9 of My Family’s Favorite Children’s Books

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I don’t think it’s any secret that our family loves to read. It’s a source of great pride that all four of us are “hiding under the cover with a flash light and a good book” kind of people. Perhaps the only thing I love more than reading a good book is finding other people a good book to read. So I thought I’d hop on a recent bandwagon of children’s book recommendations (Mommy Shorts has some great picks) and share with you some of our family favorites from the past ten years or so.

Board Books For Babies AKA The Books I Buy For Baby Showers

That’s Not My Bunny by Fiona Watt and Rachel Wells

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This is just one of like a dozen books by Usborne in which the reader flips through a series of bunnies (or dogs, cats, whatever) to find THEIR bunny. Each of the potential bunnies has a defining characteristic that you are encouraged to feel along the way. I love a good touch and feel book for the little ones and my kids were obsessed with this one. It’s a great first board book because there are not too many words, plenty of repetition and lots of bunnies to pet. Way easier than the petting zoo.

We’re Going On a Bear Hunt by Helen Oxenbury and Michael Rosen

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This is one of those books I have a tendency to buy for baby showers. It’s a delight to read out loud which is basically my number one requirement for children’s books. If I feel like I need to paraphrase to get through story time without losing my mind, you aren’t doing it right. This books nails it – it’s got that sweet spot of enough words to not feel brain numbingly simple but not so many that story time needs a glass of wine to get through. Which isn’t to say you can’t have a glass of wine, you just won’t need it to get through page one.

Goodnight Gorilla by Peggy Rathman

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This was one of the few books that I managed to enjoy even after the 800th reading. My son could not get enough of this gorilla and his antics and just how clueless the zoo keeper is. It’s a very visual book so young non-readers will understand what’s going on before you even start reading but the words are good, too. Another well rounded winner for reading out loud.

Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You? by Dr. Seuss

51+BkXslZSL._SX367_BO1,204,203,200_I’ll be honest, this might be the only Dr. Seuss book that doesn’t make me want to run screaming for the hills. Most of his books have that “I need a glass of wine after the first page” quality but this one is awesome and everyone loves it. I fall into a rhythm with this one and still love reading it to babies now. I have the voices and cadence down and get annoyed when other people read it because they don’t do the sound effects right. Yes, I know, I’m a lot.

 

Picture Books You’ll Love More Than Your Kids

We Are In a Book by Mo Willems

51YSqwj-U2L._SX363_BO1,204,203,200_Mo Willems is basically a master of children’s literature and his Piggie and Elephant series is the one you need in your life when your kids start learning to read. There are like a dozen of them and they are all fantastic but this one is my favorite.

Your kids will laugh out loud as you read this to them – it’s one of those stories where the reader kind of becomes a character which is always makes for a lot of laughs. And the repetition is just the right amount to help with beginning readers but not so much that you find yourself dying inside as you read it.

Ladybug Girl by Jacky Davis and David Soman

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This is the first in a series of books about Lulu or Ladybug Girl. The illustrations are stunningly beautiful and kind of turn me into a puddle of emotions. This series captures childhood in a way that is remarkable to me and I have a tendency to gush about it.

This book has a tendency to bring out my inner child and makes for a very impactful story time.

 

The Monster At The End of This Book by Jon Stone and Mike Smollin

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Is there anyone alive who doesn’t love this book? My kids still get a kick out of this story. Heck, I still get a kick out of this story which I remember reading when I was a kid (like a few years ago). It’s kind of similar to the Piggie and Elephant books in the way they play with the fourth wall, bringing the reader into the story. The illustrations are awesome and you will hear Grover’s voice in your head when you are reading it (bonus points if you can pull off a good Grover voice out loud while reading it to your kids).

This one wins the nostalgia for days award in addition to just being an excellent book.

Literally Any Berenstain Bears book

61NKiO9R64LAny time I have some kind of life lesson or milestone that I’m trying to solidify for my kids, I have a tendency to turn to the Berenstain Bears because they have a book for literally any life situation from eating too much candy to talking to strangers to welcoming a new baby into the family. But they never really feel like one big long lecture full of bears. I loved this series as a kid and I’m so thrilled that my kids enjoyed it as much as I did.

