The Living Christmas Tree by Kristin Sponaugle (Book Review)

THE LIVING CHRISTMAS TREE by Kristin Sponaugle

2021 Family Choice Award Winner

 

During the day, the Miller family’s Christmas tree stands tall in their living room, sparkling with lights and ornaments. Little does the family know that their Christmas tree is anything but ordinary. Each evening, the magic of Christmas brings their tree to life—much to the delight of Hannah and William Miller. Follow along as Hannah and William experience the magic of Christmas in a whole new way.
 
 
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 I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
 
 
Christmas is a magical time of year. The days, and especially the night before it, are filled with excitement for young children. They dream about Santa leaving them toys, gobbling up the cookies, and drinking the milk. Kristin Sponaugle made the holiday even more magical by bringing ornaments to life in The Living Christmas Tree. As you know from the success of the Toy Story franchise, kids love when their favorite items become “real” and interactive. 


Every child, young in body or heart, will adore the beautiful ornaments illustrated by Agus Prajogo. We loved every single one! They were cute, fun to watch at play, and brought a smile to our faces. 


My youngest doesn’t believe in Santa anymore, but we agreed you don’t have to believe in Christmas magic to enjoy The Living Christmas Tree


Imagination has no age limit. We sat and discussed what ornaments on our tree we’d like to see come to life. Since my youngest wants superhero ornaments on the tree this year, she picked those to become active at night. 🙂


Great story. 


Beautiful illustrations. 


A marvelous addition to any home, school, or library. 

 
 
Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤

 
 
 
 
 
 
Meet the Author:
Author Kristin Sponaugle

 
Kristin Sponaugle was born in Butler, Pennsylvania. She graduated from Duquesne University, where she received her bachelor’s degree in health sciences and her master’s degree in physician assistant studies. Kristin had always dreamed of becoming an author, and made that dream a reality with her two published children’s books, The Princess Puppy and The Living Christmas Tree. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, cross-stitching, and playing with her Maltese dog, Rosie. Kristin lives with her husband, daughter, and Rosie, and resides wherever the Air Force sends them.
 
 
Connect with the Author: website ~ facebook instagram
 
 

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Alicia Connected: Tricked with Treats by Derek Fisher (Book Review)

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Halloween is here, and it is Alicia’s favorite time of year. What’s not to like about dressing up in a costume and getting free candy? But there is something even more exciting happening this year. For the first time, Alicia and her friends are throwing a virtual party in TullyTown!

Putting together a party in TullyTown isn’t easy, and Alicia and her friends want to do the best they can to make sure it is enjoyed by plenty of avatars in TullyTown. For one of Alicia’s friends, getting ready to throw a TullyTown party leads to looking for easy treats. But what if it’s a trick?

Alicia has been using her tablet for a while and is getting more used to how to use the technology. However, there is always something new for her and her friends to learn.

 
 
 
 
 
 
I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
 
 
Online gaming is fun, but kids must learn the dangers they’ll face and how to protect themselves. In Alicia Connected Tricked with Treats, Derek Fisher has Mr. Mark use props to demonstrate the importance of online safety. I won’t detail what he used or how he used them because they are vital parts of the story. However, I will say Mr. Mark emphasizes the importance of securing your phone and tablet with a strong password. Of course, he informed the class never to give it out to strangers online. Hackers do not care what age the victim is — they only want to steal your information and accounts. 


Derek Fisher discussed hot topics that parents should be going over with their children before starting online apps. It’s fun to earn credits, buy items, interact with friends online, but children must be prepared for online dangers just as much as they are for real-life ones. 


On a happier note, I loved Alicia’s robot costume. As a mother of a crafty child, this is something she’d make in a heartbeat. After I pass this book onto her, I’m sure she’ll be running off to the craft room to start the process of making her own robo costume. 🙂

 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤❤
 
 
 
 
 
 
Meet the Author:
 
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Fisher is an award-winning author who has spent decades in the computer engineering field, with the last 10 years in cybersecurity as a leader, speaker, and instructor. His passion has been to take complex security topics and make them simple and easy to understand. He holds several security certifications and teaches cybersecurity at Temple University, where he is also an external advisory board member to the cybersecurity program. Alicia Connected: Tricked With Treats is the first book in the Alicia Connected series. The first book, Alicia Connected: The Big Gift, was a second-place recipient of the prestigious Purple Dragonfly Award in the STEM category.
 

Connect with the Author:  Author’s Website ~ Facebook ~ Instagram

 
 
 
 
 

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Cool Kids by Arlene Freeman (Book Review)

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Like most kids, Michael and his friends are so excited for their first day at a new school. They have a lot of questions about what to expect, but most of all, they wonder if they’ll get to join the football team. That would be the perfect way to start the year! However, Michael soon finds out that it’s not as easy as he thinks. The team is filled with bullies, and to join, he has to become one of them. In order to be cool enough to get a spot on the football team, Michael has to start changing his behavior—for the worse! Suddenly, terrible things start happening to him. Finally, he begins to wonder: Was it all worth it?
 
 
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I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours.  I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
 
 
According to a UNICEF article, “On any given school day, over 1 billion children around the world head to class.” UNESCO stated, “New data reveal that one out of three teens is bullied worldwide.” Together Against Bullying lists 20% of kindergarten students reported being bullied often. Those numbers are saddening. Parents and educators should make every attempt to stop the spread of bullying. The author of Cool Kids, Arlene Freeman, is doing their part to show the repercussions of becoming a bully. 


