Friday, March 30, 2012

Fitness Friday

Thank you all so much for the wonderful comments on last week's post. It means the world to me to know how many supporters I have out there...especially those that have watched our journey unfold over the last few years. I certainly wasn't writing about all the tragedy I've experienced in order to gain sympathy from my readers, but rather to show just how much I want to get and stay healthy. Elliott deserves a mommy that sticks around for the long haul!

This week was pretty good for me, in terms of fitness, except I'm now experiencing my first injury. Shin splints. Never had them before and wish they would go faaarrr away. OUCH. I walked 4.5 miles with Elliott on Monday, then ran/walked somewhere around 2 miles both Tuesday and Wednesday and apparently that was just all too much for my legs. Throbbing pain for hours after both the runs. So, today is cloudy and we're busy, so I'm taking exercising off, though tomorrow will be right back to yard work, so that will still burn some calories, while resting my legs a bit. Any tips for shin splints?

I told you all that I wanted to mention some of my favorite bloggers that help to keep me motivated during this health journey and this week I'm featuring Caroline of My Fascinating Life!

Caroline is a stay-at-home mom to 2 boys and a dog (can't forget the dog!) who exercises more than anyone else I've ever known. She's amazing! Bike rides and walks in the morning, lots of exercise classes, and tons of running. She's an exercise rock star! What I love about her is that she has lost lots of weight over the years and kept it off, but allows herself to indulge in things like ice cream and the occasional cocktail. She's totally my kind of girl. I'm never going to give up everything I love in order to lose weight faster...that just wouldn't make me happy...and it's nice to see someone else have the same mindset. Moderation works!

(Image borrowed from Caroline's blog!)

All in all, I'm down a total of 6lbs since I started all this and hopefully they'll keep coming off. Like I said before, I don't rely on the scale for anything other than a curious glance now and then, because it seriously fluctuates like crazy.

I did have a slight almost-breakdown when I was convinced a certain dress in my closet would fit and it did not. Need it for next weekend and waited until today to try it on, hoping and praying it would zip and it definitely doesn't. We not only don't have the budget for a new dress, I really had hoped I had slimmed down enough from having Elliott for it to fit. Trying not to be discouraged from that one thing. 

Onto another week!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Starters review

If Scott Westerfeld's Uglies, James Dashner's The Maze Runner, and Veronica Roth's Divergent had a book baby, it would be Starters. Telling the story of Callie, a girl living in the future where a virus killed every that had not been vaccinated, Callie has no parents and no grandparents to help her, so she is responsible for taking care of her little on the run, trying to survive. 

To earn money and care for her brother, Callie does what she said she would never do. She allows Prime Destinations, a creepy corporation run by the Old Man, to rent her body to an elderly person. It pays well and she's assured nothing can go wrong. Well, we all know how that ends, right?

This plot MOVES. I turned pages like crazy, wanting to know what happened to Callie and her family. The characters are all well developed and though not necessarily unique in its dystopian genre, the drama is there and the story will leave you wanting more. Apparently, the 2nd and last book in the 2-book series comes out in December. Yay!

Lissa Price
352 pages
Young Adult
Delacorte Press
March 2012
Review copy

Monday, March 26, 2012

Non-Fiction Monday: Get Outside

I'm going to totally be one of those parents that insists my child spend at least some time outside every single day. It's a must. Everyone needs fresh air and if I don't make him go out, I think he'll turn into his technology addicted father. Aaron loves being outside, but he loves a certain Apple product more...

Get Outside encourages kids to put down the electronics and find some fun outdoors. All four seasons have sets of activities divided into four categories: Nature Lover, Outdoor Fun and Games, Snug Inside, and Look to the Sky. 

The Nature Love section focuses on crafts and exploration of the outside world. From making tracks, and building a birdhouse, to spying into an anthill and making observations. 

Outdoor Fun and Games gives detailed instructions on structured play. Games like Frisbee Golf and Scavenger Hunt are paired with games that can be altered to suit the child and the environment, like making an ice rink, beach games, and treasure hunts. 

The Snug Inside section is for those moments when the weather just won't cooperate and you have to spend time in the house or in the cabin while camping. Making a night sky dome, stringing snowflakes, and dominoes are all included in this section. 

And, finally, the Look to the Sky section contains activities focusing on the sky at night during the different seasons. Stories about different constellations are included, along with activities about the Milky Way and making indoor constellations.

