14 posts categorized "Book Lists" Feed

6 Picture Books to which My Daughter Will Always Say "Yes"

I usually read to my daughter while she's eating breakfast. I try to always keep a stack of picture books to choose from on the kitchen table. Sometimes we read those. Sometimes she's feeling picky, and doesn't want to listen to any of my choices, and then she'll go off to the playroom or her bedroom and find something else. A similar process occurs at bedtime (though my husband is usually the one doing the reading). I try not to wear out her favorite titles (or ours), but I have noticed that there are a few books to which she always says yes. This list changes somewhat over time, but right now, these favored titles are (in no particular order):

1. Iggy Peck, Architect, by Andrea Beaty and Dave Roberts. Harry N. Abrams Books. My daughter adores this tale of an ingenious and dedicated architect. She wants to be an architect when she grows up, and this book has certainly contributed to that plan. I like Iggy Peck, Architect and companion title Rosie Revere, Engineer because in addition to conveying a positive impression of science and invention, they are a rhythmic joy to read aloud. The third book in the series, Ada Twist, Scientist, will be released in September, and is already on our wish list. I also just ordered for my daughter's birthday the Peck and Revere Two Pocket Journal, which she is going to LOVE. 

2. The Donut Chef by Bob Staake. Dragonfly Books. Full review here. Bob Staake was the second illustrator whose work my daughter could recognize and name on sight (after Mo Willems). We enjoy many of the books that Staake has illustrated, but our family favorite is hands-down The Donut Chef, a fun-filled rhyming tale of a sales battle between two rival donut makers. My daughter gets positively giddy when she spots main character from The Donut Chef, or someone who looks much like him, in other books. Most notably, there is a policeman in Mary Had A Little Lamp who she is sure is the chef in a different job. 

3. A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries, Four Families, One Delicious Treat by Emily Jenkins and Sophie Blackall. Schwartz & Wade. Full review here. I know that this book is controversial. That controversy has influenced and enhanced the discussions that I have with my daughter when we read this book. But she loves it, and I like that we have discussions about the changing role of women in families, changes in cooking technology, and yes, slavery. We even went so far as to make blackberry fool one day. She is, incidentally, starting to be able to recognize 

4. Blizzard by John Rocco. Disney-Hyperion. Full review here. What California-raised kid doesn't love the idea of a good snowstorm? I think what makes this book special to my daughter is knowing that my husband and I remember the blizzard that Rocco is writing about, New England's Blizzard of '79. But the other thing that keeps us both coming back to this book is Rocco's attention to detail as he merges text and pictures, like the snow that wouldn't stop piled up against a STOP sign, and the grocery items that the boy buys adding up to $19.78. 

5. Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen. Balzer + Bray. Extra Yarn is a Caldecott Honor and Cybils shortlist title. It's actually a book that didn't appeal to me on my first couple of reads. It was my daughter who taught me to appreciate it. Over time I've come to enjoy this magical little tale quite a lot, and to appreciate Klassen's subtle details in the illustrations. 

6. Louise Loves Art by Kelly Light. Balzer + Bray. Full review here. Louise Loves Art was one of my "books that got away" when I was judging the Cybils Awards for Fiction Picture Books. I loved it at first read, and have continued to find it cheerful and (non-cloyingly) heart-warming. My daughter seems to appreciate both of these aspects, too. She loves the central pun of the title. Louise, a budding artist, loves making art. But she loves her little brother, Art, even more. And the cat is hilarious. 

There you have it. Six picture books that my daughter always say "yes" to reading aloud. What picture books are the top hits in your house? 

© 2016 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook. This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through affiliate links (including linked book covers) may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).


5 Picture Books for Kids Starting School (Especially Kindergarten)

My daughter will be starting kindergarten today. Here are five picture books we have been reading (three brand-new, and two from within the past couple of years, all from different publishers).

1. Monkey: Not Ready for Kindergarten, by Marc Brown (Knopf Books). This is a new book by the author of the Arthur series (books much-loved in our household). I learned about it from a review by Katherine Sokolowski and purchased it immediately. As I expected, it was perfect for my daughter. Monkey: Not Ready for Kindergarten takes place during the final week before the start of school. Despite the best efforts of his parents and older brother, Monkey just does not feel ready. The family practices school. They visit the library and read books about kindergarten. They attend a playdate with other kids who will be starting at the same school. They continue to offer patient, loving support. And when the big day comes, well, Monkey is finally ready.

This book opened up some good channels for communication with my daughter, and gave us concrete ideas. There's a page in which Monkey lists all of the things that he's worried about, eyes wide. The list is a nice mix of universal and Monkey-specific items, from "What if his teacher doesn't like him?" to "What if they don't have red crayons?" The only drawback to this book, and I think it's a minor one, is that if you child is not at all afraid of starting kindergarten, I suppose this could put the idea into her head. But I think it's more likely to pull out deep-rooted fears that are already there. Brown's child-like illustrations (including end pages featuring things Monkey has apparently drawn), add to the kid-centered focus of Monkey: Not Ready for Kindergarten. This is a must-have for school libraries, and a nice classroom read-aloud. 

2. Planet Kindergarten by Sue Ganz-Schmidt and Shane Prigmore (Chronicle Books). Planet Kindergarten came out last summer, but I never got around to writing about it before school started. It's about a boy who envisions his first day of kindergarten as a journey to another planet. So instead of arriving in the parking lot at school, "We arrive at the base camp, then orbit while we look for a place to dock." His teacher is his "commander", and classmates are "crewmates." And so on.

Planet Kindergarten does cover all of the basics, albeit often in a quirky fashion. The boy is nervous saying goodbye to his parents, and his mom slides a photo into his pocket. "Gravity works differently here. We have to try hard to stay in our seats." And so on. There is conflict, and the making of a new friend. And, ultimately, a successful mission. Prigmore's illustrations show the boy himself looking fairly ordinary, while those around him have odd, bright colors and unusual angles - everything looks and feels alien. Planet Kindergarten uses an interesting device to liven up what is, at its core, a universal story. This would be another good addition to school or classroom libraries. 

