Genre: Children


Kidlit Review: Max at Night

September 16, 2016 Book Review, reviews 5

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book nor the content of my review.

Kidlit Review: Max at NightMax at Night by Ed Vere
Published by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky on September 1st 2016
Genres: Children, Picture Books
Pages: 32
Source: complimentary review copy

In Max at Night we find Max getting ready for bed, but he can’t find the moon to say goodnight. Like most any young child, Max will not rest until he has completed his bedtime routine. With the moon nowhere to be found Max goes in search believing the higher he gets the closer to the moon he will be and the more likely it is he will see that errant moon.

The illustrations in Max at Night are sparse yet beautiful. The colors are darker, giving the impression of night while the stars and lettering are a bright white. The combination creates a calming scene. Max at Night is a good bedtime picture book for younger children, probably from ages zero to five. The words are simple enough that an older sibling with a reading level of 2 or 3 could read the bedtime story {giving the older sibling reading practice and the younger sibling the awe of the attention of the older sibling}.

My 5-year-old grandson and I read it a couple of times. He especially liked the part where Max gets frustrated and shouts “Mooooooooon! Where are yoooouu?” Of course it may have been because I startled him with the really loud shout and sound effects!  {I wouldn’t recommend doing that if read at bedtime}. 😉

There is a definite play on the classic Goodnight Moon as the story begins, and Max is saying goodnight to everything. Overall, we enjoyed Max at Night, but we did not love it. I am quite impressed by the incredible job the author/illustrator does of giving expressions to Max that are easily distinguished. The illustrations are the best part of the book.

[Tweet “Adorable picture book that builds on the classic ‘goodnight moon'”]

Extra Credit

Download the pdf activity kit here. It is the cutest thing ever, starting off with “can you tell how Max is feeling based on his expressions?” What’s so cute about the activity is Max has no mouth, only eyes and a nose. The expressions Vere creates with just Max’s eyes are incredible. This type of activity can help build empathy and emotional intelligence in young children.

Author Links

Twitter: @ed_vere

Enter to Win

With thanks to Sourcebooks Jabberwocky enter to win an original sketch by author and illustrator Ed Vere
a Rafflecopter giveaway

linking to Saturday’s Kid Connection with Booking Mama

Many thanks to Sourcebooks Jabberwocky for a copy of Max at Night to review.



KidLit Review and Giveaway: The Storybook Knight

September 9, 2016 Book Review, reviews 2

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book nor the content of my review.

KidLit Review and Giveaway: The Storybook KnightThe Storybook Knight by Helen Docherty, Thomas Docherty
Published by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky on September 6th 2016
Genres: Children, Picture Books
Pages: 32
Source: complimentary review copy


Little Leo is not the knight his parents expected. He enjoys nothing more than reading and being kind to all. His parents don’t believe a knight should be gentle, so when they read an ad about a dragon needing taming, off they send Leo to do them proud!

One morning, Leo’s parents said
they’d like to have a chat.
There was nothing wrong with reading,
but he couldn’t just do that!

Along the way, Leo encounters a griffin, a troll and a dragon. Rather than use the new sword and shield his parents gave him, Leo uses his head, his heart and the books he brought along for the trip.

A few of the lessons

  • Books are cool because you will know what a griffin is should you happen upon one!
  • You can be successful in a ‘fight’ with savvy smarts and knowledge without the use of swords and shields.
  • It’s ok if others are different, and I’m quieter and like to read. I’ve got equally great qualities, though I may be different from you.
  • The world could use more kindness and acceptance.

Final Thoughts

Truly a delightful picture book for both adults and children! My grandson, who is now in Kindergarten, and I have read this one quite a few times. Both of us love it! Me, for the lovely manner in which books and reading are featured, the numerous messages woven throughout the book, and the inclusion of the classic Billy Goat’s Gruff! My grandson loves this one for the rhyming that lends itself to some fantastic reading aloud. The bright colors of the pictures, along with the attention to detail, have kept us finding new features in the layouts! Honestly, The Storybook Knight gets 4 thumbs-up from this reading duo!

[Tweet “.#thestorybook is sure to become a children’s classic and an adult favorite!”]

Extra Credit

→Visit here to take Leo’s pledge and become a Storybook Knight. “Remember: A story is mightier than the sword.”

