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Turn It Up! A Pitch Perfect History of Music That Rocked the World

Source: Publisher
Hardcover, 192 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

From National Geographic Kids, Turn It Up! A Pitch Perfect History of Music That Rocked the World, is a collection of fun music facts in a condensed format with colorful photographs and more. I enjoyed the parts about sound waves, and rhythm (which I don’t have) and harmony versus melody as a way of introducing music fundamentals to kids. My daughter was amazed that the earliest instrument was 40,000 years ago and was a flute made of bone. She was a bit creeped out by that knowledge, but she did find the other early instruments inside the book interesting. She already knows a little bit about the types of notes, thanks to Yunique Music School.

The most fascinating parts of this book for me were there tidbits about the actual musicians, like how Niccolo Paganini had sold his soul to the Devil in order to play so well every time he appeared before an audience while on the road. I enjoyed learning about Antonin Dvorak, one of my favorite composers, and the influence of America and Native Americans in his work — which makes absolute sense when you listen to his New World Symphony. I also learned something I didn’t know about one of my mom’s favorites, Glenn Miller, who apparently vanished while fighting in WWII. Cab Calloway is a figure I vaguely recall seeing as child and probably on Sesame Street, but I just loved his energy as a kid, and I had no idea that he used cartoon characters as part of his shows.

From National Geographic Kids, Turn It Up! A Pitch Perfect History of Music That Rocked the World, is chock full of information about musical composers, instruments, and the evolution of music, but it also has so much about recent musicians toward the end. It seems like it is heavy on new artists, which is probably because of the younger audience, but it is good to see how these younger artists are being remembered now, rather than years and years into the future.

RATING: Quatrain

We Love Babies! by Jill Esbaum

Source: Media Masters Publicity
Hardcover, 40 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

We Love Babies! by Jill Esbaum is an adorable photography spread that will melt your heart with cute little baby animals. Esbaum uses rhyme to pinpoint the different aspects of these babies from webbed toes to wings. There are babies big and small, furry and feathery, and all full-fledged cute.

The book is for kids just learning words and different shapes, but my daughter loves cute baby animals (don’t we all). We would argue that this is a photography book for all ages. The images are crisp and detailed, and some are down right fun to look at. Esbaum’s witty rhymes make the book even more enjoyable for younger children — it’s almost song-like.

We Love Babies! by Jill Esbaum is a great way to introduce young children to the natural world, different species of animals (which are all labeled in the final pages), and words like big and small. These images will make you smile, which is another reason just to have this book around.

RATING: Cinquain

Mailbox Monday #563

Mailbox Monday has become a tradition in the blogging world, and many of us thank Marcia of The Printed Page for creating it.

It now has it’s own blog where book bloggers can link up their own mailbox posts and share which books they bought or which they received for review from publishers, authors, and more.

Leslie, Martha, and I also will share our picks from everyone’s links in the new feature Books that Caught Our Eye. We hope you’ll join us.

Here’s what I received:

Turn It Up!: A Pitch Perfect History of Music that Rocked the World for review from Media Masters Publicity and National Geographic Kids.

The high notes and biggest moments in music history are covered in this fun compendium. You’ll learn about the world’s most famous musicians through the eras, from Bach to the Beatles to Beyonce — and beyond. Many major music genres are playfully explained, from tribal, classical, jazz, folk, rock … all the way to today’s modern forms, such as k-pop, hip-hop, and rap. Instruments and sounds are explored, along with places and events in history that inspired the evolution of music. Kids will also get a sense of music theory, instrumentation, and the artistry of distinctive musical styles. Song recommendations help readers open their ears to what they’ve learned. Add to that amazing images, a rockin’ glossary of musical terms, and a timeline that plots each genre on its path from ancient history to today, and this book is bound to top the charts!

We Love Babies by Jill Esbaum for review from Media Masters Publicity and National Geographic Kids.

