Friday, September 30, 2011

Steps4Kids - Multiply DVD Review & Giveaway

Sponsored by

I wish I would of had the Steps4Kids program CD's when I was a kid. I was one of those kids that just couldn't seem to grasp anything unless I was walked through it Step By Step. The Steps4Kids program is based on the Step-By-Step concept and is explained in a simple, easy to understand VISUAL manner to make it easier to understand and enable kids to succeed in mastering math.

I received the multiplication DVD to review and I must say I am very impressed. If your kid's are struggling with mastering their math facts please consider this program: 

  • 80 minutes of math support - (think a "tutor" that helps your child learn their multiplication facts (or properties), math tricks and short cuts and patterns they can use to help them remember their times tables.
  • Provides a visual and auditory teaching method providing short cuts and patterns to help your kid's understand what they are trying to master. 
  • Visually teaches math facts through the number 12, math terms and properties, and presents the equations in both the horizontal and vertical formats to help with rote memorization.
  • Introduces multiplication of double digit numbers by single digit numbers to help students develop their skills for higher math.

  • Separate track for educators offers templates for interactive whiteboard use, ideas for accommodations to help students, and teaching strategies to help with multiple digit multiplication.
  • Co-designed by an education advocate who has been twice  recognized with awards of “Excellence” by the community advisory committees of a 14 school district education consortium.
Released in 2011, the Steps4Kids multiplication DVD received the"All Star" (3 star) endorsement from the Kids First! Coalition for Quality Children's Mediathe valued  Star review from the School Library Journal and was selected as "DVD of the Year" fromCreativeChild Magazine.  

You can purchase your own copy HERE for $24.99 - with everything this DVD comes with your kid's will master their multiplication in no time through the visual and auditory method of teaching and also all of the worksheets that are included. This program is ideal for both school & homeschooling.

Here is a handy flyer that you can print off for yourself - or give it to your child's math teacher or even the principal of the school.  Click Here

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Classic Reading for Kids: Pinocchio - Review & Giveaway

Stumble Tumble TuesdayThis is the last week of the Classic Reading for Kids reading series. We've been reviewing 4 great books by "turn of the century" authors (the 19th-20th century that is). Next week I plan to complete the series with a few thoughts on why and when you should introduce your children to the classics - particularly older classics. You can read the other reviews here:

Classic Starts: Pinocchio (Classic Starts Series)Pinocchio
by Carlo Collodi
Age 9-12, 272 pages
ISBN: 978-0140367089
Puffin Publishing

"how do you know I am lying?"
"Lies, my boy, are known in a moment. There are two kinds of lies, lies with short legs and lies with long noses. yours, just now, happen to have long noses."
Pinocchio, not knowing where to hide his shame, tried to escape from the room, but his nose had become so long that he could not get it our of the door. (from Adventures of Pinocchio)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Llama Llama Home With Mama - Book Review & Giveaway

Llama Llama Home With Mama
by Anna Dewdney
Age 3-8, 40 pages
Penguin Publishing
Purchase from Amazon for $9.89

Llama Llama, morning light.
Feeling yucky, just not right.
Down to breakfast.
Tiny sneeze.
Sniffle, snuffle.
Tissues, please!

Ah-choo! Uh-oh, Llama Llama's nose is feeling tickly, his throat is feeling scratchy, and

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Fall Countdown w/ Kane Miller Books

Are you ready for Fall & Halloween? Kid's starting to think about their costumes, trick or treating, and the parties that come with it? I thought I'd share a few of my favorite Kane Miller titles that pertain to Fall & Halloween. There are some great ones! If you'd like to order them just click on the title and you'll go right to the website.  Enjoy!

13 Ghosts of Halloween cover imageThe 13 Ghosts of Halloween
by Robin Muller
Publisher: Kane Miller Books
Age 6+, paperback, $7.99
ISBN: 978-1-935279-14-3

The 13 Ghosts of Halloween is one of my favorite Halloween books. The story is humorous and engaging, promotes math and counting skills, beginning reading, encourages audience participation (think story time in school or the library - or even just reading with mom and dad) and the illustrations are great too!

