Friday, October 30, 2009

Fawlty Towers: The Complete Collection Remastered - DVD Giveaway


Quite a few years ago, before the kids were born, our neighbors hosted a Halloween costume party for the adults in the neighborhood. We always had fun trying to decide what kind of costume to wear. Unfortunately we moved from the neighborhood and haven't been to many Halloween parties since (besides the ones for our kids.) If we were attending this year, I think we might have went with a "Fawlty Towers" theme just so we could enter the Fawlty Towers Lookalike Contest on Facebook. My husband would make a good Basil Fawlty. The Grand Prize includes a Signed John Cleese Photo, Signed Fawlty Towers DVD, Fawlty Towers embroidered white terry-cloth bathrobe, Fawlty Towers story of Britain’s Favorite Sitcom book and Fawlty Towers corgi toy car.

To mark the 30th anniversary of the series, BBC Warner just released a Fawlty Towers remastered DVD set on October 20th. Now I've written about what the kids and I like on my blog but haven't mentioned a whole lot about my husband's favorites. He's been a Monty Python fan ever since I've known him and thinks John Cleese is the cheese. For those not familiar with the Fawlty Towers television series, it's a classic British sitcom from the 1970's starring John Cleese. Cleese plays a hotel manager named Basil Fawlty who is snobbish and often rude to the guests at the hotel. His incompetent staff and annoying wife round out the circus. It's the perfect farce and the hilarious series amuses my husband greatly. I've never seen the show but from viewing the YouTube videos, it does look like it could garner some good laughs.


While we haven't had a chance to watch the new DVD set, thanks to BBC Warner and their PR firm, one very lucky Brimful Curiosities reader will win the Fawlty Towers Remastered: Special Edition box set. (For the first time, I'm slightly jealous of my readers!)

To enter, leave a comment letting me know which Fawlty Towers character you look the most like. (Check out the "cast and crew" tab on the BBC America Shop for name ideas.)
• 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, November 16th, 2009 at 11:59 PM CST.
• Winner will be chosen at random
Four 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.


Thanks to BBC for this giveaway opportunity. I did not receive my own DVD set to review. (View my full disclosure statement for more information about my reviews/posts.)

Full to the Brim - Kid's Book Giveaway List (10/30/09)

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 Related Giveaways (see sidebar for all giveaways):

Testing the Ice: A True Story About Jackie Robinson by Sharon Robinson - Picture book giveaway Ends 11/2/09

Other book giveaways:
Raising Itty-Bitty Bookworms - Book Giveaway Ends 11/5/09
Three Lee and Low Books: Mud Tortillas, Two Sweet Peas & No Mush Today
Playing by the Book - Book Giveaway Ends 11/9/09
Copy of the book of your choice from those reviewed on Playing by the book
The Mommy-Files - Book Giveaway Ends 11/12/09
123 I Can Build by Irene Luxbacher
The Mommy-Files - Book Giveaway Ends 11/12/09
Me and You by Genevieve Cote
The Mommy-Files - Book Giveaway Ends 11/12/09
The Legend of Ninja Cowboy Bear by David Bruins and Hilary Leung
The Mommy-Files - Book Giveaway Ends 11/12/09
Snowy Sports: Ready, Set, Play by Per-Henrik Gurth
Mommy-Files - Book Giveaway Ends 11/12/09
By the Sword and Upon Secrecy
The Bragging Mommy - Book Giveaway Ends 11/6/09
Hooked on Phonics Learn to Read-2 Level set
Jaina's Mom - Book Giveaway Ends 11/13/09
Pretty Please Press set of 4 books
Chief Family Officer - Book Giveaway Ends 11/5/09
Flat Stanley & Stanley's Christmas Adventure by Jeff Brown
Punky Monkeys - Book Giveaway Ends 11/8/09
Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories Giveaway
Frugal Plus - Book Giveaway Ends 11/11/09
Dewey There’s a Cat in the Library! by Vicki Myron, Bret Witter and illustrated by Steve James
Frugal Plus - Book Giveaway Ends 11/3/09
My Paper Memory Quilt: A Family Activity Pack by Bill Zimmerman
Day is Done, including a three-song CD by Peter Yarrow
5 Minutes for Books - Book Giveaway Ends 11/4/09
Waiting for the Owl's Call by Gloria Whelan
Review from Here - Book Giveaway Ends 10/31/09
Emily Waits for Her Family by Carol Zelaya
24/7 Moms - Book Giveaway Ends 11/8/09
Here's Lily: Lily Series by Nancy Rue
Mama Bzz - Book Giveaway Ends 11/7/09
Rattlesnake Rules
Frugal Plus - Book Giveaway Ends 11/9/09
The Jumbo Book of Needlecrafts
In Need of Mercy - Book Giveaway Ends 11/13/09
Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories Giveaway
Winning Readings - Book Giveaway Ends 11/15/09
Let's Walk the Talk! by Danae Dobson (Christian teen)
Winning Readings - Book Giveaway Ends 11/15/09
A Little Help From My Friends by Anne Dayton & May Vanderbilt (Christian teen)
AuthorsNow! - Book Giveaway Ends 11/3/09
Signed copy Initiation by Susan Fine (teen)
AuthorsNow! - Book Giveaway Ends 11/3/09
Signed copy Rosie and Skate by Beth Ann Bauman (teen)
A Nut in a Nutshell - Book Giveaway Ends 11/13/09
Encyclopedia of Immaturity Vol. 1 and 2 by Klutz!
Sarah's 101 in 1001 - Book Giveaway Ends 11/7/09
Going Bovine by Libba Bray (Teen)
Not enough bookshelves - Book Giveaway Ends 11/5/09 (UK or US)
Fire by Kristin Cashore (Teen)
Chronicle of an Infant Bibliophile - Book Giveaway Ends 11/9/09
Winter's Tail children's book, Nintendo DS game, stuffed animals, and keychain


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

Thursday, October 29, 2009

What My Children are Reading / stART - The Ghost's Dinner by Jacques Duquennoy


BOO to you! The kids wanted to read all about ghosts this week. Our selections from the library included a couple safe, not too spooky reads: The Teeny Tiny Ghost by Kay Winters, illustrated by Lynn Munsinger and The Berenstain Bears and the Ghost of the Forest by Stan & Jan Berenstain.

