Free Autumn Clifford Printable Maze

Free Autumn Clifford Printable Maze

We have a lot of Biscuit books.

And a lot of Clifford books.

So when I found this Free Printable Clifford Maze, I instantly thought of Biscuit Visits the Pumpkin Patch.  It seemed like a wonderful match.

My kids both love the Biscuit book, and we tend to read it more often in the fall.

It’s a short – and very simple – story, but entertaining.  I read it slowly and always take the time to ask who is hiding when we get to the page where there are bunny ears sticking out from behind one of the pumpkins.

And because my girls also love Clifford, they were excited when I printed out the maze for them.  So I wanted to share it.

Enjoy!  :)

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Alice’s African Alphabet Adventure {eBook}

Alice's African Alphabet Adventure by Rosemary Lynn {ebook for kids at RoamingRosie.com}

Introducing Alice’s African Alphabet Adventure!

This tongue twisting romp through Africa’s wildlife is a tale that I wrote for my oldest daughter when I was pregnant with my youngest.

My daughter LOVED animals and was showing an interest in learning the alphabet, but I was getting tired of reading about cats and dogs and x-ray fish.  There had to be more out there.

Plus, my daughter responded with curiosity and amusement at larger, more complicated words – even if it took a few tries for me to pronounce them.  That just led to even more giggles.

We certainly found what we were looking for with Dr. Seuss and his Zizzer Zazzer Zuzz, but I also wanted to present real animals to her.

So I went on a quest to find animals that represented every letter of the alphabet, and I was delighted to find such a colorful plethora across the beautiful African continent.  Thus was born Alice’s African Alphabet Adventure.

Here are a couple of example pages:

Alice's African Alphabet Adventure by Rosemary Lynn {ebook for kids at RoamingRosie.com}

Alice's African Alphabet Adventure by Rosemary Lynn {ebook for kids at RoamingRosie.com}

There is – obviously – a great deal of alliteration, which is part of what makes this tale a tongue twister.  It also rhymes, since that helps lend a soothing rhythm to the text {which is always a plus at bedtime!}.

For the illustrations, I chose actual photographs of each of the animals, altering them slightly to give them a softer feel, and displaying them atop bright pops of color.

I also added the names of the animals to the picture, to make them easier to identify, and to help with letter recognition.  My girls like to point out the animals as we read the story.

You can find the eBook on Amazon in the Kindle Store.

If you don’t have a Kindle – don’t worry!  You can download the free Kindle app for your smartphones, tablets, and computers.

And if you like the book, please rate it on Amazon.  Many thanks in advance!

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 Outlander Attraction: Part Deux

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

A little while ago, I wrote about my reactions to viewing the first episode of Starz’s new series Outlander.

The show is based upon the books by Diana Gabaldon, which were already on my wish list, but as of yet, still unread.

After watching the show, I immediately ordered the first book in the series.

And once I opened it, I was absorbed.

At first, all I could see in my head were the characters and scenery from the show, which actually wasn’t a bad thing as I feel the show did a good job in representing the novel, but, eventually, my mind took over and the novel transformed from a television show into a fully layered world.

I walked around, in between reading binges, seeing castles and forests and thinking in a Scottish accent.

I dreamt of Jaime and wondered what I would do in Claire’s position.

I often thought that I was so completely taken with the story because, even for Claire’s tendency to make hasty decisions and lose her temper, I felt that I would have made all of the same decisions had I been in her place.

Well – most of them, anyway.  But that’s part of what makes a story amazing:  its ability to surprise the reader.

And shock was certainly in ready supply.

The book was often violent, and the words often tore at me.  I sobbed into the pages more than once.

But for all of the violence, there was also a palpable tenderness.  In both the characters and the environment.  I longed not only to find myself nestled along the shore of a loch, with the breeze in my hair and the song of the birds in the air, but also firmly within Jamie Fraser’s arms.

I became so taken with the book, in fact, that as I found myself nearing the end, I made up an excuse to rush to the bookstore and purchased the second novel in the series.  I nearly shook with fear at being abandoned by the book when I finished reading it.  I needed to have the second one sitting next to me as I finished the first, for comfort.

