Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Ring in the New Year with These Great Books from Simon and Schuster for Kids (Book Reviews)

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

Looking for some fun new books to share with your child at bedtime or anytime you want a little extra snuggle time with them in 2015?  Check  out these new and upcoming releases from Simon and Schuster that will surely delight both kids and adults and become instant favorites that will be read over and over again.

Mike and the Vikings
(Also available in ebook format)
Illustrated by: Style Guide
For Ages: 2 - 5
Simon Spotlight
14 pages
ISBN 9781481417730
November 2014


"Mike the Knight is excited when the Vikings storm into town in this sturdy shaped board book with foil on the cover! 

The Vikings are visiting Glendragon. These lovable, fearless, rough-and-tumble explorers have been known to cause a bit of chaos whenever they come to town. It’s up to Mike the Knight to keep them out of trouble! This sturdy shaped board book with foil on the cover is perfect for Mike the Knight’s youngest fans!"

My Thoughts:
Both of my girls love the animated series, Mike the Knight, which airs daily on Nick Jr.  And, now we have quite the collection of both board and paperback featuring their favorite characters, Mike the Knight and his little sister Evie and his dragon friends, Squirt and Sparkle.  While this board book only features Mike the Knight, it was enjoyed by both of my girls, who continue to ask for this book at bedtime, as well as pick up and flip through on their own during the daytime.

This book introduces us to the Vikings, who always seem to get into trouble when they visit Glendragon.  When they com to town, it is up to Mike the Knight to make sure they stay out of trouble.  He learns that the Vikings are not really trouble makers, and that all they want to do is play.  But, they need to be given things like musical instruments to play music, snowballs for juggling, tarlets to satisfy a sweet tooth, etc.  The story itself is straightforward and will keep even the youngest of listeners engaged.  And, the bright, colorful illustrations bring the story to life, and make little ones feel as if they are watching their favorite animated series...just in storybook format.  

My girls love this recent Mike the Knight book and can't wait to add more from this series to their growing Mike the Knight collection in 2015.  And, at only $5.99 for this book, you can't go wrong, as this book would also make for a great book to add to the diaper bag or leave in the car for the kids to enjoy while on the go.

The Biggest Kiss

Illustrated by: Judi Abbot
Little Simon
28 pages
ISBN 9781481417518
December 2014 


"There’s a kiss here for everyone in this warm and cozy Classic Board Book edition of The Biggest Kiss

Do worms kiss underground, with the soil all around?
Do fish kiss like this—splosh, splash, splish?

Everyone needs kisses, so what could be better than a book that’s full of them? With darling animals on every page and irresistible text that begs to be read aloud, parents and grandparents will love sharing this collection of affection with the youngest of readers."

My Thoughts:

With Valentine's Day fast approaching, this is a cute book to share with little ones to show all the different ways we all kiss.  The pages of this sturdy board book show adorable animals kissing and showing affection.  Kids will be saying, "oh, how cute" and have you flip back the pages so that they can look again at the cute animals.  My girls loved this book, and especially loved the extra kisses they got as we read each page of this quick read (only 28 pages).  From big kisses to small kisses and everything in between, this book is perfect to teach little ones new words, opposites and more.  I have been using this book with Savannah for word and letter recognition and it keeps her attention and has her smiling, as I cover her head to foot in kisses. :-)

Pick Me Up, Mama!
(Also available in e-book format)

Illustrated by: Robin Luebs
For Ages: 3 - 5
Little Simor
34 pages
ISBN 9781481416337
December 2014


"A spirited homage to the ups and downs of toddlerhood, Pick Me Up, Mama! is now available for the first time as a board book—perfect for story time! 

Whether she’s up or down, whirling or twirling, dressing or bathing, snacking or snoozing, the busy raccoon in this story enjoys each moment of the day. But like many toddlers, she can’t decide if she’d rather explore on her own or climb back into her mama’s arms. Thank goodness Mama Raccoon loves to snuggle! With a lively, rhyming text and lush illustrations, this story is just right for the scores of little ones who waver between wanting to be carried by a grown-up and yearning to toddle about on their own two feet."

My Thoughts:

I was happy to finally see this book arrive in board book format, as it has been a favorite of my family's and some of my friends, who own the hardcover book.  I originally picked this book up to share with Savannah, but with two little ones, it has seen better days -- hence the need for a board book for little hands to rough house with and still keep intact.

Savannah loved this book when she was in the toddler stage, and now Bella, who just turned 3 loves it.  Like the synopsis above shares, this book is for little ones who are toddlers that are teetering between being a "big kid" and wanting to cuddle up in their mama's arms.  While it is nice to see my girls growing up, I still love to cuddle up with them, and like feeling like they need me to protect them.  I personally love this cute story about a baby raccoon and her desire to explore and grow up, but also realizing she still wants to be close to her mom.   I read this book at bedtime with Bella, who snuggles up close to me, and reminds me that she loves and needs me. :-)

Little ones will love this rhyming book and the illustrations will keep them engaged and having them point out different things like blowing leaves, fish on the girls' dress, butterflies flying around, etc.  I highly recommend this book for parents with toddlers, who are in the "in between" stage, and want to roam one minute and be picked up the next. 

You Are Special, Daniel Tiger!

Adapted by: Angela C. Santomero 
Illustrated by: Jason Fruchter
For Ages: 3 - 7
Simon Spotlight
26 page
ISBN 9781481419154
December 2014


"Daniel Tiger and his friends show off their special talents at school in this deluxe storybook with a padded cover and soft flocking! 

Daniel’s school is putting on a show, and everyone is performing their special talents: Daniel sings, Katerina dances, Prince Wednesday does magic tricks, and Miss Elaina puts on a puppet show. But what makes O the Owl special? Daniel helps O realize that he is special in his own way: “I like you just the way you are.”

My Thoughts:

For a little while, both of my girls stopped watching Daniel Tiger.  But, after receiving this book to review, Bella has started to watch it again, when Savannah is at preschool.  I love to snuggle up on the couch and watch this fun animated PBS Kids series, which airs each morning, and is based on the classic Mr. Roger's Neighborhood series.  

Like the Mike the Knight books, my girls have a nice little collection of Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood books to read, and they have been getting good use recently since Bella has become a fan again. And, now, she and Savannah will sit together and flip through the pages, pointing out their favorite characters, as they make up their own stories based on the illustrations, or try to recall the stories after having them read to them each night at bedtime.

In this new hardcover book with cloth cover, Daniel and his friends are having a talent show at show, where they each have to take to the stage and show off a personal skill or talent.  Everyone except for O the Owl seem to know what they want to do.  But, Owl is nervous as he can't think of something that he is good at.  Leave it to Daniel to come to his friend's aid and help him find what he is good at, and remind him that he is special just the way he is, and that he and all his friends and family love Owl no matter what. 

I was a fan of Mr. Roger's Neighborhood growing up and love this new series, which is great for toddlers and preschoolers, and teachers wonderful lessons that will help little ones navigate their feelings and growing up.  This is another book I highly recommend picking up and sharing with your kids, especially if they are fans of Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood.

Katy Duck and the Secret Valentine

(Part of Ready-to-Reads)
Illustrated by: Henry Cole
For Ages: 4 - 6
Simon Spotlight
24 pages
ISBN 9781442498099
December 2014


"Katy Duck has a secret admirer in this Level 1 Ready-to-Read story for beginning readers.

Roses are red,
violets are blue,
I’m glad to have
a friend like you!
Guess who?

“Tra-la-la. Guess who?”
said Katy Duck.
“Who could my
secret valentine be?”

When Katy Duck receives a secret valentine filled with sparkly stars, she wonders who it could be from! With a little help from her friend Ralph, Katy makes the perfect card for her secret valentine...and discovers who it is!

With sweet text from bestselling author Alyssa Satin Capucilli and bright, friendly illustrations from Henry Cole this Valentine’s Day-themed Level 1 Ready-to-Read story is sure to become a favorite for beginning readers."

My Thoughts:

I have been working with Savannah in starting to teach her to read, as she prepares to enter Kindergarten in the fall.  I find "Ready to Read, Level 1" books like this one to be a great help in teaching her sight words and letter recognition.  With the words being oversized and the text short in length, she is more apt to try and sound out the words and stick to trying to read this book.  And, with a cute duck like Katy, you can't help but smile and want to read about her secret admirer. :-)

When i am not using this as a learn to read book with Savannah, I love reading this book to the girls at bedtime and talking to the girls about Valentine's Day and hearing them describe the types of Valentine's Day cards they would love to make.  This book is perfect for beginner readers, as well as a book to share with little ones to get them excited about Valentine's Day. Soon we will be reading this book and then I will follow up with craft time, where the girls can make their own cards to give to friends and family for Valentine's Day.

Square Cat ABC

Illustrated by: Elizabeth Schoonmaker
For Ages: 4 - 8
32 pages
ISBN 9781442498952
December 2014


"Enjoy the alphabet with this charming tale about a curious mouse and the delightful Eula from Square Cat, which School Library Journal said was “perfect for storytime or sharing one-on-one.” 

Each letter of the alphabet tells the story of an adorable mouse who discovers Eula, a hip-yet-square cat, in her garden. Mouse wants a taste of his favorite vegetable, spinach, but our four-sided feline hates the green leafy stuff. Enter the threatening, pointed quills of a porcupine, and Mouse is ready to run! One letter leads to another and by the story’s end, Mouse and Porcupine are pals—and Eula might even try a taste of zesty spinach."

My Thoughts:

Out of all the books we were recently sent from Simon and Schuster to review, I have to say that this one is by far my girls' favorite, and has been read countless time. Savannah loves this book as she is learning letters and how to write them in school, while Bella wants to be just like her big sister and loves to trace the oversized letters on each page.

Every letter of the alphabet is included in this cute story about a cute little mouse who happens upon a porcupine, a square cat and a garden filed with tasty veggies.  All mouse wants to do is taste his favorite vegetable -- spinach. But, over the course of the story and interactions with Eula, the square cat and porcupine an unlikely friendship is made and spinach, which is not usually a favorite vegetables, especially for kids, is tried and liked by the hip square cat.  Kids will be smiling and giggling as you read through this easy to understand and flowing story.  Just be prepared to stop and let them trace the letters with their fingers and teach them the letter sounds as you flip through the pages of this book.  They will enjoy a cute story, while also learning the letters of the alphabet, in a fun way!

I Love Mom

Illustrated by: Judi Abbot
For Ages: 4 - 8
Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
32 pages
ISBN 9781481428088
December 2014


"Show Mom how much you care with this delightful display of parent appreciation from the creators of The Perfect Hug and The Biggest Kiss, which School Library Journal called “a wonderful cuddle-up-and-read choice.” 

Some smiles are sun smiles
run for miles smiles

but no one’s smile is wider, brighter,
than my mom’s smile.

This charming picture book is a celebration of moms everywhere!"

My Thoughts:

This book is perfect for Valentine's day or read anytime you want to cuddle up with your kids and get in a few extra kisses.  From the same author who brought you "The Biggest Kiss" which I shared a review of above, this hardcover book shared with little ones all the things that their mommy does better.  From baking to cleaning up and playing games to even smiling, little ones will be able to share all the things they love about you as a mom in this cute book.  Both of my girls love having me read this book to them and will stop me and tell me "see, I love you because of this" or will say "You are great Mom." 

Kids will love this easy to understand book with cute illustrations, while moms will be reminded through the hectic days about all the ways their kids appreciate and love them. :-) Even if you having an off day or are just burnt out by the end of the night, this book will put a smile on your face and having you receive extra hugs and kisses from your kids, who will remind you that you are a great mom!

These are just a handful of recent additions to the Simon and Schuster collection of books for kids of all ages.  Here are some recent and upcoming book releases that my girls and I are looking forward to picking up and enjoying together...

Disney Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Hugs From Mickey

Barbie: From the Heart

Dora the Explorer: Sing with Dora!

My Favorite Purse

Zen and Bodhi's Snowy Day

Brownie & Pearl Go for a Spin

Balancing Act

Rosie's Walk

To learn more about the above Simon and Schuster titles, as well as check out their other book offerings for children of all ages new in 2015, visit  

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

1 comment :

  1. These books look super cute. I really the The Biggest Kiss.
    heather [email protected]