Saturday, July 31, 2010

Drawing Cat the Cat - A lesson from Mo Willems

Mo Willems writes wonderfully quirky beginner reader books and his Cat the Cat, Who Is That? is one of them. Willems also has a talent for drawing in a simple way that young kids can easily duplicate. I ran across this video earlier in the week (via @HarperChildrens) and knew my daughter would love it. A drawing lesson from Willems and he uses letters and numbers to teach his technique - how cool is that? She grabbed her purple crayon, followed the fun directions and created her own version of Cat the Cat.





Of course she had to add her own personal touch - purple ears. The upside-down V's obviously weren't colorful enough for her taste. This is her first attempt. She watched the video several more times, drawing a girl cat, a boy cat and a cat with weird eyes among others. I think she has Cat the Cat down pat.

Show this short video to your favorite young person. I guarantee they'll want to grab the nearest drawing instrument and try drawing the Cat!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Full to the Brim - Kid's Book Giveaway List (7/30/10)

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!

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

My book giveaways:
The 39 Clues set of 2 books (Book #2 signed by author) Ends 8/31/10


Other book giveaways:
Playing by the Book - Book Giveaway Ends 8/3/10
signed copy of Wake Up! by Katie Cleminson
Silly Eagle Books - Book Giveaway Ends 8/3/10
Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey
Tolivers to Texas - Book Giveaway Ends 8/9/10
Fun Devotions for Boys - Gotta Have God for Ages 2-5
Frugal Plus - Book Giveaway Ends 8/10/10
A Big, Big Dream by Michael Roberts
An Island Life - Book Giveaway Ends 8/5/10
Zebrafish by By FableVision Illustrated by: Peter H. Reynolds (middle grade)
The Mom Buzz - Book Giveaway Ends 8/24/10
Mead Early Learning products Back to School Giveaway
Teaching Authors - Book Giveaway Ends 8/4/10
Doodlebug: A Novel in Doodles by Karen Romano Young
Coupon Geek - Book Giveaway Ends 8/1/10
Choice of Children's Book
Tatum's Family Reviews - Book Giveaway Ends 8/13/10
Secret Storage Books
Energizer Bunny's Mommy Reports - Book Giveaway Ends 8/14/10
The Complete Adventures of Curious George from Little One Books
Reviewed by Mom - Book Giveaway Ends 8/8/10
Funny Bone Readers: Parent Pack Number 1 - includes 6 books (Fun in the Mud, Let’s Bee Friends, The Magic Words, Space Cat, Turbo Turtle to the Rescue, Silly Tilly and the Royal Rules)
A Few of My Favorite Things - Book Giveaway Ends 8/5/10
The Boy Who Wouldn't Share and Push Buttons
Bookworm Reviews - Book Giveaway Ends 8/7/10
A set of FIFTEEN Toy Story 3 Childrens Books
Katie's Literature Lounge - Book Giveaway Ends 8/14/10
Martha Speaks (with CD), Martha Speaks: A Pup's Tale and Martha Speaks: Toy Trouble!
Familylicious Reviews - Book Giveaway Ends 8/22/10
autographed Best Fairy Books of their choice
On Our Minds @ Scholastic - Book Giveaway Ends 8/20/10
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
From the Mixed-Up Files - Book Giveaway Ends 8/3/10
Six Middle Grade titles
Sage and Savvy - Book Giveaway Ends 8/6/10
Mead Early Learning products Back to School Giveaway
Dad of Divas - Book Giveaway Ends 8/9/10
Enter if You Dare - Ripley's Belive It Or Not book
Imagination Soup - Book Giveaway Ends 8/8/10
The Big No-No by Geoffrey Hayes
Imagination Soup - Book Giveaway Ends 7/31/10
Spilling Ink, a Young Writer’s Handbook


Other Giveaways:
Design Dazzle - Book Giveaway Ends 8/6/10
Blog2Print - one 40 page blog book
Muse Reviews - Book Giveaway Ends 8/8/10
Scholastic American Sign Language (ASL) DVDs - Goodnight Moon…and more great bedtime stories and A Pocket for Corduroy…and more stories about friendship


The 39 Clues 10 stop blog countdown tour dates - watch for giveaways (middle grade):
July 23: Techmamas; July 27: Brimful Curiosities; July 30: Susan Heim on Parenting; August 4: Manic Mommies; August 9: HighTechDad; August 12: Tree, Root, and Twig; August 18: The Children's Book Review; August 23: Robyn's Online World; August 25: On Our Minds @Scholastic; August 31: 5 Minutes for Mom.

Hunger Games Fans: The 13 “Official Districts of Panem” Blog Tour is coming up - win EXCLUSIVE Hunger Games prizes. (YA)
August 2: Galleysmith; August 4: Sci Fi Guy; August 6: Word for Teens; August 9: Green Bean Teen Queen; August 11: Dear Author; August 13: Hey Lady; August 16: Novel Novice; August 18: Jenn’s Bookshelves; August 20: The Compulsive Reader; August 23: Presenting Lenore; August 25: Mundie Moms; August 27: The Book Smugglers; August 30: Beth Fish Reads

Scholastic Children’s Dictionary BACK-TO-SCHOOL BLOG TOUR - Win a Scholastic Children’s Dictionary plus various $100 Gift Cards:
Jolly Mom – July 23; Momma Findings – July 26; The Mommy-Files – July 28;The Dirty Shirt – July 30; 1StopMom – Aug 2; MommyMandy – Aug 4; Guessing All The Way – Aug 5; Serendipity Mommy – Aug 6; The Divine Miss Mommy – Aug 9; From Dates to Diapers – Aug 11; MomDot – Aug 12; My Sentiment ExactLee -Aug 16; Mommy Niri – Aug 18; 3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires – Aug 19; Mom Knows It All – Aug 20


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

Thursday, July 29, 2010

City Dog, Country Frog by Mo Willems Book Review & a Painted Rock Frog Craft


"What are you doing?" asked City Dog. "Waiting for a friend," replied Country Frog with a smile. "But you'll do."

