Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Despicable Me Prize Pack Giveaway & Minion Madness

Want to know what the most frequented blog post is here at Brimful Curiosities? My review of the Despicable Me: Sleepy Kittens Book has received numerous hits every single day since it was posted in July. Everyone seems to want to learn more about those kittens!

I secretly think the sleepy kittens might be more popular than the Minions that star in the film! Well, then again, maybe not. The Minions have been making appearances all over as of late. Did you see them in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on the Statue of Liberty float last week? Some hardworking Minions also helped ring in opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange last Wednesday.

To help fuel the "Minion Madness" while looking forward to the Despicable Me DVD/Blu-ray release in a few weeks on December 14th, Universal Studios Home Entertainment is sponsoring a points-based sweepstakes program through January 2011. Fans can become “Masterminds” and participate in various activities and games and earn minions and the chance to win prizes. For more about the promotion and prizes, visit http://www.minionmadness.com

If you didn't win a copy of Sleepy Kittens in my last giveaway, here's another chance! Thanks to Universal Studios, Brimful Curiosities' readers can enter to win a Despicable Me Prize Pack.

One (1) Winner will receive:

* Despicable Me Nintendo DS game
* An adorable minion cap
* Sleepy Kittens book
plus one additional book selected randomly from the titles below
* The World’s Greatest Villain book
* Despicable Me: The Junior Novel
* Despicable Me: My Dad the Super Villain book

To enter, leave any comment relevant to this post. Did you see the movie this summer?
• 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, Dec. 13th, 2010 at 11:59 PM CST.
• Winner will be chosen at random
Four ways to gain extra entries (Maximum total entries is 5 - leave a separate comment for each entry):
1st extra entry: Follow Despicable Me on Twitter or Facebook
2nd extra entry: Follow Me! or subscribe by email or RSS reader
3rd extra entry: Blog about this contest then post your link in the comment section.
4th extra entry: Follow me on twitter (iambrimful) and tweet about the contest.

Thanks to Universal Studios for sending my family a minion cap. I am an Amazon affiliate and may receive a very small commission for products purchased through my Amazon links. (View my full disclosure statement for more information about my reviews.)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Yoplait Frozen Smoothies - Review & KitchenAid Blender Prize Pack Giveaway

I struggle with trying to find healthy food options for breakfast and snack time. When I'm hungry, quick and easy is the best. I'm particularly fond of smoothies, but I don't often make them because either I don't have all the ingredients needed or I'm feeling too lazy to locate them and put them all in the blender.

Recently, thanks to MyBlogSpark, I had the opportunity to try out Yoplait Frozen Smoothies. This smoothie mix is found in the freezer section of the grocery store. The smoothie package contains Yoplait frozen yogurt chips and frozen fruit -- everything needed to make your own fruit smoothie, with the exception of milk. All that you need to do is dump the contents into your blender and add milk (the package says to use skim, but I used 2% because that is what we had on hand.) It only takes a couple of minutes to make a delicious drink.

The mix comes in four different flavors: Blueberry Pomegranate, Triple Berry, Strawberry Banana, and Strawberry Mango Pineapple. One package makes two servings and each serving contains only 110 to 120 calories.

We tried out the Triple Berry flavor containing strawberries, blueberries and raspberries, and I was pleasantly surprised when I opened the package and noticed the large frozen real fruit chunks. Instead of adding 1 cup of milk, we added a little more to make a thinner smoothie that the kids would be able to drink with a straw. I like my smoothies thicker so next time I'll follow the package directions. It only took a minute for the blender to mix up the batch, and we had a nice, frothy cold drink to enjoy. It's an easy, peasy, no fuss way to a yummy smoothie. The smoothie tasted as good as anything I've made from scratch, and I love that it contains calcium and live and active yogurt cultures. My son loved his "shake." Unfortunately my daughter was less excited about it because it contains seeds. Someday soon I hope she'll get over her seeds in food issue! I plan to keep a few packages on hand for when I'm craving a light and cold fruit-filled snack.

Even though MyBlogSpark sent along an awesome 3-speed KitchenAid® Blender to use, we decided to use our own, not-as-fancy blender to review the product and will donate the lovely new KitchenAid to a charity. I'm sure a deserving family will really appreciate receiving it during the holidays.

Follow Yoplait on twitter or facebook for all the latest information and click on the widget below for coupons and more information.

Yoplait wants you make your holidays a little brighter and has offered to giveaway a gift pack to a Brimful Curiosities reader. This awesome prize pack includes two VIP coupons to try Yoplait Frozen Smoothies and a 3-speed KitchenAid® blender with a special smoothie setting.

