Book Review: 50 Easter Things to Make and Do

50 Easter Things to Make and Do

This craft book, 50 Easter Things to Make and Do, is a really great thing to have on hand in springtime.

The title may say “Easter” and it’s certainly focused on Easter-type things, but it’s got a lot of wonderful craft ideas that are generally themed around the season of spring.

And while the crafts themselves are super cute, there are other things about the book that I also absolutely LOVE.

For example, it has the spiral binding, so it lays flat – which is handy when you’re looking from it to your project and back again.

Plus, the projects themselves have step-by-step instructions, which is great for showing children the progression of the craft from start to finish.

It’s also a great size to fit inside an Easter basket – which is how my daughter will be receiving it this year.  And since, like I mentioned, many of the projects are great to do all throughout spring and not just for Easter, we’ll be working on some of these adorable crafts all through the season.

You can get a better look at the book in my video review:

The book is out of print on my Usborne Books & More site, but you can still find used copies on Amazon.

Happy Crafting!

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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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Melissa and Dough Underwater 48-Piece Floor Puzzle {a review}

Melissa and Dough Underwater 48 Piece Floor Puzzle {a review from RoamingRosie.com}

Today I wanted to talk about the Melissa & Doug Underwater 48-Piece Floor Puzzle because it’s something that both of my girls love, and have loved for a long time.

My oldest daughter has been playing with it for nearly 2 years now, and she still gets excited about it.

As my youngest is only 2 1/2, she still needs some help to put the pieces together {the recommended age is 3+ and she gets so excited that she rushes too much to allow the pieces to fit properly}, but she loves it anyway.

My 4yo can assemble the puzzle on her own, but does ask me to do it with her.  She likes the interaction.

The puzzle is beautiful, as you can see, and large, which makes it especially fascinating for kids.  The pieces are big, which is great for little hands, and that makes the finished puzzle 2 feet by 3 feet.

Here’s what it looks like when it’s finished:

 Melissa & Doug Underwater 48-Piece Floor Puzzle

The colors are brilliant and the artwork is quite detailed.

When putting it together, I usually say things like, “here’s a piece of a dolphin,” or “I found part of a jellyfish,” or “this one has a lot of red coral in it.”

The puzzle is really a great way to facilitate conversations about sea life.  It’s nice to do the puzzle and then reminisce about animals we recently saw at a zoo or aquarium or read about in a book.

It’s also a nice addition to lessons about the ocean.  If you’re studying the sea with your Little One, this is a fun way bring the ocean into your home.

Usually I help her separate the outside pieces so that we can construct the frame first.  Next, as you can see in the photo below, she likes to walk around the puzzle, counting the pieces.

Then we fill in the rest.

And by “we,” I mean that I work very slowly, sorting pieces and musing about them while I let her fill it in mostly by herself.

Melissa and Dough Underwater 48 Piece Floor Puzzle

I definitely recommend this puzzle for any kids that love puzzles or sea life.

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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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