Saturday, March 22, 2014

Welcome in Spring with a Good Book -- More Great Books from IPG for Kids (Review)

Disclosure:  I was sent review copies from the publisher in order to write up an honest review.  All views shared are mine and mine alone.

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Here are some great books from IPG that I have been reading to the girls.  Some will have them laughing and giggling as you read about a farting dog or grumpy Gertie, while others will have you snuggling up and giving them extra hugs and kisses as you remind them how much you love them, forever and always.  

With spring now here, why not pick up a few of the following books and enjoy quality time with your children as you read some great books together?  Not only will you enjoy this special bonding/snuggle time, but you will also see your children get excited about story time, as they start developing a love of reading early on, just like my girls are. :-)

Happy reading!

The Biggest Thing in the World

32 PAGES, 5.5 X 6.5
HARDCOVER PICTURE BOOK, $6.99 (US $6.99) (CA $7.99)
ISBN 9780745964027


"A mini hardcover edition featuring a fold-out final page and an adorable cast of animal characters, this loving story is about a curious little polar bear As a little polar bear cub explores with his mother, he discovers many huge and wonderful things. Each object is bigger than the last, and the cub always asks his mother: "Is that the biggest thing in the world?" But each time his mother answers, "No." After much exploration, the cub eventually finds out that the biggest thing in the world is love."

My Thoughts:

I read this book for the girls last night, and couldn't help but smile at the ending.  I love adorable stories, and this one is just that...with adorable illustrations of a little polar bear cub and his mother, along with a cute story, this book will put a smile on your face as you read this book to your child.  The little polar bear cub is asking his mother what the biggest thing in the world is.  From hundreds of elk running by, to a snow topped mountain, to even a whale, the cub's mother keeps telling her baby that there is something even bigger than everything they see.  But, what?  The little polar bear cub can't think of anything else that could top these things...that is until the end of the book, when the mom lets him know through a lift the flap page.  Don't worry, I will not spoil the ending for you and your child.  Just be ready to give lots of hugs and kisses when you read this book, to let your little ones know how much you love them. :-)  Oops, I gave away the ending.  Sorry. :-)

About the Author:

Kenneth Steven is the author of The Bearer of Gifts, Imagining Things and Other Poems, and The Sea Mice and the Stars. Melanie Mitchell is the author of Good Morning and the First Step Nonfiction series, and is the illustrator of the See and Say! series.


12 PAGES, 9.5 X 9.5
CLOTH, $29.99 (US $29.99) (CA $32.99)
ISBN 9781909142039


"An exhilarating three-dimensional visual interpretation of Chinese proverbs by an acclaimed paper engineer If there is a wave there must be a wind.Count not what is lost, but what is left.Life is partly what we make it, and partly what is made by the friends we choose.The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.A flower cannot blossom without sunshine nor a garden without love.Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere. Renowned paper engineer Ron van der Meer creates splendid sculptures interpreting six Chinese proverbs, awakening our senses and our curiosity. This three-dimensional book will inspire and uplift readers both young and old."

My Thoughts:

I have to admit that I asked to review this book not just for my girls, but also because I am a fan of Ron van der Meer, the Dutch paper engineer, who created this marvelous book.  Paired with six Chinese proverbs, Ron creates the most amazing paper art to bring the words to life.  This pop-up book will truly awaken your senses and have you thinking about the proverbs shared.  

I am always in awe of things like paper art and pop-ups in that they really inspiring and leave you wondering how they did that.  As you flip this board book, you will find yourself letting out ohhs and ahhs.  My favorite was the blossoming flower that bloomed right before my eyes, as I opened the pages up to reveal this Chinese proverb, "A flower cannot blossom without sunshine or a garden without love."  This is so true. 

While children will enjoy seeing the pop ups appear before their eyes, parents and older children will appreciate the true meaning of each of the six proverbs that Ron van der Meer weaves into his beautiful paper art.  This 3-D paper art book will be one book your whole family will treasure for years to come.  It would also make for a great coffee table display, or to get children excited about creating fun 3-D art with paper, just like Ron van der Meer does. 

About the Author:
Dutch paper engineer Ron van der Meer has created some of the most international iconic pop-up books including How Many? and The Architecture Pack.

Grumpy Gertie

24 PAGES, 9.5 X 9.5
NOVELTY, $12.99 (US $12.99) (CA $13.99)
ISBN 9781843652281


"A large-format board book for readers to turn over and read upside down halfway through, with a frown/smile cut through each page—the best way to fix the grumpy Gertie has woken up in a HUGE grump. She sets out to tell everyone all about it. After making the cheerful sun, flowers, and fish thoroughly miserable, she feels no better. But when a happy monkey teaches her that by turning upside-down her frown turns to a smile, she makes a new friend, and instead of spreading grouchiness, she spreads joy."

My Thoughts:

Ever wake up on the wrong side of the bed, and wish you could just go back and wake in a better mood.  I have had a lot of those days, especially when the girls were teething and getting us up a few times in the night.  I am amazed at how the girls can sleep for a short amount of time and wake bright eyed and bushy tailed, ready to start the day.  But, come mid morning, they start to crash and become grumpy, just like the character in this book, Grumpy Gertie. 

When it comes to board books, I have to say that I have never seen a book like this before.  What sets is apart from others is that it is two books in one.  By simply turning the board around, you can change Gertie's frown into a smile.  Pretty neat, huh?  It is!  You really have to see this book up close to appreciate this fun interactive feature of the book. 

Both of my girls are fans of grumpy Gertie.  And, while they don't like seeing her grumpy, they do like to tell me that they will make Gertie in a better mood magically.  So, I first read the grumpy story to them, and pass the book off to them.  Then, they have me close my eyes, and they do a quick turn of the book and say, "Now read."  As I read and flip through the sturdy board book pages, I can't help but smile along with Gertie and the other smiling faces in this story.  I always ask the girls how they made Gertie happy again.  I love hearing Bella say, "Shh, it is magic!" as she cracks a smile and shows off her little dimple.  

Little ones will love this cute story about a girl named Gertie who woke up grumpy, but with the help of a friend (and your child), her frown will turn into a smile right before your eyes. :-)

About the Author:
Sam Lloyd is the author and illustrator of such popular titles as Calm Down, Boris; Crunchy Croc; What Color Is Your Underwear?; and Mr. Pusskins, a New York Times bestseller for which she won the Roald Dahl Funny Prize.

Farty Fred


"A large-format board book with a furry, farting whoopee cushion that is fun for kids of all ages. Best in Show or farting fiasco? It's the day of the big dog show and all is going really well for Fred. He's jumping and tumbling and performing amazing tricks. There is just one problem—he can't stop his sudden urge to fart! Will Fred hold it in, or will the judges be blown away?"

My Thoughts:

This book is from the same author who created the fun board book above, 'Grumpy Gertie," which I just shared a review on.  In this book, Sam Lloyd shares a cute story about a bloated dog named Fred, who tries so hard to hold in his gas.  But, you know gas, it can't be held it, and Farty Fred lets one rip.  Hoping to be the best dog in show, Fred ends ups winning another title instead -- "Best Bottom Burp."  Hehehe. :-)  

You and your child(ren) will love this board book, which has a built in whoopie cushion in the center, hidden under all Fred's fur.  As you flip through the quick story, your kids will have a blast pushing on Farty Fred's belly to make him fart.  My girls and husband couldn't get enough of this silly book.  Since receiving, my girls continue to ask for this story, or will play with it on their own.  My husband has taught them how to push the belly to make the farting sound.  So, now when it is quiet in the house, Savannah likes to hide with the book and push on the whoopie cushion.  Then, she asks who farted, as she giggles. :-)  Kids, gotta love them.   

This is definitely one book kids and adults of all ages will love reading.  I know once you see this book up close, you, too, will fall in love with Farty Fred, like my family has. :-)

Baby Bilby's Question


"Fanciful animal images illustrate dad's reassurances that he will love his son a very, very long time—always, in fact. Until a kangaroo kisses a koala
Until a lizard lazes in a rainbow
"How long will you love me?" said Baby Bilby to his dad. 
It is the reassurance everyone craves, and Baby Bilby's dad knows just the right way to express it! The dreamy illustrations and reassuring theme makes this picture book a perfect bedtime story."

My Thoughts:

While this story is about a dad and his son, my husband has switched out the son to his daughter, and has been reading this cute story to the girls each night at bedtime.  There are not many father/daughter books out there, so my husband will usually switch up the characters when reading to the girls.  When he read this book through the first time, he couldn't wait to tell me how much he liked the book.  The girls love animals, and had a blast listening to my husband talk about how long he will love them for.

This is a great book that reassures children of all ages that their parents will love them forever and forever.  Not only is the story cute and easy for little ones to follow, but the illustrations are fun and really bring the story to life.  This book is a winner in our house, and continues to be read to the girls each night at bedtime. :-)

About the Author:

Sally Morgan is the author of Me and My Dad, My Place, and Sam's Bush Journey. Adele Jaunn is the illustrator of The Music Tree.

Too Cold for a Tutu

32 PAGES, 9 X 9
HARDCOVER PICTURE BOOK, $14.99 (US $14.99) (CA $16.99) (AU $18.17)
ISBN 9781743313787


"It's cold outside, but no one is going to stop Stella from wearing her new tutu—not even her sensible brother Barry"Wake up, Stella, let's go out and play!" said Barry. He put on his new Nanna-knitted cardigan, and Stella put on her new made-by-Nanna tutu."It's way too cold for a tutu!" said Barry."It's never too cold for a tutu!" said Stella.An irresistible story about creative play and the joy of dressing up. Rhythmic text makes it perfect for preschoolers and their parents to read aloud."

My Thoughts:

Even though it is now spring, I couldn't help but include this cute book in this post, as my girls can't get enough of it. Both of my girls can now dress themselves, and thus pick out their outfits each morning.  Some mornings they pick matching outfits so that they look like twins, while other mornings, they put together some funky outfits that if they were older and knew didn't pair well, wouldn't be caught dead outside wearing.  But, on these occasions, they were their outfits with pride and oftentimes will pair a bright pink or red tutu with it.  My little divas! :-)

So, when they saw this book a few weeks ago, they couldn't help but comment on how cute Stella looked in her tutu on the front cover.  But, the best part of the book was the pictures that fill the pages of this hardcover.  Unlike other illustrations you see in children's books, this book is filled with camera type photos taken of Stella and Barry, who are knit dolls made from remnant socks, clothing and other fabric pieces.  They are so cute!

As you read the story about Barry and Stella getting ready to go outside in the cold, and how they have to prepare by picking just the right outfit, you can't help but smile at the different photos of these two posing.  In addition to the story, little ones will learn new words as articles of clothing are pointed out.  This added feature to the book has helped my youngest learn words like t-shirt, pants, hat, etc.

In addition to this book, you can also visit to continue to the fun with these two.  We have visited the site and love it.  I can't wait to see more books in this series to become available, so that I can pick up and share with the girls.  

About the Author:

Mini Goss is the author of When Mum Was Little.

And, for parents of tweens and teens, here is a great book for them...and you:

The Whole of My World
384 Pages, 5 x 8
Formats: Trade Paper
Trade Paper, $12.99 (US $12.99) (CA $13.99) (AU $17.23)
Publication Date: October 2013
ISBN 9781742758602


"A must-read for anyone who's ever loved or lost, drawn a line between then and now, or kept a secret that wouldn't stay hidden Today I am free. No guilt for who's missing, what’s been left behind. My face aches from smiling in the wind and my voice rasps from all the screaming, and I know that it’s been forever since I've felt so completely alive. Desperate to escape her grieving father and harboring her own terrible secret, Shelley disappears into the intoxicating world of AFL (Australian Football League). Joining a motley crew of football players—and, best of all, making friends with one of the star players—Shelley finds somewhere she feels she belongs. Finally she's winning. So why don't her friends get it? There's Josh, who she's known all her life but who she can now barely look at anymore because of the memories of that fateful day, and Tara, whose cold silences Shelley can't understand. And now everyone thinks there's something more going on between Shelley and Mick. But there isn't—is there? When the whole of your world is football, sometimes life gets lost between goals."

My Thoughts:

While this book is geared towards kids ages 12+, many adults have enjoyed reading Nicole Haye's book, just like I did.  I was drawn in by the beautiful cover and the tag line, "This is what if feels like to start again."  I had read online how this book is about football, and didn't think I would like it.  Thankfully, I gave this book a chance, as it is not a sports book..instead it is much more.  This book follows Shelley, who yes, is a fan of an Aussie football team.  But, when she faces a loss in the beginning of the book (don't worry I will not ruin it for it), she has to learn how to pick herself and push on.  She holds on to her love of football to help her through her personal journey in life. And, the reader will feel lucky enough to follow along on Shelley's heartfelt and powerful journey of self discovery. This book is full of emotion, and you will have trouble putting it down.

I ended up reading this book in an afternoon, and have since recommended and passed it along to family and friends to read and enjoy.  I am so happy I gave this book a chance, and will definitely be on the look out for future releases from Nicole Hayes.  She is an amazing writer, who puts a lot of thought into her characters, making them appealing to audiences of all ages, and ones that you will relate to and find yourself rooting for, like I was with this book.  This is one book that would make for a great spring or even summer read for young adults onward.

About the Author:

Nicole Hayes is the author of Full Forward.

And, for parents of picky eaters, or those who love to try kid-friendly recipes out...

Little Dish Favourites Cookbook 

160 Pages, 7.5 x 9.5
Formats: Cloth
Cloth, $23.95 (US $23.95)
Publication Date: July 2010
ISBN 9781444704174


"The Little Dish Favourites Cookbook is an essential cookbook for busy parents everywhere. Containing 70 foolproof recipes, including favourites from the award-winning Little Dish range, it makes cooking for your small children the pleasure it should be.All the recipes are quick to prepare, use readily available, fresh ingredients (but not a great long list of them), and have no added salt. Created to appeal to even the most reluctant eater, each recipe has been taste-tested by a team of tiny tots. With the help of the Little Dish recipe experts you can avoid the frustration of having your lovingly prepared home-cooked food rejected."

My Thoughts:

I have shared on numerous occasions how Savannah is a picky eater.  For a short time, she started to come around and want to sample new foods.  But, we are back to her only wanting a handful of foods.  And, because "monkey see...monkey do," Bella is now turning away food she would have otherwise eaten because she sees Savannah saying "Yuck" or "No."  So, I have gone back to the handful of kid-friendly cookbooks, as well as a selection of new ones, including this title, to try out new recipes, in hopes to peak her interest in trying new foods again.  

What drew me to this cookbook, was that it was written by a mom, and she had her children act as taste testers.  So, if other kids are saying that the recipes in this book are good, I knew that my girls would sit up and take notice.  And, that they did.

All the recipes included in this cookbook are made with fresh ingredients and no salt, which I loved.  And, because a fellow mom wrote this book, she knows that parents don't have a lot of time to prepare meals, so each and every recipe is quick and easy to prepare.

From recipes for beginning eaters that includes homemade purees to family dishes even parents will enjoy eating with their children, I had a blast trying out many of the recipes in this book.  In addition to fish, poultry, meat and even a vegetarian sampling of recipes, this cookbooks also includes tasty treats and puddings, that you can create in no time for the family to enjoy, or even have the kids help you prepare.  My girls had a blast lending a hand to whip together their favorite recipes, banana cupcakes and chocolate brownies that are too die for.

While Savannah is still a picky eater, this cookbook has got her excited about helping me in the kitchen and sampling food.  I find that when she helps with mixing or adding ingredients to the recipes, she is more open to sticking her finger in to try and make sure the flavor is spot on. :-)  Hopefully one day soon she will surprise us and eat whatever we put in front of her, including more recipes from this great cookbook.

About the Author:

Hillary Graves is the co-founder and Managing Director of Little Dish, the first and only brand to launch a range of fresh, natural food for toddlers with 100% natural ingredients and no added salt or sugar. A keen cook, and a busy working mother, Hillary's team of tasters include her sons Monty and Ridley.

 Stay tuned for more book reviews, including fun spring and Easter books that I will sharing over the course of the next few weeks.  Then, I will be following up with 2 weeks of cookbook reviews. :-)

Disclosure:  I was sent review copies from the publisher in order to write up an honest review.  All views shared are mine and mine alone.

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