Posted in Book, Book Review, Children's, Picture Book, Reading



Tadeo (TAHD-ay-OH) Turtle seemed content until he met Sammy Squirrel.  Sammy could climb trees and run.  Tadeo could not.  He has a dream where he lets the shell on his back go, giving him free range of movement.  He, then, becomes vulnerable to the attack of Cat.  He no longer has his shell to hide under and within.  The dream stirs him to think about the way God made him and why it is important to accept himself the way he was created.  God makes us each in His image and for His purposes.  May we accept this beautiful gift as Tadeo learned to do.  

This short book has a lesson for children and adults alike.  How often do we wish we were like someone else or had things that others have?  Tadeo Turtle is a simple rhyming story for the young.  Janis Cox illustrated the animals and scenes in luscious, colorful watercolors.  They are so beautifully painted.  It is a delightful book to read and to look upon.

At the end of the book, there are activities to do with children: a paper plate turtle, a rock turtle, a clay turtle, and even a felt board activity.  There is a page for researching turtles, such as the many types, or endangered turtles, with websites from which to begin a study.  Janis Cox has also written a twenty-page curriculum entitled “Tadeo Turtle Curriculum JK – Grade One and Grade Two.”  She includes activities for math, language arts, music, Scripture study, science, art, and physical education.  From one small and sweet book, there is so much included to do with children.

Reading Level: 4-8

Living along the Gulf Coast of Texas, I can imagine this book being used easily with children during our early summer release of the Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtles, an endangered species being cared for by the National Seashore.  The public always play a large role in the assistance of this release.


from her BIO SKETCH:
Janis is a wife, mother, grandmother, sister and friend. Her adult career has consisted of stay-at-home-mom, small business owner, public school teacher, painter, and writer. She also has tried pottery making and is currently relearning how to play the piano. She enjoys trying anything at least once (but maybe not bungee jumping!).
Her writing and painting careers started simultaneously and that meant dividing her time between two loves.
Janis is passionate about prayer. She has taught Bible Studies on prayer and talks about how it is just as important to listen to God as to talk to Him.
Janis has a blog ( where she writes about her life and how God speaks to her.  You can join Janis @ where she posts turtle related themes and crafts.

Book Information:

  • Paperback: 28 pages
  • Publisher: Word Alive Press (October 9, 2012)
  • ISBN-10: 1770696954
  • ISBN-13: 978-1770696952
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.1 x 8.5 inches

A digital copy of this book was given to me by the author for an honest book review which I have done.

Photo: Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtles release, June 1, 2013 Channel 3/KIII/Corpus Christi, Texas @

Originally reviewed on 4-5-2015

Posted in Book, Book Review, Children's, Classic, Picture Book, Reading

SWIMMY by Leo Leonni

5126507As a 50th Anniversary edition, you know it’s got to be a classic.  Indeed, it is.

Swimmy is a little black fish.  He swims the big sea alone much of the time and is lonely.  He does find other small fish to be fearful of those big fish, the predator fish.  Swimmy comes up with a wonderful teamwork plan to keep them safe and yet able to swim in their ocean rather than staying huddled up inside a cavern or behind a rock.  It is their home too, you know.

This is a book filled with great illustrations that takes the reader below the surface of the sea.  Through discovery in this big wide ocean, Swimmy finds that a little bit of community and working together to overcome danger and releasing fear turns loneliness into fresh expansive living by being open to what is before you.  We can take this lesson and use it whether under water, in the air, or on the earth.  You will love this book if it is new to you or if it is time to break it out for the grandchildren.

Award:  Caldecott Honor Book – 1964

Reading Level:  Age range: 3 – 7 Years

LEO LIONNI wrote and illustrated more than 40 picture books, including four Caldecott Honor books–Inch by Inch, Swimmy, Frederick, and Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse.  He was born in Amsterdam, The Netherlands in 1910.  He attended schools in Europe and the United States, eventually earning a PhD.  He spoke five languages.  In 1939, he immigrated to the United States, and was naturalized as a citizen in 1945.  He worked as a design director, artist, author, and sculptor. His work has been shown throughout Europe and America.  He died in 1999 at the age of 89.

