Monday, July 21, 2014

Let's Mix It Up A Little!


Hey everyone. I trust you are having a fabulous summer so far. Our family has been having a terrific time eating ice-cream, attending bluegrass gospel concerts, bowling, participating in our local farmer's market, and so much more. But rest assured, I always leave a  little time to read and review some children's literature.



If you have followed me for a while, you have probably figured out that my first love is children's fiction, but I do indeed read non fiction as well. So this week, I thought I would mix it up a little and share some of that non fiction with you.

The first book I read was Parrots Over Puerto Rico. This book is a bit unusual as the cover has no title just a beautiful picture of parrots. And that is not the end of the surprises which you will discover when you open the book and realize that the pages are printed sideways. But once you turn the book sideways and begin to read, you will find the extraordinary story of the parrots of Puerto Rico and how they were almost driven to extinction. Along the way, you will also read about the history of Puerto Rico, it's people, and how it came to acquire its name. This book is definitely a good read and would make a perfect addition to a science report, project, or possibly a home school science curriculum.




The second book I read was also about wildlife and was titled What's The Difference Between A Turtle and A Tortoise? This book was simple to read but not at all boring. Not only did it explain the differences between the two, but it also shared the similarities and unusual facts. This book would also  make a lovely addition to any science themed project or curriculum.




Well, that about wraps it up for this week. Join me next week for another exciting episode, same crazy time, same crazy channel. And feel free to drop by my personal website, Fun With Aileen, any day of the week for even more on reading, writing, my very own early grade chapter book, Fern Valley, and my soon to be released sequel, Return To Fern Valley, coming September second! I'm also on twitter @AileenWStewart if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Always Time For Books


It was another busy week. Now that I think about it, busy weeks have seemed to be the norm lately. This is possibly because my husband and I have vowed to do more fun things with our daughter, Emily, this summer like riding bikes and bowling. Or it could be because I have entered the Farm Market season and have baking to do. It could be because we had a flea infestation and I spent hours and hours washing bedding after I bug bombed. It could be the Celbridot I created for my friend Terry Shay's website (a site you should totally check out after you are done reading my post). But most likely, it's just what happens to a person when they are passionate about everything!

My Celebridot

But despite the multitude of mini quick bread loaves and tiny tarts lining my kitchen counter, the long bike rides to pick wild black raspberries, watching the fireworks during our town's Bicycle Days, the laundry, and the matting of photos I intend to enter in our county fair, I still managed to read two really great books last week.

quick breads and tarts

The first book I read, Apples to Oregon, was so totally delightful, I couldn't decide just what I enjoyed most. The cover was intriguing and the illustrations divine. When I opened the cover of the book I was greeted with a beautiful  map of the west coast. The subtitle claimed to be a slightly true narrative of how apples, peaches, pears, plums, grapes, and cherries (And Children) got to Oregon which was just so silly it made me laugh. And the story was expertly and hilariously written.

Apples to Oregon

The second book, Winston & George, was also a great read with a cleverly disguised message about playing pranks on your friends. The brightly colored illustrations add to the fun tale and will keep children six to eight fascinated. An added bonus, at the end of the story there is a page about real life crocodiles and crocodile birds.

Winston and George

Well, that about wraps it up for this week. Join me next week for another exciting episode, same crazy time, same crazy channel. And feel free to drop by my personal website, Fun With Aileen, any day of the week for even more on reading, writing, my very own early grade chapter book, Fern Valley, and my soon to be released sequel, Return To Fern Valley, coming September second! I'm also on twitter @AileenWStewart if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days.
                             

Monday, July 7, 2014

Vacation and a Book!

This past weekend was our family's annual vacation. Every year over the week of the fourth my  mom, sister, brother, sister-in-law, nephews, niece, hubby, Emily and I all pack up to spend three nights and four days at the local KOA campground. The weekend was chock full of bouncing, wet hayrides, bubbles, and wildlife, but I still managed to get some reading in.

