Time for a Hug by Phillis Gershator and Mim Green illustrated by David Walker

Need an excuse for a hug?
Need an excuse for a hug?

I had a blast reading this board book with my little guy. There are lots of reasons for hugs throughout little rabbit’s day. Even though rabbit has lots to do, there is always time for hugs.

Not only will the carefully crafted verse roll off your tongue, but Walker’s art plants a little bit of spring and summer in your heart. This short, sweet book has it all- numbers, counting, rhyme, rhythm and lots of room for hugs and bed time loves. A perfect gift for Valentine’s Day or any occasion, Time for a Hug is a gift that keeps on giving every time you open it’s pages and share it with your little loved one. Time for  a Hug will make every day special!


Check out the Author(s) and Illustrator’s websites:

Phillis Gershator & Mim Green

David Walker

What others are saying about Time for a Hug:

Bookfoolery: “A happy book with a nice rhythm is always a pleasure to read. Time for a Hug is one of those books I can imagine a small child adoring and it’s certainly a great book to snuggle up and read (plus, a good excuse for lots of hugging).”

Lisa Reviews: “This is one of the cutest stories you will see out there. I love the illustrations too. The words are sing songy, so it definitely holds your kids attention.”

*I received a review copy courtesy of Josh Glickman at Sterling Publishing- thank you! The opinions in my review are my own.


Pigs in Love by Teddy Slater illustrated by Aaron Boyd


Pigs in Love is filled with ideas of the many ways to show love- to buddies and sweethearts, fathers and mothers and yes, even to pesky little brothers (Please excuse my rhyme. That’s not an actual line from the book, but the whole rhyming thing obviously rubbed off a little). You may want to spout valentine poetry to your loved ones too after you’ve read this fun book!

Here’s my favorite line:

“Sows and piglets, hogs, and swine- everyone’s someone’s valentine.”

If you want something sweet but free from processed sugar to share with your valentine, try Pigs in Love from Sterling Children’s Books.

*I received a review copy of Pigs in Love courtesy of Sterling Books. The opinions in this review are my own.

We Made Out Like Bandits!

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?

The Twelve Days of Christmas Reads

When we first set a goal to do do the Twelve days of Christmas on our blog, we had no idea that if we did it just like the song, that would be 364 books (albeit lots of repetition), and if we just do 12 books for the 12th day, 11 for 11 and so on . . . that would be 78 books! As much as we love books (and that’s an understatement), we just didn’t feel like it was quite necessary to go that crazy. So, to make it simpler, we each are doing one book for each of the Twelve days of Christmas- which makes 24 total books. I think that should be enough to keep us all busy. Although, I must admit, paring down our lists to just twelve has been difficult. In keeping with the festivities, Cari’s reviews are in red and Holly’s are in green. Rest assured, we have picked a variety to choose from in an attempt to satisfy everyone in your house- even the mouse!

On the 1st day of Christmas my true love read to me:

Flight of the Reindeer The True Story of Santa Claus & His Christmas Mission by Robert Sullivan, drawings by Glenn Wolff

Do you have a Santa doubter in your home? Are you struggling with scepticism this Christmas? Here is the best solution I have ever found! I’ve always been a believer, but this year, knowing we might be getting some serious questions on the home front, I decided to confront the questions head on. I found myself wondering, “Is this for real?” I flipped to the front and found that it’s so real that the Library of Congress categorized this book as non-fiction. When does that ever happen with a Christmas tale? A great coffee-table and reference book for the Santa-challenged parent. I don’t know if I can turn this back in to the library until I buy my own copy . . .

Holly Claus The Christmas Princess by Brittney Ryan and illustrated by Laurel Long & Jeffrey K. Bedrick

hollyclauschristmasprincessHolly Claus is none other then the daughter of Nicholas Claus and his wife Viviana. Holly is a beautiful princess of the land Forever and whose birth was long anticipated. Her existence is made possible by a young boy who writes a letter to Santa Claus and asks Santa what he would like for Christmas rather than asking for a list of presents. However Holly has a curse placed upon her by an evil warlock and her heart is surrounded by ice forcing her to stay in the cold unless she marries the warlock willingly.

thelegendofhollyclausOverall I liked this story and the illustrations are really quite beautiful. I call this the ultimate Christmas fairy tale complete with a princess and happy forever (especially since the North Pole is called Forever). There is a novel for middle readers also by Brittney Ryan and illustrated by Laurel Long – same story but much more fleshed out called The Legend of Holly Claus, which I really enjoyed.

On the 2nd Day of Christmas my true love read to me:

The Christmas Shoes by Donna VanLiere

This one’s a real tear-jerker, so have a box of tissues on hand and don’t plan on going anywhere until the puffy eyes subside. Two tales intertwine to remind us what family and holidays are all about- love and togetherness. This book left me grateful for my dear ones and more determined to focus on what really counts.

