Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Holly and Ivy

"This is a story about wishing," starts the story of Holly & Ivy.  Indeed, this wonderful book written by Rumer Godden and illustrated by Barbara Cooney is all about wishing and dreams coming true.

Miss Nancy at The Storybook Shoppe recommended this beautiful book to our family.  We fell in love with the tale of Ivy, an orphan who wants a home for the holidays more than anything else, Holly, a doll who wants a girl to bring her to life, and a lonely, childless couple who wants a family.   It's a story about Christmastime, when all three wishes come true as one.

This is not a short picture book, it's actually quite long, and it is recommended for children ages 5+.  (Though I think it's better suited for an 8 or 9 year old.)  I sat down with Molly who is 4 years old to read it, but it was much too long for her, although she truly enjoyed the vignettes and whimsical pictures that tell the story wonderfully.  The illustrations in this book are nothing short of magical.  They are very realistic and captivating.  Molly loved the picture of Ivy drinking hot chocolate and every wintery scene that just feels like Christmas!

We have several copies of Holly & Ivy in store, and many available to ship directly to your door.  There's still time to have it by Christmas!  Save 10% OFF and have it delivered directly to your front door.  Check out with PayPal, it's really is the "safe and easy way to pay."

HOLLY AND IVY by Rumer Godden/Barbara Cooney
$16.91 (normally $17.99) plus $5 shipping and tax 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Christmas Wish

The Christmas Wish

Here's a book that will instantly bring the magic of Christmas to your home: The Christmas Wish by Lori Evert (with eye-popping photographs by Per Breiehagen) captivated my daughter, Molly and me, too!  It's a story about a little girl, Anja, who lives "in a place so far north that the mothers never pack away the wool hats or mittens."  Anja's lifelong dream is to become one of Santa's Elves and the story is about her pursuit to find Santa across the frozen tundra.

Her journey is made possible by a friendly bird, a talkative horse, a shy but strong ox, a cuddly polar bear, and a thankful reindeer.  Each animal has it's own persona and each is incredibly endearing.   Hard to say if we liked when Anja read to the polar bear the most...

Or if it was it was when they arrived early to meet a friend, and decided to take a nap together...

Or if we liked it when the horse gave her a ride because Anja was tired...

When Anja finally gets to the North Pole, her wish of meeting Santa Claus comes true! Santa Claus thanks her for making the long journey and tells her she is an extraordinary girl that brings kindness and joy to those around her all year long.  Then he asks if she will drive the sleigh!  This breath taking picture nearly convinces me of Santa....

When they arrive, Santa hands her a bell and tells her that if she ever needs anything, she should ring it.  A moment later, Anja awakes in her bed without any sleigh tracks or Santa, but she is holding a bell.   Readers are left wondering if it was all a dream.

My daughter absolutely loved this question, and it's an excellent transition into the topic of "is Santa Claus real?" I asked her if she believed the story was true and if Anja really made that incredible journey with all of those wonderful animals.

She had a wide smile after a moment and said - "MOM! It has to be true because the little girl was holding the bell!" Bravo, Molly!  This is a wonderful story about believing in the magic of Christmas.  We will treasure this story and it's spectacular, spectacular photographs for seasons to come. (Per Briehagen was a photographer for National Geographic, the photos are real.)

Buy The Christmas Wish now, right here on our blog and support The Storybook Shoppe! You will save 10% OFF the list price and pay only $5 shipping right to your door.  PayPal is a safe and easy way to pay... click on the BUY IT NOW BUTTON below! This one makes a great gift for the holidays.

The Christmas Wish

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Christmas Is Here

Every year, Christmas gets more and more commercialized and I feel more and more that Christmas has become completely out of hand.  This year, we are instituting a few rules in the O'Regan household.  For every gift that comes in, we will donate one toy that we don't play with anymore.  I also hope to volunteer at Savannah Feed The Hungry with my daughter.  Since my husband thinks it would be too difficult, I may just go alone.

This Christmas book, "Christmas Is Here" was recommended to our family by Miss Nancy at The Storybook Shoppe.  Words are from the King James Bible and it's a very grounding book. The words are comforting, rhythmic, biblical.  A warm feeling came over me (and hopefully Molly and Connor) as I read, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will towards men."

I hope that after the Cyber Week sales and the mad dash rush at the mall, everyone will enjoy a moment (or more!) this season and be thankful for all that we have.  I love the "pay it forward" ideas found all over the country... picking up the coffee for the person behind you, paying the persons toll behind you, donating toys and books, or volunteering.  Giving back this year can be just as rewarding as getting gifts and scoring a great deal.

