Mary Englebreit’s Nutcracker is a Sweet Delight to Read

 The Nutcracker is one of the world’s favorite holiday stories, and Mary Engelbreit offers her vision of that joyful night, creating a picture book filled with movement and vibrant detail that even the youngest child will enjoy.–From the Back Cover
In Mary Engelbreit’s Nutcracker, Marie, the NutcraNutcrackercker Prince, and the Sugar Plum Fairy will enchant readers in this freshly imagined holiday classic by New York Times bestseller Mary Engelbreit, now in paper-over-board format for the first time. On Christmas Eve, Marie receives a wooden nutcracker from her beloved uncle. Then something magical happens . . . her toy nutcracker transforms into a handsome prince and whisks Marie off to the fantastical Toyland on a winter adventure she’ll never forget. Mary Engelbreit’s delightful interpretation of the timeless Christmas story makes this Nutcracker truly beautiful to behold
YPP Reviewer Quinn writes:
Mary Engelbreit’s Nutcracker is a keeper.  Mary’s Nutcracker is filled with her well-known and  beautifully drawn, detailed pictures.   I love the details Mary puts into her pictures, from the beautiful patterns on the clothing, furniture, and wallpaper, to the variety of things to be seen in each picture.   The best part of her pictures is that no one pattern or piece of the picture overwhelms the others; which makes it a pleasure to stop and examine each picture.  Each picture tells a story by itself, while also contributing to the overall story.   I enjoyed the flow of the story in this book as well with just the right amount told on each page.  Mary tells the story in a way that children will understand and appreciate.  I believe this story will appeal not only to children, but to people of all ages.

Make a Date to Read: When Otis Courted Mama

“This excellent take on modern, blended families melds a believable, resonant story arc and winsome, child-appealing illustrations.”—Kirkus, starred review
    OtisIn When Otis Courted Mama, apart from sticker burrs and sand fleas, Cardell’s life is mostly wonderful. He knows he’s loved through and through by his perfectly good mama and his perfectly good daddy. They live in different parts of the desert, but that’s okay—Cardell is mostly used to it.
Then Otis comes calling, and Cardell feels a grrr form in his throat. Otis can’t make jalapeño flapjacks or play Zig-the-Zag anything like Cardell’s daddy. And so Cardell waits for Mama to say “Adiós, Otis.” But what will happen if she doesn’t?
When Otis Courted Mama  is a fun little story about a little cayote who feels threatened when Otis comes courting his mama….and Mama isn’t saying”Adiós, Otis”. In this bright and lovely book, children can learn along with Cardell  that new people in our lives can be a good thing.  — Quinn, YPP Reviewer
Kathi Appelt is the author of many books for children and young adults, including When Otis Courted Mama, illustrated by Jill McElmurry; Oh My Baby, Little One, illustrated by Jane Dyer; and the story collection Kissing Tennessee. Her novel The Underneath was a Newbery Honor book and a National Book Award finalist. She lives in Texas.

Positive: One Girl’s Triumph Over HIV and Bullying

”This realistic and honest biography of a young woman living with HIV will draw readers in, shedding light on this difficult topic . . . Through short chapters, teens will get a sense of the girl’s life, including her happy childhood, the strong bond between her and hePositiver mother, and the difficulties she faced, as well as gain accessible information on HIV/AIDS.” –Library Journal

In Positive A Memoir by Paige Rawl  an astonishing memoir for the untold number of children whose lives have been touched by bullying. Positive is a must-read for teens, their parents, educators, and administrators—a brave, visceral work that will save lives and resonate deeply.

Paige Rawl has been HIV positive since birth, but growing up, she never felt like her illness defined her. On an unremarkable day in middle school, she disclosed to a friend her HIV-positive status—and within hours the bullying began. From that moment forward, every day was like walking through a minefield. Paige was never sure when or from where the next text, taunt, or hateful message would come. Then one night, desperate for escape, fifteen-year-old Paige found herself in her bathroom staring at a bottle of sleeping pills.

That could have been the end of her story. Instead, it was only the beginning. Paige’s memoir calls for readers to choose action over complacency, compassion over cruelty—and above all, to be Positive.

Includes twenty-five photos from Paige’s personal collection throughout.

Supports the Common Core State Standards


YPP reviewer Quinn wrote:

Positive is a well-written account of the painful experiences of a young girl who is bullied because she was born HIV positive.  It is saddening to discover the amount of ignorance and prejudice that still exists today.  The people who should have educated themselves and acted to support Paige and influence her fellow students, did nothing and as a result the bullying that was allowed to persist in her school was heart-breaking and cruel.  Positive is a thought-provoking and compelling tale  truly worthwhile reading.

Jump into fun with Sky Jumpers The Forbidden Flats

The town of White Rock has always lived in fear of the deadly gas known as “Bomb’s Breath,” but now it’s up to Hope to find the one thing that may stop the danger for good. SLJ said of the first book, “[readers] not ready for the violence of ‘The Hunger Games’ will enjoy the book’s adrenaline-rushed daredevil adventures.” – School Library Journal   Sky Jumpers
Escape one danger. Jump into another. . . . In Sky Jumpers The Forbidden Flats (book 2)  by Peggy Eddleman, twelve-year-old Hope has always felt a little different from everyone else who lives in White Rock. She tries hard, but she doesn’t always think before she acts. She takes big risks. Sometimes her risks pay off, but sometimes they fail. Sometimes she fails. Hope knows that the most dangerous thing about living in White Rock is that it’s so close to the deadly Bomb’s Breath—the invisible, fifteen-foot-thick band of compressed air that’s hovered over the earth since the Green Bombs of World War III.
The citizens of White Rock live in fear of the Bomb’s Breath. Only Hope has figured out a way to go through it—and lived to tell the tale.But when a massive tremor rips across the earth, the Bomb’s Breath begins to lower over White Rock. It’s up to Hope and her friends Brock and Aaren to make the dangerous journey far from home, across the bandit-ridden Forbidden Flats to the wilds of the Rocky Mountains, and obtain the one thing that may be able to stop it—before the Bomb’s Breath sinks too far and destroys them all. This time, Hope can’t fail.
YPP reviewer Quinn wrote:
In this second book by Peggy Eddleman, the main character, Hope, finds her community once again in danger and sets out with others to find the solution in saving them.  I enjoyed the journey with the characters in the world woven for them by the author.  My daughter and I recommend checking out the Sky Jumper books if you are looking for a good story.

OLIVIA and the Ice Show: A Lift-the-Flap Story (Olivia TV Tie-in)

 cvr9781442420830_9781442420830_lgJoin Olivia as she practices for an ice skating spectacular in this charming storybook with flaps.

Cinderella on Ice is coming to Olivia’s town, and she can’t wait to be the lucky girl chosen to skate side by side with the star of the show, Sonya Spencer. But first, Olivia needs to practice. Lift-the-flaps of OLIVIA and the Ice Show: A Lift-the-Flap Story (Olivia TV Tie-in) to see Olivia transform into a show skater!

The Olivia book series was inspired by Ian Falconer’s niece, Olivia. “I was just entranced by her,” he stated. “I wanted to make a little present for her, so I started working on the Olivia book.” Although the inspiration for the Olivia series originally came from the author’s niece, Falconer drew his ideas for the design of the pig from a different Olivia; Olivia Babcock. When first asked about the source of this illustratory inspiration at the “Kidz book buzz”

Children’s Book Tour in Wisconsin, Falconer was quoted as saying: “As all artists, I find it easier to create illustrations when I base them on my surrounding reality, rather than to draw something pulled fully out of the imagination. I revised the design for Olivia the Pig for several weeks until I incidentally met a girl on whom I could base the design with minimal alterations even necessary. The fact that her name was also Olivia was purely coincidental” Falconer laughed.

The series is different from many children’s picture books because of its stark minimalism. Inspired by the style of Dr. Seuss, Falconer chose to draw uncluttered images in black and white with the occasional splash of red, along with the insertion of real artwork by famous artists-Degas and Pollock, for example. Each book in the series explores the use of another signature color in addition to the original black, white and red images.

Tina Gall is an award-winning author who has worked in children’s publishing for twenty years. She has written more than sixty children’s books and currently resides in Throggs Neck, New York.

Uncle Si the Christmas Elf Work Hard, Nap Hard

Duck the halls! This boouncle-si-the-christmas-elf-9781481418218_lgk and doll set starring Uncle Si of Duck Dynasty® captures the true message of Christmas and makes for a perfect present—to either give or receive!

In Uncle Si the Christmas Elf Work Hard, Nap Hard, Uncle Si plays the part of an elf in order to help Santa Claus to save one little boy’s Christmas. This humorous, heartwarming picture book is told in verse that’s true to Uncle Si’s unique way of spinning a tale. And kids will love displaying their doll of Uncle Si, the Christmas elf—who is dressed in his own special elf costume!

Si Robertson, one of the stars of A&E®’s Duck Dynasty®, has worked and hunted for Duck Commander since retiring from the United States Army in 1993. When he’s not napping, Si spends his time overseeing the quality of the reeds that are made for the Duck Commander calls and working with his brother Phil to prepare for the next duck season. Si lives in West Monroe, Louisiana, with his wife, Christine.
Just got our Si Elf and looking foward to making this a fun part of our family Christmas tradition. Thank you Si for making this book and thank you for taking the stand to share the true reason for the season! We love it!
As soon as I saw this I knew I had to have it. My granddaughter loves her Elf On The Shelf and we have such fun with it from Thanksgiving until after Christmas that I know I will be able to create all kind of Elf magic using the Uncle Si Elf along with her beloved Sweetie Pie!Imagination is a wonderful thing.
This is hysterical. We are an avid “Elf on the Shelf” House so Uncle Si was a natural. I took the book with me the afternoon it came, so I could read it while waiting for the dentist. My dentist had to order his set right then and there. Well worth it.

“Christmas doesn’t come from a store, maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more.”

–Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

A Creature of Moonlight is fairy-tale fantasy at its best

“This book’s greatest strength lies in the vivid woodland scenes and the rich detail that describes the mystical pieces of Marni’s tale.” —School Library Journal

creatureAs the only heir to the throne, Marni should have been surrounded by wealth and privilege, not living in exile—but now the time has come when she must choose between claiming her birthright as princess of a realm whose king wants her dead, and life with the father she has never known: a wild dragon who is sending his magical woods to capture her.

Fans of Bitterblue and Seraphina will be captured by a Creature of Moonlight, with its richly layered storytelling and the powerful choices its strong heroine must make.

Our new reviewer Quinn adds:

The main character Marni is someone I felt I could relate to.  Her sense of self and determination to make her own decisions reminds me of myself when I was younger.  I loved the beautiful way the author takes you on a journey with her main character as Marni tries to make sense of her world, make the best choices for her and the future. There is magic in this story.

“Marni is the sole heir to a kingdom surrounded by a dangerous wood ruled by a powerful dragon and full of fantastic creatures, alluring magic, and trees whose seductive song lures young girls to abandon village life and run away to the forest,” says Sarah Hunter  of Booklist.

But instead of taking her rightful place on the throne, Marni is doomed to live in exile: her father is the dragon, and her mother was murdered for her transgression. When Marni’s grandfather—her sole protector—dies, and she’s sent to the court of her uncle, the king, she gets a taste of what a purely human life would be like. She can’t resist the call of the forest though, and soon, despite diligently planning to avenge her mother’s death, she seeks out her father in the woods. Told in a languorous, breathy first-person narrative, Hahn’s debut novel follows tenacious Marni as she tries to find a home between two vastly different worlds. Patient fantasy fans will appreciate this lyrical, character-driven story about a unique girl learning to find her place in an inhospitable world.

“A dreamlike, poetic fantasy bildungroman explores the power of choice and the meaning of home … Hahn’s debut is cumulatively stunning” —Kirkus, starred review


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