Category Archives: Children’s books

Educational and informative story about Renaissance Italy 

Renaissance Italy is a time period commonly known for it’s architecture and paintings. There is much history from this time period that we commonly see influenced today. How much do you know about the Renaissance era?

“If You Were Me and Lived in… Renaissance Italy” by Carole P. Roman and illustrated by Silvia Brunetti is a very educational and informative story that brings the reader to the late 1400s. The descriptions of type of work, clothing, inside the homes, education, etc are exceptional and makes the reader feel like they are right there. As the wealthy Medici are described as the owners of the largest bank in Europe, they spend a lot of money for elaborate paintings and architecture. They often had balls where they constantly needed new gowns and outfits made of the finest fabrics brought in from other countries like silk from China.


Children often shared a room with their siblings, boys in one room and girls in another. Sometimes the home had a shop in it where there was a hole in the floor above the shop so the father could see if anyone came into the shop. The boys would wear clothing like their father’s, just in smaller sizes, while the girls would wear clothing like their mother. The status of the family was often evident with their clothing. The boys often went to school and the girls would stay home to practice their daily chores and duties like sewing, cooking, cleaning, and baking. 

Prior to this book, I knew very little about the Renaissance era and now I feel very informed. The book includes historical information and commonly mentioned names from this time period. I read this aloud to my 8-year-old son, who perked his head up when I said the names of MIchaelangelo, Leonardo, Donatello, and Raphael. This is when he realized the turtles he’s been watching on television were named after famous men from Renaissance Italy. It’s always great when he can connect the dots on his own!


This is one of many in the “If You Were Me and Lived in…” series by Carole P. Roman. As I will be sharing about more of these great books, I’d like to comment about how this story in particular was educational for me as a grown adult! Thank you for teaching me more about what I thought I knew already!

A soft cover copy was provided for an honest review. I highly recommend this book and the others in this series to anyone interested in learning more about other cultures and time periods. It;s a simple read and the illustrations are very relevant.

Putter and the Red Car took me on a road trip across America

Literally, from the east coast to the west, Putter and the Red Car by Kate K. Lund and illustrated by Ana Maria Velicu took me on a road trip. With a few stops in between, driving across America can be fun and exciting. How do you travel with an Airdale terrier from Boston, Massachusetts to Seattle, Washington?   

Putter is a seven-year old Airdale terrier who went on a road trip with his human family. They stopped at dog-friendly hotels and got to play on playgrounds, which gave him and his human brothers a chance to stretch their legs after long drives. Putter had a few firsts during this road trip from staying at a hotel to riding an elevator, Putter even got to eat a hamburger!

Stopping to visit friends along the way is always fun, too! Putter had a chance to see a friend, Hercules, and they got to play together. Traveling is often more fun when taking advantage of seeing old friends to spice up a much needed stop.

My son and I read this road trip adventure together. We paused to study the maps at the beginning and end of the book. Being from Hawaii, it was immediate that the map did not include the 50th state. Although, there’s no way anyone will every drive here, it sort of makes sense to not be included as it is a book about road trips.

Otherwise, I personally would have stopped at more significant locations as a learning experience for the boys, places like Philadelphia or Yeklowstone. However, traveling with a pet changes everything as not all hotels or stops are pet-friendly.

A highlight for my son was Mount Rushmore as he recently learned about it at school. We also saw a small display of it at a local retailer the day before reading Putter and the Red Car. If only we could go to all these places he learns about at school!

Putter and the Red Car was provided complimentary for an honest review. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to go on a road trip and needs to prepare their family to do it. I recommend it even for children who want to follow a pet on a road adventure. Happy traveling!

Attractive, creative, and engaging

The Adventures of Ellie the Elephant is not your typical fiction story of a talking elephant and her friends. Nope, this series is adventurous, creative, and engaging for children and adults alike! Recently, I received paperback copies of Ellie’s Best Beach Vacation Ever and Ellie Goes Back to School written by Elle and Marci Fair. These two books are only part of The Adventures of Ellie the Elephant series.