This book brings us back to what Christmas is all about.  We love the illustrations and the "story" of Christmas and I think your little ones will too.  Buy this book right here on the blog and support The Storybook Shoppe.  Get 10% OFF your purchase and pay just $5.00 flat rate shipping.   PayPal is safe and secure and your book will arrive in a few days!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Balloons over Broadway

What are your Thanksgiving Day traditions? I know of plenty of people who do the same thing ever year. While cooking, they watch the Macy's Day Parade!  As a young girl, I remember the exceptional floats and best of all, Santa arriving on his sleigh at the end!  I can almost hear the announcer saying: "Santa should be arriving soon!" and the excitement I felt.

Miss Nancy at The Storybook Shoppe recommended Balloons Over Broadway by Melissa Sweet to our family for Thanksgiving.  It is the true story of the Puppeteer of Macy's Parade! From when Tony was a little boy to how he became the puppeteer of the parade, this story follows his interest in marionettes.

The illustrations in this book keep things very interesting.  A mix of hand drawn illustrations, photos, and varying fonts for text, keep this book visually riveting.  It's a collage style that is uncommon and therefore, appealing.  There's even an unexpected twist in the middle, when you turn the books orientation vertically, to see the float.  Melissa Sweet won a Caldecott Honor for her mixed media collage illustrations.

The book is quite involved, though my daughter who is 4 enjoyed it, we recommend it for ages 5+.   We think it's great for anyone with an interest in parades!

Balloons Over Broadway is the perfect gift for Thanksgiving to add to your library at home and we are selling it for 10% off the list price. Buy it here, right on the blog! Just check out with PayPal and we will ship it to your door within days.  This one is a treasured keepsake for the holidays.

10% OFF 
$15.21 plus shipping and tax

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Sophie's Squash

As many parents know, the window of opportunity for brain development and optimal time for learning is early on. Which is why early education is so important. My daughter, Molly, at age 4 is like a sponge. She is curious and has a powerful memory.  Sometimes I explain topics that are way beyond her comprehension. She doesn't get it all, but takes away pieces.

This is the case when we read Sophie's Squash, a recommendation from Miss Nancy at The Storybook Shoppe.  We turned the book into a discussion about personification.  (For anyone needing a refresher on third grade English:  personification is a figure of speech in which inanimate objects are given human qualities.)

When Sophie gets a squash at the farmers' market, she turns it into her best friend Bernice. She wraps her squash up in a blanket and rocks it to sleep.  She brings it to the library and to visit her squash friends.  This was our great opportunity to talk about personification!  Since Molly has made things human before with objects that aren't really human.

But when Sophie's parents urge her to do something with her squash (like donate it to a food pantry or eat it before it gets mushy), Sophie can't bear the thought!  Find out what Sophie ends up doing with this squash, this ending is so delightful.  (Hint: there's a garden!)

Of course not every book needs to be a teaching moment.  There are plenty of books that we read purely for entertainment value.  I recently read an interview with J.K. Rowling about her son who is an avid reader. The interviewer asked what the secret is for getting her son to read.  Her response surprised me. She said as a parent, you can't be picky about what you child is reading.  If they want to read comic books, let them.  If they want to read about vampires, let them.  The important thing is that they are reading.

What I truly love about The Storybook Shoppe and their staff is that they always seem to recommend books that educational and entertaining. I don't have to make a choice.  We love how Miss Nancy and her staff have actually read all the books, and how they know which ones will hit home.

Buy Sophie's Squash right here on our blog and save 10% OFF.  It's the perfect book for Fall.

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Wednesday, November 13, 2013


When I was 9 years old, my generous parents started looking at sleep away summer camps for me to attend. My father's business partner had attended a great camp, he recommended we contact the director for information.  Mitch Reiter came to our house, set up a slide show, and within 30 seconds he sold me on Camp Towanda.  From soccer to swimming, arts and crafts and evening activities, this eight week sleep away camp had it all and my bags were packed! Sign me up!

There was just one thing.  It's a Jewish Camp.  And I am not Jewish.  Would I have a problem attending? Since we weren't very religious, my parents quite liberal, and I had fallen in love with the camp, this is how it came to be that a Presbyterian from Massachusetts would attend a Jewish camp in The Pocanos, attended mostly by Jewish children and teens from New York and New Jersey. The next five summers, I spent 8 weeks at overnight camp with my Camp Towanda family.  I have some wonderful friends from camp to this day and also unique appreciation for the Jewish faith.

Perhaps this is why I am always mindful during the holidays of those who don't celebrate Christmas.  With Christmas being so commercial these days, if you don't celebrate it, I can imagine as a child you would feel quite alienated. I was delighted to see Miss Nancy's huge selection of Hanukkah books at The Storybook Shoppe.  In fact, she has a whole wall!

