Beverly Lewis Amish books, and a few other adult books including Austenland, by Shannon Hale. Let’s see, what else? I knew I should have made a list. You can read about some of our very favorites below: Ten Little Ladybugs by Melanie Gerth.

This one has been loved on as much as any little baby could love it. Literally! A few days ago, my little one was opening it and closing it, turning it upside down, trying to pull the ladybugs off one by one. And finally? I had to laugh when I saw him toss it on the ground and crawl across it, licking each ladybug to see how they tasted! Yes, I admit, he’s still under one, but this is some great hands on baby-lovin’ book reading! My 4-year-old  actually loves this book too, but he insists on reading it backwards, because he doesn’t think it’s proper to count backwards from 10. Never mind, that when the words say a ladybug ‘disappears’, and we turn back a page, one automatically appears. It’s almost like magic! I’ve tried changing the words, but it’s very hard to make them still go along with the pictures. Ahh! The challenge of reading to young minds who are determined to see the world their way. I highly recommend Gerth’s fun contribution to children’s literature. It’s definitely a top ‘flavor’ scoop at our house.

The really popular book with my 10-year-old was the new Diary of a Wimpy Kid

My two oldest boys were also thrilled to find that Santa Claus had given them each an LED flexible arm book reading light. I now have to confiscate them at night or else I end up finding out my little rascals didn’t go to sleep. Some nights I beg to borrow their lights so that I can read while I lay down by little brother to help him fall asleep. So far, my boys have been generous to share with me.

What books did you get for Christmas?

Posted in Board Books, Books for Boys, Books for Girls, Children's Literature, Juvenile Fiction, Middle Readers, News, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Don’t Be Afraid Little Pip by Karma Wilson & Jane Chapman

Posted by hollybookscoops on May 3, 2010

Little Pip is an adorable penguin who yearns to fly. Children may well recognize themselves in her stubborn refusal to try swimming. A fun lyrical adventure about trying something new for the first time. Filled with beautiful illustrations that bring summer and swimming lessons to mind. You need to check this book out if you are planning swimming lessons for a reluctant swimmer. 

My son really enjoyed the lyrical poems that Little Pip’s mentors coached her with, which made this such a great read-aloud.  We had a nice little discussion afterwards about how sometimes we are afraid to try new things. Just like Pip was afraid to try swimming. Although Pip wasn’t afraid to try flying, but I think that was because flying was something more familiar to her- she’d seen birds flying around before, but it’s hard to see what goes on in the deep dark depths of the ocean unless you actually go down there. My little guy was sure Pip was afraid of octopuses and whales and sharks and that’s why she didn’t want to swim. That actually makes sense. Kids sure are smart!

How do you help your kids try new things?

Posted in Books for Boys, Books for Girls, Children's Literature, Picture Books, Uncategorized | 7 Comments »

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendac

Posted by hollybookscoops on March 4, 2010

Where the Wild Things Are has long been one of my favorite children’s books. My family and I own copies in both Spanish and English (although I must admit, I prefer the original English version). In fact, I love this book so much, that a few years ago, my friends and I entered a sidewalk chalk art contest and re-created one of our favorite scenes. We had a great time hearing all the comments as people walked by. . . Almost without fail recognizing and reminiscing about reading this book at school, at home, or at the library. Kids were universally excited to relate to a famous piece of art and literature outside of a typical literary setting.

Holly (in the purple shirt) and friends with Max

Needless to say, I was super excited when I heard about the movie, which was shown in theatres during the fall of 2009, and is now being released on DVD. I had heard great reviews, and convinced my sweetie that we should go on a date to watch the movie so I could include it in my review of the book. As you can tell, I obviously didn’t post a review right away. Part of that was due to moving at the same time, and part of that was due to the fact that I really didn’t like the movie.

