Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Little Red Stocking: Help Make Us Three #adoption

This review is by my daughter Payton Schuck, age 12.

The Little Red Stocking by Tina Dine is a lovely addition to anyone's adoption library. The Little Red Stocking is about adoption and infertility. It features a man, woman and cat and their journey waiting to adopt a child. Their journey, I think, is similar to my parent's story. 

The couple in this story always wanted a baby but they couldn't have one. The story is told in the third person. The parents in The Little Red Stocking love each other but feel like something, or someone is missing. Then one day while the wife is out shopping at a market she finds a little red velvet stocking. She thinks it is just what they needed. She shows it to her husband and together they write down little hopes and dreams for a baby. They put the slips of paper in the red stocking each day. 

They hang the stocking on the fireplace mantle and together they start to feel a sense of hope. The stocking itself is kind of like a Christmas stocking and the notes inside are a little like a wish list. The  husband writes: "Come to us little one and I will place your little hand in mine and I will never let you go." The wife writes similar messages. After about one year of this, the husband finds it too painful and tells the wife to put the stocking away. One day the stocking gets lost. The man and woman are incredibly sad because the stocking now holds all the wishes of their family also. They want the stocking back. The phone rings and someone finally finds it. The couple meets the woman who found the stocking and she tells them she has read all the wishes inside. 

The woman who found the stocking is pregnant. She tells them she wants to make their wishes come true. 

I like the book because it is sweet and a bit of a tearjerker. This is a good book for any adoptee. It would be good to read on days when you are feeling like nobody wanted you because you're birth parents gave you away. When you have the negative thoughts about not being wanted, Little Red Stocking can help because it shows how much adopted children are wanted. The couple in this book really hope with all their heart to make their family into three. Eventually their wish comes true.

The illustrations by Jaded Dragon Studios are cute. Little Red Stocking $14.95 in the US by Mascot Books, $16.95 in Canada. I give this book $$$$ out of $$$$$. 

Note from me - Paula: This book deals well with the emotions of infertility and the devastating sadness and grief that accompanies the diagnosis. I like that Payton thinks it is a good resource for adoptees when feeling like they are unwanted. That feeling is a normal part of the adoption experience. I found the illustrations to be simple and I wasn't crazy about them. I find the story requires a huge amount of suspension of disbelief. Adoption is rarely quite this tidy in the end. But the level of detail and emotion here is very compelling. I have never seen the infertility experience featured in a children's book and it's refreshing to read here.

My daughter is enjoying The Little Red Stocking and I welcome all the tools available to help explain and interpret her adoption experience. I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate review. 

For me it's $$$ out of $$$$$.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

DK Canada #Valentine'sDay Book Love

How much do you love reading? If you are like our family, you love reading almost more than breathing some days. Books are fuel for the brain and I only recently realized how very many books this family owns when we started packing to get ready for our move. But there's always room for more.

Right now, if you head over to DK Canada web site you can vote on which books are your favourites and potentially win a $250 batch of DK Canada books. That should keep you busy through the long, cold winter and then some. 

Every February, DK Canada creates a boutique of their most popular books as selected by
readers. Throughout January ask invite DK lovers to submit their choices for
their favourite DK book of all-time, and we pick 20 of the top books and
offer them up at 30% off. 

Each person who votes is entered into a draw for a $250 DK shopping spree
where they can choose whatever books they like from the website.


Voting is open until January 30th. I can't wait to see what books you pick. In fact leave a comment here to tell me which of their books is your fave. Just because.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

My Five Favourite Books for Babies #TMMGG2013


When my babies were still scarcely able to open their eyes I started reading to them. I have had a lifelong passion for books and reading and knew immediately that was one thing I wanted to instil in my children - a love of reading. In fact I read essays and articles about nurturing a love for books from even before the girls arrived. One of the pictures in my head that grew in my heart was that of me sitting and cuddling with my kids and reading to them. Those were precious moments, perfect for bonding.

There are a few sweet board books I have still kept from those early years. I will keep them forever because they stand the test of time and will ring true even for grandchildren years from now. I thought that you might appreciate a list of my favourite infant board books because it is the season of giving and gifting and books are always the perfect present.

My Five Favourite Books for Babies:

Goodnight Moon

The Very Hungry Caterpillar board book

Guess How Much I Love You

Runaway Bunny

 Time for Bed

You can click on any one of the above links and purchase directly from Amazon. Time For Bed is a gorgeous little book of rhyme about animals going to sleep. I adore Mem Fox. Good Night Moon and The Runaway Bunny are both by Margaret Wise Brown and they are the first books my oldest daughter ever received. They are timeless and beautiful. I especially love The Runaway Bunny because it gently assures babies and toddlers that a mother's love means you will never be lost. Eric Carle's books are always magnificent and the drawings are truly unique. Guess How Much I Love You is just a sweet little, loving and gentle story. I have always believed babies take in so much more than we give them credit for and their brains are perfect little sponges. What better way to build a relationship than to read with them?

Monday, December 9, 2013

Polarity Bear Tours The Zoo Review


Polarity Bear Tours the Zoo: A Central Park Adventure is a whimsical little picture book for any child over the age of four who loves reading about animals. Polarity is a bear who seems a wee bit depressed, or bored with her home in a cage inside the Central Park Zoo. She enjoys the zoo but what good is that when she is caged and not able to explore? She arrived at the zoo when animals still lived in cages and not more natural habitats. These days, many zoos in North America have more spacious environments that more closely resemble life in the wild. 

