Tag Archives: Gifts

Theme: Adorable Animals

I Found a Kitty!

by Troy Cummings

Arfy is back and his heart is as big as ever in Troy Cummings’ adorable sequel to Can I Be Your Dog?! When Arfy discovers Scamper, a homeless kitten, he reaches out once again via letters to his neighbors to help find Scamper a home (sadly, his person is allergic to cats). With puns and personality, his missives not only entertain, but also help to eventually find Scamper a forever home. Sweet, colorful illustrations, an interesting cast of characters, and a focus on pet adoption make this a purrfect story for dog, cat, and all animal lovers!

Hound Won’t Go

by Lisa Jean Rogers

Illustrated by Meg Ishihara

Sometimes simple is simply wonderful, and that’s the case with this adorable story about a hound who stops and plops in the middle of the road, causing havoc all around him. Short rhyming text propels the story while bright, vibrant illustrations add extra heart and warmth. A fun, funny dog-lover’s delight!

Play Like an Animal!:  Why Critters Splash, Race, Twirl, and Chase

by Maria Gianferrari

Illustrated by Mia Powell

Animals of all stripes and colors love to play just like we do, and for a variety of reasons: to learn new skills and ways of moving, to enhance cooperation and communication with others, to practice defending themselves against predators, and yes, even to have fun! Featuring joyful, playful illustrations of rhinos, monkeys, dolphins, elephants, and other animals, Gianferrari and Powell have created a rollicking look at animals at play. Back matter extends the learning with additional facts about each featured animal, the importance of play to animals in general, and additional reading to learn more on the subject.

Puzzle Review: Eurographics’ Tea Cup Collection

Delicate tea cups and saucers featuring floral designs will put you in the mood for a “spot of tea” with this 1,000-piece puzzle. And a pot or two you might need while working it: this is a challenging puzzle with only a few bright colors and dainty flowers with minute differences to set them apart in the collection!

As you can see from my photo of the worked puzzle, there’s a LOT of white. I would have liked to see a bit more variety and color in the tea cups’ designs, to add interest.

That’s why I’m giving this puzzle: 3 out of 5 puzzle pieces.

 

Spotlight Review: Two Bicycles in Beijing

Two Bicycles in Beijing

by Teresa Robeson

Illustrated by Junyi Wu


Readers will zip through the sights and sounds of Beijing along with Lunzi and Huangche, two colorful bicycles destined to be best friends, in Teresa Robeson’s newest delightful picture book.

Manufactured together, Lunzi and Huangche hope to never part. But when a young girl buys Huangche, Lunzi worries it will never again see its friend in the big city. However, a delivery boy soon chooses Lunzi to help with his errands, and off they go. As Lunzi flies on two wheels through the crowds, it watches carefully for a flash of yellow. But there are many festive yellow sights in Beijing. Just when Lunzi is about to give up hope, one last flash of yellow – along with a new friendship between the girl and boy – ensure Lunzi and Huangche will be able to remain friends no matter where they travel in Beijing.

Robeson’s joyful and optimistic text offers many wonderful opportunities for Wu’s softly colorful artwork to shine. Chinese words stand side by side with English for a nice introduction to a new language (a glossary of Mandarin Chinese terms used in the book follows the story), and back matter offers a bit more information on some of the sights highlighted in the story, including Nanguan and Beihai Parks and Tiananmen Square. This sweet story of friendship set in a bright, bustling city is a perfect addition to any bookshelf.

Puzzle Review: Buffalo Games: Cake Shed

When I work a larger puzzle, I like to have a mix between small details and big focal points in the artwork. This 2,000-piece puzzle offers this balance nicely, for example with a brightly-colored chair right up front and sardined bottles and jars of cake toppings in the background. I also like when puzzle designers offer interesting vignettes; this peak into the creative work area of a “cake artist” fits that bill as well.

The puzzle itself features sturdy pieces with helpful cuts for those hard-t0-place ones – when puzzle manufacturers offer small hints through the cut design in single-color portions of the art without detracting from the challenge, my old eyes are appreciative. All in all, Cake Shed is a fun family-sized puzzle full of great detail and contemporary colors. I recommend it for older teens and up.

