Friday, March 30, 2018

Children's Book Review: Marlon Bundo's A Day in the Life of the Vice President By Charlotte Pence

MARLON BUNDO'S 
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF THE VICE PRESIDENT

By: Charlotte Pence

Illustrated by: Karen Pence

Published: March 19, 2018

Publisher: Regnery Kids


Marlon Bundo or BOTUS (Bunny of the United States) has become a national celebrity after being the famous pet of Vice President Pence and his family. He is actually Charlotte Pence's pet and considers the VP his Grampa. In a ceremony honoring military families in May 2017, Marlon Bundo stole the stage during his first public event. He is the first bunny to ride Air Force Two. Due to his popularity, Marlon Bundo now has his own Instagram account, followed by over 30,000 fans. 

Marlon Bundo shares his experiences following the Vice President around for a day. He wants kids to know about the important things his Grampa does every day from a bunny's point of view. BOTUS starts the day at the home of the Vice President and his family, grabbing a coffee and heading off to work waving to people as they leave. The day begins with meetings at the White House and in the Oval Office. Marlon Bundo loves the fluffy carpet. The next stop is the Capitol building where Marlon explains the Vice President's role with the Senate. Then off to the Eisenhower Executive Office Building where Marlon gets to meet many people during the workday. Marlon and the Vice President end the day with a peek at the stars and a prayer before bed.

The story is told in rhyming verse and teaches children just enough to make them curious about the Vice President's job. The end of the book offers a bit more detailed information for parents to offer children about each part of the day. I found the telescope at the Vice President's residence the most interesting. I had no idea there was one there. The Pence family even invited children to watch the solar eclipse from their Observatory.


Second Lady Karen Pence is a very talented artist. Her watercolor illustrations on every page are lovely.  I think my favorite page was Marlon Bundo sitting on Vice President Pence's lap while they are reading the Bible. I noted she used the page from Jeremiah Chapter 29, which includes the well-known verse 11 "For I know the plans I have for you...." Very appropriate.

For many years, the public has fallen in love with pets at the White House. From Millie, President H.W. Bush's dog to President Clinton's cat, Socks to Barney and Miss Beazley, the Bush's dogs to Bo, President Obama's dog, I have always believed that having a pet at the White House made the President seem more like the rest of us. Although I am not sure the President or Vice President is the one taking them out for the middle of the night "business". Pets are important in our lives and I love that the Pence family is sharing their sweet bunny, Marlon Bundo, with us. This book is perfect for preschool to lower-elementary-aged children and is the perfect bunny to tuck in your Easter basket this weekend!

Karen Pence, Marlon Bundo, and Charlotte Pence - source
Charlotte Pence graduated from DePaul University in 2016 with a degree in English and Digital Cinema. Her written work has appeared in Glamour Magazine and publications affiliated with the University of Oxford, where she studied as an undergraduate. She has made documentaries on non-profits, mental health, and social justice, and she received a REgional Emmy for her work on the award-winning documentary Fleeced. She is "Mom" to Marlon Bundo, whom she adopted for a student film project. This is Charlotte's first children's book.

Karen Pence, the wife of Vice President Mike Pence, is a mother, educator, and award-winning watercolor artist. As Second Lady of the United States, Mrs. Pence works to bring attention to art therapy and the sacrifices made by military service members and their families. She earned a BS and MS in Elementary Education from Butler University in Indianapolis. Mrs. Pence and Vice President Mike Pence have been married since 1985 and are proud parents of their adult children, Charlotte, Audrey, and Michael and his wife Sarah.

To purchase a copy of MARLON BUNDO'S A DAY IN THE LIFE OF THE VICE PRESIDENT click the photo below:




I will be linking up this review on Booking Mama's regular Saturday feature, Kid Konnection. This is a place for bloggers to share posts related to children's and YA books. You will find spotlights, reviews, and sometimes even giveaways by clicking HERE, every Saturday.


Other books you may enjoy:


1,000 FACTS ABOUT THE WHITE HOUSE

SOMEBUNNY LOVES ME

HEY, BABY


REMEMBER THE LADIES




Thanks to the publisher for providing copies of this book for the purpose of this review. This review is my honest opinion. If you choose to purchase the book through the above link, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Children's Book Review: You're My Little Cuddle Bug By Nicola Edwards

YOU'RE MY LITTLE CUDDLE BUG

By: Nicola Edwards

Illustrated by: Natalie Marshall

Published: February 1, 2018

Publisher: Silver Dolphin Books

Fiction/Board Book

If you have a toddler in your house, run out and get this book for their Easter basket! Celebrate how much you love your own little "cuddle bug" by reading this book with them.

This seven-inch-square board book is perfect for toddlers to hold. The pages are sturdy and each page either has a cut-out or a 3D image of a bug. Through a rhyming verse, the story shares how much your own little bug is loved whether they are a ladybug, a bumblebee, a caterpillar, a butterfly, or a beetle. The illustrations of each bug are absolutely adorable with the big eyes and bright colors.

I loved reading these kinds of books to our children showing them in a new way just how much I loved them. Sharing how much joy and laughter they bring into your life offers security and love to your kids no matter how young they are. This early reading time with your child is so important to establishing a love a reading and their development of language. With summer coming up, parents could even take their child outside to look for these specific bugs from the story and talk about what makes each bug important in our eco-system. 

Ultimately, this is a sweet book to read to a child that shows the most important part of being a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, sibling, or babysitter...your love for them. It's too sweet of a book to pass up.

To purchase a copy of YOU'RE MY LITTLE CUDDLE BUG, click the photo below:






I will be linking up this review on Booking Mama's regular Saturday feature, Kid Konnection. This is a place for bloggers to share posts related to children's and YA books. You will find spotlights, reviews, and sometimes even giveaways by clicking HERE, every Saturday.



Other books you might like:


SOMEBUNNY LOVES ME

TWO TODDLER NURSERY RHYME BOOKS

GARETH LUCAS NOISY BOOKS

FIRST STORIES FAIRY TALE BOOKS





Thanks to the publisher for providing copies of this book for the purpose of this review. This review is my honest opinion. If you choose to purchase the book through the above link, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase.



Friday, March 23, 2018

Children's Book Review: It's A Puppy's Life By Seth Casteel

IT'S A PUPPY'S LIFE

By: Seth Casteel

Published: March 20, 2018

Publisher: National Geographic Children's Books

Non-Fiction

Today is National Puppy Day (yes, it's really a thing) so sharing this new book from National Geographic Kids is the perfect way to celebrate. Through amazingly adorable photographs of all kinds of breeds of puppies, children can be introduced to the fun of being a puppy. The puppy photos fill the whole page and their expressions are priceless. Warning: You may be making a trip to an animal shelter after reading this book.

Photography by Seth Casteel. Photo provided by Publisher.

With just a few words on each page, children are taken through a day in a puppy's life starting with eating some dog food, to exploring, to napping, and playing, more exploring and playing, and eventually more sleeping. As the book says, "It's ruff to be a pup!"

Photography by Seth Casteel. Photo provided by Publisher.
Over 30 different breeds are featured in the book to offer cuteness for every dog-lover. Aside from all the cuteness, this book also teaches that puppies need attention, care, and lots of love. Children and adults will love looking through the pages of adorable puppies and with a repetitive verse, younger children will also be able to read along.

Seth Casteel and his dog, Baby Nala - source
Seth Casteel is an award-winning photographer and author of UNDERWATER DOGS, UNDERWATER PUPPIES and a trio of children's books. In February 2012, Casteel's series of photos showcasing dogs diving into swimming pools became an overnight Internet sensation, reaching more than 100 million people in less than 24 hours. This sudden attention results in the Underwater series. Now with more than half a million copies in print around the world, UNDERWATER DOGS is one of the best-selling photography books of all time. Casteel has traveled the world in pursuit of his passion for animals. His nonprofit campaign, One Picture Saves a life, inspires, empowers, and educates animals ambassadors around the world to improve rescue and adoption services through positive photography. His rescue dog, Baby Nala, is his very best pal. People often say that Seth and Nala have similar hairstyles. To see more about Seth and his photography, visit his website, HERE

To purchase a copy of IT'S A PUPPY'S LIFE, click the photo below:






I will be linking up this review on Booking Mama's regular Saturday feature, Kid Konnection. This is a place for bloggers to share posts related to children's and YA books. You will find spotlights, reviews, and sometimes even giveaways by clicking HERE, every Saturday.