Random House has devoted a page with links to learn more about Mr. Lionni @  It includes activities, videos, and all the books that they have published of Mr. Lionni’s.

Book Information

  • ISBN-13: 9780385753586
  • Publisher: Random House Children’s Books
  • Publication date: 6/11/2013
  • Edition description: Anniversary
  • Edition number: 50
  • Pages: 32
  • Product dimensions: 8.90 (w) x 10.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Originally reviewed 3-23-2014

Posted in Book, Book Review, Children's, Picture Book, Reading

SPARKY by Jenny Offill

4739756Sparky is written in the first person, thus I do not have a name for the little girl, but she wants a pet.  Her mother is not fond of the idea at all, but listens to her daughter giving various options for what this pet could be.  Mom turns her down again and again, but, finally, gives in, only to list some serious stipulations: “You can have any pet you want as long as it doesn’t need to be walked or bathed or fed.”   (Right!, I say out loud while reading this delightful book in the bookstore!)  The girl goes to her school librarian (“who knows everything in the world”) for help.  (Of course, I love this description of the librarian having been a children’s librarian in the public library!)  The girl is given the Animal Encyclopedia “S” and finally turns the page to a sloth.  She decides this animal fits Mom’s stipulations and orders one through the mail.  When it arrives, she names it Sparky.  She observes its ways:  it sleeps A LOT!, eats leaves, and drinks the dew that collects in the leaves.  No need to walk it, bathe it, nor feed it!  Expecting Sparky to do tricks, she sets a training regimen for Sparky.  Her expectations are very high.  Sparky’s are not!  He just is not into tricks nor much of anything else.  With a show coming upon them quickly, the training heats up.  Sparky is not learning as she had hoped but the show must go on.  And it does!

The drawings are simple yet express emotion so well.  The artist is Chris Appelhans.

Here is a link to the Book’s Trailer on YouTube:

Just thinking about this book is making me smile!  You will too.

Reading Level: 4 – 8 Years

Award: A Junior Library Guild Selection 2014

Jenny Offill is the author of 17 Things I’m Not Allowed to Do Anymore, a Parenting Magazine Best Book of the Year and a Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Book of the Year, and 11 Experiments That Failed, also a Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Book of the Year.  She has written two novels.  Last Things was a New York Times Notable book of the year and a finalist for the L.A. Times Art Seidenbaum award.  Dept. of Speculation, her second novel, receives wonderful reviews.  She co-edited two anthologies and contributed to a book of short stories.  You can find Ms. Offill @

Chris Appelhans has worked on several films. He was an illustrator and production designer for Coraline, an environment designer Fantastic Mr. Fox, and a visual development artist for The Princess and the Frog. This is his first picture book.   He can be found @ and

Book Information

  • ISBN-13: 9780375870231
  • Publisher: Random House Children’s Books
  • Publication date: 3/11/2014
  • Pages: 40
  • Product dimensions: 9.60 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Originally reviewed 4-5-2014

Posted in Adult Nonfiction, Book, Book Review, Christianity, Reading

WALK ON WATER FAITH by Catherine Martin


Discovering Power in the Promises of God

A Quiet Time Experience

A fine Bible study on faith.  Catherine Martin writes studies with such depth and insight.  Through God’s promises seen in the lives of many who walked in faith (shown to us in Hebrews, the Gospels,and Romans), this study is so rich and filled with God’s promises, not only to and for them, but to and for us today.