I've had many kids stop by my booth to check out this book & a lot of parents will snap it up and once I explain that you can "sing" the story to the 12 Days of Christmas I'll actually have people start singing it with their kids and borrow my chair so they can sit and read the book. It's awesome!

What others are saying:
"A group of children are determined to prove that they are brave, even in the face of ever increasing numbers of scary creatures. A humorous take on the original 12 Days of Christmas -- a ghoulish delight for young children." - Kiss the Book 

The Story of Growl
by Judy Horacek
Publisher: Kane Miller Books
Age 3-8, paperback, $15.95
ISBN: 978-1-933605-80-7

About the book: Growl is a little purple monster who lives alone in a big castle at the end of Eucalyptus Drive. She likes to hop, and skip, and jump, and sing. But best of all, she likes to growl! One afternoon, Growl sneaks across her garden and growls over the neighbor's fence! A special rule is then made and Growl is banned from doing what she loves best. What will she do? How will Growl get her growl back?

The Story of Growl is funny, promotes observational skills, the illustrations are eye catching and the story itself is great for starting discussions and creative writing excercises (homeschooling & the classroom). Note: This book received the Teacher's Choice for the Family award and the Notable Australian Children's Book award

What others are saying:
"... encourages friendship and thinking about what you might need from a friend, and also offers good limits that a child, or person, should have." - Cheryl Rainfield

"...(A) valuable springboard for discussions of friendship, whether in the classroom, at home or in a storytime setting." - Kirkus Review

For Teens & Adults:
(I haven't this one yet - but it's definitely on my TBR list - so watch for the review!)

Dying to Tell Me
by Sherryl Clark
Age 11+ hardback, $15.99
ISBN: 978-1-61067-063-0

Read an excerpt

About the book: After moving to a rural Australian town, Sasha’s unwelcome premonitions lead her to solve a string of art thefts while tackling her own issues.

Ever since her mum left, Sasha’s “life has turned into a huge, weird disaster area.” The sad, anxious Sasha knows her dad’s trying hard to hold the family together. When he accepts a police job in Manna Creek to “make a new life,” Sasha decides she’ll give “moving to the back of nowhere” a chance, just to make him happy. Unimpressed with the drab town, the bedraggled house behind (cont reading)
A stronger-than-she-realizes heroine uses her disconcerting telepathic gifts to help others and heal herself in this satisfying adventure. (Paranormal adventure. 11-14) (reviewed by Kirkus)

The Museum of Mary Child
by Cassandra Golds
Age 9+, hardback, $15.99
ISBN: 978-1-935279-13-6

The Museum of Mary Child is a "gothic" novel full of dark thoughts, angst and mystery. Heloise finds a mysterious doll and is forced to run away,ending up in an orphanage. But one day, she must return to the house where the devastating secret of her past awaits.

My thoughts: I read this book when it first came out. The doll and the book cover actually caught my attention and the back description made me want to read it. The tone of the book is very dark, the girl is full of 15 year old angst, lost in a home life that is stagnant and I personally think depressing. Heloise is being raised by her godmother who forbids any toys in the house and when Heloise finds a doll buried beneath the floorboards of the museum next door she keeps it against her godmother's wishes. The doll is tied up in the family past and Heloise (to me) seemed like she was tired of being pushed away and not having her questions answered.  You'll have to read the book for yourself. I'd be interested in your thoughts and whether you liked the book.

I can tell you that the teen that purchased my copy seemed intrigued with the cover, the doll (even though she said dolls "creeped" her out) and the mystery within the story. I've had a few other teens ask about the book too. This genre seems to appeal to a certain group of readers - those that like creepy, vampire dark type of books - if you like that type of story you'll love this book!

This book has earned the Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Books of the Year and the CBCA 2010 notable Books List - Young Readers.

What others are saying:
“…a strangely haunting gothic fantasy. It’s a dramatically told story-within-a-story about Heloise, a girl whose origins are hidden from her and whose challenge is to find the truth about her godmother, her mother and herself… Cassandra Golds’ liquid prose transcends reality and transports the reader to another place and lyrical way of thinking. Told with a distinctly literary voice, echoing the fairytales of Oscar Wilde and Hans Christian Andersen, its dark undercurrents suggest that a wide audience will find this engrossing and challenging.” – 2010 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards Judges Comments

Gabby, God's Little Angel by Sheila Walsh

Enter 9/19-10/3!

Sheila Walsh is excited to announce her new series for little girls 
and she is celebrating Gabby’s arrival with a fun KINDLE Giveaway 
and an Angel FB party on October 4th!

(you can forward the link right at the bottom of this post &
share with all the little girls & their moms in YOUR life!)

In Gabby, God’s Little Angel
Gigi fans will fall in love with Gabby and learn about God’s love
and provision and a little about His invisible creation, the angels.

Hardcover, 32 pages
Thomas Nelson Publishing
ISBN: 9781400317158
Purchase here for $11.24 on Amazon

Read what people are saying here.

Enter today - Sheila and her publisher, Thomas Nelson, 
have put together an “Angel” prize package worth over $150.00!

 One lucky winner will receive:
 A brand new KINDLE with Wi-Fi
Gabby, God’s Little Angel

But wait! There’s more …

On October 4th join Sheila at her Author Page on FB for the Gabby, 
God’s Little Angel Party! She will announce the winner of the KINDLE, 
host a chat and give away a ton of fun products from the Gigi and Gabby 
line! RSVP today and then be sure to stop by on October 4th at 5:00 PM 
PST (6 PM MST, 7 PM CST, & 8 PM EST).

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

Monday, September 19, 2011

Where do you read your books?

Thanks for stopping by today and saying hi! Would you do me a favor?  I've just restarted this blog and could use some help getting it going. If you Twitter and add a link on your FB pages too I would greatly appreciate it. Just let me know in the comments and I'll pay it forward.  Thanks so much! 

Stumble Tumble TuesdayGive It To Me Monday

Where do you read at night?  Is it comfortable, you can swing your legs over the arm and slouch down while reading The Great American Novel?  We had a chair like that when I was a kid.  It was big, easily sat 2 people - or Dad and ME while we read the Great American Storybook (LOL).  I so wish I still had that chair - I wonder what happened to it?  The arms and basic chair frame were solid oak with a big old green back and seat.  You wouldn't think it would of been very comfortable but it was.

My friend Caitlin at Wayfair pointed out this chair.  The design is timeless, comfortable and I would throw a quilt over the back and enjoy curling up near the fire.  Herman Miller of Eames designed this chair back in 1956 with the ultimate goal of having a chair that is as warm and receptive as a well-used first baseman's mitt.  (Now, doesn't that sound comfortable?)  There are over 30 color/fabric swatches available and you can make your own "one of a kind" chair - just be sure to order the ottoman and chair at the same time so the woods match.  The chair has a 100% price matching guarantee and a 12 year manufacturer warranty which shows pride in their workmanship and trust that you and your family will LOVE reading the Great American Storybook just like my Dad and I did in our Green leather rocker way back in the 70's.

The Eames Lounge Chair looks extremely comfortable to me and I would love to have this in my  "office" (if you can call it that). This one looks like the lower back would be supported and I wouldn't end up all hunched over while I work. 

BTW, did you know the CSN is now Wayfair? They've changed their name and are busy rebranding their site. It looks beautiful, with the same high quality products and service - and a new name!

Do you have any favorite memories of reading as a child?  Please share them by commenting below - thanks!

We're back!

Family Literacy is back after receiving an error message on Google saying that one of my readers has malware. I have just moved my blog over instead of dealing with trying to figure out how to get the message off of Google when it doesn't show up at work, or any of the other browsers & both of my anti-virus say I don't have anything on my blog. =D Which is a HUGE relief as I just had my computer rebuilt!