So one day, Polarity hatches a plan. She squeezes the bars of her cage apart, when she angrily sticks out her tongue at the world and the cage breaks, freeing her for the evening. She tours the zoo when nobody else is around. She rides the merry-go-round, dances around, swims with the sea lions and milks every ounce of fun out of her night. 

The prose is lovely here and Polarity Bear Tours the Zoo: A Central Park Adventure is told in rhyme. The rhyme however is never forced. It flows in a manner that supports and builds the story. Lately we have seen too many children's books with rhyme that impedes narrative because it is so obviously forced. Polarity Bear Tours the Zoo is fun conceptually and a read that demands a bit of skill on the part of the reader. Challenging words and place names add to the reading level and experience here. Although I believe some 4-year-old readers might be interested in hearing this book the skill level is more aptly set about the age 6-7 and up in my opinion. 

Polarity was published in 2011 in the US. The setting is fun and the author Sue de Cuevas reads kids well. She is a specialist on the Bronte Sisters and used to teach at Harvard, but here she brings a smart little story to an audience of growing readers and she pens the narrative with a sophisticated touch. The illustrations here are dynamite. One of my favourite things to do when we review books here is to ask my daughter's opinions on the story. Ainsley, 9, enjoyed the story and very much likes books about animals. But her one conistent comment was about the illustrations. "I loved the pictures." We both had trouble choosing just one because there are so many brilliant pictures in this book. Illustrator Wendy Rasmussen elevates this book to art with her incredible pictures of Polarity dancing, swimming with sea lions (my favourite) and then collapsing in exhaustion at end of the night. Rasmussen has illustrated over 25 books, many of which were about animals. I cannot stress enough how magical and captivating her pictures are. These are frameable pages, magnificently rendered with emotion and life. Each picture captures Polarity experiences a larger than life adventure and emotion. Spectacular art.

Polarity Bear Tours the Zoo: A Central Park Adventure would be a great gift book for any animal loving children in your life. It costs $17.95 and is a hardcover picture book published by Polarity Bear Books. This book gets a $$$$ out of $$$$$. We received a copy for free in order to review this book. I was not paid to post this review. My opinion is my own.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Top Five Young Adult (13-17) Reads for 2013


My apologies. I have been absent for a couple of months here because I have been getting ready to move and renovating and haven't had any time to read. But now as we approach the end of year 2013 I feel the need to get back to reading and to compile the usual year end lists of best reads. Why not start with Young Adults ages 13 and upto 17?

 I plan to bring you a few more as the month progresses. I am gifted here often with some incredible reads from young adult authors and I love that I get to read some gorgeous writing here before my daughter does. Then, of course I share these with her because I am all kinds of awesome like that.

The Secret Ingredient was reviewed here in July.

The five Best young Adult books published in 2013:
 1. The Moon and More
 2. Just One Day
 3. Fangirl
 4. The Secret Ingredient
 5.Allegiant These are recommended for ages 13 to 17. Do you have any others to add?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Disney's Never Girls Collection 1 #giveaway


Take Disney and add some fairies, with a healthy dose of magic, imagination and some horse thrown in for good measure. Well, seriously. You don't need much more than that to pull a grade school girl into a story. 

I had never heard of this series until Random House Canada sent Disney's The Never Girls From the Mist this week. But my girls were huge Rainbow Magic Fairies fans and read volumes of those fairy books, so I figured they might be intrigued by From the Mist. From the Mist is written by Kiki Thorpe. The series itself is intended for ages 6 to 10. There are four fairies, each one with a distinct personality. Kate is adventuresome. Mia is a girly girl, who loves dresses, flowers and pretty things. Lainey dreams of talking to animals and Gabby is Mia's little sister, incidentally also the one who most believes in fairies.

While at a sleepover the girls discover a mysterious mist in Gabby's room and set out to explore where it is coming from The mist brings mist horses and horses bring adventure. My youngest enjoys reading about horses and we are working through this one at night together. She still likes me reading to her at bedtime. This book is a wholesome great little before bed read. (Read - not scary or violent)

The fourth book was released today. For a short time you can win one of five prizes of the collection. Each book costs $6.99 Canadian and is a great little chapter book for imaginative girls.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Tales From The Treehouse: Lego Star Wars Visual Dictionary

"I liked the lego drawings. It fills my mind with questions."
Lego Star Wars Visual Dictionary is just the kind of gorgeous keepsake book I knew my daughter would twitch on, if she got the chance to review it. This was sent to us in advance of Star Wars Reads Day which is October 3rd. Now I have to say that since we got this book, my daughter has asked for the lego sets related to Star Wars, plus this evening she asked for a Star Wars sheet set and bedroom makeover. I think this one gets 2 thumbs up because it is a compelling little treasury.

Lego Star Wars Dictionary is by Simon Beecroft and published by DK Canada, and it's $24.99 even though I accidentally thought it $27 in the video. $24.99 is not bad at all. It's 87 pages.

Thanks to DK Canada for this book. My opinion is all my own.