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Monthly Archives: April 2016

“Counting Thyme” by Melanie Conklin

Here’s my eleven-year-old son’s review of Counting Thyme by Melanie Conklin:

Counting Thyme is an enchanting read that tells the story of Thyme and her cancer-stricken brother Val,  who are forced to move to New York for Val’s treatment. Thyme longs to connect with her friends back in San Diego, but it remains hopeless. Then Thyme remembers the “Thyme Jar,” a jar that her mother made shortly after Val was diagnosed. The “Thyme Jar” has pieces of paper for “me time,” time that Thyme can just be alone and use to her heart’s content.

Thyme’s new school isn’t so bad either, although there are a few jerks at it. Jake, on the other hand, is not a jerk. Quite the opposite, in fact. And then there’s a new adult in Thyme’s life who makes things better.

All in all, I think Counting Thyme is definitely a worthwhile read. Kids from ages eight to fourteen would like it. It is full of deep emotions.IMG_20160430_154201

Guest Post: A Look at the Works of Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell

For decades, Chris Riddell has delighted families with unique storylines along with equally impressive fantastical line drawings. Last year, the award-winning British author was bestowed the title of Children’s Laureate 2015-2017, and in honor of his accomplishments, here’s an overview of some of his most notable works of literature.


The Ottoline Series One of his more recent literary plus illustrative pieces is The Ottoline series, composed of three novels: Ottoline and the Yellow Cat, Ottoline Goes to School, and Ottoline at Sea. The first book in the series has won a number of prestigious awards, including a Red House Children’s Book Award and a Nestlé Children’s Book Prize. A mystery trilogy for kids aged 7 years and up, Ottoline is a curious and inquisitive girl that has a knack for solving unexplained occurrences in and around her neighborhood. Join Ottoline and her furry feline companion Mr. Munroe in discovering clues with enchanting, quirky illustrations.


The Goth Girl Series Riddell takes on 18th century Gothic tradition with a humorous twist, starring Ada Goth, daughter of the famous cycling poet Lord Goth. The two live in Ghastly-Gorm Hall, and in the first book Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse, winner of the Costa Children’s Book Award in 2013, Ada works with new friends to stop an evil plan set to occur on her father’s metaphorical bike race. The second book titled Goth Girl and the Fete Worse Than Death features celebrities like Nigella Sugarspoon and Gordon Ramsgate that compete in the Ghastly-Gorm Bake Off, while familiar characters and references can be recognized by any bookworm in Goth Girl and the Wuthering Fright. Overall, the witty allusions to real life characters, in addition to the historical “footnotes,” make the series enjoyable for all ages.

The Emperor of Absurdia Another book that garnered the Nestlé Children’s Book Prize as told by Lisa Dwyer Hogg of Tootsa, The Emperor of Absurdia shares a world with children that is anything but ordinary. Follow a young boy as he stumbles upon a dreamland called Absurdia, where the sky is a sea of snoring fish and the umbrellas are trees and the trees are birds. Fit for young readers, children will be captivated by this storybook adventure through both the words and the pictures.


Wendel’s Workshop Stories resonate with families more when there’s an underlying message in them, and that’ exactly what you’ll find with Wendel’s Workshop. A tale of an inventive mouse, Wendel goes through tests and trials of a cleaning robot, tossing his failures into the bin but he eventually learns the importance of recycling and waste management. Check out ChildrensLaureate.org.uk for a complete list of Riddell’s literary and illustrative works.

Exclusively written for Teaching My Baby To Read By MommyDreamer

MommyDreamer is a regular mommy with a dream. She attends to her two angels almost 24/7. When she is not mommying, she can be found daydreaming and sharing mommy hacks she discovered online. Watch out for her blog soon!

“The Remarkable Journey of Charlie Price” by Jennifer Maschari

Grief, magic, and a secret passage. That sounds like an intriguing combination, doesn’t it? Here’s what my ten-year-old has to say about The Remarkable Journey of Charlie Price by Jennifer Maschari. He read it start to finish in one day!

The Remarkable Journey of Charlie Price is quite an interesting concept. Charlie’s mom had cancer and died. Charlie and his sister, Imogen, are grieving. But something isn’t right. Charlie is seeing less and less of Imogen, and when he does see her she is disgruntled and can’t remember anything. Charlie discovers Imogen is going through a secret passage in her room to a parallel universe where their mom is alive. It almost seems too good to be true. Is this just a lucky discovery or sinister magic at work? Read the book to find out!

This book really tugged at my heartstrings. I think this book would be good for a range of kids from seven to fourteen. A wide variety of kids would like it, especially those who enjoyed tear jerkers and magic.