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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Usborne’s Amazing Books on Shakespeare

best shakespeare books for kids

I am mildly (okay, that’s an understatement) obsessed with Shakespeare.

I’m not exactly a Shakespearean scholar or anything, even coming from a literature major in college, but really more of what I call a Shakespeare groupie.

I love Shakespeare and everything that he has given us, and I love to share the stories and the characters and the words with my kids.  My girls are still very young, but we’ve already seen multiple live performances together, watched some of the plays as movies, and done crafts and activities based on the plays.

And one of the original reasons that I became a consultant with Usborne Books & More is because of  Usborne Publishing’s amazing collection of books about Shakespeare.  Which is what this post is about.  I wanted to share with you how these books help to get kids excited about Shakespeare and help to research and understand his plays.

Though, honestly, I really got the books for myself.  My kids just get the benefits of having them around.  ;)

This seemed like the perfect time to share them, too, with this month being a worldwide celebration of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.  Not a celebration that he died, mind you, but a celebration that we’re still so excited about and grateful for everything that he brought into our world through his art.

Talking about books seemed to me a great way to honor the words he gave us.  ;)

The books are much more impressive in person, however, than they appear from a simple photograph, so I’m first going to share a video review I made of the books listed here – so that you can see a glimpse inside of them and compare what they offer.  Then I’m going to list each book with a brief description.

Ugh … I don’t like watching myself on video.  But hopefully I was able to explain and demonstrate the books well enough for you to figure out what would be best for your household or classroom.  (Even if I did get confused and stumble over my words here and there…)

But if anything was unclear, or you have any further questions, please leave a comment here and I’ll do my best to help!

Here are the books, including the gift collection not mentioned in the video:

Illustrated Stories from Shakespeare

Illustrated Stories from Shakespeare

Recommended Age:  8+

Pages:  414

The Illustrated Stories contains retellings of 6 plays, all fully illustrated with artwork on every page.  It’s a hardcover book with a soft outer cover and includes a ribbon bookmark.

Plays included:  Twelfth Night, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Hamlet, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, and the Tempest

Usborne Shakespeare Illustrated Collection

Usborne’s Shakespeare Hardcover Gift Collection

Recommended Age:  7+

Pages: 5 books at 64 pages each

This boxed set contains five hardcover books, one for each of the five plays represented, and each includes a ribbon bookmark.

Plays included:  Macbeth, Twelfth Night, Hamlet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Romeo and Juliet

Sticker Dressing Shakespeare

Sticker Dressing Shakespeare

Recommended Age: 5+

Pages: 24 pages + 10 pages of stickers

This sticker dressing book allows you to dress up characters from many of the plays with over 160 stickers, from Bottom to Macbeth and Cleopatra to Hamlet.  Also includes some quotation stickers.

Where's Will Shakespeare's Hidden Characters

Where’s Will: Find Shakespeare Hidden in His Plays

Recommended Age: 7-11

Pages: 48

A truly fun and unique concept, this book of Where’s Will is the Shakespearean version of Where’s Waldo.

There is an illustrated summery from 10 of his plays, followed by a double spread illustration for each of those plays in which you must seek out characters from the play.

Illustrated Stories from Shakespeare

Stories from Shakespeare

Recommended Age: 12+

Pages: 192

This book is covered with a sturdy flexi-binding and retells 10 of Shakespeare’s plays with large lively illustrations.  Includes summaries of all of the plays.

Play include:  A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, As you like it, Twelfth Night, The Tempest, The Merchant of Venice, The Winter’s Tale, Macbeth, and The Taming of the Shrew

The Usborne World of Shakespeare

The Usborne World of Shakespeare

Recommended Age: 11+

Pages: 64

Available in flexi-binding or in library binding, this book will thoroughly introduce you to Shakespeare.  Find out how he lived, what Elizabethan London was like, and why we still perform his plays today.

Includes multiple glossaries plus information about how to further research the topics on the internet.

Usborne's World of Shakespeare Reference Book

The World of Shakespeare Reference Book

Recommended Age: 10+

Pages: 32

Shorter than the book mentioned just above, this hardcover reference book contains similar information, but in smaller chunks and with a more colorful format.

That’s it for my review!  Overall, I highly recommend ALL of these books, but I understand most people aren’t going to rush out and stock up on each and every one of them, so I hope I’ve been able to help you decide on a favorite(s).

Also, be sure to follow me on Facebook where I have a habit of posting random funny or interesting Shakespeare stuff.  ;)

Happy Reading!

