How Do Dinosaurs Say Happy Birthday by Jane Yolen (& Can You Believe Trent is ONE?!)



How Do Dinosaurs Say Happy Birthday?
Author: Jane Yolen
Illustrator: Mark Teague
Published September 1st, 2011 by The Blue Sky Press

Goodreads Summary: Everyone has a birthday, and from riotous birthday parties to the excitement of being one year older, having a birthday is the highlight of a young child’s year.

All little dinosaurs love to get presents, and this new board book will be an immediate favorite. From birthday hats to Ceratosaurus-sized cakes, America’s young readers will laugh out loud as the celebration moves from “bad” birthday behavior to just the right amount of silliness and sharing. Bestselling duo Jane Yolen and Mark Teague have created the perfect introduction to birthday parties, with the same beloved humor and warmth of all their previous bestselling “How Do Dinosaurs” books.

Here’s a wonderful way to say “Happy Birthday!” to any dinosaur…young or old!

My Review: I bought this book to read to Trent on every birthday, and I cannot believe that today is the first one! I decided that this was the perfect birthday book because it is super fun to read, has great dino illustrations by Mark Teague who is such a great artist, and it even teaches a nice message that will be a perfect reminder at each birthday. I am so excited to share it with him for the first time today (and his 1st birthday party is dino themed, so it’s perfect!). Which brings me back to…



This year has gone by super quickly. To commemorate, I wanted to share some of my favorite things about Trent and being a mom:

1) Trent likes books. I was so worried that I would read to him every day and that it would never lead to Trent liking books; however, that is not the case! He likes to grab his favorites (Pete the CatFifteen Animals, and Personal Penguin) and flip through them or have us read to him. He’s even chosen books a few times as his toy to bring to the car on the way to daycare. I love listening to him in the back seat “reading” to himself.

2) Trent laughs with his whole self. I love when he laughs. He is a full body laugher, and it just fills his whole self and the whole room. And he does that thing where your laugh isn’t just on the exhale, it is on the inhale too. So great!

3) Trent is a super chill, super happy baby. Of course he has his melt downs, he cries when he doesn’t like something, and he cries when he’s tired/hungry/waking up; however, for the most part he is a super chill, super happy baby. His demeanor and attitude make me so proud!

4) Trent loves pop punk, dream pop, the Beatles/”Across the Universe” soundtrack, and the Snoopy song. He loves to listen to music. Trent dancing is SUPER adorable. He kind of shakes his hips and moves back and forth. It is so cute! Also, if he is upset, pop punk music surprisingly calms him down. I really think he likes all music, but these are the ones that he seems to enjoy the most.

5) The way he looks at me. Wow. That way that he looks at me is a look that could melt anyone’s heart. I knew how to love before, but this is a different type of love. It is a love that fills me up and makes me complete.

6) The way he looks at Jim. The whole son/dad thing is just the best ever. I love spying on them and watching them be so cute.

7) Watching him learn. To think that a year ago he was born and couldn’t do anything but poop, pee, and eat, and now he walks, talks, learns, etc. is just the most amazing thing in the entire world. My favorite things he’s learned recently are: how to play by himself, sign language for more, how to turn the propellers on his helicopter, pointing, and the SO BIG game.

8) Everything. I just had to cover my bases in case I forgot something 🙂

Being a mom may just be the coolest thing ever!

Happy birthday Trent! I love you!


Kellee’s Recently Loved Picture Books from Bloomsbury: The Table Sets Itself by Ben Clanton, Penguin in Love by Salina Yoon, Dino-Baby by Mark Sperring, Moo! by David LaRochelle, & On My Way to Bed by Sara Maizes



Last week I shared with you some wonderful picture books I’d read recently published by Candlewick Press. Today I wanted to share with you even more, but these are published by Bloomsbury.


The Table Sets Itself
Author: Ben Blanton
Published September 3, 2013 by Walker Books for Young Readers

Goodreads Summary: Izzy is thrilled to finally help set the table, learning all the proper places for her friends Fork, Spoon, Dish, Napkin, Cup, and Knife. But once they get into a nightly groove, Izzy and her friends grow tired of their same old spots. Shaking things up doesn’t go over so well with Mom and Dad, so Spoon and Dish run off for an adventure of their own. Lonely without her favorite tablemates, Izzy will need to find a way to convince Spoon and Dish to come back to the table.

Perfect for any kid who has ever resisted a daily task, this clever, pun-filled story is gentle reminder that every dish has its place, and that injecting some creativity into daily tasks can make even the dullest ones lots of fun.