City Dog, Country Frog by Mo Willems, illustrated by Jon J Muth; Hyperion Books for Children (June 2010); ISBN 9781423103004; 64 pages;
Book Source: Copy from local library


We're in frog mode this week, hopping and croaking and reading frog books. It all started after bringing home a new Mo Willems' book from the library. I hadn't read any reviews of City Dog, Country Frog before bringing it home from the library to read with my kids. When I see a book by author, Mo Willems, I snap it up without thinking twice and anticipate a fun, lighthearted read. However, with City Dog, Country Frog, Willems takes a completely different direction. Touching, poignant, bittersweet - those are the words that have been used to describe the story about friendship between two unlikely friends, a frog and a dog. They meet one spring day and continue to play together through the seasons, teaching each other new games and finding companionship and conversation. Winter arrives and friendships change, but the big froggy smile remains.

The first time I read the book aloud, my husband was listening in a nearby room. As I finished the book, he walked toward me with a confused, concerned and surprised expression wanting to see the book for himself. It takes a special kind of picture book to get a response from an adult, and this one certainly has that quality. I don't want to say too much, but this book has the power to invoke a deep emotional response in the reader. The passage of time is clearly evident - friendship and loss is dealt with in an original way. The writing is simple, Muth's watercolor illustrations are exceptional. It's a great exploration of friendship and the seasons of life, written in an easy, gentle way for children to interpret in their own way and question.

Related links:
Booklist Online : The Story Behind the Story - Mo Willems’ City Dog, Country Frog



❖❖❖❖❖❖ stART Craft - Painted Rock Pet Frogs ❖❖❖❖❖❖


We wanted to create our own frog friends, and decided to make painted rock frogs this week. It's an easy craft for all ages. The kids searched for frog shaped rocks outside, colored them green with acrylic paint and added a few yellow speckles (or globs in my toddlers case) for good measure. We found a template online for the feet on ZiggyZoom. I cut out the feet from a sheet of green foam paper. We used Glue Dots to add the wiggly eyes and feet to the body of the frog. We made five frogs in total so we could use them when singing the "Five Green and Speckled Frogs" song.

My daughter thinks her frog needs a rock dog friend. We'll have to work on one of those later, and I'll post it if it turns out.








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.

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.)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Pop On Pals Amusement Park Play Set - Product Review


Every August my family attends the county fair. We go to see the animals, eat fried cheese curds, and, of course, ride on a few carnival rides. Amusement parks and carnivals excite and delight children. As a kid, I looked forward to dizzying ride of the spinning Tilt-a-whirl and soaring to great heights in a Ferris wheel. This week my children had the chance to pretend they were at the fair by playing with a new toy - the Pop On Pals Amusement Park Play Set.

Pop On Pals, a new toy line out from Spin Master, sells an Amusement Park Play Set where toddlers and preschoolers can create their own ride and carnival scenarios using their imagination. Thanks to Team Mom, my kids had the chance to try out the play set and had fun "popping" rings on a Pop On Pals figure.

The interactive Pop On Pals Amusement Park Play Set allows children to explore the fun carnival world through play. The set plays music, lights up, has many moving parts, and comes with a Pop On Pals figure with interchangeable character rings. It includes a ferris wheel, a swinging dragon ride, a strong man striker, milk toss game and a roller coaster with a removable car -- all in one toy. Three AA batteries power the set.

This particular play set style reminds me of my children's Little People play sets. It is a similar size and has many similar features including sound and circular places for the figures to sit. The figures are the main difference. The Pop On Pals have a special design that allow children to change the look of the figure by popping on various differently styled rings. Kids can add arms, change the clothes, etc., by pushing the figure directly down on top of the rings. My son loves to hop the character around on the floor - it makes a clicking sound when you press down on it - and he really likes to pop on the rings. Watch how easy it is in this video of him playing with the figure included with our set:



We were actually kind of sad that the set only came with one figure, but at least it came with three different rings to pop on and off. You can buy extra figures and pop on rings separately. My daughter was excited to see that the Pop On Pals line includes a pet line and really wants one of the kitties, dogs or even the turtle. They do look super cute. So far the Amusement Park has held up pretty well to the rough hands of my toddler. He likes roller coaster part and calls it a "train track" though he does have a few issues trying to align the cart on the track. I'm particularly impressed by the Ferris wheel and dragon swing mechanism. The Ferris wheel or dragon swing moves by pushing down on a lever on the side of the toy. At first we weren't sure what the knob was for on the side (the instructions aren't very detailed), but quickly realized that it was a switch so the user can change back and forth between the Ferris wheel and Dragon swing - they operate separately but use the same lever. The toy mostly lends itself only to one-sided play, although the roller coaster part can be used from both sides. Overall, the Amusement Park is an entertaining addition to our play set collection - it's full of endless "Popabilities!"


Thanks to Pop On Pals and Team Mom for this review opportunity and for providing a play set for my family to review. (View my full disclosure statement for more information about my reviews.)

Pop On Pals products are available for purchase at many retailers including Toys R Us, Amazon.com, Target. For more information, visit www.poponpals.com

Wordless Wednesday - Walk with You




I will walk with you
Every step of the way
Love you all my life
Love you everyday
No matter where you wander
No matter what you do
Come what may I will walk with you

- John Fogerty


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

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

39 Clues Blog Tour Giveaway (Stop #2) & Gordon Korman Guest Post



My post from last year about The 39 Clues series and The Maze of Bones (Book One) is one of the most highly frequented posts on Brimful Curiosities. That's not entirely surprising considering the popularity of the unique middle grade series. The books follow two orphans, Dan and Amy, as they race against other branches of their family to discover and assemble 39 clues hidden around the world. In anticipation of the upcoming release of the final book, Into the Gauntlet by Margaret Peterson Haddix, the authors of the books in the series are participating in The 39 Clues blog tour, and Brimful Curiosities is the second stop of the tour.

The 39 Clues multi-media adventure series is fun, entertaining and majorly addictive. The books, meant for children ages 8-12, contain a bit of history, plenty of action and several interesting characters. An elaborate online gaming component further adds to the excitement. I know for a fact that if I was a tween right now, I would certainly try my best to complete all the missions and collect the cards and clues. (I was a huge Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? fan at that age and spent quite a bit of time globe-trotting and following the clues on my Apple computer.) And, fans can rejoice -- DreamWorks Studios has acquired movie rights to the books. Here is a complete list of books in the series:

Book 1: The Maze of Bones (September 9, 2008) by Rick Riordan
Book 2: One False Note (December 2, 2008) by Gordon Korman
Book 3: The Sword Thief (March 3, 2009) by Peter Lerangis
Book 4: Beyond the Grave (June 2, 2009) by Jude Watson
Book 5: The Black Circle (August 11, 2009) by Patrick Carman
Book 6: In Too Deep (November 3, 2009) by Jude Watson
Book 7: The Viper's Nest (February 2, 2010) by Peter Lerangis
Book 8: The Emperor's Code (April 6, 2010) by Gordon Korman
Book 9: Storm Warning (May 25, 2010) by Linda Sue Park
Book 10: Into the Gauntlet (August 31, 2010) by Margaret Peterson Haddix


Today, I'm thrilled to host my first ever author guest post on Brimful Curiosities! Gordon Korman, author of Book 2: One False Note and Book 8: The Emperor's Code, offers his thoughts on experiences writing as a parent. Read his fabulous stop #2 blog tour post below --

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When Book 2: One False Note came out, my eldest son Jay was a fourth-grader, which couldn’t have been more perfect. Here I was, working on The 39 Clues series, and I was living with a member of my own audience. Book 1: The Maze of Bones got Jay hooked, and after that, we moved straight to The 39 Clues website.

There are four branches in the Cahill family and I’m a member of the Janus branch. This makes sense, since I work in the arts, and since One False Note focused on Mozart, a famous Janus. Maybe it’s a dad thing – wanting your son to follow in your footsteps. For some crazy reason, I assumed that Jay would end up a Janus like me. But when he took the quiz, the mysterious branch-assignment oracle had placed him with the Lucians.

Now, none of the Cahill branches get along very well, but the Lucians and the Janus seem to be especially hostile to one another. In the spirit of healing, I offered Jay access to the Janus secret documents on the site, expecting – reasonably – that he’d do the same for me. Uh-uh. When he’s on The 39 Clues website, I’m not even allowed in the room!

It’s incredible to me that a fantasy-adventure series I’m helping to write has somehow managed to create a cold war right smack dab in the middle of my own family. Even more amazing is the amount of information that has gotten through to Jay “under the radar” as a result of his interest in the series. My son – who up until recently believed that World Wrestling Entertainment was the ultimate in culture and sophistication – regularly spouts facts about Ben Franklin, Mozart, and the Russian royal family. The other day, I overheard him lecturing his siblings that the continent of Australia is home to more creatures that can kill you than any other place on earth. The Australian tourist bureau may not be as effusive in its expression of gratitude, but as a parent, I love it that my son has opened his eyes to the vast cultural richness of the world around him. Better yet, he sees that a lot of it is – as Dan Cahill (or Jay himself) might put it – mad awesome.

From my kids’ perspective, I’ve been a writer forever. But it certainly isn’t lost on them that the things I do in conjunction with The 39 Clues always seem to be just a little bit … well, cooler. Whether it’s opening the NASDAQ Stock Exchange, or being interviewed by Whoopi Goldberg or on ABC World News Tonight, the work/play line continues to blur with this series. It’s been a fabulous ride, not just for me, but for my entire family.

Maybe that’s the real reason this series has been such a wonderfully rewarding experience, above and beyond. I’m not just a 39 Clues author; I’m a 39 Clues parent, too.


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A big thanks to Gordon Korman for sharing his family's experience with The 39 Clues series today on my blog. Perfect for music lovers, book 2, featuring the historical figure Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, is actually my favorite of the entire series, so I'm ecstatic about featuring his book in this blog tour! (Check out my review of Book 2: One False Note -- you can listen to the music featured in the book.)

And here's more exciting news. Thanks to Scholastic, one Brimful Curiosities reader will win Books 1 and 2 in The 39 Clues Series (book #2 will be autographed by Gordon Korman.)

To enter, leave any comment relevant to this post. (Or answer the following question: If you were a 39 Clues author, what famous historical figure would you want to feature in your book?)
• For contact purposes, if you are a non-blogger or your email is not accessible in your blog profile, please leave a valid email address within the comment section.
• Contest is open to US Only
• Contest ends on Tuesday, August 31st, 2010 at 11:59 PM CST.
• Winner will be chosen at random and sent an email notification.
Three ways to gain extra entries (Maximum total entries is 4; please leave a separate comment for each entry):
1st extra entry: Blog about this contest then post your link in the comment section.
2nd extra entry: Follow me on twitter (iambrimful) and tweet about the contest.
3rd extra entry: Follow Me! or subscribe by email or RSS reader

Don't forget to visit the other blogs along this 10 stop blog countdown tour and watch for more giveaways:
July 23: Techmamas; July 27: Brimful Curiosities; July 30: Susan Heim on Parenting; August 4: Manic Mommies; August 9: HighTechDad; August 12: Tree, Root, and Twig; August 18: The Children's Book Review; August 23: Robyn's Online World; August 25: On Our Minds @Scholastic; August 31: 5 Minutes for Mom.


Thanks to Scholastic for providing me with review copies of the books in The 39 Clues series. (View my full disclosure statement for more information about my reviews.)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Book Two: One False Note by Gordon Korman (39 Clues Series) - Book Review

Book 2: One False Note (39 Clues Series) by Gordon Korman; Scholastic (December 2008); ISBN 9780545060424; 160 pages; Ages 8-13; Book Source: Review copy provided by publisher

"They made a charming picture - the American girl at the piano and her younger brother at her side. It would have been nit-picking to notice that the sheet music was written on the back of a Eurail napkin, and that the girl played falteringly."

My favorite book in The 39 Clues series is Book 2: One False Note. I'm a classical music lover so this book appeals to my musical side. After the death of their grandmother, two orphans Amy and Dan, continue their hunt for 39 clues and race around the world, trying to beat other branches of the Cahill family in the search for the clues that will unlock a powerful family secret. The clues in One False Note center around Mozart, his older sister Nannerl and his musical composition KV 617. Amy and Dan, along with their au pair, Nellie Gomez, travel to Vienna, Salzburg and Venice following clues related to Mozart. They tangle with one of their relatives, Jonah Wizard (a member of the Janus branch of the Cahill family) and end up in a Janus stronghold. In trying to obtain the clue, they also encounter several other evil family members and dangerous situations. The fast paced book, written by Gordon Korman, includes plenty of action and should appeal to both girls and boys. How convenient Mozart happened to have an older sister! The two sibling relationships (Mozart/Nannerl & Dan/Amy) pair together well in this book. Even though One False Note can stand alone, I would recommend first reading Book One: The 39 Clues: The Maze of Bones.

I love how The 39 Clues series highlights historical figures like Benjamin Franklin and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. To add further interest, Korman includes real tourist attractions like Mozarthaus and descriptions of Alpine scenery in his book. Readers may be compelled to learn more about the two neighboring countries Austria and Italy or read more about the famous composer Mozart. Like me, they might even listen to some of his music. Of course, after reading the book, I researched Mozart's KV 617. Even though the author chooses to have the characters in the book play the music first on a piano and then on a harpsichord, this chamber music was originally composed for glass armonica, an unusual instrument with which I was not previously familiar. Here's a YouTube video featuring the piece played on Glassharmonica.



After viewing my blog stats regarding my previous 39 Clues post, I noticed a trend. Keyword searches indicate that many parents want a Christian review of The 39 Clues. One website that Christian parents might find helpful is Focus on the Family. The reviewers at Focus on the Family discuss the various subjects that some Christians might want to know more about such as profanity and Biblical references. They also provide discussion topics. Another resource is Common Sense Media. Because viewpoints range widely among Christians, I strongly urge parents that have concerns about this series to read book one for themselves (it is a short, easy read). I've read books 1-7 and book one provides an accurate measure for the series. The books do contain some violence and fighting, several explosions, scary environments like catacombs and some characters do die, but the events are far-fetched enough that children shouldn't find them overly troubling. This is an action/adventure mystery series (reminds me of the movie National Treasure), so suspenseful situations are to be expected. Out of curiosity, I also completed a few of the online missions on the interactive website. The website content parallels the books and doesn't contain anything I found too concerning as a parent. In fact, I found a few of the tasks relatively difficult even for an adult, like the magic square puzzle in one of the missions. Some kids may need to ask for assistance.

Related links:

Scholastic - Author interview with Gordon Korman
Gordon Korman - Author Website
The 39 Clues Website

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.)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Full to the Brim - Kid's Book Giveaway List (7/23/10)

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!

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

My book giveaways:
Got Books? Brimful Summer Giveaway - Book of Your Choice Ends 7/24/10
Despicable Me Book Set Prize Pack Ends 7/26/10

Got Books? Children's Book Giveaways
The Got Books? Event is in full swing. Over 100 book blog contests to enter including mine. Here are a few children's related giveaways I found (there may be more, I haven't looked at them all and I didn't include the YA giveaways!):

There's A Book - Book Giveaway Ends 7/24/10
Cat the Cat Who Is That? by Mo Willems; Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watt and Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
A Novel Idea - Book Giveaway Ends 7/24/10
Duck! Rabbit! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Owen & Mzee: the Language of Friendship
A Novel Idea - Book Giveaway Ends 7/23/10
The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle
SMS Book Reviews - Book Giveaway Ends 7/24/10
The Book About Tony Chestnut by The Learning Station or Choice of a Book under $20 on Amazon
Bri Meets Books - Book Giveaway Ends 7/24/10
Various Sourcebooks middle grade and YA books
Cleverly Inked - Book Giveaway Ends 7/24/10
The entire Set Of The Secrets of The Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott
Happy Birthday Author - Book Giveaway Ends 7/25/10
Click Clack Moo, Cows that Type by Doreen Cronin; The Birthday Message by Eric Carle; Peepers by Eve Bunting by Eve Bunting; Arthur's Family Treasury by Marc Brown; Can You See What I See? Toys by Walter Wick
Milk and Cookies - Book Giveaway Ends 7/24/10
Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary; Clementine by Sara Pennypacker; The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall; and Allie Finkle Rules for Girls: Moving Day by Meg Cabot
Read Write Repeat - Book Giveaway Ends 7/24/10
Happy Belly, Happy Smile by Rachel Isadora; Kitchen Dance by Maurie J. Manning; Lola at the Library by Anna McQuinn and Rosalind Beardshaw
The Fourth Musketeer - Book Giveaway Ends 7/24/10
Dumas' The Three Musketeers
The Book Maven's Haven - Book Giveaway Ends 7/24/10
Library Lion, Bob and Otto or The Eraserheads
Reflections with Coffee - Book Giveaway Ends 7/24/10
This is Gabriel and handmade Alice in Wonderland pin

