Monday, August 31, 2009

Full to the Brim - Kid's Book Giveaway List (8/31/09)

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:
Damas, Dramas, and Ana Ruiz Book Giveaway (Adult Fiction) Ends 8/31/09
Fairy Godmother Academy: Birdie's Book Prize Pack (tween) Ends 8/31/09
Nickelodeon Olivia DVD Ends 8/31/09 (DVD, not a book but book related)
OK Go by Carin Berger Book Giveaway (Picture Book) Ends 9/7/09

Other book giveaways:
Mom in the City - Book Giveaway Ends 9/30/09
The Bug Book & Bug Bottle
Raising Itty-Bitty Bookworms - Book Giveaway Ends 9/7/09
Selvakumar Knew Better
Mommies With Cents - Book Giveaway Ends 9/5/09
Miss Mingo and the First Day of School by Jamie Harper
Southern Bella's Ways To Save - Book Giveaway Ends 9/5/09
Fairy Godmother Academy Hello Dreamer Party Pack
Mission Mommy - Book Giveaway Ends 9/8/09
Fairy Godmother Academy Hello Dreamer Party Pack
Blessed with Grace - Book Giveaway Ends 9/5/09
All Aboard with Noah! : A Lift-the-Flap Book, from The Beginner's Bible series
Amy Lunedebrek - Book Giveaway Ends 9/5/09
The Carpet Boy's Gift by Pegi Deitz Shea
Reading Rocks - Book Giveaway Ends 9/22/09
A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray (YA)
My Wee View - Book Giveaway Ends 9/1/09
Personalized book from Frecklebox
Mozi Esmé - Book Giveaway Ends 9/6/09
The Princess Twins and the Birthday Party by Mona Hodgson (I Can Read Series)
Tif Talks Books - Book Giveaway Ends 8/31/09
Moose and Magpie by Bettina Restrepo
Tif Talks Books - Book Giveaway Ends 8/31/09
Mother Osprey: Nursery Rhymes for Buoys & Gulls by Lucy Nolan
Tif Talks Books - Book Giveaway Ends 8/31/09
What's New At The Zoo?: An Animal Adding Adventure by Suzanne Slade
Tif Talks Books - Book Giveaway Ends 8/31/09
Count Down to Fall by Fran Hawk

More Giveaways at http://msbookish.com/tss-not-quite-as-large-list-of-book-giveaways-aug-30/


Other Giveaways
The Book Connection - Bookshelf Giveaway Ends 9/13/09
Mylex Four Shelf Bookcase in an oak finish
Strange and Random Happenstances - Gift Card Giveaway Ends 8/31/09
$25 gift card to Barnes & Noble


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

Friday, August 28, 2009

Back to School with Office Max and Peter Walsh


This weekend we need to finish preparing for the first day of school. My daughter starts school for the first time next week, so we're getting excited and a little nervous. Earlier in August I had the chance to listen to a back-to-school blogcast sponsored by Office Max along with 200 other bloggers. The blogcast starred organization guru Peter Walsh and two mom bloggers, Ana from BonggaMom and Heather from Tweenteacher.com (plus two students Megan and Keaton.)

They shared many great back-to-school tips, but one word kept coming up time after time: ORGANIZATION. Yes, that is something that we need to work on around here. According to Walsh, organization helps keep the stress out of daily life and promotes confidence and self assurance. Good lessons for back-to-school beginners.

As parents, it is especially important to model good organizational habits. Some suggestions Walsh had during the blogcast for parents included:
- Show that you value organization
- Establish clear limits and clear routines
- Finish the cycle (complete tasks, don't leave things done half-way and make sure to regularly purge items)
The more you involve your children in organization, the more invested they'll become and the more likely they'll help in maintaining order around the home.

Since this is our first year with kids in school, we're trying to start off on the right foot. We don't want to rush around in the mornings, and we want to avoid mad dashes out the door. The blogcast helped me get into the school year mind-set. Hopefully our transition from summer to school will go smoothly and with out worry.

Office Max kindly sent us a box of Schoolio Von Hoolio school supplies to help us on our way to an organized year. The box included binders, and expanding file, a notebook, pocket folder, composition books, and a pencil set. My daughter loves the owl and cupcake designs, and I'm sure all the supplies will get used throughout the year. Right now Office Max is running some great back-to-school deals for last minute shoppers.

Related Links:
Watch a recording of the blogcast: www.officemaxsolutions.com/btsblogcast

Behind the blogcast scenes posts from Ana and Heather:
http://bonggamom.blogspot.com/2009/08/behind-scenes-at-officemax-back-to.html
http://tweenteacher.com/2009/08/08/peter-walsh-officemax-and-me-oh-my/


Thanks to Office Max and Peter Walsh for the opportunity to participate in the blogcast and for providing us with school supplies. (View my full disclosure statement for more information about my reviews.)

Full to the Brim - Kid's Book Giveaway List (8/28/09)

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:
Damas, Dramas, and Ana Ruiz Book Giveaway (Adult Fiction) Ends 8/31/09
Fairy Godmother Academy: Birdie's Book Prize Pack (tween) Ends 8/31/09
Nickelodeon Olivia DVD Ends 8/31/09 (DVD, not a book but book related)
OK Go by Carin Berger Book Giveaway (Picture Book) Ends 9/7/09

Other book giveaways:
Booking Mama - Book Giveaway Ends 9/8/09
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC KIDS ALMANAC 2010 and backpack
Frugal Catholic Mommy - Book Giveaway Ends 9/1/09
Lost in Peter's Tomb by Dianne Ahern
Mom's Favorite Stuff - Book Giveaway Ends 9/14/09
Set of the first three books in the Harry Potter series
Pretty Pink Momma - Book Giveaway Ends 9/9/09
Personalized story book by MJM Books
Just for Me...and You - Book Giveaway Ends 9/3/09
A Surprise for Grandmother Rabbit
Bonggamom Finds - Book Giveaway Ends 9/17/09
Klutz Paper Fashions Fantasy
My 3 Boybarians - Book Giveaway Ends 9/4/09
My Read & Rhyme Bible Storybook by Crystal Bowman and Cindy Kenney
Girls, God and the Good Life - Book Giveaway Ends 9/14/09
Who Made You A Princess? (All About Us Series, Book 4) by Shelley Adina (YA)
aPARENTly Speaking - Book Giveaway Ends 8/31/09
Origami On the Go by Margaret van Sicklen
The Crafty Crow - Book Giveaway Ends 8/31/09
Brain Child by Starr Weems de Graffenried
Muse Reviews - Book Giveaway Ends 9/4/09
Amelia Bedelia’s First Day of School or First Day of School or Marley Goes to School
Teaching Authors - Book Giveaway Ends 9/7/09
autographed copy New Year at the Pier by April Halprin Wayland
A Patchwork of Books - Book Giveaway Ends 8/29/09
Sleeping Bear Press Books
Ashley's Bookshelf - Book Giveaway Ends 9/5/09
Meet Me at the Boardwalk by Erin Haft; It's All About Us by Shelley Adina; Shrinking Violet by Danielle Joseph; What Would Emma Do? by Eileen Cook (YA)
Mkokopelli - Book Giveaway Ends 9/9/09
Little Green Books giveaway

Parents & Teachers: Chronicle Kids wants your feedback! Take a quick survey & enter to win Chronicle Kids prize pack of books valued at more than $50: http://ow.ly/lrIr


Other Giveaways
Spanglish Baby - Puzzle Giveaway Ends 8/27/09 midnight EST
Alphabet Learning Puzzle
Brown Couch Events - Game Giveaway Ends 9/27/09
Winning Moves Cir*Kis Game
Here and There - DVD Giveaway Ends 9/8/09
Bedknobs & Broomsticks: Enchanted Musical Edition DVD
A room Somewhere - Giveaway Ends 9/1/09
The Wild Poppy 11x14 ABC print
dkMommy Spot - Giveaway Ends 9/1/09
Curious Chef Cookie Baking Set
Sweeps4Bloggers - Giveaway Ends 9/4/09
Your Baby Can Read!
Chronicle of an Infant Bibliophile - Giveaway Ends 9/1/09
Do-A-Dot Rainbow Art Set


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

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Bus Art





My preschool daughter's idea of what a school bus looks like. She'll get to ride on one for the first time next week.


Find more of this week's Wordless Wednesday (or Wordful) posts at 5 Minutes for Mom or Seven Clown Circus.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

OK Go by Carin Berger - Book Review and Giveaway


"GO! go! go! go! ... UH-OH!"
- OK Go by Carin Berger

OK Go sounds and looks like a fun book about cars and transportation, but if you look closely at the "green" front cover with a bird juggling recyclables and take notice of the other characters holding plants, you'll get a better idea of what waits inside the cover. Tricky, tricky. I'll admit I was deceived by the title and the first few pages of sporty red cars galore, all go-go-going fast, fast, faster, that I didn't even notice them all spewing clouds of exhaust in their wake. Guess I just thought they were fluffy clouds in the sky. And then, UH-OH, things quickly get rather bleak and gray and the cars come to a screeching halt. Ah ha. The light bulb goes on in my brain. That will teach me not to read so fast and maybe slow down my life a little too. The things you miss by hurrying about. Better to take it a little slower like the book suggests and think about the consequences of your actions.

Carin Berger's book is the most visually interesting environmental awareness picture book that I've ever read to my children. Her masterful cut paper collage illustrations get the point across with the use of very few words. Actually, the entire first half of the book uses only one word,"GO!" My daughter really liked the repetition of the word Go! And, as should be in a book about green living, all the collages are made out of recycled scraps of paper. Ingenious! There's so much to look at in the detailed collages that even though the book is meant for children ages 2-5, older kids and adults will enjoy perusing the pages as well, searching for the car that says "change" or "mustard." If you look really closely, you'll find Berger's daughter’s name, Thea and several other names as well. A large fold-out spread toward the back, gives ideas on how to live a greener life with messages, like "Use your feet, Pete" and "Plant a Tree, Marie." A parade of flower carrying creatures in the back of the book hold signs listing other ways kids can take care of the environment.

School starts soon here and summer will come to an end. One of my very favorite autumn themed books is Berger's The Little Yellow Leaf. The captivating collage illustrations and tender story of a little leaf that hangs on until the end will touch your heart!

Speaking of not wanting to let go, my daughter's first day of school is next week. Inspired by Carin Berger, we created a bus collage out of the coupons and ads in the Sunday paper. Berger will be glad to know that we took the message of OK Go to heart. Like the character Gus, my daughter plans to take the bus and save on gas!

Bus Collage my daughter and I made together

OK Go by Carin Berger. Greenwillow Books (April 2009); 32 pages; ISBN 9780061576669
Book Source: Review copy provided by for free by Carin Berger and Greenwillow Books. (View my full disclosure statement for more information about my reviews.)


Related Links:
Carin Berger Website
Carin Berger Blog
Interview with Tara Lazar

Thanks to Carin Berger, I'm giving away a copy of OK Go to a Brimful Curiosities reader.

To enter, leave a comment relevant to this post.
• 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, September 7th, 2009 at 11:59 PM CST.
• Winner will be chosen at random A Prizy Pick
Three ways to gain extra entries (Maximum total entries is 4 - leave a separate comment for each entry):
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, August 24, 2009

Sid the Science Kid and Dive Olly Dive - DVD Review and Giveaway



Albert Einstein once said, "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." Preschoolers are budding little scientists and see everything as a miracle. They love learning about how things work and like to discover and explore. Their curiosity about the science of everyday life should be encouraged and nurtured. Jim Henson's newest animated puppet series shown on PBS called Sid the Science Kid helps preschoolers learn the basics of science.

We've watched Sid the Science Kid on PBS since it first debuted last year. The star of the show is a high energy, microphone toting, curious preschool-aged boy named Sid. Like so many preschoolers his favorite phrase is WHY? But he doesn't just ask why, he actively searches for answers and figures everything out by asking his parents, friends, grandmother and teacher.

Each episode of the series features a different, preschool appropriate science related question. Sid spends an entire day concentrating and learning about everything that relates to that particular science concept. Every day, the show follows the same predictable order of events:

1) Sid wakes up and thinks of a question
2) Sid discusses question with his parents at breakfast
3) Sid rides to school with his mom (and sings Mom Song)
4) Sid surveys his friends (and sings Friend Song)
5) Rug Time at school
6) Super Fab Lab where they "Observe! Compare! Contrast! Describe! and write in their journals (often includes clip of real children)
7) Play time including "Good Laughternoon" joke time
8) Susie's Song
9) Back seat driving with Grandma on way home from school
10) Evening chat with family
11) Bedtime and Sid's BIG IDEA

Earlier this month, on August 4th, NCircle Entertainment released two Sid the Science DVD's, Sid the Science Kid: Change Happens and Sid the Science Kid: The Bug Club. Each of the DVDs runs about 115 minutes and each features four different episodes. We had the opportunity to review both of the DVDs. There's plenty of content for your money's worth! My daughter preferred watching Change Happens over The Bug Club. Her favorite episode out of both DVDs was the one featuring decaying and decomposing food called "My Mushy Banana." The DVDs we received included a bonus DVD with episodes from a variety of preschool shows including WordWorld, Dive Olly Dive and more.

DVD episode listings:
Sid the Science Kid: Change Happens

Episodes discuss Transformation & Change:
- My Mushy Banana (Topic: Decay)
- My Shrinking Shoes (Topic: Growth)
- My Ice Pops (Topic: Change caused by cold)
- The Perfect Pancake (Topic: Change caused by heat)

Sid the Science Kid: The Bug Club

Episodes discuss Backyard Science:
- Hello Doggie! (Topic: Animal Communication)
- Home Tweet Home (Topic: Animal and Insect Habitats)
- The Dirt on Dirt (Topic: Dirt)
- Don't Forget the Leaves (Topic: Leaves)

Sid the Science Kid is one of the most educational shows for preschoolers available right now. The episodes are perfect for those with short attention spans because they are broken up into small manageable segments. My daughter especially loves all the songs and the joke time. I try to watch the episodes with my daughter so that we can talk about the science concepts discussed on the show and apply them at home. Another reason the shows gets a thumbs up from me -- the characters are ethnically diverse and multi-generational. Only a few minor complaints: Sid's chuckle gets on my nerves and Dad (a.k.a Mort) looks way too dorky and reminds me Dick Van Dyke's toy character in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. The gorgeous corresponding Sid the Science PBS website is full of several episode related activities and games and even includes a comprehensive parents and teachers page for those that wish to incorporate the show's concepts into home or school studies.

Dive Olly Dive: Ship Shape Sub deserves its own time in the limelight, so I'll post a review later after I have time to sit and watch the whole DVD. The DVD released on August 4th along with the Sid the Science DVDs. I've never seen the show on TV. According to a news release, "Dive Olly Dive! follows the fun-filled underwater escapades of Olly and Beth, two young research submarines-in-training." Children learn about ocean life and ocean eco-systems through watching the animated show along with learning about friendship and teamwork.

DVD Source: Review copies provided for free by NCircle Entertainment. (View my full disclosure statement for more information about my reviews.)

Related Links:
PBS Kids Sid the Science Kid
NCircle Entertainment
The Jim Henson Company
Jim Henson's Creature Shop - Learn how Henson Digital Puppetry Studio produces Sid the Science Kid
Dive Olly Dive Website

Win a copy. NCircle Entertainment has kindly offered to giveaway all three of the DVDs shown above to a Brimful Curiosities reader.

To enter, leave a comment relevant to this post. (Just for fun, let me know one science experiment you remember doing as a child or have worked on with your children at home.)
• 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, September 7th, 2009 at 11:59 PM CST.
• Winner will be chosen at random
Three ways to gain extra entries (Maximum total entries is 4 - leave a separate comment for each entry):
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.

Full to the Brim - Kid's Book Giveaway List (8/24/09)

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:
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society Book Giveaway (Adult Fiction) Ends 8/24/09
Damas, Dramas, and Ana Ruiz Book Giveaway (Adult Fiction) Ends 8/31/09
Fairy Godmother Academy: Birdie's Book Prize Pack (tween) Ends 8/31/09
Nickelodeon Olivia DVD Ends 8/31/09 (DVD, not a book but book related)

Other book giveaways:
Mom Fuse - Book Giveaway Ends 9/4/09
Paper Fashions Fantasy by Klutz
What's that Smell - Book Giveaway Ends 9/11/09
Paper Fashions Fantasy by Klutz
Susan Heim on Parenting - Book Giveaway Ends 9/4/09
Personalized book from I See Me
Vintage Books my Kid Loves - Book Giveaway Ends 8/30/09
A Tree Is Nice Janice May Udry
Busy Mommy - Book Giveaway Ends 9/4/09
Full House: An Invitation to Fractions
Mommy PR - Book Giveaway Ends 9/2/09
Yuki and the One Thousand Carriers
Janet Halfmann - Book Giveaway Ends 9/12/09
Little Skink's Tail and Seven Miles to Freedom by Janet Halfmann
My Little Hen - Book Giveaway Ends 9/7/09
Cooking Fun or Crafting Fun by Rae Grant
Flexible Dreams - Book Giveaway Ends 8/28/09
Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories book Giveaway
Circle C Ranch - Book Giveaway Ends 8/31/09
Lapbook and Circle C Adventure book of choice
What Mommies Need - Book Giveaway Ends 9/6/09
Chicco’s Talking Vacation Car and picture book
A Park Avenue Princess - Book Giveaway Ends ??
Geektastic - Stories From The Nerd Herd By: Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci
Free Book Friday Teens! - Book Giveaway Ends 8/28/09
THE WICKED LOVELY SERIES books by Melissa Marr (YA)

More book giveaways (lots of YA) at Ms. Bookish Big List of Book Giveaways 8/23 edition.
Jake Lsewhere's Musings lists lots of book giveaways in Morning Book Giveaways.