Who will guide my sleigh tonight? by Jerry Pallotta Illustrated by David Biedrzycki

whowillguidemysleightonightI first saw this book at a book club’s mom and me Christmas brunch. I loved it! It goes through as Santa tries to determine what animal will make the best guide for his sled. Our kids loved this book. He goes through dolphins, skunks and elephants trying to decide which animal works the best. This one is great for children 2-5 and adults get a kick out of it too.

On the 3rd day of Christmas my true love read to me:

The Quiet Little Woman, A Christmas Story by Louisa May Alcott, presented by Stephen W. Hines

Three Enchanting Christmas stories by one of my favorite authors, rediscovered by industrious Mr. Hines, in a long-forgotten children’s magazine. I was thrilled to find that Alcott had stories I’ve never seen. Alcott works her magic in three short stories, The Quiet Little Woman, Tilly’s Christmas, and Rosa’s Tale. Definitely a medley that will please the palate.

Christmas Tapestry by Patricia Polacco

christmastapestryHopefully based on a true story that the author heard once in homilies in the 1960s and again in the 1990s. If it is true its an amazing story if its not it’s still a great story and the book is classified as fiction so I guess it’s up to the reader to decide. The main character Jonathon is moving with his family to Michigan and he is upset over the move. His father is a preacher and the new church is not exactly new. In fact the whole area is run down and Jonathon wants to go back to his previous home. Through an unlikely series of events water damage in the church, a late bus, a tapestry, sharing tea with an old woman and the gentleman who comes to repair the wall. Jonathon and his father play a role in special Christmas miracle.

On the 4th day of Christmas my true love read to me:

The Great Santa Search As told to Jeff Guinn by Santa Claus himself

Number three in the Christmas Chronicles, I found this book to be hard going at first, but it sure finished up with a bang! Brimming with Christmas history and famous people. The history lover in the family, should enjoy this tale. And the children, and less ‘history’ loving people in the family, will enjoy the occasional illustrations, which will inspire them to read and find out what’s really going on. A nice explanation for the ‘why’ of Santa Claus and Christmas.

Auntie Claus by Elise Primevera

auntieclausThe first rule of Christmas is better to give than it is to receive or that’s what Sophie learns in this Christmas tale. Her whole family loves Christmas especially Sophie and her little brother and the more presents the better. Sophie’s curiousity gets the best of her when she wants to find out where their Auntie Claus disppears to every year around Christmas time and she stows away for an adventure and learns a very important lesson not to mention that Santa Claus has a sister!

On the 5th day of Christmas my true love read to me:

The Christmas Box by Eve Merriam illustrated by David Small

christmasboxbyevemerriamWe loved this hilarious tale reminiscent of Mary Poppin’sbottomless carpet bag. When Christmas morning comes, there is only one present under the tree. Can one present really be enough? What was Santa thinking?! Christmas simplified, sounds great to me and with this book it really is fun for the entire family.

Shall I knit you a Hat? a Christmas Yarn by Kate Klise Illustrated by M. Sarah Klise

shalliknityouahatI had to pick this book, it’s written and illustrated by sisters who apparently have collaborated before (I will be looking for more). This is a nice warm story as Mother Rabbit decides to knit a warm hat for Little Rabbit when a bad snow storm is supposed to blow in on Christmas Eve. Little Rabbit is so excited about his nice new hat that he wants to make sure that his friends will have a nice warm hat for Christmas so he and his mom go out and measure his animal friends and make hats for them for Christmas. When the winter storm comes in everyone has customized hat for the cold weather. I thought it would be fun to make a carrot cake as Little Rabbit and his mom have several pieces at the end of the book. Also if you had a child who was old enough you could teach them how to knit. Or if you give this book as a gift, give it with some knitting needles and yarn to go with it. Continue reading

Alphabet Books 8-14

The Icky Bug Alphabet Book by Jerry Pallotta Illustrated by Ralph Masiello

ickybugalphabetI thought this book was okay. My daughter liked looking at the pictures of all the different “bugs”, which included spiders and insects. I liked that it had a little bit of information for each bug. My biggest complaint is that at the end of the book he says that “The Orb Spider, Water Spider and Tarantula are spiders. The Velvet Mite and the Scorpian are arachnids.” Spiders are arachnids too so I thought that was confusing. But that’s just me. So it could be a good book to begin a study of “bugs”, which I always thought of as insects. I am over analyzing too much?

The Disappearing Alphabet by richard wilbur Illustrated by david diaz

disappearingalphabetI think I got this book at a Scholastic Warehouse sale for a buck. It wasn’t worth it. The book idea is cute as they go through the alphabet asking the reader to pretend what life would be like without that letter. However, the rhymes seem forced at times and just odd. I did like the illustrations, colorful and fun. The book has great potential that didn’t materialize.

Miss Spider’s ABC Written and Illustrated by David Kirk

missspiderabc1This book was recommended by Bookie Woogie when I first posted a list of ABC books who said “the most vivid colors I’ve ever seen in a picturebook.” He was right. I cannot say enough about the pictures. They are vivid, vibrant and so full of color it’s easy to spend several minutes on each page admiring the art work. My 4-year old loved the book. The verse is fun creative and very buggy and compliments the illustrations very well. I would definitely buy this book.