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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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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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Roaming Rosie Reads “The Dog Who Loved Red” by Anitha Balachandran

Roaming Rosie Reads

The Dog Who Loved Red by Anitha Balachandran is one of my favorite Kane Miller picture books.

The illustrations are a bright and fun celebration of color.

The dog’s name is Raja and Raja loves red.  He even has “red radar.”  He chews on Mrs. Lal’s red shawl and Mr. Lal’s gray and red socks, but Raja’s favorite red thing to chew is the old red ball that he and his friend Champ play with.

The Dog Who Loved Red

But the red ball is lost.  Champ is sad.

Then Raja uses his red radar to locate their red ball in the neighbor’s backyard.  The neighbor, Mr. Mehta, doesn’t like dogs.  But Raja braves Mr. Mehta and his blue hose to retrieve the ball.

He’s quite the colorful mess at the end, which results in a bath for him and lots of laughs from your audience.

Kids love the adventurous story and there are a ton of colors mentioned for your Little Ones to find.

In the video below, you can watch me reading the book:

I’m sorry to announce that The Dog Who Loved Red is no longer available to purchase new from Usborne Books & More/Kane Miller, and but you can find many other wonderful picture books at my Usborne site, Books With Rosie.

HOWEVER, you can still buy The Dog Who Loved Red as a used book on Amazon.

You can also watch other videos of me reading story books in my Roaming Rosie Reads posts.

A few more picture books that I love:

Bears Don't Read One Night in the Zoo Acorns and Stew, Too The Children Who Loved Books

Happy Reading!

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Book Review: Flippy Floppy Lift a Flap Jungle Animals

Flippy Floppy Jungle Animal Board Book

This Flippy Floppy Jungle Book is one of my kid’s newest fascinations.  They’ve been having a lot of fun with it.

It’s a great lift-the-flap board book from Usborne/Kane Miller that offers a lot of interaction for kids.

The purpose of the book is to lift four flaps in order to slowly reveal a hidden animal.  As you go, the animal you’re looking for appears as bits and pieces of other animals.  For example, the tail of the tiger is also the beak of a toucan and the body of a snake.

There are cut-outs to look through and a little bird to find on all of the pages.  The last page challenges kids to find all the animals again, and it’s sturdy enough for little hands to get excited about with thick pages and rounded corners.

I go into some more detail in my video review, where you can also see how it works:

And, yes… I’m aware that I have a strange expression on my face in the video thumbnail.  TRUST me – it was the best one!

I’m also aware that I keep calling it “Flippity Floppity Jungle Animals” on the video.  I don’t know why, but “Flippy Floppy” seems to be difficult for me to say…

Anyway, to see the book, or add it to your online wishlist, click:

Flippy Floppy Lift-the-Flap Jungle Animal Book

And if you like this book, you’ll also love:

Flippy Floppy Lift-the-Flap Farm Animals

Flippy Floppy Lift-the-Flap Farm Animals

Flippy Floppy Lift-the-Flap Ocean Animals

Flippy Floppy Lift-the-Flap Ocean Animals

Happy Reading!

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Spreading a Love of Reading This Valentine’s Day

Spread a Love of Reading This Valentine's Day!

I love Usborne Books & More, and so for Valentine’s Day, I’d like to share some of that love with you!

This company has done amazing things in my life, and since I’ve been a part of it, I’ve found my kids reading and asking me to read to them even MORE than they used to!

I’ve been able to witness kids who were unable to keep their hands off of these gorgeous books.  I’ve seen kids hug them.  Cling to them.  I watched children just today who picked out some books from my booth at a craft fair, and barely make it to the next booth before sitting down on the grass to read and play with their new books while their mother shopped for hair bows.

Kids love these books.

And, so, to celebrate this love, I wanted to share a few books with you that are great reads for Valentine’s Day…… and all year long!

The Best Children's Books for Valentine's Day

Cuddle Bear

The Children Who Loved Books

The Dog Who Loved Red

The Big Snuggle Up

East of the Sun, West of the Moon {Read my review here}

Beauty and the Beast

I Love Words

I Love People

Children’s Cupcake Kit

Decorations to Cut, Fold, & Stick

Choose Your Own Ever After:  A Hot, Cold Summer

Illustrated Fairy Tales

Illustrated Stories of Princes and Princesses

Singing to the Sun

The Key to My Heart

What Comes After a Thousand?

