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School’s out for the summer, and to help your children stay on track with their reading, we have chosen 5 of our favorites for preschoolers and early elementary school-aged kids. These 5 titles are engaging and enjoyable… and will help pass the time on rainy summer days, too!

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Sesame Street: 5 Little Rubber Duckies

Does your child adore Elmo like my son? Little ones who are a fan of Elmo and the gang on Sesame Street will love this educational counting book for ages 2 and up, as they learn their numbers with Elmo and friends!

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Join Ernie and his friends on Sesame Street as they try to find five cute rubber duckies in this engaging, hands-on board book! With touch and trace elements perfect for little hands and plastic duckies to push and count along, this book is the perfect story time activity for early learners. Also available in Spanish!

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10, 9, 8… Owls Up Late! 

Help your kiddos learn to count with this adorable book filled with gorgeous illustrations! Ten little owls are playing in a tree, hopping and hooting happily. But Mama Owl calls from down in the nest, “It’s bedtime now; it’s time to rest.”

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Peek through the pages and spot the mischievous owls in this fun counting book, perfect for bedtime! Featuring fun rhyming text, funny illustrations and peek-through die-cut pages. Recommended for ages 3-5.

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When Fur and Feather Get Together

Do your children love rhyming books? Then they will fall in love with this newly released title, When Fur and Feather Get Together, by David Margrave!

Complete with rhyming lessons about what groups of animals are called when they get together, children will love learning things like: a group of rhinos is a crash, as assembly of owls is a parliament, and unicorns together are a blessing. At the end of the book, Margrave closes with something that applies to all of the groups, which is the beauty and meaning of family. We had just as much fun learning about the different groups of animals as our son and daughter!

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BigFoot Visits the Big Cities of the World

Help your older child avoid the summer slide, and combine reading with learning about the world’s most popular cities! Sharpen your search and find skills by locating BigFoot at his favorite metropolis. It won’t be easy! BigFoot is visiting ten major cosmopolitan destinations, from the Big Apple and London to Paris, Athens, Tokyo, Toronto, and more.

This handsome hardcover book presents each urban oasis as an immense two-page visual puzzle, full of teeming people and creatures. Your task is not only to find BigFoot and his legendary footprint, but also more than 500 other unusual and sometimes unexpected personalities and objects. Fun facts and pictures accompany each scene to help you learn more about the popular cities included in the book.

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BigFoot Goes on Vacation

Remember the Where’s Waldo series of books? The BigFoot series is similar, and just as much fun to read with your children!

In this book, BigFoot is enjoying his holiday in ten different ways, from deep sea diving and joining a balloon festival to taking a cruise, going to the beach, visiting Yellowstone National Park, and more. This handsome hardcover book presents each getaway as an immense two-page visual puzzle, full of teeming people and creatures.

*Companies generously provided review copies and cover images for this article. All thoughts expressed herein are my own.*

Looking for an extra-special gift and keepsake for your infant, toddler or preschooler’s birthday? You are in luck – the popular I See Me! Personalized Board Books has just debuted two new books for boys and girls on their big day! Made in the USA, My Very Happy Birthday is an adorable personalized hardcover book with durable board pages, created especially for babies and toddlers. Read-along with your little one as Mouse, Duck, Turtle, Bluebird and their friends come together to prepare a birthday celebration and cake for your little boy or girl. Senders can add their personal touch to this beautifully illustrated book with a personalized cover and a printed dedication – the website allows the sender to choose from a wide selection of special dedications for the birthday child.

Written by award-winning author Jennifer Dewing and illustrated by Mati Rose McDonough, My Very Happy Birthday is gift that will be read over and over again as children love to hear their name being read aloud and see it in print on the pages! In addition to My Very Happy Birthday, I See Me! offers a variety of charming and engaging personalized stories, including My Very Own Pirate Tale Storybook, The Super, Incredible Big Sister or Big Brother, as well as seasonal offerings for the holidays.

Learn more about I See Me! Personalized Board Books at iseeme.com.

*Company generously provided samples and images for this piece.*

Little ones will love cuddling up for a bedtime story with this beautifully illustrated version of The Bear Went Over the Mountain (Sky Pony Press April 2012) by storyteller Iza Trapani! In muted colors that remind you of a watercolor painting, The Bear Went Over the Mountain tells an entertaining tale in a rhythmic way that kids will adore reading (or singing!) again and again!

A bear goes over the mountain to see what he can see, hear what he can hear, smell what he can smell, touch what he can touch, and taste what he can taste; what a busy bear! When he sets out on a sunny morning in spring he uses all five of his senses to explore the world around him. He smells a skunk (yuck!) and sweet honeysuckle vines (yum!). He sees dragonflies and fuzzy ducklings, he hears crickets chirping, he touches a soft flower blossom, and more! When the chill of autumn comes creeping up over the mountain, he goes back to his cave for a snuggly sleep.

This delightful children’s tale will be available April 1st, which is perfect for tucking in an Easter basket, as well! In addition to this new children’s book that is destined to become a classis, Iza Trapani also artfully wrote and illustrated The Itsy Bitsy Spider, which has sold over one million copies to date.

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

If you and your little ones enjoyed reading Kristi Yamaguchi’s debut children’s picture book, Dream Big, Little Pig, then get ready to cozy up before bed with a new adventure for the adorable Poppy the Pig as she continues her ice skating escapades in Kristi’s forthcoming sequel, It’s a Big World, Little Pig!

It’s a Big World, Little Pig! follows the precocious Poppy as she travels to Paris to compete in the World Games. At first, Poppy is nervous about meeting so many new people in a new place. But, ever courageous and supported by her family (and best friend Emma, too!), Poppy begins to realize that although these animals look different, act different, and are from different places, they are all the same at heart. They all smile in the same language!

Like the first book in the series, It’s a Big World, Little Pig! is a beautifully illustrated book with an important message, and your children will love to read this one over and over again with Mom or Dad! Hitting bookstores on March 6th, 2012, It’s a Big World, Little Pig! is a must-read this Spring!

To learn more, or to order, visit www.kristiyamaguchi.com.

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

Making its’ debut in bookstores nationwide on February 21, 2012, Jennifer Fosberry’s latest children’s book, Isabella: Girl On the Go, is full of adventure and surprise that will be a huge hit with your young reader! “Mom’s” little one especially enjoys looking for Isabella’s stuffed mouse on each page as he plays along in character to all of Isabella’s stories! From the Eiffel Tower to the Sphinx, this newest book teaches your little one all about the wonders of the world in an entertaining and amusing way.

Isabella, as precocious as ever, spends the day playing with her dad as she discovers that the far corners of the world are closer than you may think. She pretends everyday things (like the sandbox) are extraordinary places (like the desert and pyramids of Egypt).

Travel around the world to places like:

—Pyramids of Giza

—Eiffel Tower

—Great Wall of China

—Chichén Itza

—Big Ben

—Statue of Liberty

The back of the book is filled with facts about each place that Isabella discovers in one afternoon as she helps her father around the home. With a sweet and touching ending, your child will want to have this story read over and over again, just like “Mom’s” daughter!

To learn more about Isabella: Girl on the Go, or view any of Jennifer Fosberry’s other books, please visit http://blog.jfosberry.com/.

About the Author

Jennifer Fosberry first visited the Statue of Liberty as a child with her Girl Scout troop and climbed to the top of El Castillo on her honeymoon. She has waved to Big Ben and the Eiffel Tower on her way to Rome and glanced toward the Great Wall of China from Taiwan. And while the Great Pyramids are still a mystery she hopes to discover one day, she is always comfortable at home. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, three children, and a little dog that keeps her company while she works on her next book.

Isabella: Girl On the Go

Sourcebooks Jabberwocky; ISBN: 978-1-4022-6648-5; Picture Book; $16.99

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.*

Cuddle up with your little ones for an evening of stories and classic holiday tales about Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa with The Night Before Christmas Special Edition Gift Set. This gift set is meant to be enjoyed through the season, with a mug of hot chocolate in hand! Featuring 12 tales on 2 DVD’s, you can read along with your children, or just enjoy the festive music and narration!

The title tale, based on Clement C. Moore’s timeless poem, has been adapted from Ruth Sanderson’s exquisitely illustrated book. Featuring narration by Anthony Edwards, this version is sure to warm the cockles of any grinch’s heart! Among the 11 additional colorfully animated stories found on this 2-DVD gift set—narrated by celebrities such as Jane Curtin and Christopher Lloyd — are: In the Month of Kislev (adapted from a story by Nina Jaffe and narrated by Theodore Bikel), Seven Candles for Kwanzaa, (adapted from a story by Andrea Davis Pinkney and Brian Pinkney, narrated by Alfre Woodard), Too Many Tamales (presented both in English and Spanish), and four bonus stories featuring Ezra Jack Keats’ The Little Drummer Boy, Sam and the Lucky Money, and two Rosemary Wells classics, Max’s Christmas and Morris’ Disappearing Bag.

What “Mom” loves about Scholastic Storybook Treasures is that your child’s books really come to life! If you have some of the books, it is great to turn the pages and read along with the narrator for your child’s enrichment.

The Night Before Christmas Special Edition Gift Set can be found at Amazon.com, just in time for December!

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

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.*

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.*