Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Blog Tour Stop and Giveaway: Mrs. Claus Takes the Reins!

“It’s Christmas Eve morning, and everything’s set. So why hasn’t Santa Claus woken up yet?” Because he’s sick! He’s stuffy, he’s sneezy, it’s gross, you don’t want him around your Christmas gifts. Mrs. Claus has an idea, though – she’s going to go in his place!

Mrs. Claus Takes the Reins, by Sue Fliess/Illustrated by Mark Chambers,
(Sept. 2018, Two Lions), $17.99, ISBN: 978-1503936980
Ages 3-7

Mrs. Claus gets right to work, assembling teams, mapping routes, and checking the weather. The elves help her pack up, and she’s off into the night! Despite some weather mischief and a bird strike, Mrs. Claus has it under control and is having the time of her life, and comes home to a party in her honor!

Mrs. Claus Takes the Reins is a fun, upbeat rhyming tale that’s loaded with humor and a Mrs. Claus who ain’t just home baking cookies. She’s a wild-haired redhead with fabulous cats-eye glasses and a green cardigan (I’m a librarian, I notice these things), and she’s letting Santa know what’s what. When she takes to the skies, she does it in style, rocking an aviator cap, a green plaid coat, and a cup of coffee – no Santa clone here, she’s making Christmas her own! I love this hip departure from tradition.

The digital illustrations are cartoony and colorful,. The pages alternate between full-bleed and white backgrounds, with the artwork popping off the stark background to really draw readers to the action. The digital snow is fantastic, with a real 3-d feel to the flakes as Mrs. Claus navigates through a blizzard, and the rainbow fuel looks is muddled and smoky. Great effects that will get the kids pointing and talking.

Mrs. Claus Takes the Reins is absolute fun holiday reading – add this one to your Christmas Eve story pile.

Sue Fliess is the author of more than twenty children’s books, including Shoes for Me!, A Dress for Me!, and Books for Me!, all illustrated by Mike Laughead; and Let’s Build, illustrated by Miki Sakamoto. Sue loves the holiday season and hopes she made it onto Santa’s “nice” list this year! She lives with her family and their dog in Northern Virginia. Learn more about Sue online at
Mark Chambers is an award-winning author and illustrator of more than thirty-five children’s books. In 2013, Mark won the Sheffield Children’s Picture Book Award and was short-listed for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize. In 2017, his artwork entitled “We Will Remember” was short-listed for the AOI World Illustration Awards. Mark lives and works in the United Kingdom and once spent Christmas in the Arctic Circle. Learn more about Mark online at

Want a chance at winning a copy of Mrs. Claus Takes the Reins? Check out the Rafflecopter giveaway!

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Can you help Yoga Frog cheer up?

Yoga Frog, by Nora Carpenter, (May 2018, Running Press Kids), $14.99, ISBN: 9780762464678

Recommended for readers 4-10

Yoga Frog likes to start his day off with some stretching, but sometimes he’s grumpy. He’s not much of a morning frog, and frankly, I don’t blame him. But Yoga Frog has a secret mood lifter for those tough to drag yourself out of bed mornings: yoga!

Yoga Frog introduces young readers to 18 different poses, each illustrated by our friend and guide, Yoga Frog. Each spread is brightly colored, with one page describing the pose, and the pose’s name in both English and Sanskrit; the facing page has our green amphibian yogi demonstrating the pose. Not every pose maps to its “real” English name; for instance, what grownups may know as “warrior” is “giraffe” here, in keeping with the nature-themed names. It doesn’t matter here, it’s gives the kids something fun to relate to and envision as they stretch and bend, releasing those endorphins and giving them a spot of Zen. The digital art is simple and sweet, with a big-eyed, friendly frog working his way through his asanas. A note to parents reminds caregivers about the benefits of yoga and breath awareness, and there’s a fun poster depicting the poses – not in order – that you can hang up and have kids refer to during a yoga storytime.

This nicely fits in with my yoga storytime books as a nice instructional. If you have a yoga storytime program, this is a nice add; ditto, if you need some yoga books for your collection. There’s a lovely emphasis on building childhood mindfulness lately – and it’s well-needed – so I’d jump on it.

Posted in Early Reader, Fiction, Humor, Preschool Reads

Can you really have Too Many Moose?

too many mooseToo Many Moose!, by Lisa Bakos/Illustrated by Mark Chambers, (Jul. 2016, Sourcebooks Jabberwocky), $16.99, ISBN: 9781492609353

Recommended for ages 4-8

Martha decides to get a pet, and does a lot of thinking about what pet she should get. When she decides on a moose, she’s delighted – and decides that if one moose is marvelous, more must be magnificent! But what happens when Margaret finds herself with too many moose?

Too Many Moose is an adorable story of a a little girl who finds herself in way over her head when she accumulates too many moose. It’s a counting book that wonderfully uses rhyme and alliteration, drawing readers and listeners in and inviting them to laugh along at all the hijinks the moose get themselves into. The cartoony illustrations and bold, black text are eye-catching and adorable. I’ve read this with at my family storytime, and it went over huge (and I realized that wow, there are a lot of moose storybooks for kids). We counted the moose, and we imagined what other sorts of trouble the moose could get into when Margaret wasn’t looking.

Add this one to your read-aloud collection, and your picture book collections for sure. This is going to be a storytime standard for a long time.

You can visit Sourcebooks’ Virtual Moose Mart and choose your own moose – show him (or her) off on social media and hashtag it #toomanymoose to share in the fun! Here’s mine.


An activity kit and educator resources are forthcoming at the Virtual Moose Mart – keep checking in!