The overall ghost favorite, the one we have read multiple times every single day is The Ghost's Dinner by Jacques Duquennoy.

Henry the ghost invites six of his ghost friends to his castle for a dinner party. He serves them colorful drinks and tasty food. The white ghosts change colors depending on what they consume. One drinks spinach juice and turns green. They all eat pumpkin soup and turn orange. (Some turn more orange than others depending on if they've taken seconds.) Eating salad makes them look leafy and eating cheese makes them holey. After a few other delicious entrees they start to wonder if they'll ever turn white again.

This book is the cutest ghost book I've ever read. Both my toddler and preschooler simply adore everything about it. Even the end pages are interesting. When the ghosts arrive they are skinny and when they leave they have full bellies. The dining room in the castle has four windows and the moon moves from window to window as the night progresses. The ghosts magically disappear and Henry hides, teasing his guests. This book was originally published in France by Albin Michel Jeunesse. I'd really like to purchase a copy for our personal library. Unfortunately the book is out of print! Please, could some publisher reprint it? I don't think I can afford to buy a used copy.

The Ghost's Dinner by Jacques Duquennoy. Golden Books, Western Publishing Company, Inc. (1994); (unpaged); ISBN 9780307130761
Book Source: Review copy from local library


The Ghost's Dinner focuses on colors. For our craft we painted ghosts using water-color paint. My daughter painted her seven ghosts seven different colors. I questioned her about what food would turn each ghost each of the seven colors. We searched the Microsoft clip art and found corresponding food to go along with each ghost.



My toddler enjoyed painting multi-colored ghosts. Maybe they ate confetti cake?





Post what you've been reading each week with your kids at The Well-Read Child or Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns. A Mommy's Adventures hosts the "stART" meme (Story + Art) each week. Hope Is the Word hosts a Read Aloud Thursday link-up as well.

October Winners - Brimful Curiosities

I've been trying limit my posting of winners to one a month. Here is the list of winners for October. As always, all winners have or will be contacted by email. After the initial email they have 72 hours to get back to me before another winner is chosen. (Click on the image to enlarge the Random.org numbers.) Thanks so much for visiting Brimful Curiosities. I appreciate your comments!

The Listeners by Gloria Whelan, Illustrated by Mike Benny

The winners are dvice (comment #119), rubynreba (comment #31), Anna (comment #4), Donna> (comment #123), and rhapsodyinbooks (comment #7)


Yoplait "Delight Your Day" gift pack

The winner is Dolphin Girl (comment #54).


Charlie and Lola Volume Nine: What Can I Wear for Halloween? DVD

The winner is Stephanie (comment #41).


Curious Chef 8 Piece Cutlery & Serving Set

The winner is Ryan, Corrie, and Max (comment #113).


My Little Pony: Twinkle Wish Adventure DVD

The winner is Anonymous commenter frogz60 (comment #32).

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Kaskey Kids "Sports Guys" Action Figures - Review and Giveaway


The 105th World Series begins tonight with the New York Yankees hosting the reigning champion from last year, the Philadelphia Phillies. We haven't watched much baseball after losing interest earlier in the season after the Milwaukee Brewers started performing poorly. But we'll watch some of the World Series play, especially tonight's game because former Brewer CC Sabathia starts on the mound for the Yankees.

A while back Kaskey Kids sent us a set of baseball sports action figures called Baseball Guys. Today we took the Baseball Guys out of their box and set them up in preparation for a pretend play World Series game. The red and blue uniformed players work perfectly for the 2009 World Series. Plus, the set has made it easier to explain some baseball basics to our preschooler and has increased her interest in baseball. Who knows, she might even watch an inning or two tonight!

The Baseball Guys set encourages imaginative play. Just like those classic army men or the cowboy sets, the "Sports Guys" action figures are made of hard plastic. Each figure has a wide enough base so it stands up without falling over. The players are amazingly realistic and detailed with painted uniforms. Each player even has it's own separate number on the back of it's uniform. The figures are approximately 2-3/4" tall. The Baseball Guys set has won an iParenting Media Award and Creative Child Magazine Preferred Choice Award.

The Baseball Guys set comes with 2 baseball teams (red and blue) and includes 30 pieces total:
• 2 Batters
• 6 Base Runners
• 14 Fielders
• 2 Pitchers
• 2 Catchers
• A scoreboard
• An umpire
• Green felt playing field (28" x 28")
• Instructions and Playbook

There aren't any actual rules that accompany the set. The instructions and playbook only provides a simplified explanation of the game of baseball. Instead, kids are encouraged to make up their own games and play freely with the figures without rules or guidelines. However, if kids need a few suggestions, the Kaskey Kids Website Kid's Corner includes a Ways to Play section. I think the baseball dice game sounds like fun. The website also shows images of the figures used as cake or party decorations. My favorite picture though is the Halloween costume of the little boy dressed as a football field.

My daughter likes to set up her own games on the felt field. She also likes to count all the figures and line them up in a straight line. She especially enjoys playing with the set if Daddy joins in and pretends along with her. Unfortunately sometimes her toddler brother wants in on the action as well. His way of playing involves destruction by scattering all the players over the floor and running off with the field.


The Kaskey Kids line of toys includes other sports besides baseball:
Football Guys, College Football, Hockey Guys, Soccer Guys and Girls, and Mini Packs.

My husband is a huge football fan and has his eye on the Football Guys: Green vs. Black so that he can set up his own Packer game. There's no Wisconsin team yet in the College line, but maybe in a few years the company will offer more teams. Sports directors and coaches have used the sports figures as training tools for their teams. Although girls can play with any of the sets, the Soccer Girls is marketed specifically towards girls and features ethnically diverse female players in pink and blue uniforms.

The sets make great gifts for both adults and children. Consider one for your sport's enthusiast this upcoming holiday season! Use the promo code "GoGuys" for a 10% discount at the Kaskey Kids web site. (From 11/1/09 until 1/1/10, use the code "Holiday" for 20% discount.)

