Sunday, November 1, 2015

Three 2015 Christmas Books to Excite Kids’ Holiday Cheer

Maybe the title is a bit wrong because I have never, ever met a youngster who needed a nudge into getting excited about Christmas. However, I have met quite a few who need a reason to stay excited, especially when the anxiety of Santa Claus and his impending arrival is looming ever closer. This is where bedtime stories and holiday cheer come in.

This year, holiday stories have taken on new spins with new characters and new scenarios, but seasonal excitement and holiday cheer have always been the two story-time constants.

The following three among the best 2015 Christmas books for kids have been handpicked to excite and delight both kiddos and adults.


Bear Stays Up for Christmas by Karma Wilson

Bear has been having a hard time this Christmas because he really, really wants to stay up for all the usual holiday activities, like baking Christmas cakes…and of course, eating Christmas cakes. He tries and tries to fight his natural instincts to hibernate, but he instead falls right to sleep on Christmas Eve. Oh no!

Fortunately for Bear, his forest friends want him to experience the greatness of Christmas too, which means poking and prodding Bear to wake him up. When they succeed, this grumpy, fur-covered cutie helps ring in the holiday with his favorite woodland friends.


The Nightmare Before Christmas (20th Anniversary Edition) by Tim Burton

The Nightmare Before Christmas has been around for 2 decades. Can you believe it? We were first introduced to this amazing Tim Burton concept in movie format and it has BOOMED, becoming one of the must-watches every Halloween and Christmas.

The book is a bit different than the movie in terms of shorter dialogue and not as much character explanation, but it is an instant classic in its own right. We are still introduced to Jack Skellington—the pumpkin-headed king of Halloweenland who longs for something more, something better. To make his life a little more interesting, Jack concocts a plan to steal Santa Claus and take over Christmas for himself.


The Not Very Merry Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen

Pout-Pout Fish has a perpetual pout—it is just how his face looks. However, just because he is always pouting does not mean he is always unhappy. On the contrary, Pout-Pout Fish is full of love and has tons of friends, most of whom he is have trouble shopping for in this book.

To turn his internal frown upside down, Pout-Pout Fish enlists the help of his friend Miss Shimmer to assist with finding the perfect presents for his list of sea-dwelling buddies.


If you're on the hunt for some great kids' Christmas books - here is a video short with some tips:

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Interactive Books for Babies in 2015

The top picks in baby books for 2015 are interactive and beautiful with a boldness and brightness that captures the imagination and attention of your youngster.

Despite being unable to read, babies can learn through pictures, and they can feel through illustrations. Give a kiddo a book about love between two polar bears, and they will coo and awe all day. Give them a book about loss of a teddy bear, and they will sympathize with the toddler in the story. This innate gift of understanding helps kids learn and flourish.

I have hand-picked a triple threat among the best baby books this year. These books are easy-grasp, easy-read, and have plenty of bold, colorful pictures with amazing meaning.


Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd

This little book has been around for ages! The pictures are elaborate and bright with a touch of decades-old details that give each page a vintage feel. The book itself is sturdy for easy-grasp and consistent bedtime reading throughout a kiddo’s childhood.

What is this book about? Well – a young bunny is trying to delay going to sleep. He is very tired, you see – but like all youngsters, he thinks he will miss something if he shuts his eyes. SO, in a very matter-of-fact voice, he says goodnight to absolutely everything in sight. As the night goes on, his voice gets lighter and sleepier, until finally, the moon is his last goodnight before dozing.


I Love You Through and Through by Bernadette Rossetti Shustak

Very few things have a stronger bond than a toddler and their stuffed bears (or animals, in general).

This book is about a little boy who loves his teddy bear more than anything in the whole world. He totes it with him everywhere!

Told through his words, he tells his teddy how much he loves him with laugh-out-loud rhymes, and overall very heartfelt message.


The World of Eric Carle: Around the Farm

Eric Carle has been a favorite of mine since I read The Very Hungry Caterpillar. This book pays tribute to his unique, colorful, bold world!

Kids can discover the sounds and sights of life on a farm. On the side of the book, there are press-buttons that make sounds to correspond with each of the awesome animals on the farm.

Sunshine never sets on this beautiful layout, and the animals are detailed with vivid, vibrant color.


Find more great picks in baby books - here is a bit of a short list on YouTube - video:

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Three Books that 2 Year Olds Will Love in 2015

Some kids pick up hobbies like you would pick up groceries – effortlessly. Others need a little persuasion to really get into something magical, such as reading.

A long-term love of reading begins with the perfect book. Bedtime stories are essential in my house, because reading, and even listening to stories, can teach you so much.

I have hand-picked what I believe to be the best books for 2 year olds this year. These books are colorful, bold, and engaging, striving to capture and hold a child’s attention throughout the story. Plus, some of them feature laugh-out-loud moments that elicit everything from gentle giggles to roaring belly laughs.


Disney Frozen (Little Golden Book) by RH Disney

Anna and Elsa are two beloved Disney characters that your Disney-loving toddler is sure to recognize. This book features the tale of these two sisters, retold in compact fashion. Plus, a little golden book is designed to be cherished and treasured throughout childhood.

The story goes like this (although I am sure you already know) – Elsa has magic powers that cause snow, frost, and everything chilly to erupt from her imagination. Anna, kept in the dark about her sister’s powers, is a na├»ve dreamer and hopeless romantic. Apart, these sisters are lonely and prone to craziness. Together, their bond overcomes anything, and they can achieve everything.


Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney

Have you ever played the ‘I love you,’ ‘I love you more,’ ‘I love you most’ game with your youngster? You will…and it will be awesome. This book might start it!

An engaging tale about a parent bunny and his little baby bunny, bonding over their love for one another. Silly rhymes and whimsy take little readers through colorful illustrations, and baby bunny is a relatable character that kids can really connect with.


Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! by Mo Willems

This book is one of those aforementioned reads that will cause an eruption of giggles.

One day, an exhausted bus driver decides he needs a break from driving the bus for a day. Who volunteers to take his place? A pigeon! This little pigeon is an oddball – no driver’s license, no hands to steer, and he seems too determined to get his way. He wheedles, begs, pleads, and tries to persuade.

This story is interactive, so in the end, your kiddo gets to decide whether or not to let the pigeon drive the bus.

More fun picks - a short mini-video with a top 5 list of books for kids two years of age:

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Top 3 Cheerful Christmas Books to Excite & Delight Kids

Christmas is coming! I know – it snuck up on me, too. And with Christmas comes to usual holiday stuff – parties, lists, decorations, and kids waiting on the much-anticipated annual approach of Santa Claus. Awesome!

However, until the actual night before or day of Christmas, kiddos can get frustrated or exhaustingly excited because their favorite holiday is moving too slow for their liking. But you can help keep them delighted and excited without getting too overwhelmed by questions of, “is it here yet?”

I have compiled a short list of the top 3 best Christmas books for kids.

These books are cheery, seasonal, and great for instilling a sense of wonder and magic in their readers.


Disney Christmas Storybook Collection by Elle D. Risco and Calliope Glass

Disney is as much loved as Christmas – and that is TONS! Which is why this storybook is oh-so popular. There are dozens of tales that revolve around Disney favorites – both new and old. They are decorating their Christmas trees, singing carols to neighbors, baking holiday treats, and retelling their stories about the best Christmases ever. Kids will love having this as their go-to holiday bedtime book – and parents are sure to enjoy it, too.


How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss

I have never, ever met someone over the age of 10 who did not know who The Grinch was. However, I’m sure there are a few out there, and if you’re one of them, then it’s time to wise up and read one of the greatest Christmas stories of all time.

What is this book about? Well, The Grinch is a hairy, small-hearted, green creature who lives on a mountain near Who-ville. The Whos of Who-ville are cheery, chipper, and always happy to see Christmas come back around, but The Grinch HATES Christmas.

As the story unravels, The Grinch steals Christmas, but a twist ending brings him running to give the holiday back.


The Nightmare Before Christmas: 20th Anniversary Edition by Tim Burton

I cannot possibly express how much I LOVE The Nightmare before Christmas. Admittedly, I watch it tons of times over the course of the year, but Christmas and Halloween give me an excuse to binge-watch over and over again. This book is that story!

Tim Burton wrote and illustrated every page, and readers get to see where Jack Skellington, Sally, and the rest of the Halloween Town crew came from.


Here is a delightful video "short" of 2014's top 5 picks among children's Christmas books...

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Best Sticker Books for Rainy Days - 2014 Picks for Kids

Image Credit: Stickers @
When I was a kiddo and the weather outside was cold and pouring down rain – my siblings and I would spend hours on the living room floor with craft paper and watercolor paints. However – I much would have preferred the awesomeness of the following sticker books. These are PERFECT for those rainy days when there’s nothing to do but stare out the window.

With the aforementioned inclement weather in mind – I have picked a trio of amazing sticker books that kiddos of every age would love. Each of these 3 is loaded with stickers and offers hours of indoor entertainment to otherwise bored babes on an oh-so-grey day.

And my 3 mood-boosting picks from the best sticker books for kids are:


1000 Stickers by Roger Priddy

In all of my research – I discovered that Roger Priddy seems to be the KING of the sticker books. He has had so much success with these – and this is one of his most expansive and well-loved creations.

These aren’t simply stickers though – there are 120 pages of awesome activities with colorful stickers to match and finish each task. Which means this book is not only highly entertaining – but educational, as well. Too cool!


The LEGO Movie Ultimate Sticker Book by DK Publishing

If you have not been to see the LEGO Movie – stop everything you are doing and go see it NOW! If you have – then you know that this film is packed full of amazing moments and hilarious characters from the wonderful world of LEGO. And the book with the same name is no different!

There are over 1000 colorful stickers in this book - all distributed across 96 awesome LEGO movie-themed pages. Each character is represented, and kiddos get a few action-packed extras for added fun.