Other book giveaways:
Susan Heim on Parenting - Book Giveaway Ends 8/6/10
Zebrafish by By FableVision Illustrated by: Peter H. Reynolds (middle grade)
Book Giveaways - Book Giveaway Ends 8/24/10
Kohl's Cares for Kids Pooh Book & Plush Set
Susieqtpies Scraps of Life - Book Giveaway Ends 8/4/10
The Secret Lives of Princesses by Philippe Lechermeir
Baby Bix - Book Giveaway Ends 8/9/10
Kumon Workbooks - Bundle of 5 My First Books
Ramblings of a Marine Wife - Book Giveaway Ends 7/25/10
On Top of Spaghetti by Paul Brett Johnson
Book Dads - Book Giveaway Ends 7/27/10
The Wild Soccer Bunch by Joachim Masannek (middle grade)
Becoming Sarah - Book Giveaway Ends ??
Stella and Sam series books by Marie-Louise Gay
Moms Focus Cyber World - Book Giveaway Ends 8/8/10
You Can Cook By Annabel Karmel
Jolly Mom - Book Giveaway Ends 8/3/10
Champ and Me by the Maple Tree
Home-grown Love - Book Giveaway Ends 7/31/10
Set of Usborne Books
Coupon Geek - Book Giveaway Ends 7/25/10
Choice of Children's Book
Techmamas - Book Giveaway Ends 8/31/10
39 Clues book set (middle grade)
An Island Life- Book Giveaway Ends ??
Crayola Color Wonder Prize Pack
Vintage Kid's Books My Kid Loves - Book Giveaway Ends 7/25/10
Plenty of Fish by Millicent Selsam
Autism Learning Felt - Book Giveaway Ends 8/9/10
Mo Smells Blue: A Scentsational Journey by Margaret Hyde
5 Minutes for Mom - Book Giveaway Ends 8/6/10
Hallmark Recordable Storybook
Susieqtpies Scraps of life - Book Giveaway Ends 8/5/10
The Summer Camp Survival Guide
Tolivers to Texas - Book Giveaway Ends 7/25/10
My First Bible in Pictures by Kenneth Taylor


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

Got Books? - A Brimful Summer Giveaway

http://gotbooksevent.blogspot.com
Welcome to all the Got Books? event visitors and a special hello to my regular readers. I'm Janelle, and this is my Brimful Curiosities blog. Sometimes children's books...sometimes not - that pretty much sums it up for those not familiar with my little corner of the blog world. We read a lot of children's books in our home. Some of those books we review. Sometimes we do crafts. And once and awhile at night, when all is still and quiet, I read a lot of everything else.

So, here's the deal. This summer has been far busier than I expected. With last minute vacations, all the summer activities and children that want to spend every last minute of the day outdoors, I haven't had as much time for blogging or reading. I've encountered difficulties trying to find the time just to post my weekly Full to the Brim Children's Book Giveaway posts (by the way, if you like giveaways, be sure to check them out). That means I have a stack of books that I'm hoping to review soon and many more in the to-be-read pile. And, to top it off, my list of want-to-reads grows larger every day as I read all those awesome reviews out there. I couldn't decide what to giveaway for this event or what book(s) I wanted to highlight, so I'm keeping it simple and leaving that decision up to you.



For the Got Books event, I am giving away a children's or YA book of your choice $20 or under from Amazon.com. (Winner specifies their choice of book after contest ends.) But to enter for your chance, you must answer the following question:


We have about a month left of summer before school starts. What new book (published in 2010) should my young children and I read together before our summer vacation ends? Or, what new 2010 book would you recommend I read during one of my late night, quiet moments sans children?

To enter, leave a comment with your book suggestion.
• 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/Canada
• Contest ends on Saturday, July 24th, 2010 at 11:59 PM CST.
• Winner will be chosen at random and sent an email notification.
Three ways to gain extra entries (Maximum total entries is 4; please leave a separate comment for each entry):
1st extra entry: Blog about this contest then post your link in the comment section.
2nd extra entry: Follow me on twitter (iambrimful) and tweet about the contest.
3rd extra entry: Follow Me! or subscribe by email or RSS reader

Got time to enter a few more giveaways? There's over 100 blogs participating in the Got Books? event! Thanks to There's A Book and Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers for all their work organizing this fun giveaway hop!

And don't forget to also enter my Despicable Me Book Set Prize Pack giveaway. Ends 7/26/10. The giveaway is for a large set of tie-in books from the new movie. Check back next week for another giveaway - books from the popular 39 Clues series!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Beauty and the Beast

We went to a performance of the musical Beauty and the Beast last weekend. My daughter enjoyed meeting Belle and showing off her Belle doll.



The musical is based on the Disney version, so it includes characters like Gaston and the enchanted objects. I had never read the original fairy tale until this week. The Walter Crane version can be read online at Internet Archive if you'd like to take a look. It's interesting to see how different illustrators portray the Beast. My daughter drew her own version last year. I saved it along with some of her other drawings and thought now was the perfect time to post it. I do love how her Beast turned out.



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

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Kids' Picks July 2010 - Paddiwak and Cozy & Can You See the Red Balloon?




We are participating in 5 Minutes For Books Kids' Picks this month, so it is time to share a couple of the Brimful kids' favorite July library finds. Interestingly enough, both books are written by authors from England.

