World Book Review: Gusto & Gecko Travel to New Orleans


Gusto and Gecko are two dinosaurs with a time machine. And they are ready to travel the world! In the second book of The Curious Travels of Gusto & Gecko Series, the best friends find themselves marching in a Mardi Gras parade, eating wonderful local foods and cheering at a good old American football game. Readers experience the lively jazz music in the French Quarter and smell of freshly cooked beignets at Cafe du Monde right along with these two visitors. In what turns out to be anything but an ordinary Sunday afternoon, the two friends find themselves in the marshlands and must escape the jaws of a hungry alligator before returning home with, of course, a few souvenirs.

With adventure, humour, and a generous dose of local flavour, talented author Longy Han brings the wonders of New Orleans and Creole culture to young readers.  Visiting historic landmarks, modern attractions, and everything in between, Gusto and Gecko are perfect tour guides for preschool-aged children.

The colourful illustrations by Elinor Hägg create a friendly, playful tone. And I love the thoughtful extras are included at the end of the book such as instructions for a simple origami alligator craft and a glossary of New Orleans food.

Gusto & Gecko Travel to New Orleans is an entertaining picture book that would be a wonderful addition to a child’s bookshelf.

Gusto & Gecko Travel to New Orleans
Written by Longy Han
Illustrated by Elinor Hägg
ISBN: 978-0-9943413-1-0
Available on Amazon

Blog Tour + Giveaway: David Travels to the Past

World Book Review: The Croc and the Platypus


This delightful, rhyming picture book follows two unlikely Aussie friends on an impromptu journey to the red center. Along the way, they play an indigenous instrument (didgeridoo), eat local sweets (lamingtons) and meet a new mate (Australian for “friend”). Finally, the duo set up camp under the famed Southern Cross enjoying the night alongside a wonderous red rock.

A joyous tale in perfect rhyme, The Croc and the Platypus is a fun read-aloud story that includes an incredible number of Australian icons. The stunning artwork beautifully compliments the simple story as it introduces young readers to the wonders of the Australian outback.

Recommended, especially for anyone who wants to introduce young children to Australia.

The Croc and the Platypus
Written by Jackie Hosking
Illustrated by Majorie Crosby-Fairall
ISBN: 9781922077-60-8
Available at Boomerang Books

Review + Giveaway: To Be A Child by Debra Schoenberger

As a constant traveler, I’ve taken my share of photos in the places I’ve visited. And I can attest to the fact that from dozens, if not hundreds, of photos there will be one or two gems (at least in the eye of the beholder). So I’m truly in awe of To Be A Child by Debra Schoenberger. She is an incredibly talented photographer with an eye (and I suspect heart) for capturing the essence of a child in any environment. I’m thrilled to have had the chance to review To Be A Child as part of the book tour coordinated by iRead Book Tours.

To Be A Child by Debra Schoenberger

Title: To Be A Child Author: Debra Schoenberger | Publication Date: November 30, 2015 | Publisher: Blurb Publishing | ISBN: 978-1364706685

Book Description: Give a child a cardboard box and his imagination will turn it into anything but!

Today, it is less common to see children playing in the streets, especially in urban areas. The plethora of ready-made toys should make any child happy.  What usually happens is that the box the toy came in becomes the toy!

This book documents children at play (and at times at work) from 10 different countries. A child’s ingenuity never ceases to amaze me and I hope you will share these images with your children as well.  

Buy the book:   Website   Amazon

My thoughts: This book is a treasure, a visually stunning collection of photos of children around the world.

I marked so many favorites that I had to break them into categories:

– Close ups: In a broad sense, I most loved the images of just a child (or sometimes multiple children) and their personal sense of wonder. Sometimes we don’t even see what they are doing, but the emotion is clear. And it’s beautiful.

– Location: Some specific locations stood out…

Nepal is such a mystery to most that it was incredible to witness the juxtaposition of simple, familiar scenes of children playing with a completely unknown place.

Mongolia, with its visually stunning scenery, offered a dramatic backdrop to the images. The green grass of the vast plains against a cloud-filled blue sky is amazing.

– Quiet Moments: The category “Quiet Moments” contains a number of photos that have stuck with me since I first saw them.

Beyond these details, there is a sense of closure as To Be A Child somehow weaves all these images into something bigger. By the end of the collection, I really felt that I had been following a story that had come to an end. And it’s a thoroughly enjoyable journey.