3. Polka-dot Fixes Kindergarten by Catherine Urdahl and Mai S. Kemble (Charlesbridge). This is a book that we've had for quite a while, but my daughter has recently developed more of an interest in it. It's about the first day of kindergarten for a girl named Polka-dot, used to being taken care of at home by her grandfather.

Polka-dot encounters a teacher who, though warm in some ways, has rules. And who can't drop everything to help each child right away. Polka-dot also encounters a girl who behaves in rather hostile fashion, and hurts Polka-dot's feelings. In the end, with a bit of help from a fix-it kit that her grandfather sent her with, Polka-dot is able to solve her own problems, and make a friend. 

I like that the lessons in this book (teachers can't give a classroom full of kids the same attention that one-on-one caregivers, for example) are relatively subtle. Polka-dot is a three-dimensional character, with her own traits and fears. See my slightly more detailed review (from 2011) here

4. ABC School's for Me by Suzan B. Katz and Lynn Munsinger (Scholastic). One of my daughter's favorite board books when she was small was Katz's ABC, Baby Me! Muningner's Tacky and Jellybeans books are also popular (with the illustrations in ABC School's for Me resembling those from the latter). ABC School's for Me is an alphabet book in which each letter is used to illustrate something that kids will encounter in school. For example, the E page features "Eating snack around the rug", followed by "Friends who share a hello hug." The relevant alphabet letter is shown slightly oversized and in a different color, and also begins the phrase or sentence on each page.

ABC School's for Me is better suited to kids starting preschool than kindergarten, both in the selection of the examples (playing in a play kitchen, building with blocks, using the potty alone, etc) and in the coziness of the illustrations. Munsinger's bears are cute and smiling, all with similar coloring and clothing. This would be a great book to read with a three-year-old about to head off to preschool. In truth, my own daughter, at five, was bored by this book (though she liked seeing the familiar illustration style). She said "Not enough is happening." But definitely look at it for younger kids starting school. 

5. Goose Goes to School by Laura Wall (HarperCollins). Goose Goes to School is a sequel to Goose, which I reviewed here. In the first book, a girl named Sophie becomes friends with a goose, and eventually is able to take it home with her. In this sequel, Sophie goes off to school, and Goose is not supposed to go. Goose, however, sneaks in, causing a bit of trouble, but eventually helping Sophie to make a bunch of new friends. 

This isn't overtly a book about starting school. The author doesn't really say that Sophie is starting school for the first time, or anything. But she does rather cling to her mother's legs when she first arrives at school, and she doesn't seem to have any friends until the other kids, seeing her play with Goose at recess, want to play, too. There's no useful message here for kids, of course, since they aren't going to be able to bring their own pets along on their first day of school. But this bright, spare book about Sophie and Goose offers a light-hearted look at what it's like to be in school, away from the cushion of one's parents. It would pair well with the first book Bailey book by Harry Bliss

© 2015 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook. This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through affiliate links (including linked book covers) may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).

A Few Valentine's Day Picture Books from Harper Collins

My three year old is getting excited for Valentine's Day. It is, after all, the next holiday coming up. And there will be chocolate involved. But in truth, much of her excitement was sparked by a box of Valentine's Day-themed picture books and early readers that Harper Collins sent us last week. They're not all my personal cup of hot chocolate, but my child is thrilled. 

Far and away the most exciting of the books for her is Pete the Cat: Valentine's Day is Cool, by Kimberly and James Dean. In this story, Pete initially thinks that Valentine's Day isn't "cool." However, encouraged by his friend Callie, he gets on board with using valentines to tell people how special they are. By the end of the book he's making valentines for the school bus driver and other people he encounters throughout his day. Pretty classic Pete the Cat storyline, all in all. But there is a pull-out poster, as well as stickers, and a set of tear-out valentine cards. This turned out to not be a great bedtime book, because my daughter was so excited by all of this. She just came in to my office needing help finding the cards, which I imagine she wants to give to her friends. I do like the "show people you appreciate them" message, delivered in a light-hearted fashion. 

My daughter also enjoyed Foxy in Love by Emma Dodd. We have not read Foxy, for which this book is a sequel. But the premise comes across fairly quickly. Foxy is a fox who can conjure things with a wave of his magical tail, though he doesn't always quite understand what his friend, a girl named Emily, wants from him. In Foxy in Love, Foxy comes across Emily as she is working on a valentine. He suggests that she draw what she loves in the card, hoping that she'll draw him. But instead, she focuses on things like balloons and rainbows. Not until the end of the book does Foxy finally tell Emily that "Valentine's Day is not about what you love... It's about who you love." Of course it all ends happily. Foxy's longing to be loved actually comes across in relatively subtle fashion throughout the book, and there is plenty of humor as he tries, with mixed results, to conjure the things that Emily wants (not tarts, hearts!). I think we'll keep this one in our arsenal. 

The first book that my daughter actually picked up from this box was Little Critter: Just A Little Love, an I Can Read book by Mercer Mayer. She adores Little Critter, and I've come to appreciate the humor in the differences between what he says is happening and what the pictures show. The expressions on the faces of the characters, particularly Mom and Dad, are often priceless (as when Dad looks rueful after Little Critter causes a flood in a gas station restroom). Just A Little Love is not actually a Valentine's Day book at all, though it certainly works for the season. Rather, the family members (pets included) have a series of mishaps as they set out to visit Grandma, who isn't feeling well. Each time someone ends up unhappy, someone else "gives him (or her) a little love." There's not enough of a storyline for this one to end up a favorite for us, I don't think, but one can't really argue with a book that makes us laugh, and in which family members console one another. 

It's Valentine's Day by Jack Prelutsky & Marylin Hafner is a level 3 I Can Read! book, full of love-themed poems. It's fairly text-dense, with a small illustration or two on each page. My daughter lost interest after the second poem. It's more a book for elementary school kids than preschoolers, it seems. But I thought that the poems, on subjects like how pets respond to receiving valentines, and how a child might be tempted to eat all of the chocolates that he bought for his mother, were clever and funny. This is a nice introduction to poetry for new readers, with colorful illustrations to make the book more accessible.