My Review: This book is just so much deeper than it seems on the surface. There are so many little things going on in it. Puns, word play, allusions, and subtleness in the illustrations. It is a wonderful book for a read aloud and discussion!

penguin in love

Penguin in Love
Author: Salina Yoon
Published December 3, 2013 by Walker Books for Young Readers

Goodreads Summary: Penguin unravels a mystery that leads him to discover the biggest adventure of his life!

One day, Penguin was looking for love, 
But instead he found . . .
A mitten. 

When Penguin finds a lost mitten on the ice one day, he wonders who it belongs to—after all, every mitten has a mate! Prolific author/illustrator Salina Yoon’s spare text and bright, energetic illustrations bring to life this endearing story celebrating love in its many forms, reminding us that the greatest adventure begins when you find your other half.

My Review: I love penguins. I love them because they are contemplative and handsome and fearless, and Salina Yoon just captures all of this in her Penguin books. This is the second I’ve read, and I know I will read all of them.


Author: Mark Sperring
Illustrator: Sam Lloyd
Published October 1, 2013 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Goodreads Summary: It’s not easy being a big sister, especially when your new baby brother is a dino-baby! There’s a lot to remember:

Be quiet in the morning, when you first get up.
Because crashes, bangs, and thuds will wake our dino-pup.
Don’t play rough and tumble with a little thing like this.

Instead be soft and gentle.
 We all LOVE a dino kiss. Mwaah!

But before long, big sister will love teaching her little brother all the things she knows. And pretty soon they’re playing and growing–together! A sweet and funny picture book that’s perfect for older siblings, parents, and dino fans.

My Review: This book is a great way to talk about responsibility and rules (with or without being an older sibling), but in a fun way. And anything written as personified dinos will hold kids’ attention! And I just think these dinosaurs are just so cute!


Author: David LaRochelle
Illustrator: Mike Wohnoutka
Published October 3, 2013 by Walker Books for Young Readers

Goodreads Summary: When Cow gets her hooves on the farmer’s car, she takes it for a wild ride through the country. Moooo! But a bump in the road brings this joy ride to a troublesome end. Moo-moo. . . Has Cow learned her lesson about living life in the fast lane? Moo?

Pairing two talented creators who managed to tell a complete story with just one word—MOO—this imaginative picture book will have readers laughing one moment and on the edge of their seats the next, as it captures the highs and lows of a mischievous cow’s very exciting day.

My Review: This book actually made me laugh out loud. Who knew that a whole book written in one word could be so funny! But the way the author italicizes, bold, lengthens, minimizes, etc. the word as well as the cow’s expressions just bring it all to life. I CANNOT wait to read this one to Trent when he’s a bit older because I know he will just giggle. It would be fun in the classroom to discuss what the cow is saying with her moos.


On My Way to Bed
Author: Sara Maizes
Illustrator: Michael Paraskevas
Published September 17, 2013 by Walker Books for Young Readers

Goodreads Summary: Kids everywhere dread the nightly call to go to bed. But not Livi! Her imagination takes her on a journey full of daring obstacles and exciting adventures on her way to bed. She pilots a spaceship, walks a tightrope, and climbs a mountain, all while her Mom waits with her covers turned down and bed ready. With stalling techniques as creative as this, it’s a wonder she ever makes it to bed! Author Sarah Maizes and illustrative veteran, Michael Paraskevas, once again create a funny, fresh book that will be a must for every parent who wants to foster creativity while fulfilling the every day necessities.

My Review: What a great imagination book! The colorful, page-filling illustrations will take you straight into Livi’s imagination and all of the fun things she does (in her mind) before going to bed. A wonderful bedtime story (or daytime story) that will take the reader on an adventure.

All Books Recommended For: 

classroomlibrarybuttonsmall readaloudbuttonsmall


**Thank you to Linette at Bloomsbury for providing copies of these books for review**

Kellee’s Recently Loved Picture Books from Candlewick Press: Paul Meets Bernadette by Rosy Lamb, Forever by Emma Dodd, A is for Awesome by Dallas Clayton, Picnic by John Burningham, The Way to the Zoo by John Burningham, & Dinosaur Kisses by David Ezra Stein



Over the last couple of months, I have read quite a few amazing picture books from Candlewick Press, so I wanted to share them all with you.


Paul Meets Bernadette
Author: Rosy Lamb
Published December 10, 2013 by Candlewick Press

Goodreads Summary: Visual humor sweetens an artful tale about a fish who suddenly sees everything a new way — thanks to a charismatic companion.

Paul is a fish who used to go around in circles. He made big circles and little circles. He circled from left to right and from right to left. He circled from top to bottom and from bottom to top. What else was there to do? Until one day Bernadette drops in and shows Paul that there is a whole world out there, right outside his bowl, with so many things to see. A banana-shaped boat! A blue elephant with a spoutlike trunk (be quiet when she’s feeding her babies)! A lovely lunetta butterfly, with tortoise-shell rims! Simple saturated paintings play off this charming ode to an active imagination — and the way that life changes when a bewitching creature opens your eyes.

