Monday, August 31, 2015

Candlewick Press Presents: Pat-a-Cake Baby by Joyce Dunbar, illustrated by Polly Dunbar

About Book

Mother-daughter team Joyce and Polly Dunbar offer a sweet and whimsical confection for babies, inspired by a nursery rhyme.

It’s late at night, and everyone is sleeping—except for pat-a-cake baby! All dressed up in his chef’s coat and hat, baby wants to make a very special cake. Time to wake up Candy baby, Jelly baby, and All sorts baby—miniature cherubic figures who float through the pages to lend a hand. One by one, they add ingredients, from glitzy sugar to yolky jokey eggs, until it’s time to bake, pat, and decorate the cake. Finally it’s ready for tasting, just in time for a special guest (the man in the moon!) to have a slice. This surreal and colorful treat is just right for sending little ones off to dreamland.

Buy on Amazon, B&N, IndieBound

About Joyce Dunbar

Over 10 years, she has run a Writer's course in the Greek island of Skyros. Also, for the Arvon Foundation in the UK.

In 1998 she cycled across Cuba for the National Deaf Children's Society. In 1999 she travelled across India to the Himalayas with a guru.

From 2006-2009 she was a Royal Literary Fund writing fellow at U.E.A. She embarked on a book for adults which is still a work in progress.

She loves the City where she lives - Norwich, in Norfolk. She also loves Brighton where she got married. Her daughter lives on a seafront flat in Brighton.

She loves animals, gardening, art, theatre, cinema, reading, walking, cycling, gazing out of the window and Leonard Cohen. In another life she would like to be a dancer or an explorer/naturalist.

Her eyes are green. Her favourite colour is green. Her cat is called Minnie Ha-ha. Her son Ben is a photographer.
From 1972 to 1995 she was married to the lawyer who wanted to be an artist. He became an artist.

Questions and Answers

Q: How did you become a children's writer?
A: I married a lawyer who wanted to be an illustrator. He invented a character called JUGG and I thought if I could write a story about this character, my husband could illustrate it and we would live happily ever after. It didn't quite work out like that of course.....

Q: What makes a children's writer?
A: I often wonder about this. Many writers for children had unhappy childhoods and I sometimes think writing is a way of remaking one's childhood. The grown-up that you've become is taking care of the child that you were. In my case it might have been a case of arrested development. I began to go deaf at the age of five and became increasingly lost in my own world. (After university I was told that I was too deaf to teach the deaf, so I taught Shakespeare to the hearing instead, for twenty years).

Q: Why aren't you a serious writer?
A: People often assume that writing for children isn't serious. I think now that a few children's authors have made serious money, this perception has changed. But of course it is serious. Childhood is the most sensitive, intense, freshest period of life; children the most impressionable of readers. Whatever they read has a lasting effect. I often ask myself how 'serious' the world is. When I listen to the news - and the stuff grown-ups get up to. I think, now....if that was happening in a playground.... At the heart of every good children's story is something true.

Q: Is it fun?
A: Yes and no. A lot of it is hard work. A lot of it is refusing to accept failure. But when a story suddenly comes right - which it often does years after it was started - that is a most wonderful feeling. So is the post in the morning when it contains the first rough illustrations of a new book. And then the book itself. It's like Christmas, several times a year.

Q: What was your favourite book as a child?
A: I wasn't brought up in a bookish household so didn't read that much as a child. I was too busy running wild. But I loved Grimm's fairy tales and Aesop's fables and my father read Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn to us. I can still hear him reading it. But the first book I loved with absolute passion was 'Macbeth' which I read when I was 17. It was like a door swinging wide open into a whole new world. Two of my favourite children's authors now are Maurice Sendak and Arnold Lobel.

Q: Where do ideas come from?
A: Everywhere. it's just a matter of learning to see them and catch them. Ideas are all around. It's all about taking notice of your own life, paying deep attention to even the smallest events.

Q: Do you have any complaints?
A: Well the sheer number of children's books - about 10,000 year in England alone - is a bit daunting. You ask yourself if there's room for any more. I also get depressed at the copycat nature of publishing. I'm not sure that originality always is what publishers are looking for. There's also too much cuteness for my liking. I write cute stories myself but this reflects what publishers accept rather than my range as a writer. But this really is a golden age of children's books and you can't expect to publish only the best.

Q: Is it easy writing for children?
A: People often make this assumption because children's books are short. But this means every word has to earn its keep. It also means that form and pattern - the unspoken parts of the meaning -are very important. You can't just wait for it to happen. You have to make yourself available, sit on the chair, stare at the page. A lot of the time, nothing happens. Then, one moment, an idea drops into your head. I have a row of files on my shelves, numbered one to ten. They are all full of stories at different stages of progress. Sometimes, an idea that I had several years ago will suddenly take shape. You have to hang on to ideas so that your unconscious can work on them. I never discard. The tiniest scrap can become a good story.