Love Is Real by Janet Lawler & Anna Brown is a picture book for the youngest listeners about all of the little things that people (well, animals doing human-type things) do that show their love for one another. Like this: "Love awakes... and helps you dress. Love will clean up any mess." These sentences are accompanied by three different images, each showing a different kind of animal parent helping his or her child (bunny, bear, fox). The same three families are followed throughout the book. The children sometimes are the ones who do things that express love. For us, this book skewed a bit young / sentimental. But the digital collage illustrations are fun. 

Finally, we read Tulip Loves Rex by Alyssa Satin Capucilli & Sarah Massini. Tulip Loves Rex is a picture book about a little girl who loves dancing, and dances everywhere, but has one unfulfilled wish. One day in the park she encounters a dog who, miraculously, loves to dance, too. And it turns out that this perfect-for-Tulip dog needs a home. I quite liked Massini's breezy illustrations, and I liked Tulip as a character, but the convenience of the ending felt a little flat for me. The parents "didn't mind a bit" bringing home a large stray dog from the park? Really? Perhaps I just don't want my daughter to get any ideas... 

All in all, though, these books are a welcome addition to our February reading.  Wishing you a happy run-up to Valentine's Day (or Balentine's Day, as it's called around here). 

© 2014 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook. This site is an Amazon affiliate. 

Books My Family Received for Christmas

My daughter received quite a number of books for Christmas. I must confess to having purchased quite a few of them myself. Here is the full stack:


And here they are listed, with comments (and links):

Jules Feiffer: Bark, George. A friend on Facebook recommended this one back in October, when I was looking for books to read aloud to a mixed age group of preschoolers. I didn't end up using it for that, but I ordered it, and saved it to be a Christmas present. Baby Bookworm think it is hilarious. 

Mo Willems: That Is Not a Good Idea! OK, the truth of the matter is that I coveted this book for months, and used Christmas as an excuse to buy it for my daughter. I'm happy to report that she enjoys it, though I don't think she 100% understands the trick that the author pulls on the reader. But she will!

Beverly Cleary: The Complete Ramona Collection. This was a gift from Baby Bookworm's godparents. It was on our Amazon wish list because I look forward to reading it to my daughter when she's just a little bit older. And I wanted to have the books here, ready, when we are. Thanks, G&G!

Charles M. Schulz: Peanuts: A Charlie Brown Christmas. My husband picked this one up. The television special is one of his favorites. He also got the Record a Story: 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, but that book is just annoying (it makes noise every time you touch it, and we couldn't figure out how to actually record). 

Eileen Rosenthal & Marc Rosenthal: Bobo the Sailor Man! We loved the first two Bobo books (my reviews of I MUST Have Bobo! and I'll Save You Bobo!). I happened to learn right before Christmas that there was a third book out, and couldn't resist. 

Deborah Hautzig & Diane GoodeThe Story of the Nutcracker Ballet. My husband and I spent some time in a bookstore between a Nutcracker show and dinner reservations. I decided to bring this back for our daughter (who isn't quite old enough to sit through the show - maybe next year). 

On the same bookstore visit, I picked up Rosie Revere, Engineer, by Andrea Beaty & David Roberts (reviewed here), and Toys Go Out by Emily Jenkins & Paul Zelinsky. This is what happens to me when I go to bookstores. I had a copy of Toys Come Home, and it seemed like we would eventually want to start reading this series from the beginning. I gave Toys Go Out a try with my daughter the other night, but the lack of pictures on the first two pages put her off. "Maybe later."

Cynthia Rylant: Mr. Putter and Tabby Bake the Cake. My dear friend's daughter loved this series when she was younger, so they picked out this one for Baby Bookworm. I suspect it will be the start of an appreciation of this series in our house, too. They also sent Caroline Repchuk's My Little Supermarket, which is very fun, and The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt & Oliver Jeffers, which was on our wish list. Thanks, my friends! 

I also gave my daughter several books that I had ordered from Scholastic Reading Club. In truth, I probably would have given them to her anyway, so they were a bit of a cheat as Christmas presents. But that's how I roll this time of year. And actually, one of them, a set of three Elephant & Piggie books by Mo Willems in paperback editions, was the (book) hit of Christmas day. We had to stop opening presents and read all three immediately (I Love My New Toy, There Is A Bird on Your Head, and My Friend Is Sad). The other, Dav Pilkey's A Friend for Dragon, we haven't read yet, for some reason.

I think that's it for her pile, not including sticker books and workbooks and the like. I also received Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor and Park (from the same friend who I sent a copy to, in a delightful coincidence) and The Essential Scratch and Sniff Guide to Becoming a Wine Expert: Take a Whiff of That by Richard Betts. A copy of Cynthia Lord's Half a Chance arrived on my doorstop from Scholastic on Christmas Eve, and that felt like a Christmas present, too. My husband received a Boston Red Sox Stocking Stumpers book.

We naturally gave away quite a few books as gifts, too. But I'll have to share those another day. Did the holiday season bring new books to your house, too? Wishing you plenty of time for reading in the New Year. 

© 2013 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook. This site is an Amazon affiliate. 

Picture Books to Help Get Ready for Halloween

Here are a few picture books that we're enjoying in my house, as we prepare for Halloween:

Pinkalicious: Pink or Treat by Victoria Kann (HarperFestival). We've been taking this little paperback story with us everywhere. When a power outage threatens to cancel trick-or-treating in Pinkville, Pinkalicious must channel supergirl Pinkagirl to save the day. She takes her clever idea to the mayor, and makes her case. This book comes with a page of stickers, which makes it extra-popular with my three-year-old. 

Just Say Boo! by Susan Hood (ill. Jen Henry) (HarperCollins). This was one of our favorite picture books last year, and has been brought back into rotation recently. It's about a family that goes out trick-or-treating, and all of the things that seem scary at first, but turn out to be fun. There's a toddler-friendly question and answer refrain, with which the answer is usually "Boo!". My full review is here

It's Pumpkin Day, Mouse! by Laura Numeroff (ill. Felicia Bond) (Balzer + Bray). This is a board book spin-off to the "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" series, in which Mouse decorates pumpkins to reflect different emotions (happy, sad, surprised, etc.). Though meant for the youngest of readers ("Mouse paints a happy face on this pumpkin", etc.), my daughter still enjoys going back to this one, because she likes Mouse's antics. 

Duck and Goose Find a Pumpkin by Tad Hills (Schwartz & Wade). In this oversized board book, Duck and Goose muddle about looking for a pumpkin (looking in ever-more ridiculous places), until Thistle clues them in to the fact that there is a pumpkin patch. It's typical silly Duck and Goose fun, and still makes my daughter peal with laughter. My full review is here

Vera's Halloween by Vera Rosenberry (Henry Holt). This is a 2008 title that I had kept, and just introduced to my daughter this week. It's part of a series of books about a young elementary school girl named Vera. In this book, Vera goes trick-or-treating after dark with her father and big sisters for the first time. She gets separated from them, and then a sudden storm leads to a bit of misery. It all turns out safe and cozy in the end, after she happens to knock on the door of a classmate, and the classmate's parents help her. I found some of the details a bit implausible in this one, but my daughter (who very briefly lost track of me at a church function this weekend) loved it. And I did like the subtle message that if something goes wrong, other parents will try to help (as happened with me this weekend).  

Splat the Cat: What Was That? by Rob Scotton (HarperFestival). This one is a little paperback lift the flap book in which Splat and his friend Spike visit a haunted house in search of missing mouse Seymour. The house is filled with mysterious and scary sounds, some of which are explained at the end of the book... While she's generally a bit beyond lift-the-flap books, my daughter likes Splat as a character, and has been enjoying this book.  

Honorable mention to Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds (ill. Peter Brown) (Simon & Schuster), which I haven't introduced to my daughter yet. Though not directly about Halloween, this is a deliciously creepy picture book in which a greedy young rabbit ends up stalked by carrots. It's quirky, unique, and just a touch scary, with a satisfying ending. My full review is here

© 2013 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook. This site is an Amazon affiliate. 

The Five Series I Most Look Forward to Reading with My Daughter

FiveSeriesI wrote a couple of weeks ago about my three-year-old daughter's newly expressed interest in being read chapter books, in addition to her regular diet of picture books and early readers. I asked people on the post and on Facebook to share titles that they had read with their children while were still pre-readers. I collected a number of titles, and was especially pleased to be reminded of a post that Melissa Wiley wrote a couple of years on this very topic (Chapter book suggestions for a four-year-old). Out of these suggestions, and my own opinions, I've come up with a list of the top five series I most look forward to reading with my daughter. They are (in approximate age order):

1. The Clementine Books by Sara Pennypacker (ill. Marla Frazee). I absolutely adore Clementine. I think she is a wonderful character, and that the books are spot on in terms of both realism and humor. Frazee's illustrations perfectly capture Clementine for me, too. And there are enough illustrations that I think Baby Bookworm will be ready for the first book soon. In fact I just ordered a new copy, because I apparently gave mine away (back in the days before I knew that I'd have a daughter to read it to, I suspect). And as a bonus, the books are set in Boston, where my family's pro sports loyalties will forever lie. 

2. The Pippi Longstocking Books by Astrid Lindgren. My daughter has a 3-year-old's love of the ridiculous. I think that she'll be as charmed by the irrepressible Pippi as I was. And perhaps she'll be inspired by the way that Pippi solves her own problems. Pippi gives new meaning to the term "strong girl." My second grade class did Pippi as a class play, with my friend Holly as Pippi (her real braids manipulated out to the sides with a coat hanger or something). I was Annika, and I'll never forget it. 

I also splurged on the DVD boxed set of the four Pippi movies from the 1970s. This was more for me than for Baby Bookworm, in truth (though she adores movies), because I have fond memories of my dad taking my siblings and I (or probably just my next-youngest brother and I) to see them in the theater. Pippi in the South Seas was my favorite of the movies, and I look forward to seeing it again (after we read the book). 

3. The Little House Books by Laura Ingalls Wilder (ill. Garth Williams). This was the first series that I remember reading on my own, devouring book after book. Little House in the Big Woods will forever be the first middle grade title that Baby Bookworm expressed a serious interest in reading (admittedly inspired by Little House in the Big Woods paper dolls). So it is naturally on our Top 5 list. But as we've progressed in attempting to read the first book, it's become clear that she's more interested in hearing the stories associated with some of the pictures than in actually listening to the whole book right now. No worries. The books will wait. 

4. The Penderwicks Books by Jeanne Birdsall. I adore The Penderwicks. To me these books are modern classics, with the characterization and emotional resonance of the Elizabeth Enright books (childhood favorites of mine), but with a more up-to-date feel. Clearly 4-year-old Batty will be Baby Bookworm's favorite character, if we read the books any time within the next few years, but I imagine that one day she will identify with Jane or Skye or eventually Rosalind. These are books I'd like to read with her while she's in elementary school, when she's old enough to discuss Rosalind's crush, and Jeffrey's loneliness. But young enough to feel the endless potential of summer in the first book. 

5. The Harry Potter Books by J.K. Rowling (ill. Mary GrandPre). OK, this one is a bit of a cliche. But really, who doesn't look forward to reading the Harry Potter books with their child? I did, in fact, read Baby Bookworm the first book when she was an infant, but I look forward to her being old enough to appreciate the story. I don't want to start too soon, because the later books are pretty dark, and I know that once we start we're likely to want to keep going. But I do look forward to spending time with my daughter in Harry Potter's world. In fact, I think this one will be a family affair, because I can't imagine my husband not wanting to participate, too. 

There are lots of other books that I hope to read with my Baby Bookworm when the time is right. I hope that she will be as captivated by the work of Elizabeth Enright and Zilpha Keatley Snyder as I was, and am. I imagine that she'll love The Borrowers. I hope that she doesn't find A Little Princess or The Secret Garden dated. I hope that we are able to read book after book after book together. I think that there are some books that she'll enjoy more if she discovers them on her own (though I can't say which ones off the top of my head). But the above five are the series that I am most looking forward to sharing with her. Perhaps in a future post I'll look at some standalone titles (Matilda, perhaps?).

What books do you look forward to reading aloud with your children? What books did you enjoy when they were younger? If you've already been through it, don't you kind of envy me, having all of these books still ahead of us? An unintentional upside to having a child late in life. Thanks for reading!

© 2013 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook. This site is an Amazon affiliate. 

Six Recent Baby Bookworm Favorites

This post is the fourth in a series (here are number onenumber two, and number three) in which I have been highlighting some of my daughter's favorite reads (even when they are not necessarily my favorites). She turned three in April. Here are six books that she has been especially enjoying over the past few weeks:

1. Peppa Pig and the Busy Day at School. Candlewick Press. Review copy. I must confess that Baby Bookworm's interest in this book stems from the fact that she watches the television show when she is at her friends' house. She literally jumped up in the air when I removed it from the package (I had requested a review copy from Candlewick, knowing that it would be a hit). But I have to say, it's pretty educational. 

2. I'm Bored, by Michael Ian Black & Debbie Ridpath Ohi. Simon & Schuster. Library copy. The first time she read this book, Baby Bookworm pronounced it "boring." I am fairly sure, however, that this a mark of her developing sense of humor. Because we have read it many times since then. She also delights in acting this book out. She is the little girl, of course, and I am the grumpy potato. As for me, I think that this one is well done (particularly Ohi's illustrations) and entertaining, though it skates a tiny bit close to message-y for my personal taste. (Kids should never be bored. Here are all the great things kids can do.) 

3. Back to Bed, Ed by Sebastien Braun. Peachtree. Review copy. This is a book that I received for potential review three years ago, and didn't end up reviewing. I liked it enough to keep it, though. And recently, after my daughter had woken up my husband every night for about three months in a row, I pulled it out from the bookshelf. It's been a hit with both father and daughter (though I can't say that it's actually worked, in terms of discouraging my daughter from getting out of bed in the middle of the night). 

4. Amelia Bedelia (50th Anniversary Edition) by Peggy Parish & Fritz Siebel. Greenwillow Books. Review copy (reviewed here). To me, this story of a literal-minded maid from 50 years ago holds up beautifully. I'm still a bit surprised that my modern-day three-year old enjoys it. She can't possibly be understanding all of the jokes ("put out the lights", "change the towels"), and she's never even had lemon meringue pie. But for whatever reason, she asks for this book every night. This may possibly have something to do with her newly developed obsession with words that rhyme. 

5. Chamelia by Ethan Long. Little, Brown. Review copy. Chamelia is another title that I passed on reviewing a couple of years ago (finding it a bit message-y), but liked enough to keep around. It's about a little chameleon who prefers standing out over blending in, and how she learns to compromise to fit in better. For whatever reason (perhaps the colorful, quirky illustrations, or perhaps the fact that Chamelia rhymes with Amelia Bedelia), Baby Bookworm adores Chamelia. Her father reads it to her every night, and I've actually just ordered her a copy of the sequel, Chamelia and the New Kid in Class.  

6. 20 Big Trucks in the Middle of the Street by Mark Lee & Kurt Cyrus. Candlewick. Review copy (review here).  20 Big Trucks in the Middle of the Street is a combination of counting book and truck book. But I think that Baby Bookworm likes it for the story, and the facts that a) a boy on a bike comes up with the idea that solves a 20 truck traffic jam and b) there is ice cream at the end. We do use it for practicing counting. 

Apart from the above six titles, Baby Bookworm remains obsessed with Mercer Mayer's Little Critter books as well as any and all books about the Berenstain Bears. We have quite a few books from each series, and she brings home more whenever she goes to the library. Despite being relatively text dense books for her age group, she listens to every word. Asked what we should buy for two friends who have a birthday party coming up, she replied without hesitation "Little Critter and Berenstain Bears books." So there you have it! Kid approved. On Trevor Cairney's recommendation, I just purchased her the Little Critter Collection #1 for the iPad (10 of the books read aloud, with some interactive elements). 

What books have your children been reading and enjoying lately. What do you do when your taste and your child's taste are not aligned? 

FTC Required Disclosure:

This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through Amazon links (including linked book covers) may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).

© 2013 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook. 

Eight Recent Baby Bookworm Favorites: April 19

This post is the third of a series (here are number one and number two) in which I have been highlighting some of my daughter's favorite reads. She just turned three, and her tastes do not always coincide with mine (as highlighted below). Here are eight books that she has been especially enjoying over the past month:

1. Kiss! Kiss! Yuck! Yuck! by Kyle Mewburn (ill. Ali Teo & John O'Reilly). Peachtree. Reviewed here. This is a book that I've had for years, ever since reviewing it back in 2008. It pops in and out of favor with Baby Bookworm, but she's been requesting it lately. It's about a little boy who runs away from the sloppy kisses of his Auntie Elsie, but then misses those kisses when Elsie is unable to visit for a while. It's funny, and a bit touching at the end. I think that Baby Bookworm is just at the right age to find the idea of kisses being "yucky" entertaining. 

2. A Bedtime for Bear by Bonny Becker (ill. Kady MacDonald Denton). Candlewick. Reviewed here. The grouchy Bear and "small and gray and bright-eyed" Mouse are always popular with Baby Bookworm. Lately she's been requesting A Bedtime for Bear at bedtime. Could be because it's a relatively long picture book, or because she is just starting to appreciate the humor in Bear being scared of the dark. 

3. Nini Lost and Found by Anita Lobel. Random House.Reviewed here. This is a book that I love, despite not being at all a cat person. It's about a housecat who sneaks outside. Nini enjoys exploring the woods until things become a bit scary after dark. She makes it home safely, of course. I think Baby Bookworm likes the fact that this book is scary in the middle, but ends up safe and cozy at the end. 

4. If You Give a Moose a Muffin by Laura Numeroff (ill. Felicia Bond). HarperCollins. Baby Bookworm was introduced to this series (which starts with If You Give a Mouse a Cookie) by her cousins. She received a boxed set of five small books in the series, and she requests them constantly. In truth, I find them hard to read aloud without falling asleep, due to the repetition. But Baby Bookworm loves them, especially If You Give a Moose a Muffin (she is partial to muffins herself). 

5. The Peace Book by Todd Parr. Little, Brown. This is a book that Baby Bookworm picked up from the library. It lists various definitions of things that are related to "peace" in some way (some of them quite tangential). For instance, wearing different kinds of clothes. The book shows children of various (and unearthly) skin colors. Baby Bookworm quite enjoyed it, but I found it a little too overtly message-y for my taste. 

6. The Dark, by Lemony Snicket (ill. Jon Klassen). Little, Brown. Review coming next week. This book is fabulous, and is a favorite with our whole family. I won't be at all surprised if it turns out to be award-winning. Not only is it a great read, with gorgeous illustrations, but I think it actually has helped Baby Bookworm in coping with fear of the dark. At the very least, it inspired me to buy her a night light. 

7. The Teeny-Tiny Woman by Paul Galdone. Sandpiper. This is another library book that Baby Bookworm became fascinated with. I was a little surprised, frankly, because it's kind of a creepy story. It's about a "teeny-tiny woman" who goes for a walk, finds a bone in a graveyard, brings it home, and is subsequently hounded by a ghost. But it's fun to read aloud. "Teeny-tiny" is repeated almost enough to make it a tongue-twister.  

8. The Three Bears, by Byron Barton. HarperFestival. Another library book, this 1991 edition of the classic story is very straightforward, with uncomplicated illustrations. It was a nice introduction for Baby Bookworm to the three bears (she also has a doll that shows Goldilocks one way and the bears another way, but she hadn't known the story until now). We read it over and over again. Rather than buying her this version, though, I think we'll just try out some others, and see which ones she likes best. 

What books have your children been enjoying lately? Do you find them clamoring for you to buy them copies of favorite library books? We had to do this once lately, after my daughter would not let me return Soup Day by Melissa Iwai. Fortunately, she had a birthday coming up! 

FTC Required Disclosure:

This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through Amazon links (including linked book covers) may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).

© 2013 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook. 

Our Favorite Birthday Books

BirthdayBooks2Today is my daughter's third birthday (can you believe it?). I suppose that I'll have to stop calling her "Baby" Bookworm eventually. But not quite yet! In honor of her birthday, I'd like to share some of our favorite birthday books. 

Birthday Monsters by Sandra Boynton. Workman. Board Book. This has been one of our family's favorite read-aloud books since Baby Bookworm was tiny. My husband especially enjoys it (and he tends to be very hard to please when it comes to children's books). We've read this one so much that is has entered into our family vocabulary. Like if it happens to be 6:08 someone might say "It's 6:08." Then someone else would respond, "Your present-opening can't wait." Birthday Monsters is a book that truly lends itself to reading aloud, and showcases Boynton's genius. 

Happy Birthday, Little Pookie by Sandra Boynton. Robin Corey Books. Board Book. This has been another longtime household favorite. Baby Bookworm especially loves it when Pookie is so excited to start his birthday that he wakes his parents up at the crack of dawn (they later need a nap). Hmmm. Perhaps we shouldn't be reading this one around Baby Bookworm's birthday after all. This book inspired us to acquire all of the other Pookie books, but I think this is the best of them. 

Scaredy Squirrel Has A Birthday Party by Melanie Watt. Kids Can Press. Picture Book. Reviewed here. In truth Baby Bookworm is still a little young to appreciate the humor of this one. But it is one that all Scaredy Squirrel fans should own. Basically, Scaredy tries to plan his own, completely safe, birthday party. But when his friend dog becomes involved, things change (becoming less safe, but more fun). There are tons of tiny details in this book to entertain adults or older children. But Scaredy's cuteness will appeal to younger readers, too. 

Happy Birthday, Hamster by Cynthia Lord (ill. Derek Anderson). Scholastic. Picture Book. We are big Hamster fans in our house. See my review of Hot Rod Hamster. Not sure why I never reviewed Happy Birthday, Hamster, but I can tell you that we read it all the time. It's taken Baby Bookworm a while to completely appreciate what's going on in the story (Hamster's friends pretend that they have forgotten his birthday, only to surprise him at the end). But she loves all of the birthday trappings (cake, presents, balloons, etc.), and the participatory nature of the story (the text asks, frequently "Which would you choose?").

A Birthday for Bear by Bonny Becker (ill. Kady MacDonald Denton). Candlewick. Early Reader. Bear and Mouse are also popular in our household year-round (see my reviews of A Visitor for Bear and A Bedtime for Bear). Baby Bookworm gave a little gasp of joy when she spotted this book in the Early Reader section of the library. She enjoyed it so much that the Easter Bunny put a copy in her Easter basket this year. Although technically an Early Reader, A Birthday for Bear reads much like the other books in the series. Baby Bookworm especially enjoys pointing out Mouse in this one, even as he disguises himself as a mailman, and even as Santa. 

The Cake that Mack Ate by Rose Robart (ill. Maryann Kovalski). Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. Picture Book. This one is only loosely a birthday book. It's about the entire food chain that's required to produce a birthday cake, a cake that is, sadly, eaten by Mack the dog. We have a paperback edition of this book, and it's one that we frequently take on trips with us. It has a nice cadence for reading aloud, and never gets old. 

And finally, two books that aren't birthday books but that end with birthday parties (and with which we always sing Happy Birthday).

Bear's Busy Family by Stella Blackstone (ill. Debbie Harter). Barefoot Books. Board Book. This was more a favorite when Baby Bookworm was a bit younger, and I still know it by heart. It celebrates the different things that various family members do ("Smell the bread my Grandma bakes", etc.). At the end, all of the family members and their contributions come together for a feast for Baby's birthday. 

Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyers (ill. Marla Frazee). HMH Books. Various Editions (we have the lap-size board book). Reviewed here. This book remains one of our all-time favorites. Each page spread features a different aspect of the life of babies. For example, "Every day, everywhere, babies are fed." Then rhyming text, and pictoral vignettes, give more specific examples (in this case, of what babies eat). Frazee's illustrations include multicultural babies, and families of all types. But Baby Bookworm just likes seeing so many pictures of babies. At the end of the book, a baby celebrates her first birthday.

We have other books floating around the involve birthdays, but these are our favorites. What are your family's favorite birthday books? 

FTC Required Disclosure:

This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through Amazon links (including linked book covers) may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).

© 2013 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook. 

Eight Recent Baby Bookworm Favorites: March 18

Last month I did a post sharing Ten Recent Favorites from Baby Bookworm (Almost 3). That post was well-received, so I've decided to try to make this a monthly feature. Here are eight titles that have sparked requests of "Again!" recently, in no particular order (though I can tell you that her favorites right now are numbers 6 and 7 below). 

1. Louis the Tiger Who Came from the Sea, by Michal Kozlowski & Sholto Walker (Annick Press). Back in 2011 I reviewed this, saying: "I recommend Louis the Tiger Who Came From the Sea for preschoolers and early elementary school kids, or anyone looking for a laugh. It would make a good classroom or library read-aloud, with engaging illustrations and delightfully dry humor." Baby Bookworm definitely misses some of the humor in this one, but she still loves it. Whenever we see a tiger in another book now she says "like Louis". (See Making Connections Between Books and Day to Day Life)

2. Ella Sarah Gets Dressed by Margaret Chodos-Irvine (Harcourt). Ella Sarah Gets Dressed is a delightful picture book (we have it as a lap-size board book) about a little girl who knows exactly what she intends to wear, despite the best efforts of her family members. When her friends show up for a tea party as elaborately dressed as she, Ella Sarah is shown to have made the right choice. I think it's pretty clear why my almost three year old daughter, who is just learning to dress herself, enjoys this one ;-)  

3. Big Mean Mike by Michelle Knudsen & Scott Magoon (Candlewick). I reviewed this one before reading it with Baby Bookworm, and in truth I didn't expect her to "get it" for a while. But she greeted her very first read with peals of laughter, as being followed around by four little fuzzy bunnies caused embarrassment for a big, tough dog. This one is a little bit longer than many of the books that we read, but remains a favorite. And it's one that my husband and I think is quite funny, too. 

4. How Many Jelly Beans? by Andrea Menotti & Yancey Labat. I reviewed this one last year, saying "If you are looking for a book for preschoolers that conveys the concept of large numbers, How Many Jelly Beans? is an excellent choice. It's bright and creative, and the foldout section (displaying a million jelly beans) is a wonderful surprise." I also warned of the "risks of tearing of the pullout section", and that fear has been proven out in our household. But we keep plenty of tape around. Baby Bookworm talks about this book all the time. She doesn't understand the numbers past about 20, I don't think, but she talks about Emma and Aiden and their dog as though they were real. And she adores the fold out section.

5. The Fox in the Dark by Alison Green & Deborah Allwright (Tiger Tales). In my review of this one I noted that while I found the illustration style a bit distracting, it was a nice text for reading aloud. This has continued to be true. It's one that Baby Bookworm will ask for, especially in the evenings. She loves to chime in when we get to the page where the fox in the dark shows up on the rabbit's doorstep. I've found (for good or ill) that a number of the book's rhymes stay in my head between readings. Honestly, it's one that I've come to appreciate more and more over time. 

6. Corduroy by Don Freeman (Viking). Corduroy was a book that I had put on my Amazon wish list before Baby Bookworm was born. We received a copy from a dear friend back then, but for whatever reason (an abundance of books, I suppose), I only introduced it to Baby Bookworm recently. As I had hoped, she fell head over heels in love with Corduroy on the very first read. She feels so strongly that she's compelled to interact with the book. On the page where "no one ever seemed to want a small bear in green overalls" she always chimes in with "I do!". She also likes to pretend that she thinks that our stairs are a mountain. Such a happy thing when your child cherishes a book that you love. (In contrast, Where the Wild Things Are fell completely flat - I have put that back away until she's older). 

7. Soup Day by Melissa Iwai (Henry Holt). Soup Day is a book that I would probably not have picked up on my own. Baby Bookworm selected it on our recent library visit, and we have read it dozens of times since. It's a fairly simple story about a girl and her mother making soup on a snowy day. They go to the market for vegetables, they cut them up, they mix everything together, etc. It's one of those books that packs in a lot of education. There is counting and color recognition ("three long orange carrots, four smooth tan potatoes", etc), shape recognition ("the celery and onions become tiny squares"), and examples of following the steps in a recipe. I think it may be that Baby Bookworm is at an age in which she likes to cook with me herself, and she likes to test her own knowledge. So this book works for her. She'll miss it when the time comes to return it to the library. 

8. Monsters Love Colors by Mike Austin (HarperCollins). I have a review pending of this new picture book, about several monsters who love to "scribble, scribble, mix, dance, and wiggle." The book starts out with several monsters in primary colors. They then do some mixing, to color several smaller, gray monsters with secondary colors. Baby Bookworm identifies with the smallest gray monster, who has the chance to be purple snatched away from him (though he gets rainbow coloring as a consolation prize). She will bring this book up in conversation, reminding us that "the little one wanted to be purple."  

This post © 2013 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook.

Amazon's Top 10 Kids and Teens Spring Books

Amazon's Seira Wilson and her team of editors put together the following list of Top 10 Kids and Teens Spring Books. I don't believe that these books necessarily represent the best books coming out. There are a number of titles that I am personally more eager to read than these (future post coming). But I think that there are some interesting titles on this list (including one that I've already reviewed, and several that I expect to read). It's also interesting to see what Amazon expects to be the big spring titles.

This list was sent to me by an Amazon PR person, but I've added age classifications and put them in release order within each age range, which I think makes the list a bit more useful. I've also added links and cover images. 

Picture Books and Board Books

Hello Kitty, Hello Spring! by Sanrio and Jean Hirashima (Mar 5, 2013)

Dig In! by April Jones Prince and Michelle Berg (Mar 12, 2013)

Ribbit! by Rodrigo Folgueira and Poly Bernatene (Mar 26, 2013)

Tea Rex by Molly Idle (Apr 9, 2013)

Steam Train, Dream Train by Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld (Apr 16, 2013)

Middle Grade

Zebra Forest by Adina Rishe Gewirtz (Apr 9, 2013) [My review of this book is here]

House of Secrets by Chris Columbus, Ned Vizzini and Greg Call (Apr 23, 2013)

Young Adult

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell (Feb 26, 2013)

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey (May 7, 2013)

Icons by Margaret Stohl (May 7, 2013)

This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through Amazon links may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you). You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook.

Some Suggested Titles for Baby Gifts

ShareAStoryLogo-colorThis post was written for Day 1 of the Share a Story - Shape a Future literacy blog tour. The overall theme for this year's Share a Story is Literacy: The First Five Years. Day 1, hosted by Maria Burel at Once Upon a Story, focuses on literacy for infants.

Having had an infant in my home relatively recently, I thought that I would suggest some titles to give as gifts to new babies (showers, baptisms, etc.). These titles could also be used by expectant parents to help create a baby book registry (something that I found incredibly useful three years ago - we still maintain ours here). I have limited myself to books that are in print and readily available (at least online), and I have tried to avoid books that are so obvious that you can assume that people already have them. 

Mrs. Mustard's Baby Faces by Jane Wattenberg (Chronicle). Babies LOVE to look at photos of other babies. I prefer the BeginSmart Baby Faces book to this one, but that one is apparently out of print. Still, this one can be folded out and set up in baby's crib or pack-n-play, for hours of baby viewing. The babies on one side are smiling. The babies on the other side are crying.

Peek-A-Who by Nina Laden (Chronicle). This is a fun board book with cutouts, and a sort of mirror at the end. It's sized for very young children. It was one of the first books that my daughter requested (over and over again), and eventually became much-chewed.

Goodnight Gorilla by Peggy Rathman (Putnam). This one is admittedly quite well-known. But it would be a travesty not to have it as part of a baby's collection, so is worth the risk of duplication. Goodnight Gorilla is a wordless picture book, full of entertaining details to reward repeat readings (of which there are sure to be many).

Baby Love: A Board Book Gift Set (All Fall Down; Clap Hands; Say Goodnight; Tickle, Tickle) by Helen Oxenbury (Little Simon). This set of four tiny board books (about 4" square), complete with a slipcase, was a huge hit with Baby Bookworm. The books only have a few words each, but feature Oxenbury's engaging illustrations of multicultural babies. You can also buy these books in larger board book editions, and those are nice to have, too. But these small editions lend themselves to very early "reading", as well as entertaining efforts to put the books back into the box. 

Also illustrated by Helen Oxenbury, Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes, written by Mem Fox (Harcourt), is a must-have for baby's library. Available in traditional hardcover and padded board book editions, this book is a lovely, rhythmic read-aloud, populated with Oxenbury's round-faced, sturdy babies in various settings.

While we're looking at picture books about babies, there are two from Karen Katz's large collection that I think are particularly good choices as baby gifts. Ten Tiny Babies (Margaret K. McElderry) is a bouncy counting book that focuses on many of the things that slightly older babies like to do (dance, run, etc.), and then works its way into being a bedtime book ("all ten babies are fast asleep. Goodnight babies." 

The Babies on the Bus (Henry Holt) features the same basic collection of babies, but puts them on a bus ride for a preschool field trip. The text is a variant on the song The Wheels on the Bus, more applicable to babies (they cry, they fall asleep, etc.). Even the bus driver is a baby (and takes a nap during the ride - not quite sure how that's supposed to work, but kids find it funny). I think it's good to have some books that encourage parents to sing to their children, and this is a fun one. My review.

Another baby-centric book that toddlers will want to read over and over again is Everywhere Babies, written by Susan Meyers and illustrated by Marla Frazee (HMH Books). There's a nice, oversized lap board book edition that is perfect for reading with toddlers. Each page focused on a different thing that babies do (or have done to them), like being kissed, or eating. Within each page are either a series of small vignettes showing different families, or a larger picture showing diverse families in the same setting (e.g. a picture of all the ways babies are carried on a busy sidewalk). My review.

Also illustrated by Marla Frazee, and not to be missed, is All the World by Liz Scanlon Garton (Beach Lane Books). This 2010 Caldecott Honor book is pure poetry, soothing to read, and full of the same detailed illustrations that make Everywhere Babies such fun. It's uplifting, too. Among the best that picture books have to offer, I think. 

And last, but not least, I recommend Bubble Trouble, by Margaret Mahy and Polly Dunbar (Clarion), available in hardcover or board book editions. Children won't really appreciate until they are at least two, but it is SUCH fun to read aloud that it's worth making sure people have a copy early on. My review.  

I could go on all day. You can't go wrong with Sandra Boynton, or Kevin Henkes, or Mo Willems, or the Carl books by Alexandra Day. The DK Peekaboo series is full of fun titles for babies, as is Robert Priddy's First 100 Words (etc.) series. And of course it's always fun for parents to receive copies of classic books that they loved as children, like Where the Wild Things Are

The important thing, I think, is not to be afraid to give people books for their babies. Yes, there's a risk that they might already have the book that you choose. Despite my handy Amazon registry, I still received three or four books that were duplicates. But it's not like I minded. Hmmm... An extra copy of a great book. Do I keep it, in case we lose ours? Or do I give it away to someone I love? A win either way. And I LOVE remembering who each book came from, as we read our favorite titles now. 

When I was younger, I sometimes hesitated to buy books for babies because I wasn't sure if that's what people wanted or expected. But my feeling is this. If you're giving books to people who love books, then they'll be happy to have them (even if one or two might be duplicates with books that they already have). And if you're giving books to people who don't love books, and who aren't thinking of a baby shower or christening as an opportunity to build their baby's library, well then, you can really make a difference.

Buy some of the books that I suggested above. Or buy books that your own children loved, or that you loved as a child. But if you have babies in your life, and you have occasion to buy them gifts, buy them books. Give them a gift that will last a lifetime. 

© 2013 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through Amazon links may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).