→We all know how children enjoy receiving happy mail, right? For your wee reader friends or family, mailing the book + the printable Activity Kit is a package little ones from ages 4 – 8 will be thrilled to receive.


→Most students are back in school now that September is well underway. And most of us adults have heard the plight of our tireless teachers, yes? A truly wonderful gift for your Kindergarten, 1st or 2nd grade teacher would be the book + the printable Educators Guide which aligns with the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts.

Author and Illustrator Links

Thomas Docherty:
Twitter: @TDIllustration

Helen Docherty:
Twitter: @docherty_helen

Enter for a chance to win

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Reading with YaYa: What Pet Should I Get + Free Printable

November 8, 2015 Book Review 2

Reading with YaYa: What Pet Should I Get + Free PrintableWhat Pet Should I Get? by Dr. Seuss
Published by Random House Children's Books on July 28th 2015
Genres: Children, Picture Books
Pages: 48
Source: purchased


Would you believe the Little Monkey is four now! And so so smart and clever. Here’s just a few of our most recent conversations:

YaYa, let’s go to Chick-fil-a so I can share a milkshake with you. . .” and play in the indoor playground for hours.

YaYa, I don’t have markers those colors. Can we get those so you and I can color together?” I’ve only got every color under the sun except that particular shade of red…and red is our favorite color…

YaYa, will you read this book to me?” while climbing up into my lap, snuggling in and patiently waiting for the book to begin…who could resist?

Our latest book is the recently published What Pet Should I Get? by Dr. Seuss. This book was discovered in a box of Dr. Seuss’s things while his wife and secretary were cleaning out his office. If you read One Fish, Two Fish, you’ll recognize the brother and sister duo.  In What Pet Should I Get? the pair are off to the pet store together to pick out a pet. Should we get a bird? a dog? a yent? and so on.

The beginning starts off strong, but about half-way through the story lags. It did not seem to be quite up to par with Dr. Seuss’s normal hilarious and off-the-wall antics. The underlying moral and message is not as clear and concrete in this book as it is in say, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas or even Are You My Mother.  The main message seems to be “just make up your mind!”

With that said, we still enjoyed reading the book and discussed everything from having a new pet dinosaur to a new pet snail. Fortunately, we are an hour away from the pet store, so no new pets were welcomed into the home 😉

For this book we completed the printable I’ve added below. We had a lot of fun imagining our own dream pet.  In a ‘you’re special’ package I mailed to my nieces to congratulate them on their new baby brother, I included the book, the printable + crayons, and this clay.  It’s a great method for tactile learning and another opportunity to foster imagination.

Let me know if you try out the book & the printable or send me photos on Instagram! I’d love to see what your kiddos or grand-kiddos create!

what pet should i get printable




Reading With YaYa: The Pout-Pout Fish

August 2, 2014 Book Review, reviews 2

Reading With YaYa: The Pout-Pout FishThe Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen
Published by Farrar Straus Giroux on March 18th, 2008
Genres: Children, Picture Books
Pages: 32
Source: purchased


My grandson and I had so much fun reading The Pout-Pout Fish.  The Little Monkey is just three so his attention span is as long as a gnats, but with The Pout-Pout Fish he stayed engaged and interested.  The illustrations are colorful in a muted way lending credence to the underwater scenario.  The characters in the book from the clam to the squid to the pout-pout fish himself were so easy to create different voices for as their characters had so much, well, character. 😉  When the pout-pout fish says “Blub, Bluuub, Bluuuub” TLM thought it was hilarious to say it in a deep, depressed-kind-of manner.

I’m a pout-pout fish
With a pout-pout face,
So I spread the dreary-wearies
All over the place.

The rhyming story follows the pout-pout fish as all of his friends try to turn his frown upside down with their sage advice.  It’s not until a mysterious silver fish gives the pout-pout fish a giant smooch that the he figures out he’s not a pout-pout fish but instead a kissy-kissy fish!  It’s a great lesson about feelings and choosing to be happy rather than grumpy.

The Little Monkey

The Little Monkey

The Pout-Pout Fish picture book is perfect for ages 3 – 6/7.  It was really funny when TLM and I tried to make our own pout-pout faces.  Watching a three year old poke his lips out in a fake pout then breaking into peals of laughter will make the harshest pouty face go away, promise!  The ending is a little weak and stilted but the characterizations, theme and definitely the illustrations make up for that.