Q: Are there any drawbacks?
A: Yes.. I sometimes suspect that I live my life in such a dream that I'm not quite to grips with the real world - which seems mainly to be about football, making money, celebrity, soap operas. and household bills.

Q: You recently published a book on Norwich Market. This was a strange departure for a children's writer. Whatever made you do it?
A: Good question. A mixture of reasons: It seemed a good idea. Norwich Market is almost 1000 years old and a fascinating expression of identity. I thought it would be interesting to explore that. Also, although there is a special thrill in seeing your books translated into several languages, I wanted a more immediate connection with the city in which I live. The residency seemed a good opportunity. It was a bizarre experience, transforming my story stall into a sitting room and being taken for a fortune teller!

Q: What is the very best thing about writing for children?
A: Spinning your straw into gold. You take the ordinary stuff of life and transform it into something magical. Some of my funniest, lightest stories have come out of the most difficult things in my life. So everything that happens - or almost everything - is useful. If you haven't got a problem, you haven't got a story. Stories are never, ever, about everything being all right. They are a place where you can make things all right and this has a very transforming effect on life. The other best thing is working with illustrators. And meeting children. And seeing your words in Zulu or Hebrew or Japanese. And meeting other children's writers. And some wonderful editors who can press the right buttons. And seeing something completed. And the sheer lovely feel of a new book.

About Polly Dunbar

"We all have the ability to change our mood and make ourselves feel happier. All you need is a bit of creativity and a lick of paint," says author/illustrator Polly Dunbar. It was this belief in the transformative power of art that inspired Polly Dunbar's first picture book, FLYAWAY KATIE.
In this buoyant picture book, Polly Dunbar illustrates the strange and wonderful things that happen when a little girl lets her creativity fly. It starts when Katie decides to liven up a gray day. She puts on her brightest clothes, takes hold of a paintbrush, and sets her imagination loose. "I certainly feel much brighter when I put on my best blue shoes," Polly Dunbar says. And readers are guaranteed to get a boost from what KIRKUS REVIEWS calls "a joyous cure for a case of the doldrums . . . exuberant, to say the least."
With her next picture book, DOG BLUE, Polly Dunbar again builds on the theme of the power of creativity. In an engaging tale full of whimsy and humor, the author/illustrator introduces Bertie, a boy who loves dogs and the color blue--and finds a creative way to make his fantasies come true. "DOG BLUE was inspired by a little Dalmation puppet who lives in a blue shoebox with air holes in the top for 'breathing,' " Polly Dunbar says. "The story was written for Neil, his owner, who has blue eyes, a blue sweater, and like Bertie, loves dogs." With illustrations creating a feeling of "informal but elegant simplicity," says KIRKUS, DOG BLUE wins fans for its fetching artwork as well as its clever style.
In addition to creating children's books, Polly Dunbar works as a freelance illustrator in London.

My Thoughts

Baby and friends all congregate in the kitchen at night when baby could not sleep.  There the kitchen came alive with baby in her bakers hat they start making a cake .  As they measure, stir, pour and bake they sing their actions into the the rhyme Pat-a-Cake Baby.  Making one big mess in the process and enjoying themselves immensely.

Pat-a-Cake nursery rhyme has been a part of all of our lives.  The author puts her own spin on this well know rhyme.  I found the new rhyme entertaining and fun.  The baby and her miniature baby helpers  were so precious to see.  I really liked the soft pastel colors used to create the illustrations.  This is a picture book I will definitely be with my grandbabies.  No doubt it will light up their eyes and make them laugh.

I highly recommend this book.

I rated this book a 5 out of 5.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from Candlewick Press for an honest review.  I was in no way compensated for this review.


Marked (Soul Guardians #1) by Kim Richardson

About Book


Sixteen-year-old Kara Nightingale is unpopular, awkward and positively ordinary—that is until one day she is struck by a bus and dies...Within moments her life changes from ordinary to extraordinary as she wakes up in a mysterious world with a new career—as a rookie for the Guardian Angel Legion. Kara is pulled into the supernatural where monkeys drive the elevators, oracles scurry above giant crystal balls and where demons feed on the souls of mortals.When an Elemental child is kidnapped, Kara is sent on a danger-filled quest and plunges into a situation more dangerous and deadly than anything she could ever imagine.From the best-selling author comes this captivating, funny debut novel and winner of the Readers’ Favorite Award.

