Picture books for poetry month, plus GRAND Social No. 202 link party for grandparents

Picture books for poetry month

April is National Poetry Month, and I had the pleasure of previewing some super picture books of poetry of various sorts from Candlewick Press.

Take a peek at the sweet, silly, and shark-filled fun you can share with your favorite poetry-lovers-to-be in my post titled April is National Poetry Month: Favorites new and newfangled for girls and boys.

One of my favorites (which you literature lovers will appreciate) is Shrunken Treasures: Literary Classics, Short, Sweet, and Silly by Scott Nash. Such fun, even grownups will chuckle, grin... and groan (appreciatively, of course).

shrunken treasures by scott nash 

Cheers to...

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11 last-minute gift ideas for grandmothers and others to give and get

Time's ticking and if you still have a few stockings to fill or a few gifts to give, here are some simple gift ideas to consider. I tested out each — free for review — and give an honest thumbs-up to all.

A few are ideal for grandmas to give, a few more ideal for grandmas to get. Bonus: All can be ordered online, so no need to be out and about in the snow. (Note: There are NO affiliate links in this post.)

RING IT GAME ($14.99, BlueOrangeGames.com)

ring it game

Oh my goodness! My four-year-old grandson loves this game, even though it's designed for...

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Spooky stories, plus GRAND Social No. 178 link party for grandparents

Spooky stories

Sheesh! Can you believe Halloween is Saturday!? Time flies at such a scary speed!

Thankfully there's still time (admittedly little) to sit with a kiddo or two and enjoy scary Halloween tales together. Scary being relative, of course. I've shared a few sorta-scary ideas in the Back Room, some to read with a child in your lap, some for bigger kids to enjoy on their own:

halloween books for kids

Click on that graphic above to get the details on each of the festive tales from Candlewick Press I had the pleasure of reviewing over the weekend. I look forward to...

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Thanksgiving picture books, plus GRAND Social No. 132 link party

Thanksgiving picture books

It's nearly Thanksgiving, and I have some suggestions for Thanksgiving picture books you and yours will happily devour in celebration of Turkey Day. These colorful offerings cover giving thanks and eating healthy, plus other Thanksgiving sorts of things including dodging the hall of aunts and the hall of butts. That's right, the hall of butts, a chuckle-worthy scene in The Great Thanksgiving Escape.

thanksgiving picture books from Candlewick

Find my brief reviews (and I do mean brief) of...

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In celebration of Father's Day: Storybook dads

My son-in-law is a pretty darn good dad. Not only does Preston squash scorpions, regularly take my grandsons to baseball games and ride the scary rides with Bubby at theme parks, he also reads to Bubby and Mac. As in, bedtime storybook readings.

dad reading to sons

Being the book-loving, storybook-reading grandma that...

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Nature-nurturing books for young readers

Though Earth Day 2014 has come and gone, every day is a great day for sharing with children books on nature and the environment. Especially picture books the kids will not only enjoy but possibly — no, probably — learn a little from.


Last week I received four fantastic picture books...

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Poems past, present and in celebration of National Poetry Month

I had the privilege as a seventh-grader to have an English teacher who encouraged his students to seek out poetry that moved them. One assignment from him was to write down a handful of favorites along with the reasons that we liked those particular poems.

teen binder 

As this teacher understood that song lyrics were poetry that resonated with teens, my selections included several song lyrics — and far too revealing explanations on why...

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Love is in the air... and in these children's books for Valentine's Day

With Valentine's Day in sight, 'tis the season for celebrating love. Just last week I received a box of books that do exactly that, books I plan — for the most part — to share with Bubby and Mac when I see them this weekend.

Dinosaur Kisses

Alas, as time is of the essence for those looking to share sweet tales with sweet kiddos, I'm going to share these books from Candlewick (which I received free for review) with you before my grandsons even get a peek at the pages. Yes, you are that special to me.

Without Bubby and Mac previewing these stories...

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From shivers to shrieks: Spooky stories for Halloween

A lot of people enjoy being scared. I'm not sure why that is, but the plethora of scary movies, scary books, scary television shows — and scary vampires and zombies everywhere — confirm that to be true.

Even my grandsons like to be scared. Sort of.

Bubby and Mac like sort of scary stuff that sort of scares them a little. Especially sort of scary Halloween stuff. And sort of scary Halloween books, in particular. In fact, when I visited my grandsons in July, we went to the library one day and Bubby made a B line for the Halloween picture books. In July!

(Of course, his mom contributed to the early enjoyment of all things spooky. Megan loves Halloween picture books, too, and checked out a huge stack of sort-of-spine-tingling tales for her and the boys to enjoy. In July.)

The joy my grandboys — and their mother, my daughter — get out of Halloween books is part of the reason I was delighted to receive (free for review) several Halloween books from Candlewick Press. I'll be packing a few of them — the sort of scary ones, at least scary for wee ones — in my Grandma Bag to share with Bubby and Mac when I visit next week.

Another reason I was delighted to get the spooky stories? So I could share them with you here today.

(Don't be afraid... they're mostly just sort of scary. I promise.)

Vampire Baby by Kelly Bennett, illustrated by Paul Meisel ($15.99, Ages 4-7) Mac is going to love, love, love this one, as he's been experiencing a few bites from one of his fellow toddlers at his babysitter's. I'm thrilled there's a trailer for it, so you can get a real taste (har, har) for this treat.

Ghost in the House by Ammi-Joan Paquette, illustrated by Adam Record ($15.99, ages 3-7 years) A rhythmic tale where the spooky stuff grows in number with each turn of the page.
From Candlewick: When a little ghost goes slip-sliding down the hallway, he suddenly hears... a groan! Turns out it’s only a friendly mummy, who shuffles along with the ghost, until they encounter... a monster! As the cautious explorers continue, they find a surprise at every turn — and add another adorably ghoulish friend to the count. But you’ll never guess who is the scariest creature in the house!

Filbert, the Good Little Fiend by Hiawyn Oram, illustrated by Jimmy Liao ($15.99, ages 3-7) I love this book so, because Filbert makes me think of Bubby and the angel character makes me think of Mac. I have a feeling they will agree (or fight over who's who; we'll see).
From Candlewick: Daddy and Mommy Fiend want their little Filbert to be gruesome and ghastly, but he won’t trample or terrify, roar or holler. He’d much rather help an old lady with her bags or go bird-watching. What are they to do with him? When Filbert starts school, he quickly learns that good behavior isn’t tolerated in class, and he is banished outside until he can act like a proper little fiend. Suddenly a little angel appears, flying fast and furious until... bump! Could this naughty Angel-School dropout be just the friend Filbert needs? Could they find a way together to make everyone accept them as they are?

The Music of Zombies by Vivian French, illustrated by Ross Collins ($15.99, ages 8-12) See? I told you: Zombies are everywhere. But this book seems like a must-have for preteens who enjoy sort of scary tales. I envision the entire series (this is the fifth Tale from the Five Kingdoms) being a great gift for the holidays.
From Candlewick:
Prince Albion expects a unique occasion when he starts planning Cockenzie Rood Day to celebrate his kingdom—and himself. What he doesn’t expect is boppings on the head and kidnapping, all because a zombie wants to play his fiddle in the talent contest. With a misbehaving path, a romantic bat, and a greedy butler to set them on their way, Gracie Gillypot and Prince Marcus are off on their fifth adventure. It’s up to a Trueheart, a resourceful prince, and Gubble the troll to stop the zombie before he does some giant damage to the Five Kingdoms.

Feral Nights by Cynthia Leitich Smith ($17.99, ages 14 years and up) This is one I plan to read in the nights leading up to Halloween. The back-cover quote from The Horn Book calling it "A hearty meal for the thinking vampire reader" has me intrigued... and ready to be sort of scared.
From Candlewick:
When sexy, free-spirited werecat Yoshi tracks his sister, Ruby, to Austin, he discovers that she is not only MIA, but also the key suspect in a murder investigation. Meanwhile, Werepossum Clyde and human Aimee have set out to do a little detective work of their own, sworn to avenge the brutal killing of werearmadillo pal Travis. When all three seekers are snared in an underground kidnapping ring, they end up on a remote island inhabited by an unusual (even by shifter standards) species and its cult of worshippers. Their hosts harbor a grim secret: staging high-profile safaris for wealthy patrons with evil pedigrees, which means that at least one newcomer to the island is about to be hunted. As both wereprey and werepredator fight to stay alive, it’s up to mild-mannered Clyde — a perennial sidekick — to summon the hero within. Can he surprise even himself?

Find out more about these books and others at Candlewick.com.

Best wishes for a splendidly spooky weekend!

Disclosure: The books above were sent to me free for review. Opinions and anecdotes are my own.

Today's question:

What is the last scary — or sort of scary — book you read?