I give this puzzle: 5 out of 5 puzzle pieces.

Puzzle Review: Buffalo Games: Art of Play Aimee Stewart Yard Sale™

I’m a big fan of bright puzzles with a lot going on, hidden surprises, and room for many elbows around the table. This 2,000-piece Buffalo Games puzzle featuring artist Aimee Stewart’s delightful depiction of a chock-full yard sale ticks off all of those things and more. My family worked this 38.5 x 26.5 puzzle during a single weekend over the holidays, with four of us claiming our own favorite sections (I chose the bicycles, dresses, yellow table, and blue blankets) to complete.

A bonus poster helped us to see the smaller details, and interesting cut techniques (but not TOO crazy) on the pieces helped to up the fun factor. This puzzle is just one of Aimee Stewart’s wonderfully creative designs in the Art of Play series, and features Buffalo Games’ Perfect Snap™ pieces made in the USA of recycled puzzle board. I recommend it for ages 14 and up for solo puzzling, a bit younger for family puzzling with guidance and help.

I give this puzzle: 5 puzzle pieces out of 5.

 

 

 

THEME: OUT OF THIS WORLD

Red Rover: Curiosity on Mars

Written by Richard Ho

Illustrated by Katherine Roy


Simply told and gorgeously illustrated, this atmospheric look at the rover Curiosity on Mars encourages readers to open their minds to both current realities and future possibilities of space exploration. Ho’s friendly, succinct style and illustrator Katherine Roy’s creative perspective and use of red tones provide the feel of roaming the planet alongside Curiosity. Backmatter offers depth (The Anatomy of Curiosity, information about Curiosity’s history on Mars and more on the red planet itself), and breadth (Curiosity’s Friends, a look at other rovers that came before) for the “curious” minds who will be enthralled with the small but mighty rover.

Just Right: Searching for the Goldilocks Planet

Written by Curtis Manley

Illustrated by Jessica Lanan

Curtis Manley’s love for and curiosity about space shine through in this expanded picture book which asks the question: Is there another planet that, like Earth, is not too big, not too small, not too hot, not too cold, but “Just Right” for life? In an accessible way, Manley moves quickly through the history of this question into modern day, while following a young girl and her family as they explore a museum exhibit about these exoplanets. Lanan’s gentle and varied illustrations help bring concepts to life for young readers while encouraging “What if” and “Perhaps” daydreaming about this timely question.

Pluto Gets The Call

Written by Adam Rex

Illustrated by Laurie Keller

Chock full of heart, humor, and helpful information, Rex’s expanded picture book uses every bit of “space” to tell Pluto’s story of demotion to a Dwarf Planet and its hilarious ensuing search for answers. When Pluto, previously known as our ninth planet, gets a call from scientists on Earth with the bad news, he sets out to talk to the other planets – each with its own delightful personality based in facts and a bit of fancy – about why. Keller’s vivid and lively mixed-media style adds to the hilarity. Who knew our solar system could be so fun, funny, and fascinating?

Story of Peace for the Holidays: The Bear and The Star

Written by Lola Schaefer

Illustrated by Bethanne Andersen


Lola Schaefer brings us a seasonal story of humanity, harmony, and community in this lovely and lovingly-told tale. Bear awakes one early December morning, seeing a star on the horizon, and knows it is time. Time for every person and creature around the world to come together. So he bellows to all ends of the earth and they come, joining together at last on a beautiful snowy night under a majestic tree, as the star rises high in the sky. Award-winning illustrator Bethanne Andersen’s soft style and snowy scenes bring this delightful holiday story to life, while Schaefer’s text flows gently across the page as it builds to the final point of the gathering – peace.

Celebrating Inspiring Females: Queen of Physics: How Wu Chien Shiung Helped Unlock the Secrets of the Atom

Written by Teresa Robeson

Illustrated by Rebecca Huang


As we celebrate the International Day of the Girl Child, what could be more fitting than to read about a young Chinese girl – named Chien Shiung, meaning “courageous hero” – who grew to be a truly inspirational woman in the field of physics, eventually named by Newsweek as The Queen of Physics.