Free on Amazon Kindle
(Limited time)

Friday, August 28, 2015

Young Adult Giveaway on Goodreads: Your Voice Is All I Hear by Leah Scheier 


Everything about Jonah is unexpected. On the first day of school, he sits next to April, when he could have chosen to sit with the popular girl. He turns down an invitation to join the school team and declares he’d rather paint. He encourages April to develop her musical talent and shrugs off the bullies that torment them. April isn’t surprised to find herself falling for Jonah. The unexpected part is when he falls for her too. But the giddy happiness of their first romance begins to fade when Jonah’s unpredictability begins to take a darker turn. April understands that her boyfriend is haunted by a painful memory, but his sudden mood swings worry her. She can’t explain his growing fear of cellphones, electric keyboards, and of sounds that no one else can hear.

Still, no matter what happens, April is sure that she’ll always stand by him. Until Jonah finally breaks and is committed to a psychiatric ward. Until schizophrenia changes everything. Though everyone urges her to let him go, April stays true to Jonah. But as the boy she adores begins to disappear in front of her, she has to face her worst fear: that her love may not be enough to save him. Cover copy: April won’t let Jonah go without a fight. He’s her boyfriend-her best friend. She’ll do anything to keep him safe. But as Jonah slips into a dark depression, trying to escape the traumatic past that haunts him, April is torn. To protect Jonah, she risks losing everything: family, friends, an opportunity to attend a prestigious music school. How much must she sacrifice? And will her voice be loud enough to drown out the dissenters-and the ones in his head?

ENDS August 31, 2015

About Author

Leah Scheier was born and raised in Baltimore, MD. As a child, she was inspired by her favorite authors, Arthur Conan Doyle, Lloyd Alexander, and C.S. Lewis to dream up tales of adventure and romance. Now grown up with daughters of her own, Leah works as a pediatrician and continues to create new stories. 

Her first novel, SECRET LETTERS, came out 6/26/12 (Hyperion/Disney). Her second novel, YOUR VOICE IS ALL I HEAR is due to be released in September 1, 2015 (Sourcebooks Fire).

Leah's website 

 follow on twitter 

The Amazing Adventures of Ellie the Elephant - Ellie Goes Back To School by Marci Fair, Nelly Murariu (Illustrator), Elle Fair (Editor)

About Book

The third installment of an award-winning children’s series, The Amazing Adventures of Ellie the Elephant: Ellie Goes to School follows the charming plush toy and her best friend, Pudgy the Penguin, as they brave their latest exploratory journey—elementary school. 

Having recently moved, Ellie is worried about her first day at a new school. But, encouraged by the presence of her trusted penguin sidekick, the little elephant decides to view the next few hours as just another buddy adventure packed with exciting surprises. 

Throughout the day, Ellie and Pudgy meet the classroom pets, take a trip to the library, discover interesting instruments in music class, and so much more. They even learn a valuable lesson about friendship when they encounter a lonely student at recess. By the end of the day, the two best friends can’t wait to return to school the next morning! 

Filled with delightful, real-life pictures of the plush elephant and penguin duo, Ellie Goes Back to School helps kids see that school is a safe place and learning is a fun adventure. 

Don’t miss the first two installments: Ellie Makes a New Friend and Ellie’s First Plane Ride.

Ellie Facebook Page

Buy at Amazon

About Author

As a working mother of four children, Fair was inspired to share the hard-earned wisdom she gained from juggling work and motherhood for over twenty years. This labor of love resulted in "TILT-7 Solutions To Be A Guilt-free Working Mom."

Filled with over 70 quotes from her children, over 100 real-life practical tips to help working moms and the wisdom of over 80 other wonderful working moms, Marci's goal with TILT is to encourage moms to continue to reach for their goals and dreams, as they help their children reach for theirs.

Marci Fair earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Southern Methodist University. Together, she and her husband founded a real estate business that is ranked in the top 100 in the United States. In addition, Marci founded a children’s charity Kares 4 Kids, that has served over fifteen thousand kids thus far (

My Thoughts

Ellie the elephant and her friend Pudgy the penguin were a little nervous at first but ended up having a great adventure on their first day of school.  So many new things to learn about like shapes, reading and much more.  In class there was a live bunny rabbit and a gecko.  They even had gym class, visit to the library and recess.  At recess they even made new friends. Then at the end of the day they rode a big yellow bus home from school.  

I was completely exhausted after reading about their first day at school.  I wonder if they needed a nap when they got home or if they were still full of energy.  It has been a long time since I was small and going to school I forgot how many exciting things there are to do in one day of school.  

