Thursday, April 30, 2009

It's Hip Hop Baby! - DVD Review


Hip Hop for babies? I know, I know. Sounds a bit out of the ordinary. But this DVD just goes to show you shouldn't judge a DVD by its title. Believe me, It's Hip Hop Baby will get your small kids moving and grooving to a boppin' beat.

The award-winning It's Hip Hop Baby DVDs help children learn through music and movement. Candi Carter, a mom, came up with the idea out of necessity. Her young son had speech delay issues and she discovered that she could best communicate with him through song, singing him melodies and rhymes to a hip hop beat. A true "Mom-Prenuer," she quickly realized that other kids could benefit from her music and developed the energetic It's Hip Hop Baby products.

Thanks to a twitter moms opportunity, we had the chance to try out the iParenting media award winning DVD, It's Hip Hop Baby!: All Your Child's Favorites. The DVD is professionally produced with families in mind and features multicultural kids dancing and singing songs about the alphabet, colors, numbers and animal sounds. Focusing on learning and having fun the musical DVD helps kids hone early learning skills and also teaches them to follow directions. It includes some familiar songs as well as a few new tunes:
Hip Hop Simon Says • Animal Fun • Numbers • If You're Happy and You Know It • Hip Hop Alphabet • Colors • Hip Hop Simon Says (#2) • Hey Fun! • Head Shoulders Knees and Toes • Animal Fun (#2)
Clips of children talking and participating in various activities are interspersed between the songs.

Baby, my kids really loved hip hopping to the beat! The DVD kept both my preschooler and my one-year-old's attention the whole way through. I don't think either of them sat down while watching the high energy songs. The It's Hip Hop Baby website states that the video is geared toward ages 2 to 6. I think toddlers would most benefit from watching and interacting with It's Hip Hop Baby!: All Your Child's Favorites. Even my one-year-old caught on really well to some of the songs, especially Animal Fun. He made the cow and duck animal sounds right along with the kids on the TV. So cute!!

In March 2009, It's Hip Hop Baby released three additional educational DVDs: Get Healthy, Get Fit, Things We Do Everyday, and Rockin' Dance Party!, and a music CD (Fruit!). The full product line is available in stores now.

Related Links:
Motion PR Interview with It's Hip Hop Baby creator Candi Carter
Follow on Twitter: @itshiphopbaby

A couple weeks of winners!

WHEW! This post contains a whole new batch of winners selected using random.org (click on the images to view the draw and timestamp). All will be notified by email and have 72 hours to contact me before another winner is chosen. Thanks so much to everyone who commented. Keep up the comments -- more giveaways, join me next week in participating in Mom Most Traveled Give It Away Blog Carnival!

TieBuddies Giveaway

The winner is Dina (comment #31)

Clorox Wipes Coupon Giveaway

The winner is Leslie (comment #57)

Wackiest White House Pets Book Giveaway

The winners are 3carnations (comment #3), ellie (comment #40), Annie (comment #6)


Gustafer Yellowgold DVD/CD Giveaway

The winner is casey aubut (comment #14)

Dog On It Book Giveaway

The winner is Janel (comment #9)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Fairy House





Yesterday we built a fairy house out of natural materials we found in the woods. Looks like it already has an occupant.

Want to build your own? Lots of fairy house fun at The Fairy Houses Series and Family Fun: Fairy Houses Craft.

Find more of this week's Wordless Wednesday posts at 5 Minutes for Mom and MomDot.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

RIF Read with Kids Challenge

Discover the joy of reading with kids.
Read and Win a Disney Vacation!

For a second year, Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) and US Airways are working together to help children nationwide discover the joy of reading. Starting April, adults are invited to join the 2009 Read with Kids Challenge and help collectively log 5 million minutes spent reading with kids. You’ll have the chance of winning a family vacation to the Walt Disney World Resort® and more great prizes. Get on board! Visit www.RIF.org/readwithkids today.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Full to the Brim - Kid's Book Giveaway List (4/27/09)

Please check out my other "Full to the Brim" posts as well. Many contests are still underway. I publish "Full to the Brim" every Monday and Friday. Thanks for visiting my blog and come back soon!

My book giveaways:
Wackiest White House Pets Giveaway Ends 4/27/09
Gustafer Yellowgold's Mellow Fever DVD/CD Giveaway Ends 4/27/09 (This is a visual picture book)
Dog Gone It Book Giveaway Ends 4/27/09
When the Whistle Blows Book Giveaway Ends 5/4/09
The Curious Garden Book Giveaway Ends 5/4/09
This Is the Day! Book Giveaway Ends 5/4/09


Other book giveaways:
Mommies With Cents - Book Giveaway Ends 5/2/09
Little Chick by Amy Hest and illustrated by Anita Jeram
Donna's World - Book Giveaway Ends 5/4/09
Frecklebox your choice of item
Amanda - Book Giveaway Ends 5/9/09
Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories Gift Set
SuperMom Central - Book Giveaway Ends 4/28/09
Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories Gift Set
Mom Most Traveled - Book Giveaway Ends 5/6/09
Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories Gift Set
Once upon a Qpon - Book Giveaway Ends 5/3/09
Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories Gift Set
IN Good Cents - Book Giveaway Ends 5/2/09
Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories Gift Set
Muse Reviews - Book Giveaway Ends 5/3/09
B Is for Baseball: Running the Bases from A to Z
Girls to Grow - Book Giveaway Ends 5/3/09
In Grandma's Attic by Arleta Richardson
Life at the Lunds - Book+ Giveaway Ends 4/30/09
What's Wrong with Timmy? by Maria Shriver + more
Faith Approved - Book Giveaway Ends 5/1/09
Questions From Little Hearts by Kathleen Long Bostrom
5 Minutes for Books - Book Giveaway Ends 4/30/09
Momma Loves Her Little Son by John Carter Cash
Book Dads - Book Giveaway Ends 5/10/09
Shopping With Dad by Matt Harvey
Frugal Mommy of 2 Girls - Book Giveaway Ends 5/2/09
Spoonfuls of Stories gift set
Green Earth Journey - Book Giveaway Ends 4/27/09
This Is the Day by Nancy White Carlstrom
Things Moms Like - Book Giveaway Ends 5/5/09
I'd Tell You I Love You, But I'd Have to Kill You (Gallagher Girls series #1) by Ally Carter (Tween/Teen/YA)
Faith Approved - Book Giveaway Ends 5/3/09
Preacher Creature Strikes on Sunday by Mike Thaler
The Miss Rumphius Effect - Book Giveaway Ends 4/29/09
Stella, Unleashed: Notes From the Doghouse by Linda Ashman and illustrated by Paul Meisel
Go Barefoot! - Book Giveaway Ends 4/30/09
Earth Tales

For a HUGE book giveaway round-up (all kinds, not just children's) visit TSS Another Big Book Giveaway List at Ms. Bookish


