A Box of Butterflies: A Children's Book Review

This book was a little different for me. It's written and illustrated by Jo Rooks, but it has ties to the American Psychological Association and serves a greater purpose to educate children about emotions and open discussions between parents and children about emotions, how we feel them, what can cause them, etc. In the back of the book is a couple of pages of information for adults that I feel would be handy for parents or caregivers to read on their own BEFORE reading this book to kids. Alas, here's the review!

A Box of Butterflies, written and illustrated by Jo Rooks

A Box of Butterflies by Jo Rooks

When Robot reads Ruby a book that ends with "...and they all lived happily ever after. The end." Robot asks Ruby what love feels like. Ruby explains to Robot how love feels, but also how some other emotions such as jealousy, anger, fear, etc. feel like as well. 

This book is a short read for kids, so a long attention span isn't required to make it through and it serves as an excellent bridge to open up the idea of emotions to children. 

It's gorgeously illustrated. Like I would frame the cover it it was just the imagery it's that beautiful. 

There are two things I had hoped for in this book though that weren't present. I had hoped it would cover some positive emotions, when it focused on all negative emotions except for love, which stood out as odd to me. It also didn't cover more ambiguous emotions such as embarrassment or hope, which was also disappointing for me. 

Emotions are one of the more advanced topics to breach with kids and I felt the emotions used for this age group were great examples, but also easy ones. Love is such a large concept emotion, I expected the follow up ones to be a bit more advanced as well. 

Overall, I love the idea of the book and it's gorgeous and it's a great path for adults to talk about emotions, it was just kind of basic and obvious.

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Remember these anyone? Throw one of these up on a fridge to help your kids express their mood that day or throughout the day!

Butterfly Summer Study

Our Butterfly Garden from Insect Lore came the second to last week of June, so we've been studying butterflies lately and incorporating them into our math studies too. 

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We don't have a lot of flowering plants in our yard, so Chris and I stopped by Menards and grabbed a few plants from a list of butterfly approved plants and Ana and I planted them and took the opportunity to build the fairy garden she's been wanting to do for a while. We figured by the time we release our beautiful little Painted Ladies, they'll have had a chance to get settled and grow in a bit. 

Butterfly Homeschool Unit

Our little learning corner has been decked out in butterfly decor and we've been using a ton of great things to help us learn about the butterfly life cycle. Since non-fiction can get repetitive for Ana, we've been using a familiar story to her, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, as a fun supplement. Our Butterfly Observation journal has been a fun way to keep track of how long it takes the butterflies to make transitions too! One of the greatest things is learning along side Ana. Like, I had no idea caterpillars could poop so much. Or that it's called "frass" which was a great source of entertainment to us. 

Butterfly Homeschool Unit

We've labeled parts of a butterfly, which got picked up quickly since it echoes our ant anatomy a bit and our library has been a great source of butterfly books, both fiction and non. Ana is also a huuuge fanatic of YouTube videos so we watched this video about Monarchs and this video about the life cycle! 

Michigan Butterflies

And while there are so many beautiful butterflies, we wanted to know which ones we could find around us, so I made this watercolor poster of common Michigan butterflies! Lucky for you, I scanned it in so you can do a Dollar Download HERE ($1!) and print it at home if you want a copy!

This is Taco!: A Children's Book Review

I don't know about you guys, but taco's for me could be their own group on my personal pyramid. I can put away an impressive (never embarrassing) amount of taco's. So when I saw this book surface on NetGalley? You bet your ground beef and hard shells I offered to review it. For all my taco lover's out there, here's...

This is Taco! by Andrew Cangelose, Illustrated by Josh Shipley

"This is a squirrel . . . "Hey, I may be a squirrel, but my name is Taco! And I don't eat nuts and tree bark—blech—I prefer tacos!" The natural predator of squirrels is . . . "Whoa, whoa, whoa! Who is writing this book? I do not like where this is going." This hilarious send-up of a children's nature primer teaches kids that the most important story is the one you write yourself."

This is a LOL book for kids. It's done in one of my favorite illustrative styles and like a furry, kiddie Deadpool, the squirrel is aware of the narrator which is a bonus for me as it seems to involve kids more. Taco, the squirrel, has a witty sense of humor with quick comeback which sometimes speaks to an older audience, but it doesn't mean a younger crowd can't laugh about it. It's a multi-layer picture book which makes it a good read for group events.

The book flows well for being purposely choppy and a bit on the shorter side. The message at the end was s nice surprise to tie the book together from beginning to end so it feels good to read too. Who doesn't love tacos with a side of empowerment?

Lucky for you, there's no wait for this book besides shipping as it was published May 1st! You can order it from Amazon HERE!



Or, you could pair it with THIS!

And make it a super rad gift for a taco lover YOU love!

The Tiger's Egg: A Children's Book Review

Some of you may know that I worked as a Youth Services Librarian for a little under a year before we moved back to Grand Rapids at the PBTDL. I got to put together a weekly story time as part of the job and it was one of the highlights to my week. I LOVED going through stacks of children's books to find one that fit the season/holiday/current interests and putting an activity to go with it. I had always, always wanted to work in a library and nothing could compare to working there. It was the best job I've ever had.

During my time there, I signed up for NetGalley to be a book reviewer for a different blog and have had the pleasure of reading so many great ARC copies of books and reviewing them, that I think I'll continue that passion on over here. Sooooo, without further fuss...

The Tiger's Egg by Nele Brönner

I was initially drawn to this book because of the cover illustration. It's bold and bright and I immediately loved it. I downloaded it to my Kindle, but had a feeling I wasn't doing the book justice, so I downloaded the PDF and WHOA. The inside illustrations are mind blowingly gorgeous. They're so bold and the style is so unique. This is one of those books you but on one of those ledge shelves because it's a work of art.

This book would land best with an older child audience. Ana (age 5) would be able to grasp the concepts in the book and enjoy the subtleties that make it a good read. At 31 total pages, it reads smoothly with a great flow. It never felt choppy. The imagery in the text and word choices weren't forced and the personalities of Herman the Tiger and the little bird were well rounded and complete. 

The one and only complaint I would have with this book that keeps it from being a 5-star-er for me is it felt too short! I know children's authors are advised to stay under a certain number of pages, but this one could have used a few more to completely tie up the book. I fully expected a different ending and was disappointed with the current one being so abrupt. I was HOPING to see... 






the little bird find it's bird parents again, but leave with imparting wisdom from Herman the Tiger, who gave off the strict, almost hovering type, wisdom imparting grandfather. 

Overall, this book has a phenomenal concept and is unique. I know I'll be ordering a copy, fixed ending or not, come September 4th. Preorder your copy HERE!

Mothers Day: Tulip Time Festival

When I was younger, my friends and siblings and I would all go to the county fair we had in our hometown and it was like the epitome of childhood summer. Getting dusty, covered in sticky sugar from all the fair food, and riding rides until we couldn't do anything except sprawl out on a bench. 

Luckily, Mothers Day fell on the last day of the Tulip Festival in Holland, MI so my special day request was to go there. It was Ana's first fair/carnival and it was awesome. To be able to relive one of my favorite things from childhood with my two favorite people was amazing. Chris and Ana had the most fun slamming into people on the bumper cars (surprise, surprise) and of course I got my elephant ear and lemonade. 

We all rode the ferris wheel which used to be one of my favorites, but it's been so long since I've been up that high that I almost immediately regretted it. 

Ana and I found her carnival costume at a thrift store two days before and we altered it to it her just for these photos. I've been trying to do more photo projects with her and this one was a blast. We can't wait to use this costume in more photos.

*All these photos can be clicked on to see them larger!*