Thanks to the publisher for providing copies of this book for the purpose of this review. This review is my honest opinion. If you choose to purchase the book through the above link, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Book Review: My Kitchen Year By Ruth Reichl

MY KITCHEN YEAR
136 Recipes that Saved My Life

By: Ruth Reichl

Published: September 29, 2015

Publisher: Random House

Non-Fiction/Cookbook/Memoir



Reichl's world as she knew it came to an end in 2009 when her role as editor-in-chief of "Gourmet" magazine came to an abrupt halt. The magazine was no longer published and Reichl had no idea what to do with her life. I had seen this book mentioned a few times and it intrigued me, so when it was part of a Kindle Deal, I grabbed it and read it slowly over a few months. I must admit I was not enjoying it at the beginning. I wasn't expecting the depressing, poor-me attitude to be so prevalent on the pages. Reichl was truly lost, wandering the streets, and completely unsure of how to spend her days. She, of course, turned to her most treasured spot, her kitchen and created dishes that brought her comfort, gave her a challenge, or filled her need for adventure.

As she and her husband decide to go to their second home and live their lives in the country for the winter, I found Reichl relaxed a bit more and her story seemed to become less whiny. Maybe, she was able to breathe a little bit being away from the city and all that reminded her of her former career.



I found many of the recipes were over my head and were foods I would never make, let alone, eat. Here in small-town Iowa, I am not exposed to the range of flavors she raved about in her recipes. I'm also not much of a seafood fan, so those recipes were pretty much ignored. But, no matter what the recipe is, Reichl's descriptions of her cooking the food will make your mouth water. I found myself highlighting a number of her recipes from Roast Chicken with Potatoes to Pomegranate Sunrise Fizz to Banana Bread (I'm always looking for that perfect recipe) and her Grandmother's Cabbage. So far, that is the only recipe I have had a chance to try. I've made cooked cabbage several times as it's a favorite of my husband but hers had a few different steps that I hadn't done before. Did I notice much of a difference in the flavor from when I have made it? No, but still delicious either way.

Ultimately, Reichl's world as she knew it came to a halt and the making of meals helped her emerge from the sadness and shock of starting over. This book is the result of that year. Reichl's book reads much like a diary as you travel through the seasons both in weather and seasons of grief. The photography is limited, there isn't a photo of every recipe, but when a photo appears on the page, it puts you right in the moment. The chapters are short and everyone focuses on a specific emotion and dish, ending with the recipe. So, you can easily read this like I did over the course of several weeks or months. 

Even though this book had a rough start for me, I appreciated the journey and the food that helped her overcome her sadness. It reminded me how much I love cooking for my family and gave me a new excitement for creating meals out of love.

Ruth Reichl - source

Ruth Reichl is an American food writer, former editor-in-chief of Gourmet magazine and culinary editor for the Modern Library and a former food critic.  For more information, check out her website, HERE

To purchase a copy of MY KITCHEN YEAR, click the photo below:





I will be linking up this post as part of Beth Fish Reads' Weekend Cooking. Weekend Cooking is open to anyone that has a food-related post to share including a book review (fiction or non-fiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. Grab the button and link up on Saturdays, but you can post any day of the week. To see all the Weekend Cooking posts and this week's link up, click, HERE



This post includes affiliate links. If you choose to purchase I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase. 

Friday, March 16, 2018

Children's Book Review: Peep and Egg Series By Laura Gehl

PEEP AND EGG
I'm Not Hatching

By: Laura Gehl

Illustrated by: Joyce Wan

Published: February 9, 2016

Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux

Format: Hardcover/Picture Book

Peep is just begging for Egg to hatch. There are so many fun things ahead for them to do together.  But Egg is too scared to hatch. No matter what Peep tells Egg they would do together like watching the sunrise, visiting the ducks at the pond, or playing hide-and-seek in the yard Egg is just too scared to hatch. Until Peep gets tired of waiting. Will Egg have the courage to hatch?

This is the first in the adventures of Peep and Egg. The story has a repetitive feature of Egg saying "I'm not hatching" which will encourage toddlers to read along. The illustrations are adorable and fill the pages. Peep and Egg are destined to have lots of fun together and your child will love waiting to see what adventures lie ahead for them.

PEEP AND EGG
I'm Not Trick-or-Treating

By: Laura Gehl

Illustrated by: Joyce Wan

Published: August 9, 2016

Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux

Format: Hardcover Picture Book

Peep is super excited to go out trick-or-treating, but Egg (who is no longer an egg but a chick just like Peep) is too scared. Peep tries to convince Egg that they will have lots of fun by visiting the ducks and the cows, but Egg is too scared. Then Peep tells Egg some Halloween jokes and Egg starts to giggle. Peep decides to go to the barn without Egg to see everyone's costumes and Egg thinks maybe having fun on Halloween isn't so scary.

Children will enjoy seeing all the barn animals in various costumes. They will laugh at all the silly jokes that Peep told to try to get Egg to go trick-or-treating. If you have a young child who may be afraid to go out on Halloween night, this may be a good book to share with them.



PEEP AND EGG
I'm Not Taking A Bath

By: Laura Gehl

Illustrated by: Joyce Wan

Published: October 24, 2017

Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux

Format: Hardcover Picture Book

The third in the Peep and Egg series continues with Egg not wanting to take a bath after Peep and Egg played in the mud. Peep offers lots of ideas for ways Egg can take a bath from using the sheep's special shampoo, or a dip in the dog's water bowl, or in the river. But, Egg has no interest in taking a bath...until there are bath toys involved. Egg will have so much fun taking a bath that getting Egg out of the bath will be the next problem.

Again, a super cute story with adorable illustrations of all the animals on the farm. Joyce Wan is also the talented illustrator in the PUG AND PIG books.

Young children will love this series. It helps them not be afraid and sometimes just getting started is the hardest part. Peep is an encouraging friend and this sweet story of friendship is one children will want to read again and again.

The newest addition to the series is PEEP AND EGG I'm Not Using the Potty.

Laura Gehl - source
Laura Gehl is the author of the Peep and Egg books and several other picture books, including ONE BIG PAIR OF UNDERWEAR. Laura has four children. She and her family live in Chevy Chase, Maryland. Find out more at LauraGehl.com.

To purchase the Peep and Egg books, click the photos below:










I will be linking up this review on Booking Mama's regular Saturday feature, Kid Konnection. This is a place for bloggers to share posts related to children's and YA books. You will find spotlights, reviews, and sometimes even giveaways by clicking HERE, every Saturday.


Thanks to the publisher for providing copies of this book for the purpose of this review. This review is my honest opinion. If you choose to purchase the book through the above link, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Quick Lit: Mini Reviews of Some Recent Reads - March Edition




I'm trying to read more books that I choose for my own reading enjoyment. Not for review, but because I've been wanting to read them or they caught my attention. Most of them have been talked about ad nauseam or have been on my to-read list for a long time so they don't really need a full review. But, I'd still like to give them some space here on the blog.

I'll be linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy and her monthly Quick Lit link up. Be sure to head over to see others link up their Quick Lit posts. 

Our family headed out for a somewhat spontaneous Spring Break trip. I took lots of books with me and you'll have to check in later to see which ones I actually finished. I always have high expectations for reading and don't usually read everything I take, but I'm hoping I make a dent in this pile. 




Here are a few of the books I read or listened to in the last month.....



MAKE YOUR BED
Little Things that Can Change Your Life...and Maybe the World
By: Admiral William H. McRaven (US Navy Retired)
Published: April 4, 2017
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Format: Audiobook

This inspiring bestseller should be required reading for every high school or college graduate. After giving the commencement speech at the University of Texas in 2014, he was approached to make it into a book. It's a short, quick read or listen at just over an hour. But, it is extremely impactful and inspiring. 

Admiral McRaven offers stories from his multiple years in the military that can apply to everyone. He starts with the simple task of making your bed every day. This simple task helps you start the day with an accomplishment and sets the tone for the rest of your day. Some of the other inspiring mantras include Swim with the Sharks and Don't Ever Ring the Bell. Even though the stories are all military focused, you can still find ways to connect them to "civilian" life. His approach is straight-forward and direct. If you find yourself in a difficult situation, you can easily think back to a lesson that applies and face it with strength and integrity. 




TELL ME MORE
Stories about the 12 Hardest Things I'm Learning to Say
By: Kelly Corrigan
Published: January 9, 2018
Publisher: Random House
Format: Audiobook 

I listened to this one on audio because I really enjoyed listening to THE MIDDLE PLACE on audio. The author narrates this one and her emotions are just on the edge of falling over the cliff, but she holds on. Unfortunately, she shares her deep grief after losing her father and her best friend. But she also shares the life lessons she has learned over the years through her own cancer experience, the death of the two important people in her life, being married for nearly 20 years and raising two daughters. This is a short book, but it packs a punch. It's full of Aha! moments and sadness and hope. I had to stop listening to it a few times because I can't put on makeup and cry at the same time, but it's one I would listen to again.




