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Cuddle up with your children this season with three new books that will soon become holiday classics, to be read and remembered each year! “Mom” especially enjoyed reading What am I? Christmas with her little one who loves any book where there are flaps to be lifted and surprises to be discovered!

Three New Christmas Books for Children

What Am I? Christmas
by Anne Margaret Lewis and Illustrated by Tom Mills

From Santa to a Christmas tree, this is a sure hit for little ones as they guess “What Am I?” and lift the flap to find out! Filled with colorful illustrations, this lift-the-flap book showcasing all that makes the season merry and bright will be a favorite for young children. You can find it online at amazon.com.

The Christmas Pups
by Teresa Bateman and Illustrated by John Kanzler

On an icy, December night, three puppies are rescued from the side of the road and taken to an animal shelter. Ruff and Tuff have a plan to ensure that their sister, Penny, finds a home for Christmas, even if they can’t. With the help of an older dog named Brownie, the puppies learn the true meaning of Christmas…and find a home for all four of them just in time. These adorable puppies will melt your heart, and little ones will want you to read it over and over before bed this holiday season! Found at amazon.com.

Flicka, Ricka, Dicka and Their New Skates
by Author and Illustrator: Maj Lindman

After 30 years, a Christmas classic has returned! Perhaps you remember this one from your own childhood, but older children will delight in this wintry tale set on Christmas morning in Sweden! Longtime fans of the Flicka, Ricka, and Dicka series will love revisiting the story as the girls must save their friend Bertie after an ice-skating disaster. opened their eyes. This classic tale is now in a deluxe hardcover edition with paper dolls of the characters included. Visit www.albertwhitman.com.

*Companies generously provided review copies of the books for this article.*

If you are seeking a wonderful gift for the treasured women in your life this holiday season, then look no further than the newly released Where Women Cook Celebrate! This unique book showcases 28 inspiring women, taking a peek into their kitchens, hearts and homes! Filled with stunning illustrations, heart-warming quotes, and mouth-watering recipes – this is a gift to be used for years to come to refer to for meal ideas and inspiration!

One of “Mom’s” favorite authors, Susan Branch, is featured in Where Women Cook Celebrate!, and it was interesting to learn a bit more about the phenomenal woman behind the Heart of the Home books.

What recipes sound intriguing and delicious to “Mom?” Sandy Coughlin’s Pecan Pear Cranberry Green Salad, Marina Drasnin’s Harry’s Israeli Couscous, and Tricia Martin’s Morning Oats, just to highlight a few recipes!

Want to try a recipe from the book? With the holidays upon us, Ashley English’s Sugared Molasses Crinkle Cookies will definitely be a hit!

To learn more about Where Women Cook Celebrate! by Jo Packham, the extraordinary women interviewed and photographed for the pages, or to order copies for the holidays, visit Lark Crafts.

*Company generously provided a review copy and images for this piece.*

On the tail (literally) of the wildly popular book from last season, ZOOBORNS, comes the latest addition – ZOOBORNS CATS! Let these cuddly little critters stretch, wriggle, and paw their way right into your heart as you turn the pages of this wildly entertaining book! Page after page showcases rare kittens and cubs from around the globe, in all their furry glory. From leopards and tigers to lynxes and ocelots, this book is filled with exotic felines — including some who have never been photographed before.

Chock full of interesting facts and amazing photographs, ZOOBORNS CATS! is as educational as it is entertaining. The charming cats inside the book represent fresh hope for their endangered cousins, and a portion of proceeds goes to benefit conservation efforts through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Each page features a feline friend who is just too, too precious, and you want them to leap out of the book and into your lap for a snuggle!

Children, adults and animal lovers will absolutely adore ZOOBORNS CATS! “Mom” and her little one couldn’t stop “ooohhh-ing” and “aww-ing” over these cuties!

Want even more cute-ness? Watch this ZOOBORNS CATS! trailer on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nbmWs0jXIzs&feature=related

ZOOBORNS CATS! makes a great gift this holiday season, as well as a wonderful addition to any children’s book collection! Pick up a copy at ZooBorns.com.

*Company generously provided book copies and images for this piece.*

Cook up some delicious and nutritious dishes with your children with a little help from Sesame Street’s most loved characters! Sesame Street B is for Baking: 50 Yummy Dishes to Make Together by Susan McQuillan & Sesame Workshop is a wonderful way to introduce your little ones to the joys of baking using fresh ingredients with kid-friendly recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and even special occasions. Colorful illustrations throughout the book show off all of the healthy eats and treats, and the Sesame Street gang makes the whole process fun! It may be much easier to get your child to eat his or her vegetables when the dishes are named “Oscar’s Messy Green Stuff in a Potato Crust” or “Abby Cadabby’s Amazing Carrot Puff!” Full-sized photos of the recipes, detailed instructions, and fun facts throughout the recipe book help to inspire kids to develop good eating habits while having fun in the kitchen at the same time!

What did “Mom” and her little one create in the kitchen from Sesame Street B is for Baking: 50 Yummy Dishes to Make Together? Abby Cadabby’s Disappearing Strawberry Muffins! These muffins can also be made using other fruits or berries in season, so “Mom” used raspberries. They were fluffy and delicious, and tasted best warm, right from the oven!

Abby Cadabby’s Disappearing Strawberry Muffins

Ingredients

1 cup all-purpose flour (“Mom” used organic unbleached white flour)

1/2 cup whole-wheat flour

1/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup cornmeal

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup low-fat plain yogurt

1/3 cup olive oil (“Mom” used organic canola oil)

1 large egg

2 cups strawberries, hulled & chopped

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners, or lightly grease each cup.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, sugar, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In a large bowl, use a rubber spatula to stir together the yogurt and oil, then stir in the egg until well-blended. Stir in the flour mixture just until mixed. Fold in the strawberries.

Fill the muffin cups two-thirds of the way full.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of one muffin comes out clean. Transfer to rack to cool for a minute or two. Turn muffins out to cool further.

To order a copy of Sesame Street B is for Baking: 50 Yummy Dishes to Make Together, or to learn more, visit www.sesameworkshop.org.

*Company generously provided a copy of the book and images for this article.*

If You Love a Horse Tale

Snuggle up together after a long day at school to enjoy these two children’s classics in one elegantly illustrated book, If You Love a Horse Tale. Children ages 5 and up will enjoy turning each page of the book, as the details change in the picture as the page turns, creating another beautiful scene! The two stories chosen for this adaptation are Black Beauty and The Knight’s Mare, which spark your child’s imagination as you read them together.

Black Beauty is the well-known and beloved tale of a high spirited young colt who is passed from owner to owner during his lifetime, sometimes suffering mistreatment, but always serving his masters to the best of his ability.

The Knight’s Mare is a lesser-known tale that gets a much-deserved retelling in this handsome volume. It’s the story of an impoverished knight, his horse, and a wicked duke’s charming daughter, Charlotte, whom the knight hopes to marry.

Whether as a gift for your young reader, or just because you enjoy reading engaging stories with your little one, If You Love a Horse Tale is sure to delight the whole family! If You Love a Horse Tale was illustrated by Susanna Lockheart, with the stories adapted by Saviour PirottaIt. A copy of this fabulous read can be purchased online at BarronsEduc.com.

*Company generously provided a copy of the book and images for this review.*

What’s cookin’ in “Mom’s” kitchen this week? We are! Serving up some family fun by getting the kids involved in some hands-on time in the kitchen, We Can Cook by Jessica Levinson and Maja Pitamic have written an excellent resource to help families navigate around the kitchen together. With nutritious yet kid-friendly offerings, such as Salmon and Vegetable Kabobs, Happy Face Waffles, Cranberry Pecan Granola and Caprese Sticks, parents and their children will enjoy their time creating healthy meals with each other.

Whether you want to learn alternative lunchbox ideas, or make breakfast more nutritious for all (Yogurt Parfait, anyone?), We Can Cook has simple solutions and recipes everyone will love to dig into at mealtime!

Mom’s” favorites from We Can Cook include Grilled Plums with Yogurt Dip, Tofu Stir-fry, and Rosemary Pita Chips! Each chapter also has an activity idea outlined as the kitchen is an educational place! From pouring and measuring to making table settings, your little ones will be learning while having fun.

To learn more about this fabulous new cookbook and resource for families and their aspiring chefs, visit www.jessicalevinson.com. You can also order a copy of We Can Cook on Amazon.com.

*Company generously provided a book copy and images for this review.*

Revisit a childhood classic with your own children as they head back-to-school this year! Mercer Mayer’s timeless classic “Professor Wormbog in Search for the Zipperump-a-Zoo,” has been re-released in hardcover, and this adventurous, colorful tale filled with lovable creatures can be your child’s to keep! If you & your little ones love the “Little Monster” and Little Critters” series – you will adore this story, as well! From August 9th – 19th, you can enter to win the Professor Wormbog Hardcover Book Giveaway daily on Tiny Green Mom!

First, leave a comment below to let us know why you would love to win a copy of Professor Wormbog In Search for the Zipperump-a-Zoo.

To obtain extra entries:

Follow Tiny Green Mom on Twitter. Leave a comment with your Twitter name to let us know that this has been done. This is only valid for one entry.

Leave a comment on another Tiny Green Mom post. Leave a comment below with the name of the post you commented on. This is only valid for one entry.

Follow Mercer Mayer on Twitter. Leave a comment with your Twitter name to let us know that this has been done. This is only valid for one entry.

Blog about this giveaway. You must have a link to this giveaway in your blog post. Please leave a comment with the link to your blog post. This is only valid for one entry.

The Professor Wormbog Hardcover Book Giveaway ends on August 19th, 2011 and is open to the US and Canada only. Please leave your email address in each comment, and make sure to leave a separate comment for every each and every entry that you make so that they will count for you!

Thank you! “Mom” at Tiny Green Mom can’t wait to announce the winner of this fabulous giveaway!

Magic, adventure, and excitement await your young reader this summer (or perhaps, you!) in the Magickeeper Trilogy. For those looking to engage their child or themselves in a series of books that are irresistible, the three books in the Magickeeper Trilogy will not disappoint! Enter to win this magical history-filled series!

Nick was thirteen when he when he discovered his destiny as a Magickeeper: a member of a family of magicians who fight to keep the evil Shadowkeepers at bay. As Nick and his stage magician father settle in to life at the Winter Palace, an opulent hotel in Las Vegas filled with Russian history, polar bears, a Siberian tiger, and real magic, Nick begins to learn about his own talent for magic and his new family.

In The Eternal Hourglass (May 2009) and The Pyramid of Souls (May 2010), Nick encounters artifacts that have been in the possession of Egyptian Pharaohs, Alexander the Great, P. T. Barnum, and Edgar Allen Poe.

In The Chalice of Immortality (may 2011) Nick must race against time to find an artifact that has passed through the hands of Shakespeare and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, in order to save his father’s life.

Want to know more? From June 24th – July 1st, you can enter to win this thrilling set daily on Tiny Green Mom!

First, leave a comment below to let us know why you would love to win the Magickeepers Trilogy Giveaway.

To obtain extra entries:

Follow Tiny Green Mom on Twitter. Leave a comment with your Twitter name to let us know that this has been done. This is only valid for one entry.

Leave a comment on another Tiny Green Mom post. Leave a comment below with the name of the post you commented on. This is only valid for one entry.

Follow the author Erica Kirov on Twitter. Leave a comment with your Twitter name to let us know that this has been done. This is only valid for one entry.

Blog about this giveaway. You must have a link to this giveaway in your blog post. Please leave a comment with the link to your blog post. This is only valid for one entry.

The Magickeeper Trilogy Giveaway ends on July 1st, 2011 and is open to the US and Canada only. Please leave your email address in each comment, and make sure to leave a separate comment for every each and every entry that you make so that they will count for you!

Thank you! “Mom” at Tiny Green Mom can’t wait to announce the winner of this fabulous giveaway!

5 Reasons to Teach Your Baby to Read

By J. Richard Gentry PhD

Infant and toddler brains appear to be well-suited for reading. Thousands of parents worldwide are having success teaching their babies to read using books and other fun literacy activities, games, and even multimedia reading programs. With 4 out of 10 American eight-year-olds unable to read proficiently, Dr. Gentry encourages parents, who are children’s first reading teachers, to get their young children off to a good start before they get to kindergarten.

Here are five reasons to teach your baby or toddler to read:

Zero to age six is when language proficiency develops in the brain.

Well before your child can speak or read, she is absorbing language at a phenomenal pace. In the first year of life, her brain will triple in size; by the time she enters kindergarten, it will be almost as big as yours. It is during this critical period that many of the neural pathways establishing language proficiency are formed. This is why, as your child’s first reading teacher, it is so crucial to make the most of these early years by introducing reading as joyful play.

Early literacy engagement gives your baby an enormous advantage.

Spending just a few minutes a day engaging your baby or toddler in literacy activities that include lots of speech and positive parent/child interaction, along with traditional techniques such as reading aloud, may give your baby a 32-million-word advantage by kindergarten over children who did not get this exposure; some neuroscientists even report that early intervention with appropriate literacy activity can make your child less likely to develop learning problems such as dyslexia.

For babies and toddlers, literacy activities are fun, not work.

Learning to read is work for the six-year-old beginner, but it’s play for babies and toddlers, and it’s amazing what they can pick up. Go to YouTube and search baby reading to see toddlers who can show you how well they read, not just words, but easy books and signs they haven’t seen before. In my book, I include age-appropriate games and activities very young children love to do with their favorite reading teacher — their parent — which develop reading and writing skills while your baby is having fun.

Babies’ brains are uniquely suited to early reading.

In my experience, all babies have special capacity for perceiving patterns and connecting symbols with meaning, which can begin as early as eight months of age. All babies have good recognition memory and novelty preference, so they enjoy looking at pictures and word cards with their parents. Perceiving patterns and connecting symbols with meaning is what reading is all about. When shown contrasting word patterns five minutes a day in a joint media engagement with their parents, two and three-year-olds can intuit phonics. This is true for parents who are using multimedia technology such as “Your Baby Can Read,” in addition to reading aloud and sharing books.

Babies’ right-brain learning gives them special capacities for reading.

Childhood education experts who have only studied school-aged children incorrectly assume that babies and toddlers must learn to read like six-year-olds, who develop left-brain reading systems through formal instruction. They are wrong. Babies and toddlers likely begin as right-brain readers who pick up reading as easily as they pick up three languages if all three languages are spoken by their caregivers between birth and age three. (If one waits until age six, it’s not so easy for the child to pick up three languages simultaneously. The baby brain, not the six-year-old brain, has special language and reading capacities.)

About the Author

J. Richard Gentry PhD is a nationally acclaimed expert on childhood literacy, reading, and spelling development, and the author of Raising Confident Readers: How to Teach Your Child to Read and Write — from Baby to Age 7 (Da Capo / Perseus). Find out more at www.jrichardgentry.com.

What books are on “Mom’s” summer reading list this year? Below are this summer’s top picks for everyone in the family – perfect for rainy afternoons, long car trips, or just relaxing poolside.

To Market, To Market

by Nikki McClure

To Market, To Market is the perfect summer read to get young children excited about all the delicious fresh foods that are available this season, while offering awareness about how our food is brought from farm to table. Read this delightful tale with gorgeous, engaging illustrations by Nikki McClure the night before a trip to the farmer’s market to prepare your little one for the next day’s green shopping event!

Bindi Wildlife Adventures: Trouble at the Zoo

By Bindi Irwin

The first book in this new adventure series for kids ages 7-10 takes the reader on a wild journey through the Australian Zoo on Bindi’s 11th birthday, where Bindi, the Jungle Girl herself, celebrates with her mother, brother, best friend Rosie, and other guests. Trouble at the Zoo, a fast-paced story for young wildlife enthusiasts, teaches an appreciation for wildlife and shows children what they can do to help conserve and protect the world’s endangered animals. Based on Bindi’s own adventures and passion for animal conservation efforts, each book in the series features animal fact files at the end. The series continues, as well, with a second and third story in this adventure series for kids!

Pins on a Map: A Family’s Yearlong Journey Around the World

By David Boesch

A true page-turner and story for anyone who has traveled, wishes to travel, or has lived overseas (like “Mom!”). In May 2007, physician David Boesch and his family-five strong, with kids age 7, 10, and 13-embarked on a trip that would bring them to 6 continents and 17 countries in 345 days. Boesch depicts the adventure of parenting in constant motion in this riveting, honest, and heartwarming memoir. Definitely a fast-read – Pins on a Map makes you want to pack up your own family and start your own around the world adventure!

Dogphoria

By Jim Dratfield

For the dog lover in all of us – Dogphoria by Jim Dratfield is a 132-page collection of candid photos of dogs together with insightful quotes that illustrate the companionship and loyalty of dogs. The quotes are inspiring, and the images capture the spirit of man’s best friend in a variety of candid shots. A perfect coffee table book to have on display for guests (or for yourself!) at your summer cottage, Dogphoria is light and enjoyable.

*Companies generously provided book copies and images for this article. Top Image: Image: nuchylee / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.*