Sunday, December 13, 2015

Mimi's Adventures in Baking Gingerbread Men by Alyssa Gangeri- Worldwind Virtual Book Tour

Mimi’s Adventures in Baking Gingerbread Men


Embark on a baking adventure with Mimi where she will measure, mix, and bake her way to the perfect batch of gingerbread men. If Mimi can do it, so can you!

Mimi's Adventures in Baking Gingerbread Men is the third book in the Mimi's Adventures in Baking series.



My Review  

My children love spending time in the kitchen baking with me. While they enjoy dumping the ingredients into the bowl, they have never shown any interest in actually reading the recipe. Mimi's Adventures in Banking is a book series that integrates recipes into a story, creating a fun and engaging way to learn how to cook. This is the third book in the Adventures in Baking series, but the first book we have read. In this story, Mimi spends the day with her Nonni, who shows her how to make gingerbread cookies. What makes this book so endearing is how the book creatively explains how to actual make the cookies within the text of the story without it seeming like instructions. What the reader is left understanding is the deep love and affection that Mimi and Nonni share as they spend time baking together, not just how to make the cookies. 

After reading the book, my children and I made the gingerbread cook recipe contained within the book.

We even mixed the gingerbread cookie dough with a spatula that has a gingerbread cookie on it.

I actually had never made gingerbread dough before. I was impressed with how easy it was for my daughter to handle the dough. (We struggle with sugar cookie dough.)

They made an army of gingerbread men. They also made use of as many cookie cutters as I would allow them to use.  
We finished the cookies tonight, but we will have to wait until tomorrow to decorate them. However, I snuck a cookie and they taste fantastic. So, I can attest that the recipe in the book is a great one to use for your holiday baking. 

If you would like to teach your children how to bake in a fun way, I recommend purchases your own copy of this book.



Alyssa’s Website / Twitter / Facebook

Chef Alyssa has been baking since she was a little girl in her grandmother's kitchen. Since graduating from the Culinary Institute of America she has worked for famous chefs and elite companies such as the Ritz Carlton, Tom Colicchio, Norman Van Aken and Gray Kunz. She currently is the Executive Chef at Riverwalk Bar and Grill on the Historic nook of New York City, Roosevelt Island. She also has a boutique custom cake company called AllyCakesNYC where she creates cakes to appease the imagination. Through her journey of baking she developed Mimi, her very own miniature version of herself.
As a child she loved baking and everything that came with it. As an adult and food lover she realized there was something missing when she frequented bookstores. A interactive children's cookbook. And we are not talking about a boring old cookbook for kids with lots and lots of recipes, and some pictures. Children these days have just as much interest in the kitchen as there parents do, but the ordinary cookbook is just not going to cut it. She created Mimi's Adventures in Baking  to give children and adults a way to get into the kitchen and allow the child to become the chef and the adult the assistant. With each book has one recipe and an interactive storyline the child can read, and at the end go into the kitchen and do what Mimi did!  And for the "non-baking" parent, these elite pastry chef recipes are tested and ready for even the most inexperienced baker! Impress other moms with Mimi's creations!
Mimi's Adventures in Baking 
will also teach children how to measure, mix and bake their way through the kitchen while also giving safety tips along the way. No more boring cookbooks! Now there is a fun, exciting and educational way to learn how to bake!

Brought to you by Worldwind Virtual Book Tours

FTC Required Disclosures:
 *I received a review copy from the author free of charge. All opinions expressed in this review represent my honest opinions about the book.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Knights Before Christmas by Joan Holub and Scott Magoon- A Review and Activity

The Knights Before Christmas Joan Holub Scott Magoon 9780805099324 image copy 2

About the Book

Title: The Knights Before Christmas | Author: Joan Holub | Illustrator: Scott Magoon | Publication Date: September 8, 2015 | Publisher: Macmillan / Henry Holt | Pages: 32 | Recommended Ages: 4 to 8

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million

Goodreads | Indiebound | iBook | Kobo

Book Description:
'Twas December 24th, and three brave knights were just settling in for the night when out on the drawbridge, there arose such a clatter! The knights try everything to get rid of this unknown invader (Santa Claus!), a red and white knight with a fleet of dragons . . .
But nothing would stop their white-whiskered foe. No matter their efforts, he just would not go!
This parody of Clement Clarke Moore's well-known poem 'Twas the Night Before Christmas is kid-friendly, clever, and just plain silly. Sure to become a holiday classic of a different kind!  