We’ve had this discussion before in the kidlit world with Chronicles of Narnia. I continue to hold to my opinion that it is very difficult to produce a movie of a book that truly satisfies the literature loving world. So, my reasons for not liking the movie? Well, let’s start with what I did like: the costumes/animation and the creation of the Wild Thing’s world were all phenomenal. The ‘Wild Things’ were true to form and very accurately portrayed physically. What really caused me discomfort was the level of dysfunction and anger in Max and his family. Maybe I’ve lived too sheltered of a life, but the book, in my opinion, wasn’t about a dysfunctional, hurting boy. The book was meant for a much larger audience- one that understands that little boys are sometimes wild and do crazy things that get them sent to time out. And, having spent a fair number of hours in time out as a child, I also know that time out is often a place where your imagination takes over to entertain you. Even for minor infractions of the ‘law’, timeout can inspire wild imaginings of running away to a place where everyone thinks you are wonderful and you can do no wrong.

Apparently, when Maurice Sendak first published this book, he was criticized for creating too dark of a children’s book. Some people think that the movie will eventually enjoy the same degree of fame and appreciation. I disagree. I do, however, believe that English teachers will use it in the classroom and come up with assignments to get kids thinking about what deep things Max is really struggling with. I hope that kids will learn to love and appreciate the book long before they ever see the movie, because I think the movie will be likely to change their perception of the book. I also don’t recommend the movie for young children- the target audience of the book. It’s simply inappropriate for young children, but of course, that is also a matter of opinion.

What do you think?

Posted in Award Winning Books, Books for Boys, Books for Girls, Caldecott Awards, Children's Literature, Picture Books, Uncategorized | 5 Comments »

Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Harry Bliss

Posted by hollybookscoops on June 9, 2009

“Save the Worms! Save the Worms!”diary of a worm

We’ve had a lot of rain this spring, and each time it rains, the worms come out for air. Our walks to school then take twice as long and are filled with worm rescues- but usually only for the biggest and the best. I’m warned to be careful multiple times, and chastised every time a stroller wheel rolls over an unfortunate one. But, when there are so many out there, it’s amazing I miss as many as I do. It reminded me of junior high and our (Cari and my) half-mile walk to the bus stop. We almost missed the bus one day in the spring because we were stepping so carefully (and screaming like girls about gross worms) to avoid all the worms. We had to run for the last 300 yards pell mell and stepped on tons of worms in our mad dash to catch the bus.

On the way home a few weeks ago, after a down pour, my toddler spotted a big juicy one right in the middle of the road. And he insisted that I save it. “What?” I did not sign up to be a worm rescuer when I became a Mom. But, I couldn’t turn him down, he would have been heart broken. So, I found a piece of paper in my pocket and tried to pick the worm up with it. It didn’t work very well, and I got slimed when the worm contracted and writhed as all worms do. Eventually, after much dropping and sliming, I got the worm moved over to the gutter, which was ‘safe enough’ to make us all happy.

Living in the country as we have these past five years, we didn’t often see the worms come out and party every time it rained- apparently its more of a city worm thing to do, either that or our soil drained remarkably well in Washington. Anyway, all of this worm business got me thinking about a cute book we read awhile ago called Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin (author of Click, Clack, Moo and other family favorites) and excellently illustrated by cartoonist Harry Bliss. The book has that Sunday Comics pleasure read feel- and yet is also filled with facts that make it a useful teaching tool.You can even follow it up with a worm count walk after the next downpour. Today, my little one and I took an extra long walk home so he could count worms. “1, 2, 3 . . . 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, uh-yeven.” It was fun and educational and preoccupied him from sending me to the rescue of every worm we saw. (phew!)

So, if you’ve been coming across lots of worms this spring, give this book a good read and you will come away more appreciative of the great work worms do for our earth- especially our gardens! Maybe you’ll even be brave enough to rescue one or two. I like worms, even if I don’t like to touch them. Do you like worms?

