Thursday, January 31, 2013

What Does It Mean To Be Safe? by Rana DiOrio, illustrated by Sandra Salsbury ~ GIVEAWAY

About Book 

2011 Mom's Choice Award Gold Medal
Children need easy guidelines to help them understand how to protect themselves and feel secure in their environments. Rana DiOrio's newest addition to her award-winning series explores physical, emotional, social and cyber safety in unthreatening ways that spark meaningful conversation between adults and children about staying safe.
  • ISBN-13: 9781619890077
  • Publisher: Little Pickle Press LLC
  • Publication date: 11/14/2011
  • Series: What Does It Mean To Be?
  • Age range: 4 - 7 Years
Where to buy: Little Pickle Press, Amazon, Barnes&Noble

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eBooks, Apps. and Music

We use our books as the foundation for all types of feature-rich media for children––eBooks (for Kindle, NOOK, and iPad), interactive book apps, animations, music, etc.  

Lesson Plans

Little Pickle Press works closely with early childhood educators and domain experts to develop engaging lesson plans for our collection of award-winning titles. Our complimentary lesson plans are available for download for your classroom.

Check out these posts on Little Pickle Press Blog 
about SAFE  "What Does It Mean To Be Safe?" here


About Author

Rana DiOrio, was born in Providence, RI and grew up in a colorful Italian-American family. Her curiosity about the world began in kindergarten, while studying Western access to China and, obviously, panda bears. As a political science major/psychology minor in college, and then as a law student, she became fascinated with understanding perspective, and how just about any person, place, thing, or situation can be interpreted in so many valid ways.

“I believe that I have two ears, two eyes and one mouth intentionally, so I listen and observe more than I talk,” she explains. “As a result, I think I’m better able to respect and appreciate diversity.” Rana’s inspiration for writing What Does It Mean To Be Global? was the election of President Barack Obama and explaining its significance, on so many levels, to her children.
Rana has written her way through life–as a student, a lawyer, an investment banker, a private equity investor, and now as an author and publisher of children’s picture books. Her interests include practicing yoga, reading non-fiction, dreaming, effecting positive change, and, of course, being global, green, and present. She lives in Tiburon, California with her three Little Pickles. 

Rana DiOrio, Founder & Chief Executive Pickle 
of Little Pickle Press 

I am an investor, investment banker, lawyer, and now Founder and CEO of Little Pickle Press. You can read more about my professional credentials at:

One thing I am proud of:
Being the mommy of three happy little pickles
Two of my heroes: 
1. Nelson Mandela
2. Oprah Winfrey
Three things I am really good at:
1. Multitasking
2. Listening (while not multitasking)
3. Giving
Four things on my Bucket List:
1. Return to South Africa with my children to take them on safari
2. Travel to Australia and New Zealand with my family
3. Write a novel
4. Establish a private foundation and give away what I've earned in this lifetime
Five ways I am present is when:
1. I have one-on-one conversations with my children about stuff that matters
2. I practice yoga (most of the time!)
3. I am at the beach
4. I am holding someone I love
5. I write
Six of my favorite children's books:
1. Caps For Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina
2. The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds
3. Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems
4. One by Kathryn Otoshi
5. Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig
6. That Rabbit Belongs To Emily Brown by Cressida Cowell

About Illustrator
Sandra Salsbury grew up in the redwood forests of the Santa Cruz Mountains in California. She received her BFA and MFA in illustration from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. As well as illustrating, Sandra teaches art classes and works at her local schools.
When illustrating What Does It Mean To Be Safe?, Sandra thought about the time when she felt safest—as a child running though the forest, morning, noon, and night. Being safe is not just about following rules, but also about being happy with who you are and the life you have.
  When she is not drawing, Sandra enjoys reading, hiking, cooking, and attempting to do yoga (with limited success). She still lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and often returns to the forests where she grew up in for hiking and picnics.

GIVEAWAY ~ U.S. residents only
Provided by  Little Pickle Press
Win a HARDCOVER Copy of 
What Does It Mean To Be Safe?
 1 Winner
Just leave a comment below with your email.
(I need your email to contact you if you are the winner)
Ends February 8th, 2013
Winner announced on Feb. 9th, 2013

My Thoughts
In this story a young boy contemplates what it means to be safe.  He recalls being called safe as he played baseball.  Then maybe if he was locked up in his room he would be safe.   But this is not the kind of safe they are talking about in this book.  Safe is making right decisions not letting peers persuade you into doing something you know is not safe.  Keeping information like your address, phone number and other private information that could lead to an unsafe situation and more. 

* * *
Stated in the description of about this series:
  • Physical safety 
  • Emotional safety
  • Social safety
  • Cyber safety
It explores in unthreatening ways that spark meaningful conversation between adults and children about staying safe.

* * * 

It is necessary to discuss the dangers our children may face when a trusted adult is not around to guide the child.  Even the smallest child needs to be safe.  This book will help without scaring or threatening the child.  

The author writes this story so they can understand and along with the illustrations they will be able to relate to the different situations and hopefully keep them in mind if ever a similar situation occurs.  

I really appreciate the Green fact the publisher states, "We print and distribute their materials in an environmentally-friendly manner, using recycled paper, soy inks, and green packaging."  

I highly recommend this book.

I rated this book 5 out of 5.

Disclosure:  I received a free copy of this book from Little Pickle Press for review.  I was in no way compensated for this review.  It is my honest opinion.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


She Sells Sea Shells Singalong Storybook

An Interview With Author Ken Guilmartin

Q: Music Together has been around for 25 years, but you just started writing and publishing children’s books! How did that idea come about?

KG:  It’s really an organic part of our evolution to create these beautiful storybooks. Our philosophy has always been about bringing children and their special grownups together through music. We choose songs that tell compelling stories or captivate the imaginations of children and grownups alike with creative and playful words, sounds and movements. We have always encouraged families in the Music Together program to use our songbooks like storybooks, but I always thought what fun it would be to take some of our most popular songs and make fully illustrated storybooks for families to enjoy. The illustrations bring the song alive visually, and stimulate more interaction—with the song, as well as among the readers.

Q: So the books are not just stories—they encourage interactivity? Can you explain that? 

KG: Well, the way we do songs is very interactive, so here’s opportunity to bring that into the book reading experience. Some grownups do this naturally when they read stories to children—they make extra comments, ask questions—or generally ham it up! I think the song makes that kind of interaction more likely. It gives both the adult and child a way to make the words really come alive. And since we emphasize an attitude of playing with the song rather than “performing” it, it’s especially liberating for grownups who sing only in cars and showers! It’s private, family time, not public performance time. We want to encourage this excitement and exploration, so with each storybook we include activity ideas that encourage using the illustrations and the story in exciting ways that inspire learning and imaginative play. 

Q: What kinds of activities do you mean? Which are your favorites?  

KG:  One Little Owl is an amusing book with lots of opportunity for creative play. Children can use their imaginations to put their own silly animals or other unusual things in the tree—even cows, backhoes, and dinosaurs! And since children delight in making animal sounds, once the book has become familiar, an adult can sing or say the beginnings of phrases—“one little owl said…,” and the child can “read” the sounds that each animal makes as the adult points to the words. Over time, children will link the sounds they enjoy to the words and letters on the page. 

In She Sells Sea Shells, we have pages at the end of the book suggesting that parents show their child the shells the girl in the story is collecting and then invite the child to find and point to the ones that are “brown and gray and blue, yellow, pink, white, green.” I also love that we suggest looking at the shells the girl is carrying on her tray and asking readers whether they are in the same order as in the song: “oyster, mussel, snail, periwinkle, clam.”  You can also look at the shells in the book with the child and then compare them to real shells, or to other things you may have found.  

In Hello, Everybody!, we have such fun ideas in the back of the book. Children love this song because it invites them to playfully explore the concrete and fascinating world around them, even after they put the book down. For example, we suggest singing “Hello to my bathtub, so glad to see you! Hello to the bubbles, so glad to see you, too”—and so on, throughout your day. We also suggest that as a family you could sing “hello” to everyone sitting at the dinner table or arriving for a birthday party. Sing “hello” to someone coming home from work or from preschool, or just from the other room—and watch the smiles appear!

Q: So these are not “just books”! 

KG:  Our mission is to encourage community and family music-making and bonding. Reading, singing, and connecting over the beautiful illustrations in these books all help achieve that. Our stories, the songs that go with them, and their stunning artwork do indeed make these “not just books.” And in this day and age, with electronic screens and even books on screen, it’s extra-special—for both you and your child—to snuggle together and get lost in a physical book with actual pages. 

