Thursday, March 31, 2011

A fun interactive read based on one simple question

Do You Know Which Ones Will Grow?Looking for a fun interactive book that will have your young readers answering yes or no? Do You Know Which Ones Will Grow? is a beautiful picture book that engages young minds to look around. They'll notice that things grow like you and me and other things stay the way they're made.

The format of the book is great for read-alouds or for young readers to read on their own. For example, you or young reader reads...

If a duckling grows and becomes a duck,
can a car grow and become...

Open up the spread and inside, discover...

a truck?

Not only will the lift-the-flaps keep little fingers busy, but the comparisons of things that grow and things that don't will have young readers enthralled. What a great concept for a book!

Additional Information:
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Hardcover: 36 pages
Publisher: Blue Apple Books (March 30, 2011)
ISBN-10: 1609050622
ISBN-13: 978-1609050627
Source of review copy: Publicist
Disclosure: Some of the books I review are received from publishers , PR agencies, and authors, but it does not sway my opinion of the book. I maintain affiliate accounts with Amazon and Barnes & Noble. If you purchase a book through one of my links, I will receive a small commission (at no cost to you). You can support this site by originating your purchase via these links and I appreciate your support of Lori Calabrese Writes!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Have you ever played crocodile?

Fifteen Minutes Outside: 365 Ways to Get Out of the House and Connect with Your KidsWe all want to get out of the house and connect with our kids, but admit it, sometimes as parents, our creative juices just aren't flowing. That's where Fifteen Minutes Outside: 365 Ways to Get Out of the House and Connect with Your Kids comes in.

This book is the perfect resource for any parent who just wants to get out there and nurture their kids with a little nature. And if you're not sure what to do, no sweat. Rebecca Cohen lays out a great plan with an idea for every day of the year. It sounds so simple doesn't it? But how many times have you stood outside unsure of what to do? Well, you're bound to find something you haven't thought of in this fantastic book--how about thanking a bat and a dragonfly? Or drawing lanes, so you can pretend you're driving? Have you ever played 'crocodile'?

What makes this book great is that each way to get outside is a low to no-cost idea that anybody can do. And each one is tested by the author herself, who made a New Year's resolution to get out of the house every day and bring her two sons with her. At a time when everyone in our family can be playing with their own handheld video game or watching television, this is just the book we need to give us that extra incentive to get a little fresh air. You'll even feel better after you did!

Additional Information:
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks (March 1, 2011)
ISBN-10: 1402254369
ISBN-13: 978-1402254369
Source of review copy: Publicist
Disclosure: Some of the books I review are received from publishers , PR agencies, and authors, but it does not sway my opinion of the book. I maintain affiliate accounts with Amazon and Barnes & Noble. If you purchase a book through one of my links, I will receive a small commission (at no cost to you). You can support this site by originating your purchase via these links and I appreciate your support of Lori Calabrese Writes!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Wow your young readers with life-size foldouts

Baby Animal Pop!: With 5 Incredible, Life-Size Fold-Outs (National Geographic Little Kids)Do you want to wow your young readers?

In Baby Animal Pop!: With 5 Incredible, Life-Size Fold-Outs (National Geographic Little Kids), young readers will definitely be wowed by the 5 incredible life-size foldouts of their favorite baby animals. And it all starts when you open the cover and discover three adorable baby bunnies! The other life-size foldouts include a baby lamb, pony, pigs, and ducks. But as if the foldouts aren't enough, young readers will learn all about them. For example, they'll be fascinated learning what the difference between a hare and a rabbit is, that a mommy rabbit is called a doe, that pigs have no sweat glands, pigs have four toes on each foot, and Woodrow Wilson, the 28th President of the U.S. grazed sheep on the White House lawn!

There are so many fun-filled facts along with fascinating photos that National Geographic is renowned for. And when you're done reading, continue to wow away as you turn the page to reveal how big these baby animals really are.

