Category: book review

Nature’s Light Spectacular Book Review

Lightning, rainbows, auroras! Discover Earth’s most amazing natural phenomena in this adventure around the globe, including a glow-in-the-dark poster. 

About Nature’s Light Spectacular

Follow two intrepid explorers as they witness the Northern Lights, marvel in wonder at glow worm caves, go hunting for double rainbows, and dodge volcanic lightning. A perfect book for young explorers. Turn off the light to see a tear-out poster, featuring the stages of a solar eclipse.

Each spread features an enchanting illustration of a different natural phenomenon, animated by a description of the science behind it, told in exciting prose.

You will explore:

  • volcanic lightning
  • meteor showers
  • double rainbows
  • sun dogs
  • glowworm caves
  • super blood moon
  • light pillars
  • auroras

Our Thoughts

I love books that engage children on educational topics and encourage further learning. This book is perfect for young children who love science and are eager learners (not to mention for parents – I learned so many new things!). We have been trying to come with complementary educational activities for our kids during COVID-19 since we have been home, and this book was perfect for helping me as a parent come up with new topics to cover that my son will actually enjoy learning about.

In this book, we learn about twelve natural phenomena that happen around us. Some of the events you may have already heard of (solar eclipses, meteor showers) but some may be new like volcanic lightning, firefall and light pillars. Each topic has two pages dedicated to it with the illustrations spanning both pages. We learn about what happens during the event, the science behind the event, where they can be viewed, cool facts and even some historical beliefs (and since I love history – this was pretty neat to learn how cultures interpreted these events). While some of the events you may be familiar with, you may learn some new facts about them. Did you know that light pillars, while they look beautiful, are actually a sign of light pollution? Or that the Vikings thought that the auroras were caused by the shining weapons of immortal warriors? Neat, right?!

The book is stunning – with beautiful illustrations, fantastic facts and even includes a glow in the dark poster that you can remove that shows a solar eclipse. This is a great learning resource for parents to use to get their children interested and wanting to learn more about these topics (perhaps create your research project for your child – they can do a Power Point presentation on one of these events).

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

About the Author

Katy Flint is an author, editor, and musician, based in London. She studied violin at the University of Southampton, before moving into children’s books. She is the author of the best-selling sound book The Story Orchestra: The Nutcracker, and has worked on many other non-fiction titles—from human bodies to dinosaurs. 

About the Illustrator

Cornelia Li is a Chinese born illustrator currently based in Toronto, Canada. Her clients include: New York Times, Chicago Readers, PBS Newshour, Reader’s Digest Canada. 

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Three Paws’ New Family Book Review

The adventures of Boots, the grizzly bear cub, continues as he befriends a black bear named Sockeye and her Mexican brother, Pepe, the iguana.

About Three Paws’ New Family

Sockeye has lost her mother and is not old enough to live on her own. Her prayers are answered when she meets little Pepe. He escaped his human family’s home in Ketchikan to explore the beautiful Alaskan wilderness but lost his way back home. A lonely bear cub and a lost iguana become a “family” relying on each other for companionship, friendship, and survival skills.

What does a bond of friendship and family have in common? You always know who will be there for you when you need them most.

When Boots, the three-pawed bear cub, comes face-to-face with the open jaws of a hungry lion, he is left to wonder who will help him.

If he survives this attack, how will he defend himself in the future with only three paws? The answer may be waiting for him high above in the mighty Sitka spruce, the official state tree of Alaska.

Our Thoughts

In book two of this beautiful series, we revisit Alaska and Boots’ family. Boots is an unique grizzly bear cub – he had injured one of his paws and was now known as the three-pawed cub. Boots never lets this injury stop him from being just like other cubs, he is resilient and brave – always believing in himself and his own strength.

In this story, his sister hurts herself and Boots sets off to find pine needles to help heal her injury. He sets off and soon encounters danger! To the rescue is an unlikely pair, a bear and iguana. Both of these animals have had their own difficult pasts but have adopted each other as family and take care of eachother.

The trio find more than just friendship in each other, they find a new family and home through their brave adventures. They not only save the day but they find hope and happiness. This is a beautiful story from start to finish, with incredible characters. The characters are full of adventure, strength, compassion and a great example for young children. The book has important lessons for children told in a way that they can understand. The illustrations are lovely and soft, which suits the tone of the book. A lovely story from start to finish.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

About the Author

Karen Struck discovered the joy of children’s literature as she read to her daughter before bed each night. She decided to take writing courses through the Institute of Children’s Literature after being inspired by the Harry Potter book series.

It was after an Alaskan cruise with her family that she had the idea to create a hopeful story about the majestic wildlife she’d seen there. So, for one of her writing assignments at the ICL, she did, and Three Paws was born!

She wrote the Three Paws children’s book series to inspire children to be brave and believe in themselves despite challenges they may face.

Outside of being a children’s book author, Karen is a registered nurse and works in the aesthetic industry. She works with her husband, Steve, a plastic surgeon in Atherton, CA and they live in Los Gatos, California. She has a daughter, Rachel, and two stepchildren, Danni and Evan Struck.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Yoga at the Zoo Book Review

Yoga at the Zoo gently imparts important lessons about friendship, dealing with new situations, and meeting new people.

About Yoga at the Zoo

Little Mouse is here to help kids use yoga to solve problems and manage emotions in Yoga at the Zoo, the first book in the Little Mouse Adventures series from international bestselling author and Kids’ Yoga Day creator, Teresa Power.

Little Mouse and his family live in a cozy burrow nestled in young Tammy McDoodle’s backyard.

Tammy and her mother love to practice yoga together, and Little Mouse loves to follow along!

In this beautifully illustrated picture book, adorable Little Mouse and the wise and lovable lazy cat, Mr. Opus, follow Tammy on a field trip to the zoo and meet new animal friends, while learning simple yet meaningful yoga poses along the way.

Our Thoughts

This beautiful story features two very unlikely friends – Little Mouse (a young, sweet mouse) and Mr. Opus (a wise and friendly cat). The two make the most unlikely pair but are the greatest of friends. This is such an important message for children – that we are not what society defines us. The best friendships develop when and where we least expect it to. In this book, they go on quite the adventure together – to a zoo!

On a typical day, in the morning Little Mouse goes to school but the afternoons are spent with Mr. Opus. He learns the power of yoga not only from young Tammy but also all the animals at the zoo when they go on their adventure with her. He learns how to calm his mind through his favourite pose (child’s pose), which is so important for children. Our youngest has been learning yoga and meditation at school, which we feel is so important for him. Children, like adults, have strong emotions but sometimes don’t have the tools they need to deal with them and learn how to quiet the stress of their minds (to be honest there are some adults who struggle with this skill too!). Yoga gives them these skills and we see this in this book when Little Mouse encounters an initially perceived scary and stressful situation. As he uses child’s pose, he is able to calm his mind and look at the situation differently. And the stressful situation that was perceived? Not so scary and stressful once we learned both sides.

This is a beautifully written and illustrated book for children that we enjoyed reading together. It was easy to read together, with characters that you couldn’t help but love. Little Mouse is just a lovely and curious character with a good heart – such a positive example for children as they begin to explore their world. This is a wonderful addition to your home library.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

About the Author

Teresa Power’s books have sold over 250,000 copies worldwide. In her roles as award-winning author, renowned yoga expert, and keynote speaker, her mission is to share strategies and tips to help children, parents and educators enrich their lives and manage stress. Teresa has been featured by Good Morning America, ParentingReader’s Digest, Fox11 LA, Telemundo, and more. She is also the founder of International Kids Yoga Day, which is celebrated globally on the first Friday in April, annually.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Self-Sufficiency for the 21st Century Book Review

Looking for a way to reduce your environmental impact? Find your route to a more sustainable lifestyle with Dick Strawbridge and his son James.

About Self-Sufficiency for the 21st Century

We can all take steps to reduce our carbon footprint and be more self-sufficient. For some, that might mean heading to the countryside to live off the land. For the rest of us, the reality might involve smaller, but no less important, lifestyle changes: cutting back on plastic or food waste, growing vegetables, preserving meat and fish, preparing jams and chutneys, baking sourdough bread, making your own plant-based milks, or keeping a chicken or two.

Dick and James Strawbridge know what it’s like to make these changes. Between them, they’ve lived on a smallholding, in a terraced house, and even a chateau. In this updated book, they share everything they’ve learned and give you the tools you need for a more rewarding and environmentally-conscious life. Whether you want to completely revamp your lifestyle or just make everyday changes that will make an impact, Self-Sufficiency for the 21st Century is the perfect place to start.

My Thoughts

I have found that the last two months have taught me a lot – one of those things has been my reliance on others (especially when you go to get common grocery items and can no longer find them in the store!). I have wanted to become more self-sufficient for the last few years but the events of the last few weeks really brought home the importance of being self-sufficient.

My favourite part of this book is that it is for all comfort levels – from those of us like me just starting to explore self-sufficiency to those who have been following this lifestyle for a while but looking to expand on their current practices. They cover many aspects of a self-sufficient lifestyle – from in the home to in the yard (which includes gardens and animals). Each section contains many ideas in each chapter, some that you can implement right away and some that may take a bit of work.

We started to tackle some of the easier ideas in the book, such as choosing low energy light bulbs, reviewing our current electricity costs (and where we are wasting hydro like when we leave computers on standby) and checking all of our windows and doors. My husband loved the section on setting up a workshop – it gave him great ideas on how he can rework the space we have already set aside for him in the garage. Our goal this summer? Create an earth oven! I can just imagine how delicious pizza would be made in one of these ovens.

We don’t have a lot of outdoor space but what we do have we have converted to raised vegetable beds. In the past I have only grown tomatoes but this year, we started from seeds the following vegetables: cucumbers, squash, spinach, green onions, peppers, tomatoes and strawberries. They have just been put in the raised beds (that we made ourselves from wood we already had) and I am so excited to watch them grow. Our youngest has taken to helping me water and ensure the area is kept weed free.

This is an excellent resource for all levels of self-sufficiency – whether you are just starting on this journey or are a seasoned veteran of this lifestyle. There are many tools and ideas that you can implement and change right away, and many more that you can use to plan out over a period of time. There is something for all comfort levels – a win-win for all.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon and Chapters Indigo.

About the Author

Dick Strawbridge, a retired lieutenant colonel and former army engineer, has always been fascinated by how things work. His desire to lead a greener life led him to put his practical and leadership skills to use in converting New House Farm in Cornwall into an ecologically friendly, but completely modern, place to live. The family’s journey to a sustainable, self-sufficient lifestyle was documented in the BBC series It’s Not Easy Being Green, which ran for three seasons. Dick cowrote the previous edition with his son, and is also the author of It’s Not Easy Being Green (BBC Books, 2009). His most recent TV project is the BBC series Escape to the Chateau (March 2018), now in its fifth season, which has been renewed for another season in 2019.

James Strawbridge, Dick’s son, has inherited his father’s enthusiasm for inventing and DIY, and cohosted It’s Not Easy Being Green. After cowriting the previous edition of Self-Sufficiency for the 21st Century and It’s Not Easy Being Green, James and his father hosted other popular series, including The Hungry Sailors (ITV 2012, 2013) and Saturday Farm (ITV 2013). James has also cowritten a series of books on artisan crafts, preserving food, and traditional skills: Made at Home (Octopus, 2012). He currently lives in Cornwall.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Whole-Ass: Stop Living a Half-Assed Life and Enjoy an Extraordinary Existence

Do you have that nagging feeling that there is more to life, but you just don’t know how to access it?

About Whole-Ass

Most people crave a life of plenitude and peace, but they are living way too half-assed to ever actually experience it.

Being Whole-Ass is giving absolutely everything you’ve got, while going beyond all perceived limitations, defenses, fears, hesitations or doubts.

Discovery, growth, accomplishment, joy, connection, and feeling life coursing through your veins are all habits that you can develop and this book will show you how.

Being Whole-Ass is the way to be, not only to empower your life into extraordinariness, but it is how we all need to be for humanity to make this world the place we know it can be.

My Thoughts

Sometimes we need a reminder that we are just getting by in life, we are not really living but instead just going through the motions. We need a kick in the arse to wake us up, refocus on our passions and start to live again.

I love the way the book is written, it is a guide but it is also a personal conversation with Maharani (so grab your favourite cup of tea or coffee, curl up in your favourite spot and get reading!). I never felt that I was being judged and in many parts of the book I recognized myself in Maharani. She spoke about her past openly and honestly – regardless of what people may think of her actions. You will likely find yourself as she explains her teen and early adult years, the uncertainty, experimenting, relationships and so much more. She writes with honesty and humour, which was a great balance to the seriousness of the topic. It encourages you to be open and honest with yourself because there is no judgement, allowing you to be open to recognizing our faults, actions that are preventing us from living fully and how we can change this.

We started off by identifying our ‘ass-type’ and I found the two that fit me perfectly. I am a bit of a perfectionist (okay a lot) and I tend to take on more than I can handle at times (I always find it hard to say no, despite not wanting to add anything more to my plate) and find it so hard to balance it all. I also noticed some of the other listed traits in others around me, incredible how at the end of the day we are all so similar. We then jump in and learn how to identify our passions and what makes us happy at a high level before diving in to how to go after this whole-ass.

I enjoyed every moment of this bold, humourous, honest book that really helps to give you the kick in the butt you need to get moving in a positive direction, to live your life fully and to give yourself fully to what makes you happy. This is so important in times like this, when we can feel like giving up or not having enough to give, to refocus on what is the most important to us and how to give ourselves fully to this. You will learn a lot about yourself and give yourself tools to move forward living fully in the moment.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

Rating: 4.5/5

About the Author

Maharani is a monk and international meditation teacher. She is a passionate explorer of human nature and our relationship with each other and the world. She is a true lover of life and tacos (not necessarily in that order).

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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