Q: Do you think the next generations of children will not know what a “real” book is?

KG:  It does seem likely that everyone will be reading on screens of some kind. And there will be the advantages of sound and interactivity. But nothing can replace the touch and feel of a real book, the cadence of turning pages and discovering what’s “inside.” It’s easy to forget that children learn best when more than one sense is engaged—the visual, of course, but also kinesthesia, and even olfactory. But perhaps most important is the interaction with a parent or other grownup—books are so warm and cozy. It’s up to teachers, parents, grandparents, and caregivers to keep the magic of real books—like the magic of informal music-making—alive in their homes and classrooms. 

Q: What children’s books are among your own personal favorites?

KG: I remember a favorite when I was little was “Snuffy the Tugboat,” and also, the earlier works of Dr. Seuss. My daughter and I also loved reading “Goodnight Moon” together.

Illustrated by Bruno Merz ~ Bruno Merz worked as a greeting card illustrator before concentrating mostly on children's books. Based in the U.K., his other children's books include My Friend the Weather Monster and Goldilocks and the Three Bears (Qeb Storytime Classics).

She Sells Sea Shells Singalong Storybook

Award-winning Storybook:
2012 Dr. Toy 10 Best Audio-Visuals Award
2012 Dr. Toy 100 Best Children’s Products  (#6 ranking)
2012 Creative Child Magazine Preferred Choice Award
2012 Mom’s Choice Award
2012 Academics' Choice Smart Book Award

This charming Singalong Storybook tells the story of a young girl who travels by boat with her adorable animal friends to bring colorful seashells to nearby seashore vacationers.

The She Sells Sea Shells Singalong Storybook is based on the popular song from the Music Together curriculum and the award-winning “Music Together Family Favorites” CD. The lyrics of this song include the well-known tongue-twister, and the soothing and mysterious melody reflects a sense of wonder about the many colors, shapes, and sizes of shells left by the creatures of the sea.

This 32-page, beautifully illustrated picture book inspires singing, pre-literacy learning, and imaginative play between children and their favorite adults.

Available in both hardback and board-book formats, the book also includes fun activity suggestions designed to stimulate learning and music-making at home and in the classroom.

Age/Grade Range: 1–8 years/Baby–2nd grade

Based on songs from the Music Together song collections, these beautifully illustrated picture books inspire singing, pre-literacy learning, and imaginative play between children and their favorite adults.

Available in both hardback and board-book formats, the books include fun activity suggestions designed to stimulate learning and music-making at home and in the classroom. Scroll down to see our storybook offerings.

Where to buy the book Music Together StoreAmazon

Watch the Video: 
Using Your Singalong Storybook Musically

GIVEAWAY ~ U.S. residents only
Provided by  Rodi Company Public Relations & Marketing
Win a HARDCOVER Copy of 
She Sell Sea Shells
 1 Winner
Just leave a comment below with your email.
(I need your email to contact you if you are the winner)
Ends February 8th, 2013
Winner announced on Feb. 9th, 2013

My Thoughts

This story is about a little girl that collects sea shells and travels by boat up and down the shore selling them to people vacationing on the sea shore.  Along with her in the boat is he dog.  Everyone is happy when they see the girl and her sea shell.

Music Together, She Sells Sea Shells takes books to another level and that is music and sensory perception.  You and the child can singalong as you are reading the whimsical rhymes. This rhyme is a very old rhyme children have enjoyed from years past.  

The Music Together website has more to offer that a storybook.  I love that the book is  interactive in many ways. There are many activities like learning colors, objects, counting and music of course.  We all know most children love to sing and can memorize the little ditties very quick.  It will have you on your feet dancing and singing with the child.  Be prepared to enjoy yourself.  Encourage the child to use musical instruments even those of your own making would do.

The illustrations are colorful and will have the child's imagination going beyond the book to their own little world of imagination.  All children should be taught to us all of there senses of sight, sound, and touch.

I highly recommend this book.

I rated this book a 5 out of 5.

Disclosure:  I received a free copy of this book from The  Rodi Company Public Relations & Marketing  for review.  I was in no way compensated for this review.  It is my honest opinion.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Don't Look Back by Phil Servary, illustrated by Joel Pellerin

About Book

Don’t Look Back is about Curtis’ journey to find two special people who could give him the gift that could not be found under any Christmas tree.