To enter, leave a comment relevant to this post. Have you tried the Yoplait Frozen Smoothies? What flavor do you think sounds good?
• 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, December 6th, 2010 at 11:59 PM CST.
• Winner will be chosen at random
Four ways to gain extra entries (Maximum total entries is 5 - leave a separate comment for each entry):
1st extra entry: Follow Yoplait on Twitter or Facebook
2nd extra entry: Follow Me! or subscribe by email or RSS reader
3rd extra entry: Blog about this contest then post your link in the comment section.
4th extra entry: Follow me on twitter (iambrimful) and tweet about the contest.
"Win a KitchenAid Blender and Yoplait Smoothies Prize Pack - Giveaway Ends 12/6 @iambrimful http://bit.ly/eYFs5Z"

Thanks to Yoplait and My Blog Spark for this review opportunity and for providing me with free Yoplait Frozen Smoothies coupons and blender for review. (View my full disclosure statement for more information about my reviews.)

Cyber Monday Book Deals

Here are some Cyber Monday book related deals I have found online. Books make great holiday gifts!

Barnes and Noble -
Many deals on books including some picture books over 40% off
25% off one item with code B4D7H9A
Free shipping through midnight! Use coupon code B3X4N4N

Borders -
Many books are 50% off today
33% off one item with coupon code BLX5879E (Borders rewards members valid 11/29 – 12/2/10)
Selected Holiday Books for Kids 50% off
Free shipping on orders of $20+
Printable in-store coupon for 33% off

Powell's -
16% off entire order. Use code SAVE16

Scholastic Store:
20% off plus free shipping - Use code SSBF20

Christian Book.com
Free Standard Shipping until December 9th on orders of $35. Use code 338535 (via Bargain Sleuth)

$25 off your purchase of $100 or more - Use coupon code BFRDYCM

Chronicle Books -
35% off plus free ground shipping (Ends 12/5) - Use promo code FRIENDS

Little One Books -
Cyber Monday Special: add gift wrap to your entire order for free.
Free Shipping and Handling until 12/15.

The Carle Bookshop -
Free shipping November 26, 2010 through December 31, 2010

If the codes don't work, please let me know. Did you find any other great book deals today?

November Giveaway Winners

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend! We had the pleasure of spending time with family during the four day break and, of course, we ate plenty of turkey!

It's time announce the contest winners for the month of November. All winners have been contacted by email. If you are a winner you have 72 hours to get back to me before another winner is chosen. (Click on the image to enlarge the Random.org numbers.) Many thanks to all that entered the contests! I truly appreciate your comments, both on giveaway and non-giveaway posts.

Secrets to Tutu Making Success DVD

The winner is coolestfamilyontheblock (comment #4).

The Robot Book and When I’m Big!

The winner is Ticia (comment #2).

The Bug That Plagued the Entire Third Grade by Lori Calabrese.

The winner is Shelly (comment #6).

Tangled Giveaway.

The winner is Bridget R. Wilson (comment #15).

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Chronicle Books - Celebrate the Haul-idays Book Giveaway Blog Promotion

Art, design, food, photography, gardening and pop culture -- Chronicle Books publishes books worth gifting and owning. They offer a large selection of books and gifts for adults, teens and young children. My favorite area to browse is their awesome children's book division!

Right now Chronicle Books is sponsoring Celebrate the Haul-idays, a fun blog promotion. One blogger and a blog commenter will win a set of books valued up to $500. Let's just say that making book wish lists is one of my favorite things to do, so I couldn't resist this challenge! If you like my choices, make sure to leave a comment below to enter for a chance to win the list (if my post is chosen as the winning post)!

Holiday Books:

Olive, the Other Reindeer: Deluxe Edition By J.otto Seibold, Vivian Walsh ($19.99)
The Story of Snow: The Science of Winter's Wonder By Mark Cassino, Jon Nelson, Ph.D. ($16.99)
The Glorious Christmas Songbook By Cooper Edens, Benjamin Darling ($18.95)

Picture Books:

Sylvia Long's Mother Goose By Sylvia Long ($22.99)
The Big, Bigger, Biggest Book: Blue Apple Books By SAMi ($14.95)
Lots of Dots by Craig Frazier ($15.99)
Duck! Rabbit! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Tom Lichtenheld ($16.99)
For Just One Day by Laura Leuck, Marc Boutavant ($16.99)
A Long Piece of String by William Wondriska ($15.99)
Alphabeasties and Other Amazing Types: Blue Apple Books By Sharon Werner, Sarah Forss ($19.99)
Lines That Wiggle: Blue Apple Books By Candace Whitman, Steve Wilson ($14.99)
Just One Bite by Lola M. Schaefer, Geoff Waring ($17.99)
Day & Night by Teddy Newton ($14.99)
Sylvia Long's Thumbelina by Sylvia Long ($17.99)
Noah's Ark By Jerry Pinkney ($16.99)
An Egg Is Quiet By Dianna Aston, Sylvia Long ($16.99)
A Seed Is Sleepy By Dianna Hutts Aston, Sylvia Long ($16.99)

Independent/Advanced Ages:

The Ivy and Bean Secret Treasure Box: Includes Book 1, Book 2, Book 3, and a Cool Secret Surprise! ($19.99)
Ivy and Bean Boxed Set 2: Books 4, 5, and 6 Boxed set ($19.99)
Ivy and Bean: What's the Big Idea?: Book 7 ($14.99)
Tortilla Sun By Jennifer Cervantes ($16.99)

Art Books:

Taro Gomi Collection by Taro Gomi ($39.95)
DC Superheroes: A How-to-Draw Kit By DC Comics ($16.95)
Art Activity Pack Monet; Renoir; Van Gogh ($19.95)


Sprout Your Own Leafy Wonders: Complete mini-garden kit with seeds, peat, and planters ($18.99)
Eric Carle Animal Lacing Cards: Ten Cards and Laces By Eric Carle ($14.95)
Sound Bingo By Kindermusik ($16.99)

Several blogs are participating in this promotion. By creating a wish list of Chronicle Books worth $500 or less, I've automatically entered to win my list of books. Plus, if my entry is randomly chosen, one commenter on this post will also win the list, too! The promotion ends on 12/14/10. For complete details, read the official rules. View the entire list of participating blogs at http://www.chroniclebooks.com/happyhaulidays/bloglist.html.

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

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wordful Wednesday - "The Last Apple"

10 words. Any words. Back in August, artist Rebekah Joy Plett held a painting contest. I, along with many others, submitted 10 inspiring words (or less) for possible incorporation into a new painting created by Plett, a painting that she planned to auction off to benefit SOS Children's Villages Canada.

Fall was just beginning and apples abounded. Not able to resist the challenge and submitted the following list, partly inspired by one of my favorite books, The Orchard by Adele Crockett Robertson and also by my own grandmother's experiences growing up in the Great Depression:

Apples, Great Depression, beautiful young woman, basket, survival, locket, blue

She chose my words! I had the pleasure of watching the progression, from beginning to end. Here is the beautiful finished painting. The original is currently available for purchase on ebay if you'd like to place a bid. (One third of the total selling price will be donated to the SOS Children's Villages Canada. Bidding ends December 2nd.)

"The Last Apple" Great Depression original oil painting

I love Plett's artwork. Whimsical and unusual are a good words to describe many of her works. Plus, Plett is also a writer and a children's book fan and recently illustrated a series of children's books. I'm thrilled that I had the chance to collaborate in such a fun and interesting project and look forward to following Plett as she continues to create!

Just out of curiosity, what words would you select if asked to help inspire a painting?

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

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

"...Featuring Norah Jones " - CD Review

Norah Jones has the kind of timeless voice that I never tire of hearing. Her mellow, rich melodies envelope like a warm, fuzzy blanket and carry the listener away to a calm and slower paced world. Every time I listen to one of her albums I have the urge to grab a cup of coffee, sit in a comfy chair and observe the world as time passes by. The talented singer shows off her musical versatility in her newest album, ...Featuring Norah Jones. The album released last week on November 16th and is a collection of various collaborations with well known artists including the Foo Fighters, Ray Charles and Dolly Parton.

The 18 songs on the album were recorded over the last decade and showcase a wide range of musical styles. Some of my favorites include the "Virginia Moon" (with Foo Fighters) with it's jazzy, bossanova beat and "Ruler of My Heart" (with Dirty Dozen Brass Band), a bluesy song sung with attitude and heart. And, of course, November is the ideal time to listen to Norah's version of "Baby It's Cold Outside" (with Willie Nelson). The two banter back and forth together so perfectly, they could have wrote the spicy song. Another favorite toward the end of the album is a cover of an 80s song originally sung by Roxy Music, "More Than This" (with Charlie Hunter). Norah's sultry, jazzy style gives the song a whole new life. If you're a Norah Jones fan, make sure to add this album to your Christmas list.

And make sure to check out the interactive widget below. It's one of the neatest widgets I've come across. You can click on the names to hear snippets of the songs and watch videos of Norah discussing the various collaborations on the album.

Thanks to One2One Network for the review opportunity and for providing a CD for my family to review. I am an Amazon affiliate and may receive a very small commission for products purchased through my Amazon links.(View my full disclosure statement for more information about my reviews.)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Rapunzel Picture Books - A Children's Booklist

As promised, we are working our way through numerous "Rapunzel" picture books in preparation of the upcoming Disney Tangled movie release. Disney's Rapunzel, with her amazingly long hair (70 feet long according to Disney), is the latest version based on the classic fairy tale.

Like all fairy tales, the story of Rapunzel has been re-told and adapted many times. Although most of us are familiar with the Grimms' Rapunzel, earlier versions of the tale exist, notably Basile's "Petrosinella," and a French variant, "Persinette." (For detailed historical account, reference the online article, "Rapunzel, Rapunzel, Let Down Your Hair" by Terri Windling or read the author's note in Paul O. Zelinsky's Rapunzel.) In fact, in the early tales, the main character is named after parsley not rapunzel (a.k.a. rampion).