I love Catherine’s studies as she poses questions and gives Scripture to look up in relationship to the questions.  She loves the old generations of Christian writers, theologians, missionaries, and others, quoting their words in short devotionals on each day’s study. The study is eight weeks long, but you can take as long as you desire.  Each day follows a pattern: Prepare Your Heart, Read and Study God’s Word, Adore God in Prayer, Yield Yourself to God, Enjoy His Presence, and Rest in His Love….PRAYER.  Each week has five days in this pattern of study, and then the weekend is one day of reading a devotional and pondering the week’s journey that you have just completed.  There is plenty of room for making notes and plenty of depth to touch the heart of God, should you be quiet and ready to hear Him.  I have done many of her studies and find each one to grow me a bit more in one direction or another towards God.  There have been several that I have done twice.  I highly recommend any one of her studies.

Catherine Martin, Summa Cum Laude, Faculty Award graduate of Bethel Theological Seminary, Master of Arts in Theological Studies, Founder of Quiet Time Ministries, prolific author, and a Director of Women’s Ministries at her local church, has been a popular keynote, conference, and retreat speaker for more than twenty years.

We have recently completed this study @ Google+ where a number of women joined Catherine each week to share our insights and read the week’s lesson from Catherine.

Book Information

  • Paperback: 330 pages
  • Publisher: Quiet Time Ministries Press; 1 edition (July 1, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0990582108
  • ISBN-13: 978-0990582106
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches

Originally reviewed 4-5-2015

Posted in Adult Nonfiction, Book, Book Review, Children's, Christianity, Picture Book, Reading



Two books by Ann Voskamp, two reviews, but I am reviewing them together for they dovetail so beautifully with one another.  As you can see by the covers, the titles are slightly different, as is the layout, as well as the intended audience.  Yet, they are both for Advent, for the waiting of Christ to come.  Ann’s desire is for each and all of us to come to Christmas with a heart open to God’s love.  Christmas trees go up each year with the hustle and bustle of preparation for December 25th.  But the twenty-four days prior can bring so much more when we spend time getting to know Jesus, the One we await.  Ann takes us into the family tree of Jesus.  “Out of the stump of Jesse (King David’s father) will grow a shoot….”  That shoot that bears fruit of hope and love is Jesus.  Ann introduces us to the Jesse Tree.  Each day we discover a branch of Jesus’ family tree, from “the beginning” when God created through the day of Jesus’ birth.  It is a rich story.  Ann writes, “If we want our Christmas tree to really stand wondrous and full of meaning, the tree we really need to understand and be astonished by is the family tree of Jesus Christ.  Because this is our story—your story.”

THE GREATEST GIFT: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas
Beginning on December 1and through Christmas Day, this devotional takes us to the very depths of Christmas.  It reminds us that Christmas is about waiting for the Holy One Whom God sent to bring us into relationship with Himself  Each day begins with a Scripture that points to Jesus.  Ann follows God’s Word with words of her own that wrap around the Scripture and wrap our hearts around the meaning God intends for us as we delve into His beautiful Word announcing the coming of His Son.  We are given something to “do”…in the world that would remind us, those around us, or those we touch by the “doing” of this precious gift of Jesus.  We read a quote by an author, current or long ago, that takes us further into the heart of this day’s meaningful depths, which is then followed by “A Moment for Reflection” where Ann asks three questions.  Below each question, she gives us room to write as we ponder our personal answers.  At the end of the book, she gives us the website and “code word” to download beautifully designed ornaments for the Jesse Tree that you may have decided to do with your family.  This is a book that can be done alone or with your family.  It was published for the 2013 Christmas.

UNWRAPPING THE GREATEST GIFT: A Family Celebration of Christmas 
This beautiful book was published for this current Christmas, 2014.  Ann takes the beauty of last year’s white devotional and wraps it up with colorful family ribbons, art that is so very pleasing to the eye.  Children will be drawn into this book by the beauty of color and the artwork that matches each day’s devotional.  This book is meant to be read aloud with the family gathered around.  Beginning on December 1 through Christmas Day, each day has a Scripture and a story from God’s Word that relates to that Scripture.  There are “Thoughts to Discuss,” concluding with an activity for the family to engage in together.
At the end of the book, there is, once again, the website from which to download ornaments for one’s own Jesse Tree.  DaySpring has two different sets of ornaments available for purchase.  There is a DVD Curriculum “designed for families, small groups, and Bible Study classes” also.

Ann Voskamp is a wife to a Canadian farmer, mother tow six children whom she home-schools.  Two of her books have been on the New York Times Bestseller list- The Greatest Gift and One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are.   Her blog, one of the Top 10 Christian blogs on the web is

THE GREATEST GIFT illustrators and photographers include: Stephen Vosloo – cover photograph; Paula Doherty – cut paper illustrations; Molly Morton-Sydorak – author photograph; Julie Chen – design

UNWRAPPING THE GREATEST GIFT has three illustrators: Jacqueline L. Nunez – cover and story opener illustrations; Paula Doherty – cut paper illustrations; Martina Peluso – interior story illustrations

Book Information/The Greatest Gift

  • ISBN-13: 9781414387086
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/30/2013
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 0.88 (d)
  • New York Bestseller #7 in Religion, Spirituality and Faith – December, 2014

Book Information/Unwrapping the Greatest Gift

  • ISBN-13: 9781414397542
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/3/2014
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 10.10 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Originally reviewed December, 2014

Posted in Adult Fiction, Book, Book Review, Christianity, Reading


6031163_origI read this book just before Christmas because I needed an uplifting story built on Christian principles and, hopefully, would be a good Christmas read.  And it was!  “Quilted by Christmas” is a simply told, sweetly depicted story of love, tender care, lost and regained hope, mistakes made and being confused, and trying to walk God’s path.  It is about God’s redemptive love for His children through forgiveness, tender mercy, and the love that only God can give.

“Quilted by Christmas” is a part of the “Quilts of Love – Every Quilt Has a Story” series.  This is the first one I have read but will look for others.  But I want to find more of Jodie Bailey as she writes so very well.

Tender love between a young woman, Taryn McKenna, and her grandmother, Jemma, who raised Taryn after her mother died is central to the story as is the relationship between a young man, Justin Callahan, and Taryn.  The two young people have not seen one another for twelve years, but when they reconnect, they find that what they felt when they were eighteen still had a strong hold on their hearts.  They also carry baggage from their earlier relationship and the years in between.  Yet, if they are to share any future life, guilt, words spoken in anger, and words never spoken, and much more must be spread out before and between them.  Taryn thinks she needs to stand strong and independent, yet finds that these characteristics of hers must be given to God so He can wrap His arms of caring, forgiveness, and love around her.  There are pieces of Justin and Jemma’s lives that must also come to the Cross.  This sweet story is really about the way God has a perfect plan for each of us when we allow Him to go before us.

I highly recommend this “Quilted by Christmas,” but make sure you allow yourself room to ponder.

Jodie Bailey was a military spouse for fifteen years.  After their military life, they settled in North Carolina. She is the author of two “Love Inspired Suspense Series” novels – Freefall and Crossfire, and co-author of Holiday Defenders, a part of that same series, but with three novellas by three authors.  Jodie is a contributor to Edie Melson’s devotional for military families, Fighting Fear: Winning the War at Home.   She has a new one coming in the Spring of 2015 called The Dillinger Racing Series.  She teaches middle-schoolers to love writing as much as she does.  Jodie is married and has a daughter. You can find her on the web at, and @jodiebailey (Twitter), and
Seriously Write has an interview with Jodie as well:

Book Information

  • ISBN-13: 9781426773617
  • Publisher: Abingdon Press
  • Publication date: 10/21/2014
  • Pages: 240


Posted in Book, Book Review, Children's, Picture Book, Reading


6602809“It appeared unexpectedly.  Peeking out of the polar bear’s saddle, a hint of paper.”  So begins Please Bring Balloons.  A magical adventure’s stage is set with a carousel, a carousel polar bear, a little girl on her way to and from school, a piece of paper, and a balloon.  With each day, more and more balloons are added and the magic of a northward, skyward journey takes place for a young girl and her carousel polar bear friend.

