Tag Archives: Holidays

What’s Wrong with This Picture? 12 Days Before Christmas TOO by Roni Robbins (Book Review)

This rhyming read and seek story is based on the 12 Days of Christmas carol. From twelve drummers drumming to one partridge in a pear tree, children will enjoy finding ten things wrong in each of these Christmas scenes. There are things to do and see. “But something is wrong. Or is it just me?”

Searching through our beautiful illustrations introduces basic skills children can build upon as they learn and grow. Read and seek books stimulates the child’s brain as they evaluate and determine things out of place. It enhances critical thinking, vocabulary, memory and builds their cognitive skills.

Don’t forget read and seek books just adds a little more fun to reading as they look, point and try to find all things wrong, out of place, or just silly in these Christmas scenes. The bright colors and interactive story grabs the child’s attention and entertains them away from screens. They are a form of fun that can be portable and does not require charging, batteries or cords. This entertaining read-and-seek book is perfect for engaging with young readers but great for all ages.

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I received a complimentary copy of this book from Reedsy Discovery. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

What’s Wrong with This Picture? 12 Days Before Christmas Too by DJ and Roni Robbins is an interactive story loosely based on the “12 Days of Christmas” song. I love interactive books because they allow my children to be engrossed in the happenings, not just sitting there as I read them a story. Seek/find and spot the difference books are household favorites. 

What’s Wrong with This Picture? 12 Days Before Christmas Too had a blend of easy and more challenging out-of-place items for a child to locate. If they get stumped, there is an answer key in the back of the book. The answer key wasn’t consistent in design, though. Some answers were colored in black, and some were outlined in red. Other answer cards had mistakes circled, then ones blackened and circled. Every answer card was mainly black and white except for “8 Maids -a- Milking,” which was in full color. I would suggest making them the same style. 

My kiddos were confused about how many mistakes they had to find on each image. Maybe making a small note under each photo will clear up confusion. 

From a design point of view, I like the creative ways the team wrote the various days of Christmas. Example: wrench in place of an “i’s” and words in different script sizes, fonts, and colors. These small touches made the words pop off the pages. 

When I submitted my review to Reedsy, I didn’t have a baseline for the author’s recommended audience. I would target preschoolers and elementary school-age children for the hands-on activity. The text is not difficult to understand, so elementary students should be able to read the book solo. I only recall one word that might prove confusing to young minds: infinity. But, this is a great time to broaden their vocabulary. 

Review submitted to Reedsy on 8/8/22. 

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

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Meet the Author

DJ and Roni Robbins is a mom and son author team, writing fun and easy to read children’s books for early readers. Roni, married 25+ years with 2 adult children, 2 grand daughters and a 5 year old son DJ, who was the inspiration for their first published book. DJ likes buildings and hot wheels.

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Undercover Elf by Cydnee Brady (Book Review)

The son of an Undercover Elf discovers his mom’s secret job and finds out who her boss is. He learns about all the work Elves do to make sure Santa is ready for his ride on Christmas Eve and is happy to show the world how to identify and Undercover Elf out in the everyday world.

The magic of Christmas through a child’s eyes is one of the greatest joys to watch, and through this tale you and your children will be able to learn more about Santa. Kids can ask some really tough questions about Santa, and as a parent, have you ever been at a loss as to how to answer? Undercover Elf is here to assist with those tricky questions and enhance the excitement of the holiday for you and your child!

Keep the magic going throughout the year by trying to find Undercover Elves out and about in the real world!

 

Amazon Purchase Link

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Reedsy Discovery. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

 

Moms wear a lot of job hats when managing a household. Depending on what needs handling, they put on their imaginary work hat and get to business. They prepare meals (chef), mend holes or sew costumes (seamstress), tend to boo-boo (doctor/nurse), and help with schoolwork (teacher). They also fix broken gadgets, wash clothes, clean the home, save kids from creepy crawlies, etc. I want to note that fathers also wear a lot of hats in the house, but since this is a book about moms, I want to focus on them. 

Around the holidays, moms put on a special hat. They put on their elf hat and assist Santa in making the holiday goes off without a hitch. Yup, Santa has helpers all around the world, not just in his workshop at the North Pole. 

Cydnee Brady does give clues to help a child discover if the parent is an elf or not. Be ready to have your ears looked at very closely. I think before I share this story with my youngest, I will purchase elf or Vulcan ears. I can’t wait to see their reaction!

Mom, the undercover elf, is Santa’s helper in many ways. They help with family pets, track weather patterns, and much more. With all the work this mom does, I bet she’s always on the NICE list. 

I know children, who still believe in Santa, will love this story. It was so cute. The pictures were quite lovely. 

The illustrations were not cartoony or picture-perfect computer graphics. They reminded me of colored-in coloring sheets. Well done, Chuck Sirko, Noah Spencer, and Mason Spencer (illustration team). 

If the author has any blank coloring sheets available, I would suggest offering those as a promotional piece. 

I agree with Amazon’s recommended reading age, 3 – 5 years.

 

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

Amazon Purchase Link

 

Meet the Author

Children’s book author Cydnee Brady has always had a flair for words. Over the course of her kids’ childhoods, she added layers to an imaginative and festive story about being one of Santa’s elves, adding excited anticipation to his impending arrival—and instantly believed! Once her grandchildren were born, the story spread to a new generation, and now through her newly published picture book, Undercover Elf, to be shared with children everywhere.

Cydnee believes a great children’s book is one that you can get lost in, where you are in another world that you escape to for a time. She hopes that her story gives families together time and brings happiness and joy that reminds them all year around of the magic of Christmas and Santa, long after the book is closed.

When she isn’t writing humorous holiday stories, Cydnee works as a financial analyst for the Volvo Group, enjoys spending time with her three grandchildren, two kids, and husband of thirty-five years, Dean. She likes to sew, cook, and travel. Cydnee and Dean live with their four dogs in the country in Gibsonville, North Carolina. Undercover Elf is her debut picture book.

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The Dirty Martini Club (A Tess Kincaid Novel) by Jude Randazzo (Book Review / Author Interview)

THE DIRTY MARTINI CLUB (a Tess Kinkaid Novel) by Jude Randazzo

 
Tess Kincaid, celebrity golf professional, decides to visit and meet, for the first time, her presumptive fiancé Eddie Spinozza’s family in Albany, New York for Thanksgiving, in anticipation of the next step in their relationship. The Spinozza and Cuchinelli families have been entrenched in Albany for two generations, but Eddie has assured Tess that he is not involved in his family’s “business”. However, on the first night of her visit, sitting in The Dirty Martini Club watching Eddie perform with his band, she witnesses the brazen shooting of one of the band members. Almost simultaneously, and without much warning, an epic, once-in-a-lifetime snowstorm suffocates Albany, preventing Tess from leaving town. 

She subsequently becomes a material witness to a series of events, which the police are only reluctantly investigating. What happens next is a daring, and life-altering event that brings Eddie and Tess to a do or die scenario amid mob warfare. The results are quite unpredictable.

 
 
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I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book ToursI voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
 
 
Tess Kincaid, a professional golfer, went to meet her fiancé’s family, but everything didn’t go as planned. Dealing with a less than welcoming embrace from her future mother-in-law was the least of her worries. On the same night she met Connie (MIL), a rival mob family struck The Dirty Martini Club.

Tess soon discovered what type of family she was marrying into, and she wasn’t a fan. I can’t blame her. As things went from bad to worse, we met Ari, who runs an Army surplus store. Once I met him, I was Team Ari all the way. I wish he had more screen time because I liked him, not Eddie (Tess’s fiancé).

We also met a fireman named Stone. He wasn’t present for long but left a lasting impression on me.

Okay back to Tess…

Tess has big cajones! She took it upon herself to save a damsel in distress. Her feat even impressed Ari (ex-military). She showed readers her strength of body and mind.

Tess also took on Grandpa Spinozza in a checkers match that shouldn’t require an opponent to have a big set of (you guessed it) cajones, but it did. Tess proved time, and again she was no pushover. She’s too good for that family. Too good for Eddie (IMHO).

The finale was not the end for Eddie and Tess. Hopefully, we will see Ari and Stone in future installments. A girl can only hope!

Side note: I’ve never tasted a martini before. Also, I love the club’s music choices. 🙂

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

Do you have another profession besides writing?

Jude: Yes, I’m a financial advisor and have been since I retired the first time in 1997 to Maui.

 

How long have you been writing? Do you ever get writer’s block?

Jude: I wrote my first story when I was seven years old. I had been flitting around the house annoying my siblings until my mother told me to sit down and write a story instead of being obnoxious. I wrote The Door Knob which is about a boy who becomes a door knob and sees and hears all on both sides of the opened and closed doors. It didn’t help with being obnoxious which six decades later I have perfected to an art, but it did get me started. I’ve been writing novels since I first got inspired on a beach in Maui twenty-five years ago. I wrote The Golden Cocoon on a dozen yellow legal tablets. I do not suffer writer’s block and never have been afflicted with same, but I do have arthritis in my thumbs and cure that temporarily with copious amounts of Scotch.

 

What is your next project?

Jude: The continuance of Tess’s adventures. Oh, and maybe a little more of Eddie.

 

What genre do you write and why?

Jude: I like the idea of a suspenseful thriller to keep readers entertained and engaged but I like a little romance thrown in for spice maybe because I’m Italian. The Omen of the Crow is in the same genre as Rear Window which I found incredible.

 

 What is the last great book you’ve read?

Jude: Stuart Little! Who doesn’t like a story about a mouse against the world who is debonair, adventurous, and romantic? It’s the greatest story ever told.

 

connect with the author: 
website twitter facebook instagram ~ goodreads

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Bunster, An Easter Story by Christine Hwang Panzer (Book Spotlight)

BUNSTER: AN EASTER STORY by Christine Hwang Panzer

 
​Join Bunster as he finds friends in unlikely places as a celebration of Easter!
 
 
 
 
Meet the Author:

Author Christine Hwang Panzer

Christine is an artist that dabbles in storytelling and enjoys working in different mediums including marker, ink, watercolors and colored pencil. She enjoys drawing fantasy creatures, anthropomorphic animals, and kids. She lives with her husband, Ian and sweet black kitty, Kida in the Bay Area, California and likes to take walks, go out driving, and play video games and board games with her friends.

connect with the author: instagram goodreads

 

 

 

 

 

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The Mirabal Sisters: From Caterpillars to Butterflies by Raynelda A. Calderon (Book Spotlight)

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​Born in a small town in the Dominican Republic, the Mirabal sisters lived at a time when the country was under the merciless rule of a dictatorship. Their deaths on November 25, 1960 (at ages 36, 34, and 25), have received international coverage. In their honor, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women is observed annually on November 25.
 
 
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Meet the Author:
 
Picture

 
​Raynelda A. Calderón, a Dominican native who lives in Queens, NY, is a children’s book author who has worked in public libraries for more than 15 years. She holds a doctorate in leadership in higher education, and she has taught Information Literacy at various colleges, most recently at Bronx Community College. As a librarian, working with children inspires Raynelda to write about the accomplishments of Hispanic women in history. She hopes to inspire young readers to follow their passions and never take no for an answer. Raynelda is the creator of the first Hispanic Heritage wall calendar that honors the accomplishments of Hispanic Americans in the United States. She lives with an untamed Shih Tzu, Toby, and a much attached Chihuahua, Maya. She spends her free time thinking (and drafting) about books to write, or painting, crocheting, or crying over abused dogs.
 
 
connect with the author:
 author’s website ~ facebook ~ instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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