I have renamed my blog "Classic Children's Books" - I've fallen in love with that name. It just seems to roll off my tongue instead of stumbling off like Family Literacy & You did. That being said I'll probably just call it Classics. LOL - I always seem to abbreviate everything.

3 Giveaways: 
Classic Reading for Kids, Wk 4 will be back next week. For now I will leave Wk 3 up on GivingNSharing and you can just click on the Peter Pan book which is this weeks Classics Literature giveaway. And if you'd like to enter my $50's in Usborne Books giveaway this month feel free - it's up and running and ends on Sept 30th. Just click on the picture of the giveaway(s) you want to enter - Thanks!

Buy Charming Classics Peter Pan - Paperback with Charm Necklace at Photobucket 

PS: Our last week of Classic Reading for Kids in September I will have a review of Pinnochio and Heidi and so you'll want to be sure to return to enter that contest too. The winner will have their choice of which book they want sent to them. =D

See ya! ~ Tina

Summer Book Club Wk 6: The Elephant's Tale

Legend of the Animal Healer: The Elephant's Tale
by Lauren St John
208 pages, Ages 9-12
ISBN-13: 978-0142418796
Published by Walden Pond Press

The thrilling finale to the Legend of the Animal Healer series!

Martine and her grandmother discover that they might lose Sawubona, their animal game reserve, to a sinister stranger. In order to save her home, Martine and her best friend, Ben, follow a trail of clues to the Namibian desert. There they discover that the disappearance of 20 elephants and a secret plan that endangers many more, may be tied to Sawubana. Martine must risk everything she loves to save Sawubona and the elephants, and to finally discover the truth about her destiny and the magical connection she has with all animals. Jemmy, the white giraffe, and Khan, the last leopard, are alongside Martine and Ben as The Secret Valley reveals it's mysteries in this satisfying conclusion to the series that began with the #1 Children's BookSense Pick "The White Giraffe".

My thoughts:
The Elephant's Tale has a powerful message about endangered animals and the cruelty of poachers and greed. Beginning with the arrival of Reuben James, Martine has a nagging feeling that he is a bad man up to no good and she's certain of it when after he leaves she discovers that he has come with a will that he says her Grandfather signed before he died leaving him the sole beneficiary of the preserve. Giving almost 12 year old Martine and her Grandmother 2 weeks to pack and say goodbye to their home he leaves the preserve.

The tale begins at this point. The next day a row of bulldozers and other machines turn up with a court order to start demolition of the preserve so the White Giraffe Safari Park can be built. The story begins with a bang and the emotion and action in the book start building.

When I requested The Elephant's Tale I didn't realize that mysticism and animalism was throughout the book so I would suggest you read parts (or all) of the book and be prepared to answer questions and talk it over with your kids. Some of you may not be concerned about this but for those of you who will be I'm giving you a heads up. One of the characters in the book is a woman named Grace, who is a local sangoma (healer), who divines Martine's future and tells her that elephants will be a part of her quest - she is also the one training Martine in healing.

This book provides a good opportunity to study conservation, extinction of our animals and how we can help the planet by taking care of it. It's also a good time to talk about greed and selfishness and the character traits of honesty, responsibility and kindness (tips here).

I would personally suggest these books be read as a family or with a parent of kids 8-11 due to some of the subject matter.

The other books in this series are:

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket
Click on the book to order - each is $6.99 on Amazon

About the author: Read a Q&A article
Lauren St John's Blog * Facebook * Twitter * Website

Summer Book Club, Wk 5 - Uncommon Criminals

Uncommon Criminals
by Ally Carter
Bk 2 in the Heist Society Series
Published by Disney Hyperion
Book: $9.61 Amazon
Kindle: $8.44 Amazon
CD/MP3/Audio Book: $14.39 Amazon

About the book: 
Katarina Bishop has worn a lot of labels in her short life life. Friend. Niece. Daughter. Thief. But for the last two months she’s simply been known as the girl who ran the crew that robbed the greatest museum in the world. That’s why Kat isn’t surprised when she’s asked to steal the infamous Cleopatra Emerald so it can be returned to its rightful owners.
There are only three problems. First, the gem hasn’t been seen in public in thirty years. Second, since the fall of the Egyptian empire and the suicide of Cleopatra, no one who holds the emerald keeps it for long, and in Kat’s world, history almost always repeats itself. But it’s the third problem that makes Kat’s crew the most nervous and that is simply… the emerald is cursed.

My thoughts: 
This is a great book! First you have a SMART girl raised in a family of thieves and con men. Then you have Gabrielle (her cousin), Hale (a love interest with money and the means to get where they all need to be fast), Simon (another cousin and boy genius) and a great tale about a emerald - that's cursed.

Kat is tricked into stealing one of the emeralds when a older woman (with a connection to 'The Family") uses a forbidden name making Kat think the woman is for real and therefore deserving of being helped. When she finds out that she has been tricked she decides to steal the emerald back and from there we travel with Kat from Brooklyn, NY to Lyon, France and on to Monaco - the tiny country with the tightest security.

I really liked how the time line of the adventure is used to set up the story and each section of the story. It makes it easy to keep everything straight in the story and to keep both sections of the story apart. Ideal for kids 13+, the main character Kat in the book is a 15 year old girl. Trained in the "art" of thieving and belonging to a Family who has honed the craft for centuries.

Kat has left the family crime life behind to use her skills to steal from the criminals and give back to the original owners (picture paintings the Germans stole from Jewish families and kept or made to disappear). Now she needs to learn to tell the good from the bad to keep from being conned....

Read the first chapters here.

The Heist Society Series and another series "The Gallagher Girls" by the same author are a new type of series for girls 13+. You have strong female characters trying to solve crimes or mysteries in the way kids do. Brilliant, genius level kids trained to steal or be spies. The action is fast paced and never stops - you're kids will LOVE these books.

Won't you please TWEET for me?
Summer Book Club Wk 5: Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter - awesome NEW type of series for girls 13+: #teen #fiction

Ally Carter B&W Portrait
Ally Carter is a writer living and working in the Midwest. She loved school so much she keptgoing... and going... and going... until she finally had to graduate. Now she has degrees from Oklahoma State University and Cornell University and a house and a job and other very grown-up things. If you'd like to learn more about Ally's books, click here.

Summer Reading Club, Wk 4 - When Molly Was a Harvey Girl

When Molly Was a Harvey Girl
by Frances M Wood
Published by Kane Miller Publishing
$15.99, Age 10-14, 234 pages
Order Here

About the book:
...she absolutely did not want to move to New Mexico. The wild west was where the creatively dangerous went to remake themselves. Molly hadn’t a suspicion that she was going to fit right in.

When Molly’s father dies, it’s up to her nineteen-year-old sister Colleen to keep a roof over their heads. Unfortunately, there’s not much money left, and ever fewer options. She dresses thirteen-year-old Molly – luckily, Molly’s tall – in women’s clothing (even a corset!) and applies for jobs for both of them at the Harvey Eating Houses, which feed the popular Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad. To Molly's dismay, the plan works! She finds herself far away from her friends and her almost-sweetheart back home, smack dab in the heart of the Wild West. But Molly has a plan....

My thoughts:
I thought this book was wonderful. It's an easy read, very well researched and it's interesting to learn about the culture and attitudes of Turn of the Century (1900's) America.  Molly and Colleen show a strong contrast in maturity with Colleen having grown up raising Molly since their mother died when Molly was 3 and Colleen was 9. Their father was a successful business man and both girls grew up in a comfortable home with a housekeeper and everything they probably could want - although Molly and Colleen are not spoiled rich kids.

The book opens up with the death of their father and Colleen decides to answer an ad in the paper about becoming Harvey Girls. Harvey Girls were held to a very high standard, to behave a certain way and to work very hard, fast and in an efficient manner.  The restaurants were set up at Train Stations and served meals to travelers along with men who lived in the community. Molly and her sister were sent to work in a Harvey House in New Mexico, where Molly had to act like an 18 year old, wear her hair up, a corset and work as hard as any adult. (I thought she did a wonderful job and can't imagine a kid as young as she was to work as hard as she did)

The book includes passages about prejudice of the West (the Indians) and Molly ends up being friends with two kids that work in the kitchen who are part Indian and part Mexican. I thought it was handled very well in the book and Molly stands up for what's right. She also goes to Buffalo Bill's Christmas party for poor children where she gets a whistle and rides a wagon. She sleeps on one of the sleeping cars of the train for the first time and learns to cook by a Cajun Cook who works in the Harvey House and rules the kitchen in a mixture of French and English.

I highly recommend this book for families with teens and preteens as young as 9 years old.  It would be a great read aloud book too.

Read an excerpt
Discussion Questions

About the author Frances M Wood (from :
I was once a librarian, then I was a librarian/writer, and now I'm simply a writer. I have a new book coming out in May - When Molly Was a Harvey Girl. It's a novel that was inspired by, although not based on, the life of my great-grandmother. In the late 1800s she left her safe home in Illinois to venture into the wild, wild west. NOT the kind of thing most nice young ladies did at the time! I wish I knew more about my great-grandmother. But because I don't, I made up a story about 'Molly Gerry' and her sister, 'Colleen'. Kane/Miller is my new, and wonderful, publisher.

You can learn more about her books on her website.

Summer Book Club Wk 3 - The Last Words of Will Wolfkin

The Last Words of Will Wolfkin

The Last Words of Will Wolfkin
by Steven Knight
Age Range: 9-14
Published by Harper Collins for Children
ISBN 13  9780062001504
ISBN 10  0062001507
Kindle Book: $9.99
Hardback: $4.19
“It’s funny. If you’re born a certain way you don’t really understand how it is to be any other way.”

So it was for Toby Walsgrove—paralyzed since birth, unable to move or talk with no known family, he has spent his entire life at a Carmelite convent in London. That is, until the day that his cat, Shipley, starts talking to him. Shipley has been watching over Toby his whole life and tells him they must go to Langjoskull, a city of exiles buried deep below the surface of Iceland. Because Toby is no ordinary boy—he’s a descendant of the great king Will Wolfkin, and his kingdom needs him.

Toby has never wielded a sword that can stop time. He has never shifted into his kin creature. He has never even walked on his own two legs before. Ready or not, though, he has a destiny, a responsibility, even a family—and not all of them are happy to meet him....

My thoughts:
I loved this book! You've got the Fell who are similar to elves, shape shifters, wizards, and adventure - what more can you ask for? It's LOTR's for kids about 9/10 and up (and MUCH easier to read!). Toby is a boy living in a convent in East Finchley, London. Completely paralyzed since birth, abandoned by his mother, raised by Sister Mary who is a nun who loves him and makes the effort to read to him, talk to him, feed him and be someone who is visible in his life.

The beginning starts a little slowly as the book opens with Toby in his chair, paralyzed, Sister Mary reading to him and watching for the little birds, "Look and Leave", that migrate and live outside his window. That is Toby's life with only the occasional trip outside for long walks in his chair. He has NO friends, except for Shipley, the cat. 

One night Toby is awakened by a boy who gives him a gift of speech and movement and tells him that the time has come. He is needed to save his (many, many greats) grandfather's kingdom and that he must come with him. (Keep in mind Toby has NEVER moved, walked, sat up or even held up his own head.)  Follow Toby and his new friend to Iceland and below the surface into another world - one of shapeshifters, wizards, Thrulls, Fells, fellish power (magic) and a war for the Kingdom of Langjoskull all based on the final words of Will Wolfkin 100 years before. There are battles, swords, lava, geysers all leading up to the final battle, a battle to the death and the ultimate prize - either freedom or slavery for Langjoskull.

Steven KnightIt's an outstanding book - and I'm seriously hoping a sequel is in the future. I'd love to read more of the adventures of Toby and Emma (his long lost sort of sister) the last surviving descendants of the great King Will Wolfkin. Each kid has a purpose and the ability to save the kingdom - but only by working together.

This would be a GREAT gift for boys/girls that enjoy fantasy, sci-fi or just loved to read adventurous books.

Steven Knight is an Academy Award nominated screenwriter (credits include Dirty Pretty Things and Amazing Grace). The Last Words of Will Wolfkin is his first book for children.  He lives with his family in England.

Summer Book Club wk 2 - Journals of the Big Mouth Bass

Journals of the Big Mouth Bass: Keeping Secrets
by author Debbie Sue Williamson
Published by Souper Publishing
ISBN-10 0980123410
ISBN-13 978-0980123418
156 pages, $6.95 Amazon

About the book: 
Debbie Bass just celebrated her ninth birthday. While she thought most of the presents were kind of lame, she loves the journal that her mother gave her.

Debbie has always had trouble keeping secrets so she has decided to address every entry in her journal to God. She figures that there is a good chance that God won’t tell anyone what she is writing!

You’re invited to a front-row seat to the 1960s and sunny southern California where winters are mild, summers are hot, and kids find their way into all sorts of trouble. Join the fun as Debbie lives up to her unfortunate nickname and shares the trials and tribulations of growing up. From trying to be more girly (and failing miserably) to exciting adventures with her brother and the neighborhood kids, to facing humiliation at school, Keeping Secrets is a heartwarming, funny, and very real book about growing up female.

My Thoughts:
In this endearing middle grade book kids follow 9 year old Debbie on her adventures with The Sunny Side Gang which is made up of ALL BOYS and her dog "Chopper". There are numerous groundings for Debbie and her brother, Dell in store and that should give you an idea of how adventurous this group of kids are! Some of the adventures are dangerous and include an education on the danger of fires and when you "SHOULD" tell secrets.

The book takes place in the 1960's and it's FUN to see kids being kids. Not sitting in front of the TV all day playing games or watching shows they shouldn't be watching. Parents are parents and kids are kids. These kids take pride in winning the right to get the baseball field in the morning before the day gets hot, digging a fort big enough for all 5 kids and their dog and reading a book for the afternoon.

The book does have a few "swear" words but it's not "in your face" like it would be in a book set nowadays. Debbie is careful to tell us she can use "jack----" because it's an real animal not just a bad word. The children in the book are very "innocent" and childlike which was wonderful to see. As a caution for parents - there is a death of a child in the book due to drowning - so you may have questions to answer.

Debbie (the author) hopefully will add another book to this one making it a series. I think it would be a great series for kids in 3rd/4th grades (or ages 9-12). The author was born in SLC and grew up in California where she spent time surfing and swimming. She has 4 children, 11 grand children, 4 Schnauzers (WOW!) and loves to garden, said, golf, travel and read. She has written 1 other book "Stand" which is the story of generations of abuse (for kids/adults over 15). Read more about Stand here.

You can follow the author and learn more about her books:  Twitter    Amazon    JacketFlap

Summer Brain Drain - Suggestion:
Why not provide your daughter with this book along with a diary or journal. Encourage your daughter to journal each day - even for just 15 minutes. She can share her thoughts, her joys or upsets, the lyrics to her favorite song. Remember it's not the number of books - but the time spent reading & writing that helps prevent Summer Brain Drain!

Check out this cute little guy for a suggested book YOU can use for ideas on journaling w/ kids! 

Tobey is reading Journal Buddies: A Boy's Journal for Discovering and Sharing Excellence - I can't see any reason teachers, parents, librarians can't use it to encourage journaling for boys or girls!

I wish to thank Cadence Marketing Group for supplying me with a copy of the book to read and review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own. I was not compensated in any way except for receiving the book.