Monday, October 12, 2020

Snap Ships, The Coolest New Building Kits from PlayMonster!

 *DISCLOSURE* Thank you to PlayMonster for providing product samples in order to facilitate this post.  All thoughts are strictly my own. 

D has always really enjoyed building kits and he was super excited to get to try out the newest line of building toys from PlayMonster, Snap Ships!


Snap Ships are designed for ages 8+ and there are currently eleven ships available for sale.  Each kit includes a mysterious UJU tech piece that holds special value hidden inside the box and multiple build options for each design.


To tell the epic story of the Snap Ships universe, PlayMonster has joined forces with award-winning content studio Wind Sun Sky to produce a fast-paced and edgy animated series. Season one of the series, Snap Ships Dawn of Battle launched last month. The toy line is also supported by an AR app, allowing users to explore the vibrant world of Snap Ships.


D had a blast building each kit into both designs.  Take a look at some of his handiwork below:





These Snap Ships kits are fun and offer hours of creative building fun!  They are available for purchase on Amazon, Target, and other retailers.




Disclosure: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Awesome Picture Books to Kick Off Fall from Candlewick Press!

  *DISCLOSURE* Thank you to Candlewick Press for providing product samples in order to facilitate this post.  All thoughts are strictly my own. 

Today we have another awesome round up of books to get your kiddos reading this fall!  Check out some of our favorite titles from Candlewick Press:
 
Evelyn Del Rey is Moving Away
by Meg Medina
illustrated by Sonia Sanchez

Ages 5-7

Evelyn Del Rey is Daniela’s best friend. They do everything together and even live in twin apartments across the street from each other: Daniela with her mami and hamster, and Evelyn with her mami, papi, and cat. But not after today—not after Evelyn moves away. Until then, the girls play amid the moving boxes until it’s time to say goodbye, making promises to keep in touch, because they know that their friendship will always be special. The tenderness of Meg Medina’s beautifully written story about friendship and change is balanced by Sonia Sánchez’s colorful and vibrant depictions of the girls’ urban neighborhood.

 
Will You Be My Friend?
by Sam McBratney
illustrated by Anita Jeram

Ages 3-7

Little Nutbrown Hare is out exploring on his own. Off he hops along the path and through the grass until he reaches Cloudy Mountain, where something extraordinary happens: he discovers a new friend! Now the fun can really begin.Twenty-five years after we met the Nutbrown Hares, this enchanting new tale about friendship is bound to capture the hearts of Guess How Much I Love You fans—and everyone else—the world over.

 
Love is Powerful
by Heather Dean Brewer
illustrated by LeUyen Pham

Ages 5-8

Mari is getting ready to make a sign with crayon as the streets below her fill up with people. “What are we making, Mama?” she asks. “A message for the world,” Mama says. “How will the whole world hear?” Mari wonders. “They’ll hear,” says Mama, “because love is powerful.” Inspired by a girl who participated in the January 2017 Women’s March in New York City, Heather Dean Brewer’s simple and uplifting story, delightfully illustrated by LeUyen Pham, is a reminder of what young people can do to promote change and equality at a time when our country is divided by politics, race, gender, and religion.

 
Jabari Tries
by Gaia Cornwall

Ages 4-8

Jabari is making a flying machine in his backyard! “It’ll be easy. I don’t need any help,” he declares. But it doesn’t work! Jabari is frustrated. Good thing Dad is there for a pep talk and his little sister, Nika, is there to assist, fairy wings and all. With the endearing father-child dynamic of Jabari Jumps and engaging mixed-media illustrations, Gaia Cornwall’s tale shows that through perseverance and flexibility, an inventive thought can become a brilliant reality.