Posted in Books for Boys, Books for Girls, Books for teaching Math and Science, Children's Literature, Picture Books, Pre-School | 8 Comments »

The Orphan Singer by Emily Arnold McCully

Posted by hollybookscoops on May 13, 2009

the-orphan-singerSet in Venice in the early eighteen hundreds, this book is a piece of history reincarnated. I had no idea that Venice’s musical past had anything to do with orphaned and abandoned girls.

Enter Mama and Papa Dolci, a gifted musical couple who barely had enough food, but sang from morning to night. Their young son, Antonio was also very talented, but Mama and Papa could not afford to send him for training. He was destined to become a basket maker, instead.

When baby Nina joins the family, her parents are ‘trilled’ to hear her giggling and cooing in harmony to Antonio’s singing.  With heavy hearts, Mama and Papa decide that the ospedalo is the best hope their daughter has for training and education. So, one night, they quietly leave Nina in the infant drawer at the ospedalo.

As Catarina (Nina) grows, believing she is an orphan, the Dolci’s visit her and listen to her singing.  A wonderful performer, Caterina gains many fans, but the Dolcis are always dearest to her. One night, only Papa Dolci comes to give a last farewell to ‘Catarina’ from Antonio, who has fallen very ill. Nina sets out to rescue Antonio with the greatest power for good she has at her disposal- her angelic voice.

I really enjoyed this beautifully written and illustrated picture book, as did my children. It reminded me a bit of Cari’s time as a music major and her efforts to study Music therapy. I highly recommend this book! Cari- you should definitely check it out!

Posted in Books for teaching history, Children's Literature, Picture Books | 1 Comment »

Satchel Paige: Don’t Look Back by David A. Adler, illustrated by Terry Widener

Posted by hollybookscoops on April 6, 2009

satchel-paige1This is a non-fiction book about one of Baseball’s best players. Satchel Paige played during a time of racial segregation in our nation’s favorite pastime. Satchel overcame a difficult childhood to become famous among black fans. Satchel Paige was overlooked by mainstream media and ‘regular’ fans. At one point when Satchel’s Negro League team played a white team, Satchel proved that he was the best by having all the other players sit down and he threw straight strike outs, until the other team apologized for their disbelief and racial remarks.

“You got to understand,” said Connie Johnson, a pitcher in the Negro Leagues and later in the major leagues. “He was like Babe Ruth to us, but he was our Babe Ruth.”

When teams were integrated, in 1947, Satchel was 40 years old and determined to continue playing. Satchel played baseball until retirement at age 59 saying he liked keeping busy and didn’t want to rust. A truly inspiring player, Satchel was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1971.

“Don’t Look back,” he often said. “Something might be gaining on you.”

Our whole family enjoyed the colorful illustrations, and excellent history of Satchel’s amazing career. We are baseball lovers in our home, and as baseball season gets underway, we wanted to pay tribute to this great baseball player who played an integral part in the history of our nation’s top past time. If you have t-ballers or rookies, and even older players, they will enjoy getting a little history lesson disguised as a great story about a great player. I highly recommend this story!

Posted in Biography, Books for Boys, Books for Girls, Books for teaching history, Children's Literature, Juvenile Fiction, Middle Readers, Non-Fiction, Picture Books, Uncategorized, Young Adult | 1 Comment »

This is my Town by Mercer Mayer

Posted by hollybookscoops on March 3, 2009

I love ‘I can Read’ books. They are just the right level to really share a reading experience with beginning readers. There are plenty of beginning words like the, this that, him, I, go, they, etc. that boost new reader’s confidence. I also love Critterville and all the classic illustrations that invite interaction with little ones peeking over your shoulder. “Oh, I see hippo! Dat a monkey!” Little Critters are just full of warm fuzzies.

I remember my second grade teacher used to talk to us about giving each other warm fuzzies. These books always remind me of that and of a fuzzy little hamster that used to reside in the Boise, Idaho library. Books are a big warm fuzzy for me and sharing them with kids I love magnifies that warm fuzzy feeling. What book brings warm fuzzies in your home?

Posted in Children's Literature, Picture Books, Pre-School, Uncategorized | 4 Comments »

 
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