Fiona’s Luck: a Book Review

Fiona's Luck

With St. Patrick’s Day coming up, I’ve seen a few book recommendation lists that include Fiona’s Luck, which is written by Teresa Bateman and illustrated by Kelly Murphy.

I love seeing this book recommended at any time of year, however, because it is simply one of my very favorite picture books.

Both of my children love it, but of course it is my eldest, Fiona, who gets especially excited about it.  My girls love to find their names in books or movies, as most children do, and that was what attracted me to Fiona’s Luck in the first place.

And I am so happy I decided to buy it.

Not only does it give me a chance to have fun playing around with my horrible Irish accent (which is possibly more entertaining to me than my kids), but it delivers a wonderful lesson in the form of a fun and engaging story.

Fiona is a young woman in Ireland, living in a time after the Leprechaun King has stolen all the luck that used to be floating freely around the country, and locked it away in a big wooden chest.  He was upset that all of the luck floating around out there was getting attached to the Big Folk, and so he decided to keep it all for himself.

But he took ALL of the luck, every bit of it, and with no luck left floating around Ireland, a famine developed.  The cows wouldn’t let down milk, the hens weren’t laying eggs, and the potatoes rotted in the ground.

Fiona uses her wits to trick everyone into thinking that she is in fact very lucky by pretending to harvest potatoes and be overloaded with baskets of eggs and buckets of milk.

Her ruse works, and the Leprechaun King magically transports her to his throne room to demand that she return the luck.  Since she knows she is not lucky, she uses that to her advantage when he challenges her to tests of luck.  And though she fails all of his tests, she wins something much greater:  a little bit of the luck that he had locked away.  And as it turns out, a little bit is enough.

Fiona's Luck

Illustrations © Kelly Murphy

Amidst this tale of a woman who would rather have her “wits about her” than all the luck in the world, are gorgeously painted illustrations.  While reading the story, there is so much for kids to look at, and so many beautiful details for their eyes to peruse (like tiny sparkles of luck or hidden leprechauns).

The mood of the story comes alive against the soft natural colors, with the gloomier parts reflected by more subdued shades, and the lighter moments highlighted by the playful twinkling of the luck.  The friendly faces set against the sprawling Irish countryside makes for gorgeous viewing for adults and kids alike.

I highly recommend this book.  You won’t regret sharing the brave and spirited Fiona with your own amazing kids!

Happy Reading!

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Usborne’s “Noisy” Books Review

Noisy Books from Usborne Books & More (Review by Roaming Rosie)

Do your kids love to be noisy?  Because mine certainly do.

And, to be perfectly honest, the word “noisy” carried a rather negative connotation for me…. until I found these books!

I mean, I love when my kids get “noisy” by running around the backyard or playground and making a healthy ruckus…. but noisy TOYS?  No.  I avoid those things like the plague.

But when I started selling Usborne Books, I was intrigued by these.  Usborne has such amazing books, but would I like the ones that made sounds?  YES!  Would they be annoying like others I’ve found in stores?  Not at all!

In fact, even though my kids benefit by my being a consultant in that they get to read all the books that come through my house, the one I bought just for them was the Noisy Orchestra.  WE.  LOVE.  IT.  No kidding:  this thing rocks.  It has beautiful sounds, gorgeous illustrations, and it’s actually pleasant for me to listen to while my kids play with it in the car.

But the best part is – even though the orchestra book is our personal favorite – there are a TON of noisy/musical/sound to choose from and you can find one to fit the interests of the kids in your life!  Got a little one who loves monsters?  Pirates?  Trucks?  Castles???  We’ve got you covered!  :)

These books are rated for age 3 and up, but they’re also wonderful for beginning readers and early elementary ages.  Plus, they’re also sturdy enough when the younger siblings get hold of them:  rounded edges and thick pages for safety and a lifetime guarantee for accidents.  (Contact me for details!)

Here’s my video review of a few of the books:

And here are direct links to the books pictured above and featured in the video:

Noisy Castle

Noisy Circus

Noisy Diggers

Noisy Jungle

Noisy Monsters

Noisy Noah’s Ark

Noisy Orchestra

Noisy Pirates

Noisy Robots

Noisy Spooky Book

Noisy Train

Noisy Zoo

If you’d like more information about getting these books for free by throwing a Facebook party (anywhere in the U.S.!) or about how to become a consultant and enrich the lives of children by encouraging early literacy with amazing books like these, contact me on my book site or on Facebook!

