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Monday, February 19, 2018

Welcome in Spring With These New and Upcoming Children's Book Releases from Simon & Schuster (Review)

Disclosure: I was sent review copies from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All views shared are mine and mine alone.

Simon & Schuster

Spring is in the air?  Can you feel and smell it?  Well, if you live in New England like I do and you look out your window to see more snow that fell over the weekend, you probably can't fathom 70 degree temps that are in our forecast for Wednesday.  Oh, how I wish spring would get here, so that I could look out the window and admire the birds and butterflies flying by, and the flowers blooming in the gardens.  My girls sure are missing being able to run around outside without having to get all their snow gear on.

While we wait spring's arrival...which we hope is soon...we have been enjoying some wonderful new children's books from the folks at Simon & Schuster. Below you will find books for all reading levels, that include Peanuts, Ready-to-Read books and even books about the upcoming animated movie, Sherlock Gnomes.  

Why not pick up some of these books to share with your children, or to add to their Easter baskets?  We have enjoyed all the books below and I will you and your children will too!


I'm Having a Sky Blue Day!

(By Maggie Testa, Illus. by Clair Rossiter, ISBN 9781534415294, 2/20/2018

"Discover how colorful life is with this 8x8 storybook that’s inspired by all of your favorite Crayola colors!

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Are you having a colorful day? Some days are mauvelous…and others are screamin’ green, with more surprises than a roller coaster. No matter what, each day is an outer space adventure. If you embrace the many shades of life, any day can be a sky blue day!"

My Thoughts:

If you have a child who finds it hard to put their feelings into words, or just want a fun and colorful book to share with your young child, then you will want to check out "I'm Having a Sky Blue Day!," which arrives on book shelves tomorrow.  This book features many of your favorite Crayola colors who helps little ones navigate through their many feelings.  Each day can bring new feelings, and this book does a wonderful job is reminding kids that no matter the day or how you are feeling, you need to embrace your emotions, as that is what makes you you...and, tomorrow will bring a new day and new feelings.

Both of my girls really enjoyed this book, especially how the illustrations were done concentrating on a particular Crayola color on each double page.  They loved finding the color that went with the feelings they most recently felt, and even had fun after reading the book for the first time, doodling some fun feeling crayons based on the book.  This is definitely one book I know my girls will want to read again, and is perfect to share when your child is having an off day and needs to be reminded that tomorrow is a new day.


You're a Big Brother, Charlie Brown!
(also available in Kindle format)

(By Charles M. Schulz, Adapted by Jason Cooper, Illus. by Scott Jeralds, ISBN 9781534409613, 2/13/18)

"Get to know what it means to be a sibling from Charlie Brown in this 8x8 Peanuts storybook!

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It’s hard to imagine Charlie Brown without his sister, Sally. When she was born, Charlie Brown was so overcome with joy that he told his friends, “I’m a father!” instead of saying he was a big brother! Soon he helps push her in the stroller, Linus teaches her how to hold a blanket, and Snoopy tags along as she crawls around the house! Best of all, Charlie Brown loves his sister no matter what. That’s what being a big sibling is all about!"

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My Thoughts:

After reading this book to my girls, I ended up picking up another copy to add to a baby shower gift for a friend.  She had asked me previously if I knew of any good books about welcoming a new baby that she could share with her 8 year old daughter.  As soon as I read this book, I knew it would be a perfect book for her to share with her daughter, not just because her daughter is a huge Peanuts fan like my girls, but also because it does a great job preparing kids for a new sibling, and all the great things that come with being a big brother or big sister.

Even though we are not welcoming a new baby in our house, the girls still enjoyed this book, as it showed them the introduction of Lucy into the Peanuts family, and how Charlie Brown was full of emotions as he waited for the new arrival.  I loved seeing my girls give each other a hug after we were done reading the book for the first time, and how they both agreed that they had the best sister and friend ever in each other. :-)

Snoopy and Woodstock


(By Charles M. Schulz, Adapted by Tina Gallo, Illus. by Robert Pope, ISBN 9781534409767, 2/13/18)

"Celebrate Snoopy and Woodstock’s beloved friendship with this springtime Level 2 Ready-to-Read!

Snoopy is cleaning out his doghouse and he finds something very special—Woodstock’s baby book! He shares it with his best feathered friend, and together they reminisce about how they met."

My Thoughts:

My girls love Snoopy and Woodstock, so it was nice to see a book featuring two of their favorite Peanuts characters together, in a fun level two Ready-to-Read book, that they could both read on their own, or enjoy at bedtime with my husband or I reading it to them.  

If you are a Peanuts fan, then you know that Snoopy and Woodstock are best friends.  This cute book is all about their beloved friendship, and how they enjoy quality time together in the spring time.   My girls really enjoyed the snapshots that make up part of the illustrations of this book.  It was a great way at showing how these two great friends reminsce about how they first met, and how their friendship has grown over time.  

This is a great book to share with your children and read together, so they can be reminded about how lucky they are to have a special connection and bond with their siblings and how they are forever friends.  And, fans of the Peanuts characters will really enjoy this easy to read book, to show how Snoopy and Woodstock first met and how they enjoy time together.


Fearless Flyers, Dazzle Painters, and Code Talkers!


(By Elizabeth Dennis, Illus. by Valerio Fabbretti, ISBN 9781534410527, 2/6/18)

Discover the thrilling side of the history of World War I in this fact-tastic, nonfiction Level 3 Ready-to-Read, part of a new series about the secrets of American History!

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Do you know about the adventures of Eugene Bullard, the first African-American fighter pilot, who fought in World War I? Did you know that, in the same war, America used a kind of camouflage called Dazzle Painting that made ships look like Easter eggs? Or that Americans Indians sent secret messages as code talkers in the Choctaw Telephone Squad? Find out in this book of amazing true stories!

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Secrets of American History is an action-packed nonfiction Level 3 Ready-to-Read series that lets beginning readers in on a little secret: history is full of surprises! Want to know what invisible ink has to do with the American Revolution? Or why shark repellant and inflatable army tanks were used in World War II? Find out in this fact-filled series of fascinating true tales, wild adventures, and spy missions, and discover the secret side of American history!"

My Thoughts:

Being a homeschooling mom, I am always looking for great books to share with my girls that tie in things we are learning about.  So, when I first stumbled upon the "Secrets of American History" books from Simon & Schuester I was over the moon excited as these books were just what I had been looking for.  Not only are they well written, but the text is written and geared towards children ages 6-8 years old.  This book in particular is level 3 in the Ready-to-Read series, so it can be read by beginner readers who have advanced to more complex story plots and character development, which both my girls have.  So, I knew they would have fun reading this book, and sharing with me what they learned about World World I, which family and friends had fought in.

This book is all about the fearless flyers, dazzling painters and code trackers that made their marks in American History, specifically during the World War I era.  I don't recall learning about Eugene Bullard when I was in school.  Did you?  He was the first African American fighter pilot to fight in WWI.  If you are a teacher or parent who is covering Black History Month in your child's/students studies, then you will want to pick up a copy of this book, as it really is a fun and fascinating read, chock full of "Did you know?' people, who everyone should know about, as they helped to share our great nation.

My girls really enjoyed this book, and learning about the unsung heroes of the WWI era that helped to change America's history.  This is one book I will be pulling from the bookcase to share time and again with the girls, and one I will be passing along for other homeschooling families to enjoy together.


Marigold Fairy Makes a Friend

Also available in hardcover and Kindle versions)


(By Elizabeth Dennis, Illus. by Natalie Smillie, ISBN 9781534411746, 2/20/2018)

"Meet Marigold Fairy and the Flower Wings in this second Level 1 Ready-to-Read in a sweet series that’s filled with rainbows, dewdrops, and stories of friendship!

Marigold Fairy and her friend Butterfly help keep pests out of the garden in the Land of the Flower Wings. Can a pest be a friend? Find out in the second book in the Flower Wings series.

This Level 1 Ready-to-Read includes an extend-the learning section about the science behind the story, like how real marigolds are often planted in gardens to keep pests away, why real butterflies are drawn to them, and more."

My Thoughts:

For those of us wishing for spring's arrival, this is the perfect book to share with your children, all about Marigold the Fairy and her friends Butterfly.  Just looking at the vibrant yellow flowers that make up the cover art of this level one Ready-to-Read book, will put a smile on your face and make you wish for warmer weather and for the flowers to start popping up from the frozen ground.  Mother Nature sure is playing trick on us in the Northeast.  We had 4 inches of snow Saturday night into Sunday and then this Tuesday and Wednesday we will see 70 degree weather.  Let's hope that this warmer weather stays around and isnt' just a teaser before colder temps set back in.  

This book is really a fun read, if you have young children who love fairies.  It was nice to see a girl of color as the main character of this book. My girls are part Latina so they have dark skin like their father.  It is hard to find books that have characters with similar skin tones as them.  So, when they saw this book and saw that Marigold had dark skin it was a nice surprise.  The story is all about Marigold and friend Butterfly making an unlikely friend in a pest.  Not only is the story cute, but the illustrations that fill the pages of this new release, really make the story come to life.

I especially loved the extend-the-learning section, which gives a little backstory/science for those curious about marigolds and pests.  See you can learn something while also enjoying a good book. :-)


Sherlock Gnomes Movie Novelization
Also available in hardcover and Kindle versions

(Adapted by Mary Tillworth, ISBN 9781534429406, 2/6/18)

"Garden gnomes Gnomeo & Juliet recruit renowned detective Sherlock Gnomes to investigate the mysterious disappearance of other garden ornaments in this movie novelization that’s based on the upcoming film, Sherlock Gnomes and features an eight-page color insert with images from the film!

Paramount Animation’s Sherlock Gnomes—starring Johnny Depp, Emily Blunt, and James McAvoy—bursts into theaters on March 23, 2018!

When Gnomeo and Juliet notice that a bunch of garden ornaments have gone missing, they know there’s only one gnome to turn to: the brilliant detective Sherlock Gnomes! Despite his gruff personality, they know there is no one better to solve a mystery. Young fans of the film can relive the fun with this hilarious novelization!"

My Thoughts:

My girls are counting down the days until the new Sherlock Gnomes animated feature from Paramount Animation arrives in theaters.  If you haven't seen the trailer, here it is:



I love Johnny Depp and Emily Blunt, so am really looking forward to taking the girls to see this fun animated movie about everyone's favorite detective, Sherlock Gnomes.  If you have a Gnomes fan in your life, then this is a must see movie, as features Gnomeo and Juliet as they embark on a full-filled adventure with brilliant detective, Sherlock Gnomes.  Can they solve the mysterious disappearance of garden gnomes of London?  Pick up this chapter book/deluxe movie novelization for your advanced reader to enjoy before the movie arrives in theaters later in March.  I for one love to read a book and then follow up with seeing the movie to compare the two. And, this is one movie that they have some great Sherlock Gnomes books (for all reading levels) available in advance of the movie's upcoming release, for kids and families to enjoy.

I have been reading a couple of chapters a night from this book with my girls, and they are really getting into it.  They are loving trying to solve the mystery of the disappearance of the garden gnomes, alongside Gnomeo, Juliet and Sherlock Gnomes.  If this book is anything like the movie, it is going to be a hit!



(Adapted by A. E. Dingee, Illus. by Elsa Chang, ISBN 9781534414303, 2/6/18)
Join Gnomeo, Juliet, and renowned detective Sherlock Gnomes to solve puzzles, uncover clues, and more in this novelty storybook based on the upcoming film, Sherlock Gnomes, that includes an awesome decoder!


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Garden gnomes, Gnomeo & Juliet, follow renowned detective, Sherlock Gnomes, as he investigates the mysterious disappearance of other garden ornaments in this hilarious novelty storybook based on the sequel to the hit film Gnomeo & Juliet. Kids are sure to love using the decoder to uncover clues, solve puzzles, and decipher hidden messages on coded pages in this fun, interactive book."

My Thoughts:

If your kids love interactive books and playing detective, then they will love this new "On the Case" book that calls on the reader to help solve the clues with the decoder included.  When I told my girls about this book and then showed them how they would need to use the special decoder to help solve the clues, they were so excited. They love this sort of thing, and couldn't wait to get their hands on the decoder and start reading this book. In addition to helping to solve clues, the decoder also unveils fun surprises along the way.  My girls were hooked on this book, and when we were done reading it, they wanted to read it again.  

We have only had this book for a few days, but have already read it about a dozen times.  The girls can't get enough of it, and continue to reach for it during the day to read on their own, or ask for it at bedtime.  I see this book as being a great Easter basket filler, for kids who fall in love with the Sherlock Gnomes movie, or simply love solving mysteries with the help of a decoder (included with the book).



(Adapted by Tina Gallo, Illus. by Jenny Yoon, ISBN 9781534410541, 2/6/18)

"Garden gnomes Gnomeo & Juliet work with renowned detective Sherlock Gnomes to investigate the mysterious disappearance of other garden ornaments in this 8x8 storybook based on the upcoming film, Sherlock Gnomes!

There’s no place like home, especially when home is a garden full of gnomes. When Gnomeo and Juliet notice that fellow garden ornaments have gone missing, they know there’s only one gnome to turn to: Sherlock Gnomes! Meet him and other favorite characters from the movie in this 8x8 guidebook with everything you need to know about Sherlock Gnomes, Juliet, Gnomeo, Watson, Lady Blueberry, and more…even the villain Moriarty. Don’t “pull a Gnomeo”: Read all about the gnomes’ catch phrases, adventures, and the mystery at the heart of the movie in this gnome-tastic book!"

My Thoughts:

This book is a great introduction to the characters your family will meet when they see Sherlock Gnomes in theaters beginning March 23rd.    Not only will you meet the stars of the film -- Gnomeo, Watson, Juliet and Sherlock Gnomes, but you will also meet the villain of the movie, Moriarty.  My girls loved reading this book and learning a little background on each character.  And, this book only left them more eager to see this upcoming animated movie.


Juliet Saves the Day!
Buy Now in Paperback form for only $3.99
Also available in hardcover and Kindle versions

(Adapted by A. E. Dingee, Illus. by Kelly Kennedy and Scott Burroughs, ISBN 9781534410954, 2/6/18)

Garden gnomes Gnomeo & Juliet work with renowned detective Sherlock Gnomes to investigate the mysterious disappearance of other garden ornaments in this Level 2 Ready-to-Read that’s based on the upcoming film, Sherlock Gnomes!

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Paramount Animation’s Sherlock Gnomes—starring Johnny Depp, Emily Blunt, and James McAvoy—bursts into theaters on March 23, 2018!
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Sherlock Gnomes is looking for someone to help him solve the missing gnome mystery. It’s Juliet to the rescue! At first, Sherlock is reluctant to work with her, but he soon discovers Juliet is a force to be reckoned with! Kids are sure to love this hilarious story where Sherlock’s sarcasm and huge ego put everybody off, and it’s up to sweet, smart Juliet to save the day!


My Thoughts:

Just like the other Sherlock Gnomes books I shared about from Simon & Schuster, "Juliet Saves the Day!" is another great read to get kids excited about the upcoming animated movie.  In this level 2 Ready-to-Read book, beginner readers will follow along as Juliet helps Sherlock Gnomes solve the missing gnome mystery.  Leave it to a girl to help solve the mystery in this easy to read and follow along beginner book.  The illustrations are bold and full of detail, that you and your child will find yourself lingering on each page to take in all the detail of the illustrations, which really help to bring this story to life.  I for one, can't wait to see this movie, thanks in part to this and other other Sherlock Gnomes books recently released from Simon & Schuster.  Get your detective hats and gear ready so that you can help Sherlock, Gnomeo and Juliet solve the mystery of the missing garden gnomes today. :-)

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So as you can see from my features/reviews above, there are some amazing children's book that have recently hit bookshelves or will be arriving in stores soon.  I love welcoming in spring with new books with my girls, and these books didn't disappoint.  The Sherlock Gnomes books really got them excited about the upcoming animated movie arriving in theaters on March 23rd, and they loved learning how Woodstock and Snoopy met and how Charlie Brown felt when he learned he was going to be a big brother.  And, if that wasn't enough, they also had fun learning about marigolds and pests while enjoying a fun flower-filled story about friendship in the second book in the popular "Flower Wings" series. 

I could go on and on about how great the above mentioned new and upcoming Simon & Schuster children's book are.  But, I know that once you pick them up and share them with your child, you will see why they became instant hits with my girls, and how we can't stop reading them all. :-)

To learn more about these wonderful titles perfect for welcoming in spring, as well as other recent and upcoming releases from Simon & Schuster visit their website at www.simonandschuster.com today.


Disclosure: I was sent review copies from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All views shared are mine and mine alone.

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