Kaskey Kids has kindly offered to give away one Sports Guys Action Figure set to a Brimful Curiosities Reader. (The winner chooses which sports action figure set they would prefer to receive.)

To enter, leave a comment letting me know which "Sports Guys" set you'd choose if you won.
• 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, November 16th, 2009 at 11:59 PM CST.
• Winner will be chosen at random
Four 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.


Thanks to Kaskey Kids for this review opportunity and for providing a free Baseball Guys set for my family to review. (View my full disclosure statement for more information about my reviews.)

Wordless Wednesday - Bewitched Bridge




Look through the bridge and you will see a spooky sight awaiting thee.



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

Monday, October 26, 2009

Spotlight on Bethany House - Christian Fiction Novels

Bethany House continuously releases quality Christian fiction novels. Their light reads are perfect for inspiration and enjoyment. This past summer I read three of their new releases, each book very different from the others but good in its own way.

"Fir, cedar, pines, oaks, and maples densely timbered this section. But it was the redwoods that never failed to fill him with awe. Their feathery-looking needles and reddish bark. They way they stretched up to incredible heights and the sheer magnitude of their circumferences. How long ago had God planted their seeds?" - A Bride in the Bargain by Deeanne Gist

Several states can claim a rich logging history. Strong and hardy lumberjacks made their living in the logging woods. Set in the redwood forests of Washington State, Deeanne Gist's newest Christian romance, A Bride in the Bargain, tells the tale of a lumberjack named Joe Denton who needs to find a wife so that he can keep his land. For a fee of $300, he contracts with a man named Asa Mercer for a mail-order bride. Anna Ivey, a young civil war orphan living in Massachusetts needs to get out of a bad work situation. She signs up to travel to Washington State with the understanding that she would work as a cook for a lumberjack. Once she arrives in Washington they both realize they have been tricked as Anna has no interest in becoming Joe Denton's bride. However, Joe paid her way so she is indebted to him and remains on as his cook. She must overcome her fear of hurting those she loves and he must learn to love something more than his land before they can have any hope of getting together.

The book, partly based on actual historical events, provides and interesting fictionalized account of lumberjacks in the 1800's (springboards and cropped pants) and also an unusual portrait of a real man called Asa Mercer who conned several men and women into paying him to work as a matchmaker. Gist incorporates real newspaper clippings in her book and has a special way of making history come alive. She also is a master at writing scenes full of romantic tension and pulls the reader into her stories with "edgy inspirational” flair. Her lead female characters are always feisty and a bit stubborn. Speaking of spunk, my husband's great-grandmother worked as a cook in a Wisconsin lumber camp. To my knowledge, she didn't share many stories, but I imagine she had plenty to tell. Reading stories such as A Bride in A Bargain peaks my interest about life in a lumber camp and makes me want to learn more about the actual men and women that lived and worked in the logging industry.
A Bride in the Bargain by Deeanne Gist. Bethany House Publishers (June 2009); 368 pages: ISBN 9780764204074
Source: Review copy provided for free by Bethany House



"To acquire another correspondent gave me great joy. I may not have had face-to-face friends, but my friends of the pen ... I would hold such relationships against any others." - How Do I Love Thee by Nancy Moser

The love story of Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning is one of most fascinating romances in history. Their romance inspired the famous and most well known love poems ever written, "Sonnets from the Portuguese." Nancy Moser in her historical novel How Do I Love Thee? provides a fictionalized though highly researched account of this amazing relationship, in particular Elizabeth's story.

While we were dating my husband thoughtfully presented me with a copy of the Sonnets from the Portuguese (the poems can be found in the back of Moser's book as well). I love Elizabeth's poems and writings, but I never knew anything about her until I read Moser's book. What a very interesting, unusual life! A recluse from a very early age, Elizabeth hardly ever left her room and rarely received visitors. She suffered from a lung condition, took many different medicines (some opiates), suffered from emotional bouts and rarely received visitors. Her oppressive father watched over his children like a hawk and refused to allow them to marry. Her romance with Robert Browning began after she received a letter from him in which he stated his admiration for her work. They conducted a secret courtship by letters and eventually eloped, against her father's will.

I learned a great deal about Elizabeth Barrett Browning from reading Moser's book. The chapters detailing her romance with Robert Browning were simply captivating. I also enjoyed the author's notes at the end of the book and the inclusion of various quotes from the actual letters written. I admit I struggled with some of the earlier chapters that covered her life as a recluse, and I found some of Moser's phrasing a little tedious to read. But mostly I liked the book with all my heart. I may just have to revisit it, especially on Valentine's Day, for a little inspiration.
How Do I Love Thee? by Nancy Moser. Bethany House Publishers (June 2009); 368 pages: ISBN 9780764205019
Source: Review copy provided for free by Bethany House




"The good stuff in life doesn't always come with a big sign around its neck. We have to look, to seek. You can't help but find when your hand is firmly encased in His."
- How Sweet It Is by Alice J. Wisler

Sometimes inexplicable accidents occur. Sometimes hearts break. Lasting scars often cut deep into the soul and healing isn't easy. After several life-shattering events, a twenty-seven-year-old Atlanta chef named Deena Livingston desperately needs a change. When she inherits her grandfather's cabin in North Carolina she seizes the opportunity with trepidation and hope. She arrives there and to her surprise she learns her inheritance comes with a condition: she must teach middle-schoolers at The Center run by the Nantahala Presbyterian Church how to cook. But the biggest life surprises come when she learns to trust others and the Lord, to forgive and to confront her own pain. Her new friends help her heal -- Jonas, the plumber that has deep faith and understanding, Zack, the kind social worker and the eight kids at The Center who each struggle with their own hurt.

