Monthly Archives: August 2014

Fascinating Books To Tempt Even the Most Reluctant Reader

There are many wonderful children’s book with beautiful illustrations, but some books go above and beyond by capturing the imagination and drawing the reader in with an interactive experience.

These are books that my children and I have found to be extra special. My thirteen year old daughter who is “too old for picture books” couldn’t resist taking a peek, and they are sure to inspire interest in even a reluctant reader.  They will make excellent gifts because they’ll be favorites to be enjoyed over and over.

Journey by Aaron Becker

A story told through pictures of a girl with a red crayon and a wonderful imagination.



Imagine a Day by Sarah L. Thomson, Paintings by Rob Gonsalves

Amazing illustrations with optical illusions similar to those of M. C. Escher to challenge your imagination.  My favorite is the tall bridge that morphs into huge sailing ships on the title page.

Imagine a Night and Imagine a Place, by the same author and illustrator, are filled with creative illustrations as well, but my kids and I agreed that our favorite is Imagine a Day.

Flotsam By David Wiesner

Beautifully detailed illustrations make it easy to understand why this book is a Caldecott Medal winner.  Yet, the illustrations also tell a fascinating story without any text.  A boy finds an old-fashioned camera washed up on the beach.  When he has the film developed, the photos show a magically imaginative world under the ocean, as well as images of the other children who have discovered the camera on beaches around the world.

Chalk by Bill Thompson

With illustrations that look amazingly like photographs, Thompson tells the story of three kids who find a bag of chalk which magically makes what they draw come to life. Things get really exciting when they draw a dinosaur!  The illustrations look so real you’ll be looking closer to see if they might be photos or computer generated, but the copyright page states, “Bill Thompson embraced traditional painting techniques and meticulously painted each illustration by hand, using acrylic paint and colored pencils.”

Can You See What I See?: Once Upon a Time by Walter Wick

Each illustration includes a list of everyday objects hidden in a fairy tale themed photo.

We also really like
Can You See What I See?: The Night Before Christmas


Press Here by Henre Tullet

Such a simple book illustrated with primary colors.  Yet it harnesses the power of the imagination to create an interactive experience in which the reader feels as though they are causing the pictures to change from one page to the next.


Beautiful Oops! by Barney Saltzberg

“Mistakes can create opportunities for creativity” is the wonderful message of this book. This message is expressed through pages with flaps and windows that change tears and drips of paint into creative pictures.



Where’s Waldo?: Deluxe Edition by Martin Handford

One of several Waldo books by Hanford, Where’s Waldo? asks the reader to look for Waldo in each detailed illustration for a fun, interactive adventure.

Summer Squash Pasta


If you have more summer squash in your garden than you know what to do with, the Veggetti is a great way to make vegetable pasta!

I used yellow squash and zucchini to make the pasta with the Veggetti, then sauteed it with olive oil.  Very good with pasta sauce and Aidell’s chicken apple sausage (above.)  Delicious!

My friend who recommended trying the
Veggetti has collected lots of veggetti recipes on Pinterest.  Thanks, A!

If you want a faster method of spiral cutting vegetables, my friend has moved on to the Spiralizer which she loves.


Pope Joan eBook Deal on BookBub

Today, one of BookBub’s $1.99 Kindle deals is Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross.  These deals are usually only available for a limited time, often only a day.

I read this book several years ago, and found it quite interesting and enjoyable.  It has a 4.5 star rating on Amazon out of 596 reviews.

This story is based on an actual theory that one of the popes in the ninth century was a woman.  Joan was a very intelligent girl who disguised herself as her brother when he died and eventual goes to Rome where she becomes pope.  Whether the story is true or not, it is very well written and a great story about life in the ninth century.

BookBub is a site that sends an email listing several free eBooks and eBook deals each day.  It’s a great way to hear about the daily eBook specials!

Back To School Picture Books

If your kids are like mine, they can’t bear to even think about going back to school yet.  But it’s coming whether they like it or not.  Now’s a good time to get into the mind frame with some of these humorous and inspirational books!

Ten Rules You Absolutely Must Not Break if You Want to Survive the School Bus
By John Grandits
Kyle is riding the school bus for the first time so his brother gave him a list of rules.  How will he ever be able to follow all of them?!



First Day Jitters
It’s the first day at her new school and Sarah Jane Hartwell is nervous. With some coaxing she gets up and gets ready for school. But things are not always what they seem.




Marshall Armstrong Is New to Our School
By David Mackinstosh
Marshall is very different from everyone at his new school.  But one of his classmates gets to know him and comes to have a new opinion on making friends with new classmates.



Freedom School, Yes!
By Amy Littlesugar, Illustrated by Floyd Cooper
Most children are reluctant to return to school in the fall, but they may feel differently after hearing the challenges Jolie overcomes to attend school.  It’s 1964 and a Freedom School teacher comes to teach in Jolie’s community in Mississippi, but others in the community don’t want Jolie, her family and friends to attend school.  This book is based on interviews with actual Freedom School teachers who taught black children and adults in Mississippi.

My Teacher’s Secret Life
By Stephen Krensky, Illustrated by JoAnn Adinolfi
Kids are always surprised to see their teachers outside of school.  This is a cute story about a boy who thinks he knows what his teacher does when the kids leave school, but starts to wonder when he sees her in the community.



My Teacher Is a Monster! (No, I Am Not.)
Bobby’s teacher is a monster. She’s often yelling and stomping. After they see each other in the park and spend some time together, they both see each other differently. A story that is both funny and sweet.