Other interesting giveaways:
SuperMom Central - Giveaway Ends 5/2/09
Choice of I Can Do That Games
Muse Reviews - Giveaway Ends 4/29/09
Learning Resources Pretend & Play Fishing Set or the Pretend & Play Birthday Set
Bookroom Reviews - Giveaway Ends 5/8/09
Thomas the Train: Cranky the Crane Destination and one of the Talking Engines

Have a children's book you are giving away on your blog? Let me know! I'll spread the word here!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

First Dog - Book Review


"'I'll trot across the continents, that's what I'll do. And if I'm lucky, maybe I'll find the perfect place to live.' So he set off to travel the world." - First Dog by J. Patrick Lewis and Beth Zappitello, illustrated by Tim Bowers

I know that some people found the whole media blitz regarding the Obama's search for a puppy a little much. I personally liked hearing about their search and loved learning a few weeks ago that they adopted a Portuguese water dog, naming him Bo. Those that like hearing about Bo must read this adorable children's picture book that tells the story of a special fictional puppy with presidential hopes.

In the book, First Dog, a black puppy feels lost without a home. Ready for an adventure he sets out on a worldwide trip in search of the perfect place to live. He visits countries all over the globe and meets many different types of dogs but none of the places feels like home. Sad and tired he ends up back where he started. By accident he happens upon a newspaper article about a very important family looking for a dog. With hopeful stars in his eyes he makes his way to a big, white house in Washington, D.C.

Father-Daughter duo J. Patrick Lewis and Beth Zappitello bring readers an interesting and fact-filled story about a lonely globe-trotting dog with their perfectly timed release coinciding with the White House dog announcement. Tim Bower's cute illustrations (created using oil paint on canvas) perfectly capture the innocent puppy expression, depict many famous landmarks around the world and creatively include some newer technologies like the Segway.

The dog in the book looks exactly like a Portuguese water dog. Apparently this choice wasn't by accident, but carefully planned. Because the book features so many different places around the world, it makes an entertaining lesson in geography. The endpapers list ten different dog breeds included in the story along with fun breed facts. We actually learned quite about some breeds we hadn't ever heard of by reading the book. The only thing that perplexes me...why aren't any facts about the Portuguese water dog breed listed? Here are the breeds/destinations discussed in the story, in case you are wondering if your favorites made the cut:
Newfoundland - Newfoundland • London - English Bulldog • France - Poodle • Croatia - Dalmatian • Russia - Borzoi • China - Chinese Char-Pei • Australia - Dingo • South Africa - Rhodesian Ridgeback • South America - Peruvian Hairless • Mexico - Chihuahua
Besides the current events connection, this book makes a great adopt-a-pet read. It makes me want to go to our local shelter and find a new friend for our family.
First Dog J. Patrick Lewis and Beth Zappitello, illustrated by Tim Bowers. Sleeping Bear Press (April 2009); 32 pages; ISBN 9781585364671

Related Links:
J. Patrick Lewis - Author Website
Tim Bowers - Illustrator Website
A Patchwork of Books Author Interview
www.AnimalShelter.org
Sleeping Bear Press Blog for First Dog
You Tube Video - The Obamas' New Dog

Saturday, April 25, 2009

We Survived TV Turnoff Week ... Almost

The screen remained blank for most of the week in our home. Only a few cheats, most by my hubby who apparently is more addicted than I realized! I really didn't miss it, but that is not surprising considering I don't normally watch many shows. I did however miss allowing my kids to view a few of their shows. Sometimes TV can be a good diversion when they get really wound up or crabby. Here are the results of our TV Turnoff Week:

Monday: Husband forgot, turned on the TV right away in the morning. So, our turnoff time did not officially start until 8:00 a.m.

Tuesday: My bad. As part of our outings and errands on Tuesday we visited the library. Without thinking, I agreed to let my daughter check out a video. Of course when we arrived home she wanted to watch it and became a little upset. Since the video was a 1/2 hour VHS version of Ludwig Bemelmans' Madeline I allowed her to watch it once, telling myself that technically it was a picture book in visual form.

Wednesday: No TV! Yay! We played with friends most of the day.

Thursday: Once again, no TV! Lots of pretend play and block building occurred. Also, with the lovely weather outside we spent some quality time getting a little fresh air.

Friday: No TV during the morning and afternoon. Attended a birthday party. No TV there either. Husband broke down and turned it on for 10 minutes in the evening while he was trying to comfort our son who became sick with a cold and fever. That is the story anyway.

Saturday: Caught my husband sneaking a peak at a car race.

Sunday: With church and visit to Grandpa and Grandma's house, hopefully we will finish out our week in good form!!

4/27 Update: Well, we ended up having to switch on the tube for awhile Sunday evening because of the severe thunderstorms and tornado warnings in our area. I don't think that use should be counted against us. The TV provided the most up-to-date information regarding tornado locations and details even though we also kept an eye on weather websites and listened to a weather radio. In instances such as severe weather updates, watching a TV really does make sense.

As part of TV Turnoff Week I participated in 3rd Annual Turnoff Week Blog Challenge at Unplug Your Kids. The kids really didn't miss TV at all. Hmmm...maybe we'll have to try harder to keep it turned off all year round.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Full to the Brim - Kid's Book Giveaway List (4/24/09)

Please check out my other "Full to the Brim" posts as well. Many contests are still underway. I publish "Full to the Brim" every Monday and Friday. Thanks for visiting my blog and come back soon!

My book giveaways:
Wackiest White House Pets Giveaway Ends 4/27/09
Gustafer Yellowgold's Mellow Fever DVD/CD Giveaway Ends 4/27/09 (This is a visual picture book)
Dog Gone It Book Giveaway Ends 4/27/09
When the Whistle Blows Book Giveaway Ends 5/4/09
The Curious Garden Book Giveaway Ends 5/4/09
This Is the Day! Book Giveaway Ends 5/4/09


