Category: Books-DVDs

LittleBLUEPRINT Books Help Kids Take Control of Scary Situations

Posted on Apr 18, 2014 by No Comments

LittleBLUEPRINT books give kids an actionable plan to help them handle a tricky situation. The books cover topics such as dealing with the death of a loved one, the loss of a pet, or the change in routine that comes after your parents get a divorce.

The series was created with the assistance of Dr. Dan Siegel, a world-renowned neuropsychiatrist, best-selling author, and professor of psychiatry.

The littleBLUEPRINT books can be purchased as ready made books or as books that can be customized with photos of your child and special friends or family members.

The personalized books are just $10 more than the ready made books, so I think this would be a nice way to create something meaningful for your child. I can see a book filled with photos of your child and his grandparent being something that could bring great comfort after a loss.

My son is a little too old for these books now, but I think the concept is a great one. I like that the books give specific suggestions for things kids can do to take control of a situation, such as planting flowers in a garden to honor a loved one who has passed or making plans to spend special time with each parent after the divorce.

There’s also a page in the back of the book where the child can write down his own ideas, which further encourages a proactive attitude towards life’s challenges.

Visit the littleBLUEPRINT website to see previews of each book or to order a story for your child. You can also purchase gift certificates in $25, $50, $100, and $200 increments.

Photo credit: littleBLUEPRINT

Teach Toddlers About Caring for a New Baby

Posted on Apr 16, 2014 by No Comments

In my experience, books with interactive elements tend to be great for coaxing active children into sitting still long enough to hear a story. Being a participant in the story is more fun for a wiggly little one than simply being told to sit still and listen quietly.

Snuggle the Baby asks your child to tickle the baby, feed the baby, help change the baby’s diaper, swaddle him tight, and pull a warm blanket over him before he goes to sleep. The activities help your child focus on the story while teaching important lessons about empathy and caring.

I can see this book being a hit with toddlers who love playing with baby dolls or little ones who will soon be a big brother or sister. When packaged with an actual baby doll, it would be a great birthday gift for any toddler.

The padded cover of Snuggle the Baby feels like it would hold up well to a child’s curious exploration and the retro illustrations give this book a charming feel. I also really like how the illustrations incorporate babies with a variety of skin colors, since it’s never too early to start teaching your child that we’re all the same on the inside.

Author and illustration Sara Gillingham has published over 15 books for young children, including Now I Am Big!, I Can Do It Myself!, and I Know A Lot!. She lives with her family in British Columbia.

You can purchase Snuggle the Baby on Amazon for $8.73.

Disclaimer: A review copy was provided by the publisher.

Photo credit: Amazon

Sex Ed for Grown-Ups

Posted on Apr 15, 2014 by No Comments

Sex education in American schools has always left a lot to be desired, which is why books like The New Naked: The Ultimate Sex Education for Grown-Ups are so helpful.

The New Naked answers many of the questions you’ve always had, but were too afraid to ask. If you’re wondering how much sex the average couple your age is having or how long the typical man lasts, Dr. Fisch gives you the inside scoop.

Dr. Fisch also talks about the dangers of chronic masturbation, causes of premature ejaculation, how to treat erectile dysfunction, and excessive pornography consumption as a sign of sexual addition. If you’re in a committed relationship with just one sexual partner, feel free to skip over the parts that don’t apply to your situation.

The New Naked is written for the heterosexual adult female reader, which I suspect is because most men would rather retreat to a deserted island than admit that they’re having trouble in the sack.

Dr. Fisch is a board certified urologist at New York Presbyterian Hospital and a clinical professor of urology and reproductive medicine at Weill Medical College of Cornell University. He has been listed on the “Best Doctors in America” list for the past nine years.

Of course, good sex isn’t just about the mechanical aspects. In addition to discussing some of the possible medical concerns you might encounter, Dr. Fisch spends a great deal of time explaining his LSD system for improving your love life. He’s not advocating the use of illicit drugs, but is encouraging you to work on the three components of a strong relationship: listening, security, and desire.

For women, I think his tips for expressing your fantasies to your partner are likely to be the most helpful. Women tend to be culturally conditioned to let men take the lead in the bedroom, so it’s liberating to have someone tell you that it’s OK to speak up and let your partner know what you want.

Disclaimer: A review copy was provided by the publisher.

Photo credit: Amazon

The Perfect Tale for Your Aspiring Ninja

Posted on Apr 15, 2014 by No Comments

Ninja, Ninja, Never Stop!, written by Todd Tuell and illustrated by Tad Carpenter, is the perfect book for any little boy who loves ninjas. This playful story follows a young ninja warrior as he swipes a cookie, sneaks up on the family dog, and dodges Granny’s kisses before he’s joined by his little brother for group ninja fun.

The little ninja is never given a name, so it’s easy for your son to imagine himself starring in the story.

The book is very short, with rhyming text printed in an easy to read font. So, it’s a great option to read to your toddler if he’s not in the mood for a long story or you’re just really eager to get him down for the night so you can relax with a glass of wine and catch up your Netflix queue.

The story is recommended for children ages 2 to 5, but I think it would also be a good choice as a first book for a child who is just learning how to read independently. My son is past the target age range for this book, but we used lots of rhyming stories to help him learn how to read. I think he would have loved this book!

The illustrations for Ninja, Ninja, Never Stop! are colorful with a slightly retro feel. The hero of the story is portrayed as always in motion, which should resonate well with active little boys who love pretend play. Illustrator and designer Tad Carpenter has worked on several other children’s books and completed projects for Target, Atlantic Records, Hallmark Cards, and Kidrobot.

Ninja, Ninja, Never Stop! is the first book from Todd Tuell, the co-regional advisor to the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators. Look for it on

Disclaimer: A review copy was provided by the publisher.

Photo credit: Amazon

A Touching Story of an Adoption Reunion

Posted on Apr 9, 2014 by No Comments

An unplanned pregnancy is never an easy thing to deal with. Diane Burke’s memoir One Perfect Day tells the story of how she was forced by her family to place her son up for adoption after she became pregnant at 18.

I think for most women of my generation, it’s hard to imagine what things were like before Roe vs. Wade. Burke passed on the sort of back alley abortion that many desperate women in her situation turned to, but her tale of being shipped off to a home for unwed mothers and having to fight to even hold her son before she signed the adoption papers was heartbreaking.

Her description of a conversion where a social worker said she’d lose her son to foster care if she didn’t place him up for adoption was especially difficult to read, since it seemed like the social worker was telling her she didn’t have a right to her own child.

Burke’s son, Steve Orlandi, offers his thoughts throughout the memoir. He comes across as remarkably open-minded regarding his reunion with his birth mother, and the story of how he managed to make contact with her is quite impressive.

One person I would have like to have heard from as Burke and Orlandi told their story was Orlandi’s adoptive mother Nancy. You would expect many people in her situation to be less than supportive of an adoption reunion, but she seems like lovely woman who was willing to put aside whatever misgivings she had to do what was best for her son.

I had a tear in my eye reading about how she gave Burke flowers when they first met and had made copies of pictures from Orlandi’s childhood so that Burke would have a record if she ever came searching for him.

If nothing else, One Perfect Day shows you that families come in all shapes and sizes.

Disclaimer: A review copy was provided by the publisher.

Photo credit: Amazon

Chris Raschka’s Thingy Things Series Gets a Reboot

Posted on Apr 8, 2014 by No Comments

Author Chris Raschka has published over 60 children’s books. He received the Caldecott Medal for his work on A Ball for Daisy and The Hello, Goodbye Window. Yo? Yes! was named a Caldecott Honor book.

Raschka’s Thingy Things series of books for children ages two to four was recently acquired by Abrams Appleseed. New titles Crabby Crab and Cowy Cow were released today alongside refreshed editions of the previously published Lamby Lamb and Whaley Whale.

Crabby Crab is my favorite book in this series so far. Crabby Crab is unhappy with who he is. He has claws, but wants fingers. He has eight legs, but says they’re ridiculous. He walks sideways, but wants to walk straight. In the end, however, we love Crabby Crab just that way he is — even if he is coming across as a wee bit crabby.


The illustrations are colorful and there are only a few words per page, so the Thingy Things books are ideal to read to babies or toddlers with short attention spans. The humor is designed to appeal to both children and adults alike.

The Thingy Things hardcover books measure 6 ½ inches square and are attractively bound. However, I think a board book format would have been preferable since many kids this age are quite rough with printed books. The Thingy Things books would be great for a bedtime story, but probably not the best choice to give your child to look at independently.

In September 2014, fans of the Thingy Things series can expect refreshed editions of Moosey Moose and Doggy Dog. Two new titles, Buggy Bug and Clammy Clam, will also be released at this time.

Disclaimer: A review copy was provided by the publisher.

Photo credit: Abrams Appleseed

Guess Who Zoo Entertains and Educates

Posted on Mar 21, 2014 by No Comments

Guess Who Zoo, written by Howard Eisenberg and illustrated by Patrick Carlson, is a unique children’s book that encourages reader participation through a series of whimsical poems. Each poem contains clues as to what animal in the zoo you are looking for.

For example, here’s the first verse of the poem for the zoo’s monkey:

Bananas are my favorite lunch.
I peel and eat them by the bunch.
The jungle is my habitat.
For me, my friends, that is where it’s at.

The poems themselves offer a few basic animal facts. There is also a separate section in the back of the book with non-rhyming animal trivia, such as the fact that some bears can run fast enough to catch a horse or that kangaroos are incapable of walking backwards. So, as your child is reading, he’s learning fun facts to share with his friends.

Animals, poems, and guessing games tend to be popular with most children, so I think this book is a great addition to any family’s library. You can also buy the Guess Who Zoo CD, which includes musical versions of the poems in the book. The CD sounds like it would be an educational way to keep kids entertained on a long car trip.

Author Howard Eisenberg says he was inspired to write the Guess Who Zoo poems for his grandchildren. He was waiting for a flight during his book tour of Australia and New Zealand, killing time by scribbling verses on postcards for his grandchildren. His wife suggested that the poems be compiled into a children’s book.

The Guess Who series continues with Guess Who Farm and Guess Who Neighborhood. Visit the Guess Who Zoo website to learn more or to purchase the books for your child.

Disclaimer: A review copy was provided by the publisher.

Photo credit: Guess Who Zoo

The Inspirational Tale of a Boy and His Guide Dog

Posted on Mar 20, 2014 by 1 Comment

Even though I’ve always been more of a cat person, I couldn’t help but be moved by Running With Roselle: How a Blind Boy and a Puppy Grew Up, Became Best Friends, and Together Survived One of America’s Darkest Days. This is the true story of the remarkable relationship between Michael Hingson and his guide dog.

Hingson has been blind since birth. However, his parents raised him to believe that he did not need to be limited by his disability. He excelled in public school, even though neighbors were shocked that his parents let him ride a bike around the streets of Palmdale, CA. He attended college, started a fulfilling career, and got married – proving that he was capable of doing everything a sighted person could do.

On September 11, 2001, Hingson inspired the nation with his escape from the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. Hingson walked down 78 smoke-filled flights of stairs with his guide dog Roselle, calming his frightened coworkers by assuring them that he was an expert in being able to navigate without the use of his eyes and that they’d get to safety with Roselle’s help.

When rescue workers offered him special assistance, he stated that he would be fine and that the workers should focus on looking for anyone who might be injured.

Running With Roselle is recommended for readers ages eight and up. Although I loved the book, I’m still on the fence about letting my nine-year-old son read it. What little he’s heard about the attack on the World Trade Center has always upset him, so I’m not sure he’d be able to look past that aspect of the book to focus on the overall message that confidence and the support of devoted friends can help you overcome any challenge.

The attack is not depicted in a graphic manner, but if your child is under 12 and tends to worry a lot, I would suggest reading the book yourself before you decide if it’s something you want to share.

Disclaimer: A review copy was provided by the publisher.

Photo credit: Amazon

A Unique Look at Munchausen Syndrome

Posted on Mar 19, 2014 by No Comments

Secrets Revealed: Overcoming Munchausen Syndrome is Andrea Avigal’s account of how she learned to overcome one of the most misunderstood mental illnesses. Her therapist, Thomas G. Hall Ph.D., is the co-author of the book.

Andrea had a rough life by all accounts. Her father was abusive throughout her childhood and her son passed away after being diagnosed with a brain tumor at age 2. Her grief and trauma led her to engage in several destructive behaviors, including restricting her food and water intake to the point where she’d end up hospitalized every month.

She was upfront with her healthcare providers about her eating disorder, but her Munchhausen’s went undetected for quite some time.

Secrets Revealed is told through a series of diary entries and email correspondence between Andrea and Dr. Hall. Normally, I hate it when books switch perspectives all the time, but it was interesting to see how dramatically different each situation appeared depending upon who the narrator is.

The different typefaces also made it easier for me to keep track of who was speaking: Andrea tells her story in a bold face, Tom’s input is italicized, Andrea’s email messages are a large typeface, and Tom’s emails are large bold typeface.

Since I’ve never encountered anyone with Munchausens in real life, I wasn’t very sympathetic towards Andrea when I started reading this book. Purposely making yourself sick to the point where it kept you from holding down a job and nearly wrecked your marriage seemed like the ultimate in selfish behavior to me.

But, Andrea’s personal account and Dr. Hall’s professional analysis helped me realize that people with Munchausen Syndrome have a real disorder that shouldn’t be made into the butt of a cheap joke. They deserve our compassion, not criticism or ridicule.

Disclaimer: A review copy was provided by the publisher.

Photo credit: Amazon

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