Don’t Look Back is a moving tale that follows this shy little boy after his heartbreaking separation from his family through the time he spent in various orphanages waiting for that special gift to come. Curtis’ last Christmas in an orphanage was memorable because all he would receive was a beautiful empty box. Deep in his heart this didn’t matter because the only gift he really wanted was a mom and a dad.

Discover, contrast and appreciate the sacrifices your parents make for you every day and heighten your faith in God, in your family and in yourself.

Read Excerpt here.
Published by Xlibris
Perfect Bound Softcover
Print Type:

Where to buy the book: Xlibris BookstoreAmazonBarnes&Noble

About Author 
As an orphan, I never experienced any type of security. As a small child in a strange environment, I faced many fears. Slowly my fears faded and in retrospect, they made me resilient, gave me character, and the drive, to succeed. Later, some extraordinary people guided me towards my goals. They set me on a path to become a fifth grade teacher, high school lacrosse coach and a school administrator. They are all gone now, but they knew how much I loved them and valued their advice. Now retired, with my wife of 35 years, we live in a log cabin, on a secluded mountain in Pennsylvania, with our dogs Koko and Cheech and our crazy cat, Izzy. The seasons are beautiful here. We love the outdoors, especially the mountain trails.  It is a quiet place, and a peaceful place to reflect.”  – Phil Servary

My Thoughts

This is a heartbreaking story of a little boy three years old almost four.  His father has just died and his mother is trying to keep her family together. But times are hard and she has six children to provide for. She finally realizes she can not give her children the care they need.  She takes the youngest four to an orphanage in hopes they find parents that will be able to provide for them.  

This story is about the oldest of those four youngest of the six children.  He became very shy and stays to himself not trusting anyone.  Within a three year period he made one friend and lost that friend when he was moved to another orphanage, then yet another. After being moved to the fourth and final establishment he became shy and stayed to himself again. But this place was different and he got to meet couples that were interested in adoption.  At Christmas everyone got a gift.  He had never gotten a Christmas gift before this was something new for him.  But they had not expected him though he did not notice and played with the empty boxes especial a pretty red box with a big red bow on top. When one of the workers asked what he would really like for Christmas he said a Mother and Father, his very own parent's.

This was a very touching story and it flows with emotion.  The illustrations are vintage in appearance and they remind me of Norman Rockwell Paintings.  

The author was an orphan and was adopted by loving parent's that not only provided him the nourishment he needed they also nurtured his mind and spirit.  They guided him into manhood and taught him to love and worship God.  

So many people take for granted God's gift of loving parent's.  There are so many children without parents. 

I highly recommend this book.

I rated this book a 5 out of 5.

Disclosure:  I received a free copy of this book from Author Solutions for review.  I was in no way compensated for this review.  It is my honest opinion. 

Monday, January 28, 2013


New Book: Surviving Seventh Grade
Yes, that is right - Seventh Grade is Unfair to Boys

Concord, NH --More than 12 million students are either in the seventh grade, or will be entering it in the next two years. And, a new book published this week says that it’s the boys who are at a disadvantage. Surviving Seventh Grade, by Glenn K. Currie provides a humorous and informative look at this environment from the viewpoint of a thirteen-year-old boy, just in time for the holidays.

Whether it is called junior high or middle school, the world changes as they move from the cloistered classrooms of grade school, to a larger, more complex society, and deal with the hormonal earthquakes of puberty. Surviving Seventh Grade follows Snobby Donna, Billy and Glenn from their adventures in A Boy’s First Diary to a whole set of
new issues: A trip that takes them from “rulers” of grade school, to a status just below the bottom of a meadow muffin. Because of the broad nature of the book’s appeal, it makes an ideal gift for children of all ages.

Currie is a prize-winning poet and humorist who works closely with the Children’s Literacy Foundation in a variety of school programs in New Hampshire. He has also been a featured speaker at many events where he mixes humor with an emphasis on the critical importance of ensuring that our children develop good reading and writing skills at an early age.

The book is once again set in the 1950’s, which allows readers to focus on life without the complications of smart phones, video games and even computers. As ABFD proved, the kids today are still facing many of the same emotional issues, and relate closely to the humor and struggles of the characters.