How Sweet It Is offers readers all sorts of uplifting messages about life and faith. Wisler's use of scripture passages and conversations between the characters help remind us all of our blessings and to trust in the Lord. Readers journey on an emotional rollercoaster with Deena, yet the ride is so worthwhile. The well-written characters and the tender romance appeal to the heart -- how sweet it all is! I liked the quirky moments in the story like the bits of Dr. Seuss and the Eagles songs injected in the conversation, the hooting owls that keep Deena awake, and the raccoon bowl that her grandfather said must be used for his Southern Peanut Soup. I loved how an object like a raccoon bowl could take on such meaning. The raccoon bowl was an unusual yet special connection to her grandfather and reminded me of the antique hand mixer that I cherish. Both my grandmother and mother have the same mixers and every time I pick mine up I feel a connection with them. In fact, I think it is about time I cooked up something sweet, like the scrumptious cake on the front cover.
How Sweet It Is by Alice J. Wisler. Bethany House Publishers (May 2009); 320 pages: ISBN 9780764204784
Source: Review copy provided for free by Bethany House


Now it's your turn. Let me know about the Christian fiction you've been reading lately. I'm always looking for recommendations!

(View my full disclosure statement for more information about my reviews.)

Full to the Brim - Kid's Book Giveaway List (10/26/09)

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 Related Giveaways (see sidebar for all giveaways):

Testing the Ice: A True Story About Jackie Robinson by Sharon Robinson - Picture book giveaway Ends 11/2/09

Other book giveaways:
Raising Itty-Bitty Bookworms - Book Giveaway Ends 10/30/09
Read and Share Bible: Over 200 Best Loved Bible Stories
Momstart - Book Giveaway Ends 11/9/09
TIME For Kids President Obama: A Day in the Life of America’s Leader
I Heart Change - Book Giveaway Ends 11/1/09
Armadilly Chili by Helen Ketteman
Me and My Boys - Book Giveaway Ends 11/7/09
Personalized book from YourPictureBook.com
A Book Bloggers Diary - Book Giveaway Ends 11/23/09
Horrid Henry and the Mummy's Curse by Francesca Simon
My Life With Four Kids - Book Giveaway Ends 11/7/09
Spoonfuls of Stories books, a box of Cheerios, and a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble
Mommy Has to Work - Book Giveaway Ends 11/2/09
The Last Wild Witch by Starhawk
JDaniel4's Mom - Book Giveaway Ends 11/10/09
Gross Out: Animals That Do Disgusting Things and Freak Out! Animals Beyond Your Wildest Imagination
Lisa Reviews - Book Giveaway Ends 11/5/09
The Marvelous Toy by Tom Paxton
Mommy PR - Book Giveaway Ends 11/5/09
Parlour Games for Modern Families
24/7 Moms - Book Giveaway Ends 11/8/09
Randy Kazandy Where Are Your Glasses? by Rhonda Fischer
Largehearted Boy - Book Giveaway Ends 10/30/09
Kids Go! by They Might Be Giants & illustrator Pascal Campion plus an assortment of books & CDs
Crumley Family Blog - Book Giveaway Ends 10/27/09
Spoonfuls of Stories books, a box of Cheerios, and a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble
Read Bree - Book Giveaway Ends 10/28/09 (teen)
Prize #1: signed copy of WAR DANCES by Sherman Alexie, and a signed copy of THE MAZE RUNNER by James Dashner
Prize #2: signed copy of ONCE WAS LOST by Sara Zarr
Prize #3: signed copy of HUSH HUSH by Becca Fitzpatrick
Blessed with Grace - Book Giveaway Ends 10/29/09
The Princess and the Three Knights by Karen Kingsbury

Ms. Bookish lists more book giveaways this week in her 10/25 giveaway edition. (She's only listing international book giveaways now)

Other Giveaways:
Booking Mama - Book Giveaway Ends 11/2/09
THE MOTHER DAUGHTER BOOK CLUB series plus a copy of BOOK BY BOOK
Chronicle Books - Giveaway Ends ??
Stencil 101 D├ęcor

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

Sunday, October 25, 2009

What My Children Are Reading / stART - Leaves by David Ezra Stein

This past week the trees in our area hit peak fall colors. The red, orange, and yellow leaves are so beautiful. To celebrate the season we've mainly been reading books about leaves and fall. Here are a few books we checked out from the library: Fall Leaves Fall! by Zoe Hall, illustrated By Shari Halpern; Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf by Lois Ehlert; I Know It's Autumn by Eileen Spinelli, illustrated by Nancy Hayashi and The Little Yellow Leaf by Carin Berger.

Here's my review of another autumn book we read and enjoyed:

"He tried to catch them and put them back on ... but it was not the same." - Leaves by David Ezra Stein

A simple but beautiful book about leaves and changing seasons. A little bear experiences his first autumn season and witnesses the leaves falling from the trees. Worried, he tries to fix the trees but the leaves keep falling. Feeling very tired he grabs armfuls of leaves and prepares to hibernate. Time goes fast as the seasons change from fall, to winter and finally spring.

Falling leaves excite kids and this book provides an opportunity to explain the change of seasons to a young child. The illustrations so perfectly depict the fall colors and falling leaves that it feels like you're glancing out a window experiencing it all for the first time yourself. The kids thought it was funny that the bear tried to put the leaves back on the trees. David Ezra Stein won the 2008 Ezra Jack Keats New Writer-Award for Leaves.
Leaves by David Ezra Stein. Putnum Juvenile (August 2007); 32 pages; ISBN 9780399246364
Book Source: Library copy (View my full disclosure statement for more information about my reviews.)

Download a Leaves postcard: http://www.davidezra.com/LeavesCardDownload.pdf


For our craft, we collected several different varieties of leaves and examined them close up. We scanned a few of the leaves on the computer to make a pretty digital collage.



Next, we made leaf prints on freezer paper by painting the leaves with fall-colored acrylic paint and pressing each leaf onto the paper.



Post what you've been reading each week with your kids at The Well-Read Child or Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns. A Mommy's Adventures hosts the "stART" meme (Story + Art) each week.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

I Need My Monster by Amanda Noll - Book Review


"How would I ever get to sleep without Gabe's familiar scary noises and his spooky green ooze? It was no use. Gabe would be gone for a week and I just had to have a monster." - I Need My Monster by Amanda Noll, illustrated by Howard McWilliam

Monsters - those furry, sometimes scary creatures are favorites of children. Seems kids can't get enough monsters. But here's a good question. What if monsters resided under their beds? What would those monsters look like? What kind of noises would they make?