Simply told, artistically illustrated, this delightful story opens a make-believe world to children of all ages.  I loved it all.

The art intrigued me as the cut paper pieces are collages of varied shapes made of primary writing paper, regular notebook paper, graph paper, paper with math problems, numbers, and musical notations on the pieces, snippets of paper with very neat handwriting, calendars, even origami.  Whitewashed maps of real places become the destinations for this magical journey.

Do not miss the back cover:  two small carousel polar bears are holding the ISBN/price label at an angle on the dust cover.  I was delighted to find that giving me a great big smile!  CUTE!

I imagine we will be seeing more from Lindsay Ward!

Reading Level:  3-5 years old

Honorable Mention for Best Escape Picture Book 2013 by Huffington Post

“Lindsay Ward is fascinated by the way the world looks from above and has always wanted to write a story with a little magic.  Add to that the fact that her parents actually met painting carousel animals….”  Please Bring Balloons seems to be a perfect fit for Ms. Ward, both as the author and the illustrator.  Originally from California, Lindsay journeyed across the USA to attend college @ Syracuse University where it snows and where she received her BFA in Illustration.  She has illustrated a number of children’s picture books.  Ms. Ward’s other books as both author and illustrator are Pelly and Mr. Harrison Visit the Moon (Kane/Miller) and When Blue Met Egg (Dial Books for Young Readers).   You can visit her on the web at or check out her blog at  She also designs social stationary and wedding invitations, selling them through her Etsy Shop, Borrowed & Blue.

Book Information

  • ISBN-13: 9780803738782
  • Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers (an imprint of Penguin Books)
  • Publication date: 10/17/2013
  • Pages: 32
  • Product dimensions: 10.20 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Originally reviewed 3-2-2014

Posted in Book, Book Review, Children's, Picture Book, Reading


3338566As the cover’s soft drawing is peaceable, so, too, are the words inside.  Nina Laden has poetically written a lullaby as well as a ponderable rhyming text.

Ms. Laden begins with “Does a feather remember it once was…” on the left page.  The drawing, by Renata Liwska, shows a boy picking up a feather that has blown in to the room through an open window.  On the right page of the open book reads, “…a bird?”   The drawing on this side shows birds in a barber shop getting a feather-cut, feathers on the floor.   The next set of pages reads, “Does a book remember it once was…” picturing the boy with a book on his lap, followed by “…a word?”  The softly colored scene is a bookstore.  Bird and word rhyme, beginning the cadence that is carried throughout this sweet book.

I must share my favorite double page for it brings a delightful childhood memory to my mind:  “Does work remember it once was…” (the boy is raking Fall leaves into a pile).  Across the page is “…play?” and raccoons are jumping in the freshly raked pile of leaves.  As a child, I did just this…raked the leaves up in our neighbor’s yard in Virginia only to run and jump in it.  All of the kids in the neighborhood took turns raking and we all jumped into the red, yellow, orange and brown leaves!

The illustrations are soft sketches with details that keep the eye wandering.  Some of the boy’s toy animals come to life in parts of the book too, making it fun to spy one doing something fun.  Ms. Liwska sketched these drawings in her artist’s journal.  They were then scanned and colored in Adobe PhotoShop.

This is a simple book to read with so much to observe, to think about, and to remember from one’s own past.  It is a book that allows one’s imagination to delve into other possibilities, other favorite things.  It’s sure to be a favorite for young and old alike.  Our minds need to recall these childhood memories too.

