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Book Review: One from Danica McKellar (“Ten Magic Butterflies,” illustrated by Jennifer Bricking) and two by Laura Gehl (“I Got a Chicken for My Birthday” illustrated by Sarah Horne, and “Peep and Egg: I’m Not Using the Potty,” illustrated by Joyce Wan)

February 21st, 2018

Ready, steady, go! “I Got a Chicken for My Birthday,” by Laura Gehl, with illustrations by Sarah Horne (Carolrhoda Books/Lerner, 2018, ages 4-8, $17.99). Why are chicken books so funny? I have no idea, peeps. (Get it? Chicken joke.) But chicken books are funny. Ana wants to go to the amusement park for her birthday. Instead, her Abuela Lola sends her a chicken, and that chicken? Puts everyone to work. Even the hamster. Kids will love the funny, vibrant pictures and the story that keeps you guessing; the grown-ups will love the goofiness and the story.

Gehl’s other new book is another in the Peep and Egg series. “I’m Not Using the Potty” (Carolrhoda Books/Lerner, 2018, ages 4-8, $17.99), illustrated by Joyce Wan, is a great one for the reluctant potty trainers. We know you’re out there. We see you doing the Potty Dance. Please stop peeing on trees and learn to use the toilet like the civilized people, would ya, now? Egg won’t use the potty, Peep keeps trying to talk them into it.

“Too slippery!” said Egg.
“I’m NOT using the potty.”

Doesn’t want to throw the toilet paper in the potty, either.

“Too tangly!” said Egg.

Sweet book, sweet story, and encouragement is always appreciated. There you go.

“Ten Magic Butterflies,” by Danica McKellar, with illustrations by Jennifer Bricking (Crown Books for Young Readers, 2018, ages 2-5, 30 pages, $8.99), will help the kiddos with their math, and they won’t even notice it’s happening.

The ten flower friends are happy, but they yearn for just a little more in life.

But sometimes we find out things were best just the way they were. The fairies are beautiful, and a little tricky. The flowers? They just want to play.

Lots of bright garden colors, purple, green, yellow and pink, brighten up the pages. And the math? Bonus.

Bon appetit, babies.

– WM

Wednesday Morning Book Review, for Big Kids: “Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Ship of the Dead” (Book Three), by Rick Riordan; “Frenemies in the Family: Famous Brothers and Sisters Who Butted Heads and Had Each Other’s Backs,” by Kathleen Krull and Maple Lam

February 21st, 2018

Rick Riordan, you writing machine you. His latest is called, for short, “The Ship of the Dead.” For long, it’s called “Rick Riordan’s Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Ship of the Dead, Book Three in the Series.” (Disney-Hyperion, 2017, 421 pages, $19.99.)

It’s pretty fantastic, as are all of his series. Riordan knows how to keep the readers happy. He starts with funny chapter titles, for example: “I Have a Nightmare About Toenails,” (weird, me, too!), “I Roll Play-Doh to the Death,” “Mallory Gets Nuts,” (followed, of course, by) “Mallory Also Gets Fruit,” “I Become as Poetic as… Like, a Poetic Person,” etc.

Riordan’s other series are “Percy Jackson and the Olympians,” “The Demigod Files,” “Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods,” “The Kane Chronicles,” “The Heroes of Olympus,” “The Demigod Diaries,” “Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard” and “The Trials of Apollo.”

Next up:

“Frenemies in the Family: Famous Brothers and Sisters Who Butted Heads and Had Each Other’s Back.” (Crown/New York, 2018, by Kathleen Krull, illustrated by Maple Lam, ages 8-12, 229 pages, $17.99.) I wouldn’t limit this one to any specific age group. People often think that kids (and some adults, for that matter) don’t enjoy learning about history. They do. You just need to lively it up is all. This book does that, handily. I love it — I’ve read about half the bios already and will read the rest, too. Favorites so far: Theo and Vincent Van Gogh, art dealer and artist; Chang and Eng Bunker, the conjoined twins; Queens Elizabeth I and Mary I (Bloody Mary)… sooooo good.

Bon appetit, babies. Happy reading!

– WM

New on my Nightstand: Saturday Book Review — “David and the Lost Lamb” & “Jonah and the Whale,” by W.C. Bauers, illustrated by Marta Costa, and “When God Made Light,” by Matthew Paul Turner, illustrated by David Catrow

February 17th, 2018

This pair of board books, by W.C. Bauers and Marta Costa, are part of the Tiny Bible Tales series. (Grosset & Dunlap, 2018, ages 3-5, $7.99.) (Buy them for the little babies, too, though. Babies need books. Only keep an eye on them so they don’t become teething toys. This public service announcement brought to you by moi, Wacky Mommy.)

