Category Archives: 4-8 years of age

Mx3 Review: Little Goblins Ten by Pamela Jane

  • Reading level: Ages 4-8
  • Hardcover:32 pages
  • Publisher:HarperCollins (July 26, 2011)
  • ISBN-10: 0061767980
  • Source: Publisher

Last year, my boys & I reviewed Pamela Jane’s A Vampire is Coming to Dinner.  Here’s a synopsis from Publisher’s Weekly: Read along as the narrator of this story comes up with some practical rules for dealing with a vampire. But rules are meant to be broken, aren’t they? From feeding the vampire garlic to filling the house with mirrors, the narrator is doing just that! With ten full-page gatefolds and a pop at the end of the book, kids will love seeing which rules are being followed and which aren’t! If you’re expecting a vampire (invited or not) this is your chance to get ready for a night of pranks and surprises. It is best to be prepared. “…a ghoulishly good time.”

When I learned she recently released another Halloween picture book, I couldn’t resist!

Little Goblins Ten is an adorable take on the popular Over in the Meadow story:

Over in the forest
Where the trees hide the sun
Lived a big mommy monster
And her little monster one

The story continues with visits to other monster families including ghosts:



And more!  At the end, all of the creatures come together for a wonderful Halloween treat:

The rhyming text and rich illustrations (by Jane Manning) really add to the overall experience of reading this picture book. My youngest son is six; this has become his favorite Halloween book this year. We’ve read it at least a dozen times.  He’s so familiar with the text he can read it on his own.  After we read this one, I introduced him to the original “Over in the Meadow.” His response: “Mom! That’s a book for spring. This is fall…it’s all about Halloween!”  That’s my boy!

 Little Goblins Ten is destined to be a favorite of many this Halloween! I highly recommend that libraries add it to their permanent collection! While there is clearly a Halloween theme, I believe this is a book that can be appreciated year-round! Highly recommended!

Thanks to TLC Book Tours for providing me the opportunity to participate in this tour! Be sure to check out the official tour page for all of the tour stops.

Thanks to the publisher, I have one copy of Little Goblins Ten to give away to one lucky reader! To enter, please fill out the form below. The winner will be contacted by email on Friday, October 21st.  Good luck to all who enter!



Mx3: Review: The Book That Eats People by John Perry

  • Reading level: Ages 4-8
  • Hardcover:38 pages
  • Publisher:Tricycle Press (October 13, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 1582462682
  • Source: Library copy

The book is always hungry. One day, an unlikely victim by the name of Sammy Rushkin forgot to wash his hands after eating lunch. The book tasted the peanut butter on Sammy’s fingers & snapped, devouring him immediately. Sammy was the book’s first victim, but not its last.

Sammy’s parents donated it to the library after it devoured their son. It was tightly shelved between two books, Complete Guide to the Saints and Sandwiches Through the Ages.  It wasn’t released until the book next to it was removed. It then devoured the security guard.  The next morning, the librarian’s discovered it swallowing the past pages of How Things Work.

Experts say that when a book eats someone it’s either self-defense or a mistake, and the book never eats anyone again.

The book then traded covers with another book, then went home in the unknowing hands of Victoria Glassford. It gobbled her down that night. It continued to eat children, ending up in jail.

Some people think it’s cruel to chain a book. The guards did it anyway.


A book-loving judge felt bad for the book, so he sent it to the zoo where the keepers attempted to reform it. They attempted to feed it delicious food like ice cream and hot dogs. Nothing satiated the books hunger, for all it wanted was to eat people. Who knows what ever happened to the book. Perhaps it’s still out there sitting…waiting…

One might think that this is a terrifying book to read, but my six-year-old son actually loved it! He thought a people-eating book was quite humorous.  The tone was light, nothing incredibly scary happening on the pages. Additionally, I think the illustrations, drawn by the aptly-named Mark Fearing, really aided my son’s appreciation and delight in this book:


Each page is full of such detail, my son would spend several minutes devouring the illustrations. We really had a great time reading this book. With every book, I ask my six-year-old what he learned from reading that book. His response “Don’t eat food around books and don’t chain up books because they’ll get mad!” Classic! We definitely plan on purchasing this book, destined to be a Halloween read for the family for years! Highly recommended, but definitely for school-age kids!