This hilarious picture book with rollicking, rhyming text reads like a crowd-pleasing call, pumping up readers’ excitement for the cutest baby animals ever. Illustrated with lively National Geographic photography, We Love Babies! presents furred, feathered, and finned baby animals of all shapes and sizes. Whimsical cartoon cheerleaders add to the fun, popping up throughout the book to lead fans in the irresistible refrain: “We love babies, yes we do, we love babies, how about you?”

Wickham’s Folly by Philippa J. Rosen, a Kindle freebie.

George Wickham had no intention of joining the army. However, after a night drinking gin with his friend Tom, he awakes the next morning an enlisted soldier.

He is posted to a small town in Hertfordshire and meets a variety of people. He makes friends with a couple who have five daughters and plans to marry one of the older daughters in order to inherit her father’s wealth. At the same time, he intends to become better acquainted with the youngest daughter, Lydia. For good measure he tries to a young clergyman of his money by fraudulent means.

His plans are thwarted however, and he flees to London. Thanks to the intervention of a gentleman from Derbyshire he is forced to marry Lydia and takes a commission in the north of England.

He is content to be a soldier as long as Napoleon is still exiled in Elba. When Napoleon escapes though his regiment sail for Europe at once.

At the Battle of Waterloo, Wickham somehow becomes a hero. But is there more to his heroic actions than meets the eye? The young clergyman travels to give spiritual assistance to the English soldiers, and it is there that he discovers Wickham’s secret…

Georgiana Darcy’s Secret Letters by Francine Howarth and Pat Jackson, a Kindle freebie.

The shy reclusive sister of Fitzwilliam Darcy loves the wide open spaces of the Derbyshire Dales, where her favoured pastime steals her away from her dour existence at Pemberley. Whilst the memory of George Wickham lingers as a reminder of a past mistake, Georgiana rebels and embraces the writing of clandestine letters. But can she really trust a battle hardened officer to rein back when burgeoned desire wells in the heat of the moment, and dare she risk her reputation for the love of Lt James Dolby, Viscount Welton?

Jeopardy in January by Camilla Chafer, a Kindle freebie.

Sara Cutler loves her job as head librarian of the public library, an integral part of the historic heart of the picturesque mountain town, Calendar. The combination of old books, quirky clientele, and endless reading is nothing less than perfection for Sara. So when she discovers a body in the rare books section that threatens to destroy her quiet existence, along with the imminent demise of the library, Sara vows to find the killer.

She never expects to receive any help from Jason Rees, the handsome, big city developer whose only objective is to get rid of the library. Sara assumes he is counting on the murder to serve as the final death knell his firm needs to demolish the library. However, that doesn’t prevent him from falling head over heels for the very woman with whom he’s clashing.

When news arrives that the dead woman was nothing that she appeared to be, the whole town is instantly enthralled by the concept of having an actual jewel thief in their midst. Even more puzzling is: where did she hide her stolen treasure?

All Sara must do to save the library is simply solve the murder, find the hidden jewels, and convince herself not to succumb to the one man she would rather see run out town. It doesn’t take long before she realizes that amateur sleuthing isn’t as easy in real life as it is in the stories she loves to read.

What did you receive?

Code This!: Puzzles, Games, Challenges, and Computer Coding Concepts for the Problem Solver in You by Jennifer Szymanski

Source: Media Masters Publicity
Paperback, 160 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

Code This!: Puzzles, Games, Challenges, and Computer Coding Concepts for the Problem Solver in You by Jennifer Szymanski provides introductory information about computer science and coding, equating it to “the arts,” which can help kids see how they can use science to create. I liked this perspective in the introduction. I started out by reading the introduction myself and explaining it to my daughter in brief so she could follow along with the activities.

The text is a bit dense for my 8-year-old, but the activities are engaging enough for her education level. Some of these entry-level activities may be too elementary for older kids. To introduce kids to coding, the book explains logical thinking and why coding is necessary. It can help robots find things and decipher codes, and so much more. It was a good idea to share this with our daughter, but some of this may be more advanced than we expected.  It’s definitely a keeper.