I also love their easy reader series and highly recommend it to beginning readers.

Or Little Critter book

61H3NZ5BQ8L._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_My kids love this series, too. I think we have one for every major holiday and I loved All By Myself because I think literally every kid in the universe can relate to this and every parent remembers this phase vividly. The illustrations are so sweet. I love looking to see what the mouse is doing on each page.

What are some of your family’s favorite children’s books?

What I’m Into: Fall 2017

I’ve been a tad bit neglectful of my poor little blog lately. I think this is typical when Fall gets into full swing and life just happens and happens and happens. I thought I’d touch base on what we’ve been up to for those of you following along at home and wondering where I’ve been. Show of hands?

LIVING

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I’ve been a field trip chaperoning machine this fall. And by that I mean “I’ve been on two field trips this month! Woah!” They were both pretty fun. BB’s class went to a local cemetery for a “ghost walk” where local actors portrayed Wisconsin residents involved in the Civil War who told the kids all about their lives. My daughter was particularly smitten with the ghost photographed above who was admittedly a captivating story teller and perhaps more importantly to BB was wearing a gorgeous dress.

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In typical Wisconsin fashion, October has no idea what temperature to be. We’ve been getting a healthy mix of sunny high seventies and dreary mid fifties. My wardrobe is very confused but the kids are just going with the flow.

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I went to my first paint nite with some friends this month and painted the lovely masterpiece photographed above. It’s now hanging in my living room and my kids are pretty sure I’m an up and coming artist. I’m happy to give you a tour of my “gallery” for a very reasonable price. The event was a lot of fun – the teacher was funny and well a good teacher.

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After ignoring my optometrist for ages about not wearing my glasses when I’m reading, I finally bought myself a little chain for my glasses so they can hang out when I’m not wearing them. They are basically the opposite of reading glasses because I like to be difficult.

EATING

My family has given emphatic praise to these recipes recently:

One Pot Stuffed Pepper Casserole from Damn Delicious (accurate)

Crispy Sheet Pan Gnocchi and Veggies from The Kitchn

WATCHING

 

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image source | http://www.thewrap.com

 

Are you guys Jeopardy fans? Can we talk about Austin because he’s seriously the most impressive human I’ve ever seen. I’m a few episodes behind so no spoilers but I love it when funny, clever people have success.

I’ve also been watching old Will & Grace reruns because I’m behind the times and enjoying all of my old favorites coming back for the fall like Big Bang Theory and The Good Place. What are you watching this fall?

READING

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My book club is discussing Before the Fall by Noah Hawley this month which has gotten a lot of good reviews. The first few paragraphs were a little stiff but now that I’ve settled into it I’m really enjoying it. It has a lot of different characters and stories to tell and the initial plot to suss out. Have you read this one? It seems like an ideal book to read on a dreary October afternoon.

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I’m also reading Anne Bogel’s new book, Reading People, and definitely loving that as well. I thought I was pretty familiar with personality types but even just a few chapters in I’ve already had several Ah Ha moments. Anne is really good at getting to the root of how to make your personality work for you.

I’m afraid I might be turning into one of those people who likes to preface my conversations with, “Well as an Introvert…” but hopefully my friends don’t get too annoyed with me. Speaking of personality types, my husband shared this gem with me and if you haven’t seen it yet, well…

So that’s been my life these days. What have you been into lately?

Top 5 Tuesday: Characters I’d Rule the World With

Top 5 Tuesday is a meme hosted by the Bionic Book Worm, and it explores a different bookish topic each week! The theme this week is:

I was immediately intrigued by this prompt. Because Winter is coming, my first choice is a no brainier. I’m going to need Dany (and her dragons obvy). And also Tyrion for good measure and to keep Dany in check. Fire power, bad assery and diplomacy. Check.

Next I need an incredible warrior with something resembling a moral code. I choose Caelena Sardothian from the Throne of Glass series. She’s probably the most kick ass warrior I’ve encountered in a story.

So I’ve got a fighter, a diplomat and a mother of dragons. Now I need a sharp mind with a passion for knowledge. Someone who knows her shit and knows where to find information when we need it. Obviously that has to be Hermione Granger.