In Amanda Noll's new picture book, I Need My Monster, little Ethan has a monster under his bed, a monster named Gabe with sharp claws and a long, spiked tail. Ethan likes his monster. He needs his monster. His monster is just scary enough to keep him in bed at night and, after all, that is the point of having a monster. Unfortunately, Ethan's monster Gabe takes a vacation, and Ethan can't get to sleep. He ends up interviewing potential replacements but none of them meet his standards. He doesn't want a bow wearing girl monster or a monster with a ridiculously long tongue. He only wants Gabe.

I Need My Monster shows off the silly and sometimes remotely frightening side of monsters in a fun, teasing way. Scary monsters, humorous monsters, refined monsters -- five monsters with hilarious names (Gabe, Herbert, Ralph, Cynthia, Mack) star in I Need My Monster. The book lends itself well to reading-aloud with silly voices because all the monsters have funny, interesting things to say. Even though the entire story takes place in one location, Ethan's room, artist Howard McWilliam illustrates the story perfectly, from multiple angles and perspectives. His creative images of the monsters capture and exaggerate their distinctive, often comical qualities.

Luckily my preschool daughter has never been afraid of monsters. She knows that they aren't real but just pretend. And actually my daughter likes most of the monsters in the book, all except for Gabe. He is rather scary and he needs to be to keep Ethan in bed. Most kids including my daughter enjoy getting a little scared, so long as they know that all will probably end fine. Author Amanda Noll pretty much knows how far to push the monster bit with kids (except maybe the toe-nibbling, feather pillow eating part). So, here's my advice. Kids that are already scared of monsters or might get scared of monsters should probably wait until they are a little older to read this one, until they can understand the humor. But those monster-loving children? After reading this book, they'll want a monster of their own under their bed.

(The monster under author Amanda Noll's bed is named Gertie. When asked what her monster looks like, Amanda replied, "To me, she’s always had a Loch Ness Monster feel. With a long neck, small head, and a large body that glides through the debris under my bed.")

I Need My Monster by Amanda Noll, illustrated by Howard McWilliam. Flashlight Press (April 2009); 32 pages; ISBN 9780979974625
Book Source: Review copy provided for free by author (View my full disclosure statement for more information about my reviews.)


Just for fun I asked my daughter, "If you had a pretend under-the-bed monster, what would it look like?" She happily answered and here is her description, complete with an illustration just in time for Halloween:


My monster would have orange feet, super sharp claws, and sharp, mighty teeth. It would have red hair (kind of short) and hundreds of legs and 600 arms, 2 sets of ears that look like a bunny and black fur. Sally is her name and she wears sunglasses. She eats rice, beans and chicken nuggets and chocolate cake for dessert.

What does your under-the-bed monster look like? I'm not sure what mine looks like, but he needs my cat to keep him company!

Related Links:
Amanda Noll - Author Website
Howard McWilliam - Illustrator Website
I Need My Monster Make Your Own Monster Craft
I Need My Monster Activity Guide

Friday, October 23, 2009

Full to the Brim - Kid's Book Giveaway List (10/23/09)

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 Related Giveaways:

Testing the Ice: A True Story About Jackie Robinson by Sharon Robinson - Picture book giveaway Ends 11/2/09
Charlie and Lola, Vol. 9: What Can I Wear for Halloween? DVD Giveaway Ends 10/24/09

Other book giveaways:
Karma Wilson - Book Giveaway Ends 10/30/09
One signed copy of Mr. Murry and Thumbkin (out of print) and one signed copy of Bear Feels Scared by Karma Wilson
She Scribes - Book Giveaway Ends 10/31/09
Where's my Mummy? or Henry and the Crazed Chicken Pirates by Carolyn Crimi
Twins Talk - Book Giveaway Ends 11/5/09
Two Snowflakes by Jennifer Miller
5 Minutes for Books - Book Giveaway Ends 10/28/09
Alfred Nobel: The Man Behind the Peace Prize by Kathy-Jo Wargin
Late Bloomer Online - Book Giveaway Ends 11/20/09
The Maze Runner by James Dashner (teen)
My Life with the Munkin' Man - Book Giveaway Ends 10/26/09
choice of book from Books By Tara
Manic Mommies - Book Giveaway Ends 11/1/09
Early Moments- three postage paid mini-subscriptions to Dr. Seuss and Friends
Quirky Momma - Book Giveaway Ends ??
Itty and Bitty series books, Toddler-sized T-shirt and tote bag
Reading Rocks - Book Giveaway Ends 10/31/09
first four books in the Beast Quest series (tween/middle grade)
Imagination Soup - Book Giveaway Ends 11/24/09
Famous Figures of Ancient Times
Non-toxic Kids - Book Giveaway Ends 10/31/09
I Cherish Planet Earth book and game
Now What Baby - Book Giveaway Ends 10/27/09
your choice of Usborne Stroller Books
5 Minutes for Giveaway - Book Giveaway Ends 11/7/09
SIGNED copy of The Boston Balloonies by Shankman and O'Neill
Katie's Literature Lounge - Book Giveaway Ends 10/24/09
Alfred Nobel: The Man Behind the Peace Prize by Kathy-Jo Wargin
Make - Book Giveaway Ends 11/25/09
Alex Rider books Stormbreaker and Point Blank by Anthony Horowitz (teen)
Babes and Kids Review - Book Giveaway Ends 11/4/09
Leapfrog Tag Reading System
Cynsations - Book Giveaway Ends 10/30/09
Read Beyond Reality HUGE book giveaway (teen) [scroll down toward bottom of post]
Jolly Mom - Book Giveaway Ends 11/2/09
Shankman & O'Neill Children's Books
YA Books Central - Book Giveaway Ends 10/28/09
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days (Book #4) by Jeff Kinney
Vintage Kids' Books My Kid Loves - Book Giveaway Ends 10/25/09
set of three books: Three Tales of My Father's Dragon: My Father's Dragon, Elmer and the Dragon and The Dragons of Blueland by Ruth Stiles Gannett
The Grass Stain Guru - Book Giveaway Ends 10/31/09
Blog tour for Bear-ly There by Rebekah Raye (comment on blog tour posts to win)
Mommy PR - Book Giveaway Ends 11/2/09
Alfred Nobel: The Man Behind the Peace Prize by Kathy-Jo Wargin
Quiverfull Family - Book Giveaway Ends 11/2/09
Alfred Nobel: The Man Behind the Peace Prize by Kathy-Jo Wargin
Where the Best Books Are - Book Giveaway Ends 11/15/09 [contest information on top left hand sidebar]
Flawed Dogs, the Novel: The Shocking Raid on Westminster by Berkeley Breathed
Words World and Wings - Book Giveaway Ends 11/27/09
ARC Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough (teen)