Sneak Peek

The Knights Before Christmas Joan Holub Scott Magoon The Knights Before Christmas Joan Holub Scott Magoon pages 12 The Knights Before Christmas Joan Holub Scott Magoon page 26 image  

The Buzz About the Book

“There's an excellent interplay between the amusing illustrations and the polished text, with lots of clever jokes for readers to discover in the art. These knights know how to keep the castle safe and the readers entertained”~ Kirkus Reviews
“A royal romp of holiday pratfalls and punnery. Yule love it!” ~ Tom Lichtenheld, bestselling illustrator of Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site
“A royal delight of a book! Sure to become a favorite holiday read-aloud in every household throughout the land!” ~ Judy Schachner, creator of the bestselling Skippyjon Jones
"A great premise...Magoon's illustrations are vibrant and fun...!" ~ Publishers Weekly
"This rousing, ridiculous medieval “Night Before Christmas” parody jingles with castle- and holiday wordplay. Cheeky digital illustrations brim with good cheer." ~ Horn Book

My Review and Art Project

'Twas the night before my book review was due, and my little knights would not sleep.
They were giggling and laughing while I shouted, "Don't make a peep!"
Little J, with her blanket kept asking for me,
while the mess in my house was stretched as far as I could see.
So I sat them both down and begged that they'd yield,
to keep quiet and calm while making a shield.

My knights took their cardboard and aluminum foil,
and for at least twenty minutes dutifully did toil.
With stickers and sharpies they created their crest,
giving their mamma a moment of much needed rest.
They finished their shields and held them up high,
then pretended to battle with a menacing cry.

But first, my review....

My Review

Of all the children's books we have in our house, most books are read once or twice, and sooner or later we donate them. However, some books you know after the first read that they will become instant classics, to be enjoyed for years to come. The Knights of Christmas by Joan Holub and Scott Magoon is one of those books my children instantly fell in love with, requesting it to be read every night before bed since the day we received it in the mail.

The book puts a fresh, witty spin on the Christmas classic 'Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore. Chock full of homonyms, my oldest delighted in picking out how the author played with the words of the original classic poem. Nights turn to Knights and deer turn to dears, making this book an accidental literary lesson. Silent Knight was my favorite punny character of them all. My youngest certainly was smitten with the vibrant illustrations and how the knights misunderstood Santa Claus as an intruder. I mean any man sneaking into your house in the middle of the night any other night of the year would be considered an intruder. In fact, when my oldest was about three or four she actually tried to lock our fireplace because the idea freaked her out.

This book is so much fun and deserves to be read aloud next to twinkling lights the whole holiday season. If you are looking for the perfect gift to give on the night before Christmas, consider giving The Knights before Christmas.

The Knights of Christmas Shield Activity

Supplies Needed: 

  • Old Cardboard Box cut into shield shape
  • Masking Tape
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Scissors
  • Sharpies
  • Stickers
  • Ribbon (for the shield handle)
  • Copy of The Knights Before Christmas for inspiration
After cutting out some cardboard into a shield shape, I gave each girl a sheet of aluminum foil to cover the shield and give it a metallic effect.

We used masking tape to keep the foil in place.




 Then the girls had fun making their own family crest of the shields with stickers and Sharpies. 

I had these awesome castle and princess stickers. 

After they were done decorating the shields, I braided some ribbon to be used as handles. Little J took taping the handles to the back of the shield very seriously.

Both girls were very proud of their creations. Little J ran around the house declaring she was "Mike the Knight" from the Disney TV show. Little J cannot wait because they are having a Knights and Princess day at school tomorrow. She plans on bringing her shield and the book.

About the Author: Joan Holub

The Knights Before Christmas Joan Holub SIBA 2015 imageJoan Holub is the author of 140+ books for children including the acclaimed picture books Little Red Writing, The Knights Before Christmas, and Mighty Dads, a New York Times bestseller. Joan co-authors (with Suzanne Williams) three series: Goddess Girls (ages 8-12, Greek mythology with a middle school twist), Grimmtastic Girls (for ages 8-12, fairy tale adventure with a middle school twist), and Heroes in Training (ages 6-11, Greek mythology adventure chapter books). Watch for her upcoming chapter book, What Was Woodstock?, and her board book, This Little President, both available in early 2016!  