Happy Reading!!

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The Katie Books by James Mayhew

Katie Books by James Mayhew a book review

When I first found Katie, I was very excited.

A colorful book that is fun to read AND teaches kids about art history?

Wow.

Now, I may not be all that familiar with the specifics of art history, even being an artist myself, but I have at least a basic knowledge.  Enough to pronounce the names correctly when I read the books – but that isn’t an issue anyway since there are pronunciation guides in the back.

The point is, I was delighted that there existed this spirited little girl to introduce my kids to a culture I was desperate to try to share with them.  Then I found that she didn’t just explore the paintings of Monet and Van Gogh and Goya, but she travels to different countries and travels back in time to run around with dinosaurs, too.

It just kept getting better and better.

Now, honestly, my favorites are where she visits the dinosaurs and travels to Scotland for an adventure with Nessie.  But, honestly, my 4-year-old seems to request the Impressionists and Spanish Princess more often.  My 2-year-old likes them all.

Here are a couple of pages from Katie and the Dinosaurs: 

Katie and the Dinosaurs by James Mayhew

Katie and the Dinosaurs by James Mayhew

I love the brilliant colors in the fun artwork, but also the story.

The stories are very easy to read and great at bedtime because words flow.

Katie often jumps in and out of paintings in the stories, joining Degas’ dancers on stage or learning to paint with Jean, the son of Monet.

The interaction with the paintings in the museum is wonderful.  Below is a page from Katie and the Spanish Princess, where you can see a painting come alive.

Katie and the Spanish Princess by James Mayhew

Overall, even though I mentioned which are my favorites, I highly recommend all of the books.  We only own about half of them right now, but I plan to finish our collection this upcoming Christmas.

The books are all very well done and a joy both for my children and for myself.  The stories are entertaining, often exciting and amusing.  My girls have laughed out loud at the tales.  As have I.

Here is a list of Katie books:

Katie and the Starry Night

Katie Meets The Impressionists

Katie and the Spanish Princess

Katie and the Mona Lisa

Katie and the British Artists

Katie and the Dinosaurs

Katie in London

Katie in Scotland

Katie’s Picture Show

Katie and the Sunflowers

Katie and the Waterlily Pond

Katie’s London Christmas

Happy Reading!

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The Incredible Book Eating Boy {Book Review}

The Incredible Book Eating Boy by Oliver Jeffers

We loved this book.

I loved the illustrations and the words and the story, and my daughters seemed to love all of it.

As soon as our first reading of it ended, my 3-year-old said, “Can we read it again?”

That’s always a good sign.

So, The Incredible Book Eating Boy by Oliver Jeffers instantly made our list of favorites.

It’s a fun and slightly absurd story of a young boy named Henry who accidentally discovers that he likes to eat books.  All kinds of books.  And the more he eats, the smarter he gets.  Until he eats too many, and things begin to get a bit jumbled and confused.  Suddenly, it doesn’t seem like such a good idea to eat books anymore.

This makes Henry sad, until he realizes that – rather than eating them – he could read them instead!  And he finds that he enjoys reading them even more than he enjoyed eating them.  Although, when you read it yourself you’ll see that sometimes, quite by accident, Henry still takes a bite or two … as evidenced by the big chomp taken out of the back cover.

The gorgeous illustrations are so much fun.  I find them to be delightful, as do my children, who scour the pages as I read.  It’s definitely a book to be read by adults or older children, though, as it may be a bit too busy for emerging readers.  But that’s the trade-off for the charm.

It’s recommended for kids 4 and up, but my 3-year-old loves it and my 20-month-old enjoys it as well.  They are both engaged during the story.  It spurs conversations and questions with my preschooler and my toddler likes to point out different objects, like the red books that Henry favors.

The Incredible Book Eating Boy by Oliver Jeffers

The Incredible Book Eating Boy by Oliver Jeffers

Oh – and don’t worry, on the back of the book is this “Disclaimer:  Do Not Try to Eat This Book at Home.”

I completely recommend The Incredible Book Eating Boy.

So fun to read.  Easy to devour.  :)

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