Friday, September 22, 2017

Poetry Friday - Autumn

It’s Friday! And you know what that means: Poetry! Want to know more about Poetry Friday? Click this link right here. And be sure to check out Amy's blog, The Poem Farm, to see this week’s round up of wonderful poetry related posts, blogs and goodness. 

It's officially the most wonderful time of the year! Fall is hands down my favorite season. While we don't get much of a season change here in Florida, I can still imagine the crispness of the air, the colorful leaves, and the creepiness of Halloween. 

I am also excited because this will be the first time that I am participating in the R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril (RIP) reading challenge. You can read a bit more about it here.  Basically to participate you read at least one spooky (defined broadly) book in September/October. I've chosen 6 books because I like to read, I'm an over achiever and/or I'm a glutton for punishment. Here are the books I have picked.

To celebrate the changing of the season guard, I decided to write a little poem about Fall. I hope you enjoy. Thanks for stopping by. And Happy Autumn Equinox!


The sun, tired of the green summer,
Peeks through his kaleidoscope
And twists the world into vivid color.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril XII (RIPXII)

Two years ago in November (2015), I discovered the R.I.P community reading challenge. Anyone who has been around me for even a little bit knows that I am head over heels in love with Autumn, Halloween and anything creepy. And I also love to read. It's like the R.I.P. challenge was created just for me!

Of course it was too late to officially participate the year I discover it, but I was so excited to give it a go the following year (2016). Fast forward 10 months, and I was 8 months pregnant and moving across country. Needless to say, I stalled again.

So, it is because of this that I am so incredibly excited to announce my participation THIS year! Hooray! Happy dance all around. Here are the 6 books I hope to read over the next few weeks.

What spooky books are you reading this Fall? Do you have any creepy book recommendations? Leave me a comment below!

Monday, September 18, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 9/18/17

The weekly post where I recap all the KidLit books I’ve been reading. Occasionally, I’ll also review some adult fiction books as well.

Be sure to check out Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers to see what other kidlit readers are reading. Because, you know, we can never have too many books in our TBR pile.

Board Books

 Dinosaur Dance
by Sandra Boynton

I enjoy Sandra Boynton's books. The illustrations in this one are cute and my 7yo daughter loved reading this one to her baby brother. 

 Diggers Go
by Steve Light

I love the layout of this book. Long and narrow, the illustrations are really fun and it gives you a bit of scope on how big the machines are. It make for a fun, interactive read.

Picture Books

 I Am Bat
by Morag Hood 

I really enjoyed this cute book. Readers of Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus will like I Am Bat. The character is really comical and fun. The book invites plenty of reader interaction. The illustrations are funny too and I especially like the bat’s cute round tummy. 

 The Bad Seed
written by Jory John
illustrated by Pete Oswald

Oh my gosh, this book was so much fun. Everyone in the house now wants me to buy it. My husband read it to the kids multiple times before it had to go back to the library. The story is clever and original and the illustrations are great too.

 Bonaparte Falls Apart
written by Margery Cuyler
illustrated by Will Terry

This is a book that I couldn't wait for it to come out. I love Will Terry's illustration style. The story is also great. It could easily be used as a text on therapy/service dogs and why some people need them. All around great read.

 The Tooth That's on the Loose
by Chris Robertson
I received an ARC of this book for review.

The premise for this book is great, I just wish it would have taken it a bit further. The cowboy narrator talks about how T.B. Wiggly can be found in your mouth hiding out--so quite literally. I wish that it would have been a straight western and the child reading the book could make the parallels between the story and real life. The illustrations are fun and overall I would recommend the book.

