Thursday, November 26, 2020

Claris the Mouse Holiday Giveaway: 4-Book Children's Book Series Signed by Author Megan Hess

A sweet little mouse takes on a cheeky cat burglar with holiday cheer! Can Claris and Monsieur save the day -- the New York way?  

Join Claris on a holiday-themed adventure in Claris: Holiday Heist, part of the bestselling series by acclaimed fashion illustrator Megan HessWith more than a million Claris books in print, the bestselling Claris series follows an adorable mouse who moves to Paris to follow her fashion dreams. For fans of Eloise and Olivia, this series is destined to delight fashion-obsessed readers of all ages!

Fashionable illustrations draw young readers into Claris’s glamorous life again and again, while budding designers delight in the characters’ detailed outfits. Rhyming text makes this story of friendship and following your dreams a fun read-aloud for both kids and parents. Claris is more than a story -- it’s a whole new world for children to explore as they follow the adorable mouse on each new adventure, from her move to Paris in The Chicest Mouse in Paris and the runways of Fashion Week in Fashion Show Fiasco, to the beaches of the French Riviera in Bonjour Riviera and now a winter romp through New York City in Holiday Heist.

About the Author: Megan Hess is an acclaimed fashion illustrator who works with some of the most prestigious fashion designers and luxury brands around the world, such as Chanel, Dior, Cartier, Montblanc and Tiffany & Co. She is the official illustrator for Bloomingdales New York, and completed the cover artwork for all of Sex and the City author Candace Bushnell's books, as well as a private commission for Michelle Obama, and has collaborated with Gwyneth Paltrow for the 'Blo' Blow Dry Bar campaign. Claris: The Chicest Mouse in Paris is her first children's book series. 


One lucky winner will receive the complete 4-book Claris series with custom bookplates signed by author Megan Hess! Giveaway open to US/Canada residents only. Ends at 11:59 PM Eastern time on Sunday, December 13, 2020. Enter through the Giveaway Tools below.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Make a Difference This Holiday Season: Sackcloth & Ashes' "Everyone Is Someone" Blankets and Books Comfort Children in Foster Care

I absolutely love companies that strive to make a difference in the world. During this holiday season, when so many are in need, it's especially important to purchase from companies that give back to the community. Sackcloth & Ashes is one of those companies. 

They just introduced a line of beautiful children's blankets that also come with a free Everyone Is Someone book. When you purchase one of these sets, Sackcloth & Ashes donates another blanket and book to a child in foster care. These gorgeous, high-quality blankets are 100% Italian-made, woven from recycled materials, and are a generous 47"x37" size. They are also dye-free, chemical-free, water-free and made from a wool blend that is certifiably eco-friendly, cruelty-free and good for the planet. They're available in 15 different designs, such as the ones below:

Aren't they lovely? Each blanket is packaged in a sturdy box that's perfect for gift-giving and shares a message that every kid needs to hear and will make them feel special: 

As you can see, pets love these blankets, too! (Thanks to my cat model, Bella.)

Each blanket also comes with a wonderful hardcover book written by the founder of the company, Bob Dalton. In Everyone Is Someone, children learn that even though we all may be a little different or live in different places, everyone is someone special and deserving of love. 

Bob Dalton founded Sackcloth & Ashes in 2014 with the goal to help the homeless when his single, hardworking mother found herself living on the streets. For every blanket sold, the company donates a blanket to a local homeless shelter in need. In 2018, Sackcloth launched Blanket the United States with the goal to donate 1 million blankets to homeless shelters by 2024. 

For more information or to purchase a blanket, visit Sackcloth & Ashes online at and on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter

Purchase a children's blanket and book to help foster kids at

View all their beautiful blankets, including their full-sized 72"x60" blankets at


Disclosure: I received a complimentary product sample to facilitate my honest review.

Friday, November 13, 2020

Battle Viruses with Smart Care Hand Sanitizers, Soaps and Wipes for the Whole Family! (GIVEAWAY)

I wish I could say that we don't have to deal with COVID-19 anymore, but unfortunately I can't. Combine the pandemic with cold and flu season, and it's even more important now to focus on our health and halting the spread of disease. It's crucial to have a good supply of hand sanitizers, soaps and wipes for the whole family so that we can be safer, whether we're at home, school, work or travelling.