“David and the Lost Lamb” retells the story of David, his sheep, and one big, hungry lion. He also has a dog who looks like mine. Kid and dog and God to the rescue!

In “Jonah and the Whale,” Jonah gets a message from God, “Help the people to obey.” At first, he doesn’t want to listen. But then a whale comes along, and things change…

Sunny illustrations, and chipper, rhyming text will keep the kids entertained.

Don’t hide your light under a bushel, y’all, is the message of “When God Made Light,” the second collaboration between Matthew Paul Turner and David Catrow. I like their work together. Here’s Wacky Mommy’s review of their first book, “When God Made You.”) The art lifts right up off the page, gold and blue and purple and green. Two beautiful sisters, and a funny dog.

Have a great day, honeys.

xo and bon appetit!

WM

Brand New Book Review: Because I love kid books! “The Perfect Pillow,” by Eric Pinder, illustrated by Chris Sheban; “Gregory the Terrible Eater,” by Mitchell Sharmat, illustrated by Jose Aruego & Ariane Dewey; “Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel” & “The Little House,” written & illustrated by Virginia Lee Burton

February 7th, 2018

When my babies were little, little, yummy and little, we loved Sesame Street (Elmo!), and some crazy show on PBS about the Revolutionary War?, and Reading Rainbow.

(SHOUT-OUT! “LeVar Burton Reads” my new favorite thing…)

My daughter would yell, Mommy, quick! Get a piece of paper! And we’d write down all the titles of the books from that day’s episode. This is when libraries rock. We loved to reserve the titles, and it was the coolest thing to stop by the library for pick-up, when we got the notices that the titles were in.

Yeah, we’re geeks, shut up.

Then one day, something horrible happened. My daughter, my sweet, beautiful daughter, developed an aversion to goats. They terrified her.

“Is it their devil eyes?” I asked. “Because I get that.”

“No, nothing, never mind, goats are horrible, I don’t wanna talk about it,” and that was that. Years later she told me it was because of an episode of “Reading Rainbow.”

“Gregory the Terrible Eater,” it turns out, was to blame.

She’s over it now. I send her funny pictures of goats from Instagram, links to the Goat Yoga site, cartoons about goats, and it’s pretty funny. But for awhile there? Scary.

So people, as you’re navigating the treacherous waters of parenthood, remember this: You can have the best of intentions. No refined sugar, PBS only, no whole grapes because omg they might choke, and they’re still gonna get traumatized somehow. Just deal.

* “Gregory the Terrible Eater” by Mitchell Sharmat, illustrated by Jose Aruego and Ariane Dewey, is a freaking great book, but your child may suffer needless years of trauma, somehow, randomly, because of it.

* “The Perfect Pillow,” (Disney-Hyperion, 2018, written by Eric Pinder and illustrated by Chris Sheban, ages 3-5, 32 pages, $16.99) is one of those cool nighttime books that kids love and parents are somewhat terrified by. Brody has a stuffed dragon named Horst, a new house, and a lot on his mind. He will crawl out his window, he will sort it out. He will settle down near the edge of a pond, like Moses in the bulrushes. Beautiful story, beautifully illustrated. #love

* “Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel,” story and pictures by Virginia Lee Burton (Dedicated “To Mike,” Houghton Mifflin Co., 1939). Have you read this book? Have you read “The Little House”? Burton is a genius, go buy her books for your kids, grandkids, the neighbor kids, some random kid you see at the store, I don’t really care. I’m not fussy. Just do it!

Here is my disclaimer, by the way. I don’t run ads on this site any more, but if I did, they wouldn’t influence what I write. I receive books (for free) to review, but no cash compensation. #doyoudoitforthemoneyhoney? No, I just like books.

Bon appetit, peace, love, and Bobby Sherman,

WM

Tuesday Book Review — What’s New on My Nightstand: “The Science of Breakable Things,” by Tae Keller; “Sleepover Duck!” by Carin Bramsen; and Jill McDonald’s “Hello, World!” series — “Dinosaurs” & “My Body”

February 6th, 2018

Super cute new board books from Jill McDonald, from her “Hello, World!” series. “Dinosaurs” and “My Body.” (Doubleday Books for Young Readers, 2018, ages 0-3 years, $7.99 each.)

“Sleepover Duck!” needs a friend. And he found one. But who is doing all that hooting? And will they be able to get any shut-eye? A good way to talk about sleepover worries with the kiddos. (Random House Children’s Books, 2018, ages 3-7, 40 pages, $17.99.)

“The Science of Breakable Things” is for kids ages 8 and older and addresses the struggle of having a depressed parent. It’s thoughtfully handled and takes on a subject that a lot of folks shy away from. (Random House Books for Young Readers, 2018, ages 8 and older, $16.99.)

Thursday Book Review, just for you: “The Pink Hat,” by Andrew Joyner; “Just a Duck?” by Carin Bramsen; “My Pillow Keeps Moving,” by Laura Gehl & Christopher Weyant

January 11th, 2018

“The Pink Hat,” by Andrew Joyner (Schwartz & Wade Books, 2017, ages 4-8, 32 pages, $17.99). Presenting: Baby’s first feminist manifesto. This one is inspired by the Women’s March last year. It’s been somewhat sanitized for young readers, but that’s all right. The author included a little historical fact sheet in the back of the book. Joyner is an Australian artist and writer whose work has been published in more than 25 countries. Bright pink with black and white makes for an attractive picture book with a cool message. Reminiscent of P.D. Eastman. PS — google “pink hat” on Amazon and see all the cool kitty-cat hats that pop up.

“Just a Duck,” by Carin Bramsen (Random House, 2015, for babies! $7.99) It’s a rhyming book! This sweet little board book is a lot of fun. The vivid colors pop right off the page. A wee little duck believes… truly believes… that he is a cat. Is he?

“My Pillow Keeps Moving,” written by Laura Gehl, illustrated by Christopher Weyant (Viking Books for Young Readers, 2018, ages 4-8, $17.99) This one reminds me of another P.D. Eastman classic, “A Fish Out of Water.”. Extremely hilarious story of a man and his… pillow? Footstool? Jacket? Check it out, the kids will adore it.

Bon appetit, babies!

– WM

Monday Book Review: “Natural Disaster,” by Ginger Zee; “Fresh Off the Boat,” edited by Larry Smith; and “Nuclear Family: A Tragicomic Novel in Letters,” by Susanna Fogel

December 18th, 2017

Fastest book review ever:

“Natural Disaster: I Cover Them, I Am One,” by Ginger Zee. (Kingswell, 2017, 282 pages, $26.99.) Sweet, tart, sad, beautiful, funny memoir from ABC News Chief Meteorologist, one Ms. Ginger Zee.

“Fresh Off the Boat: Stories of Immigration, Identity, and Coming to America,” edited by Larry Smith (Kingswell, 2017, $15.99). This is one from the six-word memoirs series, and I thought that would be the format throughout, but was pleased to find essays and photos included, too. Beautiful, touching book. Everyone, especially our President and his staff, needs to read it.

My favorite quote:

“But where are you really from?” Suki Kim

“Nuclear Family: A Tragicomic Novel in Letters,” by Susanna Fogel (Henry Holt, 2017, 199 pages, $16). I picked up this book at somewhere I never shop anymore: the library. Weird, I know. Good God, it’s funny. I mean, like hilarious funny. Crying and wiping tears from my eyes and reading pages out loud to my boyfriend funny, funny-as-David-Sedaris funny. So read it, already.

And in parting, in the words of my late, great Granny: “Even Jesus had to knock a few heads together in the pool hall sometimes.”

Happy Holidays from our house to yours.

Ambrosia, My Granny’s Recipe

Slice three or four oranges into a bowl, sprinkle with shredded coconut, add some maraschino cherries. If you want to get fancy like me, add pineapple chunks, drizzle the whole thing with honey, top with whipped cream. Bon appetit, babies!

Thursday Book Review: “Mouse, Look Out!” by Judy Waite & Norma Burgin; “The Story of Ferdinand,” by Munro Leaf & Robert Lawson; “Come Away from the Water, Shirley,” by John Burningham; “Where Is Little Reynard?” by Joyce Carol Oates & Mark Graham

December 14th, 2017

Awwww, I love these titles. Oldies but goodies that keep working to the top of the heap of books, which fell off my nightstand and is now all over the floor and the coffee table.

“Mouse, Look Out!” written by Judy Waite, illustrated by Norma Burgin. She looks *just* like my LuLu, this black kitty, who is out to get the little mousie. But is someone out to get her, too? This is a strangely ominous and comforting book, all at the same time. No matter, the kids will like it, and get it. I especially love the details from “the staircase no one used,” “the bed no one slept in” and the rest. Super-pretty art, and a good story. Originally released in 1998.

