Children’s Book Gift Guide

Snow Globe Wishes: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1534110313/

‘Twas an Evening in Bethlehem: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0988451212/

Santa and the Goodnight Train: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1328618404/

Continue reading

Book Review: The Magic Christmas Ornament

The Magic Christmas Ornament by James Barbato
The Magic Christmas Ornament
by James and Victoria Barbato (Authors) Joe Huffman (Illustrator)

2 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

Three siblings hear the story about how their father found a magic ornament when he was a boy. When they examine the ornament on Christmas Eve, the children are whisked away to Santa’s Workshop in the North Pole, where they play with toys and meet Santa’s elves. They are given an ornament off Santa’s own Christmas tree, and they return home full of the joy of Christmas.

The writing is good, but has a stiff style, especially in the dialogue. It doesn’t flow as well as it could, but it’s not bad. The story is interesting, but rather simple. There isn’t anything particularly memorable or special in the plot, but it is a sweet story.

The illustrations really bothered me.

Continue reading

Book Review: Doctor Dolittle and the Secret Lake

Doctor Dolittle And The Secret Lake by Hugh Lofting
Doctor Dolittle And The Secret Lake
by Hugh Lofting

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


Doctor Dolittle returns to the Secret Lake hidden in the depths of Africa to interview the oldest living animal, a massive turtle named Mudface. His journey is perilous, but he has his trusty animals by his side. With the help of Chee-chee, Polynesia, Dab-Dab, Cheapside, Gub-Gub, Jip, and his faithful assistant Tommy Stubbins, the Doctor travels through swamps and jungles to find the old turtle and hear the story of the Flood.

I loved the plot in this one! The first part of the book is taken up with the Doctor’s preparations for the journey to Africa, and then his travels to get inland from the African coast to the Secret Lake. Once they find Mudface, the rest of the book chronicles his adventurous story about Noah and surviving the Great Flood.

The writing is charming and hilarious! The animals are all so funny and full of life, and the ridiculous situations are interesting. I’m amazed at how imaginative all of the Dolittle stories are, and the books never seem to run out of wild material for an adventure.

Book Review: The Magic Half

The Magic Half by Annie Barrows
The Magic Half
by Annie Barrows

3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

Miri is the only single child in a family of twins. When she is whisked back in time, she meets a girl from 1935 named Molly, and the two embark on a mission to save Molly from her abusive aunt and cousins. But the magic that allowed Miri to travel through time is unpredictable, and it will take a special perspective for Molly and Miri to unravel the mysteries of time before it’s too late.

I liked the plot and the adorable characters! Miri is so relatable and sweet, and Molly is quite brave in the face of her terrible relatives.
The plot is not amazingly mind-blowing, but it kept my interest and I liked the interesting magic system that allowed Miri to travel through time. Continue reading

Book Review: Jennifer Murdley’s Toad

Jennifer Murdley's Toad by Bruce Coville
Jennifer Murdley’s Toad 
by Bruce CovilleGary A. Lippincott (Illustrations)

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


Jennifer wishes she could be beautiful, but feels ugly and dumpy. When she buys a talking toad at the Magic Shop, her entire life changes, and she is whisked on an adventure where she will have to choose between pursuing beauty or saving her friends.

I loved this hilarious story, and read it all in one sitting! The madcap plot is full of surprises, and the snappy dialogue makes every page interesting. I enjoyed the magic system and how it interacts in strange ways with the modern world.

I thought Jennifer was sweet and REAL and beautifully awkward. Her family is quirky and weird, and her friends are peppery and unreliable. The best part of the book was Jennifer’s various relationships with her parents, siblings, and school friends, and of course, her magical talking toad.

I adored every chapter! Can’t wait to read more from this series.

Book Review: Emily’s Fortune

Emily's Fortune by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

Emily’s Fortune
by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

When Emily’s mother dies, Emily plans to travel West to live with her aunt, but the state orphanage has other plans, and Emily is forced to run away from the Orphanage Child Catchers. With the help of another orphan boy and her trusty turtle, Rufus, Emily will travel by train and stagecoach through the Wild West to reach the safety of her aunts home. 

This is a funny and cute little story with plenty of adventure and hilarity! It would be a wonderful book to read aloud to children, because there are so many opportunities for funny voices and dramatic voices. 
I enjoyed the story, but it’s not particularly amazing or special. The plot is simple, the characters are static, but it’s the writing style that really keeps the reader interested. The writing is witty, the dialogue is snappy, and the scenes flow smoothly into a cohesive story. And young readers aren’t looking for complex plots or deep characters, so it’s a perfect book for children!

Book Review: Mary Poppins in the Park

Mary Poppins in the Park by P.L. Travers
Mary Poppins in the Park (Mary Poppins, #4) 
by P.L. TraversMary Shepard (Illustrator)

3 out of 5 stars


Mary Poppins is back again with Jane and Michael for adventures in the Park! An ordinary outing in the park turns into a magical and extraordinary adventure when you go for a walk with Mary Poppins.

I love how Mary Poppins can be stern with the children, but is also kind and loving. She has a no nonsense attitude, but secretly loves to take the children on nonsensical and silly outings!

The writing is enchanting, and has a beautiful charm in its simplicity! I love all the Mary Poppins books! Continue reading

Book Review: The Language of Spells

The Language of Spells by Garret Weyr, also Freymann-...
The Language of Spells 
by Garret Weyr, also Freymann-Weyr
Katie Harnett (Illustrations)

3 out of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this book about a dragon under an enchantment and the little girl who gives up everything to save him and his fellow dragons!

Grisha is still a young dragon when an evil sorcerer freezes him into the shape of a small teapot. Trapped within the teapot for decades, Grisha dreams of being free once more, but as soon as a friend breaks the enchantment of the teapot, Grisha is trapped in another kind of prison. The cruel bureaucracy of Vienna keeps a close watch on the few dragons allowed to remain in the city, and every aspect of Grisha’s life is locked between rigid rules and regulations, even restricting his thoughts and words. Continue reading

Book Review: The Haunting of Granite Falls

The Haunting of Granite Falls by Eva Ibbotson
The Haunting of Granite Falls 
by Eva IbbotsonKevin Hawkes (Illustrations)

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


Young Alex, the laird of Carra, is forced to sell his ancient and dilapidated Scottish castle to an American millionaire. Poor Alex is heartbroken to be leaving his ancestral home, but worst of all is the parting with his ghostly friends who haunt the Castle of Carra. When the millionaire tears down the castle and transplants it in Texas where his ailing daughter, Helen, can enjoy it, the ghosts accompany the ancient stones of their home, and uncover an evil plot to kidnap Helen. The good ghosts befriend a mysterious phantom hand, and rely on Alex to help save poor Helen from her kidnappers!

This has all the charm and silliness that I’ve come to love in Ibbotson’s books! The writing is fresh with a whimsical story-telling style. I love how weird and wacky the characters are, and how every detail about them carries weight in the story. The plot is full of preposterous surprises and plenty of action.

One of the best things about Ibbotson’s writing is how she takes ordinary things and turns them upside down to the astonishment of the reader.