Books make the BEST gifts.  Probably more for me at the time of opening (let’s face it – it’s not a toy they can rip open immediately – so the kids don’t get overly excited)!  However, the kids do enjoy reading new books and are so engaged during the first reading.  This year at Christmas, Layla received Press Here, an extremely interactive, colorful and FUN read.  What was different about this present is amongst all of the toys – she kept coming back to this book to sit down and read.

Written by artist/author Herve TulletPress Here, engages little readers right away on the first page.  “Ready?” it asks, on a page with one single yellow dot.  The kids couldn’t wait to turn the page to find out what was next.  What they discover is if they press the dots, magical and fun things happen.  New dots appear, and not just yellow dots but red and blue too.  And if they shake the book side to side?  Well it just gets crazy!


Press Here is a gem, not only does it incorporate math and art concepts, but it’s also FUN for both parents and kids to experience.  I find myself getting really goofy when I am reading this book to the kids and there are lots of giggles.  In a time when children are so obsessed with gadgets and iPads, Press Here does an amazing job of showing how much fun you can have with paint colors and your imagination.


I’m excited to check out other books by Herve Tullet, including Mix it Up! and Let’s Play!.  Want to see Press Here in action, then be sure to check out this video trailer.

Puff the Magic Dragon Children’s Book Review

One of my favorite things to with the kids before bedtime is to sing together.  Paired with reading, it really calms them down and is just so soothing.  I love when I find children’s books that I can sing to the kids.  They often learn the words and sing along with me. 
Let me preface this review by saying a) I have a horrible voice and b) my kids will only think this time is “soothing” until they realize how bad my voice is.  I have to cherish these moments of cuddling, sweetness and sibling cooperation while they last! 
Puff the Magic Dragon (the children’s board book by author Lenny Lipton) is by far the most beautifully illustrated children’s book we currently own.  Vibrant, colorful, soft, and flowing imagery blend together to create a captivating experience for little ones.  Filled with lots of visual details, each page has so much to see, and yet beautifully done without being too busy.  Props to illustrator Eric Puybaret.
After singing along to this book for many nights, my kids now both know the words and often sing with me.  This is often Layla’s first choice when she decides to pick a bedtime story.   My son will often smile and say “oh no…not this one”, and yet he sings right along and often asks to read it again.  He has such a sweet and sensitive side, and this book really brings that out.  Available online and at many bookstores, I can guarantee you will cherish Puff the Magic Dragon as much as we already have.

The Underpants Zoo Book Review

Happy Easter!  Today was a busy day.  By the time it was all said and done, my children had completed four easter egg hunts, several meals, and tore through eight easter baskets (we have several generous grandparents and aunts in our big family)!  When we got home they were of course overly tired and it was the ideal night for a quick bedtime read.

The Underpants Zoo by Brian Sendelbach is a short, silly story about the wacky Underpants Zoo where the animals wear underpants just like us! Except…not exactly like us. Perfect for holding a toddler’s attention, The Underpants Zoo is full of fun and bright illustrations.   My kids laugh through the entire book, and are particularly entertained by  the crocodile’s “bow” underpants and the camel’s underpants full of sand.

You really can’t go wrong with this one…we could probably read it every night and they would still love it!  And who doesn’t want to end the day with laughter?

Someday Book Review {Guest Post!}

I’m excited about today’s book review by an old friend from my high school days!  Kerry Wise is the mother of two adorable toddlers, and the mind behind MyWiseMom.  Be sure to check out her inspiring blog, where she shares her son Finn’s experience with food allergies and her mission to raise organically grown kids.  Kerry has motivated me to be smarter about what our family eats and where we purchase our food.  I can guarantee you will become more “wise” about your food if you follow her amazing blog.  Today Kerry reviews one of her favorite children’s books Someday by Alison McGhee.  Enjoy!

When I was pregnant with my first child years ago, a friend shared one of the sweetest books.  At the time I just thought it was the raging pregnancy hormones that had me curled over in a weepy mess, but I quickly realized that all mothers – no matter how old their children – are deeply touched by Someday.  
Author Alison McGee takes you on an amazing emotional journey through Someday.  She dreams big dreams and hopes sweet hopes for her baby through the pages of this book.  It’s a journey that sees the child through to adulthood.
Her words are simple, but so straight-to-the-heart of what all mothers hope for their children, that they will dream big, feel deeply, laugh often and accomplish greatness.
I took a really deep breath and thought funny things before I read this book to my kids recently.  Prior, I had just cherished the words when I needed a “mom reminder.”  But the message in Someday is so honest and touching, I wanted to share it with my kids.  Finn sat quietly and listened.  When we were all done, he squeezed my neck and said, “I love you, Mommy.”  That’s when I lost it!  Although he’s only 3 1/2, he understood enough from the tone and beautiful illustrations that this was a heartfelt book that reminded him how much he is loved.
No doubt, once you read Someday, it will be a staple gift for pregnant friends and those with young children for years to come.  That is, of course, after you find the tissue box and gain your composure!
Fore more from the author, Alison McGhee, and her journey in writing this book, listen to her interview with NPR.

Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes

In last month’s post about Layla’s 3rd birthday, I mentioned this book was one of my favorite gifts she received.  Since we read this every night, I thought it deserved a book review.

Pete the Cat, I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin follows the “kool cat” Pete as he strolls along in his new white shoes. But “Oh no!”  Pete steps in a pile of blueberries, strawberries, and mud!  Does he cry? “Goodness No!”.  No matter what Pete encounters he keeps walking along and singing his song.

This interactive book is fun for both parents and kids!  I love the question/response format and enjoy watching my kids laugh and shout out their answers.  They actually stand the whole time I read this.  I get a kick out of watching them sing and dance with Pete.  The book also comes with a link to the Harper Collin’s website where you can listen to the author read the story and download the song and other Pete the Cat activities.  The tune “I Love My White Shoes” is pretty catchy and probably what I enjoy most when reading this to the kids.

The Pout-Pout Fish in the Big-Big Dark

We haven’t had an issue with our kids being scared of the dark until now.  My four year old son seems terrified of the dark!  I think his imagination just runs wild and I have laid with him the past few nights until he  has fallen to sleep.

Whenever situations like this arise I love to turn to books.  Kids relate well to the characters, and books always put things in terms children can understand.  I purchased Deborah Diesen’s The Pout-Pout Fish in the Big-Big Dark last year at a book fair.  I figured one of my kids would be scared of the dark at some point – and now that has proven to be true!

The Pout-Pout Fish in the Big-Big Dark is the story of the friendly Mr. Fish and his mission to save Ms. Clam’s pearl, which has fallen deep into the ocean.  As he explores the dark depths of the ocean floor he becomes more and more fearful of the dark.  But Mr. Fish is not alone, and when a friend helps him along the way he realizes he is bigger than the dark.

One of my favorite pages in the book is one that repeats a few different times as Mr. Fish becomes more and more afraid of the dark.  I always use a funny high pitched voice for “But I’m SCARED OF THE DARK!”.  My kids giggle every time and really seem to enjoy this.

The Pout-Pout Fish in the Big-Big Dark is a wonderful book for helping your children overcome their fear of the dark.  The beautiful illustrations of ocean animals and creatures will surely keep your little ones tuned in and wanting more!  You can now purchase this book and other books about being scared of the dark in our online bookstore!

How have you helped your children overcome their fear of the dark?  Are there any other children’s books you would recommend?

Children’s Book Review Contest!

ATTENTION CHILDREN’S BOOK AUTHORS!  Petite Literary is holding a book review contest.  We will be taking submissions and reviewing them over the next month.  The winning children’s book will be chosen by my kids and reviewed on Petite Literary.

1) Please send 1 copy of your children’s book to Petite Literary.  E-mail for our address.
2) Please include a short description of the author(s) and the idea behind the book.
3) All entries must be received by March 31, 2013.
ALL entries will be featured on Petite Literary with a link to your website or social media page.  GOOD LUCK!