 
The amazing pictures of Ellie the elephant and her friend Pudgy the penguin on their adventures of a beach vacation and going to school are creative and fit very well into the storylines. Ellie and Pudgy show their creativity along and show their love for whatever it is they’re doing. 

It is especially enjoyable to see Ellie and Pudgy prepared for the travel to their beach vacation with puzzles and travel games for the trip, sunglasses to wear, and sand toys to use at the beach. In the same manner, Ellie and Pudgy bring their backpacks and lunches when they go back to school. 

What I found most intriguing in these books are the real life adventures anyone can take. In Ellie’s Best Beach Vacation Ever, the storyline takes the readers to a bookstore, one that sells this very series! And in Ellie Goes Back to School, we spend some time at a “Buddy Bench” that is a bully-free zone. Buddy benches are being donated across Atlanta, Georgia and will soon spread further!

When I read these books to my son, he loved pointing out the pictures and how Dllie and Pudgy dressed their parts on each page, even when it came to riding a bike and eating lunches. He got fully engaged in the storylines and wished his friends went on such fun adventures, too! And to see at the end of each book is an opportunity to share an adventure with your friend on social media! What a great way for children to share their own adventures!

Like mentioned in the beginning, I received these paperbacks complimentary. I received them for an honest review. I highly recommend this book series to anyone willing to go on an adventure with an elephant and her penguin friend!

Shimmer the Glowworm Finds Her Glow

So many of us live life looking for our purpose. We read books to help us find what is our purpose in this life we are living? Even as adults, we struggle with this. If we struggle with this as adults, do children encounter similar questions? What is their purpose at their young age?


Shimmer the Glowworm Finds Her Glow by Shelby Herman touches on finding that purpose in simple terms that children can understand. Shimmer has no idea what her purpose is and it’s causing her glow to fade. She leaves the ME TREE to find out what makes her glow.

If it makes you happy to provide wisdom, then go ahead and be that wisdom. If it makes you happy to be colorful, then be colorful. If it makes you happy to bounce, then bounce away! What is it that makes you happy? Go ahead and do that.

Colorful and simple, Shimmer the Glowworm Finds Her Glow takes children through a few possibilities to help them learn how to find their purpose, what makes them glow. My nearly seven year old son has difficulty figuring out what he can do to help others, something he enjoys.

Illustrations compliment the story and enhance the simplicity in this story. I especially love the creatures involved in this book. Each are attractive and welcoming into the storyline.

You know, when I think about finding my own glow, I’m reminded of our dog. She would always be there with kisses and hugs whenever we walked in the door. Her being around us was what made her glow. She was full of life to encourage and bring out my own glow. As a pet, it’s amazing how a creature can bring out the best in us just by being herself.


Sometimes finding your glow is harder than others. As adults, we should work in an industry that we enjoy because otherwise that’s a terrible way to spend our day, right? Do you love what you do? If your answer is no, I highly recommend reading Shimmer the Glowworm Finds Her Glow by Shelby Herman!

A complimentary electronic copy of Shimmer the Glowworm Finds Her Glow was provided for an honest review.

Peli – a rhyme of courage and salvation

A pelican named Peli is different from the rest. He doesn’t flaunt it, but instead calls himself blessed. Peli hears a call (is it a little fish? or is it God?) that requires some courage, to save a little fish from an angry shark. The little fish is stuck in the seaweed and the shark sees it trapped. As Peli gets closer, the shark snaps at Peli. Will Peli save the little fish and get away from the shark? 

  
This is an adorable rhyming story of Peli and his adventures. The story shares how God speaks to each of us differently and we just need to listen. When we hear God’s calling, it is up to us to respond. Are you prepared to answer God’s calling? Are you strong enough to evade a shark’s persistent attacks? Then the story takes a very different turn than expected, going from saving the little fish to becoming a father.

