Normal Norman

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Title of Book: Normal Norman

Time length to read: 4-6 min

Age recommended: 5 and up

Author: Tara Lazar

Illustrator: S. britt

Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books

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

Price: $10.88 (Hardcover)

Hello Everyone!

Today, I bring you a perfectly “normal” picture book. By now…you probably all are like, what is that mean exactly? 😉 Well, keep reading and you’ll find out! Normal Norman, by Tara Lazar, is about a young scientist girl and her mission throughout the book to show how this Gorilla named Norman is normal, and he tries to help her define “normal” throughout the book. The only problem she comes across, is how Norman is not really normal, by what she thinks. She tries to show Norman the normal way he should live his life, however, she soon discovers that the only way Norman can be normal, is to to let him live as his “not normal” self. She learned that we can’t define the world normal to everyone, because normal to one person may not be normal to another.

This book is one word: awesome! In a world today where the definition of “normal” is thrown at everyone, this book really helps show children and even adults that you don’t have to fit in that category of “normal”. That is such an important message to have today in a world where the word “normal” is trying to be depicted everywhere. Everyone’s “normal” is different and it’s a great thing! :) What a great message to have in a picture book.

The illustrations from the book were very well done. The colors throughout the book were really colorful and it depicted every page of the book very well.

So in my opinion? This is one of the best picture books I have seen with a positive message to children and adults. If you are looking for more books like that to add to your collection, this would be a good one.

And today you all get a little bonus! I was able to do an author interview with the illustrator of Normal Norman, S. britt. Check it out below!

Illustrator, S. britt

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Originally from Louisiana, I come from a fairly large family (three sisters, one brother) of self-taught artists and have been doodling ever since I can remember. We moved around A LOT growing up, so I was always the new kid that drew all over everything. I guess some things never change, as I recently relocated from Minneapolis to Athens, Georgia and I’m still drawing on anything that isn’t tied down… and even a few things that still are!

What do you do when you are not illustrating?

I’ve always had a real passion for restoring old automobiles, but lately my interests have switched to riding and repairing vintage British motorcycles. I currently have a 1971 BSA Thunderbolt and I always try to find a way to sneak a motorcycle rider into one of my books. If you look carefully in NORMAL NORMAN you’ll find one!

What inspired you to start illustration?

It’s just something that came very naturally, like walking, talking and reading the telephone book. Like I said, growing up in a house filled with artists, it would’ve been quite rebellious to shun all that and decide to become a CPA… not that there’s anything wrong with it!

Where do you get your ideas?

I’m not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing, but I typically go with the very first silly thought that pops into my head! When reading a manuscript for the first time, it’s relatively easy for me to visualize the entire scene immediately – all the characters, the backgrounds, the colors, etc. I’ve found that if I take my time and try to scribble out other ideas from a different angle or perspective, I’m never as satisfied with them than I was with the initial idea. I dunno if that makes me stubborn, impulsive or simple, but it’s got me this far, so why question it!

What books and or illustrators have most influenced your life most?

There are a lot of amazing children’s book illustrators in the market today and I feel that the entire field is experiencing quite a renaissance, but I still find myself going back to my old childhood favorites. William Steig, Richard Scarry, Roger Bradfield, Ellen Raskin, Ed Emberley, Tomi Ungerer, and so on. However, if I had to pick which book inspired me to pursue a career as a children’s book illustrator, it would have to be Mark Alan Stamaty’s “Small in the Saddle.” I never owned this book as a child, but rather I would continuously check it out at the public library over and over again and just stare at it for hours. Since then I’ve managed to track down my very own copy (an ex-library book in fact!) and I still pull it off the shelf and pore over each and every glorious spread and discover something new each time I look at it. I just hope that some child somewhere has a similar experience with one of my books someday!

Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to go into illustration?

Do it because you absolutely love it and can’t think of anything else you were put on this earth to do. It’s not always the easiest way to make a living, but it can definitely be one of the most rewarding in a multitude of ways. Knowing that your artwork has left a positive, lasting impression on someone is a truly wonderful feeling; something that money could never buy.