Lastly, we need an optimist and a voice of the people. Someone who won’t get caught up in their agenda and will remind us who we are fighting for. Someone with a cool head who knows how to handle people in a tizzy. We need Jane Bennet.

What do you think? How are my odds looking? Will we be victorious or go down in flames? Who would you pick?

an ode to the summer: because all good things must come to an end

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the hazy glow of summertime has nearly reached its end

though the sweet taste of ice cream is still on our lips

 

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the fairy wings of summer are put away

memories full of music and laughter echo but fade

we can still remember the idle hours of yesterday

as we return to the steady rhythm of today

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we reached for the stars and gazed at the sun

(carefully)

 

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we ran wild, we danced without a care.

howled at the moon and posed with a bear.

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we languished idly when the moment felt right

as it often did.

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but now we’ve memed all the moments

 

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we’ve plunged all the depths

we’ve plenty of chlorine to rinse from our tresses

the beach bags are empty

the sunscreen’s run out.

we know what this means:

school’s in, summer’s out.


I’m linking up with Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop. I chose her first prompt this week: Your summer recap in a poem and pictures. Head to her blog for more fun!

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What I’m Into | August 2017

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September is finally here and I don’t know about you but I’m like: Finally. My kids went back to school two weeks ago so it’s felt like September to me for awhile now. The struggles of going back to school earlier than the rest of the city. #thestruggleisnotreal #itsbeenawesome #excepttheearlymornings

I’m linking up with Leigh Kramer to share what I’ve been into lately – books, movies, tv shows, recipes, life, etc.

Here’s what I’ve been up to lately.

READING

I read a ton of graphic novels last month based on classic novels and finished two actual regular type books, too.

the graphic novels

  1. Jane Eyre: The Graphic Novel by by Amy Corzine and Charlotte Brontë – Finished 8/8 – I had a hard time following the plot as I haven’t read the novel. I’d consider this a kind of cliffs note version of the original story but I enjoying the artwork and finished the book in one sitting.

  2. Anne of Green Gables: A Graphic Novel by by Mariah Marsden (Illustrations) and Brenna Thummler (Illustrations) and L.M. Montgomery – Finished 8/17 – This wasn’t a home run for me but not a total loss either. I enjoyed spending some time in Green Gables but I am not sure that someone new to this story would fall for it in quite the same way as you would the original. The pacing felt very fast and the illustrations were not always my favorite. But it was a quick read and a nice way to reexperience an old favorite.

  3. Manga Classics: Pride & Prejudice by Stacy King and Jane Austen – Finished 8/25 – Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorite novels and I tend to enjoy most adaptations of it. This was no different. I’ve read several graphic novel versions of classic novels now but this series of manga classics is my favorite. They go into just enough details and do a good job expressing the heart and essence of the original without feeling overly abridged. Plus the artwork is beautiful.

  4. Manga Classics: The Scarlet Letter by Stacy King and Nathaniel Hawthorne – Finished 8/28 – This is one of those classics that I loathed in high school and never actually finished so I thought it would be a good book to try in manga format. I think any effort to simplify Nathaniel Hawthorne is a good thing and definitely enjoyed this more than the original. The artwork is well done and you definitely get a good understanding of the story. It feels like the important details and the heart of the story are all intact. As for the actual story, it will probably never be a favorite of mine but I can understand its importance and even why it would be a good book to discuss in school.

regular type books

20603758Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – Finished 8/4 – I enjoyed this book but it took me awhile to finish. It felt very long and I picked it up and put it down a few times. I enjoyed all the 80’s pop culture references and the plot of the story. I can see why it’s being made into a movie. The main character has a lot of heart and it was just as much a coming of age story as it was a kind of scifi action adventure story.

24388326The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood – Finished 8/23 – This book can probably be best described as disturbing. I thought the premise was interesting and Atwood definitely took the story to places I didn’t see coming, but basically all the characters are terrible people and it definitely had scenes that made me squirm uncomfortably. Not for the faint of heart. (August Book Club Pick)

Right now I’m kind of floating between books. I haven’t really committed to anything yet. My book club will be reading Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance along with the UW Big Read program.

