Thursday, July 21, 2016

If You Were Me and Lived In The American West by Carole P. Roman is an Excellent Book for Teaching Kids About American History

If You Were Me and Lived in the American West is part of a new children’s book series from author Carole P. Roman. In this edition, Ms. Roman teaches children about the 19th century American West migration and the history of the Oregon Trail. Children learn through the experiences of a twelve-year-old boy who migrates from Ohio to the Oregon territory during the Great Migration of 1843.

This is a wonderfully educational book for children. I love the way the author places the reader in the role of the main character. The language used is easy to follow, yet never oversimplified. There’s a lot of additional information at the end of the book – a section on famous people from the American West and a sizable glossary of words, phrases and terms. Children, parents, teachers and other educators are sure to find these sections valuable.

I loved the illustrations. They’re nicely detailed and incredibly expressive – the sister’s face while collecting buffalo chips was priceless and I’m sure kids will get a kick out of this illustration as well as all the others. The illustrations are great accompaniments to the story and serve to further explain the historical lessons in this book.

I would highly recommend this book to children wanting to learn more about the Oregon Trail and what life was like in the American West at that time in history. I can see this book being used in school, at home, and as a welcome addition to any homeschool curriculum.

5 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  

Monday, July 18, 2016

Lazy Crafternoon by Stella Fields is a Wonderful Crafting Books for Teens

Are you looking for a craft book packed with gorgeous photos and lots of ideas? Lazy Crafternoon by Stella Fields is a wonderful choice!

Lazy Crafternoon is a craft book geared toward girls aged nine through thirteen. It contains a fair amount of craft projects. In my opinion, the projects vary from easy to challenging. Some are more advanced than others, but most appear to be manageable for this age group. There are a generous number of home dec projects and in my experience this should be a hit with teens.

Each project is laid out nicely, with a “What You’ll Need” boxed list, vibrantly colorful photo and super simple instructions. The supplies are basic and can be easily purchased at any local craft store. Many teens might already have a lot of the items at home. For example, there are many decoupage projects here and Mod Podge is listed as a supply. However, girls can easily make their own decoupage glue by mixing school glue and water together.

Many of the projects are truly unique, yet still so very simple. The yarn-wrapped jars are gorgeous! This is a wonderful way to get youngsters to recycle old jars with ordinary string, jute or crochet yarn. This is a project with a small investment, but with wonderful results. The tulle pencil toppers are pretty as well as useful, and again…simple. The painted rocks are adorable!

I could go on and on about all the great projects in this book. There really are plenty of them. There are even food-themed projects included. Personally, I’ve found enough ideas to keep me busy! The projects in this book would make wonderful activities for a teen sleepover or craft-themed birthday party. I highly recommend this book!

5 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

Friday, July 15, 2016

Fun With Junk Journaling

Have you heard about junk journaling (also known as junk mail journaling). Journal enthusiasts having been having fun turning junk mail into art for a while, but I only just heard about it a few months ago. I'm telling you, once you get started you're going to be hooked! And...I promise you'll never look at a piece of junk mail the same again. In fact, I guarantee you'll be positively giddy to see your mail carrier coming to your door.

Below are just a couple of very humble examples of what I've done so far. Aside from the advertisements I get in the mail, I've found uses for all sorts of things I'd otherwise throw in the trash. It's a great way to recycle!

You know those medical pamphlets you see in doctor and dentist offices? They make excellent mini journals. A coat of paint, some embellishments and you've got a work of art.

I've also discovered toilet paper roll journals. Who would have thought paper towel and toilet paper rolls could be transformed into something other than kids crafts? The mini-tag inserts are even recycled, since I reused an old mailing envelope.

There's a whole world out there devoted to junk mail artists and they love trading and collecting. I've recently joined the International Union of Mail Artists (IUOMA) but still have to post some of my creations.

Let me know if you're a junk mail artist. I'd love to see your artwork! Trading is always an option too :)

Medical Pamphlet Into Journal Inside View
Medical Pamphlet Into Journal

Toilet Paper Roll Journal

Toilet Paper Roll Journal Tag Inserts

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Safari Collection by Uncle Amon Children's Book is an AWESOME Value

I had previously read and reviewed one of Uncle Amon’s books, Happy Monsters, and was so impressed with it I knew I had to grab Safari Collection.

Safari Collection is an excellent value and it should keep kids happily occupied for quite a while. There are four awesome kids books included in this one volume and with each book there’s a total of twenty stories and oodles of jokes, puzzles, mazes and another free Uncle Amon gift. I’ve enjoyed belonging to the Uncle Amon Book Club and I’m always happy to receive an email detailing how I can get all sorts of freebies.

These stories are sweet children’s tales about friendship, family, problem-solving and other kid-friendly topics. The lovely learning lessons for kids are sure to be appreciated by parents, grandparents and caregivers. Early readers should have no problem following these stories and younger children should enjoy having these stories read to them over and over again. The expressive illustrations are sure to delight even the youngest child. I could see these books keeping children involved and happy during road trips or quiet time activities. It’s a great value!

5 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Middle Graders are Sure to Love Zelda the Pug and Her Latest Adventures

The adventures of Zelda the Pug continue in this installment. Readers meet the newest member of the family, Peach, who is a Boston terrier. Zelda and Peach live with Lucy, Ben and their parents Nate and Hannah. There are sixteen brief chapters in this book for middle graders to read and enjoy.

This book will especially appeal to dog lovers and pet owners. Zelda’s stories are full of action, humor and cute pet antics. Everything young readers look for in a chapter book. The author has done a wonderful job of giving children the opportunity to see the world from the perspective of a dog.

There’s also valuable information within these stories. Introducing a new pet to the family can sometimes have its challenges and Zelda’s reluctance to share with Peach certainly demonstrates this.  I could see families reading this book together before considering getting another pet. There’s even an epilogue from the POV of Peach, which gives some insight into what it’s like to be a shelter dog and to finally be adopted by a loving family. I found this to be a sweet and touching addition to the book.  

This is a nice mix of easy reading, with plenty of challenging words thrown in as well. The author’s writing is certainly kid-friendly and fun. 

5 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton


Friday, July 1, 2016

S.A.V.E. Squad Dog Daze by Lauraine Snelling and Kathleen Wright is a Positive Book For Preteen Girls

Are you looking for an uplifting and positive book for a pre-teen or young teen girl? I've found a wonderful book that's just the thing to keep your youngster happily reading along!

Aneta is an eleven-year-old girl who’s having some trouble fitting in. Although she was adopted by a loving mom and is now part of one large and quirky family, Aneta still feels like an outsider. After being teased at school about her Ukrainian accent, Aneta remains shy and withdrawn. When Aneta’s mom enters her into a community fundraising contest Aneta is less than excited. But when she’s grouped together with three other girls to work on their fundraiser, Aneta begins to come out of her shell. Motivated by her quest to save Wink the Basset Hound, Aneta puts her plan in motion.

This is a wonderful book for girls. The characters are well developed and the storyline is full of action, laughs, nice girls, mean girls and girl drama – all the essentials for an engaging pre-teen/young teen book. The writing is intelligent, appealing and descriptive.

The concept of forever homes is at the heart of this charming book. I’ve no doubt that most young girls will find this an irresistible plot. Helping homeless dogs find forever homes is a wonderful undertaking and this book admirably promotes a spirit of stewardship for youngsters. This is a book with many positive messages and I highly recommend it!

5 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton

Thursday, June 30, 2016

A Wonderful Book to Teach Children About Making and Keeping Friends - Knife and Fork by Gita V. Reddy

Knife and Fork is a chapter book geared towards children, grade level 8 thru 10. In this Gita Reddy story, readers meet Bholu the monkey who lives deep in the forest. The forest was all Bholu knew until one day a little bird told him about the world outside his forest. No longer content to simply swing from branches and play games with his friends, Bholu leaves the forest in search of worldly adventures.

This book is separated into six brief chapters. Readers are taken through a fun and engaging retelling of Bholu’s travels from his forest into a city several days from his home. Bholu experiences a variety of encounters during his adventure and he exhibits both positive and negative reactions to them.  Bholu finds himself having to deal with many new feelings and he doesn’t always handle things in the best way. This makes Bholu’s character easily relatable and sympathetic to youngsters.

As with Ms. Reddy’s other books, there are plenty of lessons to learn here. Friendship and pride are at the heart of Knife and Fork. This would make a wonderful book to read to children when explaining what it takes to make and keep friends.

I love books that teach children valuable lessons while entertaining them at the same time and as usual Ms. Reddy does a wonderful job of doing just that. The vocabulary in this book is suitable for its intended age group, but Ms. Reddy makes a point of providing the definitions of the very few words that may not be familiar to older youngsters. I could also see this book being read to younger children at bedtime or anytime!

5 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton