Fireflies: A Writer’s Notebook by Coleen Murtagh Paratore

Fireflies: A Writer’s Notebook by Coleen Murtagh Paratore (Little Pickle Press, July 2014) is a delightful full-color journal for the aspiring writer.

Filled with writing prompts and ideas, Fireflies is compared to a jar full of fireflies for you to watch for “sparks.” I loved this analogy. Although I am primarily a nonfiction writer (i.e., educational materials and summaries, book reviews, personal essays about my homeschooling experience, and so forth), I too find that brainstorming ideas helps “spark” even more ideas.

Fireflies gives writing prompts on about half of the page. The other pages are a combination of both lined and unlined pages for writing ideas down. I love how there was a variety of different pages to choose from for writing ideas. It is helpful to have writing prompts, but it is the open space and the gorgeous layout that makes this a book that creative writers will love to doodle in!

Note: I received a digital review copy of this book for review consideration.

If You Happen to Have a Dinosaur by Linda Bailey and Colin Jack

One delightful aspect of children’s pictures books is that that impossibilities become possible.

In If You Happen to Have a Dinosaur by Linda Bailey and illustrated by Colin Jack (Tundra Books, May 2014), the illustrator and author create a number of what ifs out of the impossibility of actually having a dinosaur as a pet.

It is not just a story of one dinosaur and kid having adventures (such as in Danny and the Dinosaur). Likewise, it is not an instructional manual on how to live with a dinosaur as a pet (I am strongly reminded of How to Train Your Train).

Instead, If You Happen to Have a Dinosaur is a collection of illustrated scenarios for many different kinds of dinosaurs.Continue Reading

Moonday by Adam Rex

Moonday by Adam Rex (Disney Hyperion, 2013) answers the question, “what would happen if the moon decided to stay in my backyard?” The town cannot wake up, the tide comes in to the narrator’s backyard, and they cannot hide the bright light of the moon.

I really enjoy Moonday because of the ridiculous and bizarre aspects. It feels like a dream: the story begins and ends with the narrator watching the moon out of her car window. It it she who has the idea to take it back up to the hill to leave it there. I love the silly details that make it feel more real than a dream: mom’s best tablecloth, the dogs howling at the moon, Mom saying “zip your coat” as the child walks on the moon.

Adam Rex has provided gorgeous paintings to complement the fantasy. Interestingly, the beginning papers and the end papers are simple sketches of the town: only in the midst of the dream are things realistic and detailed. I liked the style, I liked the fantasy, and I especially liked the neat resolution. Moonday is highly recommended.

Kids Corner: Friday Fun Night Books

Friday nights are “fun night” for our family. Usually, this means we watch a family/kid friendly movie. Recently, now that Raisin is five, we’re branching out to board games. (When the favorite board game was Candy Land, I really did not like that option every week.) Today, Raisin requested that we read books together. 

Yes, my five-year-old son wanted to spend an hour and a half reading with me. This is why I did my 1000 books project with him, and why I’m doing it all over again with my baby. Reading together as a family truly is fun. I’ve grown my son into what I am certain will be a life-long reader.

Here are some of the books we enjoyed.Continue Reading