 
 



About a month ago, I won a middle grade novel which I just hadn't had the time to read until now. But once I started, I could hardly put it down. What was I reading? Henry & The Incredibly Incorrigible, inconveniently Intelligent Smart Human by Lynn Messina. The story takes us to a world where robots are the predominate life force and humans are created to do the menial tasks robots do not want to perform. Robots have to be careful though, because sometimes the drooling zombie like humans go beserko. This is Henry's greatest fear until he gets to know his human and finds, much to his surprise, that he is quite intelligent.
 

The adventure that they embark on when they run away together is fraught full of  the kind of danger that keeps you on the edge of your seat while reading, and the secrets they discover will amaze even the most skeptical of readers. Miss Messina has created a wonderful piece of fiction that is sure to keep both boys and girls between the ages of nine and thirteen intrigued from beginning to end.

Well, that about wraps it up for this week. Join me next week for another exciting episode, same crazy time, same crazy channel. And feel free to drop by my personal website, Fun With Aileen, any day of the week for even more on reading, writing, my very own early grade chapter book, Fern Valley, and my soon to be released sequel, Return To Fern Valley, coming summer of 2014! I'm also on twitter @AileenWStewart if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days.
                             

Monday, June 30, 2014

Giving Dogs a Fair Shake!





Last week's book review involved cats because I am a cat person. I mean I would have to be to have three wouldn't I? But, I want to give dogs a fair chance as well, so here is are four of my favorite dog books in no particular order.



Harry hates to take a bath, so he runs away. He spends the day getting so extraordinarily dirty that his family doesn't even recognize him when he returns home. Will Harry ever get his family to let him back in the house, and if they do, will it involve a bath?


 
 
Hugs the puppy sets out early one morning while his family is still sleeping because he has something he needs to find out. The kind farm animals along the way help him with his requests and when he returns to the barn and his family he finds the answer for which he was looking!



This story of how one family found a very imperfect dog and how he made a perfect addition to their family is a good lesson in how love can overlook differences. My daughter truly enjoyed this book, especially when she realized it was a true story. I would recommend this book for children six to eight.



Told in rhyme and accompanied by beautiful illustrations, Schnitzel Von Krumm: Forget-Me-Not is a great little book for children four to eight. As Schnitzel's family busily packs for vacation they remember everything but him. To find out what happens to Schnitzel when this happens you need to read this book for yourselves!

Well, that about wraps it up for this week. Join me next week for another exciting episode, same crazy time, same crazy channel. And feel free to drop by my personal website, Fun With Aileen, any day of the week for even more on reading, writing, my very own early grade chapter book, Fern Valley, and my soon to be released sequel, Return To Fern Valley, coming summer of 2014! I'm also on twitter @AileenWStewart if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days.
                             



Monday, June 23, 2014

Gotta Love Those Cats!


This past week was busy with both work and play as we took one of Emily's friends bowling, went geocaching, visited the Velvet Ice Cream Factory, set up tables at our local farm market. It was so busy in fact, that for this Monday's book review, I actually had Emily read a book to me on the way to Bible school Sunday evening.

Bowling
 
 

She read Captain Cat by Inga Moore. The book started by stating that Captain Cat loved cats so much that he had more cats then crew. I laughed and asked Emily if that reminded her of anyone. She responded by saying that it reminded her of her friend that had gone bowling with us. A friend that loves cats so much that she even calls herself cat girl.

Captain Cat

Quickly I stopped laughing and she continued to read. We learned that Captain Cat was a trader, but not a good one. He loved cats so much, he always traded his goods for  more cats. One day Captain Cat decided he was going to travel to places he had never seen. He, his cats, and crew set off, but a large storm causes them to sail off course to an island over run with rats.

I don't want to give too much away, so I will just finish by saying that you really will love how this extremely amusing story ends. The illustrations are quite captivating too.

Well, that about wraps it up for this week. Join me next week for another exciting episode, same crazy time, same crazy channel. And feel free to drop by my personal website, Fun With Aileen, any day of the week for even more on reading, writing, my very own early grade chapter book, Fern Valley, and my soon to be released sequel, Return To Fern Valley, coming summer of 2014! I'm also on twitter @AileenWStewart if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days.










Monday, June 16, 2014

Read Someone New!



As you have probably figured out by now, I love books and authors. All types of books and authors. And when I am able, I like to introduce you to new authors you may never have read before. Recently, Indie author, Pat Brannon, asked if I would be willing to review a couple of her children's books which promptly arrived in the mail this past week when I agreed.

I have known Pat through Face Book for a while, but had never read any of her many books, so I was curious. What she sent me were the Meet The Darlin' Dujeeszys and Violet's Not So Velvet Voice.

The first thing I noticed when I received them was that they are a little larger then the usual children's book. They are about the size of a coloring book. Although a little unusual in my experience, the size is not a negative. In fact, children five to eight for whom this book seems appropriate, will more then likely enjoy the large colorful illustrations.

The Darlin' Dujeezy's are a very large family who reminded me a little of the real life Duggar family. The message in this story is team work. It really doesn't matter if your family is large or small, everyone working together causes life to run much more smoothly. This is a lesson that Emily's father and I are trying to teach her as well. Each of us pulling our own weight and doing different chores, so that everyone can enjoy the benefits.

Meet The Darlin' Dujeezys
 
Helping Out
Emily Helping Set Up The Trampoline

Violet's Not So Velvet Voice took a totally different direction. In this story, Billy Carl Thomason has a problem. His problem is Violet, or to be more precise, Violet's horrible singing voice. Only violet doesn't believe him when he tells her she sounds awful. Violet has always been told by her friends and family that she has a lovely voice. Violet is so incensed that Billy Carl doesn't like her voice that she follows him everywhere he goes singing and tormenting him until he can't take it any more. Billy Carl appeals to his teacher for help and blessedly she finds a solution.

Violet's Not So Velvet Voice

Well, that about wraps it up for this week. Join me next week for another exciting episode, same crazy time, same crazy channel. And feel free to drop by my personal website, Fun With Aileen, any day of the week for even more on reading, writing, my very own early grade chapter book, Fern Valley, and my soon to be released sequel, Return To Fern Valley, coming summer of 2014! I'm also on twitter @AileenWStewart if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Blog Hops, Books, and Friends.



This past week was pretty busy as I was getting ready to host a garage sale with my sister. I didn't realize just how much junk, I mean how many sales items I had, until I started hauling things to the garage. The good news is that we sold over two thirds of what we put out.



Of course I still left myself plenty of time to read a few books, and I even found a new blog hop to join called Make My Saturday Sweet. It is hosted by a lovely American mom who has been living and raising her children in South Africa. So if you have a minute, stop by, read her blog post, and check out her great blog hop buddies!


And don't forget this week's selection of books. As I have written about before, it's always fun to find books by friends at the library, and this week was no exception. My very talented friend Salina Yoon, author and illustrator of the penguin books, delighted me with Penguin on Vacation.

Everyone needs a vacation from time to time and Penguin decides to take his at the beach. He has adventures and fun, but best of all, he discovers that where you spend your time isn't nearly as important as who you spend it with.


I also read The Curious Garden by another very talented author/illustrator friend of mine, Peter Brown. This whimsical book will delight children with it's beautiful art work and make them itch to plant a garden all their own as they follow Liam's adventures. It is also a testament to the fact that you don't have to be perfect at what you do. You just have to love what you do and keep working at it. And if you do, before long your joy will spread much like Liam's curious garden spread all over town.


Well, that about wraps it up for this week. Join me next week for another exciting episode, same crazy time, same crazy channel. And feel free to drop by my personal website, Fun With Aileen, any day of the week for even more on reading, writing, my very own early grade chapter book, Fern Valley, and my soon to be released sequel, Return To Fern Valley, coming summer of 2014! I'm also on twitter @AileenWStewart if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days.