 Use Your Imagination (But Be Careful What You Wish For)
by Nicola O'Byrne 

Overall, I enjoyed this book. The illustrations are fun, and I liked the twist ending. I thought it was a good take on the big bad wolf idea. And I liked the nod to Red Riding Hood without that character actually being in the story.

by Antoinette Portis

I have been trying to get a hold of a copy of this book for awhile, and it did not disappoint. I love the simplicity of it. The illustrations are beautiful and the story is beautiful. After reading, my daughter and I talked about enjoying the small quiet moments and how they are important. It also led us to talk about being grateful for everything--not just the large things in life.

 Dinosaur Pirates!
by Penny Dale

Pirates and dinosaurs. What's not to like. The illustrations were detailed, especially on the ships. I loved the repetition in the verses. I also liked that it was 100% dinosaurs--no humans or other creatures. Sometimes it seems that it's always dinos vs. something else, so that was a nice change. 

Friday, September 15, 2017

Poetry Friday - Peace Party

It’s Friday! And you know what that means: Poetry! Want to know more about Poetry Friday? Click this link right here. And be sure to check out Michelle's blog, Today's Little Ditty, to see this week’s round up of wonderful poetry related posts, blogs and goodness. 

It's book giveaway time! This month's book is Castle Hangnail by Ursula Vernon. Be sure to enter.

Hurricane Irma has come and gone. We were lucky and the storm took a sudden turn East about 30 miles south of us. We didn't even lose power--which was a disappointment to my 7yo daughter. There are still some in my town that do not have power. No AC in Florida is no bueno. 

Because of the storm, my daughter and husband won't be going back to classes until this coming Monday. While we have all enjoyed the mini vacation, it will be nice to get back to our normal routine. 

I've been so frazzled, I haven't had much time to do any writing this week, so I decided to play with Michelle's Peace Party challenge. It was a fun little exercise. Thanks, Michelle!


Both kids
Asleep in bed



In each other's



Leading first
With the heart



Grasp hands
Across the line



It takes all
Working together

Monday, September 11, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading - 9/11/17

The weekly post where I recap all the KidLit books I’ve been reading. Occasionally, I’ll also review some adult fiction books as well.

Be sure to check out Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers to see what other kidlit readers are reading. Because, you know, we can never have too many books in our TBR pile.

I’m giving away a copy of Castle Hangnail by Ursula Vernon! Check it out and enter.

It’s a short list this week as most of my time was spent prepping for Hurricane Irma. We survived just fine with no damage, but we’re without Internet as I type this up. We’re going to drive around and assess damage here in a little while, so maybe I’ll find a hot spot to upload the post. We are safe, which is the most important thing.

Picture Books

Slug Needs A Hug
written by Jeanne Willis
illustrated by Tony Ross

This was a cute story that my daughter and I both enjoyed. She especially liked the reveal at the end. It is a good story about just being yourself.

Mary McScary
written by R.L. Stine
illustrated by Marc Brown

his was ok. I am a huge fan of R.L. Stine, but I preferred his 1st collaboration with Marc Brown better (The Little Shop of Monsters). I liked the ridiculous ways that Mary tries to scare her cousin and Marc Brown’s illustrations are great, as always. 

 Magic for Sale
written by Carrie Clickard
illustrated by John Shelley

I loved this book. The rhyming verse is well done and the illustrations are fantastic. It was so much fun to spend time on each page looking at all the detailed items of the shop. Well worth the read.

 Dragons Love Tacos 2: The Sequel
written by Adam Rubin
illustrated by Salmeiri

This was enjoyable, but not as good as the first book. The ending gave me a chuckle. The illustrations are consistently good. 

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Book Giveaway: Castle Hangnail by Ursula Vernon

Castle Hangnail

by Ursula Vernon

See my full review here

***Congrats to Kathy D. for winning!***

I'm in the process of finalizing prep for Hurricane Irma, but I am so excited to be doing another book giveaway this month. I absolutely enjoyed reading this book and I know that many others will too. I hope that you'll take just a second and enter the giveaway at the end of this post. As always, it will run from Sunday (9/10/17) at midnight until 11:59pm on Saturday (9/16/17). Good luck!