Alphabet by Mathew Van Fleet Edited and Art Directed by Skip Skwarek

alphabetvanfleetThis is a very thick, pop-up book with lots of different textures to use. This is a good book to use with young children as it is very tactile – little ones love to lift flaps and touch things. Like the Velvety tall Giraffes are really – velvety. Great way to introduce reading to a young child.

G is for One Gzonk! by TINY DiTERLOONEY (aka Tony DiTerlizzi)

gisforonegzonk1This book claims to NOT teach you the alphabet and is written for children ages 4-7. It also includes number counting as well. Each letter is represented by an fictional monster created by TINY. My daughter loved the book. She thought it was fun and that the monsters where funny. It reminded my of Dr. Suess only for older kids.

Picture a letter by Brad Sneed

picturealetterThis is a wordless alphabet book for kids ages 4-7. In other words each page has pictures of things that start with that letter. For letter the letter A there is an acrobat. Loved the pictures which he did on watercolor paper with mixed medium. It took a while to go through the book and we have since read it at least 3 times. My daughter loves looking for pictures that started with the corresponding letter and each time we found more pictures that started with the corresponding letter. There is a key at the end of the book of all the different items, which helped because sometimes I didn’t know the name of a paricularly animal or illustration. Two mice accompany you on the journey – one to set up the letter and the other to watch. This is a fantastic book, great illustrations and a great way to teach beginning sounds.

Akira to Zoltán: Twenty-Six Men Who Changed the World by Cynthia Chin-Lee Illustrated by Megan Halsey and Sean Addy

akiratozoltan1I saw this one when I checked out the author’s website and thought it looked like a great companion to Amelia to Zora which I did a review for last month. I loved this book. It talked about so many different men from athletes to artists to scientists to peace activists and more and their contributions to the world from all backgrounds. Loved it, loved it, loved it! Same format as the other book as it uses the gentlemen’s first names and includes a quote from each man. The pictures are all done with a mixed medium in a collage style. One of my favorites is B for Badshah who lead the larges nonviolent protest group ever of 100,000 in what is now part of Pakistan. This would be a good one for 3rd grade on up.

Bee & Me by Elle J. McGuinness illustrated by Heather Brown

Brilliant colored  illustrations combined with technology called animotion, will pull you in to this lovely book. For those ‘scanimation’ aficionados who enjoyed Rufus Butler Seder’s Gallop! Here is a similar book to enjoy. Bee Me goes a step beyond the primarily black and white moving pictures in Gallop! There are windows of multi-color flying bees, running dogs and moving humans in the midst of colorful illustrations. My children fought over control of this book the moment we got it home. We had to stretch the pages open wide to help get the mechanisms inside working, but once the thick pages were fixed, the action began! I loved that there was a storyline to follow (a lesson about fear and insects) in addition to the illustrations. I really enjoy the combination of animation and illustration and can’t wait to check out what this team comes up with next. Speaking of sequels . . . I can’t wait to check out Seder’s newest release, Swing! with a baseball player hitting a ball on the front cover. Baseball is a family past-time, not to mention one of America’s favorite sports, so I’m sure that this book will be a hit with my boys.

Books to be ‘Thankful’ for:

My #1Top pick

Thank you, Sarah The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving by Laurie Halse Anderson, illustrated by Matt Faulkner

Officially my favorite Thanksgiving story ever! Follow the ‘heroic’ efforts of Sarah Hale, a lady ahead of her time, who was incredibly determined. Packed full of impressive multi-cultural ink & watercolor illustrations you will find more and more things to appreciate (and giggle over) at every read. When Sarah saw Thanksgiving shrinking into obscurity, she inspired many women in America to pick up their pens and petition for official recognition of this important national holiday. In conjunction with these women, it also took her own numerous articles, thousands of letters and 38 years to finally persuade someone to act. During the Civil War, Sarah appealed to President Lincoln with the idea that Thanksgiving could bring our nation together. Finally, in 1863, Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving a national holiday. My favorite line? “Never underestimate dainty little ladies.” You better bet I’m thankful for Sarah this thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving on Thursday by Mary Pope Osborne

Book #27 in the Magic Tree House series will transport you to the first Thanksgiving feast in Plymouth. Full of fun facts about Pilgrim life, children will enjoy learning about herbs, roots, and period dialogue. One note- the illustrator does not know what corn seeds look like unless they’re on the cob, so don’t believe everything you see! Continue reading

The Crunching Munching Caterpiller by Sheridan Cain, illustrated by Jack Tickle


Adorable illustrations bring this wonderful board book to life. Children will love the vivid colors and love to crunch and munch along with the caterpillar. The story is brought to life with many creatures telling the caterpillar that he is going to have to get used to the idea that he is not made for flying. A beautiful butterfly encourages him that his dreams of flying may come true one day. Of course, we all can guess what happens next! My only complaint is that birds do not talk to caterpillars without eating them, but on the other hand, birds and caterpillars don’t talk at all, so I guess in this fantasy world maybe birds don’t eat caterpillars. Continue reading