Review: Nature Squad-Bluebird Finds A Home by Ryan Jacobson

  • Reading level: Ages 4-8
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Adventure Publications (January 4, 2011)
  • ISBN-10: 9781591933113
  • Source: Publisher
  • The Nature Squad’s purpose is to save the planet, one adventure at a time.  In Bluebird Finds a Home , the squad is out to help a bluebird, Skylar, whose tree home has been leveled by workers set out to remove dead trees from the forest. B.B., a helpful and always-hungry black bear points out these dead trees to the workers, who in return give him scraps of food. He’s a little torn about the whole thing…if they stop trees from being removed who will bring him human food?

    Ultimately, B.B. learns the results of his actions; dozens of animals that nest in dead trees are losing their homes.  So, B.B., and the rest of the Nature Squad go on a hunt to help Skylar find a new home. 

    They start with the nest of a wood duck.  That goes well until the following day when the Woodra, the wood duck mother, pushes Skylar & her hatchlings out of the nest.  Ducklings are ready to jump out a day after hatching & so should Skylar!

    B.B. then takes Skylar to nest of a blue-jay family.  That lasts only a few minutes; Skylar can’t stand the sound of the blue jay’s singing.

    Skylar then takes him to Sheldon…a turtle…and suggests that they share a shell.  Unfortunately, it was a little crowded (and smelled liked lily pads) so that idea didn’t work either.

    B.B. rounds up the rest of the Nature Squad and they all build nest boxes (little homes for birds) to hang in the few remaining dead trees in the forest. Skylar finally finds a home, along with other animals displaced by the workers’ actions!

    Bluebird Finds a Home is yet another wonderful book to read as part of your Earth day celebrations, or any other day as well.  The illustrations, by Joel Seibel (Emmy-winning animator of ”Pinky and the Brain,” ”Scooby-Doo” and ”Smurfs”), are colorful and cheerful.  Who wouldn’t want to learn from the adorable creatures that make up the Nature Squad.

    In the back of the book, instructions are provided for how to build a nest box with the help of an adult. Also listed are several conservation tips for children, including recycling, picking up litter, saving water, and conserving energy.

    Overall, Bluebird Finds a Home is a delightful book, destined to be enjoyed by any young conservationist! Highly recommended!

    Check back later for a special giveaway!

    Review: Planting the Wild Garden by Kathryn O. Galbraith

    • Reading level: Ages 4-8
    • Hardcover: 32 pages
    • Publisher: Peachtree Publishers (April 1, 2011)
    • ISBN-10: 9781561455638
    • Source: Publisher

    In Planting the Wild Garden, young readers learn how humans, plants, & animals all help great the lavish wild garden known as the planet Earth.    Starting with a gardener and a boy, readers follow the path of plants from seed to full grown plant through vivid, colorful illustrations (by Wendy Anderson Halperin) and light, lyrical prose.  Young children learn the many ways seeds are spread and plants grow.

    My five year old son loved to read this book aloud with me.  The text was easy enough that he could read most of it himself, requiring minimal assistance.

    As with A Place for Fish, which I reviewed earlier this week, Planting the Wild Garden is the perfect book to add to your Earth Day reading list. Highly recommended!

    Thank you once again to Peachtree Publishers for providing me the opportunity to participate in this tour!

    Review & Giveaway: A Place for Fish by Melissa Stewart

  • Reading level: Ages 4-8
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Peachtree Publishers (March 1, 2011)
  • Source: Publisher
  • Fish make our world a better place.

    But sometimes people do things that make it hard for them to live and grow.