Truly a year-round activity guide for kids, this is bound to have something for everyone. I think it's fantastic that the authors took the weather into consideration and their instructions for each activity are clear and easy to follow. Nice for a family or a teacher!

Get Outside: The Kids Guide to Fun in the Great Outdoors
Jane Drake, Ann Love, and illustrator Heather Collins
176 pages
Kids Can Press
March 2012
Review copy

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Picture Book Saturday

Happy Saturday! I'm loving these picture books this week:

More by I.C. Springman and illustrator Brian Lies

A magpie begins gathering stuff to place in her nest. One thing here and there and then all of a sudden she has a massive amount of "stuff" in her nest and she can't be comfortable. Her mouse friends are determined to show her that happiness does not lie with stuff. 

I'm a huge fan of Lies' work in his "Bats" books (Bats in the Library, Bats on the Beach, etc.), so when I saw this was illustrated by him, I was pretty excited. The text is sparse, but definitely effective in getting the point of not needing a whole lot of things to be happy across. The art is gorgeous and the story unique and fun. 

I.C. Springman
40 pages
Picture Book
Houghton Mifflin
March 2012
Review copy

Silly Doggy by Adam Stower

Lily looks out her window one more and sees something wonderful in the garden! Big and hairy, with a wet nose and four legs....and Lily had always wanted to have one!

This begins an incredibly silly story of Lily's new pet. So what if it happens to be a BEAR instead of a DOG?!  Super fun, definitely will have your kids giggling! 

A great storytime read aloud with it's goofy plot and large illustrations. Fun!

Silly Doggy
Adam Stower
40 pages
Picture Book
Orchard Books
April 2012
Review copy

A Bus Called Heaven by Bob Graham

When an abandoned bus finds it's way to the street in front of Stella's house, she makes big plans for it. Neighbors that have never spoken before will come together inside, everyone will share their ideas, they'll play games together and just enjoy each others company. And that's exactly what happens until the bus gets towed to the junkyard. Stella then must convince the owner not to trash her bus. 

After the wonderful success of How to Heal a Broken Wing, I had high hopes for this latest one from Graham and I definitely was not disappointed. So sweet! The illustrations are really cute, each character definitely being given their own personality, even if they don't speak, and the bus is just splendid. 

I loved the determination of Stella and her desire to bring her community was beautiful and inspiring. 

A Bus Called Heaven
Bob Graham
40 pages
Picture Book
March 2012
Review copy

Friday, March 23, 2012

Fitness Friday

Last Friday, I promised you some back story on why I am so determined to get rid of this weight that keeps plaguing me and become strong and healthy. I don't like to get really "heavy" on this blog...I mean...I don't even review books that I didn't like, but if I'm going to put it all out there, I might as well put it ALL out there. 

Growing up, I was a chubby kid. Starting around age 8, I really started plumping up and stopped growing taller. I played outside all the time, but I also really liked to just sit around and read too, and my food of choice was always something sweet. My brother and I ate pretty terribly, as both of my parents worked really long hours at poorly paying jobs, and despite my mom being an amazing cook, a lot of the food we ate was convenience food. From boxed Hamburger Helper, corn dogs, boxed mac and cheese, etc.

When I was 9, my father died of a sudden, massive heart attack, all of his arteries were 99% blocked. He was 38. His favorite foods were fried bologna sandwiches, burgers with mayo, and whiskey. He also never exercised and smoked. My mom became a single parent at 36 on a waitress salary. My brother and I were taken into the doctor for a full health workout and it turned out I had the cholesterol level of an obese adult...things started to turn around. 

My mom kicked the health stuff into high gear. She started going to college to become a nutritionist, she ended up working as a personal trainer at a gym, and my brother and I became active in sports. Our diets were completely revamped and we ALL became healthy. I played soccer and softball and in high school was a cheerleader. We ate healthy, we made good choices, and despite losing my dad at such a young age, I was healthy.

Despite my best health efforts, when I was around 19, I was diagnosed with chronic hypertension and high cholesterol. I was a healthy weight for my height at that point and it was determined, after a whole lot of testing, that I was simply a "genetics case." My genetics are just out to get me. I've been on medication ever since and I absolutely despise having to take them. I feel like a 70-year-old when I go to the pharmacy and pick up my Diovan and Lipitor, but if I have to take it, then I'll take it. Sometimes we do what we have to do, right?

But then, the world really came crashing down. Ready for this?