The story of Rapunzel is far more than a tale about a girl living in a tower with long golden hair who is rescued by a prince. Windling writes that, "at its root this is a story about puberty, sexual desire, and the evils of locking young women away from life and self–determination." Some parents find the text age-inappropriate for young children, as evidenced by a few shocked reactions in online reviews of Rapunzel books. In many versions, while locked in the tower, Rapunzel is secretly wed to her prince and becomes pregnant. In some stories, the sorceress learns of the lovers' secret meetings when Rapunzel remarks on her expanding waistline. In other toned-down versions, readers later learn of her pregnancy when she gives birth to twins while exiled. Some retellings leave out the pregnancy altogether.

The description of the villain also varies, but nearly always she is shown as a scary looking, extremely elderly woman (although not in the film Tangled). In some stories she is a sorceress or a witch and in others she's described as an evil fairy. I was surprised to find that in some stories, like in the Disney film, Rapunzel sometimes refers to her guardian as Mother Gothel, a German term for godmother. My daughter finds the beginning of the story upsetting because the sorceress takes the baby from her parents.

When looking for picture books about Rapunzel, I recommend using Rapunzel book gallery on SurLaLune Fairy Tales as a starting point and searching your library's holdings. Hopefully my brief descriptions below will help parents determine which stories they may want to read to their children. We will continue to update this list as we read more stories.

Classic Retellings:

Rapunzel by Paul O. Zelinsky. Dutton Children's (1997); 48 pages
Beautiful retelling written and illustrated by the talented Zelinsky. Combines elements from both Grimms' tales and earlier versions and illustrated with gorgeous oil paintings inspired by Italian Renaissance art. History of Rapunzel described in author's note at the end of the book. The book won the Caldecott Medal in 1998.
Notes: Wife eats rapunzel from sorceress' garden, features elaborately described ornate tower, a private wedding ceremony takes place in tower, the sorceress learns of relationship due to Rapunzel's mention of a tightly fitting dress and Rapunzel gives birth to twins in wilderness. More at http://www.paulozelinsky.com/rapunzel.html

Rapunzel retold by Barbara Rogasky, illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman. Holiday House (1982); 32 pages
A lovely version of Grimms' classic story of Rapunzel with perfect storybook illustrations by Trina Schart Hyman. The wonderful, detailed borders and lush illustrations have a distinctive arts and crafts feel.
Notes: Parents reside in a quaint cottage, they steal rampion from the garden of a witch named Mother Gothel. Rapunzel lives in old, derelict tower encircled by thorn bushes and upon meeting the prince, works to weave a ladder out of silk. Unfortunately, the witch learns of her secret when Rapunzel accidentally inquires why it takes longer for the witch to ascend than the prince. Marriage is mentioned briefly. Rapunzel gives birth to twins in a desolate place in the forest. This is my daughter's favorite version of the story but, sadly, it is out-of-print.

Rapunzel retold and illustrated by Alix Berenzy. Henry Holt (1995); 32 pages
This interesting version, based on a German tale older than the Grimms' tale, features Mother Gothel as an evil, ugly fairy. Otherwise the story plot is very like the typical Grimm version with Rapunzel betraying herself due to an absentminded question about the fairy's weight. Berenzy's story begins with an interesting description of the rapunzel plant, explaining that it can grow and bloom in the most desolate wastelands. Berenzy uses an unusual illustration technique, drawing with colored pencil and paint on black paper. The resulting illustrations are extremely detailed, show a wide range of light versus darkness and definitely exhibit a darker fairy tale world. Rapunzel lives in poverty for many years until the prince finally discovers her and their children who are no longer babies.

Rapunzel by Felix Hoffman
Petrosinella: A Neopolitan Rapunzel by Diane Stanley
Rapunzel (Best-Loved Classics) by Sarah Gibb (2010)
Rapunzel by Debbie Lavreys (2010)
Rapunzel by Catherine Mccafferty, illustrated by Clive Spong
Rapunzel by Dorothee Duntze
Rapunzel by Amy Ehrlich, illustrated by Kris Waldherr
Rapunzel (Flip up Fairy Tales) by Simona Sanfilippo
Rapunzel by Rachel Isadora
Rapunzel/Rapunzel: A Bilingual Book (Bilingual Fairy Tales) - by Francesc Bofill, illustrated by Joma
Rapunzel by Jutta Ash
Rapunzel by Bernadette Watts
Rapunzel by Michael Hague
Rapunzel (Troll's Best-Loved Classics) by Bert Dodson
Rapunzel by Carol Heyer
Jump at the Sun Fairy-Tale Classics: Rapunzel by John Kurtz
Rapunzel (My 1st Classic Story) by Christianne C. Jones, illustrated by Amy Bailey Muehlenhardt
Sugar Cane: A Caribbean Rapunzel by Patricia Storace, illustrated by Raul Colon

