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Archive for the 'Books' Category

Lawn Boy & Sally: A Reader Review

Lawn Boy Returns The avalanche of just-published books keeps overwhelming my desk! So I enlisted the help of regular reader Noreen and her kids, who reviewed two books – a chapter book for the tween set, and a picture book for little ones. There’s nothing like a book review by a regular reader to cut through the hyperbolic hype! And cut through, they did. Suffice it to say, Noreen does not mince words.

So here’s the scoop on Stephen Huneck’s picture book, “Sally’s Great Balloon Adventure,” and Gary Paulsen’s “Lawn Boy Returns,” the sequel to his very popular “Lawn Boy.” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, July 5th, 2010
Under: Books | No Comments »

Vampires, Edward & Twilight Frenzy

Twilight Saga: Eclipse Premiere (AP Photo/Matt Sayles)
As everyone knows, the newest installment in the “Twilight” film saga opens in theaters this week, and the reviews are already looking pretty darn good. The Times’ Randy Myers calls it the best one of the three. If the first two were “low-achieving C-students,”  “Eclipse” is their more mature big brother. “Greater attention and care paid to developing tension, plot and secondary characters pays off,” says Myers, “resulting in an entertaining and slick ‘Eclipse.'”

Of course, Twi-hards will be flocking to theaters no matter what the review, so if you’ve got a rabid Edward fan or a member of Team Jacob at your house, you might want to check out these fun vampire party ideas for pre-premiere festivities. They come from Penny Warner, the Danville author of scores of mysteries for tweens, teens and grown-ups. Our favorite idea? The red velvet coffin cake, frosted in deep, dark chocolate.

Posted on Wednesday, June 30th, 2010
Under: Movies, Twilight Saga | No Comments »

BOOK Giveaway: Gator on the Loose!

Gator on the Loose An alligator in the city pool on Memorial Weekend? Who you gonna call? OK, maybe not Ghostbusters. Try the Carters’ Animal Rescue Team, instead – they’re the heroes of Sue Stauffacher’s new book, “Gator on the Loose!” The comic tale of the Carters – 10-year-old Keisha, Mama, Daddy, Grandma, Razi and baby Paulo – is aimed at young readers, ages 8-10. And it can be yours!

Click “comments” and tell us, do you have an end-of-school ritual? Do you host a classroom party or neighborhood bash? Give homemade gifts to teachers? We’ll draw a winner’s name next week! (Meanwhile, congrats are due to Lyn Palme, who won last week’s “Jellybeans” giveaway!)

Posted on Tuesday, May 18th, 2010
Under: Books, Contest | 6 Comments »

Jellybeans Book Giveaway

jellybeans Someone please make it stop raining. This is getting downright depressing … fortunately, there are enough fun little children’s books out there to brighten even a day as soggy as this one.

Take “The Jellybeans and the Big Book Bonanza.” for example. In fact, do – we’re giving this copy away! It’s by Laura Numeroff, of “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” fame, and it’s just the ticket for little book-loving girls. And all you have to do to win it is click “comments” and tell us, what are your kids reading right now? We’ll draw a winner’s name on Monday.

Meanwhile, the last book  – “The New Dad from A to Z” – is going out to 4tunate Dad whose advice for new fathers is: Just tell your wife “the men’s bathroom was extremely clean and it looked like the changing table was brand new, probably never used.” :-) Love it.  And there’s more fatherly advice here too!

Posted on Monday, May 10th, 2010
Under: Books, Contest | 6 Comments »

THE New Dad, A to Z

The New Dad from A to Z Wednesday, already?? OK, folks, last week’s Backyardigans DVD is heading off to our winner, Marci, and we’re getting ready for this week’s giveaway … a tad late. This time, we’re showcasing “The New Dad from A to A: Real Tips for a Surreal Time,” by Dan Consiglio, who promises to answer such tough questions as “Will I get pooped on?” (Yes) “Will I ever sleep again?” (In about a decade) and “What the hell is a onesie?” It’s a very fun, very real little book for new and about-to-be dads, mixing plenty of humor with a good dash of reality. And it’s arranged, as you’d expect from the title, from A (is for anxiety) to Z. Great little gift for baby showers or Father’s Day.

And we’re giving away a copy to one lucky family. All you have to do to enter is click “comments” and share your best piece of advice for the new dads out there. We’ll draw a winner’s name on Monday, May 10!

Posted on Wednesday, April 28th, 2010
Under: Babies & Tots, Books, Dads | 5 Comments »

Jellybeans, Castles & Book Reviews

jellybeans A slew of new children’s books just hit my desk and I’m doing my best to wade through the piles. But these three particularly caught my attention, so here is a trio of mini-reviews. (And yes, we’ll be giving away copies in the weeks to come. This week, though, the giveaway star is “Party Animals” by Kathie Lee Gifford. Follow the link for details!)

