Wednesday, February 29, 2012

New Ways to Follow Christy's Book Basket

My Photo

You probably have already heard through the blogosphere that Google Friend Connect (GFC) is going away March 1st for non-Google bloggers and will also eventually become phased out.  It is sad to think that I may loose many regular and wonderful followers, so here are a couple easy alternatives to GFC so you can keep up-to-date with Christy's Book Basket:

1.  Sign-up for E-Mail Subscription - I added a "Follow Me E-Mail" gadget on the right sidebar of my blog. Just add your e-mail address in the box and you will receive an e-mail letting you know when I added a new post. Several friends have done this already and they said that it is so easy and a much simpler way to follow me.  It will also take you to my blog if you click on the link so you can visit there.

2.  Sign-up for LINKY FOLLOWERS - Another great way to follow me is now through Linky Followers. It is a free service ( that is new to the blogger world. You can just click on "Follow Me" on the left hand sidebar of my blog where the Linky Followers Widget is displayed (below the GFC widget). There are a lot of bloggers signing up everyday and it is also simple, easy but best of it is free.

Let me know if you have made any changes so I can follow you back as well. Have a great week!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Creative Kitchen: Food Gifts to Make and Give review

The Creative Kitchen: Food Gifts to Make and Give
Need an amazing gift? These delicious foods and beverages are wonderful to share--and it's so easy to make them look as good as they taste. Present a savory Garden Chicken Casserole in a placemat Casserole Tote, or a Butterscotch Coffee Cake in a Decorated Cake Box. With more than 100 recipes and 65 quick, creative presentations, you will always have the right gift for the occasion. (goodreads summary)

I enjoy making food gifts for just about any occasion for my family, friends or child's teacher. Sometimes, when I run out of ideas I could use a little inspiration... I came across this idea filled book at my local library and will be placing it on my wish list! It is packed with wonderful and creative gift giving ideas that will impress that someone special. It contains over 100 recipes, which are quick and simple to make such as; cookies, breads, cakes, beverages, pies, sauces or jams and healthy snacks.  From creamy fudges to nut mixes, there are plenty of tempting treats to try that will please just about any taste. A section on Holiday and Seasonal ideas will keep you inspired from Valentine's Day to Christmas. Best of all are the beautiful pictures and sample ideas on how to present your yummy treats. They can be delivered in dressed up baskets with handmade towels, sewn totes, jars and containers with colorful scrapbook paper cards, tags or labels or wrapped in cellophane with ribbons and placed in buckets or decorated boxes.

Included at the back of the book are some patterns and sewing instructions for some of the projects which I find are always helpful. Even if you don't exactly make what they have in the book, it will help spark your imagination.  There were so many ideas to get my creative juices flowing again I can't wait until the next special occasion arrives! This would even be a fun book for kids or together time for families to share in the spirit of gift giving. I think this is a "just right book" for anyone who enjoys crafts and who love to give gifts from the heart.~

Title: The Creative Kitchen
Author: Leisure Arts - Gifts of Good Taste Series
Pub. date: 2011
genre: nonfiction
soft cover, 160 pgs.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Mo Wren, Lost and Found review

Mo Wren, Lost and Found
This is the story of what happened after Fox Street.  Mo Wren knew that eventually she, her dad, and her sister would have to move from beloved Fox Street. She just never expected it to happen so soon.  At the Wrens’ new place, things are very different. The name of the street—East 213th—has absolutely zero magic. And there’s no Mrs. Petrone to cut her hair, no Pi Baggott to teach her how to skateboard, no Green Kingdom to explore. She’s having trouble fitting in at her new school and spending a lot of time using the corner bus shelter for her Thinking Spot. Worst of all, Mo discovers that the ramshackle restaurant Mr. Wren bought is cursed.   For the first time in her life, Mo feels lost and out of place. It’s going to take a boy who tells whoppers, a Laundromat with a mysterious owner, a freak blizzard, and some courage to help her find her way home for good.(goodreads summary)

Mo has lived her entire life on Fox Street and this is where she called home. After selling their house, her family moves to the city following her father's dream of opening a restaurant. Things are all so different now and she finds herself having a hard time adjusting to all the sudden changes. Her younger sister Dottie though seems to fit in quite well with her new classmates and surroundings. Mo misses the comfort of Fox Street but soon finds the local laundromat a place of warmth. She meets Carmella, the owner of The Soap Opera, who seems to have a small hidden secret, along with the many other people who frequent there. She becomes friends with Shawn, a boy from her class who seems to be full of nonstop energy and big stories. Her dad is working hard at making a new life for the Wrens but Mo has also heard rumor that the restaurant is cursed, only adding to the many worries she already has.  Finding a sense of place in her new home has challenging obstacles but she will soon find that it just may be what the Wrens need after all.

This wonderful book is a sequel to What Happened on Fox Street, which I read when it first came out a couple years ago. I thought it was a great book for kids and was happy to see a second one continue on with the Wren's story. Even if the first has not been read, you will easily pick up on the family's storyline. It gives a descriptive overview of the diverse characters back on Fox Street and gently touches on Mo's mother's death that brings you quickly up to speed. Mo's voice is truly believable from her feelings and thoughts of a child who experiences the loss of a parent or changes of moving to an unfamiliar place.  She is uncertain with her fitting in and looks back on what she misses most about Fox Street. Her changing life takes her to many characters in her new neighborhood who have wisdom, wit, personality and charm of their own. Each person is a story within itself and yet they show a great sense of community and what it means to be a good neighbor.  I mainly loved this book for it's wonderful writing. The author has a beautiful flair of style when it comes to words. For example one of my favorites:  - Some kindly giant hand found the sun's plug and connected it. If you closed your eyes and tilted your face, the backs of your eyelids prickled with color, and warmth brushed your brow and cheeks. In the park, green grass islands dotted the snowy sea. (pg. 124).   I actually envisioned it in my mind, feeling the well thought out meaning behind the words that the author was expressing to her readers through her writing talents. The story flowed with many sentences like these and not only will this help our children become better readers but writers as well. The story represents change is something that does happen but if you give it a chance it might turn out to be a good thing after all.  It is a heartwarming story about family, friendship, community, hard work, finding acceptance and most of all love.  I love books like these for our children and hope Mo's story continues on to become many new ones in the future.  I think this is a "just right book" for ages 9-12.~

Title: Mo Wren, Lost and Found
Author: Tricia Springstubb
Pub. Date: August 2011, Balzer & Bray
Genre: realistic fiction
Hardcover, 248 pgs.
Book received from author in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Follow friday - February 24

Gain New Blog Followers

Feature & Follow Friday is a weekly meme which is hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read that expands your blog following. It is a great way to meet new bloggers! Each week there is a great question and each host will have a featured blog too. I have been a follower of Alison's blog for the past year and finally decided to join on this hop. I hope to hop from time-to-time!

This week's question is:

Q: Activity!!! Take a picture or describe where you love to read the most...
My Answer:  I love to read just about anywhere I can! Usually it is on my living room sofa with a cozy blanket but I also love to read in bed, coffee shops, local bookstore and while I'm sitting at the music store waiting for my kids during lessons. Today we are getting snow and if I get a chance this afternoon, it will be a good day for reading on the sofa with a warm fire and a cup of tea.

Have  a great weekend everyone!


Friday, February 17, 2012

Follow Friday - February 17

Gain New Blog Followers
Feature & Follow Friday is a weekly meme which is hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read that expands your blog following. It is a great way to meet new bloggers! Each week there is a great question and each host will have a featured blog too. I have been a follower of Alison's blog for the past year and finally decided to join on this hop. I hope to hop from time-to-time!

This week's question is:

Q: I like unique names for characters and am looking forward to coming up with some when I start writing. What's the most unique character name you've come across?

My Answer: Wow, this is a great "put on your thinking caps" question this week.... Right off the top of my head the first thing that comes to mind are the Harry Potter characters (Hagrid, Albus Dumbledore, Voldemort) but they fit perfect for the book series.

I had to look back at some of the books that I read or posted and found Liesel Meminger (The Book Thief), Atticus, Scout and Jem (To Kill a Mockingbird), Rory Deveaux (The Name of the Star) it just sounds cool, Tintin (The Adventures of Tintin), Calla Tor and Ren Laroche (Nightshade) and I do find that Katniss, Peeta, Primrose along with many more from The Hunger Games are quite unsual as well.

I look forward to reading everyone elses and probably be like "oh, yeah that one!" Have a great weekend!!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Red Sled review

Red Sled

In this almost wordless picture book, a host of woodland creatures take a child's sled for a nighttime joy ride. Their whimsical ride is gorgeously depicted in bold watercolor, complemented by humorous expressions and pitch-perfect sound effects. With a timeless tone and classic characters, RED SLED will become a wintertime favorite. (goodreads summary)

What an interesting way to tell a story! A bear is curious about the red sled he finds propped alongside a house one night. He decides to borrow it and finds himself going for a fun-filled joy ride with several of his forest friends. Even though this book is considered almost wordless, the story is told brilliantly by the beautiful watercolor illustrations and minimal text of using sound effect words. For example: scrinch, scrunch as the child walks home in the quiet snow and hrmmm? when the bear comes across the sled, just to name a couple. It has wonderful imagery and I could hear the sounds of the animals sledding in the quiet winter's night forest. The expressions of the forest friends while riding the sled are cute, witty and put a smile on my face. I think this will be a new favorite book of preschoolers for winter and is a "just right book" for ages 2-5.~

Title: Red Sled
Author: Lita Judge
Pub. Date: Simon & Schuster

Genre: picture book
Hardcover, 40 pgs.

Follow Friday - February 10

Gain New Blog Followers
Feature & Follow Friday is a weekly meme which is hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read that expands your blog following. It is a great way to meet new bloggers! Each week there is a great question and each host will have a featured blog too. I have been a follower of Alison's blog for the past year and finally decided to join on this hop. I hope to hop from time-to-time!

This week's question is:

Q: What would your prefer: reading your favorite book over and over again until you got sick of it OR reading 100s of mediocre books? And why?

My Answer: I think I would have to say reading my favorite book over and over again because I have plenty of favorites. After reading one, I know I can move onto another. This way I don't think I will get tired of them too quickly because they will be changing all the time!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Red Wagon review

Red Wagon

All Lucy wants to do is play with her brand-new, bright red wagon. But her mother has other plans for her - and the wagon. Lucy must go to the market and buy vegetables for dinner. Lucy doesn't want to do chores! But she sets off for the market nonetheless, hauling her red wagon with her. Before long, her ordinary trip becomes a high-seas adventure, a ride through outer space, and a day at the circus. As long as she has her red wagon, not even chores can get in the way of Lucy's fun. (goodreads summary)

Lucy is so excited to play with her new red wagon! But when her mom asks her to go to the market, this sounds like a chore to her. She will soon find out that taking her wagon to the market can be fun and full of adventure. Along the way, several friends join Lucy and their journey begins to flow with imagination. The text is short and simple but it is really the illustrations that tell the story. The pictures give you a soft, gentle feeling and the characters expressions are cute and lifelike.  When you look closely, there are little details that add humor and kids will talk about what they see happening.  I liked that it was about using imagination and Lucy helping out when asked, even though she just wanted to play with her wagon.  Renata Liwska is the illustrator of The Quiet Book and The Loud Bookwhich I also found to be wonderful reads. She does a nice job of storytelling on her own with this first book as a writer and illustrator. I hope her characters find many more imaginative adventures to share with young readers. It is a quick read but would make for wonderful quiet time story. I think this is a "just right book" for ages 3-6.~

Title: Red Wagon
Author: Renata Liwska
Pub. Date: February 2011, Philomel Books
Genre: Picture Book
Hardcover, 32 pgs.