Other book giveaways:
A Patchwork of Books - Book Giveaway Ends 4/26/09
What Can You Do with an Old Red Shoe by Anna Alter
The Mommy-Files - Book Giveaway Ends 5/5/09
Dudley's Solo by Tiffany Alexander and illustrated by Jeremiah Carstarphen
The Mommy-Files - Book Giveaway Ends 5/5/09
Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories Gift Set
Steals and Deals - Book Giveaway Ends 4/30/09
Klutz books: Paper Fashion Fantasy, Car Clothespins, How to Draw, and Build a book Why I love my Dad
Our Journey - Book Giveaway Ends 4/27/09
Chipo's Gift by Deb Troehler
SpanglishBaby - Activity Pack Giveaway Ends 4/26/09
BOCA BETH Beginners Backpack including CD, a DVD, a coloring/activity book and BOCA, the puppet
Write for a Reader - Book Giveaway Ends 4/30/09
Horse Diaries Series Books: Elksa by Catherine Hapka and Bell's Star by Alison Hart
Thingamababy - Book/CD/Toy Giveaway Ends 5/15/09
Dirty Joe the Pirate by Bill Harley or Shake ‘N Bobbles Pirate Ship by Funrise Toys or Captain Bogg and Salty’s CD Emphatical Piratical
Freebies 4 Mom - Book Giveaway Ends 4/28/09
Patricia von Pleasantsquirrel by James Proimos
PS Mom Reviews - Audio Book Giveaway Ends 4/27/09
PlainTales First Tales or PlainTales Explorers
Booking Mama - Book Giveaway Ends 5/6/09
Sounds Funny! and Sounds Tough! by Kevin Somers
Vintage Kids' Books My Kid Loves - Book Giveaway Ends 4/26/2009
Be Nice To Spiders by Margaret Bloy Graham
The Copper Brick Road - Book Giveaway Ends 5/7/09
Silver Dolphin Book of your choice
Old Centennial Farmhouse - Coloring Book Giveaway Ends 4/30/09
An Amish Coloring Book
Momma In Flip Flops2 - Book Giveaway Ends 4/29/2009
Nature Discovery In My Backyard
Words From a Busy SAHM - Book Giveaway Ends 5/3/09
Spa Baby bath book
Words From a Busy SAHM - Book Giveaway Ends 5/1/09
Spoonfuls of Stories gift set
Mom Two Ways - Book Giveaway Ends 5/5/09
Spoonfuls of Stories gift set
Moneywise Moms - Book Giveaway Ends 4/25/09
Mr. Pine's Purple House
Miracles on Mama Street - Book Giveaway Ends 5/1/09
Mission Trip Impossible or Preacher Creature Strikes on Sunday?
aParently Speaking - Book Giveaway Ends 4/27/09
Workman Publishing’s Bug Book & Bug Bottle
Chief Family Officer - Book Giveaway Ends 4/28/09
Spoonfuls of Stories gift set
Focus Organic - Book Giveaway Ends 5/9/09
Sammy & Sue Go Green Too!

Other interesting giveaways:
The Mommy-Files - Giveaway Ends 5/7/09
A set of FOUR cds, including Hushabye Baby Lullaby Renditions of Johnny Cash, Hushabye Baby Lullaby Renditions of George Strait, Hushabye Baby Lullaby Renditions of Willie Nelson, and Hushabye Baby Lullaby Renditions of Patsy Cline
Reviewsings - Book Giveaway Ends 4/25/09
Personalized School Years book for each child
The Mom Nerd - Giveaway Ends 4/29/09
Piano for Preschoolers


Have a children's book you are giving away on your blog? Let me know! I'll spread the word here!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

KINeSYS Sunscreen - Review and Giveaway



Sunny days - Time to say goodbye to coats and mittens. Hello, sunscreen! With my pale, sensitive skin I'm always on the look-out for great sunscreen products. Without sunscreen I turn a nice shade of red in a matter of minutes. My family recently had the chance to try out a non-aerosol kids spray sunscreen by KINeSYS. Typically, we use a lotion sunscreen so using this particular type was a whole new experience.

KINeSYS Kids SPF 30 Spray Sunscreen features a number of attributes that I look for when purchasing sunscreens:
• Oil, Alcohol, PABA, Preservative and Paraben-free
• Non-comedogenic (won’t block pores)
• Hypoallergenic (great for sensitive skin)
• UVA and UVB protection
• Water and Sweat-resistant
• Fragrance-Free
The product sprays on a lot like water in a spritzer. I found that at first when you apply it the sunscreen feels slightly greasy but after it dries, you can't tell you have sunscreen on at all. To apply I held the nozzle 6-8 inches above the skin, depressed the sprayer and moved the container in a sweeping motion over the skin. To apply to the face, all I did was spray a little on my hand and rub it on. (Please refer to manufacturer for complete instructions and product information KINeSYS application demonstration video) It takes a few minutes for the product to dry. The 4-oz bottle is designed to fit comfortably in your hand. The manufacturer suggests that you apply the sunscreen 30 minutes before sun exposure.

My kids loved getting sprayed! My one-year-old laughed like someone was tickling him and every time he sees the KINeSYS bottle he wants me to spray him. We've only had two nice sunny days here since we received the product in the mail, but in our trial runs no one ended up with a sunburn after using the product. I noticed that I did have to pay close attention while I was applying the product to make sure I covered all areas of the skin. I imagine with practice the application process will come more naturally.

We also had the opportunity to try the new Girls SPF 30 Sunscreen with a light vanilla and green tea scent. My preschool daughter of course loved the pink bottle and liked having her "own" sunscreen. I'm not usually a big fan of scented products, but I do like the way this one smells girly without being too strong. I'm interested to see how both products fare at the pool this summer.

My favorite attribute? According to their website, the KINeSYS company says they produce a safe sunscreen and care about the environment. I never realized that some sunscreens contain undesirable ingredients. KINeSYS received the #1 rating for spray sunscreens by Environmental Working Group for high-efficacy/low-hazard ingredients. Check out the Environmental Working Group sunscreen database for further information. KINeSYS products do cost a little bit more than your standard sunscreen, but the ease of use and environmental benefits help make up for the extra cost.


Try it out! KINeSYS is offering Brimful Curiosities readers a 10% discount on their orders. Use Code BRC10 (includes free shipping on orders over $45 AFTER the discount).

KINeSYS has kindly offered to give one Brimful Curiosities reader a 4oz Kids Sunscreen & 4oz Kids Moisturizer.

To enter, visit KINeSYS and leave a comment letting me know which KINeSYS product you think would best meet your family's needs.
• For contact purposes, if you are a non-blogger or your email is not accessible in your blog profile, please leave a valid email address within the comment section.
• Contest is open to US only
• Contest ends on Monday, May 4, 2009 at 11:59 PM CST.
• Winner will be chosen at random
Three ways to gain extra entries (Maximum total entries is 4):
1st extra entry: Follow Me! or subscribe by email or RSS reader
2nd extra entry: Blog about this contest then post your link in the comment section.
3rd extra entry: Follow me on twitter (iambrimful) and tweet about the contest.

Thanks to Family Review Network and KINeSYS for this review opportunity!

This Is the Day! - Review and Book Giveaway


"Let all creation lift its voice. This is the day the Lord has made. Rejoice! Rejoice!" - This Is the Day by Nancy White Carlstrom, illustrated by Richard Cowdrey

How often do you step outside and wonder at the beauty of nature surrounding you? Some days when I am busy or struggling with life, I hardly take notice of God's creation - the wildlife, the plants and trees, the sky, the lakes, the seas. Earth Day helps remind us to take a look at the natural world and take steps to protect it. Nancy White Carlstrom's newest children's book titled This Is the Day! also serves as a reminder and calls readers to rejoice, give thanks, and celebrate the beauty of God's creation every day of the week.