It wasn’t all that necessary, though.  After I finished the book, and sat there with it clung tightly in my fingers, I felt no desire to pick up the second book.  I wanted to open up the first novel and read it all over again.

I loved it that much.

The witty words, the beautiful setting, the fierce adventure, and the burning passion…

It didn’t really end when the book ended.  It’s still playing in my mind.

But I’m still going to read the next book.

Tonight.  :)

If you’re at all interested in experiencing romance and adventure in the 18th century Scottish Highlands, I strongly suggest you read Outlander.  You won’t regret it.

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Painting Birdhouses With The Kids

painting birdhouses

My kids were SO excited about this project.

I hadn’t realized that picking up a couple of $1 wooden birdhouses at the store could make a day so very eventful.

It was pretty awesome.

Anyway, the reason we even went looking for birdhouses was because of this book that was given to us by a neighbor:

Birds First Discovery Book

This First Discovery book about Birds was something I thought looked kind of fun, but I wasn’t sure how my kids would respond to it.

Surprisingly, it’s been requested over and over again at bedtime.

Even though it’s a learning book and not a story book, both my 4yo and 2yo enjoy reading it.

This is partially because they love all kinds of books where they get to discover things (the 4yo often requests a book that spells out the life cycle of butterflies) but also because of the fun way they allow kids to “discover” the facts about their subject matter.

This series of books includes transparent pages.

The transparent pages are printed with pictures on both sides and “hide” part of the page that’s underneath it.  When you turn the page it reveals the hidden image.

My daughter calls these the “puzzle pages.”

And, from looking at the pictures of others in the series on the back cover, she’s already ardently requested that we get the ladybug book.

Thus, a ladybug and a dinosaur book are in a box on the way to my house right now.  And I will be buying more in the future.

If you think your kids would love this kind of interactive learning, too, here are a few others in the series for you to view:

Do you own any of these books already? Which are your kids’ favorites? Your favorite?

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The Outlander Attraction

 

STARZ Outlander television series

I had heard of the Outlander books by Diana Gabaldon a while ago and had even put the books on my {rather long} wishlist of books to read.

I hadn’t gotten around to reading them yet, but I was excited when I found a free preview of the STARZ series based on the books.

{You can find the first episode at Starz.com/videos.}

And now that I’ve watched it, I feel that I really, really, really need to read the books.  Now.

Why?  What’s the appeal for me?

First of all, I love historical novels.  Because they’re different.  It’s the same reason I love Sci-Fi.  I don’t live in a spaceship any more than I live in Scotland in the 1940s or the 1740s.  So reading books like this lets me experience things I wouldn’t get to experience in my own life.

Like time travel.  And having two lovers living in two different centuries.

I don’t expect that to happen in my lifetime.

{Although I wouldn’t mind a steamy affair with a Scottish warrior…}

And I loved seeing the story made into a television show.  Aside from the gorgeous backdrop of a fascinating country and culture, I was also drawn to her wardrobe.

What can I say?  I love travel and adventure, but I love a pretty dress, too.

Anywho, here are the first few books in the series, in case you haven’t seen them yet:

Outlander by Diana GabaldonDragonfly in Amber (Outlander) by Diana GabaldonVoyager (Outlander) by Diana Gabaldon

And you can find more at Diana Gabaldon’s Amazon page.

If you’ve read the books, please let me know what you think!  I know there are a ton of fans out there, and I’d love to know what draws you to the series.

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I’d Rather Be Reading

I'd Rather Be Reading T-Shirt

I’d rather be reading.

Really.

This is pretty much how I feel most of the day.

Except when I’m already reading.

And since I’m not the only bibliophile in the world, this is the newest sentiment that I’ve added to one of my Zazzle stores.

For example, here are a ring and a charm bracelet featuring the new design:

I'd Rather Be Reading Ring

I'd Rather Be Reading Charm Bracelet

 

Of course, there are also t-shirts, coffee mugs, cell phone cases, and the like, all decorated with this saying.  Heck, you can find everything from pendant lamps to pacifiers in this design.

Check it all out at my I’d Rather Be Reading Zazzle Store.

Enjoy!

If you need me, I’ll be … well, you know.

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The Bookmark

Child Reading a Book Vintage Art

I have many bookmarks.

