Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Review of Nature All Around: Plants by Pamela Hickman


Balancing child-friendly facts with colorful illustrations, this perfect introduction to plants is sure to inspire the budding naturalist in every child.

From crowded cities to open prairies, deserts to wetlands, plants grow everywhere! This comprehensive introduction will open children's eyes to the plants that surround them every day and how important they are to life on our planet. It covers the basics of plants, such as their parts, life cycles and growing zones. Then it takes readers on a season-by-season tour of what a plant-watcher can expect to discover throughout the year. There are sections on strange plants and those that are endangered, and how readers can help. And for hands-on experience, there's an interactive Q&A for learning how to identify plants, and an activity for growing your own plants.

With the perfect balance of child-friendly facts and colorful illustrations, this book encourages children to actively engage with the natural world. Bestselling and award-winning author Pamela Hickman covers all the essential science about plants --- including photosynthesis and pollination --- in clear and easy-to-digest text. And Carolyn Gavin's colorful illustrations bring it all to life, with accurate and inviting representations of the information. This book has strong curriculum applications for life science and earth science lessons in grades two through five, particularly for the characteristics of living things. Rounding out its usefulness are a full-spread growing zone map, an index and a glossary.


Book Links
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**My thoughts**
This book is great for those who are really interested in plants. It goes into great detail about the parts of plants, the plant life cycle, and so many different types of flowers. Parts of it even remind me of a field guide. In fact, it's a lot like one that I had when I was a kid that I had inherited from my grandmother. Even the beautiful illustrations make me nostalgic for that. They're quite realistic, I think watercolors? I would have definitely had this book with me throughout the seasons as I explored my yard as a kid, or even to take to the park.

Thank you to the publisher for fulfilling my request for a review copy via NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Review of Outer Space Fun! Activity Book by Freddie Levin


Blast off for adventure! Kids will have fun with these out-of-this-world activities that range from word searches and mazes to connect the dots and other puzzles! They can find a pathway through the stars, solve cosmic crosswords, spot the differences between space robots, and more. Solutions appear at the end, and the playful drawings are great for coloring, too.


Book Links
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**My thoughts**
Remember Fun Pads when you were growing up? (You can actually still find them sometimes at places like Dollar Tree.) This is basically just like one of those, only an outer space theme. Practice patterning, color by numbers, word games, mazes, and more. It's great for early to middle elementary kids and will keep them busy for a while. Answer keys are in the back in case they get stuck. It's simple fun that passes the time.

Thank you to the publisher for fulfilling my review request via NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Review of I Can Draw! Silly Sea Life


Learn how to draw simple versions of an octopus, a flamingo, a turtle, a jellyfish, and other sea creatures — and with this easy-to-follow guide, it only takes six or fewer steps! Every step appears on a grid that faces a page with an empty grid for you to fill in. Afterward, you can color your finished illustrations.


Book Links


**My thoughts**
This is another collection of fun grid drawing with cartoon-like animals. They vary in degrees of difficulty, all broken down into six steps. The new lines are shown in blue in each step, to distinguish from the previous ones in black. I feel like some of them could have been broken down even more because they were a bit more intricate. And I do wish there were more blank practice grids in the back. But they are still fun to attempt as a starting point for drawing.

Thank you to the publisher for fulfilling my review request via NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

$25 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway Ends 5/31


The kids are looking for new books to read, activity books to master, and other fun stuff to do, especially now that it's getting nicer out side. Why not treat them to something new to offset some of the craziness that is currently going on? That's why I've teamed up with some great blogs to bring you a fun giveaway. Here's your chance to get a $25 Amazon gift card to get something fun over at Amazon. Will it be something for you or someone else? Here's your chance to win! Head below to enter. Giveaway is open to US & Can and ends on 5/31 at 11:59pm EST. Must be 18+ to enter. Good luck!   


Disclosure: All opinions are 100% mine. This giveaway is in no way associated with, sponsored, administered, or endorsed by Amazon , Facebook, Twitter, Google, Pinterest or any other social media network. All opinions and experiences are Conservamom‘s. Open to US & CAN , must be 18+. Confirmed Winner(s) will be contacted through email and have 48 hours to respond before a new winner will be drawn. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. The sponsor will be responsible for product fulfillment to winner(s) of the giveaway. The disclosure is done in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 10 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. For questions or to see your product featured in an Event you can contact  Elia At Conservamom

Review of The Kids' Guide to Getting Your Words on Paper


Does your hand ache when you write?

Packed with fun and simple ideas to help kids feel good about writing, this handwriting book with a difference helps children embed the strength and skills they need to get the most out of their written work, at home and school!

From different kinds of cushions, hand warm-ups, and cool eye scan exercises, and pencil grips to yoga balls in cardboard boxes, personalized activity binders, playdough, lego, and Velcro on pencils, this book is filled with fun stuff to help kids focus, get stronger, and be in control of their writing. The strategies in the book are accompanied by cartoon-style illustrations, and the author includes useful tips for parents and teachers as well as handy visual charts, a quiz to identify areas of most difficulty, and checklists for children to track their own progress.

Armed with the strategies and exercises in this book, kids will be well on their way to writing with greater ease, and the positive self-esteem that goes along with that. Suitable for children with writing difficulties aged approximately 7 to 12.


Book Links
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**My thoughts**
I think this book has potential to be a great resource for kids who have difficulty with writing for a variety of reasons. But please note this is not a book that you can just throw at kids and expect them to figure it all out on their own. Teacher and parents should review it first and then go through it with the child. Also, follow any directions and support from your occupational therapist. There are a lot of words for a child to sort through on his own. But then that child should be empowered to make his own decisions about which tips and tricks work best for him.

