(Review) Brownie Groundhog and the February Fox

Title: Brownie Groundhog and the February Fox
Author:Blackaby, Susan
Illustrator:Segovia, Carmen
Publication Date:January 2011

Source: Received from Sterling for review.

About the book:
Happy Groundhog Day! But when Brownie steps outside, there’s not even the slightest sign of spring-just her shadow, a frosty field, and a hungry fox who wants to munch her for lunch. Determined not to become a meal, Brownie finds a clever and tasty way to melt the ice and turn Fox into a friend and make the wait for winter’s end a little warmer. Susan Blackaby’s deliciously witty writing and Carmen Segovia’s adorable animals and stunning landscapes combine to create a picture book filled with springtime joy. Just right for reading with a cup of cocoa and cinnamon toast; Brownie’s favorite meal!

My Thoughts:
I was pleasantly surprised when I received this book in the mail from Sterling. It was a surprise. I was trying to figure out when I would actually post a review and since I love the colors in the title I thought it had to be reviewed in February (pink and red)and since the book is about a groundhog and spring what better day then today, Groundhog’s Day.

This is such a cute book. Michael and I both enjoyed the story and illustrations. Even though in all the illustrations there is tons of snow Carmen managed to make each illustration pop out and fill up each page.

Its February 2nd and Brownie the Groundhog has waken up from her long winters nap but is quickly disappointed when she sees her shadow because it means another six weeks of winter. She is grumbling to herself. A fox nearby hears her and is ready to pounce on the groundhog and declares he is going to eat her.

Brownie is a very smart groundhog and manages to trick the fox to avoid being eaten. Brownie tells the fox he must work up his appetite and sets him off doing various chores such as cleaning the snow off the pond and skating. The fox still wants to eat her so she tells him to sit down and ties him to a tree and walks away. The fox howls, Brownie begins to feel a little bad for her actions so she walks back to him and decides to share her picnic basket with him.

As they are eating Brownie spots the first sign that spring is coming a little robin. As the new found friends leave the plan the next day together.

What a great book to read with children. Michael was the one who said when we finished it that he was happy that the two animals managed to become friends in the end despite the fact the fox was ready to eat the groundhog.

As I am writing this review we are currently having a snow storm and there is no signs of spring happening but thankfully we are into February so that only means roughly two more months left of winter weather.

Thanks Sterling for sending us this great book.

Please note: You can purchase this book at your favorite bookstore or you can support my blog and giveaways by using my affiliate links.

copyright 2010, Cindy (Cindy’s Love Of Books)
If you are reading this on a blog or website other than Cindy’s Love Of Books or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

Otto Grows Down Review

PUB DATE: February 2009

What would it be like if time went backwards? One unlucky little boy is about to find out!

Otto has just one birthday wish: that his new baby sister Anna had never been born. And it comes true when the days suddenly start moving in reverse. But now, instead of growing up, Otto’s growing DOWN. He’s getting younger every minute and in danger of disappearing entirely. Can he turn things around before it’s too late-for Anna and himself?

Its Otto’s 6th Birthday and he has a new baby sister, Anna and he is not happy about it. When he blows out the candles on his cake he wishes Anna was never born. As soon as he made his wish weird things began to happen such as the candles were lit again, the hands on his watch were going backwards, he was wrapping his presents back up and giving them back to his friends and many more funny things happened. Time was going backwards and Otto was going back in time. He relived his 5th, 4th, 3rd, 2nd and first birthdays all over again. After each birthday he would make the wish saying he wished he was 6 again. Finally at his first birthday he realized what he had to do to set things straight.

Moral of the story is becareful what you wish for you never know what will happen.

Thanks again to Michael Sussman for sending a signed copy of Otto Grows Down for Michael. He was thrilled when he saw it was signed.

We are looking forward to Michael’s new book. Hopefully it will be out soon.

copyright 2010, Cindy (Cindy’s Love Of Books)
If you are reading this on a blog or website other than Cindy’s Love Of Books or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

Otto Grows Down Author Interview

PUB DATE: February 2009

I have to send out a huge THANK YOU to Michael Sussman for contacting me and asking if I would be interested in reviewing his first children’s book. I knew Michael (my son) would love the book and he did love it. We read it all the time.

Michael was also very gracious to do this interview with Michael. This is Michael’s first interview with an author and I was really impressed with the questions he came up with. Not bad for a 6 year old in my opinion. What do you think?

Thank You again Michael for taking the time out to do this interview with Michael and thank you to my Michael for coming up with these great questions. You did a fantastic job. I hope you enjoy this interview.

MICHAEL:How long have you been a writer?

MICHAEL(author):I started writing short stories in middle school and poetry and song lyrics in high school. I kept a journal for many years and wrote a doctoral thesis for graduate school. I published two books for mental health professionals before starting to write for children.

MICHAEL:Why did you decide to write a children’s book?

MICHAEL(author):I was reading loads of picture books to my son, Ollie, and wasn’t impressed with most of them. I thought I could do better!
(This is Michael (author) with his son Ollie.)
[You did a fantastic job Michael. The book is great. I am sure we all were in Ollie’s place at one time or another. I know I could relate to Ollie as I wished that too with my younger brother.]

MICHAEL: Do you have any say in the illustrations that are used in the book?

MICHAEL(author): None at all. Most people think the author gets to chose the illustrator, but that is the job of the editor. I lucked out, though: my editor chose the wonderfully talented Scott Magoon! I was able to see early sketches of the illustrations, and Scott was very open and responsive to my suggestions.

MICHAEL: Do you plan on writing more children books?

MICHAEL(author): There are many more on the way! The next one is titled, Bella Bellows.

[We are excited about this one the title alone sounds really good. Can’t wait for it to come out.]

MICHAEL: Is “Otto Grows Down” based an anything? [Michael wasn’t sure if that question made sense when I was writing them down. He actually explained it very well. His words were after asking the question “What I mean is if Michael based Ollie’s wish on his own siblings and wishing they were around?”

MICHAEL(author): As a child, I used to amuse myself by imagining what a day would be like if time ran in reverse. I was also very jealous when my baby brother was born.

MICHAEL: What was your favorite part about the book? [Michael’s favorite part of the book was seeing things being done backwards especially the bath one.]

MICHAEL(author): I like the funny aspects of living in reverse, like taking in the garbage on trash day and taking baths when you are clean and they make you dirty. My favorite illustration is of Otto lying awake at night, feeling bad about Anna.

MICHAEL: How long did it take you to write Otto Grows Down? [I think he wanted to know this because in the last month he has been making his own little booklets. A possible future author in the making?]

MICHAEL(author): The first draft only took a few days, but it took over a year to get the story just right.

[Michael was a little surprised when he heard this as he thinks things happen quickly with books and getting them out to the public.]

MICHAEL: Was it a long process from the time you wrote the book to getting it in customer’s hands?

MICHAEL(author); Was it ever! It took nearly three years from the time I sold the manuscript to Sterling. Picture books take an extra long time, especially if you have a well known illustrator (who typically have several other projects to finish before they get to yours.)

MICHAEL: Do you have any advice to kids who want to write a book? [He asks this because he is making little booklets with short stories in them.]

MICHAEL(author): Study your favorite stories and learn from them. Get as much feedback as you can from lots of people on your story, and keep rewriting it until every word is perfect. Learn about submitting your manuscript from books such as Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Publishing Children’s Books.

MICHAEL: Is there anything you want people to know about you or your book?

MICHAEL(author): All the names in the story—Otto, Anna, Bob, Mom, and Dad—are palindromes. That is, they read the same forwards and backwards!

As it says on the jacket flap: unlike Otto, I’m still stuck in backwards time! If you have any ideas on how to help me, please e-mail me at Michael@OttoGrowsDown.com

You can learn more about Michael Sussman at http://www.ottogrowsdown.com/

Finally the last picture is of Michael reading Otto Grows Down. He really is just looking at the pictures in the book. We won’t let him know that we know he is just looking at the pictures.

Michael’s review of Otto Grows Down will be posted tomorrow. Come back and check his review.

copyright 2010, Cindy (Cindy’s Love Of Books)
If you are reading this on a blog or website other than Cindy’s Love Of Books or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

Peasant Pig and the Terrible Dragon Review

PUB DATE: March 3, 2009

Thank You to Sterling Kids for sending us Richard Scarry. Michael loves them.

Peasant Pig and the Terrible Dragon was previously released September 1980.

The time in history is the middle ages. The town is Busylande. The peasants of Busylande live and work the fields around the castle preparing the wheat and the grapes.

One day the King declared a holiday in Busylande. Everyone took part in the festivities from playing ball, to watching the knights jousting to dancing and singing. Everyone was having fun until suddenly there was a cry for help. There was a dragon on the way. Everyone ran to the castle. Everyone was safe except for Princess Lily. Peasant Pig offered to look for her. He looked over the fields but couldn’t see her so he shot Lowly Worm into the air. Lowly spotted her. The dragon had captured her. He told the king and the knights went off to rescue her. But sadly the horses were afraid of the dragon and stopped in their tracks throwing the knights off them. The poor knights were on their back unable to move because their armor was too heavy.

The dragon laughed at them. Cheeky dragon. (As Michael said) Wait its not a real dragon its just a band of robbers dressed up as the dragon. The tied up the knights and stole their armor. The leader of the robbers shot an arrow with a note attached to the castle. It was a ransom note demanding all the gold and jewels in exchange for the princess. Peasant comes up with a plan to trick the dragon instead of gold they use bars of soap. Peasant lands in the grape juicer turning the juice into a soap suds. Forcing all the robbers to rush for water in the moat. Thankfully they forgot to take off their armor and now are stuck in the moat. Although thanks to Big Hilda who falls into the moat the big splash released the robbers. Finding out that there was no dragon Peasant Pig had an idea. He frees the knights and they become the dragon. They scare the robbers and tie them up.

The King see’s the Princess on the back of the dragon thinking she is in danger and not realizing that its Peasant Pig breaking the Princess back puts together a bag of pepper and uses Lowly as the arrow to drop the pepper on the dragon. Once the pepper is dropped everyone sneezes and the costume comes off. The king makes Peasant Pig a knight, Lowly Worm is the jester and the robbers were sent to the dungeon to make soup.

copyright 2010, Cindy (Cindy’s Love Of Books)
If you are reading this on a blog or website other than Cindy’s Love Of Books or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

Find Your A B C’s Review

PUB DATE: March 3, 2009

This book was orginally done in 1973 and today its still a classic for little ones learning about letters and words.

Michael loves Richard Scarry books so when he found out that he was going to get to read and review this for me he was really happy. He was even happier when I told him that it was his to keep and we wouldn’t have to return it.

If you are a fan of Richard Scarry you will recognize Sam and Dudley, they are the stars of The Great Pie Robbery. Guess what? They are on the case again! Although this time they’re searching for the alphabet. Sam and Dudley ask the readers to help them out and here’s how you can help, throughout the book, the words for a variety of objects appear next to their pictures and on every page just one letter of the alphabet is highlighted. That letter is always shown in color.

This is a great book about learning the alphabet and words. Michael loved taking part in the acitivity and he was asking through out the book what Sam and Dudley were going to do with the letters. Even though we have borrowed this book numerous times it was nice to see the element of surprise in it.

Thank You to Sterling Kids for sending us this book. We love it!

Although Richard Scarry passed away in 1994, his son has taken over for him. Richard’s writting career took off in 1949 when he had his big break with the book Two Little Miners and since then he has contributed more then 300 books to children and adults. He has sold more then two hundred million copies in thirty languages. With the distinctive style of drawings they have become the most recognizable to millions of people in the world.

copyright 2010, Cindy (Cindy’s Love Of Books)
If you are reading this on a blog or website other than Cindy’s Love Of Books or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

Quiet Bunny Review

PUB DATE: March 3,2009

Thank You to Sterling Kids for sending us this book to read and review. Michael loved the book. The illustrations are so cute and life like. This is the first book that Lisa has actually illustrated and written.

More than anything in the world the Quiet Bunny loves the sounds of the forest. The birds chirping and the wind whispering through the leaves. When the sun is setting its Quiet Bunny’s favorite time of all because all the bunnies gather to listen to the night song. The crickets start off first then the owl, the snake, the mosquitoes, the bull frog and the wolf all sing their song. The Quiet Bunny opens his mouth to join in but no sound comes from him. He wishes upon a star and the next day still nothing. So he decides to wander the woods copying the animals and their sounds but still nothing. As the sun is setting The Owl speaks to the Quiet bunny telling him that he was watching him all day and saying that no matter how hard you try you won’t make a sound cause he was a Quiet Bunny and that he has to find his own sound and be who you are. So the bunny begins to wonder who he is. As he is hopping around he comes upon a fallen tree as he jumps over it his paw hits it and THUMP. The bunny has discovered his sound..Thump!

Michael loved the book. I think this is perfect for his age group. Funny enough when I asked him what he thought the story meant he said that we are all different and do things differently that we have to be who we are not. For the bunny it was dancing to the beat of his own music and not the other animals.

copyright 2010, Cindy (Cindy’s Love Of Books)
If you are reading this on a blog or website other than Cindy’s Love Of Books or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.