And by bookmarks, I mean tiny pieces of paper or old receipts or expired coupons that find their way into my books.

Part of the reason for this is that I can’t ever seem to find the few actual bookmarks I own when I go to start a new book, which leads me to the other reason:  said bookmarks are already being used within other books.

I tend to read multiple books at one time.

Or maybe I should say that I “start” to read multiple books at one time.  Over the years, there are more than a handful of books that I’ve drifted away from during a chapter that lagged and simply never finished them.

But I digress.  I came here to discuss bookmarks.

And sometimes you don’t even need bookmarks.  For example, one book I’m in the middle of is on my tablet.  The magical electronic device remembers my page for me.  In fact, when I was a kid, I didn’t even use bookmarks most of the time.  I just remembered the page number where I stopped.

My memory is no longer equipped for such a task.

Granted, my OCD forces me to look at the page numbers when I’m turning them to make sure I don’t miss a page {as if I wouldn’t notice}, but whether I put the book down for a few hours or a few days {or a few months}, I now find bookmarks to be essential.

Even tho I recently used a recipe that I’d cut from the back of a box of pasta as a bookmark, my normal go-to these days is two Post-it notes stuck together.  I usually have little pads of them lying around to jot down ideas or phone messages or grocery lists.  And I’ve found that by taking two Post-it notes and sticking them to each other with the sticky edges at opposite ends, it makes a nice sturdy square of paper.

Perfect for an impromptu bookmark.

But the fact that it also looks precisely like a normal Post-it note is what lead me to believe that my four-year-old daughter was just playing with a piece of the nearby pad of Post-its when I saw the yellow paper in her hand.

Until she opened up my big hardcover book, stuck the Post-it in between some pages, and closed it again.

Recognition {and panic} dawned.

“Was… was that my bookmark?  Did you take it out of my book?!?”

“Yes,” she answered, smiling sweetly.  “But I put it back.”

 

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{photo source:  Zazzle}

 

The Library Gingerbread Man {Book Review}

The Library Gingerbread Man by Dotti Enderle {Book Review}

When my daughter came across The Library Gingerbread Man by Dotti Enderle, I suspected I would love it.

And I did.

I probably should have been a librarian.

Sigh… not the point.

Anyway, the book is really cute and clever, placing the familiar story of the Gingerbread Man into the setting of a library.

I like how the author incorporates the dewey decimal system into the story.  For example, some of the characters that try to catch the Gingerbread Man are a word wizard who pops out of a thesaurus in 423.1 and a robot with stilted commands who emerges from a science fiction book in 629.892.

He meets more and more characters until he finally runs into a hungry fox.  But he doesn’t get eaten, because the librarian saves the day.

My girls absolutely loved chanting, “Run, run, as fast as you can.  You can’t catch me I’m the Gingerbread Man!”

My 4yo is still singing it.  (I guess we haven’t read a bunch of Gingerbread Man stories before now.)

The Library Gingerbread Man by Dotti Enderle {Book Review}

The only complaint I had was that the text got a little lengthy once the cookie started reciting who he was running away from (I ran away from the librarian and the word wizard and the robot…).

Once I skipped over most of those descriptions and stuck to the basic “you can’t catch me,” but then I decided to test their reactions to reading out each of the characters he was running from.  My girls seemed to like it when I read the full text.  Maybe because it made the story last longer.  I’m not sure, but I decided to go with it.  I use a fun voice, though, to keep it from getting tedious, if only for me.

Anyway, we enjoyed The Library Gingerbread Man, and I recommend it to anyone who loves books.

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Just How Long Can A Long String Be {Book Review}

Just How Long Can A Long String Be by Keith Baker

We recently read Just How Long Can A Long String Be?! by Keith Baker.

My 2-year-old picked it out because of the bird on the cover, and both my girls liked it.

It’s a simple rhyming text about a bird and an ant discussing that they can do with a long string, such as tie up a package or make a nest.

Just How Long Can A Long String Be? By Keith Baker {Book Review}

My 4-year-old got excited about finding the ant on each page, then her sister followed suit.

So each time we read it, they point out the little bug:  “There’s the ant!”

It’s a cute book, and both girls liked it and have requested it over and over.  It was a library book, and we’ll definitely be borrowing it again.

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