    In A Place for Fish, Melissa Stewart explains to young children how certain acts of humans can affect the fish population.  For example, scientists discovered the migrating paths of hammerhead sharks.  They notified fishing crews to avoid this paths during the sharks’ migration time and now the sharks have a better chance of surviving.

    If farmers find new ways, other than dangerous chemicals, to improve crops, fish can thrive.  In the Chesapeake Bay,  chemicals the farmers used to increase their crops seeped into the bay, causing algae growth to increase, taking away valuable oxygen from the seahorses & fish that lived there.   In 2003, the farmers started reducing the amounts of fertilizer used.  It’s still too early to see how this has affected the creatures living in the bay, but scientists are hopeful.

     A Place for Fish is the perfect book to read during Earth Day celebrations. Not only does it introduce children to fish life around the country, it shows the impact that humans have on their survival. As with her Stewart’s previous books, the colorful & detailed illustrations (by Higgins Bond) really add to the book.

    The book concludes with some fascinating fish facts, a few of which my eleven-year-old science genius was unaware of.  Here are a few:

    • Most brands of lipstick contain ground-up fish scales (ew!)
    • Most young fish are caled fingerlings, but young shark and sawfish are called pups.
    • The smallest fish on Earth is the stout infantfish.  It is so small it could sit on top of a pencil eraser.  The largest fish is the great whale shark, larger than a school bus.

    A Place for Fish is the perfect addition to your home, school & public library!  My boys & I enjoyed this book so much we plan on donating a copy to their school library.

    Thank you to Peachtree Publishers for providing me a copy of this book.  To celebrate Earth Day, Peachtree has organized a two week tour entitled “Fins, Wings and Other Things!”  Following are the stops on this week’s portion of the tour:

    Tuesday 4/12:
    A Patchwork of Books – Guest post by Melissa Stewart, author of A Place for Fish
    Abby the Librarian – Review of Bring On the Birds

    Wednesday 4/13:
    Simply Science – Review of At the Sea Floor Café
    Book Dads – Review of Planting the Wild Garden
    Archimedes Notebook – Interview with Kathryn O. Galbraith, author of Planting the Wild Garden
    There’s a Book – Review of A Place for Fish

    Thursday 4/14:
    Book Dads – Interview with Wendy Anderson Halperin, illustrator of Planting the Wild Garden
    A Word’s Worth – Review of About Habitats: Grasslands
    Abby the Librarian – Interview with Susan Stockdale, author/illustrator of Bring On the Birds

    Friday 4/15:
    There’s a Book – Interview with Melissa Stewart, author of A Place for Fish
    Jenn’s Bookshelves – Review of Planting the Wild Garden

    Saturday 4/16:
    Devourer of Books – Review of Bring On the Birds

    Thanks to the publisher, I have one copy of the book to give away! To enter, please fill out the form below.  As this is a publisher-sponsored giveaway, entries are only open to US residents.  The winner will be announced on Earth Day, Friday, April 22nd.  Good luck to all who enter!

    Review: Where Teddy Bears Come From by Mark Burgess

    • Reading level: Ages 4-8
    • Hardcover: 32 pages
    • Publisher: Peachtree Publishers (August 1, 2009)
    • ISBN-10: 1561454877
    • Source: Publisher

    There was once a little wolf who couldn’t fall asleep. Mother Wolf tried everything: a glass of milk, snuggling, even reading little wolf his favorite teddy bear story three times in a row.  Nothing worked.  The little wolf was wide awake.

    As the morning light shone on his story book, little wolf discovered what would help him sleep: a teddy bear!  He asks his mother where teddy bears came from.  She wasn’t certain and suggested he ask Wise Owl.  Wise Owl didn’t know either, & suggested he ask the Three Little Pigs.

    Soon the little wolf is on an adventure asking various characters from fairy tales, including Little Red Riding Hood and Goldilocks.  Along the way, he literally runs into a rosy-faced old man driving a big red truck. The truck’s tire is out of air, so the little wolf helps by huffing and puffing into the tire. The old man stops the little wolf with a “Ho, Ho, Ho!”

    The cheery old man tells the little wolf that if he runs home, he’ll find the answer to his question in the morning.  The little wolf falls asleep as soon as he gets home, sleeping through the night.  He awakens to find a present at the food of the bed. Inside? A soft, cuddly teddy bear!

    WHERE TEDDY BEARS COME FROM is an adorable tale perfect for not only the holiday season, but any time of year.  My five year old enjoyed the appearances of some of his favorite fairy tale characters.  And teddy bears? Who can resist teddy bears?

    The illustrations, by Russell Ayto, are quirky and cute and really add a bit of spunk to the story!  This book would make a great addition to any picture book collection!

    Thanks to the publisher, I have one copy of Where Teddy Bears Come From to give away.  To enter, please fill out the form below.  US & Canadian residents only, please.  The winner will be announced Friday, December 31st!  Good luck to all who enter!

    Review: Harry Potter-Film Wizardry by Brian Sibley

    • Hardcover: 160 pages
    • Publisher: Collins Design (October 19, 2010)
    • ISBN-10: 0061997811
    • Source: Publisher

    Looking for the perfect book for a Harry Potter fan? Harry Potter Film Wizardry is without a doubt the perfect gift! Get a glimpse inside the world of Harry Potter, one never seen before!

    The book opens up with statements by Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson, detailing what it was like to grow up on a movie set.  See a timeline of Daniel Radcliff throughout the movie series.  One of the best parts of the book? Removable facsimile reproductions of items from the movie, including Harry’s acceptance letter to Hogwarts, a Quidditch World Cup program and a program for the Yule Ball.

    You’ll spend hours paging through the glossy photos.  This book is truly a work of art!  I’ve “read” the book four times now and each time I’ve discovered something new and unique.

    I honestly can’t put into words how amazing this book is!  I quite literally turn into a kid again when I open the cover.  Check out this book trailer and see for yourself!

    Pretty awesome, right? I planned on giving my copy of this book to my sister as a Christmas gift, but now I can’t bear to part with it!

    The author, Brian Sibley, is known for his “behind the scene books” including The Lord of the Rings: The Making of the Movie Trilogy and The Land of Narnia.

    Guaranteed to be the perfect gift for any Harry Potter fan!  Want to receive brownie points from your kids or nieces/nephews?  Pick up a copy! You won’t regret it!

    Review: Santa’s Eleven Months Off by Mike Reiss


  • Reading level: Ages 4-8
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Peachtree Publishers (September 1, 2007)
  • ISBN-10: 1561454214
  • Source: Publisher
  • What does Santa do the other 11 months he’s not working? He goes to Hollywood, sumo wrestles in Japan, attends the Summer Reindeer Games, & is even a secret agent!  Continuing his education is also paramount, so Santa takes courses like Cookie Baking, Elf Esteem, Basic Reindeer Labor Laws, etc.  But by November he’s already preparing for December so he spends the entire month sleeping!

    Santa’s Eleven Months Off may be my youngest son’s favorite book of this season! We’ve read it at least a dozen times.  He loves the rhyming & lyrical text.  The illustrations, by Michael Montgomery, are both classic & comical! 

    The great thing about this book is that it’s not season specific-you could easily pull it out and read it at any point in the year.  It goes through the year, month by month, describing Santa’s activities for that particular month. It’s a great way for young children to learn the months of the year!

    The author is known for his children’s books, but parents may recognize him as a former writer for the Simpsons! His comical side clearly shows in his writing!

    I highly recommend this book as an addition to your home or public library.  It’s guaranteed to put a smile on your face!

    Thanks to the publisher, I have an extra copy of this book to give away!  To enter, please fill out the form below.  The winner will be contacted on Wednesday, December 22nd. In the spirit of the holidays, this giveaway is open worldwide!

