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The Twelve Days of Christmas – Laurel Long

laurel long twelve days of christmas cover

Christmas books in June?  Am I crazy?  Yes, Probably! But I am so excited about the deal I got that I just have to share with all of you.  Last Christmas I wanted to buy a copy of Laurel Long’s Twelve days of Christmas, but couldn’t find a used copy for a good price, and with all of the other presents I was buying, I just couldn’t justify getting myself a this book.  Well, the random thought occurred to me that I should check out Abe’s books for a copy of it now, since the inventory would be up and demand low.  Guys, I scored! It’s literally a gold mine out there for Christmas books. I was able to get a hardcover copy in “like new” condition for $3.99 shipping included. It still had a sticker on the back for the $20 the book should cost. I am posting about this in June because Amazon and Abe’s books have a bunch of copies right now for you to get yourself an early Christmas present too.

ten lords a leaping laurel long

Ten Lords A Leaping Laurel Long

If you aren’t familiar with Laurel Long, run to the Library and get her Magic Nesting dolls book, or the harder to find Lady and the Lion.  They are all stunning.  Really.  I am no artist and I don’t use that word lightly.  These are the kind of picture book that make you remember to be grateful you have eyes with which to see things.  Trust me, boy or girl, old or young, you will like this book.  You will stare at the pictures for quite sometime and each time find new things you haven’t seen before.

Review:

six geese a laying laurel long

Six Geese- by Laurel Long. I still haven’t found that third hen.

I have sung and read the Twelve Days of Christmas every day this week to my girls. They both love the book.  Surprisingly, neither has asked why I am reading them a Christmas book right now.  Each double page, full-color illustration shows one of the days of Christmas.  Then each following day has all the other previous items hidden beautifully within the drawing for that day.  I haven’t even found them all because it’s cleverly done. I didn’t even know to look for them until after a few reads through because it all blends nicely. (hint: one goose has two turtle dove feathers) It adds fun to the book without taking away from how nice the pictures look.

One last note: the author says “Four Collie Birds” when I always thought “calling birds”… I believe you can find both versions if you look and that’s by no means a deal breaker for me.  I am so glad to have gotten this book to add to my Christmas collection.  Be sure to buy the hardcover copy, you will want to keep yours for years to come too.

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  • Illustrator: Laurel Long
  • Publisher: Dial Books
  • ISBN:0803733577
  • Copyright:October 13, 2011
  • Laurel Long Website link

Disclaimer: I bought my copy with my own money for way less than it is worth. I will get a small commission if you buy from my affiliate link.

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Chrysanthemum – Kevin Henkes

Okay Moms and Dads. I have found a book you should all read to your little ones.  I have seen this cover all over the place in my book wanderings, but had never read it. Published back in 1991 (so no excuse for me never having read it) it has been chosen as an ALA notable book and School Library Journal book of the year.  I found my copy for a few dollars at a second hand store and decided to just buy it because I recognized it.  Oh, man oh man, I have been missing out.  Not only does it have a subtle message about self-esteem, the drawings are bright and kid-tested wonderful.  Am I over-selling this thing?  Maybe, but I doubt it.

Chrysanthemum kevin Henkes

Summary:

Chrysanthemum loves her name.  That is she loves it, until she goes to school and realizes that her name is super long and all her classmates have short “normal” names.  Chrysanthemum struggles with kids making fun of her flower name and picking on her a bit.  She “wilts” when they tease her and even dreams of changing her name.   Her parents try to help her, but suddenly the best (and kinda crazy) music teacher helps out because she loves Chrysanthemum’s name.  Mrs. Twinkle shows the readers (and her music class) that being different can be wonderful. She is quite different and said to be an “indescribable Wonder” herself. This all done without obviously saying “okay kids, being different is actually pretty neat”  it’s just waiting there for the little ones to grasp on their own and mine did and that makes me smile.

Mrs. Twinkle

Review:

My princess-loving girls like this book. A lot.  This gets multiple repeat requests from them.  That alone is reason for me to love it for the breath of fresh air that it is.  But more than that… It’s teaching them a message I want them to hear.   That it’s not okay to make fun of people, and that being yourself is the best thing you can be.  The writing in the book doesn’t quite rhyme, but it feels lyrical, which makes it a fun read aloud book.  The pictures add so much to the story that there are words and picture stories that happen here and it’s all so polished.

