book review, Children's Fiction, Picture Book, youth fiction

Boo-La-La Witch Spa


Boo-La-La Witch Spa


Samantha Berger
Illustrated by Isabel Roxas
Dial Books for Young Readers


From the book jacket: “All tuckered out from trick-or-treating? Feeling drained after a seriously strong spell? Come on in to our Fab-BOO Witch Spa! We’ll get the SPOOK back in your step in no time. Relax with a cup of bat-whisker tea and some Candy Corn Flan, and then try our Broom Bristle Facial or a Scalp Rub done by spiders. Our spa treatments are sure to make any young spell-caster feel refreshed, rejuvenated, an positively revolting. Stop in today!”


This picture book shows how witches relax after a hard day of witching! A tired young witch and her equally tired black cat arrive at a spa for a little pampering. They are greeted by a gnome and then chooses which treatment to enjoy. They chose such luxuries as a Scarab Skin Scrub, and Eye of Newt Wrap and a nap in a pool of snail drool (yuk!). How about a sauna of hot dragon break and a steam in a sea monster’s lair! The witch and cat have lots of treatments that are wonderful to them but gross to an average human or cat! A the end of the day, the witch has her hair and nails done, picks up a few things in the gift shop and heads home ready for more witchery!


Love the illustrations – each two-page spread are richly detailed and on many you have to look close in order not to miss anything. The story is written in clever rhymes with medium-large print. It’s a cute and fun book for early readers to read on their own or to read to the younger ones.


Rating: 3 daises


Reviewer: Debby Debby 2



book review, Children's Fiction, Picture Book

Castaway Cats


Castaway Cats

story by Lisa Wheeler and art by Ponder Goembel

A Richard Jackson Book, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2006


I have an adorable picture book for you! This is how it starts out – “On an island/in the ocean,/ near the land of Singapore,/midst a storm of great proportion,/ fifteen cats were washed ashore.” There were 7 kittens and 8 adults – a calico tom named Mittens (who has muscles and an anchor tattoo), a Persian Blue, an angora, a bobtail, a beat-up tabby, a pair of Siamese cats, and an orange marmalade. They all must band together if they are to survive on a tiny island in the ocean. At first they look for help to rescue them and then decide they’re on their own. Will they be able to survive?  Will they even be able to get along with each other?

The illustrations are absolutely adorable and the story is told via rhyming poetry.  The print is large enough for early readers to enjoy; there are so larger words that may be difficult at first but every reader needs their vocabulary expanded!

I loved this book – it’s got everything you could want – cats, cats and more cats – plus kittens!; an adventure at sea; a lesson on how to get along with the ones around you and that family doesn’t always mean the folks you were born to!


Rating: 4 daisy rating

Reviewer: Debby Debby 2


I pulled these images off the internet – they aren’t very good quality – but let that encourage you to check the book out at your library!!

book review, happiness, Nonfiction Review, Picture Book, self-help

Everything I Need to Know I Learned From a Little Golden Book

everythingEverything I Need to Know I Learned From a Little Golden Book
Golden Books, Random House, 2013
          From the forward by the author: “Dear Reader, If you are like most Americans, you grew up with Little Golden Books. … We at Golden Books think there’s a good chance that many of us learned pretty much everything that really matters about life from what we read between those sturdy, gilt-bound cardboard covers. … Our country has faced some hard times of late, and we’ve been forced to look at ourselves and how we’re living our lives. …Maybe this book can help you! After all, Little Golden Books were first published during the dark days of World War II, and they’ve been comforting people during trying times ever since – while gently teaching us a thing or two.”
          What a sweet book!  It is compilation of many illustrations from many different Little Golden Books and recaptioned to gently remind the reader to enjoy life. I loved it – but then I love those little books. Many of the illustrations were familiar to me and it was good to see favorite artists again (Eloise Wilkin, Gustaf Tenggren). But I also ran across some books that were new to me, ones that I’d like to read even all these years later!  It’s a great book to give a friend  – or even yourself – when they’re feeling like life has run them over. We love this book very much and although the copy we read is a library book, we wouldn’t mind having a copy for ourselves!!
Rating: 4 daisy rating 4 daisies!
Reviewer: Debby 2 Debby
award winner, bears, blueberries, book review, Boston, Children's Fiction, ducks, Maine, Picture Book, Robert McCloskey, summer, youth fiction

Ducks & Blueberries



Make Way for Ducklings

Today as I was driving to the store and stopped the car in amazement as a young mother Mallard led her family of nine ducklings across the road to the pond.  The babies were so tiny, and yet they instinctively followed their mother as she guided them to safety.   I was reminded of a story by Robert McCloskey which is set in the city of Boston, Mass.  In Make Way for Ducklings Mama Duck must shepherd her babies through Boston to reach the pond she and her mate have chosen for their home. How the Mallard parents select their home, make friends with the humans who will help them, and meet the lovely swans in the park is a story to share with those you love.  The book is large, and ready for your lap. McCloskey’s pen and ink drawings in Make Way for Ducklings present us with a beautiful view of old Boston and plenty of details to discuss with the kids. 



Blueberries for Sal

McCloskey’s  Blueberries for Sal, tells the story of a young mother, who wishes to can blueberries for winter. Rather than taking her to a farm like we do today, she gives her daughter a little tin pail, and they take a walk up a nearby hill.  Along the way Mother encourages her child to stay near due to bears in the woods, but of course the little girl wanders off while Mother is picking her berries. Little Sal has been eating one berry for every one that lands in her bucket, and when she sees something that interests her,  moves away to discover a new friend.  Blueberries for Sal is a sweet and surprising story which when shared with the Little Sals in your family, creates a lovely summer story time.




Robert McCloskey


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Reviewed by Leigh