Sanitized Adaptations: (stories that omit Rapunzel's pregnancy and birth of her twin children)

Rapunzel illustrated by Maja Dusíková, translated by Anthea Bell; NorthSouth Books (1997); 32 pages
Traditional retelling with beautifully detailed watercolor illustrations by the talented Dusíková. If you are looking for a version of the story without the twins, don't miss this one. It mentions both herb terms (rampion and rapunzel), the tower includes a hook to help pull up her visitors, the witch looks exactly as you'd expect and Rapunzel betrays herself by casually mentioning that the witch is heavier than the prince. As in the familiar tale, in shock, the prince jumps out the window, falls into thorn bushes and loses his sight. Dusíková includes plenty of animals in the illustrations...make sure to look for the brown owl. Only one complaint - both Rapunzel and the prince look very young, almost too young to get married.

Rapunzel (Little Golden Books) by Marianna Mayer, illustrated by Sheilah Beckett; Golden Books (1991); 24 pages
In this version, the sorceress lives in a castle and casts a spell on Rapunzel's mother, causing her to crave the rapunzel plant. Rapunzel's parents must give their baby to the sorceress in payment for stealing her plants. Like in most tales, the sorceress eventually moves the princess to a tower without stairs or a door. The prince visits Rapunzel in the tower and the next day Rapunzel, unable to tell a lie, informs the sorceress of the prince's visit. A spell cast by the sorceress causes the prince to go blind. Beckett's illustrations have a storybook feel and are a well-suited addition to this lighter version of the story.

Rapunzel (An Easy-to-read Folktale) by Bernice Chardiet, illustrated by Julie Downing; Scholastic (1990); 32 pages
Simplified picture book version for beginning readers based on Grimms' tale. Wife eats rapunzel plants that her husband brings from the powerful witch's garden. Both Rapunzel and the witch wear colorful ornate clothing. In this retelling, the tower is located at the top of a large hill. Rapunzel works to weave a ladder of silk but the witch learns of Rapunzel's betrayal when Rapunzel accuses her of being slow and clumsy at climbing, unlike the prince. Downing's colorful watercolors add beauty and light to the story.

Fractured Fairy Tales, Parodies and Variants:

Falling for Rapunzel by Leah Wilcox, illustrated by Lydia Monks. Putnam Juvenile (2003); 32 pages

A hilarious rhyming tale of miscommunication between Rapunzel and the prince. He yells for her to let down her hair, but she is unable to hear him clearly and throws down everything but her hair (including socks, cantaloupe and a swine). The story has a silly, surprise ending. Monks' wacky and vibrant mixed-media art is done using acrylic paint, paper montage, and colored pencils.

Rapunzel: A Groovy Fairy Tale by Lynn Roberts, illustrated by David Roberts
Rapunzel: A Happenin' Rap by David Vozar

Rapunzel Commercialized/Cartoons:

Rapunzel (Timeless Tales from Hallmark) adapted by Patricia Jensen, Bedrock Press/Turner Publishing (1993); ISBN 1878685740; 32 pages
Hallmark released a series of animated classic fairy tales on video in the early 1990s called "Timeless Tales from Hallmark." They also published the stories in book form, including a version of Rapunzel. Hallmark's Rapunzel will most likely appeal to Disney Princess fans. The illustrations are cartoon-like and colorful. However, the story strays from the traditional. The witch, Scarlotta (who likes like an older version of Disney's Mother Gothel), turns the prince into a bird on his return visit to the tower. Later on, Rapunzel's tears reverse the spell. Unlike many other versions, this story does mention that Rapunzel is reunited with her parents.

Barbie: Rapunzel (Little Golden Book) by Diane Muldrow
Barbie as Rapunzel: A Storybook by Merry North, Andrea Posner-Sanchez and Mary Man-Kong
Barbie As Rapunzel by Cliff Ruby
Disney's fairy tale theater presents Mickey and Minnie in Rapunzel (Little Golden Book) adapted by Liane B. Onish ; illustrated by Len Smith & Adam Devaney
Rapunzel: Berry Fairy Tales (Strawberry Shortcake) by Megan E. Bryant
Rapunzel (Littlest Pet Shop) by Samantha Brooke

Tangled Movie Tie-In Books:
Disney Books for Young Readers, a division of Random House has published several movie tie-in books to correspond with the new Tangled release. A complete list of the books can be found at: http://www.randomhouse.com/kids/disney/books/TAN/Tangled/ along with downloadable printable pdf activities.