When I was 25 I became pregnant with my first son. Delivered him 3 months early due to health complications and after 4 months in the NICU he passed away. 2 months later, completely unexpectedly, my mother died of a brain hemorrhage, brought on by untreated hypertension. She was 53. 6 months after that, my grandfather, age 76, died of a stroke. I had a miscarriage of our 2nd baby 2 months after that. A year after that, miscarriage #2. 6 months later, my grandmother died of a massive stroke. And then I delivered Elliott 2 months early, due to hypertension issues. I am not quite 29 and BOTH my parents and both my maternal grandparents are dead due to cardiovascular issues. It's a scary and disgusting cycle that seems to be happening in my family and I am SO determined to break it. 

I've already been told by multiple doctors that I may be on medication for hypertension and cholesterol for the rest of my life, but that doesn't mean I have to die from something related to those problems. Or, at least, I don't have to die at 38 or 53 or 73. It also doesn't mean I have to be overweight and a couch potato. I don't smoke, I only drink occasionally, I eat quite healthy, and now I just need to exercise on a daily basis. REALLY exercise, not just a stroll around the block. And I'm going to do it. I just need you all to keep me accountable. 

(image from Community Ethics, via Pinterest)

Again, I'm going to keep saying, I don't want to be skinny. I just want to be able to run 3 miles without dying. I want to be able to go to the doctor's office and have them not freak out at my blood pressure. I want to go to sleep at night thinking about things other than whether or not I'm going to die at 38 like my dad or 53 like my mom. I just want health.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Tillermans are back!

When I was younger, Homecoming and Dicey's Song were two of my favorite books. My cousin and I both loved them so much that each time we would see each other, we would swap the books back and forth and read them again. I never knew there were more than those two books until I was much older...sad! 

 The entire Tillerman Cycle is being re-released this year, in both hardcover and trade paperback! I think the books were fabulous in the 80's when I read them, but still totally timely and relatable for those upper middle grade/teens today. The first three, Homecoming, Dicey's Song, and A Solitary Blue are available now. One of my nieces is going to get all three for her birthday. I think she'd love them!

In Homecoming, we're given the story of a broken family... children abandoned by their mother and left to fend for themselves, is incredibly thought-provoking and beautifully written. The kids have to walk hundreds of miles, alone, to find someone to help care for them. Dicey is put into this terrible position of needing to keep her family together, no matter what it takes. 

You'll grow to love all of the characters and want them to succeed. I'm such a huge fan of Cynthia Voight and this series, and am super excited it's getting attention again. The rest of the books in the series will be out later this year.

The Tillerman Cycle
Young Adult
Review copies

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Wonder Show review...quirky circus story!

After pretty much everyone she knows in the world dies or abandons her, Portia ends up at McGreavy's Home for Wayward Girls, complete with a scary director named Mister. Mister is definitely a intimidating guy and Portia wants nothing more than to find her file, so she might learn where her long-lost father may be. 

When things at the home become too much for her (like...more people dying), Portia runs away and ends up working at a traveling circus filled with "freaks", figuring the best way to find her Dad is to travel to different cities. As Portia gets to know the people that make up the acts, she starts to understand that she can still have a family, even if it's unconventional. And when Mister shows up looking for her, she learns what true family really is.

Apparently my new "thing" is circus stories. I loved The Boneshaker from a couple of years ago and just this fall, raved about The Night Circus. Now comes Wonder Show. I wouldn't say I'm in love with this book, but the quirkiness and subtle creep-factor definitely kept me reading. I can see kids really enjoying the oddities and the Lemony Snicket type of writing. It's a weird book, but good weird.

It kind of straddles the line between middle grade and YA for me. The story read a bit younger, but the themes were definitely on the older side. I guess I would recommend this for a teen or mature middle grade reader. Don't want anyone having nightmares!

Wonder Show
Hannah Barnaby
288 pages
Middle Grade/Lower YA
Houghton Mifflin
March 2012
Review copy

Monday, March 19, 2012

Week in Review

This week has just flown by! Such beautiful weather and lots of activities around here. In book news:

I finished up Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin and am just about done with Small Damages by Beth Kephart. Both are publishing later this spring, so look for reviews in a month or two. 

I've been getting tons of exciting books in my mailbox these past few weeks and it's incredibly frustrating that I'm barely finishing a book a week.  I keep telling my husband we need to downsize our house, so I have more reading time. Those of you that have seen our house know how ridiculous this statement actually is. Elliott really doesn't take up as much time as one would think (though he won't let me read and hold him at the same time for some reason),  but my house takes up tooooons of it. Blah to that.