Additional Information:
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Hardcover: 20 pages
Publisher: National Geographic Children's Books; Pop edition (February 8, 2011)
ISBN-10: 1426307659
ISBN-13: 978-1426307652
Source of review copy: Publicist

This post is part of Nonfiction Monday! Nonfiction Monday takes place every Monday as various blogs throughout the kidlitosphere write about nonfiction books for kids and collect them all in one place. This week, check out the Nonfiction Monday roundup at Practically Paradise. To see the entire schedule, please visit the blog of Anastasia Suen.

Disclosure: Some of the books I review are received from publishers , PR agencies, and authors, but it does not sway my opinion of the book. I maintain affiliate accounts with Amazon and Barnes & Noble. If you purchase a book through one of my links, I will receive a small commission (at no cost to you). You can support this site by originating your purchase via these links and I appreciate your support of Lori Calabrese Writes!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Fish for a Free Book: March 25

It's time to fish for a free book! 

If you are hosting a children's book giveaway, or if you found a giveaway somewhere on the net that you just have to share, I'd love to have you share your links with us here on our weekly giveaway linky so that we can all stop by and enter.

If you're looking for more children's book giveaways, be sure to visit
Brimful Curiosities' Full to the Brim,
Winning Readings (listings of adult and children's book giveaways),
and Got Great Giveaways? (linky of adult and children's book giveaways at I Am a Reader, Not a Writer)

Please post your links however you wish. Some like to include their blog name, some just want to leave the prize and the ending date. Post it whatever way you feel like, but make sure that the prize listing and the date the giveaway ends is listed. And make sure you post a link directly to your giveaway - not just to your main blog page.

Here's an example:
Your name: Lori Calabrese Writes--3 Rio Books--3/20
Your URL: http://loricalabrese.blogspot.com/2011/03/welcome-to-lucky-leprechaun-giveaway.html

Now it's your turn. Leave your links here...
(If you're reading this in a reader, please click through to the original post)

Fish For a Free Book Participants
1. Mymcbooks - 3/27
2. Good Night, Little Sea Otter signed picture blook--end 4/11
3. Good Night, Little Sea Otter signed picture book--ends 3/30
4. National Geographic Kids “Human Footprint” Book Review and Giveawa

Powered by... Mister Linky's Magical Widgets.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Ballpark Mysteries continue to strike up the action

Ballpark Mysteries #2: The Pinstripe Ghost (A Stepping Stone Book(TM))After I read Ballpark Mysteries #1: The Fenway Foul-up (A Stepping Stone Book(TM)) by David A. Kelly, I knew young readers would eat up this new series like a box of Crackerjack. And as soon as I got my hands on Ballpark Mysteries #2: The Pinstripe Ghost (A Stepping Stone Book(TM)), I knew I was right.

This time around, Mike and his cousin Kate are in the most famous ballpark in America--Yankee Stadium for a spring weekend series against the Seattle Mariners. But so is Mr. Robert Williams, the famous author of 'Ghosts in the Ballpark: A History of Haunted Baseball Stadiums and Super-natural Superstars.' Suddenly, everyone seems to be talking about the ghost of Babe Ruth and whether or not he'll show up this weekend. Mike and Kate are determined to find out and start unraveling clues as they begin to meet some of the characters hanging around the new stadium.

Just as in Ballpark Mysteries #1: The Fenway Foul-up (A Stepping Stone Book(TM)), young readers will enjoy reading along as Mike and Kate don their super-sleuth caps and explore one of the world's most famous ballparks. Kelly weaves in just the right amount of interesting facts about the stadium and sets the scenes so well, you'll feel as though you're soaking up the sun and breathing in the smell of hot dogs and popcorn. Dugout Notes at the back of the book introduce young readers to 'The House that Ruth Built' and fun facts like how Babe Ruth sometimes liked to wear the same underwear for days because he didn't feel like changing it. Now these are the facts every young Yankee fan should know!