Inspired by the beautiful San Juan Islands and the Bible verse Psalm 118:24, Carlstrom, using poetic text, rejoices in the many beautiful animals and places found in the great outdoors. Each page features a different day of the week from Monday to Sunday and asks readers to rejoice and sing along with all God's creatures. The marvelous page-spread nature illustrations by Richard Cowdrey, full of color and life, make you feel as if you are standing outside viewing the sights instead of just reading a book. See one of my favorites, a deer reaching for an apple pictured below.



My daughter enjoys trying to identify all the animals including eagles, a red fox, birds, and orca whales and she especially likes the page with animal cloud shapes in the sky. Some reviewers argue the book may take Psalm 118:24 out of context, but I doubt the book was written to explain the Psalm. The book emphasizes creation care by introducing children to the beauty of God's creation and encouraging them to appreciate nature. The only part of the book that disappointed me was the meager text about a lighthouse that accompanied the "Sunday" page spread. After reading This Is the Day!, you can't help but notice all of God's splendid creations and offer a thanks to Him for such blessings.


This Is the Day! by Nancy White Carlstrom, illustrated by Richard Cowdrey. Zonderkidz (February 2009); 32 pages; ISBN 9780310714286

Related Links:
Nancy White Carlstrom - Author Website
San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau
BibleGateway - Psalm 118

Win a copy! Zondervan has kindly provided me with (2) copies of This Is the Day! to give to Brimful Curiosities readers. 2 WINNERS!

To enter, browse Zonderkidz (Zondervan.com) and let me know the title of another book that appeals to you.

BONUS ENTRY: Just for fun, leave a separate comment telling me your favorite Psalm or children's book based on a Bible passage.

• For contact purposes, if you are a non-blogger or your email is not accessible in your blog profile, please leave a valid email address within the comment section.
• Contest is open to US only
• Contest ends on Monday, May 4th, 2009 at 11:59 PM CST.
• Winner will be chosen at random
Three more ways to gain extra entries (Maximum total entries is 5):
1st extra entry: Follow Me! or subscribe by email or RSS reader
2nd extra entry: Blog about this contest then post your link in the comment section.
3rd extra entry: Follow me on twitter (iambrimful) and tweet about the contest.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Backyard Gardening with Backyard Botanical



Thinking of starting a garden? Resourceful Mommy currently has a giveaway going on for a Backyard Botanical 8' x 8' Oasis Complete Gardening System. (See an actual one in use at the Backyard Botanical Blog: http://blog.backyardbotanical.com/)

Wow, I'd say the Oasis looks like a super neat set-up! My grandparents have a huge garden and sometimes share their bounty because our own city yard is pretty small and our soil is clay. Something like this could be the ticket to growing our own great veggies and keeping the wildlife at bay! The system looks like the mother of all raised bed gardens! Hmmm...I know right where I put one! Enter to win the Oasis Garden at Resourceful Mommy.

Wordless Wednesday - Wishing you a colorful Earth Day





I took this picture last year after a threatening summer thunderstorm. Looks like this rainbow is trying to play ring around the tree. Hugs this Earth Day!

Don't forget to enter my Earth Day related children's book giveaway.

Find more of this week's Wordless Wednesday posts at 5 Minutes for Mom and MomDot.

Enjoying Earth - Earth Day 2009


"So long as the human species inhabits the Earth, proper management of its resources will be the most fundamental issue we face. Our very survival will depend upon whether or not we are able to preserve, protect and defend our environment. We are not free to decide about whether or not our environment "matters." It does matter, apart from any political exigencies. We disregard the needs of our ecosystem at our mortal peril." - Senator Gaylord Nelson (D-Wis.) [EPA Journal - April 1980]


Today is Earth Day. The first thing you should do today is step outside and marvel at the beauty of nature. Then take a few more steps and do something, anything, to help protect and conserve that precious environment. Those of us who live in Wisconsin can proudly say that our state has been involved in Earth Day celebrations from the beginning. In 1969, Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson came up with the idea for a grassroots campaign to increase awareness of environmental issues and the first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970.

My kids are still pretty young but my preschooler can at least understand the basics of Earth Day. Today, if it is nice, we'll spend some time outdoors looking around at the plants and trees and talking about what we can do as a family to live a greener life. We'll read a few books about gardening, recycling and green living. And, I'll have my daughter fill in this simple TIME For Kids Enjoying Earth printable and ask her what she thinks is beautiful about Earth. What will you do on Earth Day?

If you aren't participating in the TV Turnoff Week, "Share the Earth" with PBS Kids and watch some great Earth Day Specials, including Curious George, Clifford and more.

Plant a tree for every book you read! With Eco-Libris you can balance out your books (and the trees that are cut down to make them) by planting trees in developing countries. We'll be donating to this cause on Earth Day, following Amanda's lead over at A Patchwork of Books.

Useful Earth Day Links, Printables, Booklists:
The Happy Earth Day Coloring and Activities Book [pdf]
Children's Environmental Literature [pdf]- Division of Forestry, WI DNR
Kaboose.com Earth Day Children's Books List
EPA Environmental Kids Club
http://www.planetpals.com/

Image courtesy of morgueFile

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Curious Garden - Review and Book Giveaway (10 Copies)


"There once was a city without gardens or trees or greenery of any kind. Most people spent their time indoors. As you can imagine, it was a very dreary place." - The Curious Garden by Peter Brown

I like big, wide open, green spaces. Land covered with plants, flowers, and trees with blue skies above and butterflies fluttering around. My Brimful Curiosities blog header pretty much proves this point. Guess I'm more of a country girl than a big city girl. However, sometimes green areas - big and beautiful green expanses can exist in unlikely places. Peter Brown in his new book The Curious Garden, shows how.

The Curious Garden is an inspiring story about a little red-headed boy named Liam who stumbles upon an abandoned railroad in the middle of gray, industrial city buildings. Curious, he walks up some stairs and onto the elevated railway bed and discovers a patch of unattended flowers and plants. Though not much of a gardener, he takes it upon himself to tend the greenery. The plants begin to flourish as do Liam’s gardening skills (he even sings to his plants and conducts research during the winter months). The garden spreads throughout the city, revitalizing the once very dreary place. The beauty inspires others lend their hands in creating a lush, green, magical park winding through the bluest of blue skies.

This feel-good, join-hands picture book reminds us that it only takes one small person to do something remarkable and by working together with others amazing things can be achieved. The illustrations by Brown are quite simply magnificent and have a vintage feel to them. As if painting a fairy-tale, Brown takes a dark and dreary place and magically turns it a bright, cheery garden full of life. My daughter has expressed a lot of interest lately in plants since spring arrived. She very much enjoyed watching the garden spread through the book and after reading about Liam, really wants to start growing her own garden, weeds and all.

