Realization

Hello again! Today’s post is short (originally posted on my Facebook, actually) but I thought you all might be encouraged by it. 😉

I came to a realization earlier this week (through the Holy Spirit and convos with my mom) that I manage other people’s emotions too much. For altruistic reasons (God has blessed me with empathy and peacemaking), yes, but for selfish fear of uncomfortable situations just as often.

Later in the week, I was babysitting, and I noticed a mild child stressing over the jealousy and arguing between two little girls that were playing with him. I decided to call him over.

Me: “It’s really great that you’re trying to be sweet to everyone and play with them.”

A: “Yeah, that’s what I’m doing.” (He may have thought he was gonna be in trouble…)

Me: “Yeah, and that’s really good. But it’s not your fault if they won’t play, okay?”

I watched him relax more after that while still being his sweet self. I’m so glad God had given me this realization and that I was able to share it with a little one. I hope it lives in both our minds for a while. ❤️

Book Review: The Dollhouse Magic

“Lila and her little sister Jane have long admired the dollhouse in the window of Miss Whitcomb’s house down the street. Since Daddy lost his job, the girls can only dream of owning a dollhouse as grand. One day, Miss Whitcomb invites them inside, and a warm friendship soon develops. But after a devastating incident, how will the girls continue to find hope in a time of need?

Set during the Great Depression, The Dollhouse Magic by Yona Zeldis McDonough, and illustrated by Diane Palmisciano, is heartwarming chapter book that proves that friendship is indeed a magic all its own.” (from Goodreads)

Happiest of happy sighs. ❤

I spent a great deal of my childhood wishing for a dollhouse book that didn’t include murder, magic, or other drama. Just dolls.

This book immediately took me back to that time in life and was such a lovely, enjoyable experience. The main characters had a sweet, wholesome family life and a beautiful friendship with an older lady in their community. Also, the dollhouse and its occupants were surprisingly detailed for how short the book is, and my little girl heart ate up every word. 😉

The ending was bittersweet and hopeful. ❤

Altogether, I enjoyed this very much and immediately added it to my list of favorites. I look forward to sharing it with my younger sisters.

Book Review: The Princess in Black and the Bathtime Battle

Something smells like trouble! Can five princess heroes and one Goat Avenger pool their talents to vanquish a monstrous stink?

The Princess in Black is in a very stinky situation. A foul cloud is plaguing the goat pasture, and it smells worse than a pile of dirty diapers or a trash can on a hot summer day. But every time the Princess in Black and her friend the Goat Avenger manage to get rid of the odor, they accidentally blow it to another kingdom! Other masked heroes and their trusty companions show up to help, but how do you battle a stench when your ninja moves fail? Fans with a nose for slapstick will be tickled to see the six stalwart friends join their wits to take on an impossibly beastly stink.” (from Goodreads)

My sisters and I love sharing this series, but I’d fallen behind on this one and ony just now got to read it. It was pretty adorable, and as always, I love the illustrations. (LeUyen Pham is fast becoming one of my favorite illustrators. 😉 ) I especially loved how well-introduced each princess hero was in this one, especially since I found the large cast confusing in the last book. The little glimpses into each girl’s life were really fun. 😉 I love how each princess hero (and goatherd and that strange squirrel ?? ) shone in their different abilities during the big battle.

Just a note, the stinky monster is very stinky and there are some descriptions young children might delight in repeating. XD

Altogether, we enjoyed this one! 😀

Book Review: The Bookshop Girl

“Property Jones lives happily with her mum and brother in their cozy old bookshop, even if there aren’t many books on the worn shelves and it’s always a bit too chilly inside. Lately, though, her mum has been making a lot of nerve-calming tea as she does the accounting, and Property is beginning to worry about the future of the White Hart.

But everything changes when Albert H. Montgomery, the owner of the greatest bookshop in Britain, announces a drawing to find the Montgomery Book Emporium’s next owner . . . and the name he draws is the Joneses’! But there is more to the Emporium, and it’s peculiar former owner, than its thousands of books in extravagant and whimsical displays. Albert Montgomery is hiding something that could destroy everything. Property Jones has a whopper of a secret too–and it might just be the key to saving her family and their bookshop.” (from Goodreads)

This book was so enjoyable. Highly atmospheric, written in a very droll style, and so sweet the ending brought me to a few tears.

The Book Emporium was amazing! I loved the quirky way it was built and the description of each room was better than the last. *sighs happily*

Property (yes, that’s her name; yes, there is a good explanation; and don’t worry, she was very much her own person) was a great character whose power lay in observation. I loved the way she loved books, and, boy, was she clever! Her family–not the one who left her behind but her real family–was pretty sweet. I especially liked the surprising, caring heart deep inside Michael.

Okay, the way they foiled the nefarious plot was BRILLIANT and surprisingly funny. I was slightly uncomfortable with the moral ambiguity of “cheating the cheaters”, but it wasn’t a huge deal.

(I had a few very lovely quotes picked out to share, but the book was regrettably returned to the library, so I guess you’ll just have to read it. 😀 )

Altogether, this was certainly a gem. ❤

Book Review: Penguin Days

“Lauren and her family drive to a farm in North Dakota to visit relatives and celebrate her Auntie Joss’ wedding. But Lauren finds to her dismay that she is expected to do more than meet adults who hug her and invade her personal space. Lauren is going to be―horror of all horrors―a flower girl.

Lauren has Autism Spectrum Disorder, and she sees the world a little differently from other kids. What makes her comfortable are her routines and her coping mechanisms for her anxiety, which can get out of control in no time. So it is a challenge to deal with her rambunctious cousins, try on scratchy dresses, and follow impossible directions about going down aisles slowly-but-not-like-a-sloth and tossing pretend flowers around. Is it any surprise that Lauren flips her lid more than once?

But while having an extended family seems like a lot of trouble at first, she’s about to learn just how much they can care for one another.” (Add on Goodreads)

Apparently, I’m not good at keeping track of authors whose work I like because this book came to me as a total (welcome!) surprise. XD Slug Days was eye-opening and enjoyable, so I was delighted to find out there was a sequel.

It was very neat to see Lauren’s life as it continued on from the first book. She is quite enjoying the friend she made, is bonding with her baby sister <3, and is implementing things she has learned from her special education teacher. But, as always happens with life, a new situation came up, and I was rooting for her as she learned to navigate it and find things and people to love within it.

One of my favorite things about these books is that they are stories that could resonate with anyone–I’ve been nervous around relatives, shy to face a crowd, and hated a prescribed outfit–and the only thing that makes them different is Lauren’s unique outlook and challenges. The ending was quite satisfactory. 😉

Just a note, parental guidance is suggested to help young readers understand the main character’s tendency toward outbursts of anger. Also, because of the situation, this book was slightly more stressful than the first one.

Altogether, I loved this book, and I’d happily take another.

Picture Book Review: Pies from Nowhere

“Georgia Gilmore was a cook at the National Lunch Company in Montgomery, Alabama. When the bus boycotts broke out in Montgomery after Rosa Parks was arrested, Georgia knew just what to do. She organized a group of women who cooked and baked to fund-raise for gas and cars to help sustain the boycott. Called the Club from Nowhere, Georgia was the only person who knew who baked and bought the food, and she said the money came from “nowhere” to anyone who asked. When Martin Luther King Jr. was arrested for his role in the boycott, Georgia testified on his behalf, and her home became a meeting place for civil rights leaders. This picture book highlights a hidden figure of the civil rights movement who fueled the bus boycotts and demonstrated that one person can make a real change in her community and beyond.” (from Goodreads)

I just read this picture book at the library, and it brought tears to my eyes. THIS right here is how you change the world. I’m so glad to have discovered this historical figure. Great illustrations too. 😉

Superbooks and My Little Heroes

I leaned against the desk of the children’s library and asked my question. “Hi. I was wondering if you had any superhero picture books?”

Fingers poised over the keyboard of her computer, the librarian turned to ask, “What do you mean by picture books? Like an early reader or something else?”

I shrugged. “Basically anything you’d read aloud to a four-year-old. I brought home a book called The Three Little Superpigs, and he’s had it read to him six times now.” I grinned. “And I’d really like something new to read to him.”

And thus began our quest; two librarians and I searching through the shelves of Early Readers to find something the little boys might enjoy. They handed me a large stack of DC and Marvel books as well as a few about a mishap-prone ninja (close enough, right?), and I sat down to look through them.

The ninja books ended up coming home with me (along with two other interesting looking picture books), and I read them aloud to a stack of four funny little boys on our next visit.

They haven’t even seen any superhero movies yet, but they love superheroes so much, they’ve even been making up their own. XD

I love it that they’re learning at a young age to recognize that heroes are those who fight evil and help others, and already I know that by following our ultimate Hero, they’ll become heroes who love others and stand up for truth themselves.

And I’m grateful I get to be a part of their lives by being one of their nine aunties. ❤

Book Review: The Princess in Black and the Science Fair Scare

“It’s mayhem at the science fair! A squishy goo monster is a challenge for the Princess in Black — but luckily some science-loving princesses are on hand to help.

Princess Magnolia is excited. Excited and nervous. She’s going to the Interkingdom Science Fair today to present her poster about seeds and plants, and when she arrives, she sees that her friends are there too! Princess Honeysuckle made a mole habitat, Princess Sneezewort has built a blanket fort, and Tommy Wigtower has a talking volcano that’s saying “EAAAAT!” Wait, what? A surprise goo monster makes this a job for the Princess in Black, and the Princess in Blankets is on the scene to lend a hand. But will two masked heroes be enough to save the science fair?” (from Goodreads

My younger sisters and I always look forward to the books in this series, and this one was no exception. ❤ As always, this was a super cute read, and I absolutely love the illustration style. I could actually pore over the pictures of the science fair for a while if I weren’t the one reading aloud. 😉 Their projects were great (especially the blanket tower), and I liked how unique each princess was. 

Unfortunately, I absolutely could not keep their names straight because there were so many, so similar which was kinda sad. Also, heads-up for young readers, the monster in this one is a bit scarier, given his fiery look. 😉

Altogether, we enjoyed this book! I think it’s time to re-read them all soon. 😉

Book Review: The Princess in Black and the Science Fair Scare

princessinblack6“It’s mayhem at the science fair! A squishy goo monster is a challenge for the Princess in Black — but luckily some science-loving princesses are on hand to help.

Princess Magnolia is excited. Excited and nervous. She’s going to the Interkingdom Science Fair today to present her poster about seeds and plants, and when she arrives, she sees that her friends are there too! Princess Honeysuckle made a mole habitat, Princess Sneezewort has built a blanket fort, and Tommy Wigtower has a talking volcano that’s saying “EAAAAT!” Wait, what? A surprise goo monster makes this a job for the Princess in Black, and the Princess in Blankets is on the scene to lend a hand. But will two masked heroes be enough to save the science fair? A little scientific problem-solving — and a lot of princess power — will make the sixth entry in the New York Times best-selling series a smash hit.” (from Goodreads)

My younger sisters and I always look forward to the books in this series, and this one was no exception. ❤ As always, this was a super cute read, and I absolutely love the illustration style. I could actually pore of the pictures of the science fair for a while if I weren’t the one reading aloud. 😉 Their projects were great (especially the blanket tower), and I liked how unique each princess was.

Unfortunately, I absolutely could not keep their names straight because there were so many, so similar which was kinda sad. Also, heads-up for young readers, the monster in this one is a bit scarier, given his fiery look. 😉

Altogether, we enjoyed this book! I think it’s time to re-read them all soon. 😉

Top 5 Favorite Read-Alouds <3

FFF banner

Hello again, happy third day!!! It’s been so fun partying with you all. I look forward to this party every year, and I love getting to do it with blogging friends old and new. 😀

My family and I have a strong culture of reading. Stuffed bookshelves, huge library trips, and read-alouds galore. It’s been amazing to share stories with each other, discuss them in extreme detail, and fangirl like crazy. 😉 My mom is usually the one who reads aloud to the entire family, but my dad has shared some G.K. Chesterton novels with us older ones, and lately I’ve been doing some read-alouds with my youngest sister and my nephews. It’s really quite lovely. ❤

Today I’m gonna share with you some of my favorite books to read aloud… 😀

vanderbeekers

The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser was our most recent read-aloud and a huge hit with the entire family. It’s a sweet, clean read about a large, loving family, and it’s set at Christmas time to boot. We found many of their little quirks and sweet traditions to be adorable, and it was especially fun when they were similar to ours. 😉 The second book just came out, and we are quite looking forward to trying it!(Read my full review here.)

winniepooh.jpg

What is more classic than Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne?! ❤ I loved sharing this with my youngest sister and rediscovering the classic tales myself. It’s such a homey and “hummy” (to quote Pooh) book. And quite quotable too. XD No one is too old for the Hundred Acre Wood. (Read our full review here.)

madaboutmadeline.jpg

Mad About Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans is a charming collection of several of the classic tales. My youngest sister and I enjoyed the illustrations, and she even took a turn reading aloud in her best French accent. 😉 (Read my review here.)

audreybunny.jpg

This darling story, Audrey Bunny by Angie Smith, has a sweet, important Biblical theme and some of the world’s best illustrations. ❤ I’d say the deep concepts might be a little hard for very young ones to grasp, but they would still enjoy the pictures. A five-star book. 😉

librarymouse.jpg

Library Mouse by Daniel Kirk was a recent surprise! I was expecting a typical mouse-with-a-hidden-talent/identity book, and I certainly didn’t expect this inspiring story. 😉 My nephews loved poring over the detailed illustrations. (Read my review here.)

FFF - boatsI hope you find something new to share with a little one (or even your entire family!). Reading aloud can be a very special way to share a book, and you’ll have boatloads of fun discussing it! ❤

(I know, that was such a cheesy way to get “boat” in there, but seriously, all I can think of right now is The Lady of Shallot, so…) 😉

Visit our hostess’s blog to check out everyone’s recommendations from today and enter the fantabulous giveaway! 

What is your favorite book to read aloud (or have read to you)?