Video Reviews


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theBabytreeIt’s an inevitable rite of parenthood– answering the age-old question, “Where do babies come from?” Accomplished author/illustrator Sophie Blackall tackles this question in a beautifully rendered new picture book, The Baby Tree. My eight-year-old daughter and I had a little chat about the book, which we’ve enjoyed reading together, as well as about how she used to think babies originated. Check the video out over on 5 Minutes for Mom, and enter to win a copy of the book for yourself while you’re there!

Now, let me tell you that I absolutely love this book. I’m already a huge fan of Blackall’s illustrative style, ink and watercolor pictures with a soft quality that immediately conveys tenderness. In this story, a young boy’s parents tell him that a new baby will soon be joining their family, and in his surprise, he is unable to respond immediately with anything other than asking for more cereal. Only later does he realize that he has a question, and he decides to ask a few other people in his life. He poses the question, “Where do babies come from?” first to his babysitter, then his teacher, followed by his grandfather, and finally, his mailman. The answers that he gets vary, and he ends up more confused than ever.


Thankfully, the boy’s parents respond to his question with respect and love, providing factual information that is appropriate to his developmental level and easy to understand. Following the story is another page for parents to read as guidance or with their children to provide more specific, kid-friendly information about human development. As a parent, I’ve always been quite forthright with my own kids’ questions, using real terminology with them from a young age about body parts and answering their questions with true information at a level they could understand. As the parent of a teenager now, I’m a huge advocate for on-going, open chats rather than one big “talk.” As an educator, I truly appreciate the developmental appropriateness of this book, especially because it manages to be both entertaining and factual, a great story alongside Blackall’s beautiful illustrations.

Don’t forget to check out my post on 5 Minutes for Mom to enter today’s giveaway of The Baby Tree! You can also check out the video that I made with my 8-year-old daughter sharing our reactions.



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And to Think I Saw it on Mulberry Street omBook App

When my oldest son, now 13, was a little boy, one of his favorite books for the two of us to read together was Dr. Seuss’s first children’s book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street. The imagination of Marco, the story’s main character, appealed to my creative kid, and we would pull it out time and time again to enjoy together. My youngest son, now five, has also enjoyed this book, but being a true kid of the digital age, I had a feeling he’d enjoy the newest version even more. And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street is now available as an interactive omBook, with apps for both Apple and Android devices. We had the opportunity to
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Illusions: Aprilynne Pike’s “Wings” series

My daughter Amanda and I first read Wings when it first came out. It’s the story of 15-year-old Laurel in the year that her life changes a lot: she goes from being homeschooled to public high school, and oh yeah, after she sprouts a blossom on her back, she finds out that she’s actually a faery. We somehow missed the second book, Spells, but when we found out that the third book Illusions was coming out, we quickly caught up. I had not re-read Wings in the last 2 years, but Amanda had. I didn’t have any trouble picking up Spells, which takes Laurel from the California setting to spell school in Avalon. Amanda found this to be the weakest of the 3, but I
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Divergent: A YA Video Review

My 12 1/2 year old daughter Amanda recently read Divergent by Veronica Roth, a hotly anticipated new YA book. It’s part of Harper Teen’s Dark Days of Supernatural summer releases. If you click through the link, you can enter to win all 7 releases! The giveaway closes Wednesday June 15, so don’t delay. Since I haven’t read this book (yet), but Amanda devoured it, I wanted to get her thoughts up before the giveaway ended. This book has gotten quite a lot of buzz, and I think it’s interesting to see that Amanda sort of nailed the dystopian/not dystopian genre debate. It does sound like an interesting book and would make for a good summer read for teens and adults. I know she’s my daughter,
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The year is 2060. Maddie has been going about her life, doing and experiencing everything on screens — chats, school, study groups, even exercise — until she meets Justin in a study chat room. He invites her to come to a face to face study group, and gradually Maddie begins to question her lifestyle that has practically eliminated face to face interactions. Her father is the head of DS (Digital School) and advocates this lifestyle of staying inside and online where people can be tracked, monitored, and protected from bodily harm, whereas her mother clings to some of the old ways and introduces them to Maddie as well, by giving her a journal, with real paper and in which she has to use old-fashioned longhand
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