Category Archives: Book Notes

Dare to Dream … Change the World, Writing Contest for children in grades 3-8

Dare to Dream Writing Contest

This writing contest is based on a recently published book, Dare to Dream … Change the World. In this book thirty of our nation’s most prestigious poets focus their creative vision on people who not only changed their own lives, but the lives of people all over the world.

Dare to Dream … Change the World


A Penny for Your Thoughts

If you have read an enjoyable or interesting Usborne or Kane Miller chapter book, I’d love to hear about it! What were your favorite parts or scenes? Who were your favorite characters and who were the ones you loved to hate?

Please contact me at I will not post your comments without permission. If you give me the OK to post or share your thoughts, I may use them on my blog or pass them along to others within Usborne.

Have you read an Usborne or Kane Miller book and disliked it? Please feel free to share that as well. I would love to hear how you think it could have been better!

As always, feel free to let me know any ways I can serve you better. I look forward to hearing from you!

Jr High Book Fair

This week I am at a local jr high school putting on a book fair. Several kids didn’t have money to buy books, but greatly enjoyed looking through our selection. I have a period off at the moment. I am hoping that the book fair will sell enough for the librarian will be able to get all the books she wants and take the extra in cash. It’s so awesome to see these students excited about the books. After all, people who enjoy reading are usually more successful in life.

Fall in love with your favorite book again to stem off the winter blues.

Taken from "Gifted Homeschoolers Forum" on Facebook

The Butterfly

The Butterfly is a charming picture book written for preschool and early elementary children. M and B enjoy “reading” it. Michael Crosse and the London Butterfly House were consulted to be sure all the information is accurate. One thing I really liked is how the book helps check children’s comprehension with a few questions. But I also like how every other sentence is not a question!

The illustrations are beautifully done. As you can see it is a good sized book, just over 10×10 (inches).

I’m not sure what the fishy face is for. An hour or so later I caught B reading it to her pink stuffed lion.

The Butterfly was written by Anna Milbourne & illustrated by Cathy Shimmen. Anna has written many books for Usborne, including The Dinosaur, The Little Pony, and the Pipkin series.

Conspiracy 365 June and Brumbies

Cal escaped the plane crash alive! But will Sumo and Kelvin finally (with 173 pages left to go) catch him?

Thanks to a mob of wild brumbies, Kelvin is taken out of the picture, for a bit at least!

Do you know what makes up a mob of wild brumbies? I didn’t before reading this book! At first, mob was what stuck out to me. I was so confused, why was a mob running in the middle of nowhere? Could they be Kangaroos? No, it says they have sharp hooves. “What kind of animal is this?” I wondered.

I figured they must be some kind of pony, horse or zebra (although I thought I would have heard of zebras in Australia). What does a yahoo search come back with for “mob of brumbies”? Hmm…rugby, a mob of Wallabies joins the Brumbies. I read the link, but I just don’t know enough about rugby. It sounded to me like minor and major league baseball, but I don’t know much about that either.

So after that tangent, what is a brumby anyway, you may ask. According to all the sources I’ve seen including Oklahoma State University Department of Animal Science, a brumby is a wild horse. They stay in mobs (herds) like many social animals.

“…a rip, roarin’, action adventure, thriller that had my heart pumping faster as I gobbled up the pages. And when I was done, I wanted the next book . . . desperately. At least the wait will only be a month away, not a year like most books. What an awesome idea this is! So, bring it on Gabrielle Lord. I am definitely ready to find out what happens next…” – Reading Reviews (February, 2010)

Conspiracy 365, My Fast Review

Probably the thing I love about this series most is how Lord intertwines history, geography, science, technology, culture, and many interesting tidbits into this story. Kids, tweens, and teens are learning while reading a fun exciting thriller mystery!

Conspiracy 365

There are many reviews on this exciting series (see the bottom of this post and the next, the official C365 site and my Usborne order site).

I started reading this series so I could help my customers, but I can hardly put it down! I was working the Aurora Farmers Market on Saturday, so after packing the van Friday night, I finished April and wanted to start May, but I had to wait until after the Market on Sat! Oh, the suspense! By the way, I finished June last night!


I also added a few new words to my vocabulary, cravat being one. In case you are also unfamiliar with it, a cravat is a forerunner of the neck tie. If you love Jane Austen like I do, you probably recognize Mr Darcy sporting one in the 1995 BBC version of Pride and Prejudice:


This is probably more how Sligo sports his:


“The Conspiracy 365 series is quite possibly one of the best series books for young adults on the market today. The books are relatively short, and they are very quick reads. This makes it a perfect series for the over-scheduled teens of today who want that instant gratification they can more often find on the computer and in video games. The non-stop action in Conspiracy 365 will grab the reader instantly and not let go until December 31st! Reluctant readers will be inspired to read – and they won’t just be inspired for one book, but rather for twelve. This series could easily take a reluctant reader, and by the end of the twelfth book, turn him into an avid reader. It is a series that would be enjoyed by boys and girls alike, and it has characters that continue to grow and deepen in each book.” – Book Trends, July 14, 2010

Where Do Baby Animals Come From? (And Baby People Too.)

Since I just got this book at the Heartland Regional and since I just email a friend a description of it two days before that, I thought it should be my next Book Note.

This is a new book in the Pipkin series. It’s very appropriate for kids. In the book Pipkin wants to know where baby animals come from.

He finds out some come from eggs and some from the mommy’s tummy. He asks his parents, a seal friend, a whale, baby turtles, and a little boy. It has a poster in the back you can hang on the wall. It tells the names of babies, like seals are pups and lions are cubs. It also goes through the life cycle of a frog and butterfly.

The book is a pretty good size, just over 10″ by 10″. It’s a hardback with squishy embroidered/shiny lettering/snowflakes on the cover. It is by Anna Milborne and illustrated by Serena Riglietti.

Heartland Regional, 9-15-2012

I had a great time at the Heartland Regional yesterday.

Everyone got a prize and mine was Where Do Baby Animals Come From? Written by Anna Milbourne and illustrated by Serena Riglietti.

I thought I would share the things from my notes that stand out to me:

– Team growth provides stability for difficult times when you can’t do as much or need a lot of flexibility. Like when you are taking care a family member who is dying so they don’t have to go into a nursing home.

– EDC (the US publisher of Usborne books and Kane Miller) is a Debt Free publicly traded company.

– I should have a plan for where I want to be in 5 yrs (10 yrs, 20 yrs) with Usborne and life!

This isn’t so much something I learned, but thought was funny. However, I did learn what an infographic is.

– I decided I should set up a Facebook page, but not let it take over my business “time” and I really need to schedule my work time so Usborne doesn’t take over. I should keep work time only as work time.

– If I do a door prize, have people fill it out during four different parts during the party. How do you get people to wait was always my question before. Now I know! Highlight each section in a different color.

– I don’t want to be pushy, so how do I recruit for people who could really use this opportunity? I know listening is the key and thinking “How can Usborne help this person meet their needs?” I already knew this. One thing that helped was what one lady said: “Don’t shove information down the person’s throat. If I think she can do this, tell her! Let her know you will help her and train her.” Sometimes, she wants to do it, but isn’t sure she can.

– Instead of offering a free book to anyone who brings an uninvited guest to a home show, offer to pay tax. If she doesn’t order, I’m not out anything! And I’ll offer to pay the guest’s shipping. If they both order one book, I come out ahead instead of behind if I had given a $10 book.

– I really liked the “7 Keys to Comprehension” session. I’m going to turn it into a separate post, so stay tuned!