    Review: In A Dark, Dark Room by Alvin Schwartz

    Reading level: Ages 4-8
    Paperback: 64 pages
    Publisher: HarperCollins (October 2, 1985)
    ISBN-10: 0064440907
    Source: Library copy

    I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention this collection of stories, also retold by Alvin Schwartz, who I consider the king of scary tales for children. In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories (I Can Read Books) is perhaps one of my favorite scary stories books for early readers.  Schwartz has collected eight scary stories, all in a format that is easy to read for early readers.  The text is large, the sentences are short and the vocabulary is easy.  Overall, a great introduction to scary stories for children.

    Here are just a few of my favorite stories:

    The Green Ribbon: There was once a little girl named Jenny.  She was your average young girl, except she always wore a green ribbon around her neck.

    There was a young boy named Alfred who liked Jenny, and Jenny liked him in return.  Alfred asked Jenny about the ribbon, but Jenny told him she couldn’t tell him about it.  Jenny & Alfred grew up, fell in love, and got married. After the wedding, Alfred once again asked about the ribbon. Jenny insisted that she’d tell him about it when the time was right.

    Jenny & Alfred grew old, and Jenny got sick.  The doctor confirmed that she would soon die. She called Alfred to his side and said she could now tell him about the ribbon.  Alfred carefully removed the ribbon…and Jenny’s head fell off.

    Let me tell you how much the story terrified me as a child! For the longest time I was wary of women who wore scarves or anything tied around their necks.

    In A Dark, Dark Room: This story is my boys’ favorite!  It starts out by describing things in a dark, dark, house. In that dark, dark, house, there is a dark, dark room. In that dark, dark room, there is a chest, etc. etc. My boys loved to read this story along with me and at 11 and 5, both have it memorized.

    The Pirate: Ruth was spending her summer with her cousin, Susan.  Susan informs her that a pirate used to live in their house. The pirate died and reportedly haunts the room in which Ruth is staying.  The family doesn’t believe in ghosts and haven’t seen anything to change their mind.  Ruth goes to her room and looks under the bed, in the closet, under the rug, etc.  She doesn’t find anything, so she exclaims “There is nobody in this room but me.” A voice replies…”And ME!”

    This story plays with every child’s fear of something living under the bed, or in the closet.  However, telling it verbally versus reading it aloud adds a bit more fear to it.  One of the many things I enjoy about this book is the illustrations.  They make the stories a little scary, but a lot of fun!

    Once again, I highly recommend this one.  Check back tomorrow when I wrap up my middle-grade horror favorites with a special guest review of a R.L. Stine Fear Street book!

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    Review: A Vampire is Coming to Dinner by Pamela Jane

    • Reading level: Ages 4-8
    • Hardcover: 16 pages
    • Publisher: Price Stern Sloan; Pop edition (August 12, 2010)
    • ISBN-10: 0843199644
    • Source: Author

    A little boy learns a vampire is coming to dinner; this book gives him the rules which should be followed and which ones can be broken!

    Each page lists a rule, such as “Don’t serve garlic” or “Make sure all the lights are out.”  Then, by lifting the page, see whether or not the boy followed the rule. A Vampire Is Coming to Dinner!: 10 Rules to Follow is a delightfully charming book that both of my boys (age 5 & 11!) enjoyed!  The illustrations, done by Pedro Rodriguez, are colorful and detailed.

    We highly recommend this book to kids of all ages!  The illustrations are humorous, not scary, and the book is guaranteed to give you a good laugh!

    Thank you once again to TLC Book Tours for giving me the opportunity to review this book!  Please be sure to check out the other blogs on this tour:

    Tuesday, October 5th: Write for a Reader

    Wednesday, October 6th: Savvy Verse & Wit

    Thursday, October 7th: There’s a Book

    Monday, October 11th: The Book Faery Reviews

    Buy this book now from:

    Shop Indie Bookstores

    These are affiliate links. If you purchase an item from either of these links I will earn a small commission, which goes toward the hosting of this blog & other routine costs associated with running this blog.