Personally, I found it to be more like two stories placed together, one with saving the little fish from the shark and then the ending where Peli meets a female and is having a baby. It might flow better as two different stories instead of thrown together as one. As a Christian based book, placing more emphasis on the relationships between male no female prior to the coming baby should be emhasized more than the living happily ever after part. 

Peli, by Tammy Dominigue and illustrated by Jared Knight, was provided complimentary for an honest review, via Reading Deals. The copy I received was only capable to open on my Kindle Paperwhite device, which is black and white. Therefore, I am unable to view any colors that a color device might be able to see. However, I find the black and white version to she very artistic and simple enough for kids like my six year old. I am sure he would appreciate the color version, but he got the storyline and enjoyed it. 

Skittles Birthday Surprise results from truly humble moments

It’s Skittles birthday and she’s so happy that she wants to spend her time with her mother and her friends. After getting dolled up with a pretty pink bow, skittles heads into a morning of many unforeseen events.


First, she heads downstairs to see her mama, who has hurt her paw. Skittles calls the doctor to help her mama.
Then, she visits with her friends Barney the duck, Jungo the panda, and the Canary brothers to see if they have presents for her. Instead, Skittles finds they have a situation of their own. A dropped ring, a sack of apples, a trumpet swimming in a puddle, and no presents.

As Skittles is happy to help her friends out, she realized at her surprise birthday party that because she helped her mama and her friends, she now has a party, presents, food, and singing!

This a very important lesson to learn as a child. Help those in need and you will be rewarded! The delayed gratification is often forgotten in this day and age. But showing someone we love them and care about them means we do whatever we can to be there for them, help them if we can, or just be a shoulder to lean on.

I was provided with a complimentary copy of Skittles Birthday Surprise by Ansaar Modack through Reading Deals, so I could give an honest review.

The Huggabears Flowers of the Meadow is enlightening

An unexpected package arrived in my mailbox one day. The return address was Angelique La Fon-Cox, author of The Huggabear series as well as the Intercessors series. Angelique quickly became a friend whom I admire. Never did I expect to receive not only The Intercessors (a book I hope to review someday), but hidden at the bottom of the box was The Huggabears Flowers of the Meadow.

This children’s tale is about the Huggabear children, Kooshla, Saboo, and Tanuuk going to play in the flowers of the meadow with their parents. The cubs loved playing in the meadow. On this particular day, the Huggabear cubs see a great big, brightly colored fish flying through the air. It’s a kite!

The kite flier looked different, spoke different, and was from a different place. Jing, a panda cub, politely shared about where he s from and why  hhe’s in the meadow. Jing, a panda cub, shares his kite with Tanuuk, who goes on a brief adventure with the kite. Eventually, they go their separate ways at lunchtime. But Jing invited the Huggabears to his family home for a meal the following week, where the Huggabear cubs had a chance to eat Chinese food for the first time.

 This tale shares how important it is to accept others who are different. Everyone has their own differences and it’s important that we look past the differences and share from the love in our heart.

Thank you, Angelique La Fon-Cox for sending this precious book to us. My son loves the Huggabear books, especially when he has a chance to look for the Huggabear paw hidden in throughout the books.

Ms Angelique La Fon-Cox, her husband, and their beautiful children operate a small profit out of the Phoenix, Arizona area called The Huggabear Children’s Project. They send teddy bears to children off deployed service members as well as children who have been affected by natural disasters. They perform at churches and fairs as well. Check out their non-profit website by clicking here.

When A New Life Begins, it is adored and loved

Whenever a baby mammal is born, it’s mother instinctively watches over him. Parents share their love and affection for the baby and it is common for babies to enjoy the company of other babies. This is no different with Zealy and Whubba in The Adventures of Zealy and Whubba: A New Life Begins by Roe De Pinto.  