Born in 1912 and raised by parents who ran a school for girls, Chien Shiung quickly discovered the value of learning. When she needed to further her education, she bravely left home at a young age to study biology, chemistry, math, and her most beloved subject, physics, all while leading classmates against those with abusive power in her homeland. Eventually moving to the U.S. in her early twenties, Chien Shiung began to study the physics of atoms, specifically beta decay, making great discoveries and helping others in the scientific field in their research and experiments. Despite the fact she was overlooked many times for the Nobel Prize for her accomplishments, Chien Shiung – called Madame Wu by her students – persevered and became a leader in her field, as well as the first woman instructor for Princeton, first woman to be elected president of The American Physical Society, and many other “firsts” and honors.

Teresa Robeson’s inspiring debut picture book brings Wu Chien Shiung and her love for physics to life, while not shying away from hard facts of racism, sexism, political upheavals, and other important topics. In addition, Robeson’s writing allows sometimes tough-to-understand scientific ideas to be accessible to young readers, both in the story and in back matter. Huang’s illustrations feature a variety of colors, softened to great effect, and helps to highlight both Chien Shiung’s amazing life and the scientific principles she loved so dearly.

Puzzle Review: Kodak Premium Puzzles: Sugary Shakes

This 1,500-piece puzzle featuring photographer Karen Romanko’s bright and fun photo is a nice challenge for anyone looking to spend more than a day or two on a single puzzle. Specialty milkshakes – filled with candy, cookies, and other sweet treats – sit upon patterned squares, all with enough colors and designs in common to make close attention to detail necessary. Pieces are “mounted on European Blue Board,” and feature unique, easy-connect shapes.

The manufacturer recommends this puzzle for ages 10 and up. My 17-year-old daughter (an avid puzzler) and I worked this puzzle together over 2-3 days and found it a small, though enjoyable, challenge at times, so I would recommend this for teens and above with patience and time on their side.

I give this sweet puzzle 5 out of 5 puzzle pieces.

THEME: FOREST-SET FUN & INSPIRATIONAL STORIES

The Boy Who Grew A Forest

by Sophia Gholz

Illustrated by Kayla Harren


An inspirational true story about how even the youngest among us can make a world of difference, Gholz tells of Jadav Payeng, an Indian boy whose river island village suffered from erosion and deforestation. When hundreds of snakes died, Jadav’s concern prompted his elders to give him 20 bamboo seedlings to plant. Over time, he devised a watering system, added grasses and fruit trees, and eventually planted over 1,300 acres, transforming the area into a lush haven. Kayla Harren’s beautiful illustrations transport readers into Jadav’s world, while Gholz’s lovely storytelling helps them come to understand and appreciate Jadav’s efforts and commitment.

When A Tree Grows

by Cathy Ballou Mealey

Illustrated by Kasia Nowowiejska

Cathy Ballou Mealey has written a fun, clever book that’s all about a forest, animal friends and the possibilities and choices they face one day which lead them on a delightful adventure. When itchy Moose uses a tree as a scratching post, causing the tree to sway, two things could happen. The story moves forward with a chain reaction of (mostly) two possible outcomes, leading Squirrel to head to “the big city” and Moose to eventually bring him back home to celebrate with all their friends in an even better forest. Kasia Nowowiejska’s adorable, spirited illustrations add greatly to the humor!

The Lost Forest

by Phyllis Root

Illustrated by Betsy Bowen

Phyllis Root has created a lovely and reverent story about a parcel of forest in Minnesota that still holds big, beautiful trees which are hundreds of years old. In the 1800s, when land and trees were being seized from Native Americans by the U.S. government, sold off in parcels, and logged, a surveying crew’s mistake placed a lake where 114 acres of trees actually lived. Because this “lost forest” wasn’t discovered until 1958 when it was part of a National Forest, those trees still live on today. Extensive back matter and detailed, interesting illustrations round out the lyrically-told story.