Code This!: Puzzles, Games, Challenges, and Computer Coding Concepts for the Problem Solver in You by Jennifer Szymanski offers a lot of computer science inside concepts and activities for kids to try with their parents. On her own, our daughter would probably not have gotten very far because she’s not the right age for it. I think this would be better for older children. We still enjoyed our time with the book.

RATING: Quatrain

Mailbox Monday #555

Mailbox Monday has become a tradition in the blogging world, and many of us thank Marcia of The Printed Page for creating it.

It now has it’s own blog where book bloggers can link up their own mailbox posts and share which books they bought or which they received for review from publishers, authors, and more.

Leslie, Martha, and I also will share our picks from everyone’s links in the new feature Books that Caught Our Eye. We hope you’ll join us.

Here’s what I received:

National Geographic Kids: Dream Journal by Dr. Allan Peterkin from Media Masters Publicity.

Decode your dreams and discover the fascinating science, history, and culture behind dreaming in this awesome write-in journal.

Have you ever wondered where your dreams come from? Or why they’re so hard to remember? Or how to make that monster in your nightmares a little bit more … friendly? We’ve got answers to these musings and more!

In this journal, you’ll explore the mysteries of the unconscious mind. You’ll learn how dreams inspired some of the most popular art in recent history, how the ancient Greeks used dreams to answer their questions, and how your brain works as it conjures up these amazing, imaginative, and often weird reveries. Plus, you’ll find tips on how to get a good night’s sleep, remember more about what you dream, and conjure lucid dreams. It’s the perfect tool to help kids remember, record, and reflect on their nighttime adventures. Catching Z’s has never been so much fun.

With lively text, and vibrant imagery, and plenty of space for writing, this journal is your go-to place to document, learn, and celebrate the powers of your fantastic, creative brain.

Pride, Prejudice & Secrets by C.P. Odom from the JAFF Writer-Reader Get Together 2019.

One of the turning points in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is Miss Elizabeth Bennet’s passionate refusal and denunciation of the equally passionate but infinitely more repressed Fitzwilliam Darcy. However, unforeseen events can lead to the most unexpected consequences.

During a visit with her friend Charlotte Collins at Hunsford, Elizabeth falls prey to illness for almost the first time in her life just as Mr. Darcy comes to call. Befuddled by her illness, she misinterprets his proposal of marriage, and a simple nod of acknowledgment is mistaken for acceptance of his suit by a joyous Darcy.

By the time Elizabeth regains her health, it seems every one of her acquaintance — and many outside of it — accept she is engaged to the last man in the world she would ever consider. Elizabeth knows that her life will be forever changed, and the consequences will spread further than she imagines.

Ditching Mr. Darcy by Samantha Whitman from the JAFF Writer-Reader Get Together 2019.

What would you do if you crashed your car into a ditch and woke up as the main character of your favorite book? What if nothing happened the way it was supposed to? What if you met the dreamiest romantic hero in literary history and yet you fell in love with someone else instead? What would happen if you never woke up again? What would happen if you did? Elizabeth Baker is about to find out.

 

Courting Elizabeth by Renata McMann and Summer Hanford from the JAFF Writer-Reader Get Together 2019.

In the wake of his disastrous proposal to Elizabeth, Darcy is compelled to write her, unable to permit her misconceptions to stand. Unfortunately, he leaves his letter unattended. What happens when Darcy’s words make their way into Lady Catherine’s hands? With his aunt determined to force him to marry Anne de Bourgh, will Darcy still manage to pursue Elizabeth? Find out what twists, turns and danger await in Courting Elizabeth.

Courting Elizabeth is a Pride and Prejudice variation novel of approximately 83,000 words.