“The Story of Ferdinand,” written by the inimitable Munro Leaf & illustrated by the one-and-only Robert Lawson. You cannot beat the cool, pacifist-themed story and the pen-and-ink drawings from this 1936 classic. (The film opens tomorrow, I’ve heard, but that isn’t why I’m reviewing it now. Go buy a copy of the book.)

“Come Away from the Water Shirley,” written and illustrated by John Burningham, was first released in 1977. Her parents are what used to be called “old sticks in the mud.” It’s too cold for swimming, Shirley is told. Maybe they’ll play with her later. But Shirley doesn’t let that get in the way of her imagination, and off she goes to the pirate ship to battle the bad guys.

“Where Is Little Reynard?” by Joyce Carol Oates, illustrated by Mark Graham. This is the second book from this duo, released in 2003, following their first picture book, “Come Meet Muffin!” which, hello, is a great title. Little Reynard, an orange boy kitty, is one of seven. The only one who notices him is Lily, but then the foxes arrive. Is he secretly a fox? Lovely drawings and a sweet story.

Bon appetit, babies!

Wacky Mommy

Sunday Book Review: “Cookiesaurus Rex,” by Amy Fellner Dominy, Nate Evans & AG Ford; “31 Proverbs to Light Your Path,” by Liz Curtis Higgs & “God Gave Us Family,” by Lisa Tawn Bergen & David Hohn

November 12th, 2017

Hello and happy Sunday, ya’ll.

“Cookiesaurus Rex” (Disney-Hyperion, 2017, written by Amy Fellner Dominy and Nate Evans, illustrated by AG Ford, $16.99) Cookiesaurus Rex is one demanding little cookie. “So you should frost me FIRST.” He wants sprinkles, he wants stars… Hey, Rex, simmer down. Great illustrations, playful and bright.

“31 Proverbs to Light Your Path” (Waterbrook, 2017, 206 pages, $14.99) This new book by Liz Curtis Higgs (“31 Verses to Write on Your Heart”) is sure to inspire and comfort many.

“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” — Proverbs 16:3.

“The old saying,” Higgs writes, “‘If you want to hear God laugh show Him your plans’ surely must be true, because I’ve heard His holy laughter rolling down from heaven many times in my life.” Lol. It’s true! I can relate. Higgs has a matter-of-fact, touching writing style. The layout of the book is interesting, and includes “One Minute, One Step” tips for getting back on track.

“God Gave Us Family” (Waterbook, 2017, written by Lisa Tawn Bergen, illustrated by David Hohn, ages 3-7, $10.99) Sweet little book about all the different types of families, and why they all count.

My disclaimer. (I need to update it, because I haven’t run paid ads on here in years.)

Bon appetit, babies.

xo

WM

Saturday Book Review — Coloring with Disney: “Don’t Color This Book! It’s Cursed! (Gravity Falls),” “Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas” & “The Percy Jackson Coloring Book”

November 11th, 2017

How fun is it to write a review of coloring books? And then I get to color in them? That’s right. Fun! :)

All three of these books are 2017 Disney-Hyperion releases, and pretty perfect for holiday gifts. You will need to include a set of colored pencils, crayons or markers, lol.

“Don’t Color This Book! It’s Cursed!” This Gravity Falls coloring book (written by Emmy Cicierega, illustrated by Stephanie Ramirez, $12.99) takes us on the adventures of Mabel Pines, as she seeks to free her twin, Dipper Pines, from the confines of the book. Does he want to be freed, though? Does Mabel care? “Get ready for the Mabel magic, honey butt!” Oh, my Lord. Great pages. Some of the designs are intricate, some are more simple, so this is a good one for budding and advanced artists. Perfecto. Based on the Disney channel cartoon, which is set in my home state, Oregon, U.S.A.

“Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas” (subtitled “100 Images to Inspire Creativity”) is pretty cool. I’ve never understood how someone can be so macabre and so sweet at the same time, but that’s the beauty of Burton. Hello, Jack Skellington, hello, Sally, whassup? ($15.99)

The Percy Jackson coloring book, based on the Rick Riordan series (art by Keith Robinson, $15.99), includes some simple and some detailed patterns, as well. Color Hades, Ares, Apollo, New York City and all of your other favorite characters and destinations. Super cool.

And a disclaimer.

The End, and bon appetit, babies!

– wm

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