 

Zealy is the new seal pup born one winter to loving parents. Zealy is carefully watched over by her parents. One day a young orca whale, Whubba, splashes by and quickly becomes friends with Zealy and immediately finds himself protecting the pup from whatever might harm her. 

Typically, a seal pup is on the food chain for several creatures. There is no indication of the dangers that are present for Zealy. But with Whubba, Zealy is safe. 

 
Adorable and loved book that my son and I read together. I especially love the images of Zealy and Whubba. Zealy’s parents are a bit on the dark side, but their soft eyes make them live able, too. A New Life Begins is a brief story that can be enjoyed by many young children. My son wished it continued on as he’s been reading longer stories lately and gets disappointed with shorter stories, especially when he enjoys the characters. 

A complimentary hard copy of Zealy and Whubba in The Adventures of Zealy and Whubba: A New Life Begins by Roe De Pinto was sent to me by the author for an honest review. As this is Book 1 Series 1, I hope to catch the next adventure. 

The Great Carp Escape is wonderful

A young girl, Beth, and her younger brother, Paul, live near a huge lake where they loved to play on the sandy beach. There was an area nearby where there were swampy reeds with carp swimming in the water. Beth and Paul are curious children who find interest in nature around them.

Sometimes, they would walk along the shore and find a dead carp that they thought was ugly. Their father reminded Beth and Paul that God thinks the fish is wonderful, just like them. Summer’s were great for swimming and looking for clams. But in spring, when the snow melted, everything seemed underwater. At least until the water started to dry up. This is when Beth and Paul find several carp trapped without a way to get back out to the lake and the little pond they were in was starting to dry up. What will happen to the carp? Will Beth and Paul be able to save the carp?

The Great Carp Escape by Irish Beth Maddock pulls young readers in with its detail and realistic activities. Trying to save the trapped carp is only natural for a young curious child. Finding a way to help the carp escape comes naturally to children. It’s quite interesting to ask a child how they would help the carp before getting to the answers given in the book.


The situation in this story reminds me of a similar situation in an episode of Curious George. But, the answers in the book didn’t jog my Curious George memory until I began writing this review.

This is a great book for youngsters who are looking for a small adventure. It is also a wonderful message that even ugly carp are wonderful to God. A beautiful message for anyone who doubts their own beauty, especially for impressionable children.

The Great Carp Escape was sent to me complimentary for an honest review by Bostick Communications and Irish Beth Maddock. It was a pleasure to read this wonderful book and admire the gorgeous images. My family will treasure this book for many years to come.

Young Mystery Series #1 The Missing Lunch

Children’s books are a genre many adults can love and enjoy due to its simplicity and ability to take you back to being young and carefree. Young Mystery Series Book #1 The Missing Lunch, by B.K. Maxwell, is a story that takes the reader through the process of elimination to solve the mystery of who is taking Dennis’ lunch.

Let’s start from the beginning, Dennis Mayfield is the best friend of mystery detective and 9 year old student, Kia Young. Kia and her brother Marcus work as a team to distract teachers and school officials as well as interrogate other students to find out who has been taking Dennis’ precious PB&J sandwiches. What makes this PB&J so special? It’s apparently the world’s best, made by his mother with a special jelly and the bread is toasted. It makes even my moth water when I think about it.

Typical 9 year old conversations and actions create fun interactions and an interesting mystery to solve as the prospective suspects get scratched off. I thought I knew the culprit before it was revealed at the end of the story, but at the same time, I had my doubts that I was right.

A very fun and engaging children’s book that any student about 2nd-5th grades can enjoy. Amazon suggests 4-12th grades, but with the new Common Core, I think 2nd graders can read and understand this book and enjoy it. The activities of the students are age appropriate and realistic as are the conversations between children. I would have enjoyed this story when I was young.

I recommend this book to children across the country as they could all probably relate to the young characters and the situation at hand. A pdf copy of this book was provided for an honest review by the author, whom I met via Twitter, @ITsBKMaxwell.