You are currently browsing the monthly archive for December 2011.

It’s time to say goodbye to a year of great success.

Since May, when we started our blog, we’ve come a long way and it’s all due to our loyal readers and supporters.

This year thanks to great people – QRB [Quail Ridge Books & Music in Raleigh, NC] staff, Anita Silvey, Random house [who retweeted our reviews and did great book giveaways] and of course AKid@Heart [mom] – I’ve discovered a lot of emotional, meaningful books. Embarked on many an adventure, all because of books.

Books to me are companions, old pals, and things I could never, ever, ever begin to live without. The blog has been an awesome way to open up about my love of books, bookstores (QRB rocks!) , and authors who share their books with the world. I love doing it and love the people who support us and my mom, AKid@Heart, who is in the process of sending her book into the world. Now to share some of my 2011 favorites:

  • The Mother-Daughter Book Club series (The Mother-Daughter Book Club; Much Ado About Anne; Dear Pen Pal; Pies and Prejudice; Home for the Holidays)
  • Bunnicula
  • Dex the Super Dog (Picture book)
  • A Christmas Carol
  • The Friendship Doll
  • The Penderwicks on Gardham Street
  • Smile
  • The Strange Case of Origami Yoda
  • The Revenge of Darth Paper

AU REVOIR 2011! BONJOUR 2012 and a whole new year of book reviews!


A note from AKid@Heart (mom): As with all of her posts and reviews, LitKid wrote this with no help from me … I may point out or add a bit of missing info here and there, but I think she’s done a great job with her writing and reviews this year: Kudos to my LitKid!


As we mentioned in a post this summer, we like to use our picture books as artwork, brightening our window sills, tables and any other spots in need of a jolt of color and beauty. When December rolls around, our holiday picture book collection takes over. Among our favorites to display are the Auntie Claus books (see our review), Great Joy, Olivia Helps with Christmas, Dream Snow and Russell’s Christmas Magic. We’re happy to share a few photos of our holiday-book-art from both last year and this year (including our new display of festive red novels and nonfiction served up on a cake plate).


‘Tis the season of buying wonderful books to put under the tree for our favorite people (or, for some, ’tis the season to build a tree out of books).

A friend who knows that LitKid and I have a blog about kids’ books asked if I had any book suggestions for their daughter, a friend of LitKid’s who is also a voracious reader and dedicated Harry Potter fan; she especially likes fantasy.

Here are a few off-the-cuff recommendations of all kinds, mostly from LitKid (if she reviewed it earlier this year, you’ll be able to link to her review):

  • The Emerald Atlas, John Stephens
  • Wonderstruck and The Invention of Hugo Cabret, by Brian Selznick (these are both masterpieces; I’ve never been able to wrap my head around how someone can have so much talent in so many realms ~ storytelling, style and artistry)
  • Moon Over Manifest, Clare Vanderpool (this may be my favorite of all the books I read alongside LitKid this year)
  • When You Reach Me, Rebecca Stead
  • Wild Things, Clay Carmichael (a “local”  ~ Carmichael lives one county over)
  • Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Ransom Riggs
  • Kiki Strike (series), Kirsten Miller
  • The Penderwicks (series), Jeanne Birdsall
  • Bunnicula, James Howe and Deborah Howe (recommended by Rosemary, our friend in the Quail Ridge Books kids’ department)
  • The Bartimaeus Trilogy, Johnathan Stroud (LitKid has this, but hasn’t started reading yet; it comes highly recommended by our Quail Ridge experts)

~ AKid@Heart and LitKid

Auntie Claus

By Elise Primavera

Auntie Claus is one of our favorites because it draws you in automatically with the fantastic illustrations. When young Sophie Kringle decides to tag along on her aunt’s – that is,  Auntie Claus’s – mysterious annual business trip, she doesn’t know what’s in store for her.

She stows away in one of Auntie Claus’s boxes, and when the trip is over, she finds she’s at the North Pole! When she gets mistaken for the new elf, the search for her aunt is on. After weeks in the mailroom, she moves on to a more dangerous task: retrieving the Bad-Boy-&-Girl list. To find out more, you’ll have to read the book!

~ LitKid (the 10-year-old reviewer)

Note from AKid@Heart (the mom): We were at our favorite bookstore, Quail Ridge Books and Music, when Ms. Primavera visited a few years ago, and the backstory of how she created the art for Auntie Claus (on huge canvasses) was truly amazing. There are two other Auntie Claus books — Auntie Claus and the Key to Christmas and Auntie Claus, Home for the Holidays – and they always figure prominently in our holiday “books as art” displays. Ms. Primavera’s illustrations are, in a word, gorgeous (an adjective I rarely use, but in this case, gushing is in order), and the rich, colorful covers brighten our holiday scene.  

Mouse’s First Christmas

By Lauren Thompson

Illustrated by Buket Erdogen

Last night, LitKid and I sleepily read our well-worn board book version of Mouse’s First Christmas, one we have both loved since she was a toddler.

The illustrations are velvety and inviting, and for me, the words are especially charming both because of their artful arrangement on the pages (on the candy cane page, the words take the shape of a candy cane) and because of the way that they have been made … cozy.

A few of the book’s descriptions:

… warm and melty

… jingly and glinty

… bright and flickery

… fine and silvery

… soft and felty

… tinkly and twirly

… whiskery and jolly

It’s a simple, lovely book for toddlers as well as former toddlers …

~AKid@Heart (the mom reviewer)

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December 2011
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