It is easy to envision this modern day “Secret Garden” filled with hard-work and hope. You can’t imagine how happy I felt after reading the back page of the book where I learned that there is such a place currently under development in New York City called the High Line. Some cities do offer a few neat green spaces. If you are curious enough you'll find them. The Curious Garden - a wonderful Earth Day or any day read!
The Curious Garden by Peter Brown. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (April 2009); 40 pages; ISBN 9780316015479

Related Links:

Peter Brown - Author/Illustrator Website
High Line (New York City) - Wikipedia
Downloadable The Curious Garden Poster

Enter the Curious Garden Drawing Contest sponsored by Hachette Book Group. Kids ages 3-13: draw a picture of a garden and enter the Curious Garden Contest to win a hardcover copy of The Curious Garden and a Curious Garden seed and flowerpot kit. Last day to enter: May 8, 2009. (Make sure to read the complete rules and send the consent form in as well.)

Win a copy! Hachette Book Group has kindly offered to giveaway (10) hardcover copies of The Curious Garden to 10 Brimful Curiosities readers. Yes, this is a HUGE Earth Day giveaway! Please spread the word. 10 COPIES!

To enter, leave a comment telling me about your favorite garden or favorite children's book about a garden.

• For contact purposes, if you are a non-blogger or your email is not accessible in your blog profile, please leave a valid email address within the comment section.
• Contest is open to US only
• Contest ends on Monday, May 4th, 2009 at 11:59 PM CST.
• Winner will be chosen at random
Three ways to gain extra entries (Maximum total entries is 4):
1st extra entry: Follow Me! or subscribe by email or RSS reader
2nd extra entry: Blog about this contest then post your link in the comment section.
3rd extra entry: Follow me on twitter (iambrimful) and tweet about the contest.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Full to the Brim - Kid's Book Giveaway List (4/20/09)

Please check out my other "Full to the Brim" posts as well. Many contests are still underway. I publish "Full to the Brim" every Monday and Friday. Thanks for visiting my blog and come back soon!

My book giveaways:
Wackiest White House Pets Giveaway Ends 4/27/09
Gustafer Yellowgold's Mellow Fever DVD/CD Giveaway Ends 4/27/09 (This is a visual picture book)
Dog Gone It Book Giveaway Ends 4/27/09
When the Whistle Blows Book Giveaway Ends 5/4/09



Other book giveaways:
Book Dads - Book Giveaway Ends 5/3/09
My Daddy is a Pretzel - Yoga for Parents and Kids by Baron Baptiste
Crafters Guru - Book Giveaway Ends 4/22/09
The Pocket Daring Book for Girls
AuthorsNow! - Book Giveaway Ends 4/23/09
Fortune's Folly by Deva Fagan (Tween+)
AuthorsNow! - Book Giveaway Ends 4/22/09
The Beef Princess of Practical County by Michelle Houts
AuthorsNow! - Book Giveaway Ends 4/21/09
One Wolf Howls by Scotti Cohn
AuthorsNow! - Book Giveaway Ends 4/20/09
Mabel, One and Only by Margaret Muirhead
Growin Your Baby - Book Giveaway Ends 4/24/09
A Bye Bye Monster Bedtime kit including the storybook, stuffed animal and monster spray
The Story Siren - Book Giveaway Ends 5/1/09
Peace, Love, and Baby Ducks and Tales of a Madman Undergrond (YA)
BeCentsAble - Book Giveaway Ends 4/20/09
Eco-Friendly Families by Helen Coronato and The Lorax by Dr. Suess
The Mommy Diaries - Book Giveaway Ends 4/25/09
I Love Mommy Because... or I Love Grandma Because... by Barbamel Books
She Scribes - Book Giveaway Ends 5/1/09
Penny & Rio: The Mysterious Backyard Meeting
Steph Su Reads - Book Giveaway Ends 5/6/2009
Huge Teen Book Giveaway
The Eclectic Reader - Book Giveaway Ends 4/28/09
The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne
aParently Speaking - Book Giveaway Ends 4/25/09
“Fish” and “Bee” clackers by Luana Rinaldo
Blisstree - Book Giveaway Ends 4/23/2009
Kitchen Basics: Rules, Tools and Etiquette (for kids) by Patti Green
A Patchwork of Books - Book Giveaway Ends 4/22/09
Picture book ARCs
Babble/Droolicious - Book Giveaway Ends 5/1/09
If I Stay by Gayle Formant (YA)
The Miss Rumphius Effect - Book Giveaway Ends 4/20/09
What Can You Do With An Old Red Shoe? by Anna Alter


TV Turn-Off Week Special Weeklong Giveaway -
Family Life - Book Giveaway
TV Turn-off Week is Monday, April 20, through Sunday, April 26. To mark it, Family Life Blog be giving away a different book each day. Check the blog for details.

Other interesting giveaways:
Jolly Mom - Giveaway Ends 5/1/09
Treasure Hunt: A Book of Clues for Parties
Babies Gotta Have It - Game Giveaway Ends 4/28/09
Earthopoly game
Faith Approved - Book Giveaway Ends 4/24/09
The Gift of Psalms Devotional Book


Have a children's book you are giving away on your blog? Let me know! I'll spread the word here!

TV Turnoff Week : April 20-26, 2009

TV Turnoff Week begins today. Here in the Brimful Curiosities household we plan to try and do the no screen thing all week long. I myself don't watch too much TV so it shouldn't be too hard for me. The kids do have a couple of shows they really like to watch during the morning so it will be a little bit harder for them, but not the end of the world. We've gone without TV often enough (usually the result of a lost remote). Did you know that American children watch an average of three hours of television per day?

As part of TV Turnoff Week I'm taking part in 3rd Annual Turnoff Week Blog Challenge at Unplug Your Kids. As part of the challenge, we are going to try to read more books, play games, participate in imaginary play and, if the weather is nice, spend a lot of time playing outside.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

When the Whistle Blows - Book Review and Giveaway

National Library Week Tip #4: Don't forget about debut authors when searching for books to read.


“Change comes, Jimmy. It’ll thunder down the tracks towards you like an engine with the brakes gone out. And sometimes, there ain’t a dagburn thing you can do to stop it. … A man’s gotta learn how to read the times or else be crushed by them.”When the Whistle Blows by Fran Cannon Slayton

My grandfather has told me stories of how he put pennies on the train track and waited for the passing train to squash them. Steam trains were a common sight when he was a youngster, their tracks crossing all over the country. Today kids are lucky if they get to see one up close in a museum. Fran Cannon Slayton takes young readers back to the time of steam engines and small railroad towns in her debut novel, When the Whistle Blows. Setting her tale in the 1940’s Rowlesburg, West Virginia, she tells the coming-of-age story of a boy named Jimmy Cannon and his experiences growing up in a railroading family.