Other books by Ursula Vernon:

Dragonbreath (Puffin Books)
Hamster Princess (Dial Books)
Nurk (HMH Books for Young Readers)

Follow Ursula:


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, September 8, 2017

Poetry Friday - Irma Checklist

It’s Friday! And you know what that means: Poetry! Want to know more about Poetry Friday? Click this link right here. And be sure to check out Matt's blog, Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme to see this week’s round up of wonderful poetry related posts, blogs and goodness. 

(If you're curious how my art for Art Drop Day turned out, you can see it here)

Hello Everyone! Quick post today as I still have a little bit of prep to get ready for Hurricane Irma. I am about an hour and a half South of Tampa, along the coast, so unless the storm veers way West, we should be okay (I hope).

This will be my children's first hurricane and my daughter is a bit freaked out. We're trying to calm her nerves by having her help plan a hurricane party for once the power goes out. We'll have candy, melting ice cream (because it'll just go bad), games, and a whole pile of books from the library. That's where I got the idea for my poem this week. Books, books and more books!

Just a quick aside so people don't think I'm making light of a serious situation. Well, I guess I am--a little. It's how I deal with the stresses. But rest assured, we are trying to prepare the best we can and our thoughts will be with all those who will be impacted by the storm.

Irma Checklist

Holly Black and R.L. Stine,
Yolen, Seuss, and Esenwine
The latter brought us bright flashlights
To read the books through stormy nights.

Sendak, Dahl and Judy Blume
Get us through impending doom.
E.B. White and Mrs. Cleary
Rid the air of all that’s dreary.

While Irma shouts in all her rage
We’ll visit new lands on each page.

*A funny aside: I included Matt in the poem because I know his book, Flashlight Night, is coming out very soon. What I did not know, until after the poem was written and I was writing the blog post, is that he is hosting this week's Poetry Friday! So it's a double whammy. Congrats on the book, Matt!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Art Drop Day 2017

So this past Tuesday was World Art Drop Day and was my first time participating. I had a fun time playing with my gel plate. I happened to have a turtle stencil, so that worked out great.

Since I am primarily a writer, I decided to include a poem with my art. You can read my poetry post here. Of course, I had to hide it where kids could find out more about turtles. I am excited for someon to discover it.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Stormy Seas - Nonfiction Picture Book Review

Buy Here
 Stormy Seas: Stories of Young Boat Refugees
written by Mary Beth Leatherdale 
illustrated by Eleanor Shakespeare
Annick Press, 2017

At a Glance


Nonfiction Picture Book

Age Range: 

10yo + 
There is a fairly graphic suicide attempt in the first story. Keep this in mind when choosing the audience for this book.


This book chronicles the true stories of 5 children as they board boats to flee their homelands in search of asylum.


  • Packs a lot into a relatively short book
  • told in first person, it feels like you are right there with the actual people
  • the collage and photo design almost feels like a scrapbook
  • Presents the info in a fairly unbiased manner
  • great for school reports


  • I wanted more stories!

Would I recommend this title:


Full Review

I originally picked this book up, thinking I could read it with my daughter in order to start talking about refugees and some of the current issues in an age appropriate manner. While ultimately I felt that this book wasn't quite appropriate for a 7yo--the first section goes into some graphic detail of an attempted suicide--I am still very glad that I picked it up. 

I actually learned quite a bit from the book. With refugees being a hot topic button, I felt that I gained a lot from reading this. It goes a bit into international law, and protections for refugees from the U.N.--things that are pertinent to today's discussions. 

While the book is told from the refugees' point of view, and the author definitely wants you to feel sympathy and horror for their situations, I feel like the book does a great job of presenting facts and not demonizing the opposition. I feel like someone opposed to refugees entering their country would not be able to dismiss this book as just propaganda or too biased.

