> Bless Their Hearts Mom: October 2011
Monday, October 31, 2011

Giveaway: $20 Olive Garden Gift Card

Fall 2011 button 

Well, it's finally here!

Yes, Halloween! WOO HOO!

But that also means the END of our Welcome to Fall Ya'll month long bonanza here at BTHM!

So as a final giveaway to reward my WONDERFUL readers, old and new,
I thought a lunch for you (or dinner) would be JUST the thing to usher in Thankful November!

So how about a $20 gift card to Olive Garden?

olive garden gift card

I knew you would like it!

Did you find the Halloween pumpkin to get those extra 5 entries on every giveaway?
It looked like this:

pumpkin bonus logo

And I'm NOT going to tell you where it was! 

That's my Halloween TRICK- you have to hunt for it!
BUT I will give you a hint, as my TREAT:
Think APPLE....

Ready to enter the Olive Garden gift card giveaway?

Here ya go!

Happy Halloween!

From our house to yours,
Have a 
FUN and

It's a 99 cent E-Book Sale with Melissa Foster!

99 cents sale melissa foster

You know how much we love Melissa Foster's book on this site! 

Now in honor of her latest release, Come Back to Me (our review is coming soon!), she's having a 99 cent sale on all her ebooks, plus those of her friends at Womens Literary Cafe!

Here's the video trailer for the book:

So check out the party, starting Nov.1, and see what books YOU can catch up on! 

PLUS, you can enter to win an autographed, leather-bound edition of COME BACK TO ME.

SO see me over at Melissa's website!

Puppies AND Babies- OH MY!!!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Puppies vs. Babies for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Well it's Halloween time, so we're all off to dress the kid and the dog, but who is REALLY cuter?

For me, it's always been our daughter- yeah I'm partial!- but that's because she was SUCH an adorable baby that everybody wanted to take pictures of her all the time (no wonder she could respond to a camera 'click' at 4 months old!). Where Marley (OH how she has lived up to THAT name) came to us at over 10 pounds, so she was out of that adorable puppy stage (you know where you WANT to smell their puppy breath?). Which is better? I think it's more of a 'at this moment' kinda thing!


Now the puppies and babies at the Puppies vs. Babies online contest sponsored by Animal Planet, are a whole OTHER matter! These pictures will melt your heart and give you a hard time choosing between the two!

Encourage your friends to stop by and vote too! You have until November 23rd to vote for the cutest one in the bunch of Puppies or Babies, thought Saturday, the 29th. Then the top 16 vote getters will go head to head!, to come down to one baby and one puppy, for the final round of voting ! The winning puppy or baby gets $5,000. Talk about a great start to the college fund, or a whole lot of puppy chow!

I had a HARD time selecting who was cuter. My tallies came out almost the same! You need to head on  over and vote for the 100 Puppies vs. Babies and see who YOUR favorite is!





Visit Sponsor's Site

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Book Review and Giveaway: Thou Shalt Kill by Daniel Blake

Fall 2011 button 

Well it's almost Halloween, so only appropriate that we have a mystery to giveaway today!

Though Shalt Kill  cover
SynopsisHardened Pittsburgh homicide detective, Franco Patrese, is a man who has lost his belief in humanity, and the latest serial killer stalking his town isn’t quite restoring his faith. Patrese knows that this vigilante murderer is the most dangerous kind, and he's prepared to go into some dark places mentally and physically to catch his killer.  Partnered with old timer but experienced detective Mark Beradino, they discover the charred body of the first victime, Michael Redwine, a renowned brain surgeon, found in one of the city's most luxurious apartment blocks. 

Then Father Kohler, a Catholic bishop, is set alight in the confessional at his Cathedral. But they soon discover that these murders are just the first in a series of increasingly shocking and seemingly unconnected murders. Patrese's investigation uncovers medical scams, high-class prostitution, and religious obsession. But what Patrese doesn't realize is how close to the case he really is, how connected they all are, and how it will take a terrible personal betrayal to uncover the truth.

About the Author: Daniel Blake (actually author Boris Starling's psuedonym) graduated with a First from Cambridge and went on to be a journalist before turning to fiction writing full-time, including working at The Daily Telegraph and The Sun, in Britain. Blake is actually his psuedonym. He has worked for a corporation that specializes in kidnap negotiations and confidential investigations.He lives in Dorest, England, with his wife and children.

Review: This is a hefty book at 448 pages, but it just flies when you're reading it! It is the second in the Franco Patrese series (Soul Murder came before it), but you do not have to read the previous book to enjoy this one! This is a fast paced thriller mystery that will keep you guessing and rethinking your thoughts on not only the plot, but religion, terrorism and the judicial system. Yup, it packs a whole lot of punches, including a surprise ending that will leave you breathless!

This is a great mystery and I can't wait to go back and read the first 2 books, and then new book in the series (CIty of the Dead) , which will be out NEXT year, and will be set in New Orleans! Woo Hoo!

Winners Waiting for Halloween

cat n pumpkin

1. Fall Pack #2- #39 Cathy W

2. Winnie the Pooh DVD GIft Pack-#27 Linda K

3. Darkness, My Old friend- #6 Patsy H

All winners have been notified by email!

Don't forget to HUNT FOR THE SPECIAL PUMPKIN, for those extra FIVE entries for all current giveaways!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Halloween How-To: Extreme Face Painting by Brian and Nick Wolfe

Fall 2011 button 

Well Halloween is ONLY TWO days away!
Can I get a WOO HOO? !!!

Are YOU ready?
Are the kids jumping off the walls yet? Yeah mine too!

Did the Tiger Face Post from yesterday get you thinking about adding something to your princess or butterfly??

Well Extreme Face Painting: 25 FRIENDLY Step-by-Step Demos by Brian and Nick Wolfe can help you out! This book has the PERFECT butterfly for you to do. AND it's so simple, you'll be able to use for ANY event with your daughter, including birthday parties! The book makeup faces that are perfect for festivals, plays, and even tailgating! The video tutorials offer point-by-point references on how to apply a range and depth of color, and effects, to make your creations truly unique!

And here's the butterfly:

And the instructions:
(you can click on the photo it make it bigger!)

1. Lay in the yellow center of the butterfly’s wings with a sponge, placing angled lines around the inside corners of the eyes.

2. Also with a sponge, apply orange next to the yellow centers, painting over the eyelids.

3. Still using a sponge, add neon pink farther out on the wings and over the eyes.

4. Dab on blue to the outer edges of the wings using a sponge. Allow the blue to lightly mix with the pink where the two colors meet to create a hint of purple. Add the green body between the wings using a no. 3 round. Make sure the body is small so that it draws attention to the eyes and not the nose.

5. With a no. 3 round, outline the butterfly wings in black. Add teardrop shapes at the bottom of the wings and slightly scallop the outer edges. Outline the body as well, dividing it into three segments. Paint the antennae, working from the head of the butterfly up; lightly flick your brush up off the face as you reach the tips. Use a no. 3 round to add small black dots to the tips of the antennae and fill in any missing color holes

6. Using a no. 3 round and some black, divide the wings into sections, scalloping between the pink and blue. Add some more black sectioned areas to the wings and reshape the outline if needed. Also use a no. 3 round to add tiny white highlights to the antennae and body. Fill in the lips with purple using a cotton swab.

Pretty simple. right? I KNOW you can do it! Now if only my Princess would let me paint one on her! Kiddo has hated face paint forever, we can not get any on her. Course this saves us alot of money at festivals, so I'm not complaining!

Don't forget about their other book- it's perfect for the boys and teenagers!

Extreme Face Painting: 25 FIENDISH Step-by-Step Demos (Enhanced Edition) has a frightening range of fantastical faces for Halloween, plays and even parties. From zombies, witches, vampires, yetis, orcs, and even cyborgs! Yup, a teenagers dream! With the tutorials in Extreme Face Painting: FIENDISH, you might even scare yourself (case in point- look at the cover!) . 

At under $10, these books are a steal! The enhanced versions of the books (with video!) are available through iTunes for the iPad and iPhone for $5.99 as well as at Barnes & Noble for the Nook Color. The regular ebook is also available at Amazon for the Kindle and the print book is available wherever books are sold.

Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received these instructions and info, free of charge, from F+W Media, for blog posting purposes on this blog. No other compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about it.

Recipe Weekend: Want a NEW Way to use that Pumpkin?

Fall 2011 button 

 How about Pumpkin Chips? 

Yup, you heard me right- a crispy snack made from PUMPKIN!

While perusing through some old Southern Living magazines (aka pull recipes and donate the rest to the local hospital!), I cam across this really unique pumpkin recipe and I HAD to tell ya'll about it!

First the recipe really isn't aimed at carving pumpkins, though you MIGHT be able to make it work, depending on HOW you cut into the pumpkin to remove the innards! This would be better to use say a 5 pound pumpkin, and have them to eat WHILE carving your pumpkin this weekend.

5 lb pumpkin
Peanut Oil
Sea Salt or Seasoned Salt

1. Cut the pumpkins in half and scrape out the seeds and stringy mess. Use a paring knife, or a vegetable peeler to take the rind off. 
2. Cut each half into quarters, and cut the quarters crosswise into about 1/16″ inch thick slices, if you want them more like fries. If you want thin ones, as pictured, then use your vegetable peeler to make the thin strips.
3. Fry the slices, in batches, about 3 minutes each,or until crisp. 
4. Drain, sprinkle with sea salt, or seasoned salt, if desired. 

This may seem really odd recipe, but pumpkins aren't much different from sweet potatoes and zucchinis, and we fry them up without hesitation! AND it's a great Fall treat, as our early American ancestors used to can the slices, so you can have a mini-history lesson while making them!

From: Southern Living Magazine, October 1998 edition

Book Review: Just Like You by Robert Kroupa, illus by Hannah E. Harrison

Fall 2011 button 

Up today is one of Kiddo,  and mine's, favorite books of the last month!

Synopsis: Just Like You tells the tale of Harry, a deaf field mouse and his best friend Boris, a spider with a bad leg. (don't they look just TOO adorable?) They live in The Piney Forest with the other animals, who taunt them because they don't act like the other animals. After repeated attempts to fit in, a discouraged Boris and Henry are forced to stay by themselves in the outskirts of the forest. When a fire threatens the lives and homes of the forest bullies,  Boris and Henry see past the bullying and rally to help their fellow critters and teach us about honor and character. 

About the Author: Robert Kroupa is a Chicago real estate developer, inventor (with two appearances on ABC-TV's SHARK TANK) and civic activist. He wrote this for young children in response to the epidemic of bullying. Said Kroupa, "Through my personal experiences from childhood, helping children understand the value of tolerance and inclusion from a young age has been a passion of mine. I hope that this book will inspire children to accept, appreciate and celebrate the similarities and differences in all of us."

About the Illustrator: This is Hannah E. Harrison's first children book! 
Since graduating from Colby, Hannah has become a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), and a Signature Member of the Cider Painters of America and The Hilliard Society.She has donated her artwork to fundraising auctions for humane societiesShe has won seventeen awards for her paintings. She has painted portraits, signs, murals, theatre sets, fine art, and, since moving to Oklahoma in 2005, from her native New Hampshire. Check out her website for her wonderful art! 

Review: We LOVE this book! The illustrations are SO gorgeous, I just HAD to show you the book trailer! Aren't they adorable? Kiddo was hooked from the opening page! In a change from normal, she wanted to STAY on each page and look at the illustrations THOROUGHLY! There are many cute things in every page's background, that it's almost like going on a treasure hunt! We have a family member-to-be who is deaf, so Kiddo has been very conscientous about learning signing from Nina on Sprout! So she was really touched by the story and we had discussions on EVERY page! 

I was really surprised at how much a 4 yr old comprehended about bullying by kids to other kids who are different because of a disability.  And that really is the beauty of this book- it invites parent-child discussion about a VERY sensitive subject that can domino into a discussion about bullying against (or by) or child. It not only entertains, it teaches. This is THE book to share with your child's teacher and class- every child needs to read it! The plot may be 'Disneyana" but it's true and it's simplicity makes it more accessible to kids. Kudos to Mr. Kroupa for an excellent kids book, and we're looking forward to more from him!

Bonus: 100% of the profits from each sale of this adorable book are earmarked by YOU, the buyer,  to one of four charities, designated by the author, including The Hollyrod Foundation, Pacer Center, Art of Elysium, and The Center for Discovery!  Challenge Unlimited, a not-for-profit organization based in Alton, Illinois, serves as the JUST LIKE YOU fulfillment house. Its mission is to provide work related opportunities to individuals with disabilities.  Check out the book's website for more info!

How great is that? This holiday season and can share a wonderful book with your child AND give back, showing your child concern and caring for others!

Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received this book, free of charge, from 
the author via Bostick Communications, for review purposes on this blog. No other compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about it.

Giveaway: VeggieTales 25 Favorite Silly Songs cd

Kiddo has discovered VeggieTales and I couldn't be happier! I know I don't have to pre-watch ANY of their videos, as I know each one is perfectly suitable for her to watch, and each focuses on a bible story, many of which she already knows!

As a VeggieTales ambassador, I am having fun showing the videos to a new audience of kids, and enjoying the love that kids, already familiar with them, have for the bunch of funny vegetables (and fruit! says Kiddo, citing the fact that Bob the Tomato is really a fruit...I think we taught her too much when gardening! ha ha). So I was very happy to receive a prize pack from them, and to be able to share an item with you my lovely readers for a giveaway!

Yup, Today for an extra special giveaway, we have the VeggieTales 25 Favorite Silly Songs cd!
25 Favorite Silly Songs cd cover

Track Listing
 The Water Buffalo Song
2. The Hairbrush Song
3. The Dance of the Cucumber
4. The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything
5. Love My Lips
6. Song of the Cebu'
7. His Cheeseburger
8. The Yodeling Veterinarian of the Alps
9. The New and Improved Bunny Song
. Endangered Love
11. Larry's High Silk Hat
12. Belly Button
13. School House Polka
14. Larry's Blues
15. Pizza Angel
16. My Baby Elf
17. Lance the Turtle
18. Monkey
19. The Biscuit of Zazzamarandabo
20. Sneeze If You Need To
21. Donuts for Benny
22. Where Have All the Staplers Gone?
23. Pants
24. Goodnight Junior
25. The Hopperena

Yup, you know what this cd to give to your kids/grandkids for Christmas! So get to entering!

And be sure afterwards, to check out the VeggieTales shop- right now their have dvds for ONLY $6.97, as part of their Fall Sale!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Halloween How-To: Extreme Face Painting by Brian and Nick Wolfe

Fall 2011 button 

Well Halloween is ONLY THREE days away!
Can I get a WOO HOO? !!!

Are YOU ready?
DO the kids have everything for their costume?
What about their faces? Are you including them in the kid's costume design?

Two new books can help you make your kids' faces look like a professional makeup artist did them: How-To: Extreme Face Painting by Brian and Nick Wolfe. They have 2 books to meet everyone's needs: Fiendish and Friendly, AND you can download them, so you can pick them up at the last minute! Ya gotta LOVE the internet! 

Both the Wolfe's are award-winning special effects artists and these 2 video-enhanced ebooks show regular people (aka you and me) how we can make the most out-of-this-world face painting effects. Check out the video promo below, then continue reading for an example from their books that you can do!

 Did you like that tiger? Pretty neat huh? The Wolfe's were great enough to send over step by step photo instructions, for our Welcome to Fall Ya'll bonanza! 
Here's what it looks like again!

1 With a sponge, lay in white eye spots, painting directly over the eyelids. Add the white of the muzzle, painting around where the nostrils will be. Add white to the cheek and chin, applying the paint in strokes that move from the center of the face out toward the ears. Place thin white spots under the eyes.

2 Add the orange basecoat of fur, then stipple it into the white to blend.

3 Using a sponge, apply brown in the corners of the eyes and along the sides of the nose. Paint a widow’s peak on the forehead and add brown to the lash line, exaggerating the eyes. Use the edge of the sponge to blend. Color the underside of the nose with orange, then switch to a no. 3 round for pastel pink. With a no. 6 round and black, define the lips and muzzle

4 Further develop the shape of the eyes using a no. 3 round and black. Add black dots curving down along the lines of the mouth, placing smaller dots closer to the center. Suggest fur at the base of the muzzle and jawline, stroking your brush upward from the bottom.

5 Using a no. 6 round and black, add the stripes. Start at the corner of the eyes, and use teardrop shapes that face away from the eyes and make curves that go from thick to thin. While stylizing the stripes, be sure to keep them symmetrical.

6 With the same brush and color, add stripes to the center of the forehead and around the face, using the shape of the face as your guide. All Done!

Not so hard when it's broken down like this is it?

You might want to get the Extreme Face Painting: 25 FRIENDLY Step-by-Step Demos (Enhanced Edition) book and have it on hand for the whole year! It has sweet, cute, bold and heroic faces, perfect for any costume for Halloween, festivals, plays, and parties! IThe faces in this volume include birds, butterflies, knights, monkeys, a car, a piglet, starry skies, and even kissing fish! The enhanced edition also features video tutorials for point-by-point references on how to apply a range and depth of color and effects to make your creations hyper-realistic.- a plus for those who want to follow along!

The other book, Extreme Face Painting: 25 FIENDISH Step-by-Step Demos (Enhanced Edition), will allow you to create a frightening range of fantastical faces for Halloween, plays, parties, and more. From zombies, witches, and vampires, as you’ve never achieved them before, to more unusual denizens of the dark like yetis, orcs, and cyborgs! Yup, a teenage boys dream! With the tutorials in Extreme Face Painting: FIENDISH, you might even scare yourself (case in point- look at the video above!) . 

At under $10, they are a steal! The enhanced versions of the books (with video!) are available through iTunes for the iPad and iPhone for $5.99 as well as at Barnes & Noble for the Nook Color. The regular ebook is also available at Amazon for the Kindle and the print book is available wherever books are sold.

Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received these instructions and info, free of charge, from F+W Media, for blog posting purposes on this blog. No other compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about it.

Guest Post: Seeds of Autumn by Kimberly Brock

Fall 2011 button 

Does Fall make you reflect? It does for me, and I know it does for Kimberly, reading this wonderful Guest Post she sent us today! Take a ride with Kimberly down memory lane!

Every year we load up and ride through the twisting mountain highways that lead to this busy pumpkin farm, and always, I’m surprised by how beautiful the light is as it filters through the changing leaves. I expect the colors and the crisp air and the wonderful smell of earth and fruit and cut hay; I remember it and look forward to it all year. But it never fails that somehow, I have forgotten the exact sharp edge of tart apples or the explosion of shapes and colors that are the pumpkins, lining the fields where we meander in wonder. No matter how many times we return to the same little hollow, or how I cherish that experience, I can’t seem to hold its perfect clarity. By the time next year rolls around, I will have lost some of the charm of this year’s visit and I’ll be struck anew by the pure fall air, the dome of blue sky, the thick, golden haze that casts the whole day under a spell of ripe nostalgia.

pumpkin farm

This year, I stand in that rich, fertile valley and think, what other moments in my life will come and go, and be forgotten so easily, if I’m not paying close attention?

I look to my husband as he pushes a wheelbarrow through the rows of enormous orange pumpkins, smiling and calling to our three children. His back is strong; his arms can hold a four-year-old and a thirty dollar gourd without fail. The sun catches sparks off his toffee-colored hair and I see the curve of his neck, warm and sweet, just as it was when he was a boy. I want to kiss it now as I did then. And I think, catch it now, like pixie dust, before it slips through your fingers.

I look at my two sons, one growing taller, all arms and legs as he strides off toward his teen years, one still darting around our knees, the constant barer of lizards and toads and creepy crawlies. They gallivant across a green lawn to climb an old stump. They balance on stones in a fast-running stream and are guaranteed to ruin their shoes in the cold water. Their wide eyes and giggles tell me they don’t care about mud or frozen toes. My daughter has grown from a fairy princess to a dreamy pre-teen, almost as tall as me, I notice. She keeps up with the boys, but also steps away from them now. I catch her sitting by the stream, her face turned up to the sunlight, her gaze so far away I know I can never follow. And
I think, oh God, go where I can not. And don’t let me forget. Remind me to look into their faces when they tell me their dreams or their corny jokes, and bind them to my heart.

The sun slips lower and the shadows lengthen. We’ve filled our bellies with warm fruit pastries and popcorn and cider. Our trunk is packed with the glory of the season, glowing orange and green and soft yellow; colors of summer’s bounty, of life, reminders that we are blessed. And as we bounce along the gravel path, heading home, I look back at the sleepy valley, bustling with people who’ve all come there for the same reason: pumpkins. And memories. And seeds that will bring those moments back to us in their fullness in another season, when we’ll need their autumn sweetness.

kimberly brock

Kimberly Brock is releasing her first book, The River Witch,  in May of 2012.

Giveaway: Pampers Cruisers, Pampers Wipes and Let's Rock! Elmo

Fall 2011 button 

If there was one thing that got us through Kiddo's early years, it was Pampers. Without fail, they were our diaper of choice, and as soon as she got into Pampers Cruisers, we were ecstatic as they really moved with her and did the job!

pampers cruisers
The NEW Pampers Cruisers have the same great fit, with new Sesame Street designs that are bright and cheerful! The improved diaper design offers a three-way fit that adapts to babies little waists, legs and bottoms. The diapers have also been enhanced with a longer absorbent area and new soft quilted back sheet, like their Swaddlers diapers. To celebrate their 50th Anniversary (!!!) and the new designs, Pampers is hosting a "30 Days of Play & Giveaways" giveaway bonanza on their website!

pampers sesame st giveawayJust click on the left side of the screen (if the link goes to their wall page), and participate in daily Sesame Street trivia for a chance at exciting prizes. Each day a new question and set of prizes will be offered giving you a few chances at winning a pack of newly improved Pampers Cruisers or Sesame Street items– like furniture and toys, and event tickets to Sesame Place. The big prize? A year’s supply of diapers and an all-inclusive, four-day/three night vacation for two adults and two children (age 15 or under) to any of the four Beaches Resort’s “Sesame Street Caribbean Adventure” in Turks & Caicos or Jamaica! I know THAT got you excited! But you need to hurry, as the contest is ALMOST OVER!

And to help make our Welcome to Fall Yall Bonanza end on a high note, Pampers has offered ONE BTHM a Pampers Cruisers "Play-A-Palooza” prize package ($100 value!) of their own, which will include:
lets rock elmo

  1. A Jumbo Pack of newly improved Pampers Cruisers with 3-Way Fit diapers (sizes 3-7 only)
  2. A 64-Count Tub of Pampers Wipes 
  3. Let’s Rock! Elmo, who’s ready to take the stage singing and making music! Elmo comes with his very own microphone, tambourine and a drum set and sings sings six rockin’ songs. Toddlers can choose which instrument Elmo plays, and he magically recognizes which one you give him.
Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received this giveaway, free of charge, from Pampers and Paine PR, for review purposes on this blog. No other compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about it.

Book Review: Curious Critters by David FitzSimmons

Fall 2011 button 

Well it's Halloween time, so anything creepy, crawly is appropriate, right?
This new book is perfect!

This is a different style review today- let me know how you like it!

curious critters cover
Bellville, Ohio, author and photographer David FitzSimmons has a unique approach to animal portraiture, and he loves sharing it with kids. Instead of seeking rare animals in exotic locations, David photographs common animals—many found in your own back yard—against plain, white backgrounds.  The resulting images are striking (as you can see from the cover photo on the left!).

David’s unconventional approach allows animals’ colors, textures, shapes, and “personalities” to shine through. Kids focus on the animals. That’s when the learning begins. David explains, “White backgrounds eliminate distractions and help young readers notice clues about animals’ behaviors, diets, life cycles, and habitats.” This is very true, as Kiddo was immediately entranced with the pictures and almost didn't WANT me reading to her, so was SO taken by the animals!

Besides the extraordinary photography, each of the twenty-one Curious Critters gets a chance to tell its story. And that was why Kiddo said, "OK Mama, you can read", after she realized how the animal was talking TO her, and she wasn't being lectured about the animal! Take, for example, the jabbery jay (picture page shown below),who explains that he loves to imitate other birds:

Keeeeee-arr. Kee-eeeee-arr. Ha! I scared you with my hawk call, didn’t I? You thought I was coming to get you. Actually, I’m just a jabbery jay, but I love to imitate hawks and other birds. 

blue jay and crawfish page

We have Blue Jays AND Hawks in our yard, so Kiddo was immediatly drawn to this page and it's words! She got tongue tied she got so excited about "YES, our Jay does that too!". Then she saw the crawfish and gotten even more excited, as they are one of her favorite foods! She had no idea their legs grew BACK if taken off, so she was super excited about learning something NEW!

We have had to 'read' this book EVERY night since it came in- it has supplanted every book Kiddo has! She adores going through all the pages and hearing the animals talking to her about their lives (I have to admit, I had to start adding more dialogue, we've read it so much! Talk about keeping Mom on her toes!). Afterwards we HAVE to go through the additional natural history spread with all the Critters, so she can identify them all by their pictures! Then we have to go to the two-page spread of life-size silhouettes, so she can identify the Critters again. This one is harder, as one shape is changed from the original photos, there are some reversed silhouettes, and colors represent different aspects of the creatures. It's like having 2 extra LEARNING games included! After that we have to go through the photos on the covers and flyleafs too! Bonus time! LOL.

flying squirrel
David hopes that Curious Critters will inspire children and adults to conserve nature. “To protect our natural world, we first have to care about it. I hope that my animal pictures allow readers to see common animals—from frogs and flying squirrels (pictured left) to caterpillars and katydids—in a whole new and meaningful way. I hope the photography captivates even the most reluctant readers.” I really think it will! Kiddo is not a fan of snakes and bugs, but the ones in this book totally fascinate her and she has renewed appreciation for Jumping Spiders now!

Curious Critters is perfect for ALL kids, boys and girls, in grades K-5, and should be on every teacher's list! Before David began writing the "animal talks" accompanying each photo, he reviewed the National Research Council’s life science standards for grades K-5! That's how dedicated he was to this book- and it really shows!  Plus you can go to the Curious Critters' website and get MORE games, coloring ages, teacher aids AND stories (yup, we need those!). You can even buy matching postcards of some of the photos from the book!

This book is going on our list of presents for the cousins for Christmas, and I will be getting a copy for Kiddo's classroom as well! Consider it if you want to make a donation to YOUR child's school!

About the AuthorDavid FitzSimmons is a freelance photographer and writer,  as well as a university professor. He  photographs and writes for various magazines, including Outdoor Photographer and PopularPhotography, newspapers, and online publications. David was inspired to photograph and write about nature by his parents, and is one of ONLY five Sigma Pro photographers in North America!. He is assisted in his natural history endeavors by his wife, Olivia, a naturalist, and his two daughters, Sarah and Phoebe. Visit his website for more info! AND check out his blog for STUNNING nature photography and some great advice on how to get those brilliant shots!

Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received this book, free of charge, from the author, via Direct Contact PR, for review purposes on this blog. No other compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about it.

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