Other Giveaways
Frugal Girls - Cookbook Giveaway Ends 9/1/09
Freezer Friendly Meals and Kids Cooking for Mommies
Kid Buy Products - DVD Giveaway Ends 8/31/09
Scholastic Treasury of CHICKA CHICKA 123 and More Counting Fun DVD
Things Moms Like - Giveaway Ends 9/8/09
Anatex Magnetic Trace a Letter from Wooden Toddler Toys
5 Minutes for Mom - Giveaway Ends 8/28/09
Gift Certificate to Oompa Toys
Muse Reviews - Giveaway Ends 8/26/09
Sorting Suitcase
Muse Reviews - Giveaway Ends 9/1/09
Teaching Cash Register


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

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Ripley's Believe It or Not: Seeing is Believing - Book Review


A blinking eye on the front cover? I wouldn't expect less from a Ripley's Believe or Not Book, especially one titled Seeing Is Believing. If you dare to open the massive book, you find all sorts of weird and crazy and sometimes just downright disgusting curiosities inside. Ripley's oddities have fascinated people ever since 1918 when Robert Ripley began his search for the unusual and featured them in his cartoon columns.

Seeing Is Believing, the sixth book in Ripley's annual series, showcases the world's weirdest with all-new strange facts from the past to the present. Released earlier this month, it's a pretty cool compilation of facts, stories, and pictures--something for everyone. (Though, due to the graphic content of some of the photos, the book is probably best read by adults and older children.) There's lots to be found in this large volume including a kitten with two faces, a sweater wearing tree, strange balloon creatures and a fold out middle section featuring historic circus side show performers. Sometimes the science behind the strange is explained in detailed "Ripley's research" entries.

Readers can visit http://www.ripleybooks.com/ for book extras including videos and pics, like this video of dolphins making bubble rings.



For book lover's there's even a few unbelievable entries about books. Did you know...
- "Library Book 288 Years Overdue: A book about the Archbishop of Bremen that was borrowed from a university library in Cambridge, England, in 1667, was finally returned in 1955." - Pg. 8 (Hey, I don't feel as bad now about not taking back my books on time. I've never been that late!)
- "The book Greatest of All Time, a tribute to boxer Muhammad Ali...weighs 75 lb." - Pg. 201 (Hate to lug that one in my backpack!)

The page showing Brian Dettmer's amazing book carvings is my absolute favorite part of the book. He performs "autopsies" on books, using a knife and other tools to remove sections of a book to create his sculptures. I also loved Wisconsin artist Troy Landwehr's impressive cheddar cheese carving of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

Yes, Ripley's Believe It or Not! Seeing Is Believing is truly "eye-catching" and hard to put down once you pick it up!

Ripley's Believe It or Not! Seeing Is Believing; Ripley Publishing (August 2009); 256 pages; ISBN 9781893951457; $28.95
Book Source: Review copy provided by for free by publisher. (View my full disclosure statement for more information about my reviews.)

Related Links:
http://www.ripleybooks.com/
Official Ripley Blog
Ripley's Believe It Or Not! Website

Friday, August 21, 2009

Full to the Brim - Kid's Book Giveaway List (8/21/09)

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:
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society Book Giveaway (Adult Fiction) Ends 8/24/09
Damas, Dramas, and Ana Ruiz Book Giveaway (Adult Fiction) Ends 8/31/09
Fairy Godmother Academy: Birdie's Book Prize Pack (tween) Ends 8/31/09
Nickelodeon Olivia DVD Ends 8/31/09 (DVD, not a book but book related)

Other book giveaways:
Beth Fish Reads - Book Giveaway Ends 8/27/09
Albert the Fix-it Man by Janet Lord
Cool Baby Kid - Book Giveaway Ends 8/31/09
MJM Customized Book
Momstart - Book Giveaway Ends 9/14/09
MJM Customized Book
5 Minutes for Books - Book Giveaway Ends 8/26/09 ?
Pocket Doodles for Kids
5 Minutes for Books - Book Giveaway Ends 8/26/09?
The Scrambled States of America by Laurie Keller
Kids Stuff World - Book Giveaway Ends 8/26/09
Kohls Cares for Kids Book and Plush Giveaway
Momma's Gone Over the Wall - Book Giveaway Ends 8/31/09
The Night Before Kindergarten by Natasha Wing
United States of Motherhood - Book Giveaway Ends 10/7/09
Harry Potter book giveaway
Robyn's Online World - Book Giveaway Ends 9/7/09
Harry Potter book giveaway
Moms's Marbles - Book Giveaway Ends 9/10/09
Harry Potter book giveaway
She Scribes - Book Giveaway Ends 8/31/09
2010 National Geographic Kids Almanac and Backpack back to school Prize Pack
Tree Root and Twig - Book Giveaway Ends 8/21/09
Max Spaniel: Dinosaur Hunt by David Catrow
Look What Mom Found...and Dad too - Book Giveaway Ends 9/9/09
Klutz Tricky Videos and a Chicken Socks selection
The Mommy-Files - Book Giveaway Ends 9/2/09
3 signed books by David Michael Slater, including Flour Girl, Cheese Louise, and Jacques and Spock
Tree Root and Twig - Book Giveaway Ends 8/24/09?
I’m Your Bus
Claire Mysko - Book Giveaway Ends 8/31/09
Boyology by Sarah Burningham; North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley and School of Fear by Gitty Daneshvari (YA)
aPARENTLy Speaking - Book Giveaway Ends 8/24/09
Almost by Richard Torrey
Journey2Learn - Book Giveaway Ends 8/21/09 2pm EST
Hank the Cowdog book
Well Read Reviews - Book Giveaway Ends 8/22/09
Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli


Other Giveaways
dkMommy Spot - CD Giveaway Ends 8/25/09
Picnic Playground CD Putumayo Kids
Mommy Daddy Blog - Giveaway Ends 9/9/09
Olive Kids Lil’ Reader Kit
Steals and Deals - Giveaway Ends ??
School Bus Puzzle Giveaway


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

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Lands' End Twitter Party Tonight 8/20 from 7-9 CST

I still need to buy a few more school supplies yet. My daughter will attend her first day of school in a few weeks. Lands' End offers great back-to-school products from backpacks to clothes. My daughter already has a nice collection of their cotton jersey dresses perfect for play but still dressy enough to be considered "dress clothes."

If you'll be on twitter tonight from 7:00 P.M. - 9:00 P.M. CT, be sure to join the Lands' End Twitter Party. (hashtag #landsend) For more information and to RSVP, visit 5 Minutes for Mom.