Extra Activities:  We made paper bag fish after reading the story and, TLM had so much fun making the fish we had to make three!  One for his mommy, his daddy and himself!  If you’re interested in more activities this Pinterest Board has several ideas for a variety of ages.  I especially like the pout-pout fish mask and the kissy-kissy fish mask to go along with “what makes me grumpy” and “what turns that frown upside down.”  The author Deborah Diesen has a thorough list of activities and additional recommendations.

Booking Mama shares Kid Lit ideas each Saturday through her Kid Konnection link up.  Be sure to check out the other recommendations from great bloggers!



5 Life Lessons from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

July 23, 2014 Book Review, reviews 17

5 Life Lessons from Charlie and the Chocolate FactoryCharlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Published by Puffin Genres: Children
Pages: 155
Source: complimentary review copy


Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is one of those timeless classics that teaches life lessons through the unique set characters, especially our protagonist Charlie.  Charlie has every problem in the world it seems like between not enough food, inappropriate clothing and a house way to small for a family of seven.

He has always inspired me – both the movie version that I saw many many years ago and the novel that I’ve only just recently read.  Charlie shows that hope and optimism spring eternal.  While he had nothing – not enough food, heat, shelter, and certainly not chocolate from the beloved Willy Wonka Factory – Charlie maintained his sense of hope.  We don’t hear of him complaining about his grumbling tummy while the kids around him are opening their daily chocolate bars nor does he bemoan the cold while watching others who are bundled to their ears walking into the candy store.

Five Life Lessons We Can Learn From Charlie

There’s No Room for Envy.  Although Charlie has every right to be jealous of all the other children around him according to modern-day standards, we don’t see him comparing himself to those more fortunate nor do we get the sense that he does so.  Charlie is a good, sweet, loving boy.  Jealousy would simply muck that up and makes a good person become all icky.  Instead, Charlie focuses on himself and his family.  That’s one lesson I keep reminding myself to live by, especially in the blogosphere when someone always has more ____ {stats, reviews, followers, clout and Klout, more, more, more}.  As long as I focus on myself then I don’t get caught up in the envy cycle.

Love One Another.  Charlie is the absolute delight of his family.  He shares his annual birthday chocolate and always spends evenings soaking up the stories from his grandparents.

But as soon as they heard the door opening, and heard Charlie’s voice saying “Good evening, Grandpa Joe and Grandma Josephine and Grandpa George and Grandma Georgiana,” then all four of them would suddenly sit up, and their wrinkled old faces would light up with smiles of pleasure.  Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Spend Quality Time With Family.  In this crazy busy world we get so caught up in it is way too easy to forget there are those in our lives who want and need our undivided attention.  Just as our children need a parent’s attention, parents also need attention from their children.  Although I am an adult with grown children of my own, I am reminded that I need to spend more time with my mom, just one-on-one.

Keep that Child’s Sense of Wonder.  Watching my grandson get so excited about holding a fuzzy caterpillar reminds me to see the joy and beauty with awe-like fascination.  Being a grown-up means bills, responsibility, bills, jobs, bills. . .did I mention bills?  It’s so easy to forget or lose that sense of wonder.  Spend time with a toddler in nature for an hour and you’ll get a sense of that awe once again.  Every week when I keep The Little Monkey I’m reminded.

Gratitude is a Most Beautiful Thing.  Charlie is grateful.  He cherishes the birthday chocolate he receives yet still tries to share with his family.  When Willy Wonka gives Charlie a bar of chocolate his gratitude is palpable.  Gratitude goes such a long way.  Look at Charlie – he was so grateful for one bar of chocolate that he ended up with a whole entire chocolate factory!

Have I missed any lessons Charlie taught us?

 Share with me in the comments your favorite Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Lesson!

This post was inspired by the classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. To celebrate, Penguin Young Readers Group, in partnership with Dylan’s Candy Bar, the world-famous candy emporium, and First Book, a nonprofit social enterprise that provides books for children from low-income families, is launching a year-long international celebration.

Head on over to From Left to Write to learn how you and your child have a chance to win the Golden Ticket Sweepstakes where the grand prize is a magical trip to New York City plus much more!  For every entry submitted, Penguin Young Readers Group will make a donation to First Book.   Then join From Left to Write on July 24th as we discuss all things Willy Wonka!  As a book club member, I received a copy for review purposes.