Tag Archives: picture book review

Picture Book Review: Don’t Ever Look Behind Door 32


Door32 CoverWhat’s behind door number thirty-two? That’s the question that leads a reader through this marvelous counting picture book called “Don’t Ever Look Behind Door 32” by B.C.R. Fegan. Illustrations are by Lenny Wen. Through visiting the fantastical Hoo Hotel, your introduced around by the owner to all the rooms, each time warned not to open room number thirty-two. Fairies, trolls, mad scientists, vampire mermaids and other magical amusing creatures await to greet you behind each door. Just don’t open door number thirty-two. By the time you get to the door, the surprise is a logical laugh to end the book.


B.C.R. Fegan is the author of “Don’t Ever Look Behind Door 32”.

I enjoyed reading through this book thinking about all of the teaching applications possible. It is the beginnings of Math at its best combined with a journey through the imagination. You are curious to see what awaits behind each door. The illustrations are a treat for the eyes lending to the creativity of the story.

This book would be a great read-aloud for beginning counting and looking for patterns in literature. With all the fantastic creatures, it lends itself as a Halloween read as well. I’d recommend this book for beginning readers and preschool age children. Parents will enjoy reading this book over and over to help their child enjoy the process of counting.

This book is available at: Amazon and Barnes and Noble.


Picture Book Review: Billy, go to bed!


Billy_Go_Bed_CoverI’m always on the look out for a good nighttime picture book. I think I found one that is realistic and captures the imagination. Billy, go to bed! by Pamela Malcolm is a fun repeating bedtime adventure.

Billy is having trouble falling asleep. He follows his parents’ instructions to go to bed, but each time, something disturbs him. First, there’s a ghost. Then, he can’t sleep because of a skeleton in the closet. Lastly, a vampire stalks him under the bed. Each time, his parents patiently explain away his fears. Finally, aliens land in his room and take him on an adventure. In the end, he finds out he was dreaming about his new alien friends realizing he could visit them the next evening in his dreams.

If you have trouble getting your child to sleep, here’s a fun picture book that will make them laugh and try to make friends in their sleep like Billy. This will make a great read-aloud every night and maybe convince your toddler they’ll make friends while they sleep. Plus, there are a slew of other Billy books that your child will enjoy. This will make a great addition to your nighttime read-alouds.

***Billy, got to bed! is available on Amazon.com.

Children’s Picture Book Review: The Raspberry Sassafras Series


Allison Holland is the author of the Raspberry Sassafras picture book series.

I have found a cute picture book series that stresses the unique factors in each of us. It’s called the Raspberry Sassafras series. With books titled Raspberry Sassafras, Raspberry Sassafras: I Am a Cow and Raspberry Sassafras: The Famous Flying Cow, it’s a series that brings back memories of other animal books like Curious George.

The author of the series, Allison Holland, has created a world where animals have secret abilities that humans never see. The main character, Jane, finds Raspberry Sassafras at a nearby farm on a family trip. Her family adopts the little cow, and that is where the fun begins.

RS01_Raspberry_SassafrasRaspberry Sassafras, the first picture book in the series, starts off with Jane and her family adopting Raspberry Sassafras from a local farm. They bring the little cow back to the city, and introduce her to her new apartment home and the big city. Jane teaches Raspberry Sassafras about how to adapt to her new surroundings and discovers a secret; Raspberry Sassafras can fly and even talk. Apparently, it’s what most cows do when humans aren’t around. The secret is kept by the family setting up the possible reveal in future books.


The second book in the Raspberry Sassafras series.

The second picture book, Raspberry Sassafras: I Am A Cow, deals with Raspberry Sassafras learning to explore her neighborhood and to be accepted by the dogs at the dog park. After a visit to the park, Raspberry Sassafras finds hostility towards her, and soon a sign goes up banning all cows from the dog park. Jane convinces Raspberry Sassafras to face the dogs and their owners, and speak her truth about how she may be different, but still unique, and be allowed to play at the park. Her bravery to face her feelings and the people that were prejudice against her as a cow helps bring change to the park. Cows are officially allowed.


The third book in the Raspberry Sassafras series.

The third picture book in the series is called Raspberry Sassafras: The Famous Flying Cow. Raspberry Sassafras uses her ability to fly to save people from a burning building exposing her secret. Jane and Raspberry return home to find the media is trying to find her. The press is everywhere, and Raspberry Sassafras becomes famous. But fame doesn’t stop here, in fact, she embraces that she can teach others about herself and help people understand more about her differences. She finds herself on TV shows doing interviews and on magazine covers. This all helps her to realize she can finally be herself and not have to hide her real abilities anymore. In the end, Raspberry Sassafras can finally be the real cow she wants to be.

The Raspberry Sassafras series reminds me a lot of the old children’s stories involving Curious George. Raspberry Sassafras is a loveable character that children can relate to. All of the stories make great read-alouds for the classroom since they deal with different themes that can be discussed with a class. The stories all deal with several important themes such being unique, accepting your self, standing up for your feelings, and not hiding and being your true self. I can see this series being a valuable addition to any family’s bedtime collection, and I’m looking forward to seeing what new books will be added to the series.

For more information on Allison Holland, visit her website at: raspberrysassafras.com.

Buy Links for all three books:

Raspberry Sassafras

Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Raspberry-Sassafras-Allison-Holland/dp/B01GLC0RAS

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/raspberry-sassafras-allison-holland/1126574449

Raspberry Sassafras: I Am A Cow

Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Raspberry-Sassafras-I-Am-Cow/dp/1365956229

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/raspberry-sassafras-allison-holland/1126575024

Raspberry Sassafras: The Famous Flying Cow


Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/raspberry-sassafras-allison-holland/1126575037


Children’s Picture Book Review: I am a Rockstar


RockstarBookCoverFor day three of my read-aloud collection recommendations for 2018, I present to you a unique take on a new type of pictures book. I am a Rockstar by Amy Hackler Thibeault is a unique positive affirmation picture book. Each set of pages deals with different issues in building self-image. This makes the book a unique read for bedtime and discussion time with parents, or can be used as a great start for the day.

Each set of pages has questions to think about and affirmations to confirm different issues children might struggle with in their self-confidence. From subjects such as setting goals, getting excited to learn new things, following the rules, taking care of your health to honoring those that support you, this is a well organized book to cover many topics children need to consider and learn while growing up.

I found that this would be a great read-aloud for especially the beginning of the year, to help bolster and bring a class together. Each set of pages had questions to be asked and discussed followed by positive affirmations that can be said individually or as a class. It can also be used mid-year to help reaffirm some of these skills that a class might still struggle with.

As a read-aloud at home, it would be great to start the day using the discussion questions and affirmations. It will also be a great way to create discussions at home.

I am a Rockstar is a great book to help get kids out of bed in the morning and excited about their day. I highly recommend it as a read-aloud for any classroom or home.

I am a Rockstar is available at: Barnes and Noble.com and Amazon.com. 


Children’s Picture Book Review: The Tortoise and the Hare


Tortoise_Hare_book_coverpage001On day two of my 2018 read-aloud picks for the new year, I’d like to introduce you to a new kind of take on an old tale. It’s a retelling of the old Aesop’s Fable with a new twist. The Tortoise and the Hare by Ransley Cuckmere is a cute take on how acceptance of self is a hard lesson to learn.

Tortoise is upset that he is always so slow. He decides that a race with his friend, Hare, is the best way to finally prove he is fast like his friend. He’ll find a way to make sure he wins. Giving Hare something that puts him to sleep before the race, Tortoise runs the race at his slow speed confident he’ll finally win.

When he sees Hare at the finish line, he can’t believe he’s lost again. But his friend convinces him that all he needed to do was be happy with who he was. He didn’t need to be fast like Hare, but happy with his own speed. All Tortoise needed was to be just happy with himself.

This is a great book to help emphasize confidence and believing in yourself and your own abilities. The illustrations are cute and charming, and go along with the rhyming verses of the text. It’s a great read-aloud text to compare different versions of the same folk tale that may apply to several teaching standards. I recommend this picture book as a read-aloud for your bedtime collection.

***The Tortoise and the Hare by Ransley Cuckmere is available on Amazon.com. It is a Kindle Unlimited title.

Children’s Picture Book Review: Ernest Hummingbird

Earnest Hummingbird

Available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble,  and as an app in the IOS store.

I’ve got a real treat for your Holiday list. Ernest Hummingbird is an absolutely charming picture book written and illustrated by David Feiss. Mr. Feiss created “Cow and Chicken” on the Cartoon Network, and worked as an animator at Hanna Barbera for many years. Charming with its cartoon illustrations, this book will take you back to your Saturday mornings.

Ernest Hummingbird tries to follow his dream to be a singer. But everyone around him insists that he should just “hum”, like all the other hummingbirds. Undaunted, he enlists his friends to sing for an agent rumored to be coming to scout for singers. Of course, in a plot twist, Ernest gets his dream. I’ll leave it up to you to discover the ending.

I enjoyed this sweet little story of following your dreams and not letting anything stop you. The illustrations are humorous and inviting, pulling you into the story as any delightful Saturday morning cartoon. I would recommend this book to anyone that would need a gift for a child, grandchild, or niece and nephew. It would make a satisfying bedtime story. As a read-aloud in the lower grades, it would teach the importance of not giving up.

As an added bonus, the folks behind Ernest Hummingbird also have a parallel storybook app in the IOS store, with music written by Tommy Thayer from KISS. The narration is by country star Darius Rucker. Link to the app in the IOS store.

Find out more at: www.mechemmedia.com.

Earnest Hummingbird is available at: Amazon and Barnes and Noble. 



Picture Book Review: Elijah and the Key of Knowledge & Elijah and the City in Danger


Elijah and the Key of Knowledge starts this fresh take on exploring reading skills.

I had the pleasure of reading Elijah and The Key of Knowledge for this June’s featured children’s book to get your summer reading started. The author, Zachariah Rippee, does a masterful job of pulling readers into the idea that reading gives you knowledge. In fact, the whole Elijah series is full of themes to get kids reading.

The series begins with the picture book, Elijah and The Key of Knowledge. This book starts out with Elijah as an adventurer like in the Indiana Jones movies. He takes his animal friends, ie Calvin and Hobbes, on an adventure with many obstacles blocking the way. He has to enlist the help of his friends to best the things thrown into his path. It all ends when he finally discovers the secret to the key of knowledge. You guessed it, reading.


Elijah and the City in Danger is the second in the Elijah series.

The second book in the series I liked better than the first. It has Elijah now using his imagination to become a superhero in Elijah and The City in Danger. In this picture book, Elijah is now a masked hero charged with the safety of THE CITY. He must fight giant dinosaurs, robots and aliens to keep the City safe all while using his imagination, the biggest super power of all.

I really enjoyed the spontaneous joy in these two picture books. Mr. Rippee presents a fun, playful world in which a child uses his reading powers to create big adventures and be the star of his own imagination. The series would make a great read-aloud for teachers wanting to emphasis reading skills, and parents wanting to motivate their little ones to read. The Elijah series would be a great way to start off your summer reading as well.

Elijah and the Key of Knowledge is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Elijah and the City in Danger is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

-Tiffany Turner

Head writer and editor of the Indie Children’s Authors Connection

*Tiffany Turner is the head writer and editor for the Indie Children’s Authors Connection and author of her own middle grade children’s fantasy adventure series, the Crystal Keeper Chronicles. She has taught elementary students the love of reading and writing for 18 years, and currently has moved to writing full time. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and cat. The cat, of course, is the center of attention.



Back To School Blog Tour 2014: Featured Book Review/Interview Vivienne Mathews


Wb2schblogtour2014elcome to Day 5 of the Back to School Blog Tour 2014! If you haven’t signed up for the Book Bundle Giveaway, there are still few days left. Entering is easy. From liking authors on Facebook to commenting on their blog, you can enter to win the fabulous book bundle of children’s book each day. So, keep coming back each day and enter.


I Want to Be an Athlete And a Teacher by Garrett Carter is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

I Want to Be an Athlete And a Teacher by Garrett Carter is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Featured today is the book review for I Want To Be An Athlete And A Teacher by Garrett Carter. Coby is an enthusiastic boy that wants to do something he loves, like play sports. He learns that he can do anything, including teaching others. In this picture book, limiting yourself is explored as Coby discovers all of his capabilities. Being good at many things and exploring your skills is part of growing up. In the end, he realizes that he can do anything, especially if he’s good at it.

This is the first in a series of picture books, and is a great start for exploring your potential. It’s a good read aloud for the beginning of school when teaching kids to look into themselves and build confidence is emphasized. Of course, saying what you will be when you grow up isn’t set in stone. Trying out new things and thinking about what you are good at is part of growing up. I liked the way this picture book gets a child to think about their skills and that they can be good at MANY things. It’s ok to do it all.

**** Four Star Rating

Available at:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Want-Athlete-Teacher-Cobys-Career/dp/1499152647

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/i-want-to-be-an-athlete-and-an-entrepreneur-garrett-carter/1119911646

For more information on the author: http://www.garrettcarterbooks.com/

Plus, our last featured author interview is with Vivienne Mathews.  Last year, Vivienne was a featured author on the blog tour. So, I wanted to catch up and ask her what things had been like for her as an Indie Children’s author.

Vivienne Mathews is the author of The Sons of Masguard series.

Vivienne Mathews is the author of The Sons of Masguard series.

1) What new books have you released in the last year?
Since we last spoke, Jax and Mack has been my only release. It’s been a very full writing year, but a very lean publishing one — which is bound to make for a busy 2015. Book three in the Sons of Masguard series is on the release schedule for early in the year, followed by a trilogy of chapter books, and another picture book by next Christmas.

2) What do you have planned to release soon?
The Dangerous Life of the Honey Bee (Image attached) – a non-fiction picture book for young kids. It follows a worker bee as she goes about an average day; dodging threats, collecting honey, coping with her surroundings. Bees are an incredibly important part of our ecosystem. As a complete fangirl of one of the coolest insects on the planet, I couldn’t be more enthusiastic about sharing the amazing things they have to accomplish in order to maintain a healthy hive.

3) What has inspired you the most along your writer journey?
I was lucky enough to grow up in a reading family. My mother never, ever dismissed the importance of a book and went to some pretty fantastic lengths (example:http://www.viviennemathews.blogspot.com/2013/05/why-i-will-always-love-print-and-my.html ) to encourage her children to view them in the same light. Even now, I have a hard time picturing her without a cup of tea in one hand and a book in the other. Despite the fact that she was (and IS) a frugal and practical woman, never once did she tell me that writing was something I shouldn’t do. She never pointed out that this might be a difficult field or that I’d do better to turn my eye in a more financially viable direction “just to be safe.” Instead, she’d give me another romance, another classic, another strange and ragged cult novel that she found on a shelf in that one secondhand store downtown. To this day, she still sends me home from any visit with a bag full of reading materials. If creativity is indeed a well, she’s done everything in her power to make sure that it never runs dry. And I couldn’t love her more for it.

The Sons of Masguard by Vivienne Mathews is available on Amazon.

The Sons of Masguard by Vivienne Mathews is available on Amazon.

Current Book links:
The Mosque Hill Fortune: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CCID3ZW
Guardian’s Rise: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00DUZOU9E
The Sons of Masguard – The Companion Guide: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00DX52HCI
Jax and Mack: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00G600G48

To Connect to Vivienne Mathews:

Blog: http://www.viviennemathews.blogspot.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/VivienneMathews

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7051589.Vivienne_Mathews

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Vivienne-Mathews-MG-Writer-Extraordinaire/445474412218828?ref=bookmarks


Today, we wrap up the blog tour. I want to thank all of the authors for participating this week. To show the love, stop by and visit their websites and check out their books. It’s a good way to start the school year. I always need to build up my classroom library. For one more bow, here are the authors for the 2014 Back To School Blog Tour:

I’d also like to thank all of the followers of the Indie Children’s Authors Connection. You’ve helped build the blog by your views and comments over the last 3 years. For that, I am truly grateful. Again, I salute another successful Back to School. As I finish writing this post, it’s time for me to start writing Back to School Night handouts and work on a presentation. So, to all those busy teachers out there, I know what you’re going through. Thank you for all that you do. Have a great school year!



A New Take On Standing Up To Bullies


Jacob's New Dress by Sarah and Ian Hoffman

Jacob’s New Dress by Sarah and Ian Hoffman

Jacob’s New Dress by Sarah and Ian Hoffman will grab your heart with its message. If you have ever been bullied, or your little one is being bullied for being different, this is a great way to teach them to stand up for themselves.

Jacob finds a dress during dress up time at school and decides to wear it. Other kids insist boys don’t wear dresses. But Jacob continues to follow his dream. He gets his Mom to make a dress, and finally wears it to school. He is so proud of the small stitches he’s made. During sharing time, one boy questions Jacob’s actions, and states “Boys don’t wear dresses”. As a result, a group tries to tease Jacob at recess, insisting he must be on the girls’ tag team. The story ends with Jacob standing up to the main bully, proud of his new dress.

This is a great read-aloud book to stress the issue that differences make us unique. The characters are well constructed, and the adults thoughtful and supporting of Jacob. The reluctance of excepting others by Jacob’s classmates is looked at as an obstacle that doesn’t stand in his way. He becomes proud of his dress and ignores the name calling. This is a great picture book to read aloud to a class or every night to show differences make us unique and special.

***** 5 Star Rating

A review copy was supplied by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

A Special Way to Say “I Love You”


I Love You! by Calee M. Lee

I Love You! by Calee M. Lee

When searching for the perfect Valentine’s Gift for your child, try sharing your love over and over again through a unique picture book. I Love You! by Calee M. Lee is a wonderful way to tell your youngster those special words for Valentine’s Day. The book is unique in that it repeats all the different ways love can be expressed. From a secret pillow fort to a birthday crown, the pages flow through kid friendly events to share over and over.

I really loved the illustrations and layout for this book. The text looks as if it is written on mini-notebook paper, and the pictures are adorable.The illustrator, Tricia Tharp, captures the whimsical charm of every kid event with cartoon style images. You’ll want to read this book over and over. It’s a great way to tuck your little one into bed this week. It’s a great Valentine’s Day gift that can be enjoyed all year long.

***** 5 Stars
Available as a paperback and ebook at Amazon.com Also available at Barnes and Noble as a paperback edition.