Interactive Disney storybooks based Tangled Disney are available from Reader’s Digest / Simon & Schuster: http://www.simonandschuster.com/search?term=disney+tangled

Related Links:
First-School.ws Rapunzel Preschool Lesson Plans

(I am an Amazon affiliate and may receive a very small commission for products purchased through my Amazon links. View my full disclosure statement for more information about my reviews.)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Full to the Brim - Kid's Book Giveaway List (11/20/10)

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

My Giveaways:
Disney Tangled Merchandise Giveaway - Ends 11/24/10
The Bug That Plagued the Entire Third Grade by Lori Calabrese - Ends 11/22/10
Huge Scholastic Holiday Book Giveaway - Ends 12/6/10

Other Book giveaways:

My Trendy Tikes - Book Giveaway Ends 11/26/10
4 Klutz Books
Becoming Sarah - Book Giveaway Ends 11/21/10
Board Book Giveaway: The Birthday Box by Leslie Patricelli; In My Nest and In My Pond, written by Sara Gillingham or Book! by Kristine O’Connell George
Angela's Analysis - Book Giveaway Ends 11/24/10
Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories Prize Pack: $25 Barnes & Noble Gift Card plus five books
My Four Monkeys - Book Giveaway Ends 11/22/10
Bink and Gollie by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee.
3 Boys and a Dog - Book Giveaway Ends 11/23/10
Worry Woo’s Nola Plush with book: The Lonely Little Monster
Trendy Mamas - Book Giveaway Ends 11/23/10
It’s Christmas David! by David Shannon
The Freebie Fairy - Book Giveaway Ends 11/26/10
Harry Potter Magic Eye Book - 3D Magical Creatures, Beasts and Beings
The Freebie Fairy - Book Giveaway Ends 11/23
Dancing Dreams animotion children's book by Kate Ohrt and illustrated by Kristi Valiant
There's a Book - Book Giveaway Ends 11/29/10
Set of Peachtree Publishing Books
There's a Book - Book Giveaway Ends 11/30/10
Hannah and the Talking Tree by Elke Weiss
My Life .. Simple and Beautiful - Book Giveaway Ends 12/15/10
Rin, Rin, Rin, Do, Re, Mi by José-Luis Orozco
Book Giveaways - Book Giveaway Ends 11/30/10
Star Wars Millennium Falcon
Book Giveaways - Book Giveaway Ends 11/30/10
Little Scholastic Peek-a-Zoo
Book Giveaways - Book Giveaway Ends 11/30/10
Create Your Own Enchanted Storybook
Reviewed by Mom - Book Giveaway Ends 12/1/10
Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories Prize Pack: $25 Barnes & Noble Gift Card plus five books
This Mom Loves - Book Giveaway Ends 12/1/10
A Porcupine in a Pine Tree by Helaine Becker and Listen, Said The Donkey by Jean Little (Canada only?)
Katydid and Kid - Book Giveaway Ends 11/28/10
4 Klutz books
Mom Tried It - Book Giveaway Ends 11/23/10
Little Scholastic Board Books
I am a Reader, Not a Writer - Book Giveaway Ends 12/7/10
Lost Island Smugglers by Max Elliot Anderson (middle grade)
AuthorsNow - Book Giveaway Ends 11/23/10
Librarian on the Roof by M. G. King
Frugal Plus - Book Giveaway Ends 12/1/10
World's Best Origami

Tiger Tales Books Holiday Giveaway: Ends 11/30
The six book collection includes:
* Starry Night, Sleep Tight: A Bedtime Book of Lullabies by Gail Yerrill
* A Long Way from Home by Elizabeth Baguley
* Hush, Little Baby illustrated by Petra Brown
* I Love You All Year Long by Steve Metzger
* If I Were...a Firefighter by Pat Hegarty
* If I Were...a Princess by Pat Hegarty

Mother Reader Cybils ABC Giveaway:
Mother Reader is working her way through the alphabet and her Cybils TBR list. She's giving away 25 books featured on her daily posts to one commenter (comment on her new ABC Storytime posts). Additionally, comment on the original post for a chance to win a different set ABC Storytime books. Full details at http://www.motherreader.com/2010/11/cybils-nominees-abc-giveaway.html

Scholastic Holiday Prize Pack Giveaways:
Book Dads Ends 11/26
My Four Monkeys Ends 11/29
Book Giveaways Ends 11/30
Jolly Mom Ends 12/3

Other Giveaways:
Katydid and Kid - Giveaway Ends 11/30/10
Scholastic Storybook Treasures DVDs
Burkett Blessings - Giveaway Ends 11/29/10
Scholastic Storybook Treasures DVDs
Imagination Soup - Giveaway Ends 12/7/10
Repurposed Golden Book Blank Journal

Fish for more children's book giveaways at Lori Calabrese's Fish for a Free Book linkup each Friday

I Am A Reader, Not A Writer also has a new book giveaway linky http://iamareadernotawriter.blogspot.com with lots of YA and some other kid's books.

