Heave Ho! {Review and Giveaway}

Heave Ho! by Jose Lucio is a fun book about a worm trying to come up from underground with a little help from his friends (and a twist at the end!). It's a book about teamwork that appeals to a wide spectrum of ages.  

My Review: My first impression is that the book is printed on very high quality paper and bound nicely. It feels sturdy enough to survive countless readings with young hands, despite being a paperback. The illustrations are engaging and expressive and the story itself is very appealing. I wasn't sure if I was rooting for the worm or the opposition, but both sides showed innovative thinking and teamwork.

Kids' Review: Each of the kids enjoyed reading this book several times. It's a bit young for Jack (age 9), but he likes to read to his brother and sister, so it was a great book for that. All of the kids squealed with the twist at the end and agreed that it was their favorite part. They had fun choosing sides to root for! The animal illustrations are so fun - the kids loved them as much as the storyline. We all highly recommend this book! If you'd like to purchase this book, it is available here.

Now the fun part: The author was kind enough to provide two copies of this book for a giveaway! Enter via Rafflecopter below for a chance to win your own copy at no cost to you. :)

*We received a copy of this book from the author, but the review is purely our own.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Busy Dizzy {Review}

Busy Dizzy by Dr. Orly Katz is about that little voice in our heads that makes us doubt ourselves or our abilities. The story is set in a classroom, led by teacher Mrs. Young, where various kids are plagued with being shy, embarrassed, or being afraid to lose. Mrs. Young recognizes these doubts and teaches the kids about the "Busy Dizzies", describing them as:

 "...creatures that no one can see...some make you feel angry, some make you feel shy, some make you embarrassed and some make you cry...Busy Dizzies say words that JUST AREN'T TRUE! Busy Dizzies make you think there are things you can't do!"

Mrs. Young has the kids draw what they think their Busy Dizzies look like and teaches them a song to sing when they feel their Busy Dizzy close to get it to go away and get their confident selves back.  

My take: I really like the concept of this book. I like that it gives kids the opportunity to give name to their self doubts and gives them the power and the tools to get rid of them in a fun way. When a situation arises, I'll be interested to see if my kids recall this story and can give name to their own "Busy Dizzy"! We read the e-book version of this book and I'm not entirely sold on the format. I have been mostly reading e-books for myself, but this is the first that I've read with the kids. I think it was a bit more difficult to allow all three kids to see the "book" at once, and there are really fun pages in the back of the book where the reader can name and illustrate their own "Busy Dizzy", but those sort of get lost in the e-book format. That said, my kids thought it was really cool that they had a book on their Kindle Fire (that, I'm not going to lie, they use mostly for Minecraft!). The intended audience of this book is ages 4-8 and I agree that it is an appropriate age range, although Jack enjoyed it as well and he's slightly older than that at nine.  

Jack's take: Jack is actually the one who read this story aloud to the rest of us on his Kindle Fire. He is nine and had no trouble with any words or with the flow of the story. His favorite part of the story was the silly looking "Dizzies" - some of them look like little monsters and some of them look like exaggerated versions of their owner. As I said before, he was pretty excited to have the book on his Kindle and despite my own reservations, really enjoyed reading this story in the e-book format.  

Colin's take: Colin was less interested in the story, but he is also less interested in abstract concepts like feelings and self-doubt, so this didn't surprise me. Like Jack, he did love the illustrations of the kids' "Dizzies" and the silliness of it all. They definitely made him giggle!

You can find this book on Amazon (not an affiliate link) in e-book format ($1.99) as well as paperback ($12.57). If you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited, you can read this book for free! We recommend that you check it out!

*We received a copy of this e-book from the author, but the review is purely our own.


Miracle Miles - Review and Giveaway

Miracle Miles by Brian J. Hunt and illustrated by Luke Flowers is the story about miracles, in all shapes & forms.  Miles, the smallest Cannon Commander at the Miracle Factory, is charged with saving the Factory from the evil Corbin, helped along the way by his friend Bridget.  The story proves that miracles happen in many different ways and that anyone can be a hero.