I was impressed by the amount of research done by the author. She actually interviewed some of these refugees--now adults themselves. The collage-type graphics and layout made it feel as if I was reading stories put down in a scrapbook.

I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking to learn more about refugees.

Monday, September 4, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? - 9/4/17

The weekly post where I recap all the KidLit books I’ve been reading. Occasionally, I’ll also review some adult fiction books as well.

Be sure to check out Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers to see what other kidlit readers are reading. Because, you know, we can never have too many books in our TBR pile.

September Book Giveaway:

My full review here
September's book giveaway is Castle Hangnail by Ursula Vernon. The giveaway will go live here on the blog this Sunday, September 10th at 12:00 AM EST and will run through the following Friday. Be sure to check back to enter.

Board Books

written by  Benoit Marchon 
illustrated by Soledad Bravi

A clever and cute read. The head of the illustrations are cut out, so it is the same head on each page. I would recommend this for toddlers as I think the illustrations will read better--easier to understand. Also, the pages of this board book are a bit flimsy and I feel would be easily torn by small babies.

Bunnies Near and Far
by Sarah Jones

I really enjoy Sarah Jones' style. This is a simple and cute counting book. My 10mo smiled every time we've read this one together. 

Picture Books

Everyone is Yawning
by Anita Bijsterbosch

Oh my goodness, this book was delightful. Each page has flaps where you can make the animal open its mouth and yawn. We have read this multiple times over the past few days and my children love it.  

Rulers of the Playground
by Joseph Kuefler

A fun story about playing well with others. It could be used as a starting point for bullying and/or including everyone in your play. The illustrations are very textural and nice.

Creepy Pair of Underwear!
written by Aaron Reynolds
illustrated by Peter Brown

Both Aaron Reynolds and Peter Brown are always so consistent, and they deliver on this book. We love Creepy Carrots and this is a great follow up. The text is fun and the illustrations are fantastic. If you've followed any of my other posts, you'll know that I am a huge fan of limited color palettes. The glowing neon green underpants are comical and so much fun.

A Hungry Lion or A Dwindling Assortment of Animals
by Lucy Ruth Cummins

My daughter and I read this last night and loved it. I especially enjoy how much the text and illustrations compliment each other. They both work together to tell a really funny story. I also enjoyed the twist at the end. The title is great too. 


Cricket Never Does: A Collection of Haiku and Tanka
written by Myra Cohn Livingston
illustrated by Kees De Kiefte

I love short-form poetry. This collection is great and starts off very strong. Livingston is able to capture a crisp and clear image with only a few short words. There is elegance in these short poems.

Middle Grade

by C.M. Gray

Before I say anything else, I enjoyed this book enough that I plan on reading the next one in the series. I do, however, feel like this book was just a giant intro to everything. I felt like it took awhile for the story to actually start, and once it started, it just served to set up the series. I think that is why I'd like to check out the next one. It seems like it has potential. I do like the comical illustrations. 

Young Adult

White Cat (The Curse Workers #1)
by Holly Black
read by Jesse Eeisenberg

Holly Black is consistently good. I don't think I have read a book of hers that I did not enjoy. White Cat has been on my TBR for a long time. The story was fantastic, with an ending that caught me off guard, which doesn't happen often. I plan on picking up the next in the series. Listening to the audiobook version, it took awhile to get used to Eeisenberg's voice, just because it is so recognizable. I wish he had used more inflection for the different characters, but overall, it was a good listening experience. 


Set to Sea
by Drew Weing

This is a fun quick graphic novel about a a guy who sits around all day, dreaming of being a poet. Though a series of events, he finds himself on a ship where he gains all sorts of life experiences that ultimately make him a better writer. The crosshatching style in the illustrations is beautiful. Also, I am a sucker for sea stories, so I enjoyed this one overall.

Poetry Friday - Autumn

It’s Friday! And you know what that means: Poetry! Want to know more about Poetry Friday? Click this link right  here . And be sure to ...