Okay, enough said- just go rent it from the library and then find yourself a copy after that.

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The Prince’s Poison Cup – R.C. Sproul

The Prince’s Poison cup, by R.C. Sproul  is not marketed as an Easter book, but it sure is a perfect book for Easter time.  If you are looking for something that is religious without being cheesy; Not too detailed and not shallow either, then this is your book. (These are kind of hard to find by the way)

PPC-cover

Summary:

This story is about a King and his son.  The King was called the king of life because he made everything and everyone in Prince's Poison Cuphis city.  In the center there is a fountain that the king told his people not to drink from.  Eventually, they are convinced to drink by the king’s archenemy who tells them the water is wonderful and good.  The people drink and, their hearts turn to stone- not wanting to be near the king at all.  Because of that, they build their own city away from the king. The king asks his son to help save their people.  He asks him to take the golden cup and go to the city of Man and drink from a fountain at the center of it that is filled with poison.

PPC-2The son obeys his father, though he is sad along the way, even being taunted by the people and hit with some rocks.  He drinks from the fountain like his father asks and dies from the horrible poison.   The king of life then comes and saves his son and the poison fountain turns to clear wonderful water.  The Prince offers this water to “anyone who is thirsty”, and some people whose hearts were changed by what the prince did, drink.  (starting with an adorable brave little boy)

Review:

This book points to Jesus in super obvious ways, but is also fresh and un-memorized for kids.  My oldest guesses “Jesus” for most questions she doesn’t know the right answer to so this is a good thing for us.  I think kids can relate to tasting yucky things, so the idea of drinking poison is something they understand and relate to more than what Jesus went through.  The book is beautiful to look at, and interesting for both parents and kids and makes its way into our reading routine around this time each year.

  • Author: R.C. Sproul
  • Illustrator: Justin Gerard
  • ISBN: 1-56769-104-8
  • Copyright: 2008
  • Publisher: Reformation Trust

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Good news! You can watch a video of RC Sproul reading the story HERE.

Disclaimer: I purchased this book with my own money.

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The Leprechaun’s Gold – Pamela Duncan Edwards

I couldn’t resist one more St. Patrick’s day book review even though it will be too late for anyone to check it out in time for the big day itself.  This one is more touching than most I have read so the happy good morale should make it worth the read for most parents.

The Leprechaun's Gold -Pamela Duncan Edwards

The Leprechaun’s Gold -Pamela Duncan Edwards

Summary

The Leprechaun's Gold - 0439754526

The Leprechaun’s Gold – Pamela Duncan Edwards, Scholastic Inc. 0439754526

This story begins long ago in a small village where we find a smiling old man name Pat.  He was a harpist, and a good one at that!  Pat is humble and kind and willing to play his music for all kinds of events whether the people can pay him or not.  Well, young Tom, who was trained in the art by old Pat thinks the man is crazy for not making more money from his skills.  Old Pat says “I am rich in friends, and that is enough.”  well, one day the king holds a harping contest (you know, because they had a lot of those back in olden days of course)  and our two friends decide to give it a go.  Mean young Tom decides that old Pat just might beat him and breaks a string on his harp when he isn’t looking.   Poor poor old Pat has no extras, he can’t afford them!  He knows he won’t be able to win the contest now, but is going to give it a try anyway.

By this time, the wood is dark and as everyone knows, there are Leprechauns lurking there ready to play tricks on people for mean sport.  Suddenly our musicians hear a cry for help.  Unable to ignore the plea, old Pat goes to help the poor soul while Tom high-tails it out of there to safety.   Good thing for Pat, Leprechauns are nice if you help them out of a jam. Especially when you are as humble and kind as Pat was.  Just wait and see how that little Leprechaun decides to return the favor to our generous friend!

Review

The Leprechaun's Gold - 0439754526

The Leprechaun’s Gold – Pamela Duncan Edwards Scholastic inc.

The pictures are thoughtfully done and most pages have an intricate border around them.  There are 16 four leaf clovers hidden in this book for kids to find.  You won’t find any beautiful maidens or even cute furry animals in this one- so I think my daughters weren’t as excited about it as they might have been… but, as the mother, I get to pick the books we read sometimes and the story is so great, that I would force-feed it to my daughters if I had to.  (I mean, I don’t mind drawings of kind old men, but it’s not a super draw for my girls just yet… sigh!)  This is one of those stories that you hope is true; that good wins and kindness matters.  So, while I haven’t had to make my girls finish this story with me, they also haven’t asked me to read it on their own. Which kind of makes me sad, but I will keep trying. Repeat after me… Kindness matters more than princesses!

  • Author: Pamela Duncan Edwards
  • Illustrator:Henry Cole
  • ISBN:0439754526
  • Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
  • Copyright: 2005

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Jamie O’Rourke and The Big Potato – Tomie DePaola

Tomie DePaola and PaperStar publishing

Tomie DePaola and PaperStar publishing

Happy St. Patrick’s day everyone!  Who wants to learn about Leprechauns?  Well, I don’t actually know much about them, but this is a super cute story with Leprechauns, pots of gold and… potatoes.   Surprisingly, in my hunt for a good St. Patrick’s day book, I didn’t find one with a rainbow and a pot of gold in it.  So if you have some suggestions, please let me know in the comments below.  While Jamie O’Rourke is not a definitive work on the wee little men, it does give you a hint of their craftiness and fun.

Summary

jamie o'rourke  Tomie DePaola

Jamie O’Rourke happens to be the laziest man that ever lived (in Ireland at least) Thankfully, he is married to a woman who is willing to work when her husband will not.  Eileen, hurts her back pulling up their potatoes and so poor old Jamie becomes scared that they will starve that winter.  Does he go out to the garden to get the potatoes for his family since his wife no longer can?  No!  He decides that he better go to the priest for one last confession before he starves to death!

Old Jamie comes to this conclusion at midnight and doesn’t want to wait (or work) so he heads out then and there to Father O’Malley’s. On the way he finds a Leprechaun making shoes for the fairy folk (that’s how they have all that gold you know)  and he catches the little man, demanding his gold. This Leprechaun was cleverer than most, and tells Jamie he only has a few gold coins because he is new to making shoes.  He offers our friend a wish instead, and coaxes him into wishing for the biggest potato (Pratie) in the world, all with no work.  Jamie decides that no work for a big potato is a great trade and he lets the little man go.

Jamie O'rourke  and the Big Potato PlantNow, I would love to tell you that Jamie learns his lesson, works hard for the giant potato and all of that, but that simply is not the case.  He is as lazy as ever!  He plants that seed and soon has a ginormous potato plant in his yard.  It is such a spectacle that soon all the town comes to see it.  Since this book is widely available I won’t spoil it for you, but that giant potato makes a nuisance of itself, but in the end, it all works out for our lazy friend. (Thankfully not everyone is as lazy as Jamie O’Rourke)

 

Review

My daughter couldn’t believe that on the last page we see that same little leprechaun smiling over his giant pot of gold.  “He’s a liar!” she kept saying and I just smiled and said: “Well, you have to be careful with the leprechauns, they don’t give their gold to just anyone, you have to be smart to get it.”  My oldest is still mad that the leprechaun lied! I like this story because it’s festive and Tomie DePaola wrote it, and I would buy almost anything of his. (Even though that gray cat and brown dog look awfully familiar) This is a fun one to read for Saint Patrick’s day, and a classic, but not a favorite.  There really isn’t a morale to the story, it’s just silly and I think that’s fairly accurate for leprechaun lore.  I will keep reading to find more stories for this holiday, but am glad to have this one in my collection (even if my daughter is a bit traumatized!)  She is warming up to the story now and thinks she’s pretty smart for not falling for the Leprechaun’s tricks. I guess I can rest easy knowing that, should she run into any little men dressed in green, she won’t be letting them go for just any old prize.  Whew! I can check that off my list of things she needs to know now.

  • Author: Tomie DePaola
  • Illustrator:  Tomie DePaola
  • ISBN: 978-0-698-11603-0
  • Publisher: PaperStar Book
  • Copyright: 1992

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Jaime O'Rourke  - 978-0-698-11603-0

Jamie O’Rourke and the Big Potato- Tomie DePaola and PaperStar Books.