Jimmy is all boy, full of mischief, pranks and curiosity. Throughout his young adult life, Jimmy tries to figure out and understand his father, the foreman of B&O railroad, the man with varying snorts depending upon his mood. Jimmy desperately wants to have a part in the railroader life, just like his father, brothers, and uncles. Railroading is in his blood after all. His father urges him to look beyond the railroad – the steam engines are on their way out with the less-maintenance diesels taking over. Jimmy also searches for the meaning behind the secret society that his father belongs to and learns the value of having friends you can lean on during hard times.

Slayton tells Jimmy’s story using an unusual style consisting of a series of vignettes, each chapter taking place in consecutive years (from 1943 to 1949) on the same day-of-the-year, All Hallows’ Eve. In these story snapshots, the reader observes Jimmy as he struggles through and learns from various life-altering events all the while progressing from boyhood to manhood. The use of dialect with terms like ‘em, lemme and gonna lend realism to Jimmy’s voice. Seamlessly included are all those topics so interesting to boys like engines, cars, hunting, and football.

Slayton brings a whole lot to the table in this book, and though she recounts some humorous stories, many topics are fairly heavy: death, complex father-son relationships, coming-of-age struggles, railroad history, issues faced by those living in small towns, and the paralyzing effects of mass layoffs to a small community. Amazingly, somehow she manages to write about these subjects with touching innocence and realism all marvelously depicted through the eyes of a young man. I will caution that a few of these events warrant further discussion, especially with those readers of an impressionable young age. Because of the structure of the book, we do not see Jimmy’s character held accountable for his questionable actions. While Slayton implies that Jimmy’s father is rather strict, Jimmy sneaks about during the night, throws frozen cabbages at cars (such pranks could cause severe injuries) and seemingly gets away with it. In some of the scenes adults drink beer and smoke, though not to excess and football fans bring pint flasks to football games. However, in my opinion, the way Slayton brings out these genuine character qualities and all their imperfections makes this book such a true-to-life, outstanding read.

Given my mechanical engineering background, I found the references to steam locomotives and the impact of dieselization most interesting. The loss of jobs aspect in the book is very relevant today given the struggling economy and mass layoffs that have impacted so many. Train buffs will find a lot to love about this book. Slayton knows her stuff; she grew up in a railroading family and the pride she feels blasts through the pages of her book with strength and clarity like the whistle on a steam train. Slayton hopes that her book will help revitalize Rowlesburg, a very noble dream. In fact, due to her remarkable story, I now have a newfound desire to ride a steam train someday, just for the experience.
When the Whistle Blows by Fran Cannon Slayton. Philomel Books (June 2009); 160 pages; ISBN 9780399251894 Age 10+

Related links and activities:
Fran Cannon Slayton – Author Website
YouTube Video featuring Fran Cannon Slayton
Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum
Mid-Continent Kids: What Makes A Steam Engine Work?
Family Fun Build Your Own Train Printable – Steam Engine [pdf]
Family Fun Build Your Own Train Printable – Cargo & Freight Cars [pdf]
Family Fun Build Your Own Train Printable – Passenger Car [pdf]
Family Fun Build Your Own Train Printable – Train Road Signs [pdf]

Win a copy! Fran Cannon Slayton has kindly offered to giveaway (2) advance copies of When the Whistle Blows to Brimful Curiosities readers.

To enter, check out www.francannonslayton.com and let me know why you think you'd like to own her book.

• For contact purposes, if you are a non-blogger or your email is not accessible in your blog profile, please leave a valid email address within the comment section.
• Contest is open to US only
• Contest ends on Monday, May 4th, 2009 at 11:59 PM CST.
• Winner will be chosen at random
Three ways to gain extra entries (Maximum total entries is 4):
1st extra entry: Follow Me! or subscribe by email or RSS reader
2nd extra entry: Blog about this contest then post your link in the comment section.
3rd extra entry: Follow me on twitter (iambrimful) and tweet about the contest.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Full to the Brim - Kid's Book Giveaway List (4/17/09)

Please check out my other "Full to the Brim" posts as well. Many contests are still underway. I publish "Full to the Brim" every Monday and Friday. Thanks for visiting my blog and come back soon!

My book giveaways:
Wackiest White House Pets Giveaway Ends 4/27/09
Gustafer Yellowgold's Mellow Fever DVD/CD Giveaway Ends 4/27/09 (This is a visual picture book)
Dog Gone It Book Giveaway Ends 4/27/09


Other book giveaways:
The Mommy-Files - Book Giveaway Ends 4/30/09
Caillou book
Momma In Flip Flops2 - Book Giveaway Ends 4/22/09
Meet the Feelings Friends by Karen Cuthrell and Illustrations by Fabricio Suarez
Muse Reviews - Book Giveaway Ends 4/21/09
An Awesome Book! by Dallas Clayton
Therapeutic Reviews - CD/Book Giveaway Ends 4/22/09
My Name is Chicken Joe Book/CD by Trout Fishing in America
The Children's Book Review - Book Giveaway Ends 4/20/09
Horrid Henry chapter book by Francesca Simon
An Island Review - Book Giveaway Ends 4/22/09
Loukoumi’s Good Deeds by Nick Katsoris
Bookie Woogie - Book Giveaway Ends 4/24/09
Signed copy of Beware the Tickle Monster! by Craig Yoe and illustrated by Aaron Zenz
The Funky Monkey - Book Giveaway Ends 4/21/09
Go Green With Me and Nature Discovery in my Backyard by The Little Environmentalists
Simply Stacie - Book Giveaway Ends 4/25/09
Little Bunny Press customized book of your choice
Once Upon a ... Mommy's Quiet Time - Book Giveaway Ends 4/30/09
Sadie’s Sore Throat or Katie Caught a Cold by Dr. Charlotte Cowan
Family Life Blog - Post-Standard - Book Giveaway Ends 4/23/09
A Kick in the Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms
Manic Mommies - Book Giveaway Ends ??
4 Readers will WIN a copy of Dinosaur and 1 Grand Prize Winner will win Dinosaur and 5 other books from Little, Brown - Tumtum & Nutmeg, Rumblewick's Diary, The Mousehunter, Daniel X, Ignatius Mcfarland: Frequenaut
Mums the Wurd - Book Giveaway Ends 5/1/2009
4 Readers will WIN a copy of Dinosaur and 1 Grand Prize Winner will win Dinosaur and 5 other books from Little, Brown - Tumtum & Nutmeg, Rumblewick's Diary, The Mousehunter, Daniel X, Ignatius Mcfarland: Frequenaut
Steals and Deals - Book Giveaway Ends 4/20/09
Chronicle Books Giveaway
Stacy's Bookblog - Book Giveaway Ends 4/30/09
The Suburban Dragon by Garasamo Maccagnone
My Readable Feast - Book Giveaway Ends 4/20/09
5 winners will each win TWO paperback copies of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
Steals and Deals - Book Giveaway Ends 4/24/09
Finklehopper Frog by Irene Livingston
Seven Dogs and a Baby - Book Giveaway Ends 5/15/09
Usborne Goldilocks Sticker Book and Three Bears Sticker Book

