Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Biblio Reads - Children's Book Reviews For Ages 0-12

I'm always looking for great children's books, and in my online travels I came across Biblio Reads - Children's Book Reviews for Ages 0-12

Biblio Reads has great, in-depth book reviews including sample artwork, spotlight interviews, their own Biblio Awards, and best of lists for the years best children's books.

One of the great things about Biblio Reads is that the reviews include both parent and kids reviews, something you don't find in most children's book reviews!  It's good to know what a parent's opinion of a children's book is, but even better to get both the parent's AND a kid's opinion!

Lisa Barker is the talent behind Biblio Reads.  She's a mom too, so she has the inside track on what we parent's are looking for when it comes to children's stories for our little monsters. :-)

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Goodnight Moon... a Wonderful and Timeless Children's Story

I love to see how timeless a children's story can be. Goodnight Moon was one of my favorite books when I was a little child, and now it's one of my children's favorites.

Margaret Wise Brown's wonderful bedtime children's story has stood the test of time and is as good today as it was almost 40 years ago. The wonderful illustrations by Clement Hurd are colorful and playful to the eye. Combined with Margaret Wise Brown's timeless storytelling, it's easy to see why so many children and parent's have loved Goodnight Moon since it was written in 1947.

My daughter Lilly can recite Goodnight Moon pretty much word for word, and often reads it to me instead of the other way around. I'd have to say that's a pretty good indicator of just how good a children's story is when a child can remember the story by heart.

We're actually on our second copy of Goodnight Moon at our house. Lilly was just over one when she decided she wanted to read Goodnight Moon with the pages all laid out in front of her (at least that's what I imagine she was thinking when she “unbound” the first Goodnight Moon).

As soon as Nana found out that we no longer had a working copy of Goodnight Moon, a new one arrived with Nana very soon after. My Mum loves the book as much as Lilly and I do, and she couldn't imagine the girls not having Goodnight Moon in the house.

Both my wife and I can also recite Goodnight Moon, pretty much word for word. Nana can too, and our youngest, Ella, who is almost 2, knows a good amount of the story as well.

My brother's kids, my nieces Chloe and Berly, also have Goodnight Moon too, and I bet if I called them right now, they could tell me the story off by heart over the phone.

These are the hallmarks of a timeless classic. Goodnight Moon has been passed down for two generations now in my family, and I know I will pass it down to the third. As far as children's stories go, Goodnight Moon is one of the best ever written. As a children's story author, I could only be so lucky if a children's story I write makes it to such a level as Goodnight Moon.

Thank you Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd for giving my children and I such a wonderful part of our childhood.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Lilly & Ella's 3 Favorite Sandra Boynton Books

Our friend's little guy is turning one, and we wanted to get him some Sandra Boynton books for his birthday.  He always loves to read ours when he's over visiting, so we thought they'd be the perfect gift.
We decided to choose three, but we didn't think it was going to be so hard to decide on which ones.  Barnyard Dance is his favorite, so that was a given, but we were having a hard time choosing a couple more as they're all so good.

Since my wife and I couldn't seem to narrow it down, we decided to ask our girls, Lilly and Ella, which Sandra Boynton books were their favorites. 

Lilly said her favorite was Moo Ba La La La, and Ella said her's was Barnyard Dance.  They both seemed to think The Going To Bed Book was their next favorite Sandra Boynton, so those are the three we decided on for the gift. 

As a children's author, people often ask me which of my books is my favorite, and I always have a hard time choosing.  I think I'm going to start letting Lilly and Ella decide that answer to that one too!

I should also mention that Lilly and Ella's Sandra Boynton runner-up as it were was Snugglepuppy.  Seperately, it made the the top three in both Lilly and Ella's favorite Boynton books.

Sandra Boynton books are all great, and everyone seems to have a favorite.  If you're looking to add to your child's collection, or just starting one, I thought I'd pass along Lilly and Ella's top 3 favorites.
Really, you can't go wrong with any of the Sandra Boynton books, but these are the three Lilly and Ella recommend. :-)

Friday, 12 August 2011

If Sandra Boynton Was My Mom (a Children's Story)

If Sandra Boynton was my Mom
My best friend woud be a piggie named Tom

All of my friends would be hippos and cows
Sheep and horses and dogs, bow wow

I’d live in a boat and get ready for bed
With my animal friends, all in my head

We’d brush our teeth with bubblegum paste
Swish it around for extra taste

With polka dot wash clothes we’d scrub our faces
Careful to get all the hard to reach places

“Remember to scrub behind your ears!”
“Hurry along now like good little dears.”

And then we’d all put on pajamas
Except of course for the purple llamas

They don’t like to wear PJ’s
They sleep in their clothes they wore all day

Then off to bed we all would go
All of us marching in a row

We all climb in beneath the sheets
Our soft white pillows nothing beats

All tucked in, we close our eyes
To go to sleep, it’s beddy byes.

(Copyright Matt Ballard 2011)

Sandra Boynton is one of the best authors of children's stories ever.  Her wonderful stories and playful drawings have charmed millions of children (and parents too!)  Whether it’s Bath Time! in the tub or The Going To Bed Book at bedtime, there’s a Sandra Boynton story for every occasion.  Why there’s even one for a Barnyard Dance!

I recently bought the APP version of BOO MA LA LA LA for my iPad, and I think my wife and I have had more fun with it than my children have.  It’s so well done, and so much fun!  I’d love to have my children’s stories available as such wonderful apps.

If you can’t tell by now, Sandra Boynton is one of my literary heroes.  I love her work, and my kids can’t get enough of it too.  As a parent, I appreciate her books and love them for the smiles and enjoyment they bring my kids.  As a writer of children’s stories myself, Sandra Boynton gives me inspiration and a goal to aim for.  She sets the bar high, and I can only hope to come close to her level of achievement.  

One of the things that I think especially endears me to Sandra Boynton is that she writes and illustrates all her children's stories.  Not a lot of authors who write children's stories do this.  Most write the stories and have someone else illustrate them.  Since I too do my own illustrations for my children's stories, I think that’s part of why I hold Sandra Boynton in such high esteem.  I know first hand how much more work it is to do both the writing and the illustrating when it comes to children's stories, and it’s harder still to do both as well as Sandra Boynton does!

I wrote the short piece story at the beginning of this post as a little tribute to Sandra Boynton.  I hope it brings a smile to those of you who’s families love Sandra Boynton as much as mine does.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Oh The Things You Can See! - New Childrens eBook Available Now On Amazon

My newest childrens ebook, Oh The Things You Can See! is available now on!

I'm offering it as a Bonus Video and Coloring Book Box Set Edition which includes the Oh The Things You Can See! Kindle ebook as well as 3 Special Bonus Downloads!

Oh The Things You Can See! HD Video Book
(full HD resolution video book narrated by the author, playable
on iPhone, iPod, iPad, PC, and other compatible devices)

Oh The Things You Can See! High Resolution Color PDF Childrens eBook
(best image quality for iPhone, iPod, iPad, PC and other compatible devices)

Oh The Things You Can See! Coloring Book PDF
(print this wonderful black & white coloring book version of the Oh The Things You Can See! childrens ebook for your kids to color)

My kids love the ebook and have been having a blast coloring in the coloring book.  I hope your kids will love it as much as mine do!