Reading Level: 3 – 6 Years

Nina Laden is an award-winning, bestselling children’s book author and illustrator, living Washington state.  She grew up in the New York City area, the daughter of two artists, and received a BFA from Syracuse University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts. She has over a dozen books in print including two board books, Peek-A Zoo! and Daddy Wrong Legs, just published March, 2014.  Peek-A-Zoo! is a sequel to Peek-A Who? (over a million copies sold) with more to follow in that series.  Ms. Laden authored and illustrated The Night I Followed the Dog, When Pigasso Met Mootisse, and Roberto: The Insect Architect, and Button Nose.  You can find her @

Renata Liwska has been drawing for as long as she can remember.  The children’s book illustrations she creates today are influenced by memories from her own childhood. She is the illustrator of the New York Times best sellers, The Quiet Book and The Loud Book!, and The Christmas Quiet Book (all of which were authored by Deborah Underwood).  Ms. Liwska is author-illustrator of Little Panda and The Red Wagon. Originally from Warsaw, Poland, Renata now lives in Calgary with her husband, Mike.  You can find her @

Book Information

  • ISBN-13: 9780316208161
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 12/3/2013
  • Pages: 40
  • Product dimensions: 8.80 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Originally reviewed 4-5-2014

Posted in Book, Book Review, Children's, Picture Book, Reading

PRESS HERE by Herve Tullet

7768908Such a fun and imaginative book!!  I found myself, an adult, pressing dots, shaking the book, clapping my hands, and delighted with the results on the next page and the next.  Mr. Tullet has found a most unique and simple expression for his creative genius.  This book (and his others) are for the shared experiences of readers of ALL ages!

Press Here is one where I cannot tell you the theme of the story as there is not one.  The characters are YOU while you read and follow.  I thoroughly loved this book of dots and color.  It will grow your imagination and cause your creativity to blossom.

Enjoy this book as well as his others.  Oh, I did!!  REALLY, I did!

Reading Level: 2 – 5 Years

Herve Tullet has been an art director at various ad agencies, a magazine illustrator, and for the past 15 years, a creator of children’s books. His books are meant to be played with, not just read!  He writes for the “babies” as he fondly calls those we would call the 2,3,4 and 5 year olds.  Those “babies” are innocent and eager to play.  That is what he wants to happen in his books.  He lives with his two sons and daughter in Paris.  Much of his artwork can be found @
In this video, Mr. Tullet reads to children and shares (in English) his feelings about being a children’s book author:

Also, there is a downloadable activity section near the base of this page on the publisher’s site:

New York Times Bestseller
National Indie Bestseller
Publishers Weekly Bestseller
Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year
ALA Notable Children’s Book Nominee
Kirkus Reviews Best Children’s Book of the Year

Book Information

  • ISBN-13: 9780811879545
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books LLC
  • Publication date: 3/30/2011
  • Pages: 56
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Originally reviewed 11-4-2014

Posted in Book, Book Review, Children's, Picture Book, Reading


9279827Mix It Up! is an interactive books teaching all about colors.  It teaches primary colors and what happens to them as they are mixed together, mixed up!  As Press Here led us from page-to-page with fun ways to discover what would be waiting for us as we turned the page, this book also leads us from page-to-page by doing things on one page only to find out what happens by following the instruction as we turned to the next page.

Mix It Up! is a lot of color fun and learning.  The interactive method Mr. Tullet uses is extraordinary!  I love his books.  They are geared to the young child but are really meant for children of ALL ages!

It was originally published in France as Couleurs in 2014 also.

Reading Level: 3 – 5 Years

New York Times Bestseller

Hervé Tullet is known for many talents, from directing ad campaigns to designing fabric for Hermès. But he thoroughly loves working with children, for whom he has published dozens of books, including Press Here (my review is here). He lives in Paris, France.
A website with his art and fun is @

School Library Journal interviewed Mr. Tullet.  I have given you a link to this, but please go down to the video as he is sharing this book and having the Japanese children “mix it up!”  It is wonderful!

Book Information

  • ISBN-13: 9781452137353
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books LLC
  • Publication date: 9/16/2014
  • Pages: 56
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Originally reviewed 11-4-2014