Olivia (Nickelodeon) - DVD Review and Giveaway


One of the first books my daughter received was the board book version of Olivia by Ian Falconer. Only a few months old at the time, she didn't really appreciate the book gift. But sometime around the age of two or three, she became quite fond of the lively little girl pig with a big imagination. We've since read nearly all the picture books in the Olivia series. Toddlers and preschoolers love Olivia so it was no surprise to me when Nick Jr. started airing an animated television series earlier this year based on the bestselling book series. Just last week on August 11, 2009, Nickelodeon released an Olivia DVD showcasing some of the original TV episodes (and a couple of brand new ones).

For those not familiar with Olivia, she's an adventure loving 6-3/4-year-old pig with a super vivid imagination. Olivia dreams big, always imagining herself as larger than life characters. She has two younger brothers, Ian and William. Sibling rivalry and jealousy are main themes in the episodes, and Olivia calls her little brother Ian, "little bother." A few of the episodes show Olivia attending school, competing with her friend Francine and relying on friend Julian. The catchy theme song is an attention getting, jazzy ditty - O-LI-VI-A! Animated shorts play between the episodes.

My daughter enjoyed all the episodes, but she really, really likes the brand new episode, "Olivia Acts Out." Olivia wants to star as "Queen of the Fairies" in her school play, but instead her teacher casts her in the role of "Cow #2." To her disappointment she only has one boring line, "Moo." She makes the most of her moo with a performance that is over the moon. I loved Olivia's clever "Rules of Life." (Rule #5: "Not everyone can wear red, especially when you're pink.")

Viewers should know that although the episodes are based on the Olivia books and include some phrases from the books, they are entirely new plots not seen in the book series. Also, the producers decided to move beyond Falconer's unique minimalist colors of red, white and black by showing the characters and settings in full color. However, Olivia still wears her signature red outfits! I think kids will appreciate the animated episodes more if they've been previously introduced to Olivia's character by reading the book series. Later this year Simon & Schuster plans to publish several Olivia TV Tie-in books.

Episode List: (as shown on back of DVD)

Olivia Acts Out - As Cow #2 in the school play, Olivia tries to make the moooost of her role.
Olivia and Grandma's Visit - Olivia and Ian must share a bedroom during Grandma's visit.
Olivia Plays Piano - Ian is great on the piano, so jealous Olivia tries to ship him to Siberia!
Olivia Trains Her Cat - Olivia suggests a pet talent show when she fibs that Edwin, her cat, can do ballet.
Olivia and the Crystal Ball - When Ian and Olivia break Dad's new trophy, Madam Olivia predicts big trouble!
Olivia Plays Soccer - Olivia becomes goalie on the school soccer team.
Olivia Packs Up - Not wanting to share, Olivia searches for a place with no "little bothers" in sight.
Olivia Is Invited to Dinner - Francine invites Olivia for dinner.
Olivia DVD Not Rated-95 minutes; Bonus Features: Olivia Photo Gallery; Released August 11, 2009; $16.99 SRP
DVD Source: Review copy provided for free by Bender/Helper Impact, Nickelodeon and Paramount Home Entertainment

Related Links:
Nick Jr. Olivia Website
http://www.oliviathepiglet.com/ - Learn more about Ian Falconer and have fun with Olivia and join her fanclub
Olivia Teacher/Librarian Activity Guide (includes coloring sheet) [pdf]
Wikipedia List of Olivia Episodes

Win a copy. Nickelodeon has kindly offered to giveaway an Olivia DVD to a Brimful Curiosities reader.

To enter, leave a comment relevant to this post or let me know your favorite animal picture book character.
• 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, August 31st, 2009 at 11:59 PM CST.
• Winner will be chosen at random A Prizy Pick
Three ways to gain extra entries (Maximum total entries is 4 - leave a separate comment for each entry):
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, August 19, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - 90th




Grandpa celebrated his 90th! He still lives on the farm where he grew up and keeps up a nice garden.

What happened in 1919? Fact Monster from Information Please has all the answers: http://www.factmonster.com/year/1919.html

A couple of 1919 trivia bits from Fact Monster:
- Dial telephones are introduced by the American Telephone and Telegraph Company.
- The 18th amendment to the Constitution, prohibiting the sale of alcoholic beverages anywhere in the U.S., is ratified (Jan. 16).

Guess what else turned 90 this year? A&W root beer


Find more of this week's Wordless Wednesday (or Wordful) posts at 5 Minutes for Mom or Seven Clown Circus.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Fairy Godmother Academy: Birdie's Book by Jan Bozarth - Book Review and Giveaway


"Fairy godmothers do help people." She turned to me. "But the people you will help won't always know what you are doing. You will have a magic in your world that can make a difference, not just to people but also to the world itself. And in your case, your family - those of the Arbor Lineage - has magic that helps the green world the most." - The Fairy Godmother Academy: Birdie's Book by Jan Bozarth

When thinking of stories involving fairy godmothers, Cinderella probably comes to mind first. But how does a fairy godmother learn her trade? Author Jan Bozarth has her own ideas about fairy godmothers. In her book series, The Fairy Godmother Academy, all fairy-godmother's-in-the making must complete special quests and gain wisdom through specialized training through the Fairy Godmother Academy. Sometimes fairy-godmother's-in-training are just ordinary girls that don't even realize they possess special skills. Such is the case with a twelve-year-old girl named Birdie Cramer Bright.

Birdie doesn't have a clue what lies in store for her when she visits Mo, her long-lost grandmother. Birdie's mother, Emma, doesn't get along her Grandma Mo at all and calls her a crazy old bat. But when Birdie finally meets her grandmother for the first time, she finds that they have many things in common. They both share a love of plants and can even name species by botanical (Latin) names. During her three day visit Birdie also discovers that she belongs to the Arbor Lineage of fairy-godmothers. After she stumbles upon an old book called "The Book of Dreams" she learns more about her lineage and enters a world called Aventurine. There she makes a new friend her age named Kerka and meets several mythical creatures including the Willowood Fairies. If Birdie intends to become a fairy godmother, the fate of the Arbor Lineage and all that is green lies in her hands. With Kerka's help, she must complete a quest to save the rotting Glimmer Tree and repair her broken family talisman, the Singing Stone.

