Fortunately, The Milk

PrintFortunately, The Milk by Neil Gaiman

Guest Reviewer — Reviewed by Daughter, age 9


The setting of the book is in the main characters’ house, outside on the street, and in a lot of other places, all over.

FortunatelytheMilkThe main characters in this book are:  the children, their father, and Professor Steg.  The backup characters are:  the people in the jungle, the green, globby aliens, the wumpires, and the volcano god, Splod.

This book is about when the children’s mother leaves to present a paper on lizards.  The next morning, the family runs out of milk.  The father goes to the corner shop to get more and is gone for hours.  When he returns, he tells of being abducted by aliens, nearly being sacrificed to a volcano god, having incidents with wumpires, being rescued from pirates by Professor Steg in a floaty-ball-person-carrier, and an encounter with singing space police dinosaurs.

I would recommend this book to people who like adventurous and hilarious books.

Flora’s Very Windy Day

Flora’s Very Windy Day by Jeanne Birdsall, illustrated by Matt Phelan

FlorasVeryWindyDayFlora got upset when her little brother, Crispin, knocked over her paints, again.  Their mother sent them outside to play.

Flora protested, saying that the wind was so strong it would blow her away.  Then Flora said:  “Of course, I could wear my super-special heavy-duty red boots.  They’ll keep me from being blown away.”

They bundled up, and Flora put on her special red boots. Crispin had only regular purple boots that “couldn’t do anything but keep his feet dry.”

The wind blew, but Flora laughed at it and told it that she was wearing her special red boots so it couldn’t blow her away.  The wind blew harder, but Flora laughed at it.

“However,” said Flora, “you may notice that my little brother is wearing regular old purple boots.”

So the wind blew harder still, and lifted Crispin off the ground.  Flora realized that her little brother was being blown away.  She kicked off her special red boots, and went sailing up after Crispin, and held on to his hand as they were blown away together.  They were frightened at first, but soon realized that the wind was comfortable, like “riding along on a squishy flying chair.”

Several different things approached Flora, asking her to give them Crispin:  a dragonfly, a sparrow, a rainbow, a cloud, an eagle, and the man in the moon.  Each time, Flora said no, “He’s my brother and I’m taking him home.”

Finally Flora asked the wind to let them go home.  The wind replied it would as soon as it found the right spot for Crispin, since Flora wanted to get rid of him.  Flora realized that she didn’t really want Crispin to go away, and the wind took them home.

There likely are times in the lives of most young older siblings when they wish (even briefly) that they didn’t have a younger sibling.  Underneath that momentary frustration, they really don’t wish any harm to the toddler or baby…’s just hard to remember when paints are knocked over, favorite stuffed animals are being chewed on, or a grown-up is busy with baby.  This is a very sweet book showing a big sister who realizes that she really does love her brother.


The Matchbox Diary

The Matchbox Diary by Paul Fleischman, illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline

the matchbox diaryA young girl visits her great-grandfather for the first time ever.  The girl looks around the room – full of books, boxes, collections, photos, antiques.  The great-grandfather says,

Pick whatever you like the most.  Then I’ll tell you its story.

The girl brings the old man a cigar box full of matchboxes.  The old man tells her the box is full of stories – that it is his diary.

When the girl asks what a diary is, the old man replies:

A way to remember what happens to you.  Usually it’s a book people write in.  When I was your age, I had a lot I wanted to remember, but I couldn’t read or write.  So I started this.  Open the first one.

Each matchbox contains a small object that holds a memory for the old man.  He shares them with the girl.

The first matchbox has an olive pit.  The old man tells of when he was a child in Italy and his family was terribly poor.  His mother would give him an olive pit to suck on when he was hungry if the didn’t have enough food.

One matchbox has a ticket to his first baseball game – in the United States – that he went to with his father.  Another matchbox has printer’s letters – and the old man tells about learning typesetting and working with a printing press.

The final picture shows the girl in a seat on an airplane, putting two objects into compartments in an empty chocolates (or something like that) box – one of them is a printer’s letter.

Through saved objects and stories from memories, readers learn about the life of the old man – from a poor boy in Italy, to traveling to the United State on a ship, to Ellis Island, to time as a migrant worker, to learning to read and write, to learning printing as a trade, and owning a bookshop.