Fortunately, Smart Care has a large variety of products for that very purpose. I love their products for children, such as mini hand sanitizers featuring their favorite characters like Marvel superheroes, Trolls, and Thomas & Friends. Kids will love taking them to school, as well as Smart Care's antibacterial hand wipes featuring the Minions! My teenage son grabbed a pocket-sized hand sanitizer to carry in his backpack at school. 

Adults will also find much to love from Smart Care, such as full-sized liquid hand soaps in a variety of wonderful scents such as Lavender and Ocean Breeze. If you prefer foaming hand soap, they have 5 scrumptious scents such as Orange Blossom & Vanilla and Pink Grapefruit. Plus, their prices are extremely affordable so you can stock up on multiple products. 

Check out these tips from Smart Care on how to select the right sanitizer:

1. Be Sure About Alcohol Percentage

The amount of alcohol in the hand sanitizer is critically important, and the most effective hand sanitizers consist of 60-85% alcohol by volume, so be sure to check the alcohol percentage before purchasing.

2. Check Alcohol Type

Ethanol is proven to be more effective than isopropyl alcohol on its own against viruses. Be sure to check the type of alcohol to make sure you are purchasing the most effective hand sanitizer. 

3. Additional Ingredients

Check out the extra ingredients in the hand sanitizers as ingredients like aloe, which is used in Smart Care hand sanitizers, help to smooth the skin upon application and reduce the dryness associated with alcohol.

4. Proper Application Is Important

In advance of application, make sure to clean all dirt and grease from your hands. Apply a small dab of hand sanitizer to the palm of one hand, then rub your hands together. Make sure the sanitizer has dried before wiping your hands.

5. Select a Brand with a Proven Reputation

Lastly, with the increasing number of brands on the market, make sure to select a brand that has an established reputation for delivering performance and efficacy ~ like Smart Care! 

I hope you'll visit Smart Care today to pick up a wide assortment of products to help your family fight germs together. 


One lucky winner will receive an assortment of hand sanitizers, soaps and wipes from Smart Care! The package will include:

1oz Hand Sanitizer, mixture of Marvel/Kids Licenses (2-3)
Smart Care Minions/Other License Antibacterial Wipes (1)
2oz Smart Care Sanitizer (1)
8oz Smart Care Sanitizer (1)
Smart Care Hand Soap (1)
Smart Care Foaming Hand Soap (1)
Smart Care Multipurpose Wipes (1)

Enter through the Giveaway Tools below. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and ends at 11:59 PM EST on Friday, November 27, 2020.

Disclosure: I received complimentary product samples to facilitate my honest review.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Grow! Book Tour: Giveaway for a $15 Amazon Gift Card (1 Winner) and Bad Bananas eBooks (20 Winners)

Grow! How We Get Food from Our Garden
Food Books for Kids, Book 3
by Karl Beckstrand
Genre: Children's Book

A black child and grandfather till, plant, and harvest fruits, vegetables, flowers, herbs, and grains in a colorful picture book. This tongue twister for children ages 4–7 (preschool–2nd grade) includes online tips for starting your own garden.

Kids love to see things grow. Learn basic gardening and find the animals (revealed in online extras). 325 dyslexic-friendly words by award-winning author and media professor Karl Beckstrand (She Doesn’t Want the Worms: A Mystery [English-Spanish]).

Media professor Karl Beckstrand is the bestselling and award-winning author/illustrator of 23 multicultural/multilingual books and more than 60 ebook titles (reviews by Publisher's Weekly, Kirkus, School Library Journal, The Horn Book, ForeWord Reviews). Raised in San Jose, CA, he has a B.A. in journalism from BYU, an M.A. in international relations from APU, and a broadcast/film certificate from Film A. Academy. Since 2004, he has run Premio Publishing. His survival western, To Swallow the Earth, won a 2016 International Book Award. Beckstrand has presented to Taiwan's Global Leadership for Youth, city and state governments, festivals, and schools. His nationally lauded Y.A. stories, ebook mysteries, nonfiction, Spanish/bilingual/ESL, wordless, career, and STEM books feature ethnically diverse characters -- and usually end with a twist.

Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

Prizes: $15 Amazon gift card – 1 winner,
ebook of Bad Bananas: A Story Cookbook for Kids - 20 winners! 

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Monday, November 09, 2020

DVD Review and Giveaway: Charlie’s Christmas Wish (2 Winners) ~ a New Family Film from Lionsgate!

Charlie's Christmas Wish has arrived on DVD, Digital, and On Demand from Lionsgate -- just in time for the holidays! 

About the film:
In this heartwarming holiday film starring Aiden Turner (“Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”), a troubled war vet’s family finds new hope from a scrappy little rescue dog. Discharged and sent home for the holidays, John (Turner) tries hard to adapt to civilian life -- and to son Jimmy’s new pet, a feisty terrier named Charlie. As the family meets other struggling local veterans, they know it’ll take a miracle to bring peace to them and to John. Good thing Charlie has a direct line to the Man Upstairs... 

My thoughts: 
This movie provides a stirring message about the challenges that veterans face when they return to civilian life. Not only does it affect John Turner, but many other people in his town, some of whom are homeless. As the town bands together to help them, they find the Christmas spirit -- and the veterans find healing through therapy, community assistance, and shared camaraderie. A cute kid and a rescue dog with a hotline to God add to the feel-good spirit of the film. Charlie's Christmas Wish is a great choice for the whole family during the holiday season and all year long!

Check out the trailer below. 



Two (2) lucky winners will receive a DVD copy of the new film from Lionsgate, Charlie’s Christmas Wish! Enter through the Giveaway Tools below. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and ends at 11:59 PM EST on Sunday, November 22, 2020.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this DVD to facilitate my honest review. This post contains my Amazon affiliate link, and I will receive a small commission on items sold through this link.

Friday, November 06, 2020

Book Blitz: "Cleo Can Tie a Bow," by Sybrina Durant

A Rabbit and Fox Story 

Children's Picture Book

Date Published: September 2020

Publisher: Sybrina Publishing


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Cleo loves bows. She wears her hair in a bow and decorates her room with bows. Cleo is bow crazy.

Learning to tie a bow is very difficult for some people but Cleo remembers how to do it from a cute story she once heard. It is about a little rabbit with very long ears and a very helpful fox who shows her what to do to keep them clean.

This is the story of how Cleo learns to tie a “bunny ear” bow. You can follow along with the rabbit and the fox to learn to tie a sash or even shoe laces.

Exercises in manual dexterity build self-esteem in children. Knowing how to tie shoe-strings, scarves and more into a bow is a useful and rewarding skill.

“Teach a child a useful skill. Build confidence and self-esteem that lasts a lifetime.”



About the Author

Sybrina Durant writes both factual and fanciful books. She is the author of the "Learn to Tie with the Rabbit and the Fox" series of books.

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Saturday, October 31, 2020

Product Review: Codi the Robot by Pillar Learning

Most families would probably admit that they’ve been relying a lot more on screen-oriented activities to entertain their kids during the pandemic. When you’re stuck inside for longer periods, it’s easy to turn on the TV, computer or smartphone to pass the time. The holidays are coming up, so why not get the kids something that’s fun and doesn’t rely on passively watching a screen? A toy that perfectly fits that description is a Codi robot from Pillar Learning! Plus, your kids just might learn a few things from Codi, too.
I was given the opportunity to review Codi, and he’s just adorable. (I refer to Codi as “he,” but if you ask him directly whether he’s a boy or girl, he will tell you that he’s a robot, and robots aren’t boys or girls!) Codi can do all kinds of things to entertain your family. For example:
  • He plays over 200 classic and original songs, as well as lullabies for helping kids to sleep. Codi will customize your playlist based on the “like” and “dislike” buttons your child presses.
  • Codi tells over 130 stories using all different voices.
  • Codi can teach your children new habits, like how to brush their teeth, clean up, and take a nap.
  • When you connect Codi to WiFi, you can ask him questions! Codi can currently answer more than 50 questions, which are viewable on the Pillar Learning website.
  • Use Codi with headphones for long car rides or places where quiet is needed.
  • There’s an app for parents so they can manage playlists through their smartphone.
  • Codi comes with an adorable blue snowsuit, and there are more outfits available for purchase. These outfits not only make Codi cute and easy to carry, but also protect him from harm when he falls.
  • You can record personalized messages to each other on Codi!
  • Codi has an 8-10-hour battery life for all-day entertainment.
Pillar Learning is continuously upgrading Codi, adding new stories and features. In fact, they just added new stories about how to celebrate the holidays!

I can’t quit saying it: Codi is adorable! I highly recommend Codi for your holiday gift-giving. Your children will love listening to Codi’s songs and stories, recording messages, dressing Codi, asking him questions, and much more. Visit to learn more and purchase Codi.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary product sample to facilitate my honest review.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

The Chimera's Apprentice Release Blitz: Giveaway for a Signed Paperback!


Book One of a trilogy

(Upper) Middle Grade fantasy adventure

 Date Published: October 15, 2020

Publisher: Rainscape Media Inc.

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Walking talking rats aren’t real, right? After Kyra, 13, is transported from Earth to another world, Antiica, she’s thrust into her father’s war with the rat people, the Raturro, and must save her kidnapped mother. Kyra sets out on a dangerous journey to rescue her and is aided by Coyne, a teen who deserted the army and Mercy, a teen rat girl who was once Kyra’s childhood friend. But it’s Kyra’s new bond with the Chimera, a magical creature that travels through stone, which changes her life completely. The Chimera’s Apprentice is the story of a girl and her monster—and a desperate search for her family.

About the Author

Roslyn Muir is new to middle grade fiction fantasy but feels she comes by it honestly—“I still feel like a ten-year-old making up elaborate adventure stories in my head.” Born in Scotland and now living in Vancouver, Canada, she often uses the similar landscapes of both countries in her stories. Roslyn has another life as an award-winning screenwriter who writes YA stories, family drama and thrillers. She was a writer on the Global/CBS one-hour drama, Ransom, created by Frank Spotnitz (Man in the High Castle). Roslyn has also written several movies that have aired on TV around the world: Washed Away, Stranger in the House, and Reluctant Witness, to name a few. Roslyn also wrote and produced the dramatic feature film, The Birdwatcher, directed by Siobhan Devine. Her half-hour YA comedy, The Tutors, is in development with the CBC.


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Saturday, October 10, 2020

Children's Book Review: "When We Stayed Home," by Tara Fass, LMFT, and Judith A. Proffer

There's no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone. How do parents explain to their children that they can't go to birthday parties or attend school because they might catch a disease? How do they convince them to wear a mask without scaring them? Fortunately, children's book authors are recognizing the need for stories that introduce children to this "new normal" in a way that they can handle. While reading When We Stayed Home, children learn that staying home more just opens up their world to new adventures. In the story, a little boy becomes a "super-helper" by making cookies for the neighbors and waving at friends walking their dog. He discovers new interests, like putting together puzzles and building forts. This book also acknowledges the not-so-good parts of staying home, like missing get-togethers with friends and getting hugs, but little readers learn in the end that while they may not have everything they want, they have everything they need. Best of all, they'll feel less alone when they realize that other kids are going through the same things they are. 

About the book:

When COVID-19 traveled the globe, we were prompted to stay home, wash our hands frequently, socially distance and wear masks to remain safe and help the helpers. For children who don’t yet grasp the concept of time and haven’t weathered enough life to understand the art of endurance, it’s been a particularly complicated and sometimes trying time. 

When We Stayed Home looks at one young boy’s pandemic journey and, through colorful illustrations and heartfelt prose, we see how he has used his trusty imagination and childlike creativity to navigate the trials of staying home day after day, becoming a super-helper in the process while missing family, friends, school and the "normal" life he once knew. From decorating adorable toilet paper-shaped sugar cookies, building forts, painting and doing puzzles to frequent screen dates and dance parties with family and friends, young children will relate to his joys and sadnesses, and how they too found connection and even serene moments of happiness while isolating. The book will comfort, entertain, and stir conversation about feelings and experiences the youngest stay-at-homers have experienced during these improbable times. 
Tara Fass
Tara Fass, LMFT

Written by Tara Fass, LMFT and Judith A. Proffer, the book was inspired by Proffer's five-year-old nephew, who continued to find big moments of mirth in home, nature, adventures and activities while at times tearfully longing for the virus to go far, far away. Licensed Family and Marriage Therapist Fass has worked with families during the pandemic to navigate its bumpy road with tools, optimism and hope. This is their second book collaboration.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book to facilitate my honest review. This post contains my Amazon affiliate link, and I will receive a small commission on purchases made through this link.

Saturday, October 03, 2020

A Back-to-School Giveaway from Prestel: Three Engaging Books that Encourage Imagination and Creative Play

Prestel Publishing recently published three charming picture books that are a great way to keep kids engaged and learning whether at home or school this fall. Learn more below and then find out how you can enter for the chance to win all three books!

How to Spot an Artist
by Danielle Krysa (9/1/2020; ISBN: 9783791374406; Hardcover $16.95; Ages 5+) is a vividly illustrated, funny, and endlessly encouraging picture book “about being an artist, even when someone tells you not to be."

With over 200,000 Instagram followers, Danielle Krysa has helped a lot of people overcome the fear that they "aren't creative," and in How to Spot an Artist, Krysa wants to reach readers as kids before their inner critics arrived on the scene, using her characteristic playfulness, lively illustrations, and humor to help kids overcome negativity about their artistic endeavors -- and to help them redefine what being an artist means. Every page delivers encouragement to the kid who thinks artists all live in cities, or that art has to look like something familiar, or that painting and drawing are the only way to make art. In a world that drastically undervalues creative freedom, Krysa's whimsical paintings and collages joyfully proclaim that art is essential and that artists are everywhere. Additionally, a page at the back of the book includes ideas for art projects -- because who wants fewer art projects? Nobody!

by Britta Teckentrup (9/15/2020; ISBN: 9783791374420; Hardcover $19.95; Ages 8+) takes readers inside a busy school to follow different students through their day -- in class, during free time, at lunch, and through swimming lessons.

We come across a variety of faces and expressions that reflect the enormous range of emotions and experiences that each school day brings. There are arguments and hurt feelings, encouraging hugs and deeply felt smiles. The gentle text explores issues that we've all encountered -- bullying and loneliness as well as friendship and achievement. While the school in this book could exist anywhere, young readers will recognize themselves in this beautifully and compassionately wrought story by bestselling author Britta Teckentrup, whose warm and wonderfully detailed illustrations are a marvelous portal to feelings, facts, and fun.

This Thing Called Life
by Christian Borstlap (10/6/2020; ISBN: 9783791374437; Hardcover $17.95; Ages 5+) shows the many shapes and forms life takes all around us, from the smallest specks of life to the largest creatures.

What is life? It's constantly moving, growing, reproducing, and dying. It's happening now, all the time, and it's everywhere around us. From little helicopter seed pods that float through the air to blue whales in the ocean, the world is filled with all different types of odd and familiar kinds of life. This whimsical picture book helps young readers see the connections between all living things. Author and illustrator Christian Borstlap's furry, feathery, smooth, and spiky creatures crawl, eat, growl, fly, and interact with one another. While most of his creations are imaginary animals, they all depict real things that organisms must do to survive and thrive. Bold and quirky illustrations tug at kids' imaginations and help demonstrate complex concepts that can be hard to put into words. The book leaves lots of room for discussion and for new discoveries with each reading.


One lucky winner will receive all three books from Prestel (ARV $54.85) featured above! Enter through the Giveaway Tools form below. This giveaway is open to U.S. and Canada residents and ends at 11:59 PM ET on Sunday, October 18, 2020.