Daughter's Pick:

"Paddiwak yawned and slid off his chair. He sniffed at the box with the noisy feet. The lid flipped up and out came a whisker and two and three and four and more of another cat."
Paddiwak and Cozy by Berlie Doherty, illustrated by Teresa O'Brien. Dial Books for Young Readers (March 1989); ISBN 0803704836; 32 pages; Book Source: Copy from local library

Paddiwak the cat thinks he rules the roost until his owner, Sally, brings home a special present and out jumps another cat named Cozy. The "getting acquainted" period doesn't go as Sally plans. Paddiwak isn't fond of the idea of a new friend and runs out the door, repeatedly proclaiming, "I'm never, never, never going home again." Cozy, like most cats trying to adjust to new surroundings, appears frightened and distressed and immediately goes into hiding. Change isn't easy for either cat, but each finally finds a cozy place to rest.

More often than not, my daughter picks out books about animals, especially cats. She usually chooses her books based on the cover illustrations and this one, with the two distinguished and realistic looking cats, instantaneously caught her eye. We were very happy to learn from Doherty's website that the book is a true story about two of her cats. The exquisite and highly detailed watercolor-and-ink drawings really do capture both cats' personalities and there is much to pour over in each illustration, from tiny bugs and little mice to interesting cat paintings hanging on the wall. The rhyming, poetic text is fun to read aloud and we just adore the names of the two cats - Paddiwak and Cozy sound like opposites but the names fit together so nicely. With underlying themes of jealousy and trust, this is a good book about developing friendships. For some reason, this book was later republished in 1999 with different illustrations by Alison Bartlett. I think we prefer the original, more realistic and delicate illustrations...they just seem fitting for a book about two grown cats.

Be sure to take a look at author Berlie Doherty's website and learn about all her books: http://www.berliedoherty.com/. She has won the Carnegie Medal twice.

For more picture books about cats, check out some of Cynthia Leitich Smith's suggestions: http://www.cynthialeitichsmith.com/lit_resources/favorites/kitlit/kitlit.html

My daughter thinks we need to adopt another cat since our female cat, Katy, passed away last fall. I'm not so sure that "Mr. Fuzzypants," the remaining cat, desires a new companion at this time. Here is a picture of our cats cozied up together when they were kittens.



Son's Pick:

Can You See The Red Balloon? by Stella Blackstone, illustrated by Debbie Harter. Orchard Books (1998); ISBN 0531300773; 24 pages; Book Source: Copy from local library

My toddler son is very interested in colors all of the sudden. This silly and fun search-and-find book about colors appeals to him greatly, and we've read it together several times. Each busily illustrated page spread is devoted to a different color. For instance, readers search for red objects like a red dog and a red plate on the first pages and then turn the page to look for white objects. The book helps teach color recognition and also helps increase vocabulary with more unusual words like fenders, tiles, carriage and streamers. There's so much to look at on each page it's dizzying, but in a good way. There's not much in the way of text - only instructions about what objects to look for. Cow lovers rejoice...the book stars Florence, a humorous black-and-white cow that hides (as well as a spotted cow can) in each illustration. Holstein cows are familiar sight around here and my kids always enjoy books featuring this distinctive breed.


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, July 17, 2010

Full to the Brim - Kid's Book Giveaway List (7/17/10) Late Edition

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!

(I'm a little late this week with FTTB, but, hey, I'm only human! Hope you are having an enjoyable weekend.)


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

My book giveaway:
Despicable Me Book Set Prize Pack Ends 7/26/10

Other book giveaways:
Frugal Plus - Book Giveaway Ends 7/29/10
Confetti Girl by Diana Lopez
A Bookworm's Bargains - Book Giveaway Ends 7/23/10
52 Family Time Ideas from Bethany House Publications
The Amazing Mess - Book Giveaway Ends 7/18/10
$25.00 gift certificate for Usborne books
Kindred Spirit Mommy - Book Giveaway Ends 8/3/10
Pookster and Bubs books: “The Unloose Tooth” AND “The Practically Perfect Pickle
Mommy PR - Book Giveaway Ends 7/27/10
Scare a Bear by Kathy Jo Wargin
JDaniel4's Mom - Book Giveaway Ends 7/27/10
Tiger Tales: The Very Greedy Bee, The Crunching Munching Caterpillar, The Itsy Bitsy Spider and The Very Lazy Ladybug
Luxury Reading - Book Giveaway Ends 7/26/10
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (YA)
Happily Blended - Book Giveaway Ends 7/24/10
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (YA)
MomStart - Book Giveaway Ends 7/26/10
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (YA)
Blush - Book Giveaway Ends 7/19/10
For Just One Day by Laura Leuck; Marc Boutavant (Illustrator)
Gahome2mom - Book Giveaway Ends 7/27/10
Hands-On Bible (Tyndale) Gift Certificate
thatsIT! Mommy - Book Giveaway Ends 7/23/10
Avatar: The Last Airbender Book 1: Water Volumes 1-4
Maria's Space - Book Giveaway Ends 7/26/10
National Geographic Kids: Weird But True, The Big Book of Fun, and National Geographic Kids Almanac 2011
Lil Blu Dragonfly - Book Giveaway Ends 8/3/10
Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
Work and Play Day by Day - Book Giveaway Ends 7/21/10
Various book sets for kids and adults
100 Scope Notes - Book Giveaway Ends 7/19/10
Summer Book Giveaway Extravaganza
Sweeps4Bloggers - Book Giveaway Ends 8/1/10
Seeds of Change by Jen Cullerton Johnson
Mommy PR - Book Giveaway Ends 7/31/10
Judy Moody’s Way Wacky Uber Awesome Book of More Fun Stuff to Do!
Tech Savvy Mama - Book Giveaway Ends ??
10th anniversary hardcover edition of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Member Only: Mom Bloggers Club - Book Giveaway Ends 7/31/10
five Hallmark recordable storybooks: Hey Diddle, Diddle, Bright and Beautiful, I Love You Grandma, My Grandpa and Me and We're Not Scared of Anything.