I'm really looking forward to Starters by Lissa Price, which April loved and Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, which Debi loved, plus a slew of others. Not enough reading time! That's everyone's complaint though, right?

I started a new feature this week: Fitness Friday. Completely unoriginal name, yes, but I'm not feeling my most creative lately. I really just wanted to remain accountable for this journey to strength and health, and who better to keep me on track than all of you?! My husband is too nice to me to tell me to kick it into gear ;)

Here's to another fabulous week!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Fitness Friday

My first week of being accountable to the entire blogging world and I think I've done really well! I've actually lost 5lbs since getting serious about my health.  I don't pay a whole lot of attention to the scale, because my body has always retained a lot of water, so I'm always supposedly "gaining" and "losing," but every day this week, my weight has gone down a bit. Hooray for little things!

With the beautiful weather we've been having, I've gone out to run a couple of miles twice, but we're battling with Aaron's car, which means we've turned into a one car family for the week and all my errands have to be run once he gets home. Definitely cuts into the cardio time, but Elliott and I have went for walks every day I couldn't run. 

Eating is going really well. My fabulous book blogger friend Kelly introduced me to Lose It and that has been really helpful. I've used calorie tracking sites before, but this one is definitely easier, more user-friendly, and is motivating.

Green smoothies are my new staple for breakfast, I've been making a huge pot of soup each Monday to last for lunches through the week, and dinners have been simple and vegetarian.

With this new feature of mine, I also wanted to start mentioning a few of  the bloggers that have really inspired me to become accountable for how I'm eating and what I'm doing for exercise. Some are new moms, some are die-hard fitness fanatics, some are new to the health scene, etc. I have to give credit to those inspiring my motivation! 

Callie, from The Wannabe Athlete, is a wife, a newish mom (her son is around 7 months old, I believe), a Christian, and as her blog title states,  a wannabe athlete. She's a runner, whether she likes to call herself that or not, and is a proud member of the 10+ minute mile club. Though a lot of other "runners" would consider her times slow, Callie runs at what she's feels comfortable at and FINISHES. Who cares what your time is, as long as you finish the run?! 

Her posts are super inspiring, her son is crazy adorable, and her positive attitude is contagious. Plus, she's running a bracket challenge for cool is that?! I'm loving the motivation that Callie sends into my reader every day! (Callie's photo was borrowed from her blog).

Next week I plan to share some of the reasons why losing this weight and getting stronger are so important to me, complete with some family history. Tissues may be needed, you have been warned!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Margaret and the Moth Tree review

Like a lot of fictional orphans, Margaret has been passed from relative to relative, knowing that no one really wants her. Those that do let her stay with them for a time definitely don't want to hear her, so Margaret turns into a very quiet little girl. Her quiet ways allow for her to hear things that a lot of others miss, including moths inside of a tree. And those moths want to help Margaret rid her life of Miss Switch, the horrible director of the orphanage Margaret ends up living at. 

If you're a fan of Lemony Snicket, I definitely would check out this quirky read! It's a fun read, with a likable, realistic main character. The cover needs some work (well, really just some COLOR), but the story was cute!

Margaret and the Moth Tree 
Brit Trogen and Kari Trogen
176 pages
Middle Grade
Kids Can Press
April 2012
Review copy

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Out of Sight, Out of Time is here!

The latest Gallagher Girls book is out! I haven't had a chance to read it yet, but I was squealing a bit when it came in my mailbox and figured that deserved to be shared with all of you. It's out on shelves now, so run out and grab it! Don't you love the cover?!

Ally Carter is SO good at what she does. These books are funny, smart, and definitely page turners...perfect for reluctant readers and those of us that not only love books, but love to get lost in a series. I don't read a whole lot of "funny" stories, but these are some of my favorites. They have heart to them, sensitive moments, and real emotion, but a lot of the time it's just action and fun!

After I read one I always feel like my high school was just waaaaay too ordinary. I want to go to spy school!

Out of Sight, Out of Time
Ally Carter
304 pages
Young Adult
March 2012
Review copy

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Same Sun Here review

At first glance, one wouldn't think Meena and River have anything in common at all. He lives in Kentucky, with a coal miner for a father, and Meena lives in New York City, both of her parents being immigrants of India. The pair become pen pals and what starts off as an unlikely friendship blossoms into something unique and completely awesome. 

