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
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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.]

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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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When I Love You At Christmas {a book review}

When I Love You At Christmas:  a book review at RoamingRosie.com

Really, to be perfectly honest, I could talk about books every day.  But today I wanted to share with you a Christmas book that we’ve been reading quite a bit, because, you know … it’s Christmas!  :)

The picture book When I Love You At Christmas, written by David Bedford and illustrated by Tamsin Ainslie, with its brief but charming text and adorable paintings is a delightful read for young children.

It’s a cute story narrated by a stuffed lamb telling us about how much he loves his little girl.  He goes through all of the activities that the little girl engages in around Christmastime, such as when she is wrapping presents, baking cookies, writing out Christmas cards, acting in a nativity play, and getting excited about Christmas day.

The double-page spreads are decorated with bright watercolor artwork and the text itself if very simple, but also very sweet.

One of the aspects I love about the story is how the girl gets so excited about Christmas, but she’s always thinking of others.  The book demonstrates things that are sharing activities, like wrapping presents, baking cookies, and sending out Christmas cards.  Things that emphasize a spirit of love and giving.

Even though the girl has trouble sleeping on Christmas Eve because she’s anticipating the big day, and even though she rushes quickly to find her own presents on Christmas morning, she takes the time to share a present with her stuffed lamb, too.

The lyrical text is short enough to hold the attention of toddlers and preschoolers, the illustrations are detailed enough to give their eyes plenty to explore, and the underlying message is subtle but lovely.

My girls, who are about 2-1/2 and 4-1/2-years-old, love it … but so do I!  This is definitely going to be a regular for us around Christmas, but is still worth a read throughout the rest of the year, too.

*Update:  I know the picture says you can get the book from my Usborne site, but it has been discontinued.  There are, however, sometimes copies available on Amazon.

Merry Christmas!!!

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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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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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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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