Putumayo Kids Air Guitar Video Contest: Grand Prize: in-home concert with StarFish singer StingRay and 5 Putumayo Kids CDs! ; Runners-up: A set of 5 Putumayo Kids CDs - Ends 8/15

To Kill a Mockingbird 50th Anniversary Sweepstakes" - HarperCollins Publishers: Five Winners will receive the To Kill a Mockingbird 50th Anniversary Prize Pack - Ends 8/15/10



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

Friday, July 16, 2010

Full to the Brim later today

Full to the Brim will be posted later this evening. Thanks for your patience. We've been enjoying the gorgeous blue skies and warm weather here the past few days and haven't been around much. The weather has been great for water activities including visits to the pool and playing in the sprinkler. Plus, I tied over 100 water balloons yesterday afternoon so my fingers need time to recuperate before typing again. Hope you have time for some summer fun, too!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Peaches N' Cream Barbie Doll meets Tropical Ken




We saw Toy Story 3 last week. The Ken doll was hilarious and his wardrobe brought back some memories. One of the outfits he wore was the Tropical Ken swimsuit. I still have Tropical Ken, so I brought out my old Barbies for the kids to play with this week.

Peaches N' Cream Barbie (1985) was my favorite with her fancy ballroom dress. This year (2010) Mattel released a vintage reproduction Peaches N' Cream Barbie in their My Favorite Barbie® Doll Collection. Tempting...I might just have to get one (for my daughter, of course). :)



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

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Support RIF - Shop and Save at Macy's

If you shop at Macy's this month consider contributing to the Book A Brighter Future to support RIF (Reading Is Fundamental). RIF promotes literacy by giving free books and literacy materials to kids that need them the most. Stop by your local Macy's and give $3 and get $10 off* one purchase of $50 or more. 100% of every $3 is donated to RIF. You save and benefit children at the same time. *May not apply to all purchases. See store for details.




Also be sure to check out the RIF website. There's a number of useful activities and guides and even games for kids. RIF even has a blog - Rasco From RIF posts about literacy and children's books.


I'm providing this information to my readers because I thought the information might be of interest and did not receive anything in return for this post.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Fantasia First - Learn about The Sorcerer's Apprentice

A new Disney movie, The Sorcerer's Apprentice releases this week. My children are a little too young to watch this new version of the story. However, we visited the library today, and I checked out a video of Fantasia so they could watch Mickey Mouse in action as the apprentice who enchants a broom while the master sorcerer is away. The music and animation in Fantasia is fabulous, particularly The Sorcerer's Apprentice, and the movie is a wonderful way to introduce young children to classical music.



Both the classic and new film are based on the German poem Der Zauberlehrling (The Sorcerer's Apprentice) by Goethe. Paul Dukas composed a symphonic poem inspired by Goethe's work and this is the music that is heard in Disney's versions of The Sorcerer's Apprentice.



If your kids plan to go and see the new film in the theater, make sure to introduce them to Goethe's poem first and have them listen to Paul Dukas' musical version that was made famous by the movie Fantasia.

Friday, July 9, 2010

VBS Craft - Beaded Cross Necklace made easy with Glue Dots


I volunteered to help out with crafts at our church's Vacation Bible School this summer. Our church is small, and I needed crafts that were simple and appropriate for all ages. I was happy to find several great craft ideas online, including a Beaded Cross Necklace. Glue Dots helped make this project easy to assemble and quick because the necklace required no drying time.

One of the VBS lessons had the theme, "Jesus, our Savior, says, 'Believe!'" We crafted "I Believe" beaded cross necklaces and key chains to go along with this lesson (original idea from Sunday School Network.com). To make the project more memorable and correspond with our lesson, we used color changing UV beads from Steve Spangler Science (they are the same size as Pony Beads). These beads look white but turn different colors when placed in the sun. I held up a bead before we made the craft and asked the kids if they would believe me if I told them that the white bead was actually a blue bead. Believing takes faith. (Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1 NIV) Using color changing beads is the perfect way to illustrate this concept.

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"I Believe" Colors of Faith Color Changing Beaded Cross Craft

Materials:
4 Color Changing UV Beads (Red, Blue, Green, Yellow)
1 Black Pony Bead
1 White Pony Bead
3 ft length of 3 mm sueded cord (for necklace) or 1 ft length of 3 mm sueded cord (for key chain decoration) or 1.5 ft length sueded cord (for bracelet)
2 Mini Glue Dots (3/16 in)


Directions for this craft:
1). Cut cord to desired length. Slide the yellow bead to the center of the length of cord.

2). Fold the cord in half and place the green bead over both ends of the cord. Slide the green bead down until it touches the top of the yellow bead.

3). Hold the white bead vertically. Apply a Glue Dot on each side hole of the white bead and stick the red bead and blue bead to each side of the white bead. Make sure that the red and blue beads' holes face perpendicular to the white bead and are even with each other. (Refer to picture)



4).Using the three bead section from the above step, slide the red bead onto the left strand of cord and slide the blue bead onto the right strand of cord until this center row touches the other beads.

5.) Place the black bead over both ends of the cord and slide all the way down to meet the other beads.

6.) Tighten all the beads together and tie a knot at the top of the cross.

7.) Tie another knot at the top of the necklace or key chain decoration.

8.) Take the necklace outside on a sunny day and watch the beads change colors.

9.) Provide each child with a card that explains what each bead color represents.

"Colors of Faith" Cross
BLACK represents our sins.
RED represents the blood Jesus shed for us.
WHITE represents the cleansing of our sins.
BLUE represents baptism.
GREEN represents growth in our faith.
GOLD represents eternal life with Jesus in Heaven.