A cross between the Disney Tinkerbell stories and Harry Potter, Birdie's Book is a imaginative fantasy for tween girls. Birdie goes on an magical adventure of self-discovery, learns about responsibility and tries to encourage reconciliation between her mother and grandmother. I enjoyed the intergenerational aspect of the book (perfect for mother/daughter bookclubs), the use of a family tree and the Latin phrases sprinkled throughout the book. Scrapbook style images of birds, flowers and other objects add interest to the book, sometimes appearing as faded pictures under the text. Birdie is a highly likeable character and she makes interesting observations, comparing people to flowers (her mom is like a calla lily and her grandmother, a tiger lily).

Birdie's Book releases on August 25, 2009 and is the first book in The Fairy Godmother Academy series. The series also includes a multimedia component featuring a website and trading cards. Readers can experience the dream world of Aventurine by visiting the corresponding online website and Fairy Godmother Academy social network at http://www.fairygodmotheracademy.com.

The Fairy Godmother Academy #1: Birdie's Book by Jan Bozarth, decorations by Andrea Burden. Random House Books for Young Readers (August 2009); 224 pages; ISBN 9780375851810; paperback; Ages 9-12 (tween)
Book Source: Review copy provided by for free by Creative Asylum and Random House. (View my full disclosure statement for more information about my reviews.)




Register to win a Hello Dreamer party kit at http://www.giaheadquarters.com or win one right here at Brimful Curiosities!
Win a "Hello Dreamer" Party prize pack, that includes:

The Fairy Godmother Academy #1: Birdie's Book and
Iron-on Transfers,
Music CD,
Lineage Journal Book Pages,
Wisdom cards
Stickers

To enter, leave any comment relevant to this post or let me know what special talent or wisdom would you like to have if you were a fairy godmother.
• 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, August 31st, 2009 at 11:59 PM CST.
• Winner will be chosen at random A Prizy Pick
Three ways to gain extra entries (Maximum total entries is 4 - leave a separate comment for each entry):
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.

Full to the Brim - Kid's Book Giveaway List (8/17/09)

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:
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society Book Giveaway (Adult Fiction) Ends 8/24/09
Damas, Dramas, and Ana Ruiz Book Giveaway (Adult Fiction) Ends 8/31/09

Other book giveaways:
5 Minutes for Books - Book Giveaway Ends 8/26/09?
choice of book (up to $30) from Inscribe-It books
5 Minutes for Books - Book Giveaway Ends 8/26/09?
Silver Dolphin books: Oceans: A Journey from the Surface to the Seafloor and Rainforest
5 Minutes for Books - Book Giveaway Ends 8/26/09 ?
Owl and Otter - set of 4 Books (early readers)
Vintage Kids' Books My Kid Loves - Book Giveaway Ends 8/23/09
Sam, Bangs & Moonshine by Evaline Ness
Not So Average Mama - Book Giveaway Ends 8/30/09
Pocket Doodles for Kids by Bill Zimmerman
Sweeps4Bloggers - Book Giveaway Ends 8/23/09
The Monsterologist: A Memoir in Rhyme -Ghostwritten by Bobbi Katz
Sweeps4Bloggers - Book Giveaway Ends 8/24/09
Constance and Tiny & Constance and the Great Escapee by Pierre Le Gall
Juggling Life - Book Giveaway Ends 8/21/09
Max Spaniel: Dinosaur Hunt
Park-Avenue Princess - Book Giveaway Ends 9/4/09
113 Things to do by 13
Mommy-Files - Book Giveaway Ends 8/30/09
Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler (YA)
Heck of A Bunch - Book Giveaway Ends 8/30/09
Silver Dolphin Book of choice
MommyPR - Book Giveaway Ends 8/28/09
Frecklebox item of choice
Roads to Learning - Gift Basket Giveaway Ends 8/21/09
The House at Pooh Corner and A Child's Garden of Verses


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

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Max Said YES! The Woodstock Story by Abigail Yasgur and Joseph Lipner - Book Review


"One farmer did not think the same; And Max Yasgur was his name. He raised cows, sold milk and cheese. He liked kids with big ideas like these. And Max said Yes!" - Max Said YES! The Woodstock Story by Abigail Yasgur & Joseph Lipner, illustrated by Barbara Mendes

Max Yasgur's 600 acre dairy farm in Bethel New York was the site of the Woodstock Music and Art Fair held on Aug. 15-18, 1969. Without Max, Woodstock may have never taken place. A children's picture book titled Max Said Yes! The Woodstock Story tells about this legendary moment in history, the weekend when peace, music and love pervaded the Yasgur farm.

Who better to write a Woodstock story than a relative of the farmer that shared his land? Abigail Yasgur, a second cousin of Max Yasgur, was only 14 when Woodstock took place. She did not attend the festival but it has obviously impacted her life in big ways, and she's been asked many times about her relation to Max. She and her husband Joseph Lipner even named their own son after Max. Their book is about the values that define the Woodstock generation: peace and love and the idea of acceptance and kindness toward others.

The hippies and long-haired men, the rain, the mud, the hot sun, the long lines of traffic and large crowds, the stage where famous musicians played - the authors write about all those iconic images using rhyming text and show how Max welcomed the world to his dairy farm. The rainbow hued illustrations by Barbara Mendes full of smiling, joyful concert-goers, rolling pastures and dairy cows, further romanticize the Woodstock experience.

I cannot even fathom what Woodstock must have been like to see in person. The thought of over 400,000 all congregated on one rural farm is beyond my comprehension. The festival took place before I was born. My preschool daughter can't really understand the magnitude of it either. Max Said YES! provides a gentle, sterilized introduction to this period in rock and roll history for young children. Phrases such as "Not long ago, when mom and dad were young" and "Ask mom and dad, who won't forget" make the book a little confusing to read, because many of the parents that will read the book to their children (like me) probably weren't even born yet at the time of Woodstock. Despite this minor oversight, those that witnessed Woodstock and are now grandparents, those parents that wish they'd been old enough to see the festival--that's the audience that will enjoy reading and sharing this book.