If you are a teacher, or know one, make sure to enter this contest for free books for the classroom in celebration of National Library Week -
The Reading Tub - Book Giveaway Ends 4/22/09
The Grand Prize: A Set of Four Horrid Henry books, plus a one-story Horrid Henry chapter book; Four First Prizes: Horrid Henry book

Other interesting giveaways:
Bookroom Reviews - Giveaway Ends 4/26/09
Little Tikes Hop & Scoot ATV
Zakka Life - Book Giveaway Ends 4/19/09
Crobots: 20 Amigurumi Robots to Make
Five Monkies Review - Book Giveaway Ends 4/24/09
By The Book: Caring For My Kids!
The 3 R's - Book Giveaway Ends 4/22/09
What to Read When by Pam Allyn
Wanna Jugar with Migo - CD Giveaway Ends 4/30/09
Jose-Luis Orozco De Colores CD



Have a children's book you are giving away on your blog? Let me know! I'll spread the word here!

And the winners for Exergen and Otto are...

Here are the lucky winners chosen using random.org (click on the images to view the draw and timestamp). I will notify both by email and they have 72 hours to contact me before another winner is chosen. Thanks so much to everyone who commented. Keep up the comments -- make sure to comment on the National Library Week giveaways this week!

Exergen TemporalScanner Giveaway

The winner is Gloria (comment #43)

Otto Grows Down Book Giveaway

The winner is shelburns (comment #8)

By the way, I love blog parties and Seven Dogs and a Baby is hosting a HUGE Birthday Giveaway. Little Conner is celebrating his birthday with some sweet giveaways. He really knows how to party with a Scavenger Hunt and Door Prizes. Go ahead and send him your wishes and enter to win. Conner, my two kids would love to party with you! They want directions to the bounce house for a hopping good time.

Joolwe.com Review (Just in time for Mother's Day!)


A few weeks back I received a package that made me feel like Princess Mia Thermopolis, Her Royal Highness from The Princess Diaries. Why would that be? Joolwe.com sent me a couple of their lovely silver jewelry pieces to wear and review. It has been at least 4 years since anyone (um...hum) has seen fit to purchase jewelry for me, so this was a royal treat.

Joolwe.com, a new online jewelry store, specializes in providing classic and trendy necklaces, pendants, bracelets, earrings and rings at affordable prices. They offer a large selection of pieces in many different designs with varying gemstone and metal choices, including Cubic Zirconia and Silver Jewelry store selections. Joolwe.com keeps you up-to-date with the latest jewelry news in their Jewelry Blog.



Pictured above are the two necklaces and the earring set I received from Joolwe.com.

The classic Sterling Silver CZ Solitaire Pendant & CZ Stud Earring Combo pretty much goes with anything. The simple yet elegant CZ Silver Pendant style suits me pretty well. The large Cubic Zirconia stone sparkles even more brilliantly than my real diamond wedding ring. The CZ Silver Earrings perfectly match the necklace.

As soon as I opened the package containing the Black Cubic Zirconia Sterling Silver Butterfly Pendant, my preschool daughter was all a flutter with excitement. She kept saying she wished she had a pretty necklace like mommy. The black CZ stones actually sparkle more than pictured and the necklace with its black/silver contrast is quite striking.

Take a look at Joolwe.com. You may find the perfect gift to give Mom this Mother's Day! They offer free shipping on all orders. I know my mom would really like this Heart necklace showcasing synthetic ruby and diamond accents.

Thanks to Family Review Network and Joolwe.com for this review opportunity!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Participate in Winston Breen's Puzzle Party

The blog tour as you know it has been redefined into a fun, educational activity for kids and adults. If you love solving puzzles, be sure to check out Winston Breen's Puzzle Party blog tour. From April 16th to April 22nd, visit different blogs, solve the puzzles and submit your answers each day by email to puzzleparty@gmail.com.

Here are the tour stops:
April 16th: A Patchwork of Books
April 17th: Fuse #8
April 18th: Shelf Elf
April 19th: Books Together
April 20th: Bookshelves of Doom
April 21st: Chicken Spaghetti
April 22nd: Oz and Ends

Be sure to read all the rules at http://www.winstonbreen.com/puzzleparty.html

What can you win? Each day one winner will receive a signed copy of Winston Breen's latest puzzling mystery, The Potato Chip Puzzles by Eric Berlin.

The HUGE grand prize consists of each and every G.P. Putnam's Sons Spring 2009 children's and YA books, plus advance reading copies of numerous Fall 2009 books! Sounds like a blast to me!

Dog Gone It - Review and Book Giveaway

National Library Week Tip #3: Don’t judge a book by its call number. Some books make great cross-overs, appealing to many different ages.

“There was a strong current of air in the car, very pleasant. I didn’t realize at first that it was on account of my own tail wagging so hard. Charlie laughed: the best sound made by humans, bar none, and kid laughter is the best of the best.”Dog On It: A Chet and Bernie Mystery by Spencer Quinn

I somehow ended up with a few canine followers on Twitter, one of which happens to be the fictional Chet the Dog. Actually, I’m a bit jealous of him after noticing that he has more followers than me. Can’t be helped I guess. He’s a pretty lovable character, right down to his mismatched ears.

Chet manages well as the narrator and dog detective in the (Adult fiction) book Dog on It: A Chet and Bernie Mystery. His doggie insights made me laugh out loud many times, especially in the first few chapters. It has been awhile since I read a mystery novel, and this fairly light-hearted crime read by Spencer Quinn, written from a dog’s viewpoint, certainly amused me.

Chet the dog and Bernie, his human partner, run their own PI business called The Little Detective Agency. Suffering from “cash-flow problems” they pick up a case involving a missing teenage girl named Madison. Both dog and owner get themselves into some pretty sticky, suspenseful situations. Cheerios on the floor and other dogs cause a few diversions along the way as well. A quick read with a mystery that’s not difficult to figure out – pretty much the perfect start to what looks to be a fun series. Dog On It reached #7 on the New York Times Best Seller list in March.

This book could make a good YA cross-over, but unfortunately, in my opinion, it contains too much offensive language for YA readers. Fans of Braun’s “Cat Who” cozy series may especially enjoy this addition to the animal detective world.

Dog on It: A Chet and Bernie Mystery by Spencer Quinn. Atria (February 2009); 320 pages; ISBN 9781416585831

Win a copy! Atria has kindly sent me an extra copy of Dog On It to giveaway to a Brimful Curiosities reader.

To enter, leave a dog-related comment (about Chet or any dog) on this post. Or, let me know what you think Chet's next adventure should involve.