This is a book with a sense of mystery and of history.  It is also a story of a great-grandfather and great-granddaughter getting to know each other.


International Talk Like A Pirate Day

International Talk Like A Pirate Day – September 19

talk like a pirate dayToday is International Talk Like A Pirate Day.  Recent dinner conversations in our home have been peppered with silly pirate talk like, “Avast ye scurvy dogs!” and “Shiver me timbers!”  and “Arrr!”

What is International Talk Like A Pirate Day?  and what is the point?  Well.  Um.  I think it is just to be silly….a little lighthearted silliness.  And, couldn’t everyone use a little just plain silliness once in a while?

I’ve recommended a good book with an engaging pirate main character, and included a link to learn to read treasure hunts at the end of the post, so, read on….

According to the official website,

Talking like a pirate is fun. It’s really that simple.

It gives your conversation a swagger, an elán, denied to landlocked lubbers.

In other words, silliness is the holiday’s best selling point.

The folks who started International Talk Like A Pirate Day do point out that they are talking like “movie pirates, the pirates of books, myth and legend. Think Long John Silver in “Treasure Island.” Pretend pirates.”  And, they point out that: “Real pirates were and are bad people and are in no way worthy of emulating.”  This is just a way to be silly, to have fun being silly.

So, me mateys.  Be ye wantin’ te know ’bout pirates?  This be a good read:



Bookworm Bear recommends Jack Plank Tells Tales – you can read the review here.




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These fun treasure hunts help children learn to read – free downloadable learn to read treasure hunts.

International Dot Day

International Dot Day – September 15

interntl dot dayToday is International Dot Day, “a global celebration of creativity, courage and collaboration.”  This creative celebration was inspired by the book, The Dot, by Peter H. Reynolds.

A teacher’s guide, some videos, Celibri-dots blog (dot images by authors, illustrators, and other famous folks), and a gallery of images of creative projects folks have done in the past to celebrate International Dot Day.  To learn more about International Dot Day, or to find ideas for activities, visit the website:

Bookworm Bear loves Peter H. Reynolds books.  We’ve reviewed The Dot and Ish here – they are well worth looking for at local libraries and bookstores.

Dot cover smallIsh


Roald Dahl Day September 13, 2013

Roald Dahl Day September 13, 2013

Roald dahl day 2013Some of our long-time family favorite books are those written by Roald Dahl.  Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Giraffe the Pelly and Me, James and the Giant Peach, The BFG, Danny Champion of the World.  These books tend to have unlikely heroes, involve creative solutions to problems, fantastical situations, and elements that celebrate childhood.

Today, September 13, 2013, is Roald Dahl Day.  For some fun reading and activity ideas, visit  You’ll find free downloadable pdfs with activity guides, posters, sticker templates, and party packs.

James and the Giant Peach guideThis year marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of James and the Giant Peach.  There is a special Teacher’s Resource Pack – as a free pdf.  This is a fun guide with ideas on exploring teamwork and friendship, science, dance and drama, creative writing, and history.

Celebrate reading, celebrate childhood.  Read and giggle together.  Cheer on unlikely heroes.  Think about an enormous chocolate river, a clever window washing team, a brilliant plan to capture pheasants, and a bighearted giant who sends wonderful dreams to sleeping children.


Best of Summer 2013 Kid Lit Giveaway Hop Winner

Best of Summer 2013 Kid Lit Giveaway Hop - ButtonFirst, thank you to everyone who stopped by Bookworm Bear, looked around, left a comment, visited Bookworm Bear on Pinterest, and entered the Rafflecopter!  You’ve mentioned some wonderful books – I’ll be adding many to my list of books to review for Bookworm Bear.


And the winner is….

A few moments ago, Rafflecopter did its magic random selecting thing, and declared a winner for the Bookworm Bear Best of Summer 2013 Kid Lit Giveaway Hop.  Congratulations to Kathy Davis!

Give Mouse CookieKathy left a comment about If You Give A Mouse A Cookie.  She will receive the $25 Amazon gift card via email today.

Thank you again to everyone for visiting Bookworm Bear, and for all the comments on favorite children’s books!