WATCHING

My husband and I have been making our way through Scrubs together. The kids and I watched a lot of Beat Shazam and Glitter Force before they went back to school. Now that they are in school during the day I have been catching up on The Handmaid’s Tale and watching the newest season of Project Runway. I also just watched season one of Glow on Netflix and OMG I was obsessed. Seriously soooo good. Also NO I have not watched the last Game of Thrones episode so please no spoilers!

Some movies we’ve watched recently:

The original Tron was a solid movie despite the achingly old fashioned vision of ultra modern technology. I think I spent a very large chunk of the movie OMGing over oh so young Jeff Bridges. Now we need to go back and watch the original.

I also finally watched Dirty Dancing and I don’t know what I was waiting for. It was actually way better than I was expecting for some reason.

LISTENING

I am borderline obsessed with Taylor Swift’s new song, Look What You Made Me Do. My husband borderline hates it. This seems to be one of those songs that divides the line between our musical tastes. What say you?

We were driving in the car yesterday and an older Ed Sheeran song was playing and my eleven year old was singing along in the backseat. I commented on it and my husband said, “Well yeah, he loves Ed Sheeran.” How did I not notice this? But then, we all love Ed Sheeran. And yet I have not gotten around to buying any of his music which seems absurd. I’m chalking it up to the music always been readily available on Top 40 – but is it more than that?

What songs do you end up purchasing like immediately and which ones do you always enjoy but never buy?

EATING

We made this cabbage and kielbasa skillet recipe from Budget Bytes over the weekend and my husband was basically writing love songs about it. Our other favorite kielbasa recipe is this one from Dude Mom with roasted potatoes and broccoli.

LOVING

We crammed in a lot of last minute summer fun last month – a trip to Dubuque to see the Mississippi River Museum, an afternoon at the Renaissance Faire and a day trip to one of our favorite state parks for some fishing and beach time.

52164268I found ballet flats at Target that my feet didn’t immediately hate for a price that didn’t make my heart hurt. I don’t think these are wear them all day flats (at least for me) but they seem to be solid wear for an hour or two around town flats.

I want to go to all of these hotels for book lovers. And like move in and live there forever.

And God Created Millennial Earth at McSweeney’s is the LOL you need today. And possibly the one you deserve.

This Buzzfeed Quiz will tell you which Babysitter’s Club member you are – it’s surprisingly accurate. It won’t just tell you who your favorite member is (because those are rarely the same person). I got Mallory – how about you?

So what have you been into lately?

Manga Classics: Pride and Prejudice vs. The Scarlet Letter

I’ve been on a graphic novel kick lately and my most recent discovery is this line of Manga Classics which I discovered through NetGalley. You might remember from my recent post that I’ve been having mixed results with classics turned graphic novel. I liked some but found others lacking. It’s hard to really convey the full emotion and essence of a story in graphic novels without them being mammoth beasts. But manga seems like a different beast altogether and I was curious to give them a try.

If you are new to Manga, the most important thing you need to know is that the books are read basically entirely backwards from how you are familiar. The first page is going to be what you consider the last page and even the way you read each page is different. This image from Manga Classics does a great job explaining this:

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So for my first Manga experience I decided to read my all time favorite book, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen:

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image credit: https://www.facebook.com/mangaclassics/

 

Being my favorite book could be setting an unfairly high bar for this edition but to be honest I’m kind of obsessed with reinterpretations of Pride and Prejudice. All the movies and tv series, modern adaptations like Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld and especially the youtube series, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. So really, all this book had to do was not be terrible.

To say I was not disappointed would be an understatement. I loved the artwork – the story drifts between lush, beautiful portraits and quirky even more cartoonish asides with fun sketches thrown in. It feels like a true lover of Jane Austen developed this – it’s playful but attentive to every detail. The book does an excellent job of fleshing out all the emotions of the story through varied artistic styles to fit the mood and the illustrator is a pro at making extremely expressive facial features.

It also doesn’t feel overly abridged. I think it did a good job of paying homage to the original and may even be a leaping off point to get people to pick up the original book afterwards or other books by Austen. Any road to Austen is a good road!

My Rating: 5/5


Next I decided to be really bold and attempt reading the Manga Classics edition of The Scarlet Letter, one of my least favorite books of all time basically. Like anyone who has spoken to me about books for more than 5 seconds probably knows how I feel about good ole Hawthorne.