Laura Numeroff,  of “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” fame, has a sweet new book out dubbed “The Jellybeans and the Big Book Bonanza.” It’s co-authored with Nate Evans and illustrated by Lynn Munsinger, who did the adorable images for “Tacky the Penguin,” still one of my favorite picture books even after all these years. The Jellybeans, as Numeroff fans will know, are a group of four little animals – Anna, Emily, Nicole and Bitsy – who are as different as jellybean flavors can be, but get along just as beautifully. In this outing, they head for the library to find books that are just right for them. The illustrations are very cute and the prose is gentle fun, but unlike the cookie-loving mouse series, there’s none of the wry humor – and little boys will turn up their noses at this very girl-centric tale.  It’s a little spunkier than “Angelina, Ballerina,” not as sassy as “Fancy Nancy,” but it will appeal to the same core demographic. :-) Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, April 13th, 2010
Under: Books | 3 Comments »

BIRTHDAY Book Giveaway!

gifford We’ve been talking about birthday parties for weeks – and birthday cakes, in particular. But this week, we’re turning our attention to the parties themselves and giving away a colorful birthday book, Kathie Lee Gifford’s “Party Animals.” Yep, that’s Gifford of Today show fame, and the hardcover picture book was inspired by a song off her 2001 children’s music album called, of course, “Party Animals.” The book version, which hits bookstore shelves tomorrow, tells the tale of Lucy Goosy, whose desire to throw the Best. Party. Ever. runs awry when she starts coming up with all the reasons not to invite her friends. Pig will make a pig of himself and Goat, well, Goat’s a grump. It’s told in rhyme, the illustrations are big fun and your birthday kid will love it. And it can be yours!

Click “Comments” and tell us about your best birthday party idea ever. We’ll draw a winner’s name next Monday!

P.S. Loved the answers to our last giveaway question – which asked how you knew you were turning into your mother. Among them:
The first time I realized I was turning into my mother was when my daughter asked “why”? and I answered “Because I said so”. Been there! The book “When Did I Get Like This” is headed for our winner Sarah’s mailbox at this very moment!

Posted on Monday, April 12th, 2010
Under: Books, Contest | 11 Comments »

STEPHENIE Meyer Pens New Vampire Book

Stephenie Meyer (Courtesy Little Brown and Company) All right, you Team Edward fans. Stephenie Meyer just announced that she’s publishing another book in her outrageously successful “Twilight” series. This one’s a 192-page novella, titled “The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner” – it’s based on a  vampire character who appeared in the third book,  “Eclipse,” and will grace the silver screen when “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse” hits multiplexes in June.

The novella will be published online at from June 7 to July 5 as a free gift for fans.  The hardcover version, which sports an hourglass filled with red sand, benefits  the American Red Cross.

“You all have bought a ton of my books, and I wanted to give you this story as a gift,” Meyer says in a letter to fans. “My publisher was awesome and embraced this idea. One other aspect of this release is the plan to give a more important gift to people who really need it. One dollar of each book purchased in the US from the first printing will be donated to the American Red Cross for their relief efforts in Haiti and Chile and other parts of the world where people are in great need. We’re going to have an option online as well, so you can choose to make a donation if you want when you read the story online. I hope you will. ”

OK, folks, scale of 1 to 10: how excited are you?

Posted on Tuesday, March 30th, 2010
Under: Twilight Saga | 3 Comments »

BOOK Giveaway: When Did I Get Like This?

"When Did I Get Like This?" By Amy Wilson Whoo boy. We’ve all been there  and we’ve all asked ourselves that question, “When Did I Get Like This?” Amy Wilson’s new book, subtitled “The Screamer, the Worrier, the Dinosaur-Chicken-Nugget-Buyer & Other Mothers I Swore I’d Never Be,” is by turns hilarious and heartbreaking. No wonder, she’s the author of the off-Broadway hit, “Motherload.”

The book doesn’t hit bookstores till next week but we’re giving away a sneak peek copy right now and all you have to do is… tell us about the first time you realized you were turning into your mother.  Click “comments” and share, and we’ll pick a winner’s name next Monday, April 5.

P.S. Congrats, by the way, to Kristie who won last week’s “Emmeline” book giveaway!  And if you’re still looking for great ideas for things to tuck into your little darlings’ Easter basket,  be sure to check out that list in the comments section. It’s completely awesome.

Posted on Monday, March 29th, 2010
Under: Books, Contest | 4 Comments »

‘EMMALINE & The Bunny’ Giveaway

Emmaline and the Bunny by Katherine Hannigan OK, folks, this week we’re giving away a copy of “Emmaline and the Bunny,” just in time for Easter. This adorable, hardcover book, for the first through third grade crowd, tells the tale of irascible, impish Emmaline who wants a bunny. But Emmaline lives on Shipshape Street in Neatasapin, a town where tidiness is cherished and children are expected to be quiet and spotless. And pets are, you know, messy. The book’s sweet water color illustrations will make you think of “Peter Rabbit,” and the prose is fun, both for new readers and grown-ups reading this one aloud. And it can be yours!

Click the “comments” box and tell us, what are you putting in your child’s Easter basket that’s not sugary? We’ll draw a winner’s name on Monday, March 29. (Meanwhile, congrats are due to Cathy, the Pink Panther fan who won last week’s retro Bugs Bunny DVD!)

Posted on Monday, March 22nd, 2010
Under: Books, Contest | 13 Comments »