I love the exercises presented in this book and remember using several of them when I was teaching, as well as a lot of the suggested tools. I like that it does empower the child to express how each activity makes her feel and which ones work best for her.

A couple of things bothered me a little bit. There are pre-printed writing lines where the child is supposed to copy a particular phrase or practice. Those lines are obviously hand-drawn, so they are wobbly and not the same size. I would rather those lines be standard and straight. But all of the charts and bookmarks, etc,. are all clearly printed and look neat and tidy, which makes them easy to read. That's another reason that I do not understand why the handwriting lines are all hand-drawn. And then the pencil emojis at the end of certain sections are a fun idea, but I find it very difficult to distinguish between the three facial expressions on the pencils. The mouths are so small that you can barely make them out and the eyes do not change too much.

The copy that I reviewed was a digital copy. I hope that the pages that have the bookmarks and things on them that are supposed to be cut out end up being pages that are blank on the other side. Otherwise, you're losing some important information! Or I hope that the book ends up in a format that allows for very easy photocopying.

So overall, I do see a lot of benefit to this book and a few tweaks would make it a little more appealing. Teachers and parents can learn a lot from it and its suggestions for activities, which could easily be implemented throughout the environment for all kids. And then the kids can figure out which techniques best help them in their own situations. They even help kids who are not showing those stronger signs of needing extra help when writing. I had many of these as a part of my general classroom offerings for all children and then encourage certain children toward certain techniques. Otherwise, they were able to figure out what best suited each of them.

Thank you to the publisher for fulfilling my review request via NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


Saturday, May 16, 2020

Review of My First Gratitude Journal: Fun and Fast Ways for Kids to Give Daily Thanks


Grateful kids are happy kids!

Practicing gratitude increases happiness, improves self-esteem, and lowers levels of stress—and this easy-to-use journal is sure to help kids tap into that extraordinary power for the first time. Through writing and drawing, children will learn to give daily thanks for the good in their lives. Every ten days they’ll respond to more in-depth prompts that ask them to think about gratitude on a broader scale. Best of all, they’ll develop a healthy habit for the rest of their lives.

My First Gratitude Journal features:
  • EASY TO USE PAGES: Simple daily prompts make the journal easy to use and thought-provoking at the same time.
  • WRITING AND DRAWING: Each daily page is split into halves—the top half for writing and the bottom half for drawing. Kids can be as creative as they want to make the journal their own.
  • THE BENEFITS OF GRATITUDE: Slowing down to appreciate the good in their lives teaches kids how to be both mindful and grateful.
  • A CHARMING KEEPSAKE: Parents and children will enjoy reading this journal years down the road to see what they were grateful for in their childhood.


Book Links
(affiliate link)


**My thoughts**
Journaling is a hot topic these days, particularly among adults. I remember doing a lot of journaling when I was a kid, so I am happy to see some journals coming out that are geared toward the younger generation. And I am particularly fond of the idea of teaching kids to find something to be grateful for every single day. This journal is simple, requiring the child to basically write one sentence about something for which they are grateful every day and why. And then for those who love to draw, there is a drawing space included on each page. If the child is more verbal, (s)he can continue to write in that space. They are also encouraged to decorate their journal in any way that they feel expresses their daily gratitude. And then there are pages that are more specific, including friends, families, and more in their daily lives. I like that you get some extra prompts, because even for adults, some days it can be hard to think of something. It's a great starting point for the new, young journaling kid.

Thank you to the publisher for fulfilling my review request via NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Review of Ways to Make Sunshine by Renee Watson


From Newbery Honor and Coretta Scott King Author Award winner Renée Watson comes the first book in a young middle grade series about Ryan Hart, a girl who is pure spirit, kindness, and sunshine.

Ryan Hart has a lot on her mind--school, self-image, and especially family. Her dad finally has a new job, but money is tight. That means some changes, like selling their second car and moving into a new (old) house. But Ryan is a girl who knows how to make sunshine out of setbacks. As her brother says when he raps about her, she's got the talent that matters most: it's a talent that can't be seen, she's nice, not mean!

Ryan is all about trying to see the best in people, to be a good daughter, a good sister, a good friend. But even if her life isn't everything she would wish for, when her big brother is infuriating, her parents don't quite understand, and the unexpected happens, she always finds a way forward, with grace and wit. And plenty of sunshine.

Acclaimed author Renée Watson writes her own version of Ramona Quimby, one starring a Black girl and her family, in this start to a charming new series.


Book Links
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**My thoughts**
Right off the bat, I like the main character. She's a girl named Ryan, which means leader, meaning that she is powerful and can do whatever she sets her mind to. And she does have a strong nature about her that drives her, no matter what's going on in her life. She's going through a tough time right now, because her family has to move a new home and now nothing is the same. And this house is so much smaller, which just really messes up all of their routines. 

She's also going through the usual fourth grader struggles, trying to make the right choices and really live up to her name. Friendships are different. Her older brother is a typical pain, though you know he actually adores her and vice versa. And then there is a fun mystery that she thinks she has discovered in her new bedroom. And still things are going to change. I hope there is a follow-up to this book, because I want to see how Ryan continues to grow and takes on new challenges in her life. I also think she is a great role model for young girls who will both relate and learn a lot from her.

Thank you to the publisher for fulfilling my review request via NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.