THEME: FUN NEW PICTURE BOOKS SUMMER 2019

Noah Noasaurus

by Elaine Kiely Kearns

Illustrated by Colin Jack

Everyone can relate to having a bad day, a “NO!” kind of day, and this book can help young readers see how to turn that around. In Noah Noasaurus, Elaine Kylie Kearns takes something kids love – dinosaurs – and something kids say – NO! (because they are in a bad mood) – and pairs them together with hilarious results, showing that even a bad day can turn out okay with friends. Illustrator Colin Jacks’ brightly colorful, adorably fun illustrations highlight the story and humor as well (the facial expressions on the dinos are especially delightful). Makes for a fun read aloud too!

Hello

by Fiona Woodcock

Fiona Woodcock is back after her charming book LOOK with this delightful ode to summer. Hello is a story about a brother and sister visiting a seaside amusement park and beach for the day, followed by a family camp out. The story is told mostly in words featuring double L’s – hello, roller coaster, thrill, jellyfish, shells, marshmallows, etc. – and Woodcock’s softly colored illustrations, created from stencils, children’s BLO pens, and other techniques and incorporating the highlighted words into the illustrations themselves, pair well with just enough white space to make this a gentle and fun look at the perfect summer day.

If You Had Your Birthday Party on the Moon

by Joyce Lapin

Illustrated by Simona Ceccarelli


Imagine doing all the usual birthday party activities – bouncing, dancing, and playing games; exploring around you; singing Happy Birthday; blowing out candles; eating cake; hitting the pinata; and more – on the moon, where EVERYTHING will be different! Lapin’s fun and funny look at a party on the moon offers easy-to-understand scientific explanations for these differences, packing pages with cool facts about space, the moon, gravity, astronauts, and much more, while Ceccarelli’s bright and lively illustrations help young readers imagine that it could happen for them one day soon. A Glossary and other back matter add to the learning.

Christmas Gifts Sure to Make Them Say Wow 2nd Edition

bad-wrapping2

If you are still looking for the perfect gift for that certain someone, and you’ve already given everything I suggested via Christmas Gifts Sure to Make Them Say Wow 1st Edition (not sure? you can find it right here: https://tanyakonerman.wordpress.com/2014/12/08/christmas-gifts-sure-to-make-them-say-wow-2/), look no further. I’ve scoured the web for some of the best ideas to help you wrap up your shopping in no time flat. No, no. No thanks needed. I’m just glad I can help you find an oh-so special item for THAT person in your life!

  1. Shotgun Plunger                        shotgun-plunger
  2. Muffin Top Bakers                             muffin-top
  3. Selfie Toaster selfie-toaster
  4. Shower Gel Nose Dispenser                  shower-gel-nose-dispenser
  5. Bag of Unicorn Farts unicorn-farts
  6. V.I. Poo  v-i-poo
  7. Finger Hands                      finger-hands
  8. Monkey Head Tissue Holder monkey-tissue-holder
  9. Poo Earrings poo-earrings
  10. iArm iarm

Bacon Heaven: A Gift for Every Bacon Lover

bacon doormat(Bacon Doormat)

Still searching for that just-right gift for a special someone this holiday season? You know who I’m talking about: that certain person in your life who seems to have everything, want nothing, and deserve, well, something. I have compiled the ultimate guide sure to make everyone on your list happy. Because everyone LOVES bacon (proven fact: even if they don’t like to eat it, everyone loves to smell it!).

BACON, IT’S WHAT’S FOR EVERY MEAL

extra bacon

For your friends and family members who do love to eat bacon, but still can’t get enough of that crunchy, meaty flavor, try these gift ideas:

squeeze bacon                     peanut butter bacon cookies   Bacon Bacon ice creambacon apple pie

bacon hot sauce                    baconnaise

And to top it all off: Bacon Beer in a Bacon Mug

bacon mug

WORK IT, BACON

For that fashion-forward person who can pull off anything:

bacon sweatshirt                                    bacon underwear

bacon high topsbacon swimsuitbacon high heels
bacon suit

bacon tie 2

bacon tie 1

BACON GETS PERSONAL

Great add-on gifts and stocking stuffers:

bacon balm bacon sunscreen gummy bacon bacon toothpaste bacon soap bacon mints bacon gum bacon floss bacon drink tabs  bacon candy cane bacon bandages

BACON HERE, BACON THERE, BACON BACON EVERYWHERE

Still haven’t found something that seems just right? Give these and you’re sure to be remembered:

bacon wallet bacon tattoo bacon skull mug bacon roses bacon poetry kit
bacon candle bacon clock bacon board game

Still looking? Here’s the ULTIMATE idea:

Kevin-Bacon

(Portrait of Kevin Bacon. Medium: Bacon)

Finally, after all this bacon, you might want to consider a more, um, long-term gift:

bacon casket

Just be sure to wrap it up the right way. No, not this:

bacon wrap

This:

bacon wrapped

Christmas Gifts Sure to Make Them Say Wow!

bad wrapping

So you’re looking for the perfect gift for that certain someone, maybe a bit of jewelry or something special to wear. Look no further. Read on to discover my top picks in five big categories. You’re sure to find just the right thing for those oh-so special people on YOUR list!

1. Jewelry & Accessories

Plunger Earrings                      Guinea Pig Hair Clip                    Armadillo Handbag

plunger earringstaxidermy hair clip        armadillo handbag

Scorpion Bracelet                           Boombox Wristwatch   Glowing Spider Earrings

scorpion bracelet  boombox watch                 spider glow earrings or key chain

2. Personal Care

Ear Wax Vac                               Soap on a Rope                      Chicken Poop Lip Balm

wax vac      soap on a rope                    chicken poop lip balm

Finger-Shaped Nose Hair Trimmer

nose hair trimmer

3. Clothing

Underwear for the Hands           Instant Underwear                Booty Pop Undies

handerpants             instant underpantsbooty bop undies

Beer Beard

beer beard

4. Food and Treats

                      Yummy Chocolate?                                           Log of Old Fruit

            fartless candy log                           fruitcake

Coffee in a Toilet Mug

toilet coffe mug

5. Thinking of You Gifts

Poo-Related Goodies

 toilet golf game    poo penpoo book

Lazy Helpers

            pet petter               go girl

Anything Chia

chia britney               chia bullredneck chia pet

CHOOSE ANY ONE OF THESE FINE GIFTS AND THEY’RE SURE TO KNOW YOU’VE BEEN THINKING OF THEM!

YOU’RE WELCOME!

Christmas Gifts Sure to Make Them Say Wow!

bad wrapping

So you’re looking for the perfect gift for that certain someone, maybe a bit of jewelry or something special to wear. Look no further. Read on to discover my top picks in five big categories. You’re sure to find just the right thing for those oh-so special people on YOUR list!

1. Jewelry & Accessories

Plunger Earrings                      Guinea Pig Hair Clip                    Armadillo Handbag

plunger earringstaxidermy hair clip        armadillo handbag

Scorpion Bracelet                           Boombox Wristwatch   Glowing Spider Earrings

scorpion bracelet  boombox watch                 spider glow earrings or key chain

2. Personal Care

Ear Wax Vac                               Soap on a Rope                      Chicken Poop Lip Balm

wax vac      soap on a rope                    chicken poop lip balm

Finger-Shaped Nose Hair Trimmer

nose hair trimmer

3. Clothing

Underwear for the Hands           Instant Underwear                Booty Pop Undies

handerpants             instant underpantsbooty bop undies

Beer Beard

beer beard

4. Food and Treats

                      Yummy Chocolate?                                           Log of Old Fruit

            fartless candy log                           fruitcake

Coffee in a Toilet Mug

toilet coffe mug

5. Thinking of You Gifts

Poo-Related Goodies

 toilet golf game    poo penpoo book

Lazy Helpers

            pet petter               go girl

Anything Chia

chia britney               chia bullredneck chia pet

CHOOSE ANY ONE OF THESE FINE GIFTS AND THEY’RE SURE TO KNOW YOU’VE BEEN THINKING OF THEM!

YOU’RE WELCOME!