My Review: This is a special book about thinking outside of your world and exploring. I think it is a good book for young and old because it makes you think about what you are missing out on by limiting yourself.  It also is fun because Bernadette isn’t sure of her surroundings as they are new to her, and she makes up fun stories about the things she sees. This would be so much fun to do with young readers. But what pushes this book above many other picture books are its beautiful illustrations. You will not be disappointed.


Author: Emma Dodd
Published October 22, 2013 by Templar

Goodreads Summary: 

If you’re ever feeling scared,
I’ll be right beside you.
If you’re ever feeling lost,
know that I will find you.

A little polar bear discovers that through life’s ups and downs, a parent’s love lasts forever.

My Review: There are a lot of “I Love You Baby” books out there, but few of them make me cry and make me want to reread them to my son. This is one that did. It is heartfelt, lyrical, and the illustrations are so sweet.


A is for Awesome
Author: Dallas Clayton
Published March 11, 2014 by Candlewick

Goodreads Summary: Inspirational artist Dallas Clayton infuses his trademark whimsical art and positive message into an absolutely awesome alphabet book.

Alliterative and rhyming words of wisdom surrounded by all new art fill this energetic alphabet book by Dallas Clayton. Bursting with color and life, each spread offers a rhythmic phrase and an abundance of artwork illustrating the featured letter. The message of dreaming big and living life to its fullest permeates every page, inviting readers to “learn some new letters that you can use to make magical words and share big ideas.”

My Review: Dallas Clayton has a way of making you feel happy whenever you read his books. This one is no exception. His alphabet book focuses on the positive like “D is for dreaming things never expected” and “I is imagine ideas all your own”. Then in the background there are fun little drawings of other things that start with the letter. This is one of my favorite alphabet books.


Author: John Burningham
Published May 13, 2014 Candlewick Press (first published August 1, 2013)

Goodreads Summary: The renowned John Burningham is in classic form with a simple story of a boy, a girl, and some animal friends that invites the child listener to join in. 

One day, Boy and Girl head down the hill with a picnic basket and meet a fancily dressed Sheep, Pig, and Duck. They all set off to find the perfect place to sit outside — until they see Bull coming! A short-lived chase segues into a gentle interactive text as the friends wend their way from an idyllic outdoor world to a welcoming house on a hill. (Can you find Pig’s ball? Shall we find your bed?) In a charmingly understated tale with child-friendly illustrations and a hint of sly humor, John Burningham evokes a perfect summer day with a fresh new picture book.

My Review: What a fun picture book for summer! I also really like how the author makes the reader part of the story and asks the reader questions. It will definitely make children love this book even more.


The Way to the Zoo
Author: John Burningham
Expected publication August 26, 2014 by Candlewick Press

Goodreads Summary: In her bedroom wall, Sylvie spots a door … and beyond that door she finds a passage … and beyond the passage she discovers … the ZOO! Where Sylvie finds LOTS of animals, looking at her! So she decides to bring a few small ones, like a little bear, into her bedroom at night time, just for a cuddle. And then she takes the penguins back for a splashy bath. Once, she even brings back the monkeys but, really, they were too messy. No matter what Sylvie does though, she always makes sure to close the door in her bedroom wall. Until, one day, she forgets…

My Review: This is a silly book that promotes imagination and curiosity. It’ll also be a huge hit for animal lovers.


Dinosaur Kisses
Author: David Ezra Stein
Published August 6, 2013 by Candlewick Press

Goodreads Summary: WHOMP! An energetic young dinosaur figures out her own way to give a kiss in the latest from the creator of the Caldecott Honor–winning Interrupting Chicken.

For newly hatched dinosaur Dinah, the world is an exciting place. There is so much to see and do. She tries this — STOMP! And she tries that — CHOMP! Then she sees a kiss and knows just what she wants to try next. Who can she kiss? And after a few disastrous attempts, can she figure out how to give someone a kiss without whomping, chomping, or stomping them first? Young children will chuckle and cheer when Dinah finds just the right creature for her dinosaur kisses in this funny new picture book from David Ezra Stein.

My Review: I love Dinah! She is just running crazy and so happy and trying all the new things in her life. This is a funny book that I can imagine kids wanting to read over and over.

All Recommended For: 

classroomlibrarybuttonsmall readaloudbuttonsmall

Next week I’ll share some more great picture books from Bloomsbury!


**Thank you Tracy and Rachel at Candlewick for providing copies of these books for review**