Picture of Grace

picofgraceTitle of Book: Picture of Grace

Time length to read: 4-6 minutes

Age recommended: 5 and up

Author: Josh Armstrong

Illustrations: Taylor Bills

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

Price: $17.09 (Hardcover) $12.99 (Paperback)

It’s a new day, which means a new book! Today I’m excited to bring you this adorable book that will have you wanting to hug your loved ones. Picture of Grace, by Josh Armstrong, is about a little girl named Grace who is extremely close with her grandfather, Walt, who is a well known artist. She loves spending time with him and watching him paint. One day, she packs up to go visit him, only to be informed by her mother that Grandpa Walt had passed away. The family then goes and celebrates his life at Walt’s house, only to find a greedy business woman, who Walt had been working with, show up. She wants his final painting, although it’s unfinished. So while they all head to Walt’s art room, they find Grace finishing the painting. Grace initially thinks she ruined the painting, as the greedy woman had stated. However, after the family sees all the different and special meanings behind Walt’s painting, they see how it was a map of his life, and find it anything but ruined. Although the greedy business woman is upset that Grace had painted over it, her mother is not. Grace’s mother tells her how she actually completed the painting in the most perfect way.

I thought this book was really cute and had a good message in it. It’s so important to remember to love our family and friends, because you just never know when it may be their time to go.Another message it gives is to do what you have passion for, and to do it because you love to do it, not because it will bring you lots of money. It also gives a great meaning (with the greedy business woman) not to be obsessed with business and money. Money can never replace true happiness and the ones that you love.

The illustrations in this book, done by Taylor Bills, were very well done. There are many children’s books now who take a simpler look to them, but this one had traditional classic illustrations, which I appreciated. It takes me back to my childhood when every book used to look like a cartoon, just in paper form. Those in my opinion, are my favorite picture books.

So read this book with your children, your grandparents and parents. It is destined to become a special family read.

 

 

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author in exchange for a fair review and book spotlight. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

A Rare Nativity

rarenativity

Title of Book: A Rare Nativity

Time length to read: 2-4 minutes

Age recommended: 8 and up

Author: Sam Beeson

Photographers: Nina & Terral Cochran

Publisher: Shadow Mountain Publishing

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

Price: Amazon: $16.19 (hardcover) Deseret Book: $14.39 (hardcover)

Hello everyone!

Can you believe it’s already just about Christmas time again? It is crazy how the time just flies by! Since it “tis the season” I bring you a Christmas that has just recently been released. A Rare Nativity, by Sam Beeson, gives a little bit of a different version of the 12 day of christmas classic tale.

I must say, when I first started reading the book, it took me back a little. On each page at the beginning, it lists what someone is giving to their enemy on the 12 days of Christmas. They were things like broken eggs, two potatoes, crooked forks, etc. At first I was thinking “what kind of Christmas book is this?” However, I must say that after listing the “12 things” this person gave their enemy, the book took me back again. Towards the end, after this person sent all these horrible little things to their enemy, they get a package back from their enemy, only to find a note that says “forgive me.”  Inclosed are all the items the person had sent to them. The enemy had used these gifts to turn them into beautiful little things, that in the end, came out to be a manger. It sounds interesting, but trust me, it was actually quite beautiful.

So while I was first taken back by this book, it has a beautiful message to the readers. It teaches of forgiveness and not to hold grudges. We all have that “enemy” at one point or another, but this book shows that although the enemy received those broken and un-useful things, they turned it into something beautiful as a sincere apology. How important this message is to everyone, especially around the holidays. The pictures throughout the book were also different from what you’d usually see in illustrations. It was a bunch of professional pictures taken by Nina & Terral Cochran. The images really bring the story and message into perspective, and although it’s different, it’s different in a good way.

So if you are looking for a good new Christmas book that has a great message that goes along with it, check this book out. It may become that book you read to your kids every year when it’s Christmas time.

 

 

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author in exchange for a fair review and book spotlight. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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.” :)

 

 

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author in exchange for a fair review and book spotlight. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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. :)

 

 

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author in exchange for a fair review and book spotlight. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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. :)

 

 

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publishing company in exchange for a fair review and book spotlight. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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.

 

 

 

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free in exchange for a fair review and book spotlight. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”