I ran across one problem with the beaded cross craft directions at Sunday School Network.com. The center row of beads is hard to assemble and keep together so I revised the directions to include a new gluing method using Glue Dots. A note on the website suggested gluing the three beads that make the center portion of the cross together beforehand. I tried doing this with both white and crafting glue, but the process is time consuming and a little tricky. I didn't want to use a glue gun because I was afraid that the heat would alter the chemistry of the color changing beads. Then I remembered Glue Dots samples that I had recently received as part of a TwitterMoms promotion. The Glue Dots worked like a charm and required no fussing beforehand and no drying time! The kids applied the Glue Dots themselves. And, at least for this project, the Glue Dots held the beads together better than the liquid glues. Who knew Glue Dots were so handy? I plan to keep a plentiful supply in our craft drawer for our future crafting projects.

As a blogger from Wisconsin, I was excited to learn that the Glue Dots company is located in New Berlin, WI. According to their website, "Glue Dots are a double-sided, pressure-sensitive adhesive that bond instantly to virtually any surface." Glue Dots come in a variety of sizes and types and can be used in all sorts of projects and crafts. See the Glue Dots website for the full line of Glue Dots products, including mini, removable, crafts and more. Follow Glue Dots on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/GlueDotsFans and/or Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/GLUEDOTS

“I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Glue Dots Summer Bonding Project blogging contest and received samples of Glue Dots. By posting, I've also entered for a chance to win a $30 gift card. If you'd like to participate in the Summer Bonding Project contest, find more information here.”

Despicable Me: Sleepy Kittens Book Review & Awesome Giveaway

**** Dec 2010 Update - New Despicable Me Giveaway here (Ends 12/13/10): http://www.brimfulcuriosities.com/2010/11/despicable-me-prize-pack-giveaway.html ****


This might be a first! The book Sleepy Kittens, labeled "as seen in the film Despicable Me from Universal Pictures," is a movie tie-in title that is really and truly featured in the actual movie. Talk about amazing and clever product placement. I love it when characters in a movie read or discuss books. When Meg Ryan's character mentioned Noel Streatfeild's children's books in You've Got Mail, I sure wanted to read them all. I bet I wasn't the only one. The 3-D, animated comedy Despicable Me releases in theaters today (July 9th) and, yes, the board book with cute finger puppet kittens is in the movie.

Three little kittens loved to play. They had fun in the sun all day. Then their mother came out and said, "Time for kittens to go to bed!"


Sleepy Kittens (Despicable Me) by Cinco Paul, Ken Daurio, Illustrated by Eric Guillon; LB Kids (May 2010); ISBN 9780316083812; 10 pages; Board Book
Book Source: Review copy provided by publisher

In Sleepy Kittens, a pink mama cat announces that it is bedtime for her three chubby little kittens. The kittens have other ideas and try their best to stall the inevitable. Smart mama cat, not to be outdone, has a few tricks up her pink paw and lovingly soothes them to sleep. The short text is written in rhyming verse.

If you watch this movie trailer, about two minutes into the video the Sleepy Kitten book appears. Gru, the villain, is reading the book to the orphaned girls. Ok, ok...so the actual book isn't exactly the same as the one in the movie but it is pretty darn close. The three finger puppets are there but you don't manipulate them through holes like Gru does. And, the text isn't exactly the same either but still it is pretty cool that kids can actually read the story for themselves and interact with the finger puppet kittens. Kids can even make the kittens drink the milk out of the milk bowl, just like in the movie. My kindergarten-aged daughter thought the book was fun to play with and even made up her own story while operating the puppets. My toddler son isn't able to manipulate the puppets as well as his older sister but seems amused by this novelty. One thing I noticed -- the roly-poly kittens have such short little legs I'm surprised they can do anything but sleep! The three finger puppets, made out of flat, felt-like material, are glued into the back cover and cannot be removed.

Other LB Kids Despicable Me movie tie-in books include My Dad the Super Villain (picture book), The World's Greatest Villain (picture book) and Despicable Me: The Junior Novel.

Studded with stars like Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Miranda Cosgrove, Julie Andrews, Despicable Me sounds like it is going to be plenty humorous. I'm not so sure I'm on board with the funny name, but I guess it kind of grows on you. I haven't seen the movie yet, but from what I can gather from the production notes, here's the basic plot: Gru is a super-villain of the most wicked, evil sort. He even has plans to steal the moon with the help of his little, yellow minions. He meets his match when three little orphaned girls end up at his door.


Related links:
Despicable Me Books: http://www.despicablemebooks.com
Official Movie Site: www.despicable.me
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DespicableMe
Twitter: @universalpics
Movie Trailer #6: http://www.youtube.com/despicablememovie#p/u/4/tikthjwNUBw

Thanks to LB Kids and Universal Pictures, Brimful Curiosities' readers can enter to win a Despicable Me Book Prize Pack.

One (1) Winner will receive:

* Sleepy Kittens
* My Dad the Super Villain
* The World’s Greatest Villain
* Despicable Me: The Junior Novel
* Despicable Me T-shirt
* Despicable Me pencil

To enter, leave any comment relevant to this post. Or, just for fun, on the topic of product placement and books in movies, have you ever read a book after seeing a character reading or discussing it in a movie?
• 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, July 26th, 2010 at 11:59 PM CST.
• Winner will be chosen at random and sent an email notification.
Three ways to gain extra entries (Maximum total entries is 4; please leave a separate comment for each entry):
1st extra entry: Blog about this contest then post your link in the comment section.
2nd extra entry: Follow me on twitter (iambrimful) and tweet about the contest.
3rd extra entry: Follow Me! or subscribe by email or RSS reader


Thanks to Universal Pictures and LB Kids for providing a copy of Sleepy Kittens for 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.)