Glenn K. Currie’s previous young adult book, A Boy’s First Diary (2007), looked at life in the fourth and fifth grades, and was met with broad critical acclaim. It was “strongly recommended” by the Midwest Book Review. Writers Digest wrote “I loved this collection”. And, among a large number of letters from grade school students, was this thoughtful critique from Jeffrey, age 10, “You are the greatest writer in the world”.

About the book:
Surviving Seventh Grade by Glenn Currie
ISBN: 978-0-9779675-7-5
Publisher: Snap Screen Press
Date of publish: December 2012

Where to buy: AmazonBarnes&Noble


My Thoughts

Surviving Seventh Grade is the journal of a young man just turned thirteen.  He shares in his journal about being low man on the totem pole when starting 7th grade and having to suffer the antics of the 9th graders.  He describes his teachers and trouble that happens during class. For instance someone put strips toilet paper on a teacher's desk.  Some about getting sent to detention along with other students. There are the times when they are not sure how to approach girls.  

Then there was Brylcreem, yes, I even remember the song from the commercial. ( Brylcreem a little dab'll...)  I even found a video of the commercial.

What you teen did not like American Band Stand?

I was born in the 1950s so a lot of this stuff is definitely familiar.  Even though I am a female and had no clue what boys were really thinking about at that age.

I enjoyed the journey down memory lane.  I laughed about the shower prank and incident with the bad breath and the squirrel.  Too Funny!

There is so much I would like to share with you about this book but then you would not have to get your own copy and I know you want one.  

I recommend this book.

I rated this book a 5 out of 5.

Disclosure:  I received a free copy of this book from Snap Screen Press for review. I was in no way compensated for this review.  It is my honest opinion.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

ABOUT MAMMALS ~ A Guide for Children ~ by Cathryn Sill, illustrated by John Sill ~ GIVEAWAY

About the Book

This thoughtful first glimpse into the world of mammals explains what they are, how they live, and what they do. 

Elementary school teacher and author Cathryn Sill accurately answers the first questions of young naturalists by explaining what mammals are, how they live, and what they do. With the help of illustrations from noted wildlife illustrator John Sill, About Mammals explores the charm and wonder of the huge variety of animals that fall into this diverse category.

Teachers Guide for the ABOUT series here.

Where to buy: AmazonBarnes&Noble

Published by Peachtree Publishers (March 2000)

ISBN: 978-1-56145-141-8
Total Pages: 48
Size: 10 x 8 1/2  
Age 3-8    
Leveling Information
Accelerated Reader
  • AR Quiz#: 51006
  • AR Reading Level: 2.1
  • AR Points: 0.5
  • F&P (Fountas & Pinnell)
  • F&P Level: J
  • F&P Grade: 1

About Author and Illustrator

Cathryn Sill, a graduate of Western Carolina University, was an elementary school teacher for thirty years. She lives in North Carolina.

More books in this series here.

John Sill holds a BS in wildlife biology from North Carolina State University. Combining his knowledge of wildlife and artistic skill, John has achieved an impressive reputation as a wildlife artist and received several awards. He lives in North Carolina.

You can visit John Sill’s website here.

GIVEAWAY ~ U.S. residents only
Win a HARDCOVER Copy of 
 1 Winner
Just leave a comment below with your email.
(I need your email to contact you if you are the winner)
Ends February 3rd, 2013
Winner announced on Feb. 4th, 2013

My Thoughts

In this book ABOUT MAMMALS it shows images of mammals from the smallest to the largest, from mammals that live underground and those that live above ground, even mammals in the oceans.  Some with lots of fur/hair to those that have hardly any. 

At the back of the book called the Afterword is more details on each of the mammals pictured in the book. 

On the back cover of the book it has these questions:

  • What does a mammal look like?
  • What does a mammal eat?
  • Where does a mammal live?
I find this series to be a wonderful go to for boys and girls to get them more involved with nature and wildlife.  My husband was very impressed the series.  I like that it relates to the very young and the old. I have already read a couple of other books by this author and illustrator and plan on making my way through the series and others.  

I highly recommend this book to all children also parents, teachers, and librarians.

I rated this book a 5 out of 5.

Disclosure:  I received a free copy of this book from Peachtree Publishers for review.  I was in no way compensated for this review. It is my own honest opinion.

If you found this review helpful vote yes or no here.