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Friday, August 12, 2016

What I Read on Vacation

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I took a bajillion books with me on our beach vacation.  There were picture books, middle grade books, YA books, adult fiction, adult non-fiction...I pretty much covered the whole Dewey decimal system.  And as much as I wanted to read all the books, I had these lovely little children doing amazing things and experiencing so many "firsts" that I didn't get through that pile.  And I have no regrets.

Here are the ones I did read:

by Rainbow Rowell
published by St. Martins

Rainbow Rowell is a master storyteller.  The premise of this book is one that I wasn't sure I would relate to, but in classic Rowell style, I was sucked in by her artful mastery of complex characters. I loved it!

Side Effects May Vary
by Julie Murphy
published by Balzer + Bray

This is my second time reading this debut by Julie Murphy.  It is an impressive first book.  I'm looking forward to reading Murphy's future books because she has a lot of potential. Dumplin' looks fabulous and I can't wait to read it!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

10 Books We Read All Summer

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It's PB 10 for 10 time and I'm listing 10 fun books that I read with my boys ALL SUMMER LONG! I'm cherishing this last summer of them being "little" and soaking up every little thing about them.

10 Books We Read All Summer #pb10for10 #picturebooks

Library LilLibrary Lil
by Suzanne Williams
illustrated by Steven Kellogg
published by Puffin

This story of an eclectic librarian/strong woman!!  My boys adore this...and so do I.

Miss Nelson Has a Field Day
Miss Nelson Has A Field Day
by Harry Allard
illustrated by James Marshall
published by Houghton Mifflin

This classic never goes out of style at my house--or anywhere, really.  My little guys giggle at this every single time we read it.
No Jumping on the Bed

No Jumping on the Bed
by Tedd Arnold
published by Scholastic

The boys got this 25th anniversary edition and love it.  The progression gets funnier and funnier and everyone enjoys it.
The Berenstain Bears Go to School

The Berenstain Bears Go to School
by Stan & Jan Berenstain
published by Random House

The Berenstain Bears captivate my little men.  They love any of the books in this series, but we have especially loved this one since they will begin kindergarten in the fall.

Arthur's Underwear

Arthur's Underwear
by Marc Brown
published by Scholastic

Are all little boys amused by underwear?! Because mine think it is hilarious to talk about underwear.  This book is actually about anxiety and "what's the worst thing that could happen" type thoughts, but at their young age, they just laugh at the underwear.  Sigh.

Albert the Fix-It Man

Albert the Fix-It Man
by Janet Lord
illustrated by Julie Paschkis
published by Peachtree Publishers

I fell in love with this book when Peachtree sent it to me, and now my whole crew enjoys it.  A definite must for little home libraries.

Henry and Mudge and the Long Weekend
Henry and Mudge and the Long Weekend
by Cynthia Rylant
illustrated by Sucie Stevenson
published by Scholastic

I love Henry and Mudge...and I absolutely adore Cynthia Rylant.  A friend who used to be a teacher passed down a ton of awesome early readers to us and this was among them!  My boys LOVED the story and they even made their own castle!  
Eyewitness Books:  Shark

Eyewitness Books:  Shark
by Miranda Macquitty
published by DK Publishing

Getting this book happened to coincide with Shark Week. Translation:  It was an immediate hit at our house!

The Truth About Poop

The Truth About Poop
by Susan E. Goodman
illustrated by Elwood H. Smith
published by Puffin Books

Similar to underwear books, the boys can't get enough of bodily function books.  I mean, at least this one's educational, right?!


by Roald Dahl
published by Puffin

I'm cheating here a bit, as this is supposed to be all picture books, but I really do think most picture book readers will also love this one. So don't tell on me! I told the boys they couldn't watch the new BFG movie until we had read the book.  So they sat and perfected their listening skills as I read this aloud.  I think they were completely surprised to find that they loved this book.  In related news, there have been lots of whizpopper jokes at our house.  A mother's work is never done.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016


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Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu #middlegrade #mustreadBreadcrumbs
by Anne Ursu
published by Walden Pond Press

The Blurb

Hazel and Jack are the best of friends.  And then one day, Jack stops talking to Hazel.  Hazel knows something isn't right.  Jack has been taken by the Ice Queen, and it's up to Hazel to save him. 

Quote from Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu #middlegrade #mustread

My Two Cents

I don't know how this book had escaped my grasp until recently, but I'm so glad to have read it!  Anne Ursu will suck you in from the first page of this book based on Hans Christian Andersen's The Snow Queen. 
It combines two of my favorite things:  a lovely coming of age story and magical realism.  Hazel character was simply fantastic.  She is devoted Jack in a way we can all relate to--he is her person and she is willing to go down for him.  Their relationship is written in a way that just stole my heart.  Both are flawed, but they accept one another wholeheartedly.  It is just lovely.

The other thing that will make me recommend Breadcrumbs for years to come is that Hazel is strong and capable and epitomizes "girl power."  She is awkward and a bit socially inept, and those contribute to her whole story as an unlikely heroine.  She isn't waiting on someone to save her, she is the one who goes and does the saving.  She is strong and filled with love and determination. Not many of us can claim a friend like Hazel, but those of us that can are a lucky few, indeed.