Category: childrens books

Grinza’s Orchard: An Enchanted Tale

Grinza’s Orchard is the story of a Gypsy girl growing up in the early 1900’s in Romania.

About Grinza’s Orchard: An Enchanted Tale

At five years old she is gifted her own cherry tree and it becomes the centerpiece of the story as she grows up dreaming of one day having her own full-blown cherry orchard. To deal with some of the problems that she faces such as an unwanted boy who is attracted to her, a terribly hard decision she has to make to save her parents from illness during the coldest winter on record in their village, achieving her life’s dream of having her own cherry orchard and then suddenly losing it, she seeks help with visits to the witch Auntie Angelina and the Guru Sylvanus, who lives in a cave atop a nearby mountain. The story follows Grinza, her husband Clopin, and their children’s lives in the small gypsy village of Cojasca.

Our Thoughts

Grinza’s Orchard follows the story of Grinza – a lovely, gifted young woman with the kindest of hearts. Grinza belongs to a Romanian gypsy family – we learn about their culture and a little bit about their past. I found this quite interesting as I had no idea how poorly they were treated, including the fact that many were slaves until the mid 1800s.

Grinza loves her family and would do anything for them, and this love and compassion is recognized by the elders (and magical) of her community. She is blessed with a cherry tree and this tree becomes a very special part of her life as she builds her life around it. As she becomes a young woman, she looks to build her life with a husband – and when she finds the man that makes her happy almost every one is happy for her. Except for another young man with a cruel heart who wanted Grinza for himself. When she turns him down, this marks the start of many trials for Grinza and Clopin (and their children in the future) as he does anything that he can to hurt Grinza. Despite this, Grinza faces each obstacle with faith and kindness.

This was a beautiful, short story for young adults and readers. It had an easy pace to the story, which may make it easier for younger readers to follow along with. I really enjoyed the splashes of culture and beliefs we were exposed to during the story (during the wedding ceremony, the passing down of readings between women, etc..) as I find that they encourage me to do additional research to learn more. Grinza is a beautiful soul whom you just can’t help but love and root for throughout the story. It was a heart warming story from start to finish, providing fantastic lessons around friendship, family and life in an age appropriate manner for young adults.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

Rating: 4/5

About the Author

Leonard Eckhaus is the founder of AFCOM, the leading association in the world for data center managers.His comments and opinions have appeared in such publications as The New York Times, U.S. News & World Report, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal.Mr. Eckhaus is also one of the founders of LL MUSIC LLC. The first album he produced, “Rendezvous”, received two Grammy nominations in 2018.

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

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Goal!

A feast of soccer facts, plus everything you need to know about action on the field and behind the scenes at the stadium.

About Goal!

This book is a visual guide to the world’s most popular game, From the rules of the game to the top tournaments – the information leaps right off the page! Learn about historic ball games and the birth of soccer. Study up on the laws of the game and the new technology that referees use to make vital decisions. See what it takes to run a club and keep the players in tip-top shape. There’s a chapter, too, on all the international trophies and tournaments, including the FIFA Women’s World Cup, Copa América, and the Olympic Games. This new edition includes updates to soccer’s roll of honor to include the latest tournament winners.

Packed with vital tips and tricks, as well as astounding facts and mind-boggling stats, GOAL! is a winner!

Our Thoughts

“For the game. For the world.” – Quote from Goal! (Quote from FIFA’s motto).

Soccer, for us, has been our second world – it brings together our family around the world, we have made amazing friends, learned new skills, shed some tears but have grown as individuals and teams. Due to COVID, all soccer practices and games for our boys were cancelled the week of March break and they have not yet been back on the pitch with their team in the last five months. We went from six to seven days a week on the pitch to none. Needless to say it was quite a shock to the system! We miss soccer – we miss the team building, the drills and just the fun of being with our friends. The boys train on their own but as many of you that may have participated on a soccer team, it just quite isn’t the same.

Goal! is a soccer fan’s best friend – we learn about the history of this beautiful game, the rules, individual skills, how this comes together as a team, the club side and all of the amazing tournaments (that we have been sadly missing and have loved watched the slow re-introduction on t.v.).

We loved learning how this game evolved and quickly spread around the world after the Football Association was established in England in 1863. We knew about the UEFA, FIFA and CONCACAF leagues but it was really neat to learn about some new leagues to us like the CONMEBOL, CAF, OFC and AFC. We also learned about the struggles and achievements of the Women’s league as it became its own league (I had no idea that the Football Association had a ban on women’s soccer until 1971 and that it was not until 1996 that women’s soccer was included in the program of events at the Olympics for the first time). Women have truly fought hard for this sport that they love and they deserve to be centre stage along with their male counterparts.

We loved how each section of the book not only explained the significance and the how to’s but also the historical components and even a really interesting fact (like a penalty shoot-out in the 2005 Namibian Cup finished 17-16, I can’t even begin to imagine that stress!). Large and small photographs and illustrations help bring the passion, love and pain that this beautiful game brings. While it made us miss participating in the game, it brought the game inside to us as we re-lived a few of our favourite matches that the kids played in or ones that we have watched on t.v.

Goal! will make an excellent gift to the young, aspiring soccer player in your life as they navigate this new normal on the field and their role in the global soccer community.

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

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

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Animal Antics Book Review

We all love animals – the silly, funny and crazy ways they behave, eat, and play!

About Animal Antics

Kids love animals – they love the silly, funny and crazy ways they behave, eat, and play. Animal Antics is full of fascinating facts that takes a look at the engaging, informative, humorous and intriguing aspects of animal behavior including why blue-footed boobies like to dance, why a goose whiffles, or why penguins like to steal food.Using a selection of funny animal pictures from swinging pandas to ninja lizards to weightlifting ants and back-scratching monkeys to frolicking frogs and giraffes doing splits, the reasons behind what these animals do are explained in accompanying, bite-sized informative text that helps young readers understand why animals behave the way they do.

With a collection of photography guaranteed to make children laugh out loud, kids will go wild for Animal Antics.

Our Thoughts

We love animals in our home – our two dogs leave us laughing, hearts warm with the love they give and keep us on our toes. We couldn’t wait to dive into this hard cover book after reading the book description to learn about the funny side of animals.

This beautiful letter size, hard cover book features one to two animals for every two page spread. The photographs of each animal are stunning and wonderfully capture their humour and personalities (my favourite images were of the elephant seal, red eyed tree frog, brown bear and jaguar). Each animal also has roughly a paragraph to two dedicated to them. The paragraph explains their quirks and what makes them so unique. We loved learning about the animals – we learned so many new facts. Who knew that a guinea pig’s front teeth never stop growing or that polar bears use snow to dry off after they have been in the water! Neat right?

Animal Antics would make a perfect gift for the animal fan in your life – the one that loves learning fun, new facts that will make them laugh and encourage them to discover more. The amazing photographs help bring to life the funny personality of each animal, they are stunning and just adorable (you just want to pick those animals up and cuddle them!). We loved Animal Antics and couldn’t wait to share all we learned with family.

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

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

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Mindfulness at the Park Book Review

Lovable Little Mouse is here to help kids use yoga and mindfulness to solve problems and manage emotions in “Mindfulness at the Park,” the second book in the acclaimed Little Mouse Adventures series from international bestselling author and Kids’ Yoga Day creator, Teresa Power.

About Mindfulness at the Park

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 and mindfulness 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’s family on an adventure to a bustling neighborhood park filled with new sights, sounds and people, while practicing yoga and mindfulness techniques along the way.

Our Thoughts

Mindfulness is an incredibly important tool for all individuals – where we purposefully quiet our mind and bring calm and focus to the current moment. It helps us to refocus and calm our minds and emotions in the present moment, regardless of what may be happening around us. This skill is so important, they are even teaching it in my son’s school and I have participated in workshops through work.

Little Mouse returns in book two of this adorable series. In this book, Little Mouse is introduced to mindfulness through Tammy and her Mother. Little Mouse goes to the park with Tammy and her family where there is a lot of excitement and new people. The family practices mindfulness and I love the way Teresa coaches us, the readers, through the practice as part of the story. My favourite line was, “Sometimes we have too many thoughts in our heads…focusing on our breath helps to calm those thoughts and enjoy the world around us”. This is so important for young minds to understand, they are full of emotions and can react negatively in stressful situations, it is important for them to know how to calm their mind, focus on the present so that they can be happy and present in any situations. This is such an important life skill that we as parents can give our children.

This is a beautiful children’s book that is fun to read together but also to practice mindfulness together as a family. It gives you great starting tools to begin your own practice as a family and to understand the importance of mindfulness. Combine this with adorable characters and illustrations – this book is a win win!

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

About the Author

Teresa Power’s books have sold over 270,000copies worldwide. In her roles as award-winning author, renowned yogaexpert, and keynote speaker, her mission is to share strategies and tips to help children, parents and educators enrich their lives and managestress. 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 annually on the first Friday in April.

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

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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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