THE ONE MAN
A Novel
By: Andrew Gross
Published: August 23, 2016
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Format: eBook

My niece recommended this to me knowing I love novels set during WWII. Even though this one has been loosely based on actual people and events from WWII, it is a fictional story. But, let me tell you, it is intense. I think it is the most intense story I have read set during WWII. The premise is that there is one man that can help the US in the war efforts. This man is one of two who knows how to build an atomic bomb. The other man with the knowledge is working for the Germans. So the US feels it is imperative to find this one man and get him to the US. Through intelligence and information from the inside, he is found in Auschwitz. Now the US has to figure out how to get him out and there is only one man who they believe can do that. 

I liked how the title of this book gives two different meanings...the one man who is needed to bring back to the US with the knowledge of bomb building and the other is the one man who the government believes can get him out. Of course, all the horrors of WWII and concentration camps fill the pages and the buildup to the main climax of the book was quite intense. You can't imagine how these two men will actually find each other in a camp of tens of thousands of men and then get out in the specified time. You can't imagine it, but know, the ride will not be what you expected. 

 I admit, the scientific formulas and talk about bomb-making was like reading another language, so I skimmed those parts of the book. But, that information isn't needed to understand the story or the great importance of the mission. It is a thrilling read and one I'm glad I read. But, I think I'll need to find something much lighter for my next book choice. 

"It was for this reason that man was first created as one person, 
to teach you that anyone who destroys a life is considered by Scripture 
to have destroyed an entire world; and any who saves a life
 is as if he saved an entire world."





This post contains affiliate links. If you click on the links above it will take you to that product's page on Amazon. If you choose to purchase I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase. 

Friday, March 9, 2018

Children's Book Review: Questions and Answers for Kids By Scott Bowen

QUESTIONS & ANSWERS FOR KIDS
A Three-Year Journal for Kids with Inspirational Bible Verses

By: Scott Bowen

Published: February 18, 2018

Publisher: Freely Give Co

Non-Fiction/Journal

If you asked an eight-year-old if they would want to live with their parents after college, I bet you would get a totally different answer looking back ten years later. That is the joy of keeping journals with your kids and I have a truly awesome one to share with you today. I am bummed that my kids are too old for this book because I would have LOVED creating this journal with them. This journal offers pages for each day with space for three years of recording answers to specific questions for that day. As your children grow, their answers will change and it would be fun to go through the previous years' answers with them. This journal would be a great activity for dinner-time or bedtime. Or maybe your family has a breakfast time devotion before the kids head off to school, then this would work for that time as well.  You could even ask the day's question in the morning so the kids have all day to think about their answer and then complete the journal at bedtime.

Author Scott Bowen created this journal as a way to get his eight-year-old son to talk more about his day at the dinner table. I think this book would work best for children 7-11, depending on the maturity of your kids.


Each page offers plenty of space for your child's answer to the question. For example, a couple questions are "What is your favorite family memory from last month?" and "What car would you like to drive for one day?". Then at the bottom of each page is a Bible verse that goes along with the question of the day. If your child doesn't have an idea of what to answer, then you could come back to it the next day after they've had time to think about it or create your own questions that are maybe a follow up to the prior day's question.

A ribbon bookmark is attached so that you can easily find the page you are on.  The pages are a heavy paper so they won't easily rip and the book is a hardcover to protect it over the three-year use. This journal allows families to create lasting memories with their children and watch their interests change over the years in the journal. The Bible verse on each page offers an opportunity for more conversation about the lesson it may be teaching and the illustrations on the page will make your child laugh and maybe help them come up with some ideas for answers.

This would make an excellent gift for your child's or grandchildren's Easter basket. What better way to encourage conversation and build memories with your child than through a personalized daily journal that parents or grandparents and child can complete together.

Photo provided by the publisher


To purchase a copy of QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS FOR KIDS, click the photo below:



The publisher Freely Give Co offers gift baskets for all occasions perfect for new moms, birthdays, appreciation, and weddings. Check out their website, HERE.



I will be linking up this review on Booking Mama's regular Saturday feature, Kid Konnection. This is a place for bloggers to share posts related to children's and YA books. You will find spotlights, reviews, and sometimes even giveaways by clicking HERE, every Saturday.


Thanks to the publisher for sending this book for the purpose of this review. This review is my honest opinion. If you choose to purchase the book through the above links, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase.