The World’s Crummiest Umbrella

umbrellaTitle of book: The World’s Crummiest Umbrella

Time length to read: 3-5 min

Age recommended: 6 and up

Author: Alex Schumacher

Publisher: Wandering in the Words Press

Best place to purchase: Amazon (Click word for direct link)

Price: $13.50 (paperback)

Today’s book was very appropriate for me, since it was raining here just a few days ago and I couldn’t help but look at all the crummy umbrellas I have in my collection. ;) The World’s Crummiest Umbrella, by Alex Schumacher, tells a story of a boy who receives this crummy umbrella as a gift from his mother. At first the boy couldn’t believe the gift. Of all the gifts to be given, he couldn’t believe he got a crummy umbrella in various of colors, with a spring and a little heart at the top. Upset at the gift, he confronts his mother about it and pretty much tells her what a horrible and embarrassing gift it is. As you can guess it, he upset his mother by this statement, as well as himself. After a little while though, he realizes that his family didn’t have much money and that his mother saved up for the gift for him. He also realizes that in the long run, the umbrella ended up saving the day for him and some friends when it started raining. So instead of looking silly, he ended up being a little hero in the end and realized his mother was just being thoughtful and loved him very much.

This book was very creative. I think it give us the sense of how we all are with gifts we receive as a child, teenager, even as an adult. We all receive those gifts that are embarrassing and have us thinking, “why me?” This book, however, put the true perspective of those gifts. There is probably a reason behind the gift that you may not be aware of. So while you may think the gift is silly and crummy, it may have been given to you by someone who was thinking about you, or maybe it was all they had at the time. When this boy realized that his mom was just looking out for him, he realized how much he loved his mom and was grateful for the thoughtful gift. What a great message this sends to not only children, but to everyone! Especially with Christmas coming up, I think this is a great eye-opener to children and even adults, to think about the thought and meaning behind each gift. It teaches everyone who reads it not to be selfish. To be grateful for everything you receive and everyone in your life that thinks of you. Besides, you may never know when that “crummy” gift may come in handy! ;)

The illustrations were very simple in this book, with a light shade of blue around the pencil illustrations. I probably would’ve liked to see a little more color in this book, since it was describing the color of the umbrella, just in my opinion. On the other hand, sometimes simple is the way to go and the pictures did draw out the story good.

My thoughts? This is a good read. It has a great message in it and you may even catch yourself saying “yep, that was me that one time.” :)

My Dream for You Is Happiness

Title of book: My Dream for You Is Happiness

Time length to read: 3-5 min

Age recommended: 3 and up

Author: Carole Ann Hausman

Illustrator: Joanne Raptis

Publisher: Hamer House Publishing

Best place to purchase: Amazon & Hamer House Books site (Click words for direct link)

Price: $12.99

This next book that I bring you today will put a smile on your face and make you happy, literally! The book, My Dream for You Is Happiness, by Carole Ann Hausman is a positive book focusing on happiness. While there is no specific plot in the book, it is more so concentrated on the message of showing kids to remain happy, even when times are hard.

I know I probably say this about almost every book lately, but this was a really good book in may opinion.  There wasn’t really a story plot like other picture books, but there was a great message. This book teaches children how important it is to be happy and even when things aren’t going right, you should always try to be happy. The book also gives many examples on different scenarios of being happy, as well as how to try and be happy when you aren’t. In a world full of so many negative things, it is good to have a book around that specifically concentrates on happiness and positivity. It is books like this that will lift children, and even adults! :)

The illustrations, done by Joanne Raptis, were superb. They have a soft water-color touch, but detailed enough to put the simple words that this book has, to life.

So if you are looking for a uplifting book for your child, or even yourself, I highly recommend you read this one! You will want to read it over and over until you are happy. :)

Dropped-Off Dog ( A Mostly-True “Tail”)

Title of book: Dropped-Off Dog ( A Mostly-True “Tail”)

Time length to read: 6-8 min

Age recommended: 5 and up

Author: Catherine Lagorio

Illustrator: Robert Kelley

Publisher: 3L Publishing

Best place to purchase: Amazon & 3L Publishing site (Click words for direct link)

Price: $21.95

So, this is the first post of “Picture Book Month” for Storytime Books and I already want to say that this book holds a special message, especially to me. Before I get into it, let me tell you a little about it. It is called Dropped-Off Dog ( A Mostly-True “Tail”) by Catherine Lagorio. This book is about a little tiger-striped dog that had a wonderful life, until he was suddenly dropped-off in the country and then found himself without the home and love that he once knew. Now before you get all sad, there is a happy ending to this story. The little dog ended up finding a home with a nice farmer and his wife, and joined another dog friend, and well you can guess it, lived happily ever after.

As I said before, this story touched me. I have a dog of my own, and I couldn’t imagine ever dropping him off and leaving him to fend for his own. I am definitely a dog person, and so this story really stood out to me because of the strong message that Catherine Lagorio tries to send to her readers. As stated in the title, yes, this story is a “Mostly-True “Tail” as she states that her family was the one who adopted the tiger-striped dog. Lagorio states how she lives in the country and sees too often how pets  are dropped-off and left to themselves. She stresses the high importance to pet owners on the responsibility of owning a pet, and loving them from the day you get them, to the very end. I couldn’t agree more with her. I do believe that pet ownership is a big responsibility and people should be aware of what they are really agreeing to when getting one. Also, at the very end of the story, Lagorio wrote up a short letter to her readers stating this important message, which I found very informative.

Not only is it a great story, but the illustrations that Robert Kelley did are excellent. They don’t drown the pages, and the pictures are soft enough to depict the story, but not overwhelm it.

So if you want a great story for children, the family, or even yourself (especially if you are a pet lover ;) ) , check this one out. It will make you want to hold your little fur ones as you read it. :)

Picture Book Month

Hey All! So I am a little late on getting into this, but it’s officially November, so…besides Thanksgiving and good food..what does that mean? It means it’s picture book month! I missed celebrating last year, so I am glad I am able to hop on board and have it noticed this year. Picture book month is dedicated to spotlighting children’s picture books in the literature world. As an ambassador for Picture Book Month, I am glad to participate in this, and share some amazing picture books with you this month. I hope you all read some good picture books and share them this month! So here’s to Picture Book Month! So what are you waiting for? Go out there and read some! :)

For more information on Picture Book Month, you can visit there site, here.

Also, watch this cute video that tells you all about it :)

Little Jimmy Says, “Same Is Lame”

Title of book: Little Jimmy Says, “Same is Lame”

Time length to read: 4-8 min

Age recommended: 5 and up

Author: Jimmy Vee

Illustrator: Mike Motz

Publisher: Atlas Press

Best place to purchase: Amazon (Click word for direct link)

Price: $14.49

Hey everyone! Happy Monday! I hope this book I am bringing you today helps you start your week out in an uplifting way. Little Jimmy Says, Same is Lame, by Jimmy Vee, is a book about the author himself. As he goes throughout the book, he explains the differences we all have in each other, whether it’s a birthmark, or different ethnicity, and how all those differences makes us unique. Little Jimmy also goes to explain how he, being only five feet tall, feels like his difference in height makes him feel like he stands out. He doesn’t see it in a bad way though, he stands out in a positive way. Showing all the different things he can do just being five feet tall. Big or small, scar or no scar, we all have differences and this book makes all those stand out and shine.

This book really impressed me. I have to admit, when I read the title, I was taken back a little bit by it. I had no idea what it meant by “Same is Lame.” However, I try not to judge a book by it’s cover. So after going through and reading the book, I was really impressed at what a great book and message this is to children. They address so many different scenarios that children themselves could see themselves as “different” and Jimmy turns that into a positive thing. He basically tells children and people how their uniqueness makes them stand out and they should never feel ashamed of their differences. The book also rhymes as you go along, so it makes it very catchy to rhyme and read along. Once again, I tried to find improvements in this book, only to find myself reading another really well done book that I couldn’t find anything wrong with. It has a very positive and clear message for children.

The illustrations, done by Mike Motz, were very impressive. Just because it took every detail and aspect of each scenario in the story, and portrayed it perfectly. From the simple things in the background of the illustrations, to the detail in characters, the illustrations will put you in a positive mood. You’ll see what I mean when you read the book. ;)

Final thoughts, this is the perfect book to give your child, or even yourself a confidence boost. Especially if you or someone you know is a little sensitive because of their differences. We are all different, but we are all made to stand out and shine. I would recommend this book to schools, teachers, parents, children, and even adults. I agree with Little Jimmy on this one. Same is definitely, lame. ;)

For more information on this book, you can visit the book’s website, here. I was also able to do an author interview with Jimmy Vee himself. It is included below if you would like to check it out!

Author Interview with Jimmy Vee

Can you tell us a little about yourself? 

I got his creative start acting with action figures, building high tech gadgets out of garbage, tooting made-up tunes on my trumpet and practicing the ancient arts of magic and ventriloquism.

In real life, I am the co-owner of an advertising agency and have co-authored numerous books on sales and marketing, including the bestseller Gravitational Marketing: The Science of Attracting Customers.

My agency has been recognized by INC. Magazine as one of the fastest-growing private companies in America and was voted one of the best places to work in Central Florida by The Orlando Business Journal.

 What do you do when you are not writing? 

Typically, when I’m not writing kids books, I am running my agency, writing advertising, working on magic and ventriloquism routines or spending time with my wife and two kids.

What inspired you to write your first book? 

I have always loved picture books and I’ve always wanted to write one. I’ve been performing magic and ventriloquism for kids for nearly twenty years. When I had my second child, I was reading picture books to him every night. During that time, I received a copy of a picture book released by Weird Al Yankovic. I’ve been a fan of his since I was a kid. When I saw Al’s book I was re-inspired to write my own. So I put it on my goals list for 2013 and the story just came to me.

 How did you come up with the title? 

The inspiration for the title is the message itself. I came up with the “Same Is Lame” concept several years ago and have been teaching it to business owners and entrepreneurs. I would teach the concept as it relates to their advertising, marketing, image, approach and business culture. If you look up lame in the dictionary it means, “pathetically lacking in force or effectiveness.” It’s a pretty striking definition. The phrase and concept of Same Is Lame has been very sticky and people really seem to resonate with it. So much so, that we trademarked the phrase. When I thought about writing a kids book, I figured Same Is lame would be the perfect message to introduce to kids to help them get pointed in the right direction early. It has applied to me and I have used it nearly all my life, well before I discovered the words to sum up my philosophy.

 Where do you get your ideas? 

 My ideas come from life and observations. I try to keep my eyes open for things I find funny or curious. I listen to my kids and watch what they think is funny. I also get ideas from things I like. I draw on an eclectic range of interests like circus and sideshow history, magic, ventriloquism, marketing, persuasion, confidence games, animation history, voice acting, IMPROV and Stand up comedy, cartoons, late night infomercials and people big personalities. I also do creative exercises to help generate ideas. I often use the SCAMPER model. Oh, and let’s not forget about reading. I read a lot. Typically over 40 books per year not including the tons of picture books I read each year. I read lots of business books, fiction, biographies, self-help, sales and others.

Is there a message in your book that you want readers to grasp? 

The outermost layer of the message is self-acceptance. Simply, being comfortable with who you are and understanding that it’s OK to be different. At a deeper level, I’m trying to get people to realize the power that lies in fully embracing the traits that make them different and giving them the confidence to leverage them, capitalize on them and exploit them.

 What books have most influenced your life most? 

Think and Grow Rich by Napeleon Hill

Purple Cow by Seth Godin

How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie

The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz

The Little Red Book of Selling by Jeffrey Gitomer

Wacky Wednesday by Teho LeSieg

The B Book by Stan & Jan Berenstain

Ventriloquism Made Easy by Kolby King

Code To Zero by Ken Follett (this book got me back into reading)

 Do you have any advice for other writers? 

I have two pieces of advice for writers. The first is to not worry about where your ideas are going to come from. Always be open to ideas. Keep your eyes open for them and have confidence they will come. Then be ready to receive and capture them. The second piece of advice is to realize that writing is the easy part. Editing is the hard part and it’s the part that takes the longest. Don’t try to finish too quickly. Really work to refine your story and polish it to perfection.

 Do you have anything specific to tell your readers?

My goal with this book is to help people. I want to help children and adults realize what is unique about themselves and show them that they can embrace that and use it to their extreme advantage instead of feeling like it is a liability. We started a non-profit organization that supports kids with extraordinary talent get the support and financial resources they need to pursue that talent and take it to the next level. All the proceeds of the book go to support and fund the foundation.

Author Bio:

Jimmy Vee is known around the world as the Five Foot High Marketing Guy. He is living proof that big things really do come in small packages. He is a savvy CEO, a loving husband, a funny father, a bestselling business book author, a sought-after advertising copywriter, a wannabe musician, a master magician, a stand-up comedian and a stiff-lipped ventriloquist.

Nickerbacher: The Funniest Dragon

Title of book: Nickerbacher: The Funniest Dragon

Time length to read: 4-7 min

Age recommended: 4 and up

Author: Terry John Barto

Illustrator: Kim Sponaugle

Publisher: Author House

Best place to purchase: Amazon (Click word for direct link)

Price: $2.99 (Kindle) $13.64 (Paperback)

Happy Sunday everyone! Today I bring you a book that will hopefully end your weekend with some laughter. Nickerbacher: The Funniest Dragon, by Terry John Barto, is about a dragon named Nickerbacher, who dreams of becoming a stand up comedian. However, he has had his life set for him, and that is to guard a princess in a tower. According to his father, all dragon’s are supposed to guard the princess in the tower. However, Nickerbacher has other things he wants to do with his life. He has always dreamed of becoming a stand up comedian. While guarding for the princess, he practices his jokes for her, and finds he is successful. Even though he has dreams to become a stand up comedian, he keeps guard at the tower as his father would want him to…until one day the prince arrives for the princess. The prince finds that Nickerbacher the dragon has no interest in fighting him, rather, Nickerbacher is trying to crack every joke at the prince that he can. With some encouragement from the princess and prince, the finally sets off to the big city in dreams of becoming a stand up comedian. After lots of practice, he becomes known as one of the funniest dragons in the city, and even his parents approve of his new talent and dream. I guess you can say that Nickerbacher finally got his happily ever after.

I thought this book was very creative. The message is very clear to children, and that is to go for your dreams. There may be challenges along the way, but if you can dream it, you can achieve it. The illustrations, done by Kim Sponaugle, were very well done. It definitely put the imagination of the book into perspective with Nickerbacher and his dreams. I tried to find some things that could of been improved in the book, however, this book was really well done and I couldn’t find anything wrong with it.

I really enjoyed this book and think it would be a great book for kids to read, for parents to read with children, or just a great read if you are a picture book lover. :) For more information about the book, you can check it out at Nickerbacher’s website, here. I even found a book trailer to this book and put it below if you want to take a look. Till next time! :)

Zombie RiZing: Scared to Beath & A Fate Worse Than Beath

Title of book: Zombie RiZing: Scared to Beath & A Fate Worse Than Beath

Time length to read: varies

Age Recommended: 9 and up

Author: Matt Pike

Illustrator: Steve Grice

Best place to purchase: Amazon (Kindle) Scared to Beath & A Fate Worse Than Beath (Click words for direct link)

Price: $2.99 (Amazon Kindle)

Happy Friday the 13th everyone! What a better book today to bring you on a Friday the 13th than this one! Muahaha. ;) Zombie RiZing: Scared to Beath & A Fate Worse Than Beath, by Matt Pike, is a middle grade reader chapter book about a girl named Elizabeth and her friends and teacher who happen to battle with…zombies. Elizabeth and her friends, along with their teacher Ms. Simmons, battle the world they know with zombies and take you on their adventures along the way. You even learn how they come up with their new names/nicknames in the books. Will these friends survive the zombie apocalypse? Read it and you shall see how they do!

When I first looked at these books, my automatic thought was The Walking Dead on AMC channel. I wasn’t too sure, thinking it was going to be a a little replica of the show. However, it wasn’t what it seemed and it really does actually take on a kids approach on how living with Zombies would be. Although I must say, I probably wouldn’t read these books to any young child, as there are some words and phrases that aren’t suited for them. I would probably recommend children 9 and up, depending on what you parent’s think. :) These books were really creative though, guiding you on adventures about these children and teacher trying to survive in the Zombie world. Actually, as I was reading them and picturing it in my head, I could see these series as like a show on cartoon network or something. Another thing I liked is that in the book, it addresses an illness called Rett Syndrome, and part of the proceeds of these book sales, go to help finding a cure for it, so it’s definitely a read for a good cause.

The illustrations, done by Steve Grice, throughout the books were really well done. They are little chapter books, so there isn’t a picture on every page. However, when there were pictures, they were very well explained and tied in to what the pic was, or what scene was going on. Once you see the illustrations, I’m sure you’ll understand what I mean about seeing it as a cartoon show. ;) I was able to read the first two books in this six part book series, so there’s definitely more to come.

My thoughts? Very creative; I think that children of the appropriate age would enjoy this book series very much. Like I said though, it’s not suited for younger children. So if you are looking for a book to take a bite out of, consider these ones…especially since there’s more to come.

For more information about the books or the author, please see the book series official site, here.

For more information about the author or Rett Syndrome, you can visit his site, here.