From what I've read, it seems not even the organizers of the festival expected such a huge turnout. Many of the local residents opposed the gathering from the beginning, but Max Yasgur took a chance and offered his land. I wonder what he must have thought as he looked over the sea of people on his land? The last few pages of the book include additional information about Woodstock and the following quotation. On the last day of the festival, Max spoke from the stage to the hundreds of thousands of kids:
"I'm a farmer...I don't know how to speak to twenty people at a time, let alone a crowd like this. But I think you people have proven something to the world...a half a million young people can get together and have three days of fun and music and have nothing but fun and music, and God bless you for it."


Max Said Yes! The Woodstock Story by Abigail Yasgur & Joseph Lipner, illustrated by Barbara Mendes. Change the Universe Press (May 2009); 32 pages; ISBN 9780615211442
Book Source: Review copy provided for free by authors/publisher (View my full disclosure statement for more information about my reviews.)


Related Links
Max Said Yes - Official Book Website
YouTube - Max Yasgur speaks at Woodstock '69
The Jewish Daily Forward - "Max Said Yes: The Farmer who Hosted The Woodstock Festival Is Remembered in a Children’s Book" Article

Friday, August 14, 2009

Last Call for Nominations- Book Blogger Appreciation Week


(Information directly from http://bookbloggerappreciationweek.com/)

The Second Annual Book Blogger Appreciation Week will be held September 14-18, 2009.

Nominations close Saturday, August 15, 2009


Last year over 400 blogs came together to celebrate the art of book blogging during the first ever Book Blogger Appreciation Week! I am so pleased to announce that the second annual Book Blogger Appreciation Week will be taking place September 14-18.

WHO Anyone who blogs about books is invited to participate. In fact, we want everyone who blogs about books and reading to be a part of this week!

WHAT A week where we come together, celebrate the contribution and hard work of book bloggers in promoting a culture of literacy, connecting readers to books and authors, and recogonizing the best among us with the Second Annual BBAW Awards. There will be special guest posts, daily blogging themes, and giveaways.

WHEN September 14-18, 2009

WHERE Here at the new Book Blogger Appreciation Week Blog! (Please note that this year there are three separate blogs and feeds—one for the main event, one for giveaways, and one for awards.)

WHY Because books matter. In a world full of options, the people talking about books pour hard work, time, energy, and money into creating a community around the written word.

-----------------------------------------------------


I've never participated in Book Blogger Appreciation Week before but I'm going to try to become involved this year. Here are my answers to the meme.

1). What has been one of the highlights of blogging for you?
One of my favorite aspects of blogging is the opportunity to directly work with children's book authors. I've met some really, really wonderful people in the book world and have discovered many new books as as result of my blogging.

2). What blogger has helped you out with your blog by answering questions, linking to you, or inspiring you?
The book blog world has a lot to offer. It is too hard to name one and I'm leaving out a ton by just naming a few. In the beginning, Shelly from Write for a Reader offered a lot of support. Bingo from Bookin' with Bingo has been generous with her comments and awards. For interesting posts, information and discussions, I like to read Natasha's Maw Books Blog and Jen Robinson's Book Page. The Book Blogs Ning group is the perfect place for book bloggers to hang out.

3) What one question do you have about BBAW that someone who participated last year could answer?
I'm fairly busy with my family but plan to participate as much as I can. What parts of Book Blogger Appreciation Week should I really focus on given my limited availability?

Full to the Brim - Kid's Book Giveaway List (8/14/09)

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:
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society Book Giveaway (Adult Fiction) Ends 8/24/09
Damas, Dramas, and Ana Ruiz Book Giveaway (Adult Fiction) Ends 8/31/09

Other book giveaways:
Frugal Girls - Book Giveaway Ends 8/27/09
Book of Your Choice from Kids Can Press
Freebies4Mom - Book Giveaway Ends 8/25/09
Mischief Maker's Manual by Sir John Hargrave
Energizer Bunny's Mommy Reports - Book Givaway Ends 8/29/09
Lets Get Ready for Kindergarten (English or Bi-Lingual) and Lets Get Ready for First Grade
Teaching Heart Mom - Book Giveaway Ends 8/14/09
First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg
Vintage Kids' Books My Kid Loves - Book Giveaway Ends 8/16/09
Jack Kent's Twelve Days of Christmas
Mama Notes - Book Giveaway Ends 8/25/09
6 Books including Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown and If You Give a Pig a Pancake by Laura Numeroff
Bloggin' 'bout Books - Book Giveaway Ends 8/30/09
Secrets of Truth & Beauty by Megan Frazer and Psych Major Syndrome by Alicia Thompson (YA)
Presenting Lenore - Book Giveaway Ends 8/31/09
Bloomsbury YA Prize Pack (8 books!) (YA)
BlessedwithGrace - Book Giveaway Ends 8/21/09
Along Came You by Karona Drummond
Teens Read Too - Book Giveaway Ends 8/31/09
YA Books Giveaway August 2009 Contest
Cynsations - Book Giveaway Ends 8/31/09
Various YA Books (Read post for entry details)
Confessions of a Moody Mommy - Book Giveaway Ends 8/28/09
Max Spaniel: Dinosaur Hunt by David Catrow
SpanglishBaby - Book Giveaway Ends 8/16/09
I Know the River Loves Me by Maya Christina Gonzalez
The Funky Monkey - Gift Basket Giveaway Ends 8/18/09
A plush Curious George and matching hardcover Curious George book from Baby Book Baskets
Prairie Tales - Book Giveaway Ends ?? (comments now closed 8/14)
Read and Share Toddler Bible


Other Giveaways
The Book Chook - Furniture Giveaway Ends 8/20/09
CSN Furniture Giveaway (Bookcase anyone?)
SheGeeks.com - HUGE computer giveaway Ends 8/16/09
Dell Mini 10 Netbook Giveaway (These are so incredibly awesome)
Teaching Heart Mom - DVD Giveaway Ends 8/14/09
set of three Scholastic DVDs

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

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Dinotrux by Chris Gall - Book Review


"CRACK! BONK! DOZERATOPS had no patience. Trees and boulders-get out of the way! DUMPLODUCUS was a litterbug. What at MESS!" - Dinotrux by Chris Gall

I've witnessed plenty of mechanical dinosaurs in my day. Old trucks and cars left in my grandfather's field to rust and tractors that look like they should have been sent to the metal scrap yard years ago. But I can't say that I ever imagined them as "real" dinosaurs that once roamed the earth long, long ago. What would a bulldozer dinosaur look like? Author/Illustrator Chris Gall decided to show the world. Roaring, loud, destructive mechanical dinosaurs fill the pages of his newest children's book, Dinotrux.