Meena and River, through their letters, help each other through some rough stuff...stuff that kids today often have to experience. Citizenship exams, the death of a family member, not being sure where they're going to live at the end each month, prejudice, etc. They felt like incredibly real kids, which I'm sure readers will really appreciate. 

I think the letter-writing format definitely worked brilliantly when dealing with such difficult topics, but not wanting the story to end up being super-heavy. I also really liked that Meena and River don't always agree and actually argue at times, again, keeping everything realistic. 

A great book for a classroom read aloud!

Same Sun Here
Silas House and Neela Vaswani
288 pages
Middle Grade
Candlewick Press
February 2012
Review copy

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Week in Review

A slow reading week around here. I think that's my new normal and I just need to be ok with that. I'm in the middle of two books: Remarkable by Lizzie K. Foley and Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin.

Other bookish things this week:

I talked about The Lorax Pop-up book. I love pop-ups. 

I reviewed Promise the Night by Michaela MacColl.

I started a new feature: Fitness Friday. I really wanted a place to talk about my ongoing journey to get strong and fit again. It will be slow-going, but I'm determined!

Picture Book Saturday featured three new books for Spring. Yay warm weather!

My favorite new picture of Elliott. The hat is still way too big, but I make him wear it anyways. 

Have a great week!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Picture Book Saturday: Spring!

Spring is definitely in the air around here (I saw a robin today!) and with it comes books that remind me of Spring. These three showed up in my mailbox awhile ago and I've been waiting for just the right bright, sunny weekend to share them.

Split! Splat! by Amy Gibson and illustrator Steve Bjorkman

You can't be afraid to be silly with this one! A little girl and her dog head outside into the rain, singing a rain song. Things get messy, but in such a fun, wonderful way. When the rain stops, the girl starts singing a sun song...and then a MUD song!

Great for Spring. You'll definitely need to take your kids out to play in the rain after reading this though. Just a warning. 

Fun for storytimes too. 

Split! Splat!
Amy Gibson
32 pages
Picture Book
March 2012
Review copy

Rosie Sprout's Time to Shine by Allison Wortsche and Patrice Barton

Though this story is really about standing up for one's self in a kind way, it includes some plant-growing...obviously a very Spring-time activity. 

Rosie is a fairly quiet girl and is tired of always hearing about how Violet is the best at everything. Violet is the fastest runner, the fanciest on picture day, and the loudest storyteller and Rosie wants to be the best at something. She just wants to be noticed. 

The class plants pea plants and Rosie is determined to have the tallest in the matter what she has to do. 

A really sweet story with a great message for school-age children. The illustrations are fabulous too...LOVE the blue heart on Rosie's plant pot. 

Rosie Sprout's Time to Shine
Allison Wortche
40 pages
Picture Book
December 2011
Review copy

Utterly Lovely One by Mary Murphy

This one is just itching to be bought for a baby shower gift. Though it really has nothing to do with Spring, I loved the soft colors and sweet birds...definitely made it feel like a Spring book! 

A simple ode from a mother to a child, the Mama bird tells her baby how utterly lovely he is and just how lovely all the babies of the world are. From the elephant to the crocodile, each one has a Mama that loves him and believes he is perfect. 

A great baby gift and a nice bedtime read, as well. 

Utterly Lovely One 
Mary Murphy
32 pages
Picture Book
February 2012
Review copy

Friday, March 9, 2012

Fitness Fridays: New Feature!

New feature! Now, I know this blog is called A Patchwork of BOOKS, but really I should have called it a A Patchwork of Life. Back when I started this blog (FIVE YEARS AGO), I really just planned to do book reviews of titles I checked out of the library. Little did I know what a huge project this blog would turn into, that I would get UPS deliveries of review copies almost every day, and that I would have the readership that I do. I absolutely love the books, but my life has become so much more than just reading. I don't even work in a library anymore...miss it like crazy, but hey, life changes right?

I've started morphing the blog into a bit more of a "my life" kinda thing, with my Week in Review posts, my updates on Elliott, etc. and I've pondered starting an entirely new blog instead, but this just seems to work for me. I barely have time for one blog, let alone two, and since it's my blog I can write about whatever I want. Enter: Fitness Friday. I'm sticking with my Week in Review on Sundays, my Picture Book Saturdays, my occasional Non-Fiction Monday, and now I'll have a bit of a fitness blog as well. It's become a huge part of days and I really want to have a log and almost an accountability to stick with what I've been doing. If you don't want to read it, just skip over Fridays. I hope I don't scare too many of you away! 