The Pirate Train

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Title of Book: The Pirate Train

Time length to read: 2-4 min

Age recommended: 4 and up

Author: Nicole Plyler Fisk & Jack Fisk

Illustrator: Chad Vivas

Publisher: Grog Blossom Press

Best place to purchase: Affiliate link: Amazon

& The Pirate Train Website  (Click words for direct link)

Price: Amazon- $12.59 (paperback) The Pirate Train Website- $13.82 (paperback)

Ahoy Mateys! To bad it isn’t pirate talking day, arr but even though it’s not, I’m posting a book on pirates anyways! 😉 Did you like the rhyming? Hey, I gotta get into character for this book! 😉 The Pirate Train, by Nicole Plyler Fisk & Jack Fisk, is about a family of pirates who change homes from a pirate ship, to a pirate train. When a pirate family discovers that their son pirate boy ends up being seasick from the ship, they make the decision to find another way of transportation; a pirate train. Pirate sister isn’t thrilled about the move at first, but after a discovery or two about the train, they learn that living in a pirate train is just as much fun as a ship. That, and the most important thing is that they are together as a family.

This book was incredibly adorable. The book has a rhyming consistency throughout the story, and usually these kinds of rhyming get old, but this one way creatively thought out and carried out with the story perfectly. It also gave a great message to readers that no matter where you move, as long as your family is with you, that is all that matters. I love the importance it gave to the family. There are not many books anymore that state that as a message within the book, so I really enjoyed that. The imagination that the story puts into place is great as well. I mean, what kid doesn’t like a picture book on pirates! :)

The illustrations, done by Chad Vivas, really brought the story to life, in my opinion. They were very colorful and looked like something from a cartoon show.

So my opinion mateys? Go check out this book! It’s really cute for young kids, or the pirate kid lit person, such as yourself. :)

Till the next one!


The Big Book of Hugs: A Barkley the Bear Story

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Title of Book: The Big Book of Hugs: A Barkley the Bear Story

Time length to read: 3-6 min

Age recommended:  6-9 yrs old

Author: Nick Ortner & Alison Taylor

Illustrator: Michelle Polizzi

Publisher: Hay House

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

Price: $9.17 (Kindle) $9.65 (Hardcover)

Loves and Hugs are in the air! Well…ok, maybe they were yesterday because it was Valentines Day! I hope you all had a great one! Since it is only the day after Valentines, I thought it’d still be a good one to share in honor of yesterday. :) The Big Book of Hugs: A Barkley the Bear Story, by Nick Ortner & Alison Taylor, is about a bear named Barkley who learns from his Papa Bear, the importance of hugs and the many ways you can give them. Barkley had just celebrated his birthday and was finally old enough to continue the tradition his family had of giving out hugs.

This book is a really cute book with a lot of positive and important messages in it. Not only does it teach children about the importance of hugging, it shows the many different ways you can give hugs, depending on the scenario. It even shows what you can do when you can tell someone doesn’t want a hug, which is definitely another important thing to know.

The illustrations were excellent in my opinion. It had that watercolor type of approach with very detailed drawings of all the animals in the story, as well as the different hugs they were portraying.

So if you are looking for a positive, uplifting book for your child or just a kid lit lover like yourself, this is one to check out. Hopefully it will have you hugging your friends and family a little more often! :)

Till next time!


The Jellyfish Monster

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Title of Book: The Jellyfish Monster

Time length to read: varies (early reader chapter book)

Age recommended: 7 and up

Author: Bryan Kwasnik

Illustrator: Jackie Hahn

Publisher: Mascot Books

Best place to purchase: Affiliate link: Amazon

& Mascot Books (Click words for direct link)

Price: Amazon- $4.99 (Kindle) $12.95 (Paperback), Mascot Books- $12.95

Hey everyone!

How is the weather where you all are at? I hope it’s nice and sunny! The weather over here is still very wintery, but with lots of grey skies and fog. So, let’s just say that I am ready for spring and summer and the warm weather! With that, today I bring you a book that will have you thinking good weather vibes. The Jellyfish Monster, by Bryan Kwasnik, is about a young boy and his brief adventure with a Jellyfish monster under the sea. The boy’s name is Billy, and one day while at the beach with his family, Billy discovers a spiral seashell, which he thinks is a seashell or something. After digging, he discovers that the “seashell” ends up being a jellyfish monster. Taken back and a little frightened at first, he soon discovers that the monster isn’t there to hurt him. Instead, it places him in a bubble and takes him down into the sea on an adventure. From shark races, to an entire city under the sea, this book is filled with a sea full of adventures!

When you first read the title, it kind of throws you off. So, I expected the “Jellyfish Monster” to be, well…a scary monster! :) However, that’s the exact opposite of this book. The monster ends up being a friend who takes him and shows him the world of the ocean below and things aren’t exactly what Billy had thought they were. He even makes some new friends along the way. This early reader chapter book is a great book for children who are starting to read chapter books. It is a great adventure book, that has a few pictures here and there, but also forces the reader to use their imagination.

The illustrations, done by Jackie Hahn, were black and white in the book and were very simple; but in a good way. They help clarify those scenes where you may be wondering what the scenario might look like. It definitely helps you picture the adventure in your mind.

My thoughts? This is a great read for the mind of an adventurer. It has a cute plot with twists and turns and even a happy ending. So if you are looking for a great early reader chapter book, check this one out. And yes, this book also makes me want to go to the beach too! Summer please get here! 😉

Till next time


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free, electronically from the author, in exchange for a fair and honest 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.”

Bike on Bear!

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Title of Book: Bike on, Bear!

Time length to read: 4-6 min

Age recommended: 4 and up

Author: Cynthea Liu

Illustrator: Kristyna Litten

Publisher: Aladdin

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

Price: $10.99 (Kindle) $16.29 (Hardcover)

Did you ever have a time where you tried something new and no matter how hard you tried to master it after practicing, it seemed impossible? Well, that is exactly how Bear feels in this book I bring you today. Bike on, Bear! by Cynthia Liu, is about a little bear who starts to learn to ride a bike. After many attempts though, he just can’t seem to get the hang of riding it. So he goes to the library to study more about riding a bike. However, he still has no luck and starts to think he’ll never master it. Then one day at the park, he notices a goat “kid” calling for help, as he is starting to fly away with his kite after some wind picks up. So, bear swings into action and without thinking about it really, hops on a bike to hurry and save the goat kid. Without realizing it, he just rode the bike and finally mastered it. Sometimes when were not concentrating on mastering the new thing we’re trying, is when we truly master it.

This book was really cute and has such a great positive message that can be directed towards children and even adults. There are several children who probably face the same thoughts when learning to ride a bike, and bike on bear will give them the positivity to keep going. It is also said about mastering other things down the road. From learning to drive, or learning a sport, this book will give you encouragement during those frustrating learning moments. I also enjoyed the positivity throughout the book. In the book, bear’s friends always keep encouraging him and telling him he’ll get the hang of it, despite him being frustrated. That is such an important message to kids as well, to show that if you see a friend struggling with something, help lift them up!

The illustrations, done by Kristyna Litten, were very cute and definitely matched the story to the imaginative setting it gives. It’s very colorful and vibrant. It looks like a cute cartoon show you might see on television.

My recommendation? Check out this book! It’s has everything a good picture book can offer :)

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from The Publishing Company, in exchange for a fair, honest 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.”

Little Golden Books-With Gymboree!

Hey everyone! 

Today’s post is a little different than the usual, but with an awesome reason! Storytime Books has always been geared towards children’s literature, so I am excited to share with you all a product that features just that. So who remembers Little Golden Books? I have included a picture to the right if you don’t, but I hope you all do! I remember growing up and reading these books all the time. They definitely have lots of memories stamped in my childhood past. Well, the reason I am spotlighting them a bit is because today I am partnering with Gymboree to bring you the new baby apparel they have launched with Little Golden Books! How cute is that? I don’t have any kids yet, but let’s just say that if I did, they would definitely be wearing these for sure! To check out their new apparel below by clicking on any of the images below.

As an additional bonus for the launch of Little Golden Books baby collection, Gymboree is hosting “One Big Happy Storytime” sweepstakes, giving away everything that a family needs to make sure their story time is extra special. You can enter for the chance to win over $2,000 in prizes! This includes Little Golden Books nursery bedding and decor from The Land of Nod , a set of Little Golden Books from Random House, and a $500 gift card from Gymboree. To see the rules and to enter, go to:, or click the sweepstakes image below. You can enter now through February 29; the winners will be announced in March.

I hope you all go and check out this adorable collection if you have a baby and are a kid lit fanatic like me, it’s a must! In fact, I may get some for my future kiddies and put it into storage, they’re that adorable!

Till then next post! :)

Disclaimer: Please note that the links that are below are affiliate links and that by clicking them, I will be compensated for any purchases that are made through them. Any money will be used to help keep Storytime Books up and running. Thank you. :)

Shop the Little Golden Books Collection at Gymboree! Shop the Little Golden Books Collection at Gymboree!
Shop the Little Golden Books Collection at Gymboree!

Enter to Win the Little Golden Books Sweepstakes at Gymboree!

When You Give an Imp a Penny

Title of Book: When You Give an Imp a Penny

Time length to read: 5-7 min

Age recommended: 6 and up

Authors: Henry Herz, Josh Herz & Harrison Herz

Illustrator: Abigail Larson

Publisher: Pelican Publishing Company

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

Price: $16.99 (Hardcover)

Today I bring you another book from Henry, Josh and Harrison Herz. You may recognize their previous book that we spotlighted, Monster Goose Nursery Rhymes. Today, their newest book is: When You Give an Imp a Penny. This book takes a twist off of the beloved classic, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. Once again the Herz’s have done it, giving this twist a mythological type of story with the creature called an Imp. With the Imp’s good intentions, it ends up mostly backfiring and leaving things a mess. However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel…perhaps some gold maybe? 😉

I really enjoyed reading this book. It did remind me of their previous book that I reviewed for them, as mentioned above. This is a great book for children and gives a great message not only to children, but parents as well. I think all parents can agree that kids do things sometimes that drive them crazy, and end up leaving things in a big mess. However, sometimes the children do things like that out of trying to do good, like the Imp. This Imp definitely shows parents and children the message of patience and to look at the good though behind the messy action. 😉

The illustrations in this book were really well done. Again, giving the medieval/fairytale look. I really like how that sets these books apart from others.

So if you are looking for a good book to add to your 2016 collection, check it out! Another thing to check out is the Author interview that I was able to do with Henry Herz himself. His interview is below. I hope you all enjoy!


Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Henry Herz earned an engineering BS from Cornell University, an engineering MS from George Washington University, and a political science MA from Georgetown University – none of which help him write picture books. Aided by his two sons, Henry authored the picture books MONSTER GOOSE NURSERY RHYMES and WHEN YOU GIVE AN IMP A PENNY. He’s a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, and the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America. Henry hosts a blog on KidLit, fantasy, and science fiction at

He has three more picture books scheduled for publication. LITTLE RED CUTTLEFISH (Pelican, 2016) is an aquatic retelling of LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD, but with a sassy cephalopod protagonist. MABEL & THE QUEEN OF DREAMS (Schiffer, 2016) is a bedtime picture book inspired by Mercutio’s soliloquy in Romeo and Juliet. Little Mabel was an expert at not going to sleep. But Mom had the Queen of Dreams in her quiver of bedtime tales. The Queen paints children’s dreams, so she only visits when their eyes are closed. DINOSAUR PIRATES (Sterling, 2017) is a comical mashup of two kid favorites. A T-rex with a piratey patois!? Cap’n Rex leads his dinosaur pirates in search of booty. As they encounter obstacles in their quest, the apex predator “encourages” his crew to think outside the box. When the treasure is found, Cap’n Rex wants to keep it for himself, but the clever crew turns the tables on him.

What do you do when you are not writing?

I like hanging out with friends and reading… fantasy! For turning off the brain, nothing works better than watching TV. Working in the yard is also very relaxing and gratifying. ‘m thrilled to be moderating a children’s literature panel at WonderCon in Los Angeles on March 26. The panelists will be award-winning authors and illustrators Bruce Hale (CLARK THE SHARK), Jon Klassen (THIS IS NOT MY HAT), Laura Numeroff (IF YOU GIVE A MOUSE A COOKIE), and Dan Santat (THE ADVENTURES OF BEEKLE: THE UNIMAGINARY FRIEND), and Antoinette Portis (WAIT).

 What inspired you to write your first book?

A few years ago, I wanted to share my love of fantasy with my young sons. They were too little for watching most of the fantasy and sci-fi movie classics, and there are only so many good fantasy books available for that age range. Struck by inspiration one day, I came up with a way to share the joy of entering the magical realms of fantasy. I would write a fantasy book for them.
What I did not anticipate was that my boys would give me feedback on the story. They devised some of the character (Nimpentoad) and creature (Neebel) names, and made plot line suggestions. And who better to help make the story appealing to kids than other kids? So, the goal of interesting my sons in fantasy transformed into also encouraging them to write.
Originally, I only shared the story of NIMPENTOAD with family, for their own enjoyment. My sister-in-law suggested that I consider publication because she felt the story was much better than many of the books she was seeing for her similarly-aged kids. We decided to give it a try, and that launched my writing career.

 How did you come up with the title?

I’m a huge fan of Laura Numeroff’s IF YOU GIVE A MOUSE A COOKIE. Being the fantasy geek that I am, I wanted to do a medieval fantasy homage to Laura’s work.

Where do you get your ideas?

Soak up everything around you. View, listen, sniff, taste, and feel. Watch people (in public, not with a telescope from your house), read books (especially picture books), and watch TV and movies. Take notes. Even the most mundane situations can unexpectedly feed your muse. Combine elements into unlikely (and therefore hilarious) pairs, as in Doreen Cronin’s CLICK CLACK MOO: COWS THAT TYPE. Practice riffing on the things you soak up. I did a classroom reading where this boy had a torn-up sneaker. I thought, picture book title: The Boy With Exploding Sneakers. Let your creativity run free.

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

The theme of WHEN YOU GIVE AN IMP A PENNY is: it’s the thought that counts. The imp is really trying to be helpful, even if the results are quite the opposite. I’m a big fan of irony.

What books have most influenced your life most?

WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE and THE LORD OF THE RINGS made me a lifelong fantasy reader. From there, I became a children’s book writer.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

I would direct you to read my animal-based advice at HYPERLINK “” Here’s an excerpt: Be A Dung Beetle: Be tenacious, even on crappy days. Becoming published isn’t easy. But it won’t happen if you stop trying. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a one step. Revise, revise, revise. But remember that perfect can be the enemy of good enough. At some point, you need to submit! Be An Armadillo: You need to be thick-skinned and learn to roll with the punches. Understand that a publisher’s or agent’s rejection isn’t personal, but it is highly subjective. Many great works of literature were rejected repeatedly before being published, so you’re in good company.

 Do you have anything specific to tell your readers?

My latest book is WHEN YOU GIVE AN IMP A PENNY, from Pelican Publishing. Before you lend an imp a penny, there’s something you should know—such a simple act of generosity could set off a side-splitting chain of events! A colorful picture book full of mythology, mischief, and magic, WHEN YOU GIVE AN IMP A PENNY shows us just what happens when an accident-prone—but well-intentioned—imp comes along asking for favors! The same writer/illustrator duo that brought you MONSTER GOOSE NURSERY RHYMES brings to life a comedy of fabled proportions.
From tracking mud on the floor to setting the broom on fire, this clumsy little imp causes accidents wherever he goes, but he’s determined make things right again. The only thing it will cost his host is a little patience—and maybe a bit of time cleaning up some messes! It won’t be long before this troublemaker has won over the entire family (except for the cat) with his irrepressible charm.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free in an electronic copy, 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.