Win a Spoonfuls of Stories gift pack, box of Cheerios and a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble in these giveaways:
The Mom Buzz (Ends 11/7)
Mommyhood Unscripted (Ends 10/26)
The Queen of My House (Ends 10/25)
Gateway to Saving (Ends 10/30)
Energizer Bunny's Mommy Reports (Ends 11/7)
The Deal Fanatic (Ends 10/30)

Have a kid in kindergarten or know a kindergarten teacher? Check out the LeapFrog® Tag™ Kindergarten Program and let the teachers know about it. They could possibly get several Tag Readers plus books to integrate into their classroom curriculum if they are willing to provide feedback. More here: LeapFrog® Tag™ Kindergarten Program


Other Giveaways:
Momma In Flip Flops2 - Giveaway Ends 10/30/09
Richard Scarry Busytown Eye found it! Game and the Dr. Seuss Super Stretchy ABCs Game by I Can Do That! Games
A Mom's Balancing Act - Giveaway Ends 10/30/09
Shrinky Dinks activity kit of your choice from Creativity for Kids
Blog Fully - Giveaway Ends 10/31/09
The Big Brain Puzzle Book; featuring puzzles from the internationally-syndicated puzzle writer Terry Stickels (aids the Alzheimer’s Association)
Grosgrain - Giveaway Ends 10/25/09
The Queen of Hearts Dress and The Alice in Wonderland Dress Costumes (These are amazing, amazing, amazing...and my daughter would fit The Queen of Hearts, neighbor's girl would love to wear Alice's outfit)


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

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Free Cookie and Hot Chocolate at Barnes & Noble

Really, I'm up for a trip to the bookstore any day, but this looks like a particularly good weekend to take your kids to Barnes & Noble bookstores. On Saturday, October 24th, customers can get a free small cookie and kid-sized cup of hot chocolate. Print out your coupon using this link.

On top of that, Saturday at 11:00 a.m. happens to be Halloween Storytime at B&N. Find out what your local store is planning.

Want to know about current B&N children's book bestsellers? Books from the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney top the list. And, no surprise here, Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak makes the list, most likely due to the recent movie release.

(I did not receive any compensation to write this post, nor was I contacted by any public relations firm. Just thought the content might interest my readers.)

Joshua Bell "At Home With Friends" - CD Review


Rainy days like today call for contemplative, quiet music. A violin and the pitter patter of rain make the perfect pairing, so our choice of music this morning was Joshua Bell's newest CD, At Home With Friends. In this eclectic compilation, several different performers like Josh Groban, Anoushka Shankar, and Sting perform separate pieces with the very talented violinist Joshua Bell.

The inspiration behind At Home With Friends comes from Bell's own experience with home musicales, informal evenings when he gathers together with family or friends and plays all kinds of music along with his guests. Each track on the CD is as different as each of the performers, and the result reminds me of a crazy quilt of classical, jazz, pop and more. The patchwork of several different musical styles all blends together in a creative, free-flowing way to form an unusual but exquisite product.

The first track on the CD, "I Loves You Porgy" featuring Chris Botti, is my personal favorite. The trumpet, violin and piano combine together in this reflective, soft, jazzy melody. Frankie Moreno's version of the Beatle's "Eleanor Rigby" caught my attention and intrigued me. (You can watch a performance of this song on YouTube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KSpuMkHAkUE). Anoushka Shankar's expressive sitar piece "Variant Moods" is full of rhythm and is simply mesmerizing. This CD will remain in my CD player for those times when I desire a relaxing, lyrical mix of music.

Related Links:
Joshua Bell - Official Website
YouTube Joshua Bell - At Home With Friends EPK

Thanks to One2One network and Sony Music for this review opportunity and for providing a free CD for my family to review. (View my full disclosure statement for more information about my reviews.)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - That's not a stick! (Brown Snake)





On my way to pick my daughter up at the school bus stop on Monday I almost stepped on this little snake. It made me jump because it looked like a stick in the road at first but then started wiggling. I quickly ran back to the house to grab the camera and snapped a couple shots. I'm pretty sure the species is Brown Snake (DeKay's Snake).

According to an article on the Milwaukee Public Museum website, "Brown snakes are often seen crossing roads as they migrate to or from their winter dens in May and October. They live in surface litter and under rubbish, stones and logs."

The snake was still there after I picked my daughter up. My daughter kept her distance, but she wasn't too afraid considering the small size of the snake (they only grow 9-13 inches long). A year ago we found a snakeskin in our yard by the kids swing set. Now we have a good idea what kind of snake most likely left it there for us to find.

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

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories

Have you seen the Cheerios boxes with the children's book inside that just came out this month? The Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories books are printed in both English and Spanish. Here's a list of the five books, all by Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing:

Junkyard Fort by Jon Scieszka, and illustrated by David Shannon, Loren Long and Dave Gordon.

Tea for Ruby by The Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, and illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser.

Sleepyhead
by Karma Wilson and illustrated by John Segal.

Ballyhoo Bay by Judy Sierra and illustrated by Derek Anderson.

What's Under the Bed?
written and illustrated by Joe Fenton.