Website | Author Blog | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads

Facebook | Facebook (Goddess Girls) | Facebook (Grimmtastic Girls)


FTC Required Disclosures:
 *I received a review copy from the author free of charge. All opinions expressed in this review represent my honest opinions about the book. **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!  


Monday, November 30, 2015

The Saga of Santa Claus by M. D. Couturier - A Review
  • Title: The Saga of Santa Claus
  • Author: M.D. Couturier
  • Paperback: 132 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (September 13, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1516985273
  • ISBN-13: 978-1516985272

 About the Book

Valdor is a selfish king who cares nothing for his fellow human beings. One night, the god Odin turns him into a goat-man and offers a trial. If he succeeds, Valdor will regain his body and kingdom. But if he fails, he will be condemned to wandering the world as an outcast. In desperation, Valdor agrees. But little does he know that he is about to embark upon an extraordinary journey that will change his life forever.

My Review

The Thanksgiving holiday has just passed, and I am finally ready to welcome the Christmas season. My youngest child was gleefully singing Santa Claus is Coming to Town today while waiting for dinner. Meanwhile, my oldest has been carefully reviewing her long list for good Ol' Saint Nick. It is at this moment, observing their complete belief in the magic of the holiday, that I take pause to imagine what it will be like for my girls as they grow older. However, it never occurred to me to consider what Santa Claus was like as a child until reading The Saga of Santa Claus by M. D. Couturier.

M. D. Couturier created an imaginative back story for Santa Claus that reads like an old fairy tale. It feels as though I uncovered an heirloom that had been passed down for generations. Castles, fairies, goblins, Gods, and Goddesses combine to explain how the wicked and spoiled child Valdor could grow up to find true meaning in life after being condemned to the northern arctic tundra as an outcast.

The story is plainly told in a way that a small child could follow and understand; however it packs enough action and drama to keep an older child entertained. This book would make a great fireside read on the days leading up to Christmas. It is refreshing to see a portrayal of Santa Claus where he actually struggled to become the giving and gracious person; which is the lesson we all want our children to learn, but it so hard to emulate as a child.

If you are looking for a warm and welcoming book to read during your holiday season, I recommend checking out The Saga of Santa Claus

FTC Required Disclosures:
 *I received a review copy from the author free of charge. All opinions expressed in this review represent my honest opinions about the book.
**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, November 18, 2015

Where's Wilson? by Kelly Young-Silverman and erin the great - A Review

Where's Wilson? is published in the US by WordCrafts Press ( and distributed globally by Ingram Content Group, the world's largest distributor of physical content.
Product Details
Hardback: 48 pages, $17.99
Trade Paperback: 48 pages, $10.99
eBook: $5.99
Publisher: WordCrafts Press
ISBN: 978-0990976110

About the Book

It’s time to go to sleep. But one of the counting sheep from the Sweet Dream Team has gone missing. With bedtime soon approaching, and the town in a fuss, They need to find Wilson. They have to! They must!
Where’s Wilson is a whimsical, illustrated story about Wilson, an important member of the Sweet Dream Team, who wanders away from the team. With bedtime rapidly approaching, the whole community bands together to find Wilson. After all, how can anyone manage to fall asleep if there aren’t enough sheep to count?
Where’s Wilson is a delightful rhyming picture book, complete with fanciful watercolor illustrations that vividly bring the story to life. Children will love the sing-song verses and discovering new objects and characters in the multi-layered pictures.
Where’s Wilson is the second in a series of Evie & Knox night time story books.

About The Author:

Kelly Young-Silverman is an award-winning filmmaker, actor, writer and director. Her work ranges from screenplays and stage plays to children’s stories and young adult novels, including the stage play, Family Photos, for which she won the Dajero Play Festival’s Best New Writer and Best Actor Awards. In 2009, Kelly co-founded Cakebaby Productions with her husband, actor/filmmaker David Marshall Silverman. Through Cakebaby, Kelly and David have written, directed and produced several award-winning short films, and have had their worked screened nationally at prestigious festivals. Kelly made her directorial debut with the film, Too Late Now
Erin Wicker profile
Illustrator erin the great

About The Illustrator

Erin Wicker, known professionally as erin the great, received her B.F.A. in drawing from the University of Tennessee. Her work has been exhibited in both Tennessee and Georgia and has even been featured on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. She is currently an exhibiting artist for Art on the Beltline: the largest public art exhibition in Atlanta’s history. She has written and illustrated two children’s books, Mr. Mailbox Man Goes to Work and Just Beyond My Front Door. During her free time, she plays keys and sings in the band, Imagination Head, with her husband, J.R. They are nearing the release of their 5th album, Chromativerse.
For more information about Kelly Young-Silverman or erin the great visit online at:

My Review

I love any opportunity to share children's books written or illustrated by local writers and artists. Today, I am excited to share this delightful bedtime story your children are sure to love. 