 
Norman: One Amazing Goldfish!
by Kelly Bennett
illustrated by Noah Z. Jones

Ages 4-8

Norman is one amazing goldfish! His owner knows Norman is sure to dazzle the crowd at Pet-O-Rama with his circles, bubbles, and flips—even though some kids don’t think a goldfish is a good pet. But when Norman is finally on stage, he freezes up and hides behind his plant. Poor Norman! Luckily, his owner plays a familiar song on the tuba, helping Norman to relax and show the crowd how amazing he really is. The popular stars of Not Norman return in a warm and wryly funny new story about being there for your fishy friend when he needs you most.


Flying Paintings: The Zhou Brothers: A Story of Revolution and Art
by Amy Alznauer
illustrated by ShanZuo Zhou and DaHuang Zhou

Ages 5-9

First there was one Zhou brother, and then there were two. They lived in a bookstore with their grandmother, Po Po, whose stories of paintings that flew through the air and landed on mountain cliffs inspired them to create their own art. Amid the turbulence of China’s Cultural Revolution in the 1970s, the Zhou Brothers began painting together on the same canvas. Today, ShanZuo and DaHuang Zhou are icons in the art world, renowned for working side by side on all their paintings and sculptures.

In this extraordinary biography, author Amy Alznauer joins with the Zhou Brothers to tell the story of their unique and often difficult childhood and their pursuit of a wild, impossible dream. The lyrical writing blends elements of legend, while the brothers’ dramatic illustrations soar with vibrant colors and surreal imagery from ancient Chinese cliff paintings. An inspiration for young artists and dreamers of all kinds, this deeply felt collaboration explores how art can bring people together, as well as set them free.


Grow: Secrets of Our DNA
by Nicola Davies
illustrated by Emily Sutton

Ages 5-9

Earth is full of life! All living things grow—plants, animals, and human beings. The way they grow, whether it be fast or slow, enormous or not so big, helps them survive. But growing is also about change: when people grow, they become more complicated and able to do more things. And they don’t have to think about it, because bodies come with instructions, or DNA. With simple, engaging language and expressive, child-friendly illustrations, Nicola Davies and Emily Sutton provide an introduction to genetic code and how it relates to families to make us all both wonderfully unique and wholly connected to every living thing on earth.


The Haunted Lake
by P.J. Lynch

Ages 7-10

Jacob and his father are the only people who fish Lake Spetzia, which was formed when the river was dammed and their town was flooded. The villagers say the lake is haunted, but Jacob and his father don’t want to leave, because Jacob’s mother is buried in the cemetery below the water. As Jacob grows up, a village girl named Ellen falls in love with him, and he with her. But before they are married, Jacob disappears—lured underwater by the ghosts who inhabit the sunken village. Years go by, with Jacob held captive by the watery spirits and Ellen never giving up hope that she will find him, until a fateful night when Jacob sees the light of Ellen’s boat floating above. Can he break free and reach the surface? Masterful illustrations alive with achingly expressive characters and eerie underwater light bring readers into acclaimed creator P.J. Lynch’s rich world of love, loss, and hope.


The House by the Lake
The True Story of a House, Its History, and the Four Families Who Made It Home
by Thomas Harding
Illustrated by Britta Teckentrup

Ages 7-10

On the outskirts of Berlin, Germany, a wooden cottage stands on the shore of a lake. Over the course of a hundred years, this little house played host to a kind Jewish doctor and his family, a successful Nazi composer, wartime refugees, and a secret-police informant. During that time, as a world war came and went and the Berlin Wall arose just a stone’s throw from the back door, the house filled up with myriad everyday moments. And when that time was over, and the dwelling was empty and derelict, the great-grandson of the man who built the house felt compelled to bring it back to life and listen to the story it had to tell. Illuminated by Britta Teckentrup’s magnificent illustrations, Thomas Harding’s narration reads like a haunting fairy tale—a lyrical picture-book rendering of the story he first shared in an acclaimed personal history for adult readers.

Whether you are looking for educational or entertainment, Candlewick Press has got you covered with this fun group of picture books!  We learned so much and were thoroughly entertained while reading these titles.  My kiddos are a bit older and still really enjoyed these gems!  Beautifully written and illustrated and wonderful additions to your home library!!