For this first installment of the weekly feature, I just wanted to talk about some of my goals. 

-Get strong, rather than skinny. I don't need to be skinny. 

-Be able to run a 5K by May. This one is going to be hard for me. I recently gave up on Couch to 5K, because the stopping and starting was actually making it harder for me to finish the run, rather than easier. I've never been an outdoor runner, but I'm slowly making progress. 

-Start biking again. I have an awesome road bike that I ended up inheriting after my mom passed away, but it is in desperate need of a tune-up. To the bike shop THIS WEEK. 

-Lose at least 25lbs. Again, I don't need to be skinny, but I do need to be within a healthy weight for my height and I'm not. Pregnancy and bed rest will do that to a person.

-Get off medication. Now, this one I don't know if I'll actually be able to accomplish. I've been told by multiple physicians that my blood pressure and cholesterol issues are not diet/health related, but are hereditary (I've had hypertension since my teens), but I'm determined to at least try. I hate going to the pharmacy and feeling like a 60-year-old when they tell me my med names. 

-As for diet, I just want to keep eating healthy. I have a tendency to eat a lot of sweets, even if they're in small portions, and I want to knock that off. I've already given up my diet soda habit (2 months and counting), and I've significantly increased my vegetable intake. I haven't eaten red meat in quite awhile either and I plan to stick to that. I've always been a fairly healthy eater, not including my sweet tooth, so I think I'm ok in this area.

So friends, hold me to this! Ask how I'm doing, ask if I'm exercising regularly, how my eating is going. And if you don't care about any of this...I'll see you for Picture Book Saturday tomorrow :)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Lorax Pop-Up

I'm not always a huge fan of book-to-movie adaptations, but though I haven't even seen The Lorax yet, it looks adorable. And, at this point, anything about the environment aimed at kids is probably an important movie to see. 

If your kids (or yourself) are loving on The Lorax right now,  David A. Carter has created a beautiful pop-up book, using the Dr. Seuss story and illustrations, in honor of the release of the movie. 8 gorgeous pop-ups and a Dr. Seuss book. Sold.

I thought it was really nicely done and would make a great gift to a child that loved the movie (or hasn't even seen it yet) or an adult that collects pop-ups. Everyone needs a little Dr. Seuss in their collection!

The Lorax, Pop-up
Dr. Seuss/David A. Carter
18 pages
Pop-up picture book
Random House Children's Books
January 2012
Review copy

Monday, March 5, 2012

Promise the Night review

Promise the Night is a fictionalized account of Beryl Markham's life growing up in British East Africa. She's incredibly headstrong, determined to do whatever the boys in the Nandi tribe are doing (including hunting lions), and has a tendency to disregard any sort of authority. Sounds like a typical tomboy, right? Markham definitely fits the role.

What begins as the story of a mischievous little girl blossoms into an inspirational adventure. At first, Beryl wishes to work with horses and ends up becoming one of the best horse breakers in all of Africa. Eventually, she's introduced to the airplane and falls instantly in love with the idea of flying, again, becoming extremely successful and what she puts her mind to, especially for a female during this particular time period.

Told in both story format and in various interviews, newspaper articles, letters, and journal entries, the intriguing life of Beryl Markham and her feisty attitude come to life. A great read for girls looking for an inspirational role model!

Promise the Night
Michaela MacColl
264 pages
Middle Grade
January 2012
Review copy

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Picture Book Saturday: A "New" Oldie

Anyone else remember Lyle from their childhood? I great up reading about this austere and sophisticated crocodile and I was more than a little excited to see this story collection. Yes, I am a children's book nerd and I have no problem admitting that. 

Apparently, this year is the 50th Anniversary of the Lyle books and so this awesome storybook treasury is being published. It has all of the classics:

The House on 88th Street
Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile
Lyle and the Birthday Party
Lyle Walks the Dogs

It also has a "Count with Lyle! Counting Activity after the stories. 
I love story collections, because it allows for more books with less shelf space! I've already started reading these to Elliott and the illustrations definitely hold his attention, with being mostly green and black. He loves to look at Lyle when he's the only character on the page. An early fan! 

This story collection will be out in stores on March 6th!

Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile Storybook Treasury
Bernard Waber
192 pages
Picture Book
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
March 2012
Review copy provided by publisher