• For contact purposes, if you are a non-blogger or your email is not accessible in your blog profile, please leave a valid email address within the comment section.
• Contest is open to US only
• Contest ends on Monday, April 27th, 2009 at 11:59 PM CST.
• Winner will be chosen at random
Three ways to gain extra entries (Maximum total entries is 4):
1st extra entry: Follow Me! or subscribe by email or RSS reader
2nd extra entry: Blog about this contest then post your link in the comment section.
3rd extra entry: Follow me on twitter (iambrimful) and tweet about the contest.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Gustafer Yellowgold's Mellow Fever DVD/CD - Review and Giveaway

National Library Week Tip #2: Books aren't the only items available at the library. Be sure to check out the large range of audio and video selections, too.


“It’s a curiosity and often quite a show; Many here consider standing back; From the Melter, the Melter, Yellow, warming swelter; Melter, swelter in our town.”
– "Melter Swelter" from Gustafer Yellowgold's Mellow Fever

Here comes the sun … or rather a yellow creature from the sun named Gustafer. I always welcome sunshine in any form. The new CD/DVD combo we recently received called Gustafer Yellowgold's Mellow Fever brings plenty of musical sunshine into our home with sunny songs that bring smiles to my children’s faces (and mine, too).

Who is Gustafer Yellowgold? Apparently he arrived from the sun via a Sunpod, and landed in the state of Minnesota. He enjoys living in the cooler environment and making new, interesting earth friends like Forrest Applecrumbie, a Pterodactyl. He also loves eating pinecones and playing with his pets: an eel named Slim and a dragon named Asparagus.

Musician/illustrator Morgan Taylor created Gustafer and tells his story through animated illustrations that accompany highly imaginative, original songs. Gustafer has been around since 2005, and I’ve been scratching my non-cone shaped head trying to figure out why I hadn’t heard of Taylor’s series until now! Mellow Fever is the third set of musical stories in the award winning children’s music series, the first two releases titled Wide Wild World and Have You Never Been Yellow?

Warning – Highly Addictive Music loved by both kids and parents! The mellow tunes of Gustafer Yellowgold’s Mellow Fever mesmerize both my preschooler and my one-year-old. The DVD is a fun, animated picture book put to music where Gustafer Yellowgold’s escapades take center stage. The lyrics appear near the bottom of the pictures read like text in a book. We love the CD as well, as ours gets plenty of air time in the car.

I’d have to say our very favorite song hands-down is the swingy “Melter Swelter.” Snow doesn’t last long around Gustafer; he melts it right up. Making snow angels and snowmen doesn’t exactly go so well. But, he uses his ability in generous ways, like helping free a turtle from the ice. In “Butter Pond Lake” Gustafer shares his memories of days on the sun, wading in a lake full of butter surrounded by darkening bugs. My daughter sings a beautiful rendition of the groovy “Getting in a Treetop” complete with her own made-up tree blowing arm movements. “Quite Easily Lost” featuring Sisson the blue worm and “Panther Stamp Pants” round out our favorites.

I’ll admit Gustafer is rather unusual, but he is also quite heartwarming and also very amusing. If you take the time to watch and listen to the songs, you’ll discover that Morgan Taylor is a creative genius delivering messages in a Dr. Seussian sort of way. The music itself reminds me of the catchy, singable oldies (think Beatles) combined with soft rock, music that I listened to as a child while riding in the car with my parents. Morgan cites the bands Bread and America as influences; add WILCO to the list as well.

After visiting the Gustafer Yellowgold upcoming shows, I happily learned that a performance will be coming to our area in May. Yay! Our family definitely plans to see this live.

Related links/activities/printables:
Downloadable coloring pages and paper puzzles


Win a copy! Gustafer Yellowgold has kindly offered to giveaway one Mellow Fever DVD/CD to a Brimful Curiosities reader.

To enter, browse the Gustafer Yellowgold website and leave a comment telling me which song is your favorite.

• For contact purposes, if you are a non-blogger or your email is not accessible in your blog profile, please leave a valid email address within the comment section.
• Contest is open to US only
• Contest ends on Monday, April 27th, 2009 at 11:59 PM CST.
• Winner will be chosen at random
Three ways to gain extra entries (Maximum total entries is 4):
1st extra entry: Follow Me! or subscribe by email or RSS reader
2nd extra entry: Blog about this contest then post your link in the comment section.
3rd extra entry: Follow me on twitter (iambrimful) and tweet about the contest.

Wordless Wednesday - Big Bunny, Bitty Baby



Our daughter's first Easter a few years back. Loved the Easter Bunny then, too.

Find more of this week's Wordless Wednesday posts at 5 Minutes for Mom and MomDot.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Wackiest White House Pets - Review and Book Giveaway

National Library Week Tip #1 - Involve your children in current events by reading and discussing books related to current news topics.

Woof! Bark! A puppy in the White House! The Obama family has adopted a 6-month-old Portuguese Water Dog named Bo. Way back in November I reviewed a great book called Wackiest White House Pets. I'm posting my review again, with a giveaway this time!

Wackiest White House Pets by Gibbs Davis covers an amuzing array of past presidential pets, from Jefferson's mocking birds to Teddy Roosevelt's chaotic "zoo" which included a one-legged rooster! Fifteen presidents and their pets are featured in this lighthearted read, each earning a special wackiest pet designation. For instance, George Washington's horses earned the "Cleanest Teeth" title while the "Luckiest Pet" went to Lincoln's lucky turkey pardoned from the Thanksgiving table. Hilarious almost cartoonish illustrations by David A. Johnson add interest to the text. My preschool daughter was slightly frightened by the sight of John Quincy Adams running away from an alligator on the cover. However, the book is meant for ages 7 to 10, so I imagine that age group would greatly enjoy the silly scenes pictured. The final pages of the book include a fact-filled listing of all 43 presidents and their respective pets. Most kids love pets. They'll devour this read, and quite possibly absorb some useful presidential facts while they are at it!

Wackiest White House Pets by Gibbs Davis, illustrated by David A. Johnson. Scholastic Press (October 1, 2004), 48 pages, ISBN 9780439443739
Awards: 2004 Parents' Choice Gold Award Winner.

Win a copy! Scholastic has kindly offered to giveaway (3) copies of Wackiest White House Pets to three Brimful Curiosities readers.

To enter, browse the The Scholastic Store Website and leave a comment with the title of a "dog themed" book available for purchase on the Scholastic website.

• For contact purposes, if you are a non-blogger or your email is not accessible in your blog profile, please leave a valid email address within the comment section.
• Contest is open to US and Canada only
• Contest ends on Monday, April 27th, 2009 at 11:59 PM CST.
• Winner will be chosen at random
Three ways to gain extra entries (Maximum total entries is 4):
1st extra entry: Follow Me! or subscribe by email or RSS reader
2nd extra entry: Blog about this contest then post your link in the comment section.
3rd extra entry: Follow me on twitter (iambrimful) and tweet about the contest.