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Gugulu, The Little Bear Dares by Srividhya Lakshmanan (Book Review)

Go on a wild adventure with Gugulu, the sloth bear, as he takes on a journey deep inside the western ghats of India.

Gugulu’s parents won’t allow him to go to school alone. But he can’t wait to explore the forest on his own. So one day, he runs ahead of his parents. And before he knows it, he ends up in a river filled with danger – first a roaring leopard, then a gang of gaurs, but soon he shrinks in fear. Will naughty Gugulu be able to reunite with his parents?

Gugulu, The Little Bear Dares, is a quirky, funny, beautifully illustrated story about new experiences and courageously facing challenges when encountered.

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 Goodreads Link

 

 

 

(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

 

First impressions matter when it comes to books, and Gugulu, The Little Bear Dares by Srividhya Lakshmanan was very eye-catching. Akansha Krishnan knocked it out of the park with their illustrators! The group selfie was adorable. A few times, Gugulu’s nose seemed to get away from the illustrator. For example, the scene where the bear meets the purple frog. 

Gugulu meets many animals during his adventure; the time doesn’t stick close to his parents. Some animals will be familiar to most children: leopard, jaguar, snake, and elephant. There might be some that are not so familiar to many kids: pangolin, Nilgiri flycatcher, and gaur. Srividhya Lakshmanan compiled a reference page with photos, favorite food, trait, and which family it belongs to. You’ll notice on this page there’re insects included. There’s also a fun maze to complete where children can help Gugulu get to school. 

I couldn’t locate a recommended reading age for Gugulu, The Little Bear Dares, when I was writing this review, but I do not think preschoolers or kindergartners will be able to read the story. However, they will enjoy having it read to them. Second and third graders will probably have a better chance at sounding out the animal names. 

 

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

Amazon Purchase Link

 Goodreads Link

 

 

Meet the Author

Srividhya Lakshmanan is an award-winning children’s author, entrepreneur and writer. She always had a passion for storytelling and started to write when she was eleven. ​Her early success came when one of her dramas got selected by the ‘All India Radio’. She spent years reading and writing stories, giving her characters a bright sparkle. ​She spent 15 years in corporate jobs. Later, she founded and managed a fashion e-commerce company, Pink Hippo, before venturing into publishing.

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The Moon in the Sky: Poems Your Kids Would Have Written (If Only They Could Write) by Bruce Shutts (Book Review)

THE MOON IN THE SKY: Poems your Kids Would Have Written (if only they could write) by Bruce Shutts

 
Children have the power to turn simple everyday tasks into moments of intrigue and laughter.

When getting dressed, they might just think:

“My pants are really easy
Since both my feet will fit.
And after I put both legs in,
I pull them up. That’s it!
But shirts are very tricky;
They have three holes, not two!
And if you pick the wrong one,
Your head just won’t go through!”

 

Delight in thirteen whimsical poems that capture the simple honesty of everyday childhood activities written from the perspective of three-to-six-year-olds. From getting dressed, eating snacks, or having stinky feet, you and your child will recognize yourself in these poems. Crafted to make you laugh, smile, and build memories with your kids.
 
 
 
 
 
 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
 
 
Bruce Shutts’s poems were topics that kids and parents could absolutely relate to: getting dressed, car rides, walks outside, bathroom breaks, and much more.


We’ve all seen our children struggle with dressing themselves—head in armholes or backward attire. Most times, their first attempts are pretty humorous.


For many people, we use car seats or strollers quite regularly. Kids love the outdoors. Those poems were 100% accurate, including all the spills as well. I think my daughter dropped more crackers than what she ate.


I have sneaking suspicion that children will love “Picking My Nose” the most. While parents think it’s gross, kids think it’s hilarious. Face it, you know they have their finger up there most of their younger years. Amy Wummer’s image of the boy, looking out the corner of his eye while digging for gold, was cute and funny. I know I’ve caught my kids many times in the act. Eww!


The poems dealing with food could lead to asking your child or class what foods they like to eat for snack, lunch, or dinner.


I want to end my review by addressing “A Bug in the Bathroom.” My daughter screams at the top of her lungs when she spots a bug. That little girl, in the story, was so brave. Heck, I think she might be more courageous than some adults I know. 🙂


Bruce Shutts (author) and Amy Wummer (illustrator), you two made a great team. I loved every poem, and the drawings were spectacular too.


The author’s recommended age group is 3-7. I think that’s accurate.

 
Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: 
❤❤
 
 
 
 
 
Meet the Author:
Bruce Shutts has spent countless hours reading children’s picture books to his three children and five grandchildren over the past forty years. He also loves to create humorous poems for nearly every occasion he can imagine. Coupled with the fact that he often thinks and acts like a three-to-six-year-old, it makes his entrance into the world of children’s books a natural fit. He currently is retired with his wife of forty-five years and loves to travel, play golf, and (you guessed it) read books at night to his grandkids! 
 
connect to the author: goodreads

 

 
 
 
 
 

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The Essential Social Skills Handbook for Teens: Fundamental strategies for teens and young adults to improve self-confidence, eliminate social anxiety and fulfill their potential in the 2020s by By Richard Meadows (Book Review)

Have you been missing out on getting what you want most in life because you lack confidence or are shy? Do you want to have the confidence to do anything you want and not care about what others think of you? Then keep reading….


When I was a shy overweight kid who lacked confidence:


I was always the last person to be picked for the soccer team.

I was afraid of looking like an idiot for asking a question out loud in front of everyone in class.

I thought I could never become the person I dreamt of becoming: the confident and badass person who doesn’t care about what other people think.

I stood in a corner at the party afraid to talk to the girl that I liked.

If you can relate to what I’m talking about and you would like to transform yourself then this book is a must-read for you….

These are just some of the problems I faced as a teen. I made it my mission to figure out what was making me anxious and what was holding me back from doing all the things I wanted to do. I‘ve now come a long way since and I want to help you.

 

In this handbook, you’ll discover:

  • How to communicate and get the message across even when you feel like no one will understand you.
  • Exercises used even by the U.S. Navy Seals unit uses to remain calm under pressure.
  • The one simple word fix to your sentences that will take your communication to the next level and grasp anyone’s attention.
  • How to work with your parents even if you feel like they don’t get you at all or can’t help.
  • Absolutely everything you need to know to achieve every single goal and ambition you have.
  • Bonus templates for parents and teens to help with goal setting, planning, and mindset transformation.
  •  

Attention Parents! There’s also an addendum with special advice and tips for you to help the teens in your life develop stronger social skills and overcome anxiety.

I am eternally grateful to my parents as they played an instrumental role in my personal and social growth. I want to share with you everything my parents, counselors and mentors did right and a few tweaks and improvements that in retrospect would have helped me gain confidence faster.

 

I guarantee you that this book will work for you because:

  • I’m not going to bore you with facts. I’ll tell you about the challenges and problems I faced, how I overcame them and how you can too.
  • If you’ve tried all other self-help books and have not found them useful, this book will work for you because this is not a self-help book, it is a book to help you take specific action using templates to start today and get closer to your goal today.
  • Even if you don’t like to read books or read in general, this book will work for you because this book is easy to read and relatable.
  • Even if you’ve tried all the mainstream advice, this book will work for you because the advice is relevant for the 2020s.

 

Amazon Purchase Link

 

 

 

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

 

The Essential Social Skills Handbook for Teens: Fundamental strategies for teens and young adults to improve self-confidence, eliminate social anxiety and fulfill their potential in the 2020s focuses on real issues facing our teens and young adults in today’s society.

Every generation has its own set of stress inducers. Teens and adults have the same stressors as their parents did when they were younger; however, today’s teens have to handle social networks and all their pitfalls. 

Richard Meadows was correct when he stated, and I’m paraphrasing, That we are all imperfect in the real world. The social platforms constantly thrust images of “perfect bodies” or “perfect lives” into our youth’s faces. They give the impression this is how the real world lives, which couldn’t be farther from the truth. Teens view the pictures, watch the reels, watch every video under the sun, see these “perfect lives,” and then (sometimes) see their life as less-than. Negative thoughts bloom, causing low self-esteem and self-worth. We mustn’t feed into this “perfect image.” I’d suggest taking Richard’s advice – replace a negative thought with a positive one! 

Richard stated more truths in this book. Prime example, communication is more than just speaking words. Tone, body language, and facial expressions contribute a lot to a conversation. When my daughter speaks with a tone, I call her on it every time. When my teen states she did nothing wrong, I say firmly, “It’s not the words you used but how you said them.” “Stop and Think” or think before you speak. 

Other important truths – “Asking for help is NOT a sign of weakness.” It’s a “powerful show of strength.” Also, help doesn’t always mean medication. Yes, some people will need a pill. But, many people only need to be heard. Being seen and being heard are essential in having good mental health. 

No one spoke about teen depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues when I was younger. I’m thrilled today’s world is more vocal. There is no shame in asking for help. Please utilize the websites and helplines in the book if you need them. Remember, you’re not alone! 

Even though The Essential Social Skills Handbook for Teens: Fundamental strategies for teens and young adults to improve self-confidence, eliminate social anxiety and fulfill their potential in the 2020s is directed towards teens, parents should read it. 

Teens and adults, be sure and check out the templates and the journal prompts shared in the final pages. Great resource tools! 

 

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

Amazon Purchase Link

 

 

 

Richard Meadows: Maximizing quality of life for teens and parents of teens with anxiety, ADHD, depression & stress.

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My ABC Day at the Beach: An Ocean of Alphabet Fun! by Robin H. Elisabeth (Book Review)

 

New! (Revised for 2021)

A unique and joyful children’s picture book! Your child’s day-to-day vocabulary will be broadened through the introduction of words associated with a beach setting. Young learners can review the alphabet, as they read descriptions and see accompanying real-life images. Each alphabet word is presented to help reinforce reading, while the illustrations enhance a child’s imagination to hear the sounds and see the sights. These real-life images target the alphabetic words presented from A to Z. This picture journey will provide an opportunity to create, learn, and share family moments.

Use your imagination to hear the sounds, see the sights, and journey with us to the ocean’s sandy shores to discover an ABC Day at the beach. No matter the day or season, there is something for everyone to see and do on our adventure of ABC fun. We will practice the alphabet, as we explore a treasure chest of educational words. So, give your child an opportunity for vocabulary building, spelling improvement, and fun imagination time! Let’s go!


I set out to write a series of children’s books about ABC adventures with a fun and educational format using real-life pictures. I had my children in mind because when they were learning to read, they were easily bored and extra wiggly. So, getting their attention as youngsters and keeping them still during story time was a HUGE challenge.

I realized that my children needed time to be creative while learning. So, I am adding companion coloring books, flashcards, and workbooks into the series. Who says learning can’t be imaginative and fun? Begin your adventures together and explore a treasure chest of words. My ABC Day series will keep the attention of your child, even the wiggliest of all!

 

Amazon Purchase Link

 

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

 

Parents are always on the hunt for books to teach or reinforce the alphabet for their youngsters. We seek bright images, fun pictures or illustrations, and familiar ABC objects. Parents and teachers also want to broaden our children’s vocabulary, so we like a book to introduce new words too. My ABC Day at the Beach: An Ocean of Alphabet Fun! by Robin H. Elisabeth checked off all the boxes. 

Before we get to the first page, there’s a page dedicated to personalizing it to your child: “This book belongs to” and “This book is from.” I recall as a child loving to mark my book as mine. It made it more special. I suspect your child will love claiming ownership too. 

My ABC Day at the Beach: An Ocean of Alphabet Fun! isn’t your typical ABC book. It’s not structured where A is for Apple, B is for Boat, and so forth. Each letter has a specific word, emphasized in a red oval with white text and surrounded with bold, black text. Example: Look closely at the sand, and you might find a hermit crab. “Crab” is highlighted in the red oval. All the photos surrounding the specific letter allow imagery of (potentially) unfamiliar words: kayak and oars. Of course, there are many pictures that kids will be pretty familiar with: dump truck, nose, ice cream, and many more. 

Robin H. Elisabeth does NOT highlight every word in each section that begins with a particular letter. For example, “artist” is the word the author wants the child to focus on for the letter A, but you could extend the learning activity easily. Ask your child to find all the letter “A” words on their corresponding pages. Do the same for “B,” “C,” and the rest of the alphabet. For those letters that only have ONE word on the page, ask them what letters they see. 

In the end credits, the author informs readers there are flashcards available on Amazon. They use images straight from the book. Great idea!

 

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

Amazon Purchase Link

 

 

Robin Elisabeth belongs to a small consortium of authors, editors, actors, and dreamers who bring life to children’s books. They collaborate with non-profits to facilitate grant funding for literacy initiatives. As dedicated artists, they enjoy designing reading activities for children’s education programs and products, including books, workbooks, coloring books, and flashcards.

 

Reedsy

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Olive and the Valentine’s Spell by Helen Millman (Book Review)

** 2022 Family Choice Award Winner **OLIVE AND THE VALENTINE'S SPELL by Helen Millman

 
​Olive is a sweet elementary school boy who is afraid to go to school on Valentine’s Day. . .because he thinks he’ll have to get married! Olive’s mom joins in his fight to defeat the “princess of love,” but along the way he learns an even bigger lesson, discovering the true meaning of love.

Olive and the Valentine’s Spell is an inspiring children’s book for all ages that shines a humorous light on Valentine’s Day and overcoming your fears.

 
Buy the Book:
Amazon B&N ~ Mascot
 
 
 
 
 
 
I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
 
 
As a parent who’s raised two kids, my children didn’t have fears regarding Valentine’s Day like Olive did in Olive and the Valentine’s Spell by Helen Millman. However, there have been many times they’ve been afraid when it came to other firsts. So, with that said, I’m sure other children will be frightened or have questions regarding their first Valentine’s party. 


If you have children or take care of children, you know that we caregivers go to any lengths to take a child’s fear away. Much like the mommy in the story, we listen to a child’s fear(s), hold them tightly, reassure them everything will be all right, and maybe we’ll toss in a bit of magic. 


While being scared is no laughing matter, Vanessa Alexandre bought a smile to my face with her adorable illustrations. I loved the children’s expressions, and Cali’s glasses were just the cutest! The fairy was also darling. 


There are a couple of words that might need to be defined: humbly and oh vey. While I can see readers (ages 3-7) following along when being read to, I think it’ll prove challenging for them to read independently. No worries though – they’ll be old enough to read this story solo sooner than you think! 

No matter the age, I think it’ll be enjoyed by many! 


Happy Valentine’s! 

 
Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: 
 
 
 
 
 
Meet the Author:
Author Helen Millman
​​
Children’s author Helen Millman is a loving wife and mom. Her three young boys continually inspire her with their wild adventures and vivid imaginations. They even helped inspire her to write her new book, Olive and the Valentine’s Spell!

While living in Vero Beach, FL, she spends her time writing, reading, singing, and growing through her life’s experiences. She knows the importance of “seeing the bright side of life” and encourages her readers to “choose love, even when it seems impossible”. A friendly, optimist Helen has always loved to read to her own children and remembers how much her imaginative voices really helped bring the stories to life. She invites her readers to gather with a beloved book, for it truly is one of the best places to snuggle, giggle, imagine, and make unforgettable memories – together.


connect with the author: website facebook ~ instagram

 
 
 
 
 
 

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