Sunday, August 13, 2017

Sports Illustrated Kids: The Football Fanbook by Gary Gramling

About 12 years ago I took my current job working for a university in the South. Before that, neither the undergrad or grad school that I attended had a football team. (Or, as we liked to say at Emory University, we were undefeated in football.) However, this lack of watching football left me woefully unprepared for my job, where I have to travel throughout the state to meet with businesses. I manage the requisite "visiting" before the start of each meeting just fine until August, when small talk moves from tomatoes and okra to football-and it really was just football. Oh, how I wish I had been gifted a copy of this book years ago. It really would have helped me not seem quite so daft.

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 1080 (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Sports Illustrated (August 8, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1683300076
  • ISBN-13: 978-1683300076

About the Book

Everything You Need to Become a Gridiron Know-it-All

So you're a football fan and now you want to take your passion for the game to the next level? The Football Fanbook from Sports Illustrated Kids is just what you need. A key addition to every young sports fanatic's library, The Football Fanbook is filled with fun trivia and unique lingo to impress friends, illustrated behind-the-skills how-to's, important game-winning strategies, and much more. Readers will sound like experts in no time.

My Review

We are a few days into the preseason, and we are blessed with stories about football from every angle. You have the lead story in the Sports section for the AJC (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution) about the 1970's Falcon's team. It is a throwback story perfectly suited to get football fans in the spirit of nostalgia and revelry about the game. This book would also be a great gift for the budding fan of football to not only read up on what is relevant now, but to also learn the history of the game to hang with the biggest of fans.

As with all Sports Illustrated Kids books, this one is visually engaging with glossy, full color pages. There are lots of pictures, illustrations, changes in fonts, graphs, and large, eye-catching numbers. It includes a wide range of lingo, trivia, stats, and skills necessary to play or watch the game.

I lent the book to one of my 10 year old daughter's friends who plays football. He eats, lives, and breaths football. He gave the book a rave review with the exception that he already knew most of the stats and trivia. My friend and I quizzed him using the book before he had a chance to read it, and he knew almost everything. I also asked him if he saw this at a book fair at school would he pay the list price for the book. This is something that I think is really important to understand with the older kids, as many of them are using their own money at the book fairs and can be quite shrewd on how they spend their money. He felt that $19.99 was too much to spend on a book about football, but he still wanted his mom to pay for it. His point is that some of the material in the book will be outdated in a year or so. I can appreciated that honest feedback.

Lucky for you, my dearest readers, the book is on sale on Amazon for $13.59.  And that, I think is well worth the value of the book.

FTC Disclosure: Thank you Sports Illustrated Kids for sending me a copy of The Football Fanbook in exchange for a fair and honest review. This post contains affiliate links to Amazon. If you purchase the books through these links, I receive a small portion of the payment, which I use to support this blog. Thanks for your support!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

I'm Going to Give You a Bear Hug by Caroline B. Cooney #bearhugbook

I’m Going to Give You a Bear Hug!

I am so excited to be working with Zonderkidz to celebrate this very special snuggle-up-and-hug-your-kid-book!

Author:  Caroline B. Cooney
Illustrator: Tim Warnes
For Ages  4-8

Watch the book trailer: 

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Hashtag #BearHugBook

I’m Going to Give You a Bear Hug!, written by bestselling author Caroline B. Cooney, is a playful and comforting bedtime book that imagines all the wonderful ways a child might give and receive a hug.

Whether it’s a big bear, gasp for air, knock over a chair hug or a wet and drippy, slimy, slippy fish hug, children will giggle their way through all the imaginative examples. Cooney’s sweet, whimsical rhymes encourage playful interaction between parent and child and ultimately help them wind down before they snuggle into bed and drift off to sleep.

Caroline B. Cooney was born in New York, grew up in Connecticut, and now lives in South Carolina. Caroline is the author of 90 Young Adult novels in many genres, and her books have sold over fifteen million copies. I’m Going to Give You a Bear Hug! is her first picture book. It’s based on a verse she wrote for her own children, Louisa, Sayre and Harold, who are grown now.

My favorite thing to do at the end of the day is to snuggle up with my girls and read books. After reading, I need big, it's been a long day, make the headaches go away, help me find my namaste hugs. In my home we call them snugglefests. So, I have a soft spot for any books that help prompt our nightly snugglefests to begin. This book sings to my soul. The words dance off your tongue. The rhythm of the text is easy and flows from page to page as if the words were meant to be sew together all along. This story just feels like if has always been around, and it is no surprise that it is based from a verse the author wrote for her own children. It just feels right. The book has become an instant classic in our home right alongside the Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Eric Carle. I am thrilled to find a permanent home for this book on our shelves. 

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Sunday, June 4, 2017

If Found Please Return to Elise Gravel - Review

  • Title: If Found, Please Return to Elise Gravel (
  • Author and Illustrator: Elise Gravel
  • Age Range: 8 and up
  • Grade Level: 3 and up
  • Hardcover: 100 pages
  • Publisher: Drawn and Quarterly (June 6, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1770462783
  • ISBN-13: 978-1770462786
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 0.6 x 9.1 inches 

I have been struggling for days to write this book review. Not because I don't have anything to say, but because the book keeps disappearing in my house. You see my oldest daughter has adopted the book, read it several times, and then created her own sketch book to doodle just like author/illustrator Elise Gravel.

Now, I would love to share my daughter's doodles with you; however, she literally freaked out when I asked to share her notebook. I guess she is officially entering pre-tweendom. I am lame and my blog is embarrassing.  I get it. I remember that feeling. I will respect her wishes.

However, I think you will agree that her complete obsession with the book is warranted. It is full of vibrant colors, quirky creatures, and just enough bathroom humor that will have kids thinking they have discovered something their parent's might not approve of, making it that much more desirable. What I love about the book, however, is how it encourages creativity in kids. My favorite page in the book provides some sage advice for the aspiring children's book illustrator.

It is exactly what any person needs to hear to help them realize their dreams summed up on a page. "Enormous amounts of practice. That's how you improve." Yes, Elise Gravel! Every kid needs to hear those words. Even a few adults need to hear those words. Even I need to hear those words and be reminded that it is OK to fail all along the road to success, as long as you keep practicing.

If I haven't convinced you to go online and pre-order this book (which will be released on June 6th), then check out Elise Gravel's Instagram. I am in love with her creativity!

A post shared by Elise Gravel (@elise_gravel) on

FTC Disclosure: Thank you Drawn and Quarterly for sending me a copy of If Found, Please Return to Elise Gravel. This post contains affiliate links to Amazon. If you purchase the books through these links, I receive a small portion of the payment, which I use to support this blog. Thanks for your support!

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