The Big Little Book of Happy Sadness

Wilfrid Gordon Mcdonald Partridge

But if you’d rather just browse the entire catalog of over 1,800 books yourself, you can start at BooksWithRosie.com!

Teach Your Kids to LOVE Books!

My experience has shown that if you expose kids to awesome books, the love blossoms all on it’s own.

But you can help that process along by surrounding kids with amazing books!  :)

Teach Your Kids to LOVE Books!

Happy Valentine’s Day – and Happy Reading!!

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Images copyright Usborne Publishing

Peppermint Polar Bear Paw Treats and The Books That Inspired Them

Peppermint Polar Bear Paw Treats and the Books That Inspired Them

These yummy treats were one of our recent projects.

I’d been wanting to do something that incorporated polar bears, since it’s winter, and when I realized I could shape little minty patties to look like bear paw prints, I got pretty excited.

It’s kind of like a teddy bear paw… but a polar bear instead.

My girls and I had been rotating through a couple of books that featured polar bears, which is one of the main reasons they were on my mind.  The books include East of the Sun, West of the Moon and Hush Little Polar Bear, both of which I’ve reviewed below.

Peppermint Polar Bear Paw Treats and the Books That Inspired Them

The bear paws are easy to make.  The patty is just sugar, cream cheese, and peppermint extract.

Then, for decoration, I added Junior Mints and milk chocolate chips.

You could use semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips instead, but I liked the milk chocolate flavor with these.

Peppermint Polar Bear Paw Treats and the Books That Inspired Them

Here are the necessary ingredients.  I didn’t actually count out the candies ahead of time:  I just poured a bunch in a bowl for my girls to pick from.

My 4yo did a pretty good job, and my 2yo had a lot of fun shaping the dough… when she wasn’t busy eating the candy.

Peppermint Polar Bear Paw Treats and the Books That Inspired Them

To make the mint patties look like bear paws, add one Junior Mint and top with three chocolate chips.

You have to press them in right away, since the heat of your hand is what helps form the shape.  Once you’ve formed the disc and placed it on the counter, it will begin to harden.  So you’ll want to *gently* push in your candy right away.

Then store them in the fridge.

They look really cute on Christmas cookie platters, and would also be fun at winter birthday parties.  Or just, you know, to eat yourself.  :)

East of the Sun, West of the Moon

I love this book.  East of the Sun, West of the Moon is a retelling of a 19th century Norwegian fairytale.  It’s retold by Susanna Davidson and illustrated by Petra Brown.

It’s part of the Usborne Young Readers:  Series Two books.  It’s meant to be read by children who are 8+ years and are gaining confidence in reading on their own.  I bought it to read to my 2 1/2 and 4 1/2 year old girls.  It’s certainly much more appealing to the older child, who get’s very excited about it, but my youngest still enjoys the pictures and does listen to the story.  And older kids will definitely enjoy reading it for themselves.

I think it’s wonderful, especially because it’s a fairy tale written for a younger audience that isn’t one of the same old, worn stories that are told over and over and over in other books.  It’s a fresh tale.  There’s adventure and excitement, and it’s even a little scary – as all fairy tales are – but not too much.

It’s terribly romantic, too, but not in a mushy, flowery way.  This is a story about a brave girl who goes to the ends of the earth to save the man she loves.  She enlists the help of the Four Winds and outsmarts an evil Troll to break the spell that turns her beloved prince into a polar bear.

There’s even a little message hidden in the ending promoting the importance of love and family over money and riches.

The retelling is written to be easily understood by kids.  There are a limited number of words on every page, so as not to be overwhelming, and it’s 64 pages are separated into six chapters.  The illustrations are absolutely gorgeous and many are displayed across a double page spread.

The physical book itself is also great.  It’s small, about 5.5 by 8 inches, with thick pages, and its sturdy hardcover is a silky, soft texture.  It feels nice to hold.

I completely and ardently recommend this book.  It is unfortunately no longer available from my Usborne site, but you can sometimes find used copies on Amazon.  You can also check out the other Young Readers:  Series Two books.

Hush Little Polar Bear by Jeff Mack

Hush Little Polar Bear, by Jeff Mack, is a charming picture book.  It’s available as a hardcover or a board book, and we have the hardcover version, since ours was a decommissioned purchase from our local library.

And I’m so glad I came across this gem while hunting for new books to read.  It’s colorful and adventurous, and a wonderful bedtime read.

It’s written in verse as a little girl talking to her stuffed toy polar bear and about what exciting dreams he may be having.  The bear sails the high seas on the back of a whale, swims through a waterfall, swings through the trees, forges through a desert, and floats through the sky … all the way home to her, where they curl up together to sleep.

The text has a good rhythm and the illustrations are a lot of fun.  The little girl appears somewhere on every page, watching the polar bear’s adventures from up close or afar, and my kids enjoy pointing her out.

Plus, I love reading stories at bedtime that end with the characters drifting off to sleep.  It helps set the mood.   :)

If you have Little Ones, you should really consider adding it to your collection.  It’s such a fun read!

Peppermint Polar Bear Paw Treats and the Books That Inspired Them

And now, back to the recipe that was inspired by these fantastic books:

Peppermint Polar Bear Paws

Ingredients:

4 1/2 cups confectionery sugar
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
20 Junior Mints candies
60 milk chocolate chips

In a large bowl, use a mixer to combine the softened cream cheese and confectionery sugar until smooth.

Add the peppermint extract and mix until fully blended.

Scoop large spoonfuls of peppermint mixture out and use your hands to shape it into a disc. It won’t “roll” in your hands very well, so you’ll need to form them mostly by pressing them into shape.

Immediately add a Junior Mint and 3 chocolate chips to the peppermint disc in a pattern that represents a bear paw while still malleable. The disc will begin to harden once you stop moving it around in your hands, so make one at a time.

Store covered in the refrigerator. Makes 20.

[Notes: place the chocolate chips in upside down, so that the flat sides are facing up. And when placing the Junior Mints on the disc, press very gently on the edges, instead of in the middle, to avoid cracking them.]

**********

Click here for the free printable PDF version:

Peppermint Polar Bear Paws

Enjoy!  And Happy Reading!

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Hello Sun {eBook}

Hello Sun Picture Book by Rosemary Lynn

Hello Sun is my newest picture book, and I’m so excited to share it with you!

This is a simple text with words that flow and rhyme as you journey from the morning to the night.  With your Little Ones on your lap, you can greet the morning sun, the flowers and bugs and birds, and the stars and moon together.

It’s a great book for bedtime because of the soothing rhythmic text and the bold, striking illustrations.  It’s something I enjoy sharing with my toddler and preschooler, and it’s fun for them, too.  They can interact with the text {like by waving goodnight to the sun} but it’s meant to be read slowly, to help induce a calm before bedtime.  It’s also great to read to babies, who will especially appreciate the bold colors.

I had some fun with paper textures while making the artwork, and the words themselves were inspired by my kids.  My 4yo and 2yo always greet the moon and sun {“Hello, Moon!!!”}, and so this was a story that mimics our own daily paths through life.

You can get the ebook on Amazon and you can see all of my picture books there, too.

I’ve also posted about my picture books Alice’s African Alphabet Adventure and I Tell My Secrets to the Moon.

Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook for updates on my books, but also to see our latest glitter-covered crafts and sprinkle-covered food!  :)

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I Tell My Secrets to the Moon {ebook}

I Tell My Secrets to the Moon by Rosemary Lynn {book review at RoamingRosie.com}

I Tell My Secrets to the Moon is a tale reminiscent of old fables. The book is written in a soothing tone that is perfect for bedtime. The illustrations are simple but playful, and the text addresses deep emotions.

Little Brown Bear is walking through the woods one night, listening to the song of the Snowy Tree Cricket, when he comes upon a shy and sad rabbit. Rosy Rabbit is afraid to discuss her feelings with him, so Little Brown Bear convinces her to talk to the moon instead.

After some reassurance, Rosy Rabbit gathers her courage and sings a long, howling song to the moon. Her confidence grows and the moon twinkles back in response.

One of the reasons I wrote this story is because my girls love the moon.  We wave to it all the time, searching the early morning skies for it.  We read a lot of books with the moon as a character, and it’s something they really enjoy.

This particular story also embarks on a journey of emotion.  It tells kids that it’s okay to have strong feelings, and also that when those feelings are sad feelings, it’s a good idea to talk to someone.

I made the illustrations out of paper collages, combined with my sketches of the animals.

The book is available on the Kindle, but even if you don’t own a Kindle, you can still read it to your kids with the Free Kindle App on any smartphone, tablet, or computer.

Check out the book on Amazon, where you can download a free preview or purchase it:  I Tell My Secrets to the Moon by Rosemary Lynn.

And if you like it, please rate it on Amazon and share it with your friends.

Don’t forget to check out my other picture books:  Alice’s African Alphabet Adventure and Hello Sun!

Happy Reading!

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