***Grab a FREE preview of To Be A Child on BookGrabbr. Visit***

Author’s Bio: Debra Schoenberger aka #girl with camera

Debra Schoenberger

“My dad always carried a camera under the seat of his car and was constantly taking pictures. I think that his example, together with pouring over National Geographic magazines as a child fuelled my curiosity for the world around me.

I am a documentary photographer and street photography is my passion. Some of my images have been chosen by National Geographic as editor’s favourites and are on display in the National Geographic museum in Washington, DC.  I also have an off-kilter sense of humour so I’m always looking for the unusual.  Plus I usually have a lot of scars on my knees. (le sigh…)

I live with my creative director, Miss Pickles (my budgie) in Victoria, BC, Canada.

Connect with the author:  Website   Twitter  Facebook

Connect with the photographer’s website:   Website

Click here to enter the RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY for your chance to win one of two Amazon gift cards.

Note: I received a free digital copy of To Be A Child in exchange for an honest review.

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World Book Review: Alice-Miranda in the Alps by Jacqueline Harvey


For the first World Book Review of the new year, I picked a children’s chapter book set in snowy Switzerland. It’s the perfect read for kids living in a wintry climate, especially young skiers or those that love the snow. Alice-Miranda in the Alps (book twelve in the Alice-Miranda series) by Australian author Jacqueline Harvey simply charms readers from beginning to end with its lovely characters, grand old hotels and a glimpse of European society. The ski town of Zermatt, where much of the story takes place, is beautifully described through its history, events and architecture. The setting and the depth of details about this stunning part of the world make this a wonderul children’s book.

Reviewed for the Children’s Book Council of Australia, I can’t give away all the details here, but my full review can be found on the Reading Time website

Absolutely recommended!

Alice-Miranda in the Alps
Written by Jacqueline Harvey
ISBN: 9780857982742
Available at Amazon and Boomerang Books

Review: Finn’s Rocket: A Surfer Catches Air by Serena Schreiber

Rocket-front cover

About the Book

Title: Finn’s Rocket: A Surfer Catches Air (Finn’s Fast Books, Book #3) | Authors: Serena Schreiber | Publication Date: November 1, 2015 | Publisher: Independent | Pages: 176 | Recommended Ages: 7 to 12

Amazon * Goodreads

Book Description: Finn’s summer vacation plans didn’t include leaving the planet. When his little sister gets kidnapped from space camp, Finn will do anything and go anywhere to get her back. Even the international space station.

My Thoughts: If you know a middle grade reader that enjoys adventure books, Finn’s Rocket: A Surfer Catches Air is a great recommendation or better yet, a wonderful gift idea. This fast-paced book will keep young readers turning the pages as the story moves between Finn’s adrenaline-filled activities in the U.S. and Europe and Gabi’s fascinating astronaut camp. I was so impressed with the amount of scientific and technical information included in the descriptions about astronaut procedures and training. It’s written with such expertise that I didn’t even realize how jam-packed this story is with facts. Without spoiling anything in the story, the space adventure is definitely dramatic, although I will admit that the scenario is a bit far-fetched in places. But that’s what makes it fun and it didn’t stop me from enjoying the suspense. On another level, the characters have wonderful depth, even the villians, and I could easily relate to the likable characters throughout the book. The bond between brother and sister is absolutely heart-warming and I was rooting for Finn and Gabi from the start. I look forward to reading more from the author. Recommended.

The Buzz About “Finn’s Fast Books”

Finn’s Ship: The story blends Finn’s American upbringing with his German heritage, acquainting the reader with the many similarities and differences in food, culture, language, transportation and family values.~ Candy 613, Amazon

Finn’s Ship: The author did a marvelous job bringing the characters to life and making the reader feel apart of each scene.~ Glen G., Amazon

Finn’s Car: I really enjoyed reading this book! Very fun to read and it’s something that teens will love to read. I recommend it to everyone!~ Jocelyn, Amazon

Finn’s Car: A well-paced, funny and highly infectious read!~ Bree W., Amazon

About the Author: Serena Schreiber

serenaschreiberFirst published in Brooklyn in third grade, Serena Schreiber took a circuitous route through Europe to settle in Florida. When not writing for kids or scientists, she follows her other muse, fantasy. She’s a happy co-conspirator of Florida Writers Association Youth Program and runs the Howl at the Moon Writers Jam. Serena has two amazing children, a handsome husband, and a turtle named Bolt.


Author Website | Book Website

Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Blog Tour + Giveaway: The Travel Adventures of PJ Mouse by Gwyneth Jane Page

I’m always looking for great books that introduce children to different places around the world. So I was thrilled to be able to participate in the book review tour for two wonderful books in the Travel Adventures of PJ Mouse series coordinated by iRead Book Tours.

The Travel Adventures of PJ Mouse in Canada

The Travel Adventures of PJ Mouse in Canada (BOOK ONE):

PJ Mouse, an adorable little stuffed animal, was lost and alone until young Emily heard his cries for help. Now, along with his new family, PJ gets to travel the world-discovering exciting new places and people along the way!

Come join PJ on his first adventure across Canada as he hikes on a glacier in the Rockies, finds a salt lake in the prairies, and walks on the ocean floor in Nova Scotia.

My thoughts: In PJ Mouse’s very first adventure we meet this delightful little stuffed animal under a park bench. Fortunately, he is found by the lovely Emily who brings him along on family vacations. Our first destination? A drive across Canada! From well-known attractions like Niagara Falls to the stunning Butchart Gardens, PJ Mouse zigzags through incredible Canadian scenery and even learns a few words of French in Quebec. With a knack for getting into dangerous predicaments, PJ Mouse gives children unique experiences in each place and often meets a native animal friend. The Travel Adventures of PJ Mouse in Canada is a wonderful book to introduce children to the concept of travel, experiencing new places and meeting new people. The lovely illustrations are colorful and perfectly compliment the story. I really enjoyed the story and learning tidbits about Canada as I traveled along with PJ. The perfect gift for any child who plans to visit Canada. Definitely recommended!

Buy the book: Author’s , Barnes & Noble

The Travel Adventures of PJ Mouse in Queensland

The Travel Adventures of PJ Mouse in Queensland (BOOK TWO):

PJ Mouse, an adorable little stuffed animal, was lost and alone until young Emily heard his cries for help. Now, along with his new family, PJ gets to travel the world – discovering exciting new places, people, and animals along the way!

​Come join PJ on this, his second adventure, along the coast of Queensland, as he snorkels at the Great Barrier Reef, chats with a Loggerhead turtle in the midst of a great undertaking, and explores the tropical rainforest until he has to be rescued by one of the local friendly wildlife.

My thoughts: PJ Mouse, Emily and the family are off again, this time on vacation in Queensland, Australia. The second book in the series includes many of the same wonderful elements of the first book — charming artwork, meeting (and being saved by) native wildlife, visiting well-know sites (The Great Barrier Reef) and lesser known attractions (Mon Repos), and getting into lots of trouble. The Travel Adventures of PJ Mouse in Queensland gives children a chance to visit an amazing area of Australia that doesn’t always get its fair share of publicity beyond The Great Barrier Reef. In addition to the fun story, I’m so impressed with the extras available for PJ fans including a passport, stickers and a stuffed version of PJ himself. The whole kit makes a lovely gift to inspire wanderlust in a child. Recommended! (P.S. I’ll be giving a copy of book two to my niece this Christmas.)

Buy the book:  Author’s Website – AmazonAmazon.caBarnes & Noble

Brand Products: PJ Mouse Stuffed Toy, Customized Stickers, Passport


Author’s Bio:

Gwyneth Jane Page (Jane), who holds an MBA from Simon Fraser University, has called many countries home. She grew up in such places as England, Peru, the USA, and the Caribbean, and has also lived in Australia and Canada. She now resides in Victoria, BC with her husband and four children. The PJ Mouse books are based on Jane’s family trips with the real stuffed animal, PJ, who was found by Emily, Jane’s youngest daughter.

Megan Elizabeth, Jane’s second oldest daughter, has lived in Canada and Australia and travelled extensively with her family and PJ. Having been artistic since she was a little girl, illustrating the PJ Mouse books has enabled her to combine her love of travel with her love of art. Megan completed her studies at VanArts and is now building her career as a professional photographer as well as an illustrator. She currently resides in Victoria, BC with her family.

Connect with the author:  Website   Twitter   Facebook


Prize: ​Win Book One (Canada) of The Adventures of PJ Mouse + PJ Mouse Stuffed Toy + Passport Sticker Book (Open to USA & Canada)

Click HERE to enter the RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY. Good luck!

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