Renata McMann and Summer Hanford began writing Pride and Prejudice Variations together in 2014 and have since become immersed in the amazing world Jane Austen created. Whether you’re a fan of Darcy and Elizabeth specifically or of clean Regency Romance in general, you will enjoy both McMann’s ability to imagine variations of this classic love story and Hanford’s skill in turning these variations of Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth Bennet and their enduring love into entertaining stories.

Second Son by Cherith Boardman from the JAFF Writer-Reader Get Together 2019.

What if, instead of being born the heir to Pemberley, Fitzwilliam Darcy had been a second son?

In a time when birth order determines who inherits everything or nothing, Fitzwilliam Darcy must find his own path – excelling in the profession he chuses. When tragedy strikes, he is called to fulfil his role as the “spare,” struggling to meet the demands placed upon him, overcoming the distrust of those who wish him to fail, and devoting himself to the good of Pemberley’s dependents.

Disgusted with Society, and scorned by the sister he loves, Darcy visits his friend in Hertfordshire, where he meets the Bennets of Longbourn. He discovers in their second daughter, Elizabeth, a new source of hope and purpose for his life. When his family questions the lady’s fitness to be Mistress of Pemberley and demands he fulfil his responsibilities to his family and the legacy of the Darcy name, Fitzwilliam is left torn between duty and his heart…

Duty has taken his dreams once, is Pemberley to take Elizabeth from him as well?

Aerendgast: The Lost History of Jane Austen by R. Berman from the JAFF Writer-Reader Get Together 2019.

What if Jane Austen was secretly married? What if she had a baby whose descendants are still alive today? Violet Desmond has just learned that her life is a lie. With sparse clues, she sets off to discover her hidden history and, simultaneously, an explanation for her vivid dreams-dreams in which a woman from the past narrates an impossible story involving a secret marriage and a child-a story intimately connected to Jane Austen. Violet reluctantly agrees to receive help from cavalier Peter Knighton. Blacklisted from his profession, Knighton can almost taste the money and accolades he’ll receive for digging up something good on Austen. The unlikely pair begins a quest for answers that leads them to Aerendgast Hallows. Knee-deep in hidden crypts, perilous pursuits, and centuries-old riddles, Violet must put her literary expertise to the test as she battles to uncover the secret that her loved ones died trying to reveal-before an unknown enemy silences her as well.

Suddenly Mrs. Darcy by Jenetta James from the JAFF Writer-Reader Get Together 2019.

Elizabeth Bennet never imagined her own parents would force her to marry a virtual stranger.

But when Mrs. Bennet accuses Fitzwilliam Darcy of compromising her daughter, that is exactly the outcome. Trapped in a seemingly loveless marriage and far from home, she grows suspicious of her new husband’s heart and further, suspects he is hiding a great secret. Is there even a chance at love given the happenstance of their hasty marriage?

 

Lover’s Knot by Jenetta James from the JAFF Writer-Reader Get Together 2019.

A great love. A perplexing murder. Netherfield Park — a house of secrets.

Fitzwilliam Darcy is in a tangle. Captivated by Miss Elizabeth Bennet, a girl of no fortune and few connections. Embroiled in an infamous murder in the home of his friend, Charles Bingley. He is being tested in every way. Fearing for Elizabeth’s safety, Darcy moves to protect her in the only way he knows but is thwarted. Thus, he is forced to turn detective. Can he overcome his pride for the sake of Elizabeth? Can he, with a broken heart, fathom the villainy that has invaded their lives? Is there even a chance for love born of such strife?

Impulse & Initiative by Abigail Reynolds from the JAFF Writer-Reader Get Together 2019 — signed by the author!

In Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, Mr. Darcy gives up on winning the woman he loves after she refuses his proposal of marriage. What if, instead of disappearing from her life, he took the initiative and tried to change her mind? In Impulse & Initiative, Mr. Darcy follows Elizabeth Bennet to her home in Hertfordshire, planning to prove to her he is a changed man and worthy of her love. THE PEMBERLEY VARIATIONS by Abigail Reynolds is a series of novels exploring the roads not taken in Pride & Prejudice.

What did you receive?

Don’t Read This Book Before Dinner by Anna Claybourne

Source: Publisher
Paperback, 144 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

Don’t Read This Book Before Dinner by Anna Claybourne is perfect for any kid who loves slime and grossness. From rodents and spiders to the uses of spit and the evolution of toilets, this book as it all.

My daughter loves these kinds of books, even if there are things in there that gross her out, like birds that make nests from their spit and then those empty nests are eaten by Southeast Asian people as a delicacy. She was thrilled when she could do an experiment of wiping her tongue dry before putting a potato chip on it — lo and behold, she couldn’t taste it!

There are also quizzes throughout to test what you’ve learned, as well as if you have any common sense. One of my daughter’s favorites was the much needed break of cuteness in the middle of the book.

Don’t Read This Book Before Dinner by Anna Claybourne can provide a couple hours of entertainment for a family, and we enjoyed seeing who got the right answers on the quizzes. We had a really gross time with this one, and we’re all in agreement that we won’t be eating spiders or bugs no matter how much protein they have compared to a burger.

RATING: Quatrain

Weird But True! USA

Source: Media Masters Publicity
Paperback, 208 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

Weird But True! USA from National Geographic Kids is a slim volume of unusual facts about many U.S. states and American history. What state has plastic pink flamingos as their state bird? Which state named their fog Karl? Did you know that there was a dog in WWI who could salute? Did you know Russian salad dressing was not invented in Russia and originally contained part of a sea creature? There’s a really cool gargoyle on the National Cathedral in D.C., which I never knew about! And oh, how I wish I had a time machine to go back and have the original Twinkie filled with banana cream!

My daughter and I read this book off and on over a few weeks. Her favorite facts naturally had to do with ice cream and cats. She also wants to check out whether money is magnetic or not. And there are bound to be some facts that you already know, particularly if you live in the D.C. area — many are well known.

Weird But True! USA from National Geographic Kids is part of a series of books that are always informative, fun, and engaging for the entire family. This fourth of July, why not brush up on some weird facts about our country.  You won’t be disappointed.

RATING: Cinquain

Mailbox Monday #536

Mailbox Monday has become a tradition in the blogging world, and many of us thank Marcia of The Printed Page for creating it.

It now has it’s own blog where book bloggers can link up their own mailbox posts and share which books they bought or which they received for review from publishers, authors, and more.

Leslie, Martha, and I also will share our picks from everyone’s links in the new feature Books that Caught Our Eye. We hope you’ll join us.

Here’s what I received:

National Geographic Kids: Weird But True: USA

Calling all patriots! Get ready to explore wacky wonders, facts, stats, tidbits, and trivia about America’s 50 states and territories! Did you know that there is a floating post office in Michigan? Or that a library book checked out by George Washington was returned to a New York City library 221 years late? Maybe you’d be amazed to discover that the ink used to print U.S. paper money is magnetic? In this latest and greatest edition of Weird But True!, you’ll encounter all kinds of bizarre people, places, events, and things that make our country great.

What did you receive?

The Poetry of Us edited by J. Patrick Lewis

Source: Media Masters Publicity
Hardcover, 192 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

The Poetry of US edited by J. Patrick Lewis is a compilation of poetry representing a number of aspects of our country. Broken down by region, the poems speak to New England, the Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Midwest, Great Plains, Rocky Mountains, Pacific Coast, and the U.S. Territories. Former U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate J Patrick Lewis chose more than 200 poems for the collection to demonstrate the diversity not only of our country, but the poets themselves. The color photos from the National Geographic archives are gorgeous and full bleed in most cases, ensuring this collection packs a visual punch as well.

Reading the poems in the New England section was like coming home, particularly when reading David Elliott’s “Boston Baked Beans: A Recipe,” which includes some wonderful unique speech that Boston is known for, even if not everyone speaks dropping their r’s.

This collection also includes some of my very favorite poems from Langston Hughes, Carl Sandburg, and other classic poets, but there are also contemporary poets throughout, including Ted Kooser, Jane Yolen, Lewis himself, Naomi Shihab Nye, and more.

The Poetry of US edited by J. Patrick Lewis is a wonderful introduction to our country for younger readers, providing them with just a sprinkling of our geographic diversity and a heap of cultural diversity. From the immigrants who come to our shores seeking a home to those who have lived here since the country was born, these poems and images seek to remind us of who we hope to be — a melting pot of diversity. Heartwarming photos of children being embraced in the nation’s capital, sweeping photos of Niagara Falls and mountains of majesty, the collection brings home the unity we can find together if we put our hearts and minds to it.

RATING: Cinquain

About the Editor:

Former Children’s Poet Laureate J. Patrick Lewis grew up in Gary, Indiana and earned a BA at Saint Joseph’s College, an MA at Indiana University, and a PhD in economics at the Ohio State University. Lewis taught in the department of Business, Accounting and Economics at Otterbein College in Westerville, Ohio, until 1998 when he became a full-time writer.

Lewis is the author of more than fifty books of poetry for children, which find their shape in both free and formal verse and engage a wide range of subjects from history to mathematics, Russian folklore to the animal kingdom. His books for children include Spot the Plot: A Riddle Book of Book Riddles (2009, illustrated by Lynn Munsinger); New York Times Best Illustrated Book The Last Resort (2002, illustrated by Roberto Innocenti and translated into more than a dozen languages); The Shoe Tree of Chagrin (2001, illustrated by Chris Sheban), which won the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators’ Golden Kite Award; and A Hippopotamusn’t: And Other Animal Poems (1990, illustrated by Victoria Chess). His collaborations with other children’s poets have yielded several collections, including Castles: Old Stone Poems (2006, with Rebecca Dotlich, illustrated by Dan Burr) and Birds on a Wire: A Renga ‘Round the Town (2008, with Paul Janeczko, illustrated by Gary Lippincott).

Fly With Me by Jane Yolen, Heidi E.Y. Stemple, Adam Stemple, and Jason Stemple

Source: Media Masters Publicity
Hardcover, 192 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

Fly with Me: A Celebration of Birds Through Pictures, Poems, and Stories by Jane Yolen, Heidi E.Y. Stemple, Adam Stemple, and Jason Stemple is gorgeous. The photographs and reproductions of artwork are stunning, bring each bird to life for young readers. With these colorful pictures, it will be hard for young readers to turn away, and parents will be able to use this as a resource for not only the biology of birds, but also in geography lessons in which state birds are talked about. The giant state bird map is wonderfully detailed, as are the pages about migration, ancient birds, evolution and extinction, and so much more.

I originally wanted to review this book because poetry is included, and Yolen’s poems are always accessible to a number of audiences. I wasn’t wrong about that here, either, as her poems in this book are a great way to introduce young readers to birds. There also are poems from Heidi E.Y. Stemple, which are equally accessible. I loved sharing with my daughter how Stemple’s poem, “Vee,” not only examines the migration of geese but is also shaped like the “V” formation of geese.

Fly with Me: A Celebration of Birds Through Pictures, Poems, and Stories by Jane Yolen, Heidi E.Y. Stemple, Adam Stemple, and Jason Stemple is a collection that the whole family can share. It was big hit for its colorful pages and its poetry, but there is so much more to explore in these pages.

RATING: Cinquain

About the Authors:

JANE YOLEN is an author of children’s books, fantasy, and science fiction, including Owl Moon, The Devil’s Arithmetic, and How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? She is also a poet, a teacher of writing and literature, and a reviewer of children’s literature.

HEIDI STEMPLE was 28 years old when she joined the family business, publishing her first short story in a book called Famous Writers and Their Kids Write Spooky Stories. The famous writer was her mom, author Jane Yolen. Since then, she has published 20 books and numerous short stories and poems, mostly for children.
Stemple, her two daughters, her mom, and a couple cats live in Massachusetts on a big old farm with two houses.

JASON STEMPLE is an author and photographer. He lives with his wife and children in Charleston, South Carolina.

ADAM STEMPLE is a novelist and musician. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Mailbox Monday #506

Mailbox Monday has become a tradition in the blogging world, and many of us thank Marcia of The Printed Page for creating it.

It now has it’s own blog where book bloggers can link up their own mailbox posts and share which books they bought or which they received for review from publishers, authors, and more.

Leslie, Martha, and I also will share our picks from everyone’s links in the new feature Books that Caught Our Eye. We hope you’ll join us.

Here’s what we received:

National Geographic: The Poetry of US edited by J. Patrick Lewis for review.

Celebrate the gift of language and the vibrant culture of the United States with this collection of classic and never-before-published poetry. Poems are arranged by region, from coast to coast, and among them you’ll find works by Langston Hughes, Dorothy Parker, Robert Frost, Naomi Shihab Nye, Walt Whitman, and more. From the familiar to the surprising, subjects include people, places, landmarks, monuments, nature, and celebrations. Designed for sharing, but geared to younger readers, this beautifully illustrated treasury is a must-have for the whole family.

National Geographic Kids: Fly with Me by Janet Yolen, Heidi E.Y. Stemple, Adam Stemple, and Jason Stemple for review.

This thoughtful and beautifully curated collection of our flying, feathery friends highlights the role birds play in human life from centuries ago to present day. While it’s beautiful, it’s also full of valuable real science about these wondrous creatures. From history and behavior to spotting and photographing, there’s sure to be something for every bird fan in your flock. Young birders will learn all about migration and the importance of habitat conservation. They’ll find stories about bird rescues and fun facts about the fastest, strongest, and tiniest fliers. They’ll also discover the best bird nests, sweet songs to sing, ways to listen for and identify the birds around them, and more. Paired with stunning art and photography and beautiful design, this treasury is sure to become a classic for bird enthusiasts of all ages.

Fly with Me was created to help celebrate Year of the Bird, National Geographic’s 2018 initiative to bring awareness to the plight of birds around the world.

Thomas & Friends: Hero of the Rails, which my parents got for their granddaughter.

Little kids ages 3-6 will love this charming Little Golden Book that captures all the fun, friendship, and adventure of the Thomas the Tank Engine DVD Hero of the Rails. Thomas discovers a long-lost engine and attempts to save him from the scrap yard by repairing him in secret. The plan works perfectly—until that meddlesome engine Spencer gets involved!

Wild Embers by Nikita Gill, which I purchased.

In this magical poetry collection, Nikita Gill unflinchingly explores the fire in every woman and the emotions that lie deep in one’s soul. Featuring rewritten fairytale heroines, goddess wisdom, and verse that burns with magnificent beauty, this raw and powerful collection is an explosion of femininity, empowerment, and personal growth. In these words, readers will find the magnificent energy to spark resistance and revolution.

The Rain in Portugal by Billy Collins, which I purchased.

The Rain in Portugal—a title that admits he’s not much of a rhymer—sheds Collins’s ironic light on such subjects as travel and art, cats and dogs, loneliness and love, beauty and death. His tones range from the whimsical—“the dogs of Minneapolis . . . / have no idea they’re in Minneapolis”—to the elegiac in a reaction to the death of Seamus Heaney. A student of the everyday, Collins here contemplates a weather vane, a still life painting, the calendar, and a child lost at a beach. His imaginative fabrications have Shakespeare flying comfortably in first class and Keith Richards supporting the globe on his head. By turns entertaining, engaging, and enlightening, The Rain in Portugal amounts to another chorus of poems from one of the most respected and familiar voices in the world of American poetry.

What did you receive?