Monthly Archives: April 2015

Little Bear (An I Can Read Book)

Our family is split down the middle on this one.

Pros:
1. Cute, completely age-appropriate stories. Little Bear has quite the imagination on him (from going to the moon to making a birthday soup), and Mother Bear is very creative (and caring) in how she handles/teaches Little Bear.
2. As a child, I absolutely adored these stories.
3. A great level-1-ish reading book with great introductory-level vocabulary

Cons:
1. While I LOVED these stories growing up, none of these stories seem to hold my kids’ attention. I think more modern stories (similar reading level) just have a much, MUCH higher ratio of pictures to text. Here, while the pictures are cute, there’s a lot more story to get through.

I think that this will be a great book once my toddlers/kids are older, but there are other “I Can Read” books that hold my kids’ attention much better (from Digger the Dinosaur, which I’m less of a fan of, to Pete the Cat and Wild Kratts). I still love it, I just think that my kids are (perhaps unfortunately) used to more pictures per story :(

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Posted in Children's/Young Adult

Wild Kratts/ Wild Sea Creatures (Step into Reading, Level 2)

Average Level 2/Step into Reading Book…

Pros:
1. If your kid is already a fan of Wild Kratts, I think this is a good addition to your library
2. Simple enough sentences and age-appropriate content

Cons:
1. Illustrations make animals seem a bit like caricatures (the mean, angry shark, etc)
2. Not a lot of in-depth information on any of the animals, odd spread of facts that are conveyed

If you want books on whales and sharks, there are better options, if you want books that are good in terms of reading level, there are also better options. This is basically a book you buy if you a) like Wild Kratts, b) want something really basic/introductory that’s nominally about ocean animals and c) don’t mind that the drawings are very meh.

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Posted in Children's/Young Adult

Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior (Leonard Mlodinow)

4.5 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
Well-written, clearly planned and researched book on how our subconscious often has undue influence over what we believe are logically-driven, thought-through decisions. There’s a nice blend of information with anecdote which will be appealing to most readers. Strict scientists will probably occasionally be annoyed by the use of overarching summation instead of strict numbers and statistics, and non-scientists might sometimes wish for a little more to be grounded in friendly anecdotes. Overall, I found this to be a nice blend of science and well-written non-fiction.

Greater Detail:
Mlodinow starts by using a series of anecdotes and past experiments to help ground you in the history of what eventually becomes brain and cognitive science/neuroscience and lays the foundation for quite a bit of marketing madness that has happened over the past couple of decades. We go from some basic definitions (like what does subliminal actually mean) to how the “science” behind this field slowly grew from pseudo-science to a respected, hot-topic field.

A lot of the history shared was interesting, even if you have taken those intro psychology courses — he goes through everything from some of Freud’s less famous early starts to some better-known experiments in the field (everything from Coke vs. Pepsi to reward pathways in our brain and how we often trick ourselves).

I found a lot of the historical asides to be fascinating (especially as they relate to how the field gradually became established) though the beginning sections were more interesting than some of the middle chapters (which I felt meandered a bit).

A very quick, informative, thought-provoking read overall: enough to make you question the validity of this visceral instincts that sometimes guide us (that are perhaps just an unconscious but active processing of subliminal cues) and also make you wonder how much our senses and logic fool us…

Comparison to Other Books:
This is like a far more science-based version of a book like The Power of Habit, and a far less technical version of something like Thinking Fast, Thinking Slow. It’s a really nice blend of science and story-telling, and will definitely make you wonder about just how you’re making your day-to-day decisions.

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Posted in Nonfiction

Playing all the Angles (Nicole Lane, CLP Blog Tour)

 

Nicole Lane is a graduate of the Danielle Steel and Judith Krantz school of romance. The grander the drama, the higher the stakes, the better! This balances out the fact that her everyday life with her little family in North Texas is extremely mundane and quite contented.

She blogs intermittently atwww.nicolelaneromance.com.

We were fortunate enough to interview Nicole about her latest romance, Playing All the Angles, as part of CLP Blog Tour.

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Posted in book promotion

Huff and Puff (My First I Can Read book)

Great for 2.5-5-year-olds interested in learning how to read.

Pros:
1. Illustrations are cute
2. Will definitely appeal to your kid if they’re a train-lover
3. Text and story are simple and yet engaging enough to be age-appropriate and encourage your child to start to read along with you

Cons:
1. By its nature, the closeness of the “Huff” and “Puff” names will have you (and sometimes your kid) messing up the roles sometimes

In terms of books that are this level, and are meant to encourage your young one to read, this is the one we’ve had the best luck with. While “Digger the Dinosaur” is cuter in terms of illustrations, this is the story my toddler actually tries to repeat and learn words for… Also, though I (as a parent) like some of the “Biscuit the Dog” books, it’s not something my kids have engaged with.

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Posted in Children's/Young Adult

Digger the Dinosaur (My First I Can Read)

Great for 2.5-5 year olds
This is a very average “My First I Can Read” book.

Pros:
1. Illustrations are really cute — both of my toddlers are big fans of the cute “Digger” and “Stego” dinosaurs
2. The storyline (clean your room before you can play) is easy to follow and easy for even toddlers and pre-k/kindergarten kids to relate to.
3. The CAPITALIZED words that Digger keeps confusing are good for kids trying to learn to read

Cons:
1. The story just isn’t as well-written as some of the other “My First I Can Read” books
2. For whatever reason, though my kids like the pictures, they don’t really try to read along as much as with other books in this serious (which I count as a serious pitfall… considering the point of these books) — my guess is that there’s just so much dialog that the kids are too busy following the dialog to try to read along?? Though I’m not sure…

Overall, it’s an average entry for this reading level/series. We’re happy we have it, but it’s not the best in terms of encouraging our kids to read more…

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Posted in Children's/Young Adult

Callaway Family Novels Book Tour

Check out this excerpt from #1 NY Times Bestselling Author Barbara Freethy’s first book in the Callaway family series…Excerpt is courtesy of Novel Publicity Tours.

Her father stared back at her, his eyes dark and unreadable. “Why are you here, Sara?”

“I wanted to be here for your birthday. It’s been a long time since we’ve shared more than an email. We should talk, catch up with each other.”

“Why on earth would you want to talk to me?”

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Posted in book promotion

Callaway Family Novels — Barbara Freethy, Nolve

#1 NY Times Bestselling Author Barbara Freethy talks inspiration, romance, and research, plus tells us about how the Callaways’ lives resemble her own… Below is an interview with the author, courtesy of Novel Publicity Book Tours.

 What do you love most about being an author?

Being able to tell stories! I’ve been a voracious reader since I was a child, and having a job that allows me to create my own worlds, characters and plots is a dream come true.

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Posted in book promotion