She sent us home with a few to read and I fell in love with Hanukkah! by Roni Schotter, illustrated by Marilyn Hafner.  It's a short book geared for pre-schoolers and toddlers that highlights the warmth of the holiday and the strong traditions of Hanukkah.  From the menorah, potato pancakes, dreidel, pot roast and gifts, prayers, and all the love, Hanukkah seems a lot like the holidays I celebrate -- filled with fun, food, and family.  After all, that's what all holidays are about regardless of the faith.

We delighted in this cute toddler, Moe, who in the beginning of the story is unable to say "Hanukkah." By the end, not only does he understand the traditions, but he has a new word, too!  (Can you guess what it is?) The illustrations in this book are wonderful, and perfectly depict the story, helping young listeners understand what you are reading to them.

We think you will love this story and it also makes a great gift.  Buy this wonderful story now, right here on the blog, and support The Storybook Shoppe!  It will be shipped to your door in days.

Regular $12.99
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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Captain Cat

We love it when Miss Nancy and her staff at The Storybook Shoppe introduces us to a completely unexpected treasure!  First, it must be said that I am not fond of cats.  Or I should say that I love all animals and wish cats no harm, but I have always been a dog person and I would never gravitate towards a book about cats.  Of course because it's the exact opposite of how I feel, that makes my daughter enamored with cats.  And is also why I was surprised to really enjoy this story.

Captain Cat by Inga Moore is a charming tale about an explorer who travels off the charted course to a new and mysterious land with loads of cats in his boat.  The island is overridden with rats, quickly extinguished by the new cats from aboard Captain Cat's boat.  When it's time for the Captain to leave, the cats want to stay. They've made quite a home there! 

Even though the cats wish to stay on their own, in exchange for the cats, The Queen of the Island gives Captain Cat some of her treasure. When he returns home, he shows off this treasure to other explorers. Soon, everyone is looking for this majestic land of cats and jewels.    But what does the Queen of the Island give the new explorers when they finally reach ashore?  Kittens.

And Captain Cat realizes he is most happy with his cats, and his cats' cats, and his cats' cats' cats. And so he lives happily ever after on the island with the cats.

The O'Regan's love a good happily ever after!  And I even managed to like this one about an animal I am not partial to.  Perhaps that is what makes reading extra special -- appreciating something unexpected.  We love how with every book that Miss Nancy recommends to us, we are exposing our son and daughter to new subject matters, a wider range of vocabulary, and a sea of imagination.

As Molly drifted off to sleep tonight, I thought to myself:  Is she dreaming of all the places she'll explore one day?

That and, "oh, shoot....what if now she wants a cat?"

Buy this lovely book here, right on the blog, and have it shipped to your door within days!  It makes a nice holiday gift, birthday gift for kids ages 4-7, or a great addition to your at home library for no occasion at all. Thanks for your support of The Storybook Shoppe!

Normally $15.99 
Take 10% OFF and pay $14.31 plus tax & shipping

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Snatchabook

Reading to our children at home is such a wonderful evening activity.  After a crazy meal time (Connor's usually throwing food, the dogs are barking, and Molly's usually whining for a special treat) and right after a fun-filled bath (water everywhere, including the floor), sitting down with my kids to five or six books is a real treat.   No one makes a sound except for the reader!

Miss Nancy recently recommended The Snatchabook by Helen Docherty and Thomas Docherty, and we have been enjoying it night after night.  Eliza Brown, an adorable rabbit, discovers that all of her friends favorite books are being snatched up! Someone is coming into their rooms at night and stealing their stories.


Keen to solve the mystery of what was happening to all the books, Eliza finds a creature -- mournful and full of shame -- that says, "I'm just a little Snatchabook."   This creature who you soon learn to love, says: "I know it's wrong, but can't you see -- I've got no one to read to me!"    Wouldn't you know it that Molly instantly said, "that's so sad, Mommy!"  Given how much we treasure reading to our children, it certainly would be sad if a child didn't have anyone to read to them.


A lesson is learned by everyone in the end as The Snatchabook puts back all the books he has taken. All is forgiven when everything has been returned.  And I bet you know who's reading to The Snatchabook?

"And if you take a closer look you might just see the Snatchabook, perched happily on someone's bed... listening hard to each word said."  YOU!

What a lovely story!  It's perfect for pre-K or K, or young readers on their own. It also makes a great gift for birthdays for someone who loves books.  Buy this treasured book now, right here on the blog, and support The Storybook Shoppe, Bluffton SC's only children's book store.  You'll receive 10% off the cost of the book as a thank you!

Normally $16.99
$15.21 plus tax and shipping

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Tooth Mouse

What an an exciting time for children when they start losing their baby teeth! My 4-year old daughter, Molly, already thinks she has a loose tooth (she doesn't) and can't wait for the tooth fairy!  A rite of passage and full of magic, the tradition of the tooth fairy is a time-honored one across the word.  In this lovely book The Tooth Mouse by Susan Hood