The Keeping Quilt

June 3, 2014 at 5:23 am (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Little girl got soap in her eye in the bath tub tonight.  It was awful.  There was banshee-like screaming, bright red faces from all involved, and a lot of tears.  Her daddy, the man with the magic hands, was able to pat her back long enough to soothe her into a half slumber after we got the eye rinsed out and pajamas donned.  Just as we headed out of the room, though, a little voice piped up from beyond the darkness, “But you didn’t read me my bedtime story.”

So snuggled under her own quilt, I whispered to her the story of Patricia Polacco’s family –

the_keeping_quiltTitle: The Keeping Quilt

Author: Patricia Polacco

Publisher: Aladdin Paperbacks

The Keeping Quilt is a beautifully illustrated family history that spans six generations.  From the first immigrants of a family coming to America, through the making of a family quilt from the few cherished possessions they have from the mother country, through weddings, births, and old age, The Keeping Quilt tells a story of many lives united by love and history.

This book doesn’t just belong in every child’s library, but every quilt lover’s library as well.  As we were reading, I couldn’t help but be reminded of Rich Fabric edited by Melinda McGuire and all the beautiful family histories captured in that volume as well.

I’m so glad I stumbled across this book today at the bookstore, honored to have been given the opportunity to step into Polacco’s family for the evening, and amazed at how perfectly soothing it was for a child who was emotionally and physically exhausted after a battle with a bar of soap.

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The Latest from M.G. King!

December 12, 2013 at 3:43 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )


Title: The Clock Snatcher

Author: M.G. King

Illustrators: Angela A. Corson & Sebastian Alvarado

Genre: Children’s Picture Books


Dragon from Clocksnatcher

Bartholomew the Dragon

When I heard M.G. King was writing another book, I was pretty excited.  We love Librarian on the Roof! here at our house and I completely devoured Fizz & Peppers.  Anything M.G. King touches, pretty much turns to gold in my opinion.  She’s Texas’ very own Rumpelstiltskin.

This latest picture book is 47 pages long, with a lot of glorious black and white pictures.  Think The Spider and the Fly when Tony DiTerlizzi did the illustrations – a myth to last the ages in combination with high quality sketches can’t go wrong.

Right now the book is only $3.99 on Kindle.  Maybe if everyone buys one and supports our favorite local kid’s author there will be a hardback edition in our future.  My bookshelves are already itching for a copy… I can hear them calling for it… this book belongs in every mother’s library… and child’s, and dragon lovers’, and clock collector, and art appreciator, and…

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Illustrator of Note – Aoristos

February 13, 2013 at 10:16 pm (The Whim) (, , , , , )

HorusGollumkiller bee

Gershom Reese Wetzel (Aoristos) has been a friend of mine for about ten years now.  His artwork fills my living room and my husband’s man cave.  There’s even a portrait of us hiding in a picture frame somewhere.

So when you go to write a sci fi novel or a children’s Kung Fu series (yes, I have both projects in my back pocket), naturally you ask this guy to cook up some illustrations for you.

Check him out, like him on facebook…



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The Ravenous Beast

June 29, 2012 at 5:20 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , )

Title: The Ravenous Beast

Author: Niamh Sharkey

Publisher: Walker Books

Genre: Board Book

I originally bought The Ravenous Beast for the color scheme (its cover is purple, turquoise, and an orangy- yellow) and illustrations.  And the fact that Ayla fell in love with it in the bookstore.  That was a while back, and now our once new board book is chaffed, worn, and has a cracked spine.  Sharkey’s book has become one of her favorites.  It gets read at the table during lunch (my favorite time to read it), at night before bed from time to time, and every once in a while I read it at Half Price Books’ story time while the kids chow down on crackers.

If you make sure to do all the different voices and include the exclamation marks while reading, the book is always well received by children, despite the slightly disturbing end where The Ravenous Beast eats ALL the other characters.  I suppose the disturbing factor is lost on kids anyway because they all think its the funniest thing ever.  Truth be told, it is rather funny.  The whale is my personal favorite, but Ayla prefers the cat and the crocodile.

Sharkey is a well-known and accomplished children’s illustrator, not only does she write and illustrate popular children’s books like The Ravenous Beast, she is the Children’s Laureate of Ireland and is now collaborating with Brown Bag Films and Disney to create a show based on her book I’m A Happy Hugglewug.  Learn more about her and all her ventures on her blog:

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Goodbye Mr. Sendak

May 9, 2012 at 10:46 pm (Obituaries, Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Photograph by Astrid Christie

I would be remiss as a blogger, book lover, mother, former child, dreamer, and all around human being if I didn’t post something about Maurice Sendak upon his passing.  Most famous for Where The Wild Things Are, Sendak has changed the lives of children all over the world since the early 60’s when Wild Things was first published.  So influential was this picture book that it was made into a major motion picture/ live action film, has been on baby registry lists since registries were invented, is a Caldecott Medal Winner, and has become the face of children’s sections and bookstores everywhere.  Just visit the Half Price Books in Rice Village of Houston, TX, there’s a huge wall mural honoring the beloved book and its illustrator (which I can’t find a photo of, so you’ll just have to go see it yourself!).  All the way to London where on Streatham Hill you can find an outside mural of the most well known monsters of all time! (Check out the blog of that photographer here:

Sendak made it to a whopping 83 and his life will be celebrated by a posthumous publication of his most current work called “My Brother’s Book” which he wrote in honor of his late brother.  How fitting and beautiful that it will be his last new publication, and that he too will be gone for it.

Maurice Bernard Sendak was born June 10, 1928 and died May 8, 2012.  For a proper ode to his entire life work, please read the New York Times article here:

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Weekly Low Down on Leprechauns… I Mean Kids Books 5/07/12

May 8, 2012 at 3:18 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , )

The Luckiest Leprechaun: A Tail-Wagging Tale of Friendship and one of the most adorable books ever.  I know I say this about a lot of kids books, but imagine how many kids books we read that don’t get blog exposure because I can’t seem to find it in myself to waste precious time and cyber space talking about them.  The Luckiest Leprechaun, though, is truly one of the good ones! We love it.

The super challenge to parents: Read the whole thing with an Irish accent.  I had to summon my inner Mrs. Paroo (from The Music Man), and I know that an actual Irishman would be ashamed of me, but I was quite proud of myself.  Ayla may have just thought I was a weird-o, but she had me read it twice in a row even though its pretty lengthy for a kids picture book for her age, so I must have been entertaining.

I highly recommend this one.  Justine Korman did a great job portraying a cynical, and somewhat rotten, leprechaun in need of an attitude change, unwillingly becoming best friends with the sweetest dog in the world (named Lucky).  Its got the same illustrator as the Junie B. Jones books (Denise Brunkus) although I don’t know that I care for those books, the illustrations are awesome. I loved it.  Ayla clearly loved it.  It was an awesome library pick that I am sure to go buy, because I’ll be needing this every Spring for years to come.

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The Weekly Low Down on Kid’s Books

January 13, 2012 at 9:51 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , )

Where to, Little Wombat? – Charles Fuge

This title was actually added to the previous Low Down on Kid’s Books post in an edit before I decided to make this a weekly ritual, but it belongs in this grouping.

Ayla wasn’t sure about sitting through the first page, but by the second she was hooked. The first time we read this she made me read it three times in a row and carried it around the house for an hour after that. The illustrations are fun and she loved being introduced to new animals she hadn’t seen before: wombat, emu, and koala. Plus, the story is super cute too.


Busy Penguins – John Schindel & Jonathan Chester

So I totally thought this rocked, despite the page dedicated to penguins pooping. But I love penguins. Ayla, on the other hand was not so interested. It didn’t matter how cool or cute the penguins were being, she was 100% focused on Where to, Little Wombat by Charles Fuge. Therefore, no matter how cool I thought it was, I can’t give it higher than a 3 out of 5 stars because kids books really should *mostly* be for the kids.


Jon’s Moon – Carme Sole Vendrell
Oddly spiritual in a creepy way for a kid’s book. Didn’t care for it. We had originally picked it up thinking the title would be fun for her because its got her daddy’s name in it, but you can’t judge a book solely on its title. The illustrations are beautiful though. Could be useful for teaching personification to a small child.


The Tickle Tree – Chae Strathie and Poly Bernatene
“A phantasmagorical flight of fantasy at your fingertips…” is no misconception! We adore this one at our house. The writing is reminiscent of Dr. Seuss, if Seuss were more soothing and less rambunctious. The illustrations are worthy of being compared to Bryan Collins (of and if you follow me on anything, you know how much I love his work. The Tickle Tree should be part of every child’s bookcase, and maybe a few adults’ as well if you are a collector of poetry and art.


Click on the titles to see the books on

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