When kids start a new school, some follow the lead of others to fit in, which sometimes means being mean to others. They just want to feel accepted. Michael fell into this role. The meaner Michael became, the uglier he felt. This was reflected in thoughts and imagery. My daughter called mirror Michael a monster, and that’s how Amelina Jones (the illustrator) and Arlene Freeman (the author) wanted us to view him. 


Rest assured, Michael does see the error of his ways. 


When I read this with my daughter, she remarked Michael’s apology was nice, but it doesn’t repair the damage. She grabbed a sheet of paper and said the following: “Imagine if this paper was a person. If you tear a section off here (rip) and here (rip) and here (rip), it’s still damaged no matter how much tape you put on it. Apologies don’t fix everything, not completely. If you don’t want to cause harm to another person then don’t be mean in the first place.” 

I couldn’t agree more. 


Thank you, Arlene Freeman. I hope many parents and educators read your story to their children/students. 

 
 
Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤
 
 
 
 
 
Meet the Author:

Author Arlene Freeman

Freeman’s first career was a third-grade schoolteacher in the Passaic School System. Teaching children is her true passion, and she incorporated this passion in her community involvement. Her second career as a real estate broker and appraiser enabled her to open her own real estate company, Prime Realty, with a partner. After thirty-five years, they sold to Coldwell Banker. She loves dogs, playing piano, telling stories, singing, dancing, and sharing wonderful examples of life’s lessons with her grandchildren. Arlene lives in Woodland Park, New Jersey. She has two sons, Dr. Ted Freeman of Long Branch, New Jersey, and Dr. Eric Freeman of Westfield, New Jersey, as well as three grandchildren: Michael, Max, and Quinn. This is her first book and maybe her third career.

Connect with the Author:  Twitter FacebookInstagram

 
 
 

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Bruce the Spruce: A New York City Fairytale About the True Meaning of Christmas Trees by A. A. Cristi (Book Review)

SPRUCE THE BRUCE: A New York City Fairytale about the true meaning of Christmas Trees by A.A. Cristi

Bruce the Spruce has Christmas all wrong.
Thanks to his fancy decorations and adoring admirers, this artificial spruce tree doesn’t just wear a star at Christmas, he IS the star. But when his longtime family gets a new tree, it sends Bruce on a holiday adventure through New York City.
From a party in Brooklyn, to a run-in with rats, to a revelatory visit to Rockefeller Center, Bruce the Spruce takes an unforgettable journey to discover the true meaning of Christmas trees!
 
Buy Links:
Amazon ~  Barnes and Noble
 
 
 
I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
 
 
I’d first like to praise Pablo Andreeta for your spectacular artwork. The facial impressions on Bruce made my youngster smile, gasp, and even get sad. They felt every emotion Bruce felt, and that’s great. We loved the Christmas lights streamed across the top and bottom of several pages. 


Bruce the Spruce: A New York City Fairytale About the True Meaning of Christmas Trees’ cover was also superbly designed. It’s eye-catching!!!


The context (plot, dialogue, etc.) was fantastic as well. We loved ALL the decorations Bruce adorned in the various celebrations he found himself in. Well, maybe not the rats. Rats are just GROSS! 


It’s apparent how much A. A. Cristi loves New York City. One day I hope to visit there and see the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree for myself; I heard it’s a spectacular sight to behold. 


I don’t want to ruin the overall message behind Bruce the Spruce: A New York City Fairytale About the True Meaning of Christmas Trees by A. A. Cristi; I’ll let you read that on the closing page.


I know this book will become a staple in many homes during the holiday season. It’s a perfect story to read, before or after you’ve decorated your tree. 


As with most children’s books we read in my home, I like to introduce art activities that go hand-in-hand with whatever we read. We’ll be making ornaments, stockings, Christmas tree cookies, and creating our own “Bruce the Spruce” using paints or another medium. I can’t wait to get started! 


Happy holidays! 

 
 
Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤❤
 
 
 
Meet the Author:
Author A.A. Cristi

 
A.A. Cristi was born and raised in the world capital of Christmas trees and musicals – New York City. By no small miracle, she has managed to make a living writing about both topics. When she is not dreaming up fantastic adventures for inanimate objects, she is covering the Broadway industry as a journalist and editor at BroadwayWorld.com. Though writing is her calling, her true passion is playing mother to a neurotic wiener dog named Jack and Aunt Rah Rah to two truly remarkable kids.
 
 
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Mia and the Hummingbird by Nancy Carlisle (Book Spotlight)

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“An inspirational story! The juxtaposition of the hummingbird’s struggle with Mia’s struggles is unique and I feel that kids will be able to relate to it.” – Reader in a 5-Star Review
 
Mia and the Hummingbird is the story of a young girl who immigrates to a new country and learns to accept a new life.She sees the hummingbird building her nest for her babies and thinks that she and the bird are similar as they learn to adapt to their new homes. Mia and the Hummingbird includes information about environmental and social reasons for immigration, the struggle to adapt to a new home and information about hummingbirds.
 
 
Included is a glossary about these issues, a bibliography, and references.
 
 
Buy the Book:
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Meet the Author:
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Nancy Carlisle is an author, illustrator and retired architect and manager. She writes hopeful books for kids that interweave facts and fiction about the environment and global responsibility.

During her 38 year career, as an architect and researcher, her focus was on the environment. She led work nationally and internationally on sustainable and energy efficient buildings and communities and won awards for collaboratively designing award-winning sustainable buildings, a laboratory campus, and as part of a team to develop a program to improve the energy efficiency of laboratories in the U.S.

 

connect with the author: website
 
 
 
 
 

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