Where's Wilson? is a playful spin on counting sheep where Wilson, a member of the Sweet Dream Team, goes missing. Without the number four sheep, the animals are suddenly unable to go to sleep. Counting and rhymes dance together to create a bedtime story that is soothing and entertaining for the youngest of readers. Delicate water color illustrations invite a calm with the softest of pastels. 

Both of my children enjoyed this bedtime story. My oldest daughter really loved the purple hues of the nighttime sky that contrast from the yellows and oranges of the daytime sky. My youngest daughter liked the way the sheep were like little clouds or cotton balls.
I think the story would be best suited for children ages 3 to 5 because of the number of words on each page and the story line. Where's Wilson? is the perfect book to send your preschooler to sleep while counting fluffy sheep.
Check out some fun crafts inspired by the book from the illustrator.

A Chance to Meet the Authors 

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FTC Required Disclosures:
 *I received a review copy from the author free of charge. All opinions expressed in this review represent my honest opinions about the book.
**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!  

Monday, November 16, 2015

Mother Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins- A Review


by Ryan T. Higgins

In stores November 24

Title: Mother Bruce
Ages 3-5  
By: Ryan T. Higgins

Hardcover: 48 pages 
Released on: 2015-11-24
ISBN: 978-1-4847-3088-1
Publisher: Disney Hyperion  

About the Book

Bruce the bear likes to keep to himself. That, and eat eggs. But when his hard-boiled goose eggs turn out to be real, live goslings, he starts to lose his appetite. And even worse, the goslings are convinced he’s their mother. Bruce tries to get the geese to go south, but he can’t seem to rid himself of his new companions. What’s a bear to do?

About the Author

Ryan T. Higgins is an author/illustrator residing in Southern Maine. He lives with his three dogs, three cats, two geckos, one tortoise, one son, one daughter, and one wife. He has wanted to be a cartoonist since as far back as he can remember. (Actually, that’s not entirely true—he wanted to be a tiger until he was three, but, sadly, that didn't really pan out.) Ryan’s first picture book, Wilfred, was named a 2013 Wanda Gág Read Aloud Honor Book. Visit Ryan online at

My Review

Imagine you had a child that was contemplating the source of any meat being consumed in the house. And let's just say that this child has gone without eating meat for periods of time in the past for conscious reasons. Imagine, then, that you received a cleverly written book about a bear that went on a hunt to find organic, locally sourced, free-range eggs only to discover while cooking the eggs that the goslings hatched and think he is their mother. Whew! I am sure that you can imagine that this book, also known as Mother Bruce, has sparked quite a series of debates in our house with my oldest daughter.

While my eight-year-old started contemplating returning to vegetarianism, my three-year-old delighted in the curmudgeon bear, who is slightly reminiscent of a certain father living in our house. Bruce the Bear is that hipster guy that reluctantly finds himself as a parent. He is overwhelmed, surly, and desperate for his own space.

However, and this is the magic that makes it such a great children's book, Bruce tries. He feeds the goslings. He plays with them.

He even tries to teach them how to fly south for the winter. Bruce learns how to love these annoying and needy goslings. They bond over messes and exhaustion. Kind of like being a parent to human kids. Right?

The story will have you in stitches and rooting for the grumpy old bear to figure out this parenting thing. Children will crack up at the unlikely pairing of a beast living in a fractured harmony with his prey. This book is sure to become an instant classic, and a favorite among preschool teachers looking for a book to keep their little wiggle worms sitting still during story time.

Wait! Don't go yet.  I am so excited to tell you that Disney Books is giving away a copy of this book to my readers. Enter the Rafflecopter to win!  


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Not Mother Goose, meet Mother Bruce! Enter to win the adorable new picture book, Mother Bruce.

Giveaway open to US addresses only.
Prizing and samples provided by Disney-Hyperion.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

FTC Required Disclosures:
 *I received a review copy from Disney Publishing free of charge. All opinions expressed in this review represent my honest opinions about the book.
**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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