Explore Candlewick Press

Disclosure: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Friday, October 2, 2020

Prestel Gets Creative with Books for Back to School!

 *DISCLOSURE* Thank you to Prestel for providing product samples in order to facilitate this post.  All thoughts are strictly my own. 

This year more than ever, it's been pretty tricky to get into the swing of school for many families.  We find that it makes the transition a little easier if we ease into to things by having some sneakily educational picture books on hand for the kiddos leisure reading.  Check out this roundup of books from Prestel that will get your kiddos learning without them even knowing it!

How to Spot an Artist by Danielle Krysa

(9/1/2020; ISBN: 9783791374406; Hardcover $16.95; Ages 5+) 

This is a vividly illustrated, funny, and endlessly encouraging picture book “about being an artist, even when someone tells you not to be." 

With over 200,000 Instagram followers, Danielle Krysa has helped a lot of people overcome the fear that they "aren't creative," and in How to Spot an Aritist, Krysa wants to reach readers as kids before their inner critics arrived on the scene, using her characteristic playfulness, lively illustrations, and humor to help kids overcome negativity about their artistic endeavors--and to help them redefine what being an artist means. Every page delivers encouragement to the kid who thinks artists all live in cities, or that art has to look like something familiar, or that painting and drawing are the only way to make art. In a world that drastically undervalues creative freedom, Krysa's whimsical paintings and collages joyfully proclaim that art is essential and that artists are everywhere. Additionally, a page at the back of the book includes ideas for art projects--because who wants fewer art projects? Nobody!

The Magic Doll by Adrienne Yabouza and illustrated by Élodie Nouhen

 (9/8/2020; ISBN: 9783791374468; Hardcover $14.95; Ages 4+) 

This is a simple tale of love and longing, motherhood and magic.

In a small village in West Africa, a young girl explains the special way she was born. Her mother had difficulty getting pregnant, so she seeks help in the form of a doll which she treats like a human baby, carrying it on her back and covering it with kisses. Months go by and finally the woman's belly begins to grow! This beautiful story explores the Akua-Ba fertility figures of the Akan people of Ghana, while also depicting the deep love a mother has for her children. Élodie Nouhen's subtle, gorgeous illustrations combine collage and prints that are reminiscent of traditional African art, while remaining uniquely contemporary. Each spread communicates the look and feel of West Africa--the blazing yellow of the sun, the deep blue of the sky, the richly patterned textiles, and vibrant flora and fauna. Adrienne Yabouza's text echoes the rhythms of life in her homeland--the Central African Republic. The book closes with a short introduction to African art and the importance of fertility statues in African cultures.

School by Britta Teckentrup

 (9/15/2020; ISBN: 9783791374420; Hardcover $19.95; Ages 8+) 

This book takes readers inside a busy school to follow different students through their day--in class, during free time, at lunch, and through swimming lessons.

We come across a variety of faces and expressions that reflect the enormous range of emotions and experiences that each school day brings. There are arguments and hurt feelings, encouraging hugs and deeply felt smiles. The gentle text explores issues that we've all encountered--bullying and loneliness as well as friendship and achievement. While the school in this book could exist anywhere, young readers will recognize themselves in this beautifully and compassionately wrought story by bestselling author Britta Teckentrup, whose warm and wonderfully detailed illustrations are a marvelous portal to feelings, facts, and fun.

The House of Happy Spirits by Geraldine Elschner and illustrated by Lucie Vandevelde

 (9/15/2020; ISBN: 9783791374543; Hardcover $14.95; Ages 4+) 

This book is filled with color-saturated illustrations that echo Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser's bold style, introducing young readers to the idea of environmentally conscious and playful architecture. 