Gall tells the story of the Dinotrux species from prehistoric times to present day. Oh yeah, they are all present in his book - the Dozeratops, the Craneosaurus, the Semisaur - in their menacing, fiery glory. The expressive text filled with noisy sounds is similar to the writing style in Kate and Jim McMullan's I'm Dirty! and I Stink! books. "RUMBLE! RUMBLE! RUMBLE!" and "HOOOOOOOOOONK!" The Dinotrux manners need refining; they shovel in the food, burp and perform other body functions right out in the open. A big, fold-out page in the back shows what happened to the prehistoric Dinotrux. Kids can compare prehistoric Dinotrux to modern versions by looking at the illustrations on the endpapers.

Dinotrux has "boy" written all over it. My princess crazy daughter warily looked at the pictures out of the corner of her eye as I read the story to her. I'm not sure she knew exactly what to make of it, with the angry looking cavemen screaming and running away from massive, prehistoric mechanical monsters. But, since we just visited the Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton at The Field Museum in Chicago, at least she seemed to enjoy the picture of a Dinotrux fossil on display. The napping pile of snoring Deliveradons (Delivery trucks) made me giggle. Can't get enough Dinotrux? A Dinotrux film is possibly in the works. Dreamworks Animation bought the screen rights to the book before it was even published.



By the way, I'm quite certain the massive, destructive Dinotrux are not extinct. Here's a recent spotting of a certain Megasaurus species. Apparently, others have seen Robosaurus eating cars as well. Know any kids that like to watch Monster Trucks in action? The Dinotrux picture book would be perfect for them!
Dinotrux by Chris Gall. Little, Brown Young Readers (June 2009); 32 pages; ISBN 9780316027779
Book Source: Review copy provided for free by Hachette Book Group (View my full disclosure statement for more information about my reviews.)

Related links:
Chris Gall - Author Website
Dinotrux Educator's Guide [pdf]

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Damas, Dramas, and Ana Ruiz by Belinda Acosta - Book Review and Giveaway


"As Ana walked down the hall to her office, flipping through the pages of Your Quince magazine, something wilted inside her. The young girls in the magazine looked like women, not girls. Sí, her little girl was becoming a woman. She knew Carmen would grow up one day, but with all the drama and Carmen working to send her poor mother to an early grave, Ana still found herself thinking, 'How did it happen so soon?'" - Damas, Dramas, and Ana Ruiz by Belinda Acosta

First of all, to understand the events in Damas, Dramas, and Ana Ruiz, you need to know what the word quinceañera means. It's a celebration or coming-of-age party held on a girl's fifteenth birthday that typically begins with a religious ceremony. And it is apparently a good way for mothers and daughters to bond. At least, that is what Ana Ruiz hopes will happen as she tries to plan her daughter Carmen's quinceañera. Ever since Ana separated from her husband, Esteban, she's not been able to connect with Carmen. Rather, Carmen blames Ana completely for the separation and refuses to hold any sort of meaningful conversation with her mother. Ana's son, Diego and her niece, Bianca try to help smooth things over between mother and daughter, but despite the quinceañera planning, their relationship remains strained. Ana wants to tell her daughter the truth about Esteban, but she doesn't want to break daddy's girl's heart.

While Ana struggles to regain her daughter's love, she also struggles to regain confidence in herself. She has always been the strong one. She was the first girl in her family to go to college, and she managed to raise two kids at the same time. Yet, her separation from Esteban completely shattered her life. She doesn't know if she should try to reconcile or move on. To complicate matters further, a handsome and suave artist named Carlos Montalvo enters her work life. Over the course of planning the quinceañera, both Carmen and Ana grow up in their own separate ways.

When I picked up my copy of the book Damas, Dramas, and Ana Ruiz, I was caught off guard. "Como se dice?" -- Umm, let me ask my translator, i.e. computer. Most of the book is written in English with a few Spanish terms effortlessly thrown in every so often to spice things up. While you can understand the story perfectly fine without knowing a bit of Spanish, I found it helpful to refer to my translator every once and awhile. That said, I'm glad I stepped outside my normal reading sphere because I learned about another culture and their traditions. Traditions like quinceañeras.

Using subtle humor and an almost narrative writing style at times, Acosta manages to successfully portray a strained parent/child relationship in her book, just as the colorful cover suggests. (Though I don't think Carmen's quinceañera dress was red?) There are a lot of tense situations and many situations where it is evident that the characters deeply love one another. This would make an appropriate YA cross-over book, especially for those interested in bilingual reads. Acosta's depictions of strained parent/child relationships are realistic, as are her portrayals of the strong emotions and resulting family stress that occurs when parents separate. At times I got frustrated at Ana because she refused to level with her daughter and discuss facts. However, as a parent I can also understand how she would wish to shield her child from all things ugly. Acosta succeeds in writing an appealing and touching book that explores the relationship between a mother and a teenage daughter.

Damas, Dramas, and Ana Ruiz by Belinda Acosta. Grand Central Publishing (August 2009); 336 pages; ISBN 9780446540513
Book Source: Review copy provided for free by Hachette Book Group

Related Links:
Belinda Acosta - Author Website
Discussion Guide
Hachette Early Birds Blog Tours List of all the participating bloggers in Damas, Dramas, and Ana Ruiz August Blog Tour
SpanglishBaby post on Quinceañeras (includes info about Verizon Wireless Quinceañera party giveaway worth $45,000)
Win a copy! This review is part of Hachette Early Birds Blog Tours, and Hachette Book Group has kindly offered to giveaway (3) copies of Damas, Dramas, and Ana Ruiz to 3 Brimful Curiosities readers. 3 COPIES!

To enter, leave any comment relevant to this post. Thanks! Just out of curiosity, have you ever attended a quinceañera?
• 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, August 31st, 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.