Petting Zoo Sticker Activity Book by Cathy Beylon

I remember the petting zoos when I was younger – there were mostly a few chickens, a goat or two, and maybe a mule. But now – kiddos have the opportunity to view hundreds of others amazing animals up-close and personal. And then they can go home and reminisce with this sticker book!

There are dozens of cool animals that you would see on the usual farm in this book. And each sticker is colorful and reusable! Plus, the pages have scenarios that kids can complete to make one awesome scene after another of their own super-cool petting zoos.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Three Fairytales Classics That Never Fail

In my humble opinion, the best fairytale books for kids are the same ones I loved as a child. And the same ones that my parents, their parents, AND their parents loved as children. These stories are timeless – never failing as the perfect bedtime must-haves for dreamy-eyed cuties with their imaginations in the clouds. Plus, most fairytales double as fables with important morals and life lessons hidden between the lines.

Magical realms where castles tower over peaceful lands – fairies who dance in the moonlight and make friends with passing kiddos – princesses with a knack for feeling peas like pebbles beneath their mattresses. These are concepts that keeps antique tales spinning for each new generation.

Three of the best fairytale books are:


The Complete Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Anderson

Hans Christian Anderson was one of the most renowned storytellers in history. His fairytales were always brilliant with an element of sadness and subtle beauty – it gave each story a human quality that alluded to Anderson’s own emotions.

This book gathers his classics, such as: “The Ugly Duckling,” “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” and “The Little Match Girl” – and over 200 other tales. Each story is accompanied by a beautiful illustration with suggested links to full-length audio recordings online – perfect for kiddos to read along.


The Fairy Tale Book: Classic Tales from Childhood by Liz Scoggins

Dubbed a “terrific compendium” by Amazon, this book of vintage stories features the most timeless tales. The “Twelve Dancing Princesses” make their waltzing debut – “Rumpelstiltskin” tries to outsmart a protective mother – and “The Little Mermaid” begs a mischievous sea-witch for legs to impress her beach-bound beloved.

These originals give miraculous meaning to the fairytales your children have seen reenacted on their favorite television shows.


A First Book of Fairy Tales by Mary Hoffman

There are 14 classic tales in this version of an antiquated collection! Each story has been told over-and-over again, changing slightly with every retelling. There are tried-and-true favorites like “Jack in the Beanstalk,” “Cinderella,” and “Sleeping Beauty.” As well as twice-told tales that are less known but just as amazing, such as – “The Selfish Giant,” “The Snow Queen,” and “Diamonds and Toads.”

But the fairy tales only add to the overall brilliance of this collection. The real beauty is in each lovely illustration – Godmothers are depicted in watercolors, slippers are adorned with engraved swirls, and princes have feathers that look realistic enough to touch.


Here is a fun resource to check out - this year's "best list" of fairytales - slideshow:

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Pop-Up Books are 3D-Style Awesome | 2014 Picks in Kids' Pop-Up Books

Pop-ups are books that bring stories to life – literally IN YOUR FACE fun. These are books that your kiddos can open up and go WOW because the pictures are not only vivid and beautiful, but right there in a completely touchable way. Add to the fact that the story is probably amazing – and Voila! A totally awesome interactive method to getting youngsters interested in reading.

For those reasons – I have hand-picked a trio among the best pop-up books for 2014 that are best for experiencing 3D-style awesomeness. These tales range from classic to modern – each incorporating fantastic characters and too-cool pictures that pop from their pages.

And those 3 are:


The Wide-Mouthed Frog Pop-Up Book by Keith Faulkner

In this tale – a bigmouthed bullfrog is a little too curious and he wonders what the rest of the animals eat in his swampy home. He knows that he loves a few good flies for dinner – but there are dozens of other creatures to ask.

And he questions all of them with success – until one (a frog-eating alligator) gets a little too close for comfort. This inevitably leads the bullfrog on a hopping-good adventure to escape the pop-up jaws of the hilarious gator.


Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: A Pop-up Adaptation by Lewis Carroll

We all know the tale of Alice in Wonderland – but this book has a unique spin with pop-up pictures. Alice takes her tumble down a hole while chasing the elusive White Rabbit. She strolls through Wonderland - encountering dozens of curious characters along the way.

However – her luck seems to run out when she meets the Queen of Hearts. And that Queen wants nothing more than to end Alice. This leads the curious girl on a whirlwind of hilarious antics to escape the horrid woman.


A Pop-Up Book of Nursery Rhymes: A Classic Collectible Pop-Up by Matthew Reinhart

Classic and cute – these stories are old-time rhymes that have been passed down for generations. And each one of them has been converted to an amazing pop-up!

Kiddos will explore the town with Wee Willy Winkie – learn about the Old Woman who Lived in the Shoe – and discover the origin of the Patty Cake song. They will also take a tumbling trip off a brick wall with Humpty Dumpty – sing about a short and stout Little Teapot – and catch a wily tiger by his tail. All in the name of pop-up fun!


Find current favorites among pop-up books for children: