Book/ Game Review: Build a Castle

Archicards by Paul Farrell
Archicards: Build a Castle
by Paul Farrell

5 out of 5 stars

This game has 64 cards that are designed with the towers, turrets, windows, portcullis, flags, and shields of a medieval castle. Each card has cut-out slots so that you can connect them with each other to build a 3D puzzle of a castle in any shape you want! The cards are sturdy cardboard, and printed with bright colors and a simple design.

I can’t stop playing this game! Every day for the last several days, I sit down and construct something new. I’ve done three individual towers, two towers with a bridge in between, one long building, and one L-shaped building with one big tower. I keep changing it up, and I feel so creative! It’s completely fascinating because it fires up my imagination and there are so many options for how to put the castle together. Continue reading

Non Fiction Review: The Baby Sleep Plan

The Baby Sleep Plan by Rebecca Michi
The Baby Sleep Plan: Sleep Train Your Way to a Happy and Healthy Baby Regular price
by Rebecca Michi

5 out of 5 stars

This book gives multiple ways to train your baby to sleep on a schedule with tips on what to do when it all goes wrong. This includes journal prompts, exercises, meditations to try, self-care activities, and guidance for finally getting a good night’s sleep for you and your baby.

I really like that this book includes several different styles of coaxing your child to sleep. Not all babies and parents are going to be the same or react the same way, so it’s perfect to have a variety of ideas to try and find what works for you. Continue reading

Book Review: The Haunting of Granite Falls

The Haunting of Granite Falls by Eva Ibbotson
The Haunting of Granite Falls 
by Eva IbbotsonKevin Hawkes (Illustrations)

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

Young Alex, the laird of Carra, is forced to sell his ancient and dilapidated Scottish castle to an American millionaire. Poor Alex is heartbroken to be leaving his ancestral home, but worst of all is the parting with his ghostly friends who haunt the Castle of Carra. When the millionaire tears down the castle and transplants it in Texas where his ailing daughter, Helen, can enjoy it, the ghosts accompany the ancient stones of their home, and uncover an evil plot to kidnap Helen. The good ghosts befriend a mysterious phantom hand, and rely on Alex to help save poor Helen from her kidnappers!

This has all the charm and silliness that I’ve come to love in Ibbotson’s books! The writing is fresh with a whimsical story-telling style. I love how weird and wacky the characters are, and how every detail about them carries weight in the story. The plot is full of preposterous surprises and plenty of action.

One of the best things about Ibbotson’s writing is how she takes ordinary things and turns them upside down to the astonishment of the reader.

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Book Review: Kid Authors

Kid Authors by David Stabler
Kid Authors: True Tales of Childhood from Great Writers 
by David Stabler (Goodreads Author)Doogie Horner (Illustrations)

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

This collection of short biographies of famous authors focuses on each author as a child, and what childhood experiences and situations led that person to become a writer.
Including interesting biographies about authors such as Lucy Maud Montgomery, Laura Ingalls Wilder, J.R.R. Tolkien, Jules Verne, Mark Twain, Roald Dahl, J.K. Rowling, Sherman Alexie, and Stan Lee; this book covers authors from a wide variety of backgrounds and time periods for an eclectic look at what inspires readers to become writers.
Continue reading

Picture Book Review: Is a Worry Worrying You?

Is a Worry Worrying You? by Ferida Wolff
Is a Worry Worrying You? 
by Ferida WolffHarriet May SavitzMarie Letourneau (Goodreads Author)(Illustrations)

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

This is such a fun and hilarious book about dealing with anxiety and learning not to worry. I love how the more serious advice is interspersed with funny examples. The advice includes simple things like activities to take your mind off your worries, and encouragement to face your worry and see if it really makes sense.
The silly examples include things like, If you are worried about a hundred elephants coming over for tea, but you don’t have any teabags, then offer them lemonade instead!

The cute illustrations make the book so fun to read, and really enhance the advice given.
Above all, this book encourages children to talk about their anxiety with a friend, and share their worries with parents, so that those fears lose their power over you. Continue reading

Book Review: Aunt Jane’s Nieces at Work

Aunt Jane's Nieces at Work by Edith Van Dyne
Aunt Jane’s Nieces at Work (Aunt Jane’s Nieces, #4) 
by Edith Van Dyne (Pseudonym)L. Frank Baum

3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads
In this fourth book in the series, Kenneth is getting involved in politics and is sadly losing the election to become a State Representative. The three nieces decide to help him in his campaign, and they fight against dirty politicians, ignorant country voters, and shady political dealings that threaten to overwhelm the campaign. Along the way, they befriend the country people, and help a farmer to find his missing daughter.

I get bored with politics, so I didn’t especially enjoy the plot, but I liked how the mysteries were surprising and interesting. I loved how the girls help Kenneth to set up a rally that throws their opponent’s arguments out the door, how they discover the underhanded political deals, and they aid in solving the mystery of the missing farmer’s daughter. Continue reading

Book Review: Brave Red, Smart Frog

Brave Red, Smart Frog by Emily Jenkins
5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

This delightful collection of familiar fairy tales is told with a fresh voice and enchanting writing!

Including new versions of Snow White, The Frog Prince, Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel, and several others that are less well-known, this book provides a crisp new look at these old tales while still remaining true to the main stories.

While the basic plots remain the same, it’s the sparkling dialogue and little inside jokes that make these fairy tales so enjoyable to read and reread.

The lovely illustrations bring the stories to life and give a nod to classic fairy tale illustrators like Arthur Rackham and Walter Crane. I love how elegant the illustrations are! Continue reading