 

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Bubble Bubble – Mercer Mayer

Bubble Bubble Mercer Mayer 1-57768-348-X

Bubble Bubble by Mercer Meyer 2003 Gingham Dog Press

Bubble Bubble has been one of my kids favorites.  I would say the best age for this book is as early as one years old and then again for early readers.   There aren’t a ton of words in this book, in fact the first edition did not have any text to it.  That should tell you just how expressive and interesting the pictures are to this book.  My then 4-year old daughter had the whole thing memorized and liked “reading” it to me.

bubble-buy

Bubble Bubble- Buying the “Magic Bubbles” Mercer Meyer- Gingham Dog Press

The story is pretty simple,  A little boy buys a Magic Bubble maker and blows some animal shaped bubbles.  Some of them are kind of freaky like a snake, but he then blows a bubble shaped like a cat to get the mean snake, but then…

The cat turns into a large cat and is going to attack us.  Quickly, he blows another bubble. “And that took care of that”. After this same pattern a number of times, our little boy gets tired, and decides to pop all the bubbles.

Spoiler Alert:  This is the last gorgeous page:

Bubblebubble

There is a repetitive pattern in this book where a cute animal bubble appears, but then attacks so we blow another animal to get that animal that kids love.  Seriously, even my 2 year old loves this book. I think because she knows what’s going to happen.  The pages are bright and there are tons of details to see.   Now for the bad news- this book is out of print!  I managed to find a hardback copy to save on my special shelf for a good deal and read a paperback one to my daughters.  Selfish, I know, but I don’t want to give this book up now. It has too many memories for us.

  • Author: Mercer Mayer
  • Illustrator: Mercer Mayer
  • ISBN: 1-57768-348-X
  • Publisher: Gingham Dog Press
  • Copyright: 1973 and 2003

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Professor Wormbog in Search for the Zipperump-a-Zoo – Mercer Mayer

cover image of Professor Wormbog  9781607467656

Professor Wormbog By Mercer Mayer 9781607467656

Not to oversell this one, but it is seriously one of my all-time favorite books.  It’s been around long enough that it could have been a childhood favorite of mine, but I didn’t discover it until a few years ago.  This is the same author/illustrator of the “Little Critter” books, but I like these even more.

Professor Wormbog in Search of the Zipperump-a-Zoo is funny and fun with a surprise ending.  Spoiler alert: I will be telling you the surprise in the last paragraph but don’t worry, the pictures are fun to look at and I still find new things when I read it because there is a lot to see in this book. Professor Wormbog collects beasties.  He has a wonderful collection of all the rare beasties from A-Y and is missing his letter Z, the elusive Zipperump-a-zoo!  He needs his Z animal so being the great animal hunter he is, he decides to catch one.

Professor Wormbog 9781607467656

Professor Wormbog’s Beastie Collection. Mercer Meyer

He tries every trick he knows, from traveling across the ocean, into deep dark caves, and even disguising himself as a feathered Croonie to see if Zipperump-a-Zoo’s fly through the air.  Alas, he cannot find it.   After a few close calls, and many animal catchings and releasing later, our poor professor calls it quits and goes home.  Exhausted and kinda sad, he falls asleep in his recliner in defeat.

IMG_20150310_0002_NEW

Uh-Oh! That’s not a Zipperump-a-Zoo! it’s a Blowfat-glowfish!

Our poor professor will just have to learn to be okay with his A through Y collection of rare animals.  The funny part that kids love is, as he is sleeping, his room becomes filled with little Zipperump-A-Zoos dancing and playing right in front of his sleeping nose. My daughters laugh almost every time at this, and like to make sound effects for each of the zipperump-a’s in the room. (There’s 13)  I have good news , this book is still in print and not too hard to find.  Definitely check it out at the library, or buy yourself a copy because it’s pretty fun for everyone.

  • Author: Mercer Mayer
  • Illustrator: Mercer Mayer
  • ISBN: 9781607467656
  • Publisher: FastPencil PREMIERE
  • Copyright: 1979 and 2011

Amazon link: Professor Wormbog in Search for the Zipperump-a-Zoo (Classic Collectible Series)

Disclaimer: I purchased this book with my own money.  I am hunting for a low priced 1979 version because that would be fun to own, but am happy with my copy here.