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

Friday, November 19, 2010

Scholastic Holiday Book Giveaway + The Adventures of Ook and Gluk, Kung-Fu Cavemen from the Future Review

Our recent Scholastic school book fair has ended successfully, and while I'm relieved that it is over, I really enjoyed learning about the book interests of the younger school kids in our area. The more popular titles at our fair included the Wimpy Kid series, the Tangled tie-in books, Barbie books, the Pinkalicious series, Toy Story 3 books, Lego Minifigure, Star Wars Clone War and Marvel comics titles. Some of the more popular picture book titles included Merry Christmas Splat, Llama Llama Misses Mama, Grumpy Cat, Snowmen All Year and Skippyjon Jones Lost In Space.

One book I watched with interest was The Adventures of Ook and Gluk, Kung-Fu Cavemen from the Future. I received a review copy prior to the bookfair and wanted to gauge popularity. While the book wasn't one of our top sellers, we did sell several copies over the course of the book fair. The book is written in a graphic novel style and written and illustrated by Dav Pilkey, the author of the Captain Underpants series. (To clarify, the books are written and illustrated under the names and from the perspective of George Beard (age 9-3/4) and Harold Hutchins (age 10), the made-up child creators of Captain Underpants.)

In order to save Caveland, two caveboys, Ook and Gluk, living in 500,001 BC, must fight the evil chief Goppernopper and his descendants from the future. Using a time machine, Goppernopper and his descendants are stealing natural resources from the caveman days to supply their evil, greedy corporation in the year 2222. The Goppernoppers' enslave Ook and Gluk along with their friend Lily the dinosaur and drag them to the future. The caveboys manage to escape, remain in the future and take kung-fu lessons for seven years from the wise Master Wong. After intensive training in both fighting and philosophy, they embark on their "heros jerney" as grown men.

At first glance, I can honestly say that I wasn't sure what to think of Ook and Gluk. Graphic novels really aren't my thing, and I'm not sure my oldest (a kindergartner) is ready for this story. The book looks and reads like something a 10-year-old boy would write, and thus it contains several intentionally misspelled words and uses words like suckas, barf, pee-brain, dumb head and diaper breath. So I sat quietly at the fair, watching and observing this one book, waiting for someone to comment. And, low and behold, one mom that I know and respect spoke up. She told me that while her oldest son, a sixth grader, loves to read, her second-grade son is just the opposite. Ook and Gluk happens to be one of her second-grader's favorite books. He thinks it is hilarious. She also said that while it might not be something she would pick out, she was glad to encourage any interest in reading, despite the misspellings and the cavemen-speak (cavemonics).

The reluctant reader appeal is exactly what Pilkey intended when developing this book. He excels at creating books kids will want to read, even if they don't like to read. Just look at the success of the Captain Underpants series ... Ook and Gluk carries on this legacy. The book is filled with plenty of action and lots of silly moments. Plus, it might inspire young authors to write their own graphic novel. My advice to parents with this one is to decide what is and is not appropriate for your child and age level - if your kid wants to read it, maybe read parts of it together, talk about the misspellings, the wise Master's advice and the environmental themes, but most of all, make sure to have a little fun with it. I found Flip-O-Rama pages in each chapter surprisingly entertaining and quite clever. From what I hear, they are a huge hit with the kids as well! Learn how to create your own Flip-O-Rama in the video below:

"Warning: The folowing seckson contains graphic violins and may not be suitible for sensative grownups and other people who arent very fun." (directly quoted from the book, page 34)

Find more book related fun at http://www.pilkey.com.

Thanks to Scholastic, we have a HUGE prize pack filled with the most popular children’s books in the marketplace to offer one lucky reader! (Prize Pack Valued at $89.75) Titles include:

Give the gift of reading to your child this holiday season! Scholastic books make the perfect stocking stuffer for any child on your list.

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Thanks to Scholastic for providing me with a review copy of The Adventures of Ook and Gluk, Kung-Fu Cavemen from the Future. (I am an Amazon affiliate and may receive a very small commission for products purchased through my Amazon links. View my full disclosure statement for more information about my reviews.)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Turkey Platter Healthy Vegetable Snack - A Plump and Perky Turkey by Teresa Bateman

I'm back after a weeklong hiatus! I volunteered to take on the local school's Scholastic Book fair this fall when the original chair had to step down due to health reasons. I had a great time looking at all the books and watching what sold, but sure wasn't expecting it to take up quite as much time to organize and oversee. Sorry I had to put this blog on the back burner for awhile, but that's the way it goes sometimes!

It was my daughter's turn to take a healthy treat to school today and I thought we'd jazz things up a bit with this cracker and vegetable tray arranged to look like a turkey to celebrate the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. Isn't it cute? I also sent along some ranch dressing for a dip. I know that not all the kids will eat the peppers, but my kids love them! The turkey head is a halved and sliced cucumber, I used raisins for eyes and added pretzel feet.