The Miracle Factory has launched billions of miracles around the world.  According to the story, "a miracle is the special ingredient that makes a star glow.  When a star is ready to become a miracle, it falls out of the sky toward Earth.  Once the star is on the ground, the Miracle Workers rush over to it and harvest out the Glow".  The greatest enemy of miracles, however, is the factory owner himself, the evil Corbin.  When he sabotages the factory, it is up to Miles and Bridget to save the day.

What I thought: First, know that this book is a bit deceptive because it looks like it will be a typical length story.  However, when you open it you realize that the type is somewhat small and there are a lot of words on each page.  That being said, it is divided by chapters so it could easily be read over several days.  The age range for Miracle Miles is seven to twelve and I think that is a accurate assessment.  I think the story jumped around a bit, especially in the beginning, but overall it was an enjoyable read and had a good message.  The illustrations are fabulous!  Very detailed and expressive and flow with the story quite well.

What Jack thought: Jack is seven and a half and is right on the lower end of the target age range.  He wasn't interested in reading this book himself, but wanted me to read it to him (I'm thinking he got a bit overwhelmed with the number of words on each page, something an older child wouldn't be fazed by).  He loved the story though.  He got very invested in Miles' adventures at the Factory and looked forward to me reading a chapter to him every night.  Jack would definitely recommend this book to his friends!

Would you like to win a copy of this book for your child?  The author, Brian J. Hunt, was kind enough to provide a signed hardback copy for me to share with my readers.  Please fill out the Rafflecopter form below to enter.  United States mailing addresses only, please.  Winner will be contacted via email on Sunday, November 24th.

You can also read more about the author at http://brianjameshunt.com/

We were provided a copy of this book by the author, but the review is purely our own.

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Moka Becomes a Water Dog

Moka Becomes a Water Dog by Jeff Stevenson is about a very special family dog named Moka.  She spends lots of time playing with her family in their mountain cabin.  The book is part of "The Dog On My Feet" series and focuses on Moka's first time in the water and how her family helps her learn to love it.  This book is special in that there are fun activities at the end of the book, including a word search, a maze and several coloring pages.  We all loved that the book is based on a real family and their beloved dog.

What I thought: This was a fun story to read.  The writing was large and simple enough for my first grader to be able to read it with some help, yet engaging enough to keep him interested.  The illustrations are fun, I just wish they were a bit bigger.

What Jack thought: Jack was super excited about the activities at the end of the book.  "You mean I can write in this book"?  :)  He was shocked!

What Colin thought: Colin fell in love with Moka.  He loves dogs and really enjoys reading books with a dog as the star of the show.

You can buy this book for yourself on Amazon in both paperback and kindle version (not an affiliate link).

We were provided a copy of this book by the author, but the review is purely our own.

Haiku Baby

For a small change of pace here, I thought I'd post a review of one of my daughter's books, a board book actually.  Our little girl, Amelia, is seven months old and already loves to listen to our voices as we read to her.  She also loves to listen to big brother Jack read his school books to her.  Awww!

We received Haiku Baby by Betsy Snyder from a dear friend over the holidays.  Each page features a different haiku in a nature theme.  For example, rain, moon, sun, etc.

My favorite haiku is titled, "Moon", and goes like this:

    in silver moonlight,
    whale sings a soft lullaby-
    good night, little bird

What Amelia thinks:  We like to read this story close to bedtime when she is fairly calm and relaxed, that way she is less grabby at the book.  ;)  She enjoys listening to my voice reading the haikus and overall seems to enjoy the experience.

What I think:  I love this book.  I've always loved haikus, so naturally I love haikus written with children in mind.  The illustrations that accompany the words are beautiful and thoughtful as well.

You can buy Haiku Baby for yourself here or see if your local library carries it.