Best of Summer 2013 Giveaway Blog Hop

Best of Summer 2013 Giveaway Blog Hop – Win a $25 Gift Card

Best of Summer 2013 Kid Lit Giveaway Hop - ButtonBookworm Bear is joining in the Best of Summer 2013 Giveaway Blog Hop, and offering a $25 Gift Card.

Bookworm Bear will be giving one lucky reader a $25 gift certificate to  All you need to do to enter (one entry per person, please) is leave a comment with the title of a favorite children’s book, and complete the Rafflecopter entry below.  Good luck, and thanks for stopping by Bookworm Bear!

There are many other Kid Lit blogs joining in this blog hop – please take a moment to visit their sites.  There is a link at the end of this post to see the other blogs in this giveaway blog hop.  Also, please stop by the hosting blogs, Mother Daughter Book Reviews, and Youth Literature Reviews.

Since I’m asking you to tell me one (or more) of your favorite children’s books, I’ll share some of mine with you – ones I’ve reviewed on this site already.  If you want to know more about any of the books, just click on the cover.  Happy reading.

JackPlankTellsTales The Big Balloon RaceWho Stole Mona LisaBears-picture

Bookworm Bear is offering free printable Learn to Read Treasure Hunts

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Giveaway Details:  To enter, make a comment with the title of a children’s book you like.  The book can be a picture book, beginning reader, or chapter book — this also helps me know that yours is a real entry, not made by a random computer on its own.  One entry per person only, please.  Entering several times will disqualify you (sorry, but just trying to be fair here).

This giveaway uses Rafflecopter to collect entries and randomly select a winner.  The winning entry must have made a comment with the title of a children’s book to actually win.  The Giveaway starts at 12:01am on Monday, August 26, 2013, and closes at 11:59pm on Friday, September 6, 2013.  (Times are EST.)

The prize:  The winner will receive, via email, a $25 gift certificate to

To enter:  For a chance to win a $25 gift certificate, enter through the Rafflecopter form below. Don’t forget, you need to leave a comment with the name of a children’s book.  Thanks, and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
The Best of Summer 2013 Giveaway Blog Hop is hosted by Mother Daughter Book Reviews and Youth Literature Reviews.  If you get a chance, stop by their blogs.  Please visit the other blogs that are participating in the Best of Summer 2013 Giveaway Blog Hop:

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Up! Tall! And High!

Up! Tall! And High! (but not necessarily in that order.) by Ethan Long

Up!Tall!AndHigh!This is a silly, colorful book for emerging readers.  Using only a few, easy-to-read words, Long presents 3 stories with fun bird characters.  The stories center around the birds, and the words/concepts of tall, high (flying), and up (in a tree).  Each story has a fold-up page that reveals a silly twist with one of the bird characters.

Up! Tall! And High! is a fun book for children just beginning to read.

This book won the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award in 2013.

The Theodor Seuss Geisel Award is given annually to the author(s) and illustrator(s) of the most distinguished American book for beginning readers published in English in the United States during the preceding year.   The winner(s), recognized for their literary and artistic achievements that demonstrate creativity and imagination to engage children in reading, receives a bronze medal.  For more information about the award:

First Day Jitters

First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg, illustrated by Judy Love

FirstDayJittersIt is the first day of school.  Sarah Jane Hartwell hides under her covers and says she isn’t going to school.  It’s a new school, and she doesn’t know anyone there – and she doesn’t want to go.

“That’s just it.  I don’t know anybody, and it will be hard, and…I just hate it, that’s all.”

Mr. Hartwell tries saying different things to reassure her, and to get her out of bed.  Finally Sarah tumbles out of bed and gets dressed.

Mr. Hartwell drives her to school.  Her hands feel cold and clammy.  She is nervous.  Mr. Hartwell points out the school principal.

“You’ll love your new school once you get started….There’s your principal, Mrs. Burton.”

Mrs. Burton shows Sarah to her classroom, reassuring her along the way through the crowded hallways.

“Don’t worry.  Everyone is nervous the first day.”

Then, Mrs. Burton introduces Sarah to the class.  And, in a nice twist, we learn that Sarah is the teacher.

This is a fun picture book for the start of a new school year, or for children switching schools after the school year has started.  The illustrations don’t show enough of Sarah for the reader to guess that she is an adult – keeping the surprise until the end. Sometimes it helps if children know that even teachers get nervous the first day of school.  A good picture book to share as the start of school approaches.