Barbara Bush & Brad Meltzer

September 23, 2016

Brad Meltzer in a Lucille Ball wig with Barbara Bush recreating the famous I Love Lucy chocolate conveyor belt scene, to raise awareness for family literacy. From Brad: “And God bless her, she let me eat 300 chocolates in the President’s office.” Need I say more? Enjoy!

If you would like to share this book with someone you love, click on the cover below.

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Ordinary People Change the World

“We can all be heroes” is the message of this picture-book biography series from #1New York Times Bestselling author Brad Meltzer.

“Kids always search for heroes, so we might as well have a say in it,” Brad Meltzer realized, and so he envisioned this friendly, fun approach to biography—for his own kids, and for yours. Each book tells the story of one of America’s icons in a vivacious, conversational way that works well for the youngest nonfiction readers, those who aren’t quite ready for the Who Was biography series. Each book focuses on a particular character trait that made that role model heroic. For example, Lucille Ball could make any situation funny. By making people around the world laugh, she proved that humor can take on anything.

This engaging series is the perfect way to bring American history to life for young children, providing them with the right role models, supplementing Common Core learning in the classroom, and best of all, inspiring them to strive and dream.

I am Lucille Ball by Brad Meltzer, illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos. Dial Books; First Edition/First Printing edition (July 14, 2015). ISBN: 978-0525428558. 40p.


FINDING WINNIE by Lindsay Mattick

February 26, 2016
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The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear

Illustrated by Sophie Blackall

Winner of the 2016 Caldecott Medal

I don’t review children’s books as a rule, but every now and then something comes to my attention and I am compelled to share it. I absolutely fell in love with this book.  A short explanation first…

Every year I like to look at the Newbery Award and Caldecott Medal winners. They are always excellent children’s books and this year was particularly exciting. According to CNN, Matt de la Peña is the first Latino author to win the Newbery Medal for outstanding contribution to children’s literature for his book “Last Stop on Market Street,” illustrated by Christian Robinson. It’s a lovely book.

The Caldecott Medal was named in honor of nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children. Finding Winnie is beautifully illustrated, but it was the story that moved me to write about it here.

The author, Lindsay Mattick, is the great-granddaughter of Captain Harry Colebourn, and as the back flap of the book tells us, she “grew up thinking of Winnie-the-Pooh as her own great-grandbear.” Captain Colebourn was a veterinarian in Winnipeg, Canada, and went into the army during WWI to take care of the horses. On a train ride, he saw a trapper with a bear cub sitting at the station. He offered the trapper $20 for the cub, and named her Winnipeg, Winnie for short. She became the camp mascot. Eventually Harry was being shipped out overseas and took the cub with him, but he knew he couldn’t take her into a war zone.

Harry gave the bear to the London Zoo, where a little boy befriended the bear. That boy’s name was Christopher Robin and the rest, as they say, is history.

The book’s last pages are like a scrapbook, with photos of Harry, Winnie, the page from his diary when he bought the cub, and more.

If you’re a fan of Winnie-the-Pooh, (and who isn’t,) you will enjoy this amazing, engaging book.

I want my own copy – hear that, Little Brown?

2/16 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

FINDING WINNIE by Lindsay Mattick. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (October 20, 2015). ISBN 978-0316324908. 56p.


I KNOW AN OLD LADY WHO SWALLOWED A DREIDEL by Caryn Yacowitz

November 10, 2014

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Illustrated by David Slonim

Let’s be honest here; as holidays go, Christmas has December covered. Sure, there’s New Years, and we may celebrate it on the eve of December 31st, but the legal holiday falls on the day, January 1.

Then there’s Kwanza and Chanukah. I don’t know a whole lot about Kwanza other than it is a fairly recent holiday. On the other hand, I grew up with Chanukah and still celebrate, so I’m much more familiar with that holiday. So I feel confident when I tell you that books on the holiday, children’s books in particular, are few and far between.

So when I heard about this Dreidel book, I was intrigued. Yes, my kids are beyond the age for picture books, but I’m not and I was delighted to get my hands on this one.

I don’t review many children’s books, but I make a few exceptions. Probably the last children’s book I reviewed was also a Chanukah book, Chanukah Lights, a beautiful pop up art book by Michael Rosen and incomparable Robert Sabuda. Frankly, the Dreidel book is not in that league, but nonetheless it is a fun read and sure to be enjoyed by any family celebrating Chanukah.

The book is based on the children’s classic, There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly, and there are probably dozens of variations and illustrations of that book. But an old lady who swallows a dreidell, well, that is something special!

If you are looking for a Chanukah gift for your favorite child, please consider adding this lovely and fun book to your shopping list. Your recipient will be sure to thank you, in between peals of laughter.

By the way, this year we light the first candle on Tuesday, Dec. 16 at sunset.

11/14 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

I KNOW AN OLD LADY WHO SWALLOWED A DREIDEL by Caryn Yacowitz, illustrated by David Slonim. Arthur A. Levine Books (August 26, 2014). ISBN 978-0439915304. 32p.