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.*

As we head into the holidays, you will want to pick up a copy of this fabulous new cookbook – Vegan Holiday Kitchen: More than 200 Delicious, Festive Recipes for Special Occasions by Nava Atlas! Brimming with healthy Vegan fare, the cookbook boasts all the favorites of the season, with a Vegan twist. With something for every celebration, including Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Passover, Rosh Hashanah, Easter, Independence Day & more – the dishes serve as a compassionate way to dine and celebrate with family & loved ones.

Of course, “Mom” wants to try everything in the Vegan Holiday Kitchen at some point, but has settled on the following choices for Thanksgiving. Don’t they sound delightful?!

Squash, Sweet Potato & Corn Chowder pg. 9

Mixed Baby Greens with Pears & Glazed Pecans pg. 15

Wild Rice Stuffing with Dried Cranberries pg. 34

Maple-Pecan Sweet Potatoes pg. 41

Cranberry-Carrot Cake with Maple-Cream Cheese Frosting pg. 54

That is just the beginning of the tantalizing and nutritious offerings found in the Vegan Holiday Kitchen – and we only highlighted some tasty Thanksgiving options!

For entertaining, the Vegg Nog or Hot Spiced Apple Cider recipes call for seconds, and can both be enjoyed sans alcohol, so everyone in the family can enjoy them!

You will definitely be browsing throgh the many pages of this cookbook as we head into the season – with gorgeous images and mouthwatering recipes, who could resist? Plus, those who have not yet tried Vegan fare are in for a real treat! What a great way to introduce this type of healthy cuisine!

The Vegan Holiday Kitchen: More than 200 Delicious, Festive Recipes for Special Occasions can be found on Amazon.com, and is a great gift for yourself or a Vegan friend!

*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.*

Little Monster Fun and Learn Book

Combining four Mercer Mayer favorites into one educational and exciting storybook for little ones – follow the beloved Little Monster as he makes his way through the book, learning his ABC’s, counting, getting ready for bedtime, and just meandering through his own neighborhood! Youngsters and their parents who remember these classic tales will enjoy reading and learning together. Mayer’s mesmerizing illustrations are a feast for the eyes, and Little Monster’s antics make everyone laugh out loud. “Mom” always enjoyed searching through the pages of her Mercer Mayer books as a child for the Zipperump-a-zoo that accompanies the lovable Little Monster on his adventures, and now she is asking her little one to do the same! To download a copy of the new Little Monster Fun and Learn Book, or to order a hard copy, visit little-monster-fun-and-learn.

smilegram paper

School is in full swing! Put a smile on your little one’ face with their own sweet set of smilegram paper! This new eco-friendly stationery line that is made from recycled materials is perfect for little ones who wish to draw or write handwritten notes, or perhaps practice their cursive! What makes smilegram paper unique is that it is lined to help your children as they make the transition from plain drawing paper to lined paper, and it is available in an array of cheerful designs! Choose from original graphics such as Funky Fun Flip Flops, Buzzing Bee, Hippy Chick or Fun Jumpin Froggies – there are a wide variety for your little one to pick to express his/herself!

smilegram paper offers personalized stationery, gift sets, writing tablets, and more – check out their oh-so cute collection at smilegrampaper.com.

Pedestal Pets

Check out this new educational toy line of animal pencil toppers that sit atop colorful corresponding pencils. Now, kids can take their favorite little toys with them to school! The cute collectibles come in packages of four, which includes 4 toppers, 4 pencils, and 4 trading cards with fun educational facts about each animal. Creating awareness about our planet’s creatures, Pedestal Pets are grouped in three collections: Neighborhood, Safari and Barnyard Friends. Children can also go online to ‘adopt’ and name their pets as well as print coloring pages.

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

Do you have a budding environmentalist, marine biologist, future entomologist or zoologist at home? Perhaps your little one just adores animals of any kind! If so, the following three new books will educate and delight children as they turn the pages to learn all about creatures both great and small!

Learn About Creatures Great & Small with These Three New Books

Curious Critters

Oh, how curious critters can be! Unlock the mysteries of creatures such as the Eastern Box Turtle, Fox Snake or Black Swallowtail Butterfly in this engaging picture book by David FitzSimmons! Filled with illuminating facts and gorgeous, detailed images of creatures up close, Curious Critters will keep little ones turning page after page to learn more. What is even more exciting is that in addition to the book itself, you can visit the Curious Critters webpage to print coloring pages, word searches and even send free e-cards with your favorite critter. The learning extends way beyond the book with these interactive tools! Curious Critters is a fascinating read – showing children that science can be interesting and fun! To learn more, visit curious-critters.com.

Muddle Farm

A take-along farm adventure – this colorful, entertaining book by Axel Scheffler featuring magnetic farm animals to add to each scene as the story progresses is both amusing and educational! Neigh and quack your way through Muddle Farm with your child as they learn all about the animals on the farm. When finished reading and playing, store the farm animals back in the barn! Available at barronseduc.com.

Muddle Ocean as they explore the creatures of the deep! A handle on top of the book makes it easy to carry along with you for trips in the car, plane, or anywhere your child wants to go! When done exploring the ocean, place all of the sea creatures back in the coral reef for safe-keeping! Visit barronseduc.com to order.

*Companies generously provided review copies & images of the books highlighted in 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


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


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.*