When construction starts on a new building in Lea's neighborhood, she fears that her favorite tree will be chopped down. For days she watches anxiously as the tree is covered up and surrounded by bricks. Finally, she learns that the tree has been spared and made the centerpiece of a fantastic new building, where it will live a long and healthy life. Lucie Vandevelde's joyful drawings convey a kid's-eye view of city life, complete with people, pets, automobiles, and machinery. As the new building emerges, readers will come to learn about some of Hundertwasser's celebrated and offbeat principles--such as the rights of tenants to paint the walls outside of their windows, that trees should be given their own rooms, and that "straight lines lead to the downfall of humanity." A brief biography of Hundertwasser at the end of the book fills readers in on the work of this pioneering artist whose ideas were once radical but are now integrated into many architectural concepts.

The Little Dancer by Geraldine Elschner and illustrated by Olivier Desvaux 

(9/22/2020; ISBN: 9783791374499; Hardcover $14.95; Ages 4+)

One of Degas's most celebrated works comes to life in this vibrantly illustrated story of the young ballerina who inspired the artist. 

This book tells the fictional story of a young girl who dreams of becoming a ballet dancer. Jeanne auditions at the Opera Garnier and moves with her mother, a laundress, to Montmartre where life becomes consumed by rehearsals and classes. One day she meets Mr. D, an artist who asks Jeanne to be his model. As Mr. D works on his sculpture, Jeanne prepares tirelessly for an important performance. The book culminates with Jeanne triumphing at the Opera--and Mr. D completing his sculpture with her help. Olivier Desvaux's gorgeous illustrations, which recall Degas paintings, bring readers into Jeanne's world--the studio where she spends her days, the tiny apartment where she sleeps with her mother, and Mr. D's atelier, where he preserves her story forever. Readers will learn about the life of a young dancer in 19th-century Paris, and at the end of the book they will learn even more about one Degas's most intriguing works: Little Dancer Aged Fourteen, the only sculpture he exhibited in his lifetime, particularly beloved for capturing the essence of a ballerina.

This Thing Called Life by Christian Borstlap

(10/6/2020; ISBN: 9783791374437; Hardcover $17.95; Ages 5+)

  This lovely book shows the many shapes and forms life takes all around us, from the smallest specks of life to the largest creatures.

What is life? It's constantly moving, growing, reproducing, and dying. It's happening now, all the time, and it's everywhere around us. From little helicopter seed pods that float through the air to blue whales in the ocean, the world is filled with all different types of odd and familiar kinds of life. This whimsical picture book helps young readers see the connections between all living things. Author and illustrator Christian Borstlap's furry, feathery, smooth, and spiky creatures crawl, eat, growl, fly, and interact with one another. While most of his creations are imaginary animals, they all depict real things that organisms must do to survive and thrive. Bold and quirky illustrations tug at kids' imaginations and help demonstrate complex concepts that can be hard to put into words. The book leaves lots of room for discussion and for new discoveries with each reading.


And just in time for October...

The Scary Book by Thierry Dedieu

 (9/15/2020; ISBN: 9783791374642; Hardcover $12.95; Ages 3+)

This is an oversized lift-the-flap board book that shows children what's hiding inside some creepy creatures.

Snakes, bats, and spiders aren't that frightening--but just wait till you see what they're like on the inside! This delightfully ghoulish book is filled to the brim with creatures perfect for some Halloween fun. Whether it's a big bad wolf or a skeletal ghost, each monster is hiding its really horrible side beneath a foldable flap. Lift the foldout on the crab to reveal sharp teeth and tentacle tongues or pull down the flap on the spider to discover its recently caught snacks. Thierry Dedieu's colorful illustrations bring humor and lightheartedness to many spine-chilling creatures. A perfect blend of silly and scary, this big board book helps kids overcome their worries with laughter. Encourage your children to embrace their spooky side with this Halloween treat!

We loved reading these beautiful books and we all learned a lot from them.  What a fun way to kickoff the back to school season this year!


Disclosure: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.