We've been reading some turkey themed books this week including 10 Fat Turkeys by Tony Johnston, illustrated by Rich Deas and A Turkey for Thanksgiving by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Diane de Groat.

A Plump And Perky Turkey by Teresa Bateman, illustrated by Jeff Shelly; Winslow Press (2001); 40 pages
Book Source: Copy from public library

So far the kids' favorite turkey book is one called A Plump and Perky Turkey by Teresa Bateman, illustrated by Jeff Shelly. It's a silly, rhyming story about a town that needs a turkey for their Thanksgiving meal but all the area turkeys take off. The townsfolk devise a plan to create turkey art and advertise for a live turkey model in hopes of tricking a turkey to stay. Pete the Perky Turkey volunteers for the job and shows off his clever side. If we added a bow tie to our veggie turkey, I think he could double as Pete the Perky turkey!

What are your favorite turkey books?

I am an Amazon affiliate and may receive a very small commission for products purchased through my Amazon links. (View my full disclosure statement for more information about my reviews.) 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Out looking at books - Back Soon!

Look for a Full to the Brim late edition this weekend sometime. Have a good one!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Green Books Campaign: All in a Day by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Nikki McClure - Book Review

This review is part of the Green Books campaign. Today 200 bloggers take a stand to support books printed in an eco-friendly manner by simultaneously publishing reviews of 200 books printed on recycled or FSC-certified paper. By turning a spotlight on books printed using eco- friendly paper, we hope to raise the awareness of book buyers and encourage everyone to take the environment into consideration when purchasing books.

The campaign is organized for the second time by Eco-Libris, a green company working to make reading more sustainable. We invite you to join the discussion on "green" books and support books printed in an eco-friendly manner! A full list of participating blogs and links to their reviews is available on Eco-Libris website.

All in a Day by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Nikki McClure; Abrams Books for Young Readers (March 2009); ISBN 9780810983212; 32 pages
Book Source: Review copy from publisher

"Every bird and every tree
and every living thing
loves the promise in a day,
loves what it can bring."

Carpe diem (seize the day) is a phrase that most of us are familiar with but might not always take to heart. Each day is a gift, full of hope and promise. Cynthia Rylant reminds readers to live each day to the fullest in her book, All in a Day. She doesn't often mention particulars in her wonderful, poetic verses, but rather describes a day using broad phrases that apply to all lives and appeal to all ages.

"The past is sailing off to sea, the future's fast asleep. A day is all you have to be, it's all you get to keep."

Nikki McClure's idyllic cut paper illustrations provide the reader with imagery needed to visualize a perfect day in the life of a child. From sunrise to sunset, a little boy's life is full of simple moments outside as he takes joy in both work and play, observes nature and spends time with family. He feeds the chickens, blows dandelion seeds, cuddles in a hammock, and takes a walk through the woods. Each and every image is nature-based and full of astonishing detail. McClure is a master of cut paper art and each illustration is cut by hand from a piece of black paper.

Truly an eye-opener with a wonderful message and striking illustrations, this book is one to ponder and cherish. Children may not quite fully understand the sentiment and will probably not react as emotionally to the text as an adult, but the illustrations offer plenty of food for thought and convey the message in a way that adults may miss. My kids naturally appreciate nature more fully than I do. They marvel at the smallest things and take in life with wide open eyes, ready for each new experience. Same goes for this gem of a book. If you take the time to read it, make sure to pause and experience each page, search out the lost feathers and the broken egg. Point them out to a child. And, as the book implies, do the same in life -- take it all in, make each moment count.

All in a Day is printed on recycled paper. The illustrations portray natural living and stewardship of nature. That's not surprising given the illustrator's background. In an interview on Mishaps and Adventures, McClure remarks, "I want my work to resonate with a deep collective memory of fingers in soil, growing food, talking to birds (not just listening), people working together in community."

As a book blogger, I'm excited to have the opportunity once again to participate in the Eco-Libris campaign and hope that publishers like Abrams continue to incorporate green practices into the production of their books.

Related Links:
Nikki McClure - Illustrator Website

Nikki McClure YouTube video:

Paper Cutting - Paper Chains Craft

McClure's intricate cut paper illustrations require advanced skills plus the use of a X-Acto knife. While an elaborate cut paper illustration probably isn't a project for young children, they most likely can make simple cut paper chains. Because we're talking about eco-friendly publishing and green choices today, I thought we'd try using some of our old newspapers for this project. We took a piece of newspaper and accordion-folded it. For my animal paper chain, I decided to draw the silhouette of a squirrel holding half a heart. My daughter just made an easy heart paper chain. When deciding on a silhouette to use, you have to be sure that enough of the silhouette will touch the edges so that they remain joined and form a connected chain.

Illustration image used with permission. (I am an Amazon affiliate and may receive a very small commission for products purchased through my Amazon links. View my full disclosure statement for more information about my reviews.)