So in reading this version, I wanted to find out if I’d be able to appreciate the story more in a graphic and abridged version or if I’d even finish it at all. Could the manga format make Nathaniel Hawthorne bearable?

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image credit: https://www.facebook.com/mangaclassics/

 

Bearable, yes. I even finished it. The artwork continues to be stunning and very emotive and because of the nature of the book there are no never ending passages describing nothing in particular making me want to throw the book over a cliff.

Was this book a super fun read? Definitely not. It’s a pretty depressing story tbh and also kinda creepy. I think this is probably what Hawthorne was going for and having actually finished the story finally I understand why it’s required reading at a lot of schools. There are important ideas being considered in this story – but Hawthorne is so stupid boring that I never even got to them in high school. Or maybe my teacher was boring? Who knows. Either way, a graphic version of this story went a long way with me. I could SEE the story being told and understand what was going on.

My Rating: 3/5 stars but those 3 stars are earned entirely by the Manga Classics peeps. Without them it would continue to be a 0/5.


I think Manga Classics could be an awesome addition to a high school reading curriculum. The kids that are just not breaking through with the original might really benefit from a more visual format and these editions are excellent. Even the kids who are already inhaling Austen like it ain’t no thang would probably enjoy experiencing it in another format as well. It’s a great opportunity to compare and contrast and possibly more timely than BBC adaptations, awesome as they are.

Do you read manga? Do you have a favorite?

What’s your favorite classic novel?

Least favorite?

The Book Titles Tag.

Birdie Bookworm tagged me in this Book Titles tag. This one is a little different from most book tags – the idea is to answer questions about yourself using only book titles. Fun right?

Here is a link the original creators – I guess it was originally a Youtube tag:
https://youtu.be/I5_S1KGTd-w & https://youtu.be/Lb97dfiBLf4

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1. Title that’s the story of your life

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My (Not So) Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella felt ideal for this one as I tend to exist in a constant state of self deprecation. I know that on the whole I live a pretty good life but nobody’s life is perfect, definitely not mine.


2. Title that describes your perfect weekend

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I’m pretty sure my perfect weekend involves traveling to some slightly exotic locale near the water and of course coffee. The Cafe by the Sea by Jenny Colgan – an author who seems very tapped into my particular breed of wanderlust.


3. Title of an adventure you’d like to go on

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Ha, are you sensing a theme here? The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell sounds pretty incredible. If my husband ever wanted to go live in a European country for a year, I’d definitely be down for that.


4. Title you want to name your child

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First, let me be clear – I do not intend to have any more children, at all. That phase of my life has passed. But in the name of playing along, Anna seems like a name that would make my short list. I’m all about traditional names as evidenced by the names of my actual children. Birdie used a Stephanie Perkins book for this question also, so, twinsies.


5. Title of your ideal job

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I’m not sure what my ideal job is these days but I’m guessing I’m unqualified for it. Travel writer, small town librarian, professional coffee drinker? Executive Netflix watcher?


6. Title of a place you’d like to visit

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See, I told you. Jenny Colgan gets me. The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris = I want to go to there.


7. Title of your love life

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This seems like kind of a dark choice in books to describe my love life. Let me be clear, I’m referring to the title only and not the plot of Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill (which sounds fantastic if not remotely romantic).


8. Questions you ask yourself

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LOL What Happened by Hillz seemed fitting because aren’t we all wondering but honorable mention should go to:

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How To Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk because the struggle is real.


9. Title of a kingdom you want to rule OR name

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The Kingdom of Neverwhere – doesn’t that sound like a book you’d want to read? I grew up near a city named Ware which was obviously the pun of many jokes so this feels apropos.


10. Title you’d name your band.

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Renegades by Marissa Meyer is so clearly the perfect band name. Also I can’t wait for this book to come out.


11. What is your current mood?

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I stayed up too late last night and have yet to feel truly awake today. My Fair Lazy by Jen Lancaster pretty much sums up my motivation level today.


12. What is your favorite color?

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Yeah I’ll be honest, I chose this one because there’s a color in the title. I’ve heard good things about Red Rising by Pierce Brown – have you read it? Or red it? lol


13. How do you feel about 2017 so far?

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I think a lot of us feel like 2017 has been spent dealing with the fallout from 2016.


