Brief book review: Benji and the Giant Kite

New from best-selling author Alan C. Fox and illustrator Eefje Kuijl:

Benji and the Giant Kite

Benji and the Giant Kite is available on (affiliate link) and other retailers. For more information on the book and author, visit

Disclosure: I received this book free for review; opinions are my own.

Two hot picture books for kids from popular hit songs for adults (Brief book review)

Everything old is made new again. Sometimes such creations stink (nearly every remade movie), sometimes they soar.

The following two fantastic new picture books for kiddos based on popular songs for grownups belong firmly and forever in the latter category. (They make great holiday gifts, too.)

FOOTLOOSE by Kenny Loggins, illustrated by Tim Bowers (Music & Lyrics by Kenny Loggins and Dean Pitchford)

footloose picture book ...

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Picture book love just in time for Valentine's Day

Share some love on Valentine's Day with these picture books and more from Candlewick Press—especially sweet treats for teeny to teen kiddos. 

Huggy Kissy by Leslie Patricelli ($6.99 / 1-3 years). Patricelli's board books are a favorite of many a toddler, with titles such as two beloved by my oldest grandson, Yummy YUCKY, No No YES YES. Huggy Kissy is no exception and one my youngest grandson thoroughly enjoyed. From Mommy and Daddy to fish and doggy, everyone gives hugs and kisses in different ways. I loved that when it comes to grandmothers, "Grandma's kisses stay all day." Memorable displays of affection throughout.


Love Waves by Rosemary Wells ($8.99 / 18 mos-3 yrs) It's hard when Mommy or Daddy must leave a little one behind as they go to work. Ever-popular Rosemary Wells shows in two chapters—one in which Mommy works, the other it's Daddy—that sending "love waves" is the perfect and brave solution when missing one another. My four-year-old grandson appreciated the lesson and told me as he woke from his nap that he had sent love waves to Mommy and Daddy who were away on their trip.


A Kiss Like This by Mary Murphy ($12.99 / 2-4 yrs). There are even more kisses to enjoy in this hardcover picture book featuring split pages kids turn for charmingly illustrated surprises, each described as "like this!" My favorite is, "A mouse kiss is quick and small ... (turn the flap) like this!" Each "like this" is a sweet kiss between Mama and Baby characters, emphasized with a smoochy heart above their lips. The "everybody's kissing" page is a hoot—and not just because it includes a Mama Owl and Baby Owl.


Bear in Love by Daniel Pinkwater and illustrated by Will Hillenbrand ($15.99 / 2-6 yrs). Bear seems to be the object of a secret admirers attention, evidenced by the crunchy orange treats left outside his cave entrance. He, in turn, leaves goodies for the secret admirer. The mystery continues as the treats continue to be shared and songs sung, with the new besties eventually discovering one another and sharing a sunset. A sweet tale of unexpected kindness and finding someone special.


Olive and the Big Secret by Tor Freeman ($15.99 / 4-7 yrs) Keeping a secret—even when shared by a best friend you adore—is oh so hard to do. Olive desperately wants to share...and does. And she suffers the consequences of her misdeed as it travels back round to the friend who originally confided in her. A witty, delightful conversation starter about the importance of not always sharing everything.

Otter and Odder: A Love Story by James Howe and illustrated by Chris Raschka ($14.00 / 6-10 yrs). As the jacket flap says, "In a perfect world, an otter could fall in love with a fish and a fish with an otter, and that would be that." But such nonconformity is hard for many to swallow in a non-perfect world like ours, as well as in the complicated but beautifully watercolored world of Otter and Myrtle the fish. The tale of following one's heart was a tad over the heads of my grandsons (who are not in the suggested age range) but they sure enjoyed the interesting illustrations while I chuckled at the story.


And for older readers:

Getting Over Garrett Delaney by Abby McDonald ($7.99 / 14 yrs and up) Not one I shared with my grandsons, but an oversized paperback tale of unrequited affection teens will surely relate to. From the press materials: Seventeen-year-old Sadie is in love: epic, heartfelt, and utterly one-sided. The object of her obsession — ahem, affection — is her best friend, Garrett Delaney, who has been oblivious to Sadie’s feelings ever since he sauntered into her life and wowed her with his passion for Proust (not to mention his deep blue eyes). When Garrett leaves for a summer literary retreat, Sadie is sure that the absence will make his heart grow fonder — until he calls to say he's fallen in love. With some other girl! A heartbroken Sadie realizes that she’s finally had enough. It’s time for a total Garrett detox! Aided by a barista job, an eclectic crew of new friends (including the hunky chef, Josh), and a customized self-help guide, Sadie embarks on a summer of personal reinvention full of laughter, mortifying meltdowns, and a double shot of love. 

All the above selections are available wherever books are sold. Visit the publisher's website,, for more information.

Disclosure: I received review copies of each book. Opinions are my own. Link to publisher site is not an affiliate link.

Review & giveaway: Shoe-la-la by Karen Beaumont

It's definitely boot season, considering the cold and snow covering most of the country. That is, of course, unless you're Emily, Ashley, Kaitlyn, and Claire, the protagonists of Karen Beaumont's picture book, Shoe-la-la, enchantingly illustrated by LeUyen Pham.

In Shoe-la-la, the fancy foursome searches for the perfect shoes to match their party dresses. They exhaust every single option -- as well as the befuddled "Shoe-la-la" salesman -- before settling on unique and creative selections befitting the unique and creative style of each of the primping partygoers.

Shoe-la-la is a fun and fancy-filled tale shoe-loving gals of all ages will appreciate. Take a look:

GIVEAWAY: Scholastic Press, publisher, provided not only the free copy of Shoe-la-la for me to review, but two free copies for me to give away to readers of Grandma's Briefs. All you have to do to enter the drawing is answer the following question:

When it comes to shoe shopping, do you select shoe because of how comfortable they are or do you select them because of how fashionable they are?

Entries accepted until midnight MST January 13 and the two winners will be announced Friday, January 14.