It was indeed a real adventure reading "Ellie Goes Back To School".  Can't wait to read about her other adventures. 

I liked the illustrations. It was like looking through a scrapbook of Ellie and Pudgy on there first day of school. So very cute!  Who doesn't love stuffed animals?

I highly recommend this book.

I rated this book a 5 out of 5.

Disclosure:  I received a free copy of this book from Marci Fair/Bostick Communications for an honest review.  I was in no way compensated for this review.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Family Changes, Explaining Divorce to Children by Dr. Azmaira H. Maker

About Book 

 “Divorce” is a big word…especially for little kids. It’s hard for young children to understand what the word means, let alone how it will impact their lives—and it’s hard for us, as grown-ups, to explain it to them in terms they can fully comprehend.Nonetheless, when a child is involved in a family divorce or separation, it is crucial that he or she understands and embraces the changes… and this book will help you explain the transitions to your child.Family Changes is a delightfully informative children’s book that tackles a complicated topic in compassionate, child-friendly terms. Ideal for young minds aged four through eight, it features a colorful cast of fuzzy characters led by a young bunny na­­med Zoey, who is struggling with her parents’ divorce and is riddled by important questions and feelings your child is likely to encounter.In addition to the heartfelt story at its core, Family Changes also offers parents, therapists, teachers, and caregivers valuable information on how to ease children through this significant life change. A comprehensive note to parents and a list of essential child-focused questions are provided to guide the adult and child, and are certain to be an asset to both children and adults involved in the divorce/separation process.

To purchase on Amazon 


 The book identifies and normalizes young children’s feelings, concerns, and questions about parental divorce. Feelings of sadness, anxiety, loss, confusion, and anger are highlighted for the child via safe adults, peers, and fantasy. The book emphasizes that with young children, moving between play, process, and fantasy is a therapeutically effective mechanism to ‘work through’ anxiety-provoking content.Family Changes also serves as a guideline for adults in terms of what to expect developmentally, emotionally, and cognitively from young children. It provides adults with specific statements, questions, and content related to separation and divorce that facilitates a developmental and normative understanding of the child’s concerns and feelings.The aim of the book is not to offer a magical solution or even resolution at the end of the story. Rather, the ending of the story suggests that understanding and coping with divorce is likely to be a longer-term developmental process, and not a one-time conversation.

About Author

Azmaira H. Maker, Ph.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist, author, and speaker who has been working with children, parents, and families for twenty years. Dr. Maker specializes in child development, parenting, and psychotherapy and has extensive experience working in hospitals, schools, clinical agencies, and nonprofit organizations. She has also taught and supervised graduate and undergraduate students in child development, child therapy, play therapy, family therapy, parent guidance, trauma, and loss, and has published several research and theoretical articles in scientific, peer-reviewed professional psychology journals. She brings a wealth of experience working with divorcing families to Family Changes, which is certain to educate, enlighten, and empower children and parents.

To

My Thoughts

Zoey the bunny confronts her mother and father aboutht seperation and divorce. They do their best to to reassure her nothing will will change about how they feel about her and it is in no way her fault.

Zoey is trying to enjoy a treasure hunt at school and deal with her feelings at the same time.  She is having fun but keeps feeling sad and confused.

This children's is so much more than a story book.  It is a lifeline to a child coping with family changes as in seperation between mother and father, even divorce.

Sometimes have no idea how much a child really worries from not seeing the whole picture only picking up on bits and pieces.  Well, this little book is full of good bunny advice.  I also like that Zoey had a friend she turned to when she was confused and sad.

I recommend this book even for children who are not experiencing family changes.  Maybe they know someone like Zoey and will better comprehend the child's situation  a little better and maybe even comfort them with a little advice from this book.

I highly recommend this book.

I rated this book a 5 out of 5.

Disclosure:  I recieved a free copy of this book from Netgalley for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Monday, August 24, 2015

CANDLEWICK PRESS Presents, MOUSE'S FIRST NIGHT AT MOONLIGHT SCHOOL by Simon Puttock, illustrated by Ali Pye


It's Mouse's first night at Miss Moon's Moonlight School but she is shy, too shy to even say hello. Luckily, with help from Miss Moon and her new friends Bat, Cat, and Owl, a game of hide-and-seek makes Mouse feel right at home. 

 published by Candlewick Press/NOSYCROW 
isbn-10/isbn-13: 0763676071 / 9780763676070 
published: 06/2015 
type/format: Picture Books / Hardback 
age range: 3 yrs - 7 yrs # of pages: 32 
 grade range: Preschool - Grade 2 
 Purchase on: Amazon, B&N, IndieBound 
subjects: Animals, School & Education 

About Author 
 Simon Puttock has written several children’s books, among them a winner of a Scottish Children’s Book Award. He has lived in New Zealand, Trinidad, Australia, England, and Barbados. Now he lives in Edinburgh, Scotland. 

 About Illustrator 
 Ali Pye has wanted to be an illustrator ever since she was little, when she drew stories and stuck the pages together to make little books. But it took her a few years and a stint as a copy editor before she started drawing professionally in 2010. She lives in London.

My Thoughts

School was ready to start, but when Miss Moon called the role Mouse did not answer.  Everyone looked around and did not see Mouse. Where was Mouse? Surely she would not miss the first night of Moonlight School.

Can  you spy Mouse on the book cover?  She is quite small and very quiet.  

If you want to know what happens on the first night of Moonlight School you will need to read the book.

We know some children are shy and have a hard time being in a new place with strangers. Mouse is one of those children. This sweet story is a lesson in overcoming fears, making new friends, along with obeying your parents, who often say, "Always be polite and follow the rules".

I found the illustrations depict the dark night and moon with many of it's nocturnal creatures in a way children can get a perfect image in their minds of the story that is being told.

I highly recommend this book.

I rated this book a 5 out of 5.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Candlewick Press/NosyCrow for an honest review.  I was in now way compensated for this review. 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Young Adult Christian Fantasy: Annabeth's War, and Captive of Raven Castle by Jessica Greyson

About Book

With King Harold away at war Lord Raburn has his eye on the throne. Those who dare to stand in his way fall beneath his power. All but one. A girl named Annabeth. Can a common, ordinary girl, with love for king, country, and her father, achieve the impossible? 

Trained by her father, a master swordsman, outlawed Annabeth has only her sword, her wits, and her disguises to keep Belterra from falling entirely into Lord Raburn's clutches. Can she rescue her captured father and Prince Alfred? Will one girl keep the kingdom from falling?

About Book

The troubled people of war-torn Chambria are on the brink of starvation, and a delicate princess with a recurring nightmare is their only hope. Alexandra knows that her value to her country consists mainly in her ability to marry well, but when she is kidnapped by the rebels and taken to meet the man claiming to be both Chambria’s true king and her real father, her entire world falls apart. Will Princess Alexandra be able to untangle the web of lies and discern  who is the true king and her father?

Purchase books on Amazon in paperback and kindle.

On sale on kindle now!

Author Jessica Greyson

Jessica Greyson was captured by the literary world and the creation of words at a very young age, at twelve she felt a call to be a His ready writer and has been scribbling ever since. Annabeth's War is her debut novella.

Find more about Jessica at

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Kid Lit Blog Hop #64

Welcome to the 64th Kid Lit Blog Hop where we continue to develop a dynamic and engaged community of children’s books bloggers, authors, publishers, and publicists. So, you are always more than welcome to join us by popping in a post and hopping around to meet some of your fellow Kid Lit bloggers and authors!July and August. These will take place on the 3rd We

Kid Lit Blog Hop

Kid Lit Blog Hop Rules *Please Read* 

1. Link up any Kid Lit related post in the Kid Lit Blog Hop. This can be a link to a children’s book review, a discussion about children’s literature/literacy, or a post on a recently-read children’s book or one that you love from your childhood. * Don’t link directly to your blog, it must be a specific post.* * For Authors, we prefer you to link to your blog if you have one. Please link unique posts each time ~ no repeats please. * * Make sure you include an image relevant to the POST (e.g., book cover), not your blog button or photo of yourself.* * Feel free to link more than one post.*

2. Please visit AT LEAST the TWO LINKS from the Kid Lit Blog Hop directly ahead of your own and leave them some love in the form of a comment. We are trying to build a community of bloggers, readers, parents, authors, and others who are as passionate about children’s literature as we are so please CONNECT and follow any or all of the blogs that interest you!

3. If you like, grab the button above and put it somewhere on your blog, preferably the post you’re linking up. If you’d prefer, you can just add a text link back to this Hop so that others can find it and check out all these great book links!

4. It would really help us get the word out about the Kid Lit Blog Hop if you would be so kind as to tweet, share, and spread the word about the Hop!

 Happy Hopping!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Winners of Giveaway: Flag for the Flying Dragon, A Captain No Beard Story written by Carole P. Roman

is Loving Mommahood!

And Next!

WINNERS of a paperback copy of

Dorthea Jensen

sam r

Katie Logonauts

Attn: If you did not leave an email you have 14 days to contact me with a mailing address
before another winner is chosen.

THANKS to author CAROLE P. ROMAN for providing books for this giveaway and to all of you who entered the giveaway!

Patricia aka Mamaw