14. Where do you want to travel?

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I’m running out of books that adequately describe my wanderlust guys. I had to dip out of my Amazon wish list for this one and also basically rip off Birdie’s answer but it is true. I want to see everything. Everything. (PS I just watched the movie Sunday night and it was soooo good)


15. What are your summer plans?

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Yeah summer pretty much has ended here. My kids have already been back in school for a week and we are counting down those last days of August.


16. What are your 2017 goals?

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Yeah my goals for the rest of the year consist almost entirely of volunteering at my kids’ school in various capacities. Just add in exercise and eat some green things.

TAG

I tag the people who read this entire post.

The Best Books My Eight Year Old Read This Summer | Video Review

My kids basically read the entire public library this summer and they have a lot of feels about it that I thought you might enjoy. I made these video reviews starring my eight year old because her recaps are so cute they basically begged to be recorded. And then edited a tad to cut out some of the umms and uhhhs and staring blankly at the camera bits. And given a snazzy postorized effect because anything starring my daughter should probably more colorful than seems necessary.

BB fell in love with the world of graphic novels this summer so it is not very surprising that her two favorites are both from that section.

6389496Pigling is a graphic novel Cinderella story by Dan Jolley and Anne Timmons but it definitely stands on its own as a unique tale.

Pear Blossom, a young Korean girl, leads a happy life … until her mother dies and her father remarries. Her new wicked stepmother and stepsister make Pear Blossom the victim of their cruelty. But … one day, the girl meets a handsome magistrate. Will Pear Blossom’s luck change for the better? Or is she destined to suffer at her stepfamily’s hands forever?

This was just one of the incredible graphic novelized renditions of a classic tale that we found and devoured this summer. You can read my thoughts on a few more here.

Here are all of my daughter’s thoughts about Pigling:


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My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic by  Katie Cook and Andy Price stars those ponies that you are probably already a little familiar with. Just in case you are not well versed in all things My Little Pony though…

Welcome to Ponyville, home of Twilight Sparkle, Rainbow Dash, Rarity, Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie, Applejack, and all your other favorite Ponies! Something’s not right in the town though, as some of the inhabitants are acting very, very strange! It’s up to the Mane Six to find the source of the weirdness before it’s too late!

And if your darling enjoys this one, don’t worry as there are many more books that follow it.

Here’s what my eight year old has to say about this one:


What books are your kids reading right now?

What book should my daughter read next?

The Best Book I Read This Summer | And 2 More Books Worth Mentioning

What’s the best thing you’ve read this summer? Jo asked this question on her blog recently and although I answered her in the comments section, I decided it was a question that deserved its own post here. I know you are always looking for a good book recommendation – it’s what makes us kindred spirits, after all.

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This summer I finally read Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas after it was recommended to me by basically everyone. Maas is kind of a big name in young adult literature but she has basically a thousand books and I was having a hard time remembering which one I was supposed to read but I finally got my ‘ish together and got a copy of TOG and found a moment in between book club picks to see what the fuss was all about.

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.

This book completely sucked me in and I totally get why so many people love it. I loved all of the characters, especially Calaena, and was so invested in the story. The best part is that it’s part of a well established series so there are plenty more books to OMG my way through.

There are a small handful of books that I find myself borderline pushing on people when we talk books – perhaps I’ve all but thrown Cinder by Marissa Meyer or anything by Rainbow Rowell your way? This is your newest assigned reading in the People Who Can Be Book Friends With Jen Club.

Okay so we’ve established that I’m obsessed with this book but I read a few other winners this summer that I think are worth mentioning if you need one more book to curl up with this summer (or fall, I’m not picky).


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If you are looking for a book that will combine a futuristic society, virtual reality and absolutely every cult classic from the 1980’s and throw in a good old love story to boot – Ready Player One by Ernest Cline is there for you.

It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place. Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be … And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the easter egg / ultimate lottery ticket hidden by OASIS creator James Halliday before his death – that will yield massive fortune—and remarkable power—to whoever can unlock them.