From now until October 30, 2009, you can vote for which books you want Cheerios to put in the box in 2010! Vote for one of the 13 books every day at http://promo.simonandschuster.com/cheerios-poll/poll.php

Coupon: $1 off box of Original Cheerios: (IE Link) (FF Link)
(coupon link via Common Sense with Money)

Win the books and a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble in these giveaways:
The Mom Buzz (Ends 11/7)
Mommyhood Unscripted (Ends 10/26)
The Queen of My House (Ends 10/25)
Free 2 Be Frugal (Ends 10/22)
Coupons 4 Tucson (Ends 10/23)
Gateway to Saving (Ends 10/30)
Energizer Bunny's Mommy Reports (Ends 11/7)


(I did not receive any compensation to write this post, nor was I contacted by any public relations firm. Just thought the content might interest my readers.)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Full to the Brim - Kid's Book Giveway List (10/19/09)

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 Related Giveaways:

Testing the Ice: A True Story About Jackie Robinson by Sharon Robinson - Picture book giveaway Ends 11/2/09
Charlie and Lola, Vol. 9: What Can I Wear for Halloween? DVD Giveaway Ends 10/24/09

Other book giveaways:
The Lateiner Gang - Book Giveaway Ends 11/28/09
MEGA contest (30+ books and a $200 apple gift card)
The Children's Book Review - Book Giveaway Ends 11/11/09
The Encyclopedia of Immaturity Vol 2 by The Editors of Klutz
The Children's Book Review - Book Giveaway Ends 10/28/09
Horrid Henry and the Mummy's Curse by Francesca Simon (tween, middle grade)
Blogging Mama - Book Giveaway Ends 10/21/09
Alienated by David O’Russell and Andrew Auseon (tween, middle grade)
5 Vinez Monkeys - Book Giveaway Ends 10/23/09
Usborne Books 1,2,3 Jigsaw Book
Simply Stacie - Book Giveaway Ends 11/21/09
Danny the Dragon "Meets Jimmy" by Tina Turbin
Winning Readings - Book Giveaway Ends 10/31/09
The Blue Umbrella by Mike Mason (tween/teen)
Muse Reviews - Book Giveaway Ends 10/22/09
Harry and Horsie by Katie Van Camp
5 Minutes for Giveaways - Book Giveaway Ends 11/6/09
The Encyclopedia of Immaturity Vol 2 by The Editors of Klutz
Resourceful Mommy - Book Giveaway Ends 10/23/09
Where the Wild Things Are Prize Pack
Traveling Mom - Book Giveaway Ends 10/23/09
The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Junior Edition
Little House in the Suburbs - Book Giveaway Ends 10/26/09
First Ballet by Deanna Caswell, illustrated by Elizabeth Matthews
Write for a Reader - Book Giveaway Ends 11/5/09
Testing the Ice by Sharon Robinson, illustrated Kadir Nelson
Blog Fully - Book Giveaway Ends 11/4/09
“WOW! WOW! WUBBZY! WUBB-IDOL” DVD (starring Beyonce Knowles), two (2) Scholastic “WOW! WOW! WUBBZY!” themed books and the newest WOW! WOW! WUBBZY! Sing-A-Song CD
dkMommy Spot - Book Giveaway Ends 10/20/09
That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals: A Book About Vegans, Vegetarians, and All Living Things by Ruby Rot
BookLust - Book Giveaway Ends 11/5/09
signed copy of The Pirate and the Penguin by Patricia Storms
A Patchwork of Books - Book Giveaway Ends 10/22/09
A Practical Guide to Vampires Prize Pack
Reign of the Girl Child - Book Giveaway Ends 10/28/09
Testing the Ice by Sharon Robinson, illustrated Kadir Nelson
Loving Heart Designs - Book Giveaway Ends 11/8/09
Testing the Ice by Sharon Robinson, illustrated Kadir Nelson
Stacy's Books - Book Giveaway Ends 10/31/09
Choice of Book off her 100 Favorite Books list
A Keeper at Home - Book Giveaway Ends 10/20/09
The Princess and Three Knights by Karen Kingsbury


HarperCollins Children's - Where the Wild Things Are Read It Before You See It! Sweepstakes
Grand Prize: Xbox 360 console, Where the Wild Things Are video game, and copies of Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, Where the Wild Things Are: The Movie Storybook, Where the Wild Things Are: Puzzle Book, and Where the Wild Things Are: Coloring and Creativity Book with crayons
First Prizes (5): Copies of Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, Where the Wild Things Are: The Movie Storybook, Where the Wild Things Are: Puzzle Book, and Where the Wild Things Are: Coloring and Creativity Book with crayons

HarperCollins Children's - Fall Picture Book Sweepstakes
Harry and Horsie poster and copies of Harry and Horsie by Katie Van Camp, Mimi and Lulu by Charise Mericle Harper, An Amelia Bedelia Celebration by Lynn Sweat and Fritz Siebel, The Happiest Hippo in the World by Danielle Steel, Tess's Tree by Jess M. Brallier, and Olu's Dream by Shane W. Evans

Ms. Bookish lists more book giveaways this week in her 10/18 giveaway edition.

Other Giveaways:
Sweeps4Bloggers - Giveaway Ends 10/27/09
Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure DVD
Another Day, Another Thought...or two - Giveaway Ends 10/25/09
PenPal Notes

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

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Charlie and Lola Volume Nine: What Can I Wear for Halloween? - DVD Giveaway and Review


Charlie and Lola, the brother and sister duo with wonderful British accents, are favorites in our house. My kids love watching the television series on Playhouse Disney. In the series, older brother Charlie keeps an eye on and plays with little sister Lola who is "small and very funny." They spend time doing normal, everyday kid things and the dialogue between the two is exceptionally amusing. We also own several of the Charlie and Lola series of books (both original and TV tie-ins). The original books inspired the animated TV series. Author Lauren Child created Charlie and Lola and wrote the first book titled I Will Not Ever Never Eat a Tomato, published in 2000. If you have the time, visit Lauren Child's website and find the Charlie and Lola character page to read her fascinating "The Charlie and Lola Story." She fills in all the blanks about the books, the TV series and even tells who inspired Lola and where the idea of pink milk originated.

Several of the Charlie and Lola episodes are available on DVD. The latest release is called Charlie and Lola, Vol. 9: What Can I Wear for Halloween? The DVD includes nine episodes. Only the first episode, "What can I Wear for Halloween," focuses on the Halloween holiday. In this episode, Charlie, Lola, Marv, and Lotta proudly discuss the pumpkin they grew from seed. They plan to show it off at the school Halloween party. Lola can't decide what she wants to wear and shrugs off several of Charlie's suggestions like deep sea monster and spider. Something unfortunate happens to the pumpkin the kids grew, but in the end the "biggest, orangiest pumpkin lantern in the whole of Halloween" shines brighter than all.

Like I said, only one episode focuses on Halloween. The other episodes discuss fall and leaves, helping others, school projects, sleepovers and, of course, there's always time for pink milk. My favorite episode "I am Going to Save a Panda" covers endangered animals and extinction. Teachers could easily incorporate this episode into their lesson planning involving ecology and wildlife preservation for Endangered Species Day or World Animal Day. I also loved the mention of a game called "Conkers" that uses seeds of horse-chestnut trees strung on a string in the autumn episode titled "Everything is different and not the same." We've collected horse-chestnut seeds but I had never heard of the game until viewing this DVD. My daughter's favorite episode "But we always do it like this" is all about building sand castles and getting along with others.

The DVD menu is one of the cutest I've ever seen. When you click on the soccer ball to view the DVD, Lola blows bubbles in her pink milk...too fun! The interesting cartoon animation looks similar to the original books and uses a collage method to incorporate real photos of things like pumpkins into the cartoon. Additionally, the characters look like they are cut out of a piece of paper. All in all, (taking cue's from Lola) this is really an ever so extremely good DVD to watch with kids.

Episode List (Total viewing time approximately 120 minutes):
What Can I Wear for Halloween?
Everything is Different and Not the Same
I Am Goody the Good
But We Always Do It Like This
I Am Going to Save a Panda
I Slightly Want to Go Home
Do Not Ever Let Go
I Would Like to Actually Keep it
But I Don't Really Like This Present

Related links:
Charlie and Lola Website
Playhouse Disney - Charlie and Lola Website
Lauren Child - Author Website
BBC America Shop

Win a copy. BBC Video has kindly offered to giveaway a Charlie and Lola Volume Nine: What Can I Wear for Halloween? DVD to a Brimful Curiosities reader.

How to enter: What kind of costume do you think Lola (from Charlie and Lola) would look cute wearing? Leave a comment with your answer.
• 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 Saturday, October 24th, 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 BBC Video and Bender/Helper impact for the review opportunity.
(DVD Source: review copy provided for free by Bender/Helper Impact, Inc.
View my full disclosure statement for more information about my reviews.)

A Little Gomer Pyle - 5 Minutes for Mom Elefun & Friends Silly Kids Photo Contest

The first time my grandma saw my baby boy, she exclaimed, "His eyes are full of fun and mischief!" She got that one right. My little guy can be so darn sweet but there's always a hint of tease and silliness behind his adorable smile.

Seems every time I get the camera out the kids put on their goofiest faces, trying to capture my attention. This summer my daughter wanted me to take a picture of her holding her favorite ball. Not to be outdone, my son stepped right into the photo with this "Gomer Pyle" grin (click to enlarge). I chuckle every time I see the photo...compare it to a photo of Jim Nabors, the real Gomer Pyle for an even bigger chuckle! (Dead-on, am I right?)



5 Minutes for Mom is hosting a Silly Kids Photo Contest sponsored by Hasbro. The prize: $1,000 to use towards classes and/or education material for your child. (Second place gets $300.00). Tomorrow is the last day to enter (10/19 at 3pm Eastern). This picture of "A Little Gomer Pyle" is my entry.

Friday, October 16, 2009

No Full to the Brim Today

Sorry, I didn't get a "Full to the Brim" posted today. My husband had the entire day off so we spent some quality family time with the kids. Look for the regular post to return on Monday. Make sure to enter the giveaways on Brimful Curiosities in the meantime. Have a great weekend!

Rummino (Rummy Tile Game) - Review


Ever since our children were born, my husband and I haven't really spent much time playing board or card games together. Sure, we play Candyland and Hi Ho! Cherry-O, but I'm talking about the games meant for kids older than five. I like playing games (especially if I win), an inherited trait from my father. We played a lot of different games growing up. I posted about my love of Rummy Royal a while back. That's the game that taught me about basic poker hands like a flush and a straight. My mom's favorite game is Scrabble, so we played that game quite a bit as well.

Just recently I had the chance to review a new game called Rummino. The game combines aspects of Rummy with certain aspects of word tile games like Scrabble. Each player takes 7 tiles and then must play as many tiles as they can by adding them to runs (tiles in a sequence) or sets (tiles of the same rank). Each play is scored depending on how many tiles played and bonus points gained. The game ends when when one of the players runs out of tiles and the player with the highest score wins. The game consists of 92 tiles, a tile bag and an instruction sheet. (Best played by ages 8+ and 2-6 players).

At first, I thought Rummino sounded relatively simple, but it does require quite a bit of thought and strategy. My husband and I sat down one night and tried it out. It took us a few practice times and several glances at the rules before we caught on. Once you get the hang of it though, the game gets easier. Like they say, practice makes perfect. Besides the normal suits (hearts, spades, diamonds, clubs) and colors (red and black), the game includes a star suit and the colors blue, green, and purple. The tiles are small, about one inch square each, but you'll need a little room to spread out. The game does not come with a board so the tiles are played like dominoes on a table or surface. My only complaint: I wish Rummino would have included tile racks like Scrabble. If you want to play on the floor the pieces won't stand on carpet, making it hard to hide your "hand." Those that like games of sequence and strategy will enjoy Rummino. I can't wait to play against my dad. Think he'll let me win for once?

This post was written for Family Review Network as part of a program for Marina Games, who supplied a free game for my family to review. (View my full disclosure statement for more information about my reviews.)