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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Book Review: Easter Bunny Lift a Flap Book

Easter Bunny Lift-a-Flap Board Book

This adorable Easter Bunny Flap Book is not only fun for kids – it’s the perfect size to fit into an Easter basket, too!

I like to give my kids new books for every holiday, and this year, this flap book is going into my daughter’s basket.

It’s technically a baby book, but I’m giving it to my 2 (almost 3) year old, and I know my 4 (almost 5) year old will enjoy flipping through it, too, helping her sister find where the Easter bunny hid all the eggs!

Aside from the flaps that you have to lift to find the eggs, kids will also enjoy the peek-through holes in the pages that give you a hint at who we’re going to visit on the next page.

You can watch me demonstrate more about this charming book in my video review:

The Easter Bunny Lift-a-Flap Board Book isn’t available any more on my Usborne Books site, but you can still find some used copies on Amazon.

Happy Easter and 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

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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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 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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Children’s Picture Books by David Wiesner {Book Reviews}

Children's Picture Books by David Wiesner {a book review}

I recently sat down with my daughters and “read” some of David Wiesner’s books to them.

I put “read” in quotes because most of these books have little or no words.

But the pictures… well, the illustrations are breathtaking.

I was a little nervous when I first saw them.  I was afraid maybe the illustrations were too intricate to hold a preschooler’s and a toddler’s attention.

I was wrong.

My 4-year-old would ask me to tell her the story, and then we’d flip through the book again and she’d tell me the story.  My 2-year-old would point out all the little details as we read.  They both requested the books over and over.

I’d borrowed as many as I could find from the local library, because I didn’t know yet if they were worth the investment to purchase them.  But now I know my girls love them.

I narrowed down my daughters’ favorites to two:  Flotsam and Sector 7.

Flotsam by David WiesnerFlotsam

Flotsam is a tale of a young boy who discovers an old camera while exploring the shore.

He digs it out of the sand and develops the film.

What he finds in the photos is, quite simply, amazing.

There are sea turtles with tiny cities growing on their shells.  Sea horses watching tiny aliens play.  And so very much more.

I enjoy this book at least as much, if not more, than my girls.

Here are some images from Flotsam:

Children's Picture Books by David Wiesner:  Flotsam

Children's Picture Books by David Wiesner:  Flotsam

Sector 7 by David WiesnerSector 7

Sector 7 is the story of a young boy visiting the Empire State Building on a school field trip.

While on the observation deck, he meets a curious character:  a mischievous cloud.

They become fast friends and the cloud takes the boy to on a trip up into the sky.  They visit Sector 7, the Cloud Dispatch Center, where clouds receive their instructions about how they should be shaped and where they are to go.

The boy happens to be an artist, and the clouds happen to love his sketches.  The clouds decide to replicate these sketches, and mayhem ensues.

Here are some images from Sector 7:

Children's Picture Books by David Wiesner:  Sector 7

Children's Picture Books by David Wiesner:  Sector 7

While those two are our favorites, Wiesner has some other gems as well.  Similar books include:

Tuesday by David WiesnerTuesday

On Tuesday, strange things happen.  This Tuesday, lilypad-riding frogs take to the skies, exploring the town by air.

Free Fall by David WiesnerFree Fall

In Free Fall, a young boy falls asleep with a book in his arms and visits magical, far-away lands and the knights, castles, and dragons within.

Hurricane by David WiesnerHurricane

In Hurricane, two young brothers see a tree fall to the earth during a storm.  It becomes their playground, representing everything from a pirate ship to an exotic jungle.

June 29 1999 by David WiesnerJune 29, 1999

In June, 29, 1999, a young girl’s science project of vegetable seeds is launched into the atmosphere, has an extraterrestrial encounter, and we find out what happens when lima beans loom over Levittown and artichokes advance on Anchorage.

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