This one is being turned into a movie that I’m not sure if I’m excited for or dreading but if you want to experience the book first now is your chance.


28372019If you want a sweet story that’s as old as time ; you know the one – bookworm loses job and decides to move to the middle of nowhere in Scotland to sell books out of a van – then The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan is exactly what you need right now.

Nina Redmond is a literary matchmaker… Until yesterday, she was a librarian in the hectic city. But now the job she loved is no more… Determined to make a new life for herself, [she] buys a van and transforms it into a bookmobile…. From helping her [new] grumpy landlord deliver a lamb, to sharing picnics with a charming train conductor who serenades her with poetry, Nina discovers there’s plenty of adventure, magic, and soul in a place that’s beginning to feel like home… a place where she just might be able to write her own happy ending.

It has absolutely nothing to do with You’ve Got Mail (sorry) but don’t let that minor disappointment stop you from picking it up because it’s an otherwise fantastic story. It’s the perfect cure for a case of summertime wanderlust and it’s basically a book lover’s dream.

What’s the best book you’ve read this summer?

3 Graphic Novel Classics: Anne of Green Gables, Jane Eyre and A Wrinkle in Time

There is a new fad these days that is combining the world of graphic novel with the world of classic literature. Some seem to be more successful than others. My kids have been all about graphic novels this summer and I joined them in the genre with two graphic novel classics. I’m sharing my thoughts on those as well as one that my son read below.


I recently saw this cute edition of Anne of Green Gables: a graphic novel by Mariah Marsden and Brienna Thurmier on NetGalley and couldn’t resist requesting a copy. I am a sucker for Anne Shirley so I was pretty sure it was right up my alley.

I’m of mixed minds on this one so I’ll give you a pro and con list:

PROS

  • The landscape illustrations are gorgeous and feel very Anne inspired.
  • The book goes further than a lot of other adaptations do, all through Anne’s year at teaching school which I’ve noticed other adaptations don’t always cover.
  • It gets a lot of things right. The emotion is there and the overall essence of Anne.

That said…

CONS

  • I didn’t care for the illustrations of the people in the story at all, especially the noses which seemed weird to me.
  • The pacing of the book felt very fast. I understand that a graphic novel cannot convey as much inner dialogue as a regular book but I felt like Anne’s life flew by in a blur and a lot of the heart of the story and some of the smaller plots were left behind.
  • I’m not convinced that a reader new to Anne Shirley would fall in love in quite the same way as experiencing Anne of Green Gables in its original format. But if reading this graphic novel or another adaption can lure them into the original then I suppose that would be worth it!

Overall: Some Anne is better than No Anne (3/5)


I found this copy of Jane Eyre in the graphic novel section the library and decided to give it a try. I’ve tried reading the novel a few times but stalled through the rather dreary beginning.

I cannot attest to how well this compares to the original. I would not be shocked to hear others give similar feedback to my impressions of Anne of Green Gables above. But I actually finished this, which is more than I can say for the original.

I liked the artwork a lot – the characters are well drawn and feel authentic to their personalities. The scenes are rather lush and dreamy or gloomy when gloomy is called for (which is often tbh). I still found the story rather dreary but the graphic novel version allowed me to plow through a bit faster and get to the good stuff. I think you could consider this a decent Cliff’s Notes version of the real thing.

Overall: Beautiful artwork, decent Cliff’s Notes (4/5)


I didn’t actually read this one but I’m anxious to. My son devoured this graphic novel version of A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle and then would not stop talking about it. He’s now working on book two of the series in actual book form. SO, here’s what we know through subtle observation:

  • The artwork is pretty darn cool. This I know from peering over his shoulder.
  • It’s also longer than a lot of the other graphic novel classics I’ve seen so it might do a better job telling the full story. Just a guess.
  • It sucked in the attention of my 11 year old and he didn’t want to do anything but read it once he picked it up.
  • Even better – it successfully lured him into reading the next book despite it being a boring old paperback. I call that a successful mission.

Overall: A rousing success in this momma’s opinion but I still haven’t read it myself so I can’t grade the book only my momma bear satisfaction which is a definite 5/5! 


Have you read any of these? What did you think?

What graphic novel should I try next?

What classic would you like to see turned into a graphic novel?