Book Review: A Unicorn Named Sparkle

A Unicorn Named Sparkle

I recently read A Unicorn Named Sparkle by Amy Young and it seriously gave me a case of the giggles.

I mean, it’s a story about a little girl who orders a unicorn for 25 cents from an ad in the back of a magazine (whoever tells you that’s not a dream come true is lying), but what shows up is a goat with an ice cream cone stuck to his forehead.

How can you not love this premise?

It’s a delightful picture book that my children found to be fun and silly.  The illustrations are bright and colorful and … sparkly.

Lucy’s wild hair and polka dot shirt are painted with soft watercolors and dance across pages of wide white spreads, and the baby unicorn/goat practically dances right into your heart with his own little heart-shaped cutie mark.

Now, when Lucy imagines what kind of unicorn will be delivered to her, she pictures something perfect and pretty with a flowing mane and impeccable manners.  When the goat arrives, with his scruffy mane and tendency-to-eat-things manners, she decides to return him.

The truck arrives to take him back, but, luckily, Lucy realizes her mistake before it’s too late.

Because although he was not quite what she expected, “she had to admit:  sometimes he made her smile and sometimes he made her laugh.”  And while friends might not always be perfect, they are certainly precious.

So if you or your kids love unicorns (or goats), check out A Unicorn Named Sparkle for a fun and charming story!

Happy Reading!

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Marta Big & Small: Book Review

marta-big-and-small

I recently picked up Marta Big & Small, written by Jen Arena and illustrated by Angela Dominguez, and I just had to share it.

This bilingual book is wonderful not only for the understated yet adorable illustrations, but also because of the lyrical flow to the text.

As we follow Marta through the story, she is compared to various animals, so we are practicing opposites.  The comparisons are made in both English and Spanish, but in a way that sounds poetic as opposed to a school lesson.

For example, “To an elephant, Marta is pequeña.  Small, very small.”

This makes it fun to read while also being educational.  And my kids love to ask me how to say things in Spanish, so to have these words presented like this is something I can really appreciate.

There is also a spread where we learn the Spanish words for the animals.  For example, Marta is “fast like el caballo.”

I am also completely enchanted by the female-positive message at the end.  She is called “clever, very clever, like una niña.”  This is a fantastic way to end the tale that includes her outsmarting a snake who though she looked “sabrosa” or “tasty.”

Plus, we get another spread which lists the words in the book with the Spanish and English words side by side, as a glossary.

Fun to read and educational!  Can’t beat that.

Happy Reading!

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The Story of Diva and Flea (Book Review)

The Story of Diva and Flea

I am so happy I picked up The Story of Diva and Flea.  I may even love the book more than my kids do, and they really like it.

First of all, Mo Willems is currently my kid’s favorite author.  Seriously.  Elephant & Piggie are HUGE in our house right now.

But whereas Elephant & Piggie are more of an Easy Reader book for K-2 kids, this book is aimed at a slightly different crowd.  Not too different – if you look on Amazon, they’re both listed for ages 6-8, but this is a book that is more likely to be read TO them than BY them.

And I certainly don’t mind.

(Actually I adore reading the E&P books with all my funny voices, too, but that’s beside the point.)

Diva and Flea has a great rhythm and an excellent structure.  They meet, they both try something new, and they discover how wonderful it is to try new things – even if they seem scary at first.

There are three acts.  In the first they meet, in the second Diva expands her borders, and in the third Flea expands his.  They both face their fears head on  – with the support of each other – and come out the better for it.

What a wonderful, wonderful lesson for children.

The writing itself is peppered with so many fun details.  For example, Flea is a stray cat who considers himself a “Flâneur,” which is “someone (or somecat) who wanders the streets and bridges and alleys of the city just to see what there is to see.”  The part I like best?  “A great flâneur has seen everything, but still looks for more, because there is always more to discover.”

Little Diva has a tremendous fear of FEET because she is aware of just how “squishable” her small stature makes her.  But she loves Fleas stories, like the ones about “The Underground Rooms on Wheels” and “The People Who Drink Cough-Fee All Day.”  And those stories are part of what inspire her to explore they city.

Flea introduces Diva to the world outside of her courtyard and the “tower that could cut a cloud in half,” and helps Diva discover the bravery inside of her.  Then Diva helps Flea conquer his fears, which also grants him the gift of the thing he doesn’t have:  a home.

The illustrations by Tony DiTerlizzi are beyond charming.  I love the perspectives of the tiny dog Diva, I love the facial expressions of Flea, and I love the colors and the dazzling backdrops of the Parisian setting.

Diva and Flea by Mo Willems

And that setting!

Ah, Paris, my Paris.

Many years ago, when I was writing my Travelblog, I said that upon leaving Paris I had left part of my heart there.  And how very true that was.

Paris took me in.  There is life in the very bones of the city, deep in the foundation, in the stones, and the hum of the Seine and the glow of the Tower against a gently falling night.  It calls to me still.

But even if you don’t feel about Paris the way I do, it certainly never hurts to explore different cities and different cultures with your kids.  The Story of Diva and Flea brings many things to your children, and, at the very least, is a wonderful read-aloud to snuggle with.

Happy Reading!

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Usborne Puzzle Pad Books

puzzle pad books

These Puzzle Pad Books from Usborne have tear-off pages that are full of paper games and puzzles to keep kids entertained.

They’re really great for car rides or restaurants or when you want to keep your kids entertained without electronics.

My video review shows one that’s made for two people (“players”) and another that is made for just one person.

Plus, there’s a pocket-sized one, too, which is smaller in size and with less pages, to make it even easier to carry around.  Like in their backpacks.

Check out my video to see inside the books and get a glimpse at the puzzles and games:

Here are the direct links to the books I mentioned in the video:

Pencil & Paper Games

Busy Puzzle Pad

Pocket Puzzle Books

And, of course, there are tons of other interactive and educational puzzle books at my site BOOKS WITH ROSIE.

If you need any suggestions, feel free to contact me on Facebook!  :)

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I’m a Dirty Dinosaur Book Review

I'm a Dirty Dinosaur Book ReviewThis is a fun book to read.  It has lots of sounds, or onomatopoeias, which kids enjoy.  And you can kind of dance about while reading it, or, you know, maybe leave the dancing around to the kiddos.

Either way, this dinosaur may be dirty, but he does wind up taking a bath at the very end.  Before the bath comes along, though, the kids will have a lot of fun with the stomping and shaking and snuffing about over the pages of simple illustrations mixed with bright colors.

Real mud was used in creating the illustrations, so that’s something that would be fun to incorporate into crafts with your own kids.

Watch my video review to see inside the book:

And you can read a little more about it on my book website:

I’m a Dirty Dinosaur

Is your kid/grandkid/niece/nephew a BIG dinosaur fan?  Because then you really should check out some of these awesome titles, too:

That's Not My Dinosaur Books Great Dinosaur Search Book

The Usborne Big Book of Big Dinosaurs  Dinosaur Activity Pack

Dinosaur Excavation Kit  Dinosaur Coloring and Sticker Book 

Dinosaurs - nonfiction books   Lift the Flap Dinosaur Questions and Answers

Happy Reading!  (Roar)

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Muddle and Match Book Review

Muddle and Match Book Review by Roaming Rosie

I love these Muddle and Match books!  They make great gifts but they also keep my kids entertained during both story time and long car rides.  The reason for this is because they are SO interactive.

The concept of the books is this:  you have three sections on each “page” that are all able to be turned independently.  So the story on the left and the picture on the right can be changed over and over.  You could end up with a cowgirl head, a fairy body, and a mermaid tail – kind of like the picture on the cover.  And then you can change it up again!

Another thing I love is the alliteration.  Each page of the story focuses on one letter – which makes it easy to incorporate these books into lessons of learning the alphabet.

The books themselves are like a board book with thick pages, and they also feature rounded edges.

And, you know, they are super silly and fun!  Which is an awesome way to help kids learn to love reading.

Watch my video review to see the books in action:

And check out the whole collection on my book site:

Muddle and Match Books

  Muddle and Match Adventure Muddle and Match Imagine

 

Muddle and Match Monsters  Muddle and Match Jungle Animals

Happy Reading!

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Roaming Rosie Reads “Monsters Aren’t Real” by Kerstin Schoene {book review}

Roaming Rosie Reads

Monsters Aren’t Real by Kerstin Schoene is an enchanting picture book that my kids are absolutely in love with.

It’s 44 pages long, but many of the pages have no words at all, or only a few.  Wordless picture books are great for Little Ones.  Plus, the story is packed full of laughs, which always makes reading fun.

The book is about a monster who’s keeps hearing “monster’s aren’t real,” which leads him to wonder, “then what am I?”  He’s as big as a monster… as strong as a monster… so monsters MUST be real.  Right??

Monster's Aren't Real {picture book review}

Our gentle monster tries to prove that he’s real by attempting to scare people.  He says “boo” and he juggles cows, but nobody is scared.  He tried to spread propaganda via helium balloons and posters {my girls always giggle about the poster that’s upside down}, but nobody’s paying attention.

He gets sad and concludes that monsters aren’t, in fact, real.  But then another crazy-looking monster shows up {this one’s my 3yo’s favorite} and insists that they ARE real.

I often have to reread and reread and reread those last two pages.  My girls read them along with me, bursting into laughter every single time.

When the book is over, I always ask, “are monsters real?” and they shout, “NO!”

And then they laugh some more.

You can watch me reading the book in the video below:

And you can purchase the book from Usborne Books & More:

Monsters Aren’t Real

If you’re Little One is a big monster fan, they may also enjoy:

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Happy Reading!

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