Additional Information:
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Paperback: 112 pages
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (February 22, 2011)
ISBN-10: 037586704X
ISBN-13: 978-0375867040
Source of review copy: Publisher
Disclosure: Some of the books I review are received from publishers , PR agencies, and authors, but it does not sway my opinion of the book. I maintain affiliate accounts with Amazon and Barnes & Noble. If you purchase a book through one of my links, I will receive a small commission (at no cost to you). You can support this site by originating your purchase via these links and I appreciate your support of Lori Calabrese Writes!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Young readers learn about MORE

Bunny's LessonsDoes your young reader have an inseparable toy?

In Bunny's Lessons, we learn about the inseparable pair--Bunny and Charlie. Bunny is Charlie's favorite toy, and Charlie is Bunny's friend and teacher. After all, whatever he knows, he's learned from Charlie. When Charlie plays the tuba, Bunny learns about LOUD; when they play doctor, Bunny learns about OUCH; when they eat dinner, Bunny learns about MESSY.

The format of this book makes for a great dual read for emerging readers. Parents and caregivers can read the story and your emerging reader can read what Bunny learns. And he learns everything from jealous to lonely to scared to sad. But in the end, the most important lesson is LOVE.

Harriet Ziefert and Barroux, the creative mind behind EXTRAordinary Pets, have created a unique story about attachments to stuffed animals. Young readers will eat up the illustrations and they'll learn about MORE--something they'll be asking with this book--to read MORE.

Additional Information:
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: Blue Apple Books (March 2, 2011)
ISBN-10: 1609050282
ISBN-13: 978-
Source of review copy: Publicist
Disclosure: Some of the books I review are received from publishers , PR agencies, and authors, but it does not sway my opinion of the book. I maintain affiliate accounts with Amazon and Barnes & Noble. If you purchase a book through one of my links, I will receive a small commission (at no cost to you). You can support this site by originating your purchase via these links and I appreciate your support of Lori Calabrese Writes!

Monday, March 21, 2011

A nice reminder about preserving our history

How The Sphinx Got To The MuseumEgypt has reopened many of its museums and historical sites, which were in jeopardy during the uprising that led to President Hosni Mubarak’s ouster. But at the time of the uprising, many historians were afraid how much damage the museum and other sites of ancient art had suffered. Egyptian art is revered and has been studied for years and years, so what better way to teach young readers about preserving these ancient artifacts than with How The Sphinx Got To The Museum.

How The Sphinx Got To The Museum leads young readers through the process of preserving the granite sphinx of Hatshepsut, a female Egyptian pharaoh. Young readers will be fascinated to learn what a sphinx is, how it was made, how it's preserved, and how it made its way to New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Told in a cumulative style, much like "This is the House That Jack Built," they learn about the Sphinx admired by the Egyptian Priests, sculpted by the sculptor and ordered by the Pharaoh while also learning about some of the people influential to a museum--the conservator, the curator, the riggers, etc...

Additional facts and figures are provided at the end of the book and you can even learn where other granite sphinxes can be found today. I love how Hartland lays out the process in a simple manner while her unique illustrations are fun to look at. At a time when Egypt's artifacts have been front and center in the news, How The Sphinx Got To The Museum reminds us all about the importance of preserving our history.

Additional Information:
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: Blue Apple Books (September 1, 2010)
ISBN-10: 1609050320
ISBN-13: 978-1609050320
Source of review copy: Publicist

This post is part of Nonfiction Monday! Nonfiction Monday takes place every Monday as various blogs throughout the kidlitosphere write about nonfiction books for kids and collect them all in one place. This week, check out the Nonfiction Monday roundup at The Children's War. To see the entire schedule, please visit the blog of Anastasia Suen.

Disclosure: Some of the books I review are received from publishers , PR agencies, and authors, but it does not sway my opinion of the book. I maintain affiliate accounts with Amazon and Barnes & Noble. If you purchase a book through one of my links, I will receive a small commission (at no cost to you). You can support this site by originating your purchase via these links and I appreciate your support of Lori Calabrese Writes!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Fish for a Free Book: March 18

It's time to fish for a free book! 

If you are hosting a children's book giveaway, or if you found a giveaway somewhere on the net that you just have to share, I'd love to have you share your links with us here on our weekly giveaway linky so that we can all stop by and enter.

If you're looking for more children's book giveaways, be sure to visit
Brimful Curiosities' Full to the Brim,
Winning Readings (listings of adult and children's book giveaways),
and Got Great Giveaways? (linky of adult and children's book giveaways at I Am a Reader, Not a Writer)

There are also more amazing things going on this week...

*If you like free books, you don't want to miss the Lucky Leprechaun Hop. What better way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day then by winning free books? Be sure to enter my giveaway (3 Rio books) and visit the other blogs participating (over 200 by the way...wow!).

Brian Wildsmith's Animal Gallery*It's not exactly a giveaway, but it's still really cool...Zoe over at Playing by the book is giving us the chance to win a signed copy of Brian Wildsmith's Animal Gallery and it's in the form of a raffle to raise money for Japan Quake victims! Help a great cause and be entered to win the signed copy!

For Fish For a Free Book, please post your links however you wish. Some like to include their blog name, some just want to leave the prize and the ending date. Post it whatever way you feel like, but make sure that the prize listing and the date the giveaway ends is listed. And make sure you post a link directly to your giveaway - not just to your main blog page.

Here's an example:
Your name: Lori Calabrese Writes--3 Rio Books--3/20
Your URL: http://loricalabrese.blogspot.com/2011/03/welcome-to-lucky-leprechaun-giveaway.html

Now it's your turn. Leave your links here...
(If you're reading this in a reader, please click through to the original post)

Fish For a Free Book Participants
1. Lori Calabrese Writes --3 Rio Books-- 3/20
2. Teaching Authors- Orchards--3/23
3. SusieBookworm - Dear America: Fences Between Us (3/20)
4. Knitting and Sundries - Children's book Event - Internat'l thru 4/3

Powered by... Mister Linky's Magical Widgets.

Sure to be a new children's hit!

If You're HoppyTeam up April Pulley Sayre and Jackie Urbanovic and you're certain to have a hit on your hands. The hit just happens to be a new take on the popular children's song, "If you're happy and you know it."

In If You're Hoppy, Sayre runs us through a variety of 'animal' acts...

"If you're hoppy and you know it, you're...a frog." Or "If you're growly and you know it, you're a dog. Or a bear. OR—A TUMMY, OVER THERE!"

This is such a fun read, you'll find yourself bursting into song and singing it in your head days after you read it. Young readers will enjoy the hilarious animal twists and will be shouting out or displaying all the ways to show it--making a sound, stretching your toes, swinging your wings!

Urbanovic's illustrations are the perfect addition to this fun and lively book. I mean who can resist a frog making scary shadows on the wall?

Additional Information:
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: Greenwillow Books (February 22, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0061566349
ISBN-13: 978-0061566349
Source of review copy: Publisher
Disclosure: Some of the books I review are received from publishers , PR agencies, and authors, but it does not sway my opinion of the book. I maintain affiliate accounts with Amazon and Barnes & Noble. If you purchase a book through one of my links, I will receive a small commission (at no cost to you). You can support this site by originating your purchase via these links and I appreciate your support of Lori Calabrese Writes!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Welcome to the Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway Hop**Updated

Do you like free books? Then you came to the right place--the Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway Hop hosted by Books Complete Me and I Am a Reader, Not a Writer.

What better way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day? Over 200 participating blogs are offering a book related giveaway and we're all linked up together so you can easily hop from one giveaway to another. The hop runs from today through Sunday, March 20th.

Now on to my giveaway, which includes 3 books...

Rio: Greetings from Rio!I don't know about you, but I loved the movie Ice Age and I can't wait to see the new movie, Rio from the creators of Ice Age. If you're looking to get your young readers excited about the movie, how about sharing the books? In Rio: Greetings from Rio! (paperback), Blu, a rare blue Spix's Macaw introduces you to some of the sights in Rio de Janeiro. Your young readers will learn what Rio de Janeiro means, the city's nickname, some of the characters in the movie and even some of the adventures that you have to look forward to when you make your trek to the theater.


Rio: Birds of a FeatherAnd in Rio: Birds of a Feather (paperback),Blu is happy living in Minnesota with his best friend, Linda. But when a bird scientist tells Linda that Blu is the last male blue Spix's Macaw in the world, he's taken to the Brazilian jungle to meet a female blue Spix's Macaw named Jewel. Things get exciting as a bird smuggler plots to steal the two valuable macaws and sends his evil cockatoo, Nigel to kidnap them. Will Blu have what it takes to survive?


Rio: The Movie StorybookAnd last but not least, Rio: The Movie Storybook (hardcover) will really give you a good sense of what you can expect from the movie. Follow Blu's adventures as he travels to the faraway and exotic land of Rio de Janeiro to find Jewel, the only other bird of his species. Not long after Blu and his owner, Linda, arrive in Rio, Blu and Jewel are kidnapped by a group of bungling animal smugglers. With the help of a group of wisecracking and smooth-talking city birds, Blu will escape the kidnappers, learn to fly, and return to Linda, the best friend a bird ever had.

The bright, vibrant illustrations will have your young readers counting down to see the movie. And after they've seen it, they can relive it by reading these three great books!

**This Giveaway Has Ended--Congratulations to WindyCindy! The winner was selected using Random.org. Thanks to all who entered!

Giveaway Details: Enter to win all three books!

To enter giveaway, please follow this blog and leave a comment below.

Optional Extra Entries:
+1 Like my Author Page at Facebook
+1 Follow me on Twitter
+1 Have a confirmed email subscription to The Book Bugz and/ or Lori's Newsletter
(please let me know in the comments about your extra entries)

Giveaway closes at midnight on Sunday, March 20th and is available to US and Canada Only.

Good luck and don't forget to visit the blogs listed below for more great giveaways!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Love is a battlefield

Rhymes with CupidValentine's Day might be over, but if you're looking for a little romance, then Rhymes with Cupid might be just the heart-shaped chocolate you need.

Elyse Phillips hates Valentine's Day and you can only imagine how that makes her feel trudging to work everyday to the mall gift/ card store. I mean, how can she possibly escape all of the Valentine's Day cards, heart-shaped chocolates, and that annoying singing cupid doll every customer wants to push? (on a side note: you don't have a heart if you don't feel for those workers who are forced to listen to those annoying dolls day in and day out!).

After what happened with her last boyfriend, the last thing she needs right now is another relationship. But when a cute boy walks into the store and her mom pushes her to be friends with the boy next door, things will never quite be the same.

This is such a fun, light-hearted read with such an intriguing main character. Girls will relate to Elyse as she makes her way through what Pat Benatar likes to call a battlefield. Elyse is smart, down-to-earth and not to mention humorous. Readers will definitely enjoy the dressing room scene! Too funny!

Additional Information:
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen (December 21, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0061935018
ISBN-13: 978-0061935015
Source of review copy: Publisher
Disclosure: Some of the books I review are received from publishers , PR agencies, and authors, but it does not sway my opinion of the book. I maintain affiliate accounts with Amazon and Barnes & Noble. If you purchase a book through one of my links, I will receive a small commission (at no cost to you). You can support this site by originating your purchase via these links and I appreciate your support of Lori Calabrese Writes!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

And the Children's Choice Book Award finalists are...

The fourth annual Children’s Choice Book Awards has announced the 30 finalists in six categories, including Author and Illustrator of the Year. The Children's Choice Book Awards is the only national children's book awards program where winning titles are selected by young readers of all ages.

Children and teens are now able to cast their vote for their favorite books, author, and illustrator at bookstores, school libraries, and at www.BookWeekOnline.com until April 29, 2011.

“This year’s outstanding roster of finalists represents the voices of over 16,000 children and teens, who read and selected the titles – fiction, non-fiction, graphic novels,  picture books - that appealed to them the most,” said Robin Adelson, Executive Director at The Children’s Book Council. “I’m eager to see which titles will emerge as the winners!”

The Children’s Choice Book Award winners will be announced LIVE at the annual Children’s Choice Book Awards Gala on May 2 at The Lighthouse in New York City as part of Children’s Book Week (May 2-8, 2011), the oldest national literacy event in the United States.



Check out the finalists...

Kindergarten to Second Grade Book of the Year:

Third Grade to Fourth Grade Book of the Year:
Fifth Grade to Sixth Grade Book of the Year:
Teen Choice Book of the Year:
Author of the Year:
  • Cassandra Clare for Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, Book 1) (McElderry/Simon & Schuster)
  • Suzanne Collins for Mockingjay (The Final Book of The Hunger Games) (Scholastic Press)
  • Jeff Kinney for Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth (Amulet/Abrams)
  • Stephenie Meyer for The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner (Megan Tingley/Little, Brown)
  • Rick Riordan for The Lost Hero (The Heroes of Olympus, Book 1) (Disney-Hyperion)
Illustrator of the Year:
  • Robin Preiss Glasser for Fancy Nancy and the Fabulous Fashion Boutique (HarperCollins)
  • Loren Long for Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters (Knopf/Random House)
  • Nancy Tillman for Wherever You Are: My Love Will Find You (Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan)
  • David Wiesner for Art & Max (Clarion/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
  • Mo Willems for Knuffle Bunny Free: An Unexpected Diversion (Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins)

Monday, March 14, 2011

What can children's authors learn from The Celebrity Apprentice?

Did you guys get a chance to watch The Celebrity Apprentice last night? If you write for children or know how difficult it is to write a children's book, I'm sure you were one of the viewers who got a kick out of watching the remaining 15 celebrities rack their brains and try their hand at penning a children's book for 4-5 year-olds. I know I did.

The celebs had to do it all--pre-think, build their story, get to know their main character (who needed to be based on one of the celebs on the team), make trouble for their main character and actually put their ideas into words. Then when it was all said and done, they needed to read and act their story out loud.

If you're a writer who has immersed herself in writing course after course, yes, I'm sure you cringed as the celebs committed many of the no-no's we hear in the industry. However, overall, I really enjoyed the show. If anything, hopefully it helped squash the misconception that writing a children's book is, dare I say it, easy! We saw how difficult it is to come up with an idea--especially one that hasn't been done a million times. Also, hearing all of the questions raised as to whether you should write in rhyme, what's age-appropriate, and what children find entertaining show all the thought and preparation that goes into writing a children's book.

In the end, Meatloaf's team went with the theme of anti-bullying. Lil' Jon, as the protagonist, stands up to school bullies and in the end, he puts on his gold chain, wipes away his tears and raps, “I know my ABCs and my 1-2-3s." I mean how great was it to watch Jose Canseco criticize John Rich's rhymes, arguing that the word “nobody” would send a bad message about teachers?

And the ladies went with the theme of just being yourself. The tale was about La Toya the lioness, who will not be able to roar until she accepts herself. Again how great was it to see the ladies argue over whether deafness should be incorporated into the narrative (that was dubbed a downer by the way) and Niki Taylor, much like Jose Canseco, voiced concerns that children wouldn't know what shy means?

My Brother CharlieThe judges were children’s book publisher Margery Cuyler [of Marshall Cavendish Children’s Books] and Holly Robinson Peete, former Celebrity Apprentice contestant and author of My Brother Charlie. It was agreed that the women used microscopic font in the book and the story’s theme was considered far too sophisticated. As a result, $20,000 went to Meat Loaf's charity, and “Not so Little, Jon" will be published!

So what can children's authors take away from the episode?

1. Children can handle and comprehend more than anamorphic animals!
2. Check to see that something actually happens in your story.
3. Have you included enough detail to bring your protagonist and other characters alive for a young reader?
4. Does the story proceed logically from beginning to middle to end?
5. Is there a problem or conflict in the story?
6. Does it read well out loud?
7. Reacquaint yourself with your own childhood.
8. Don't write in rhyme unless you really know how to do it.
9. Often a story's main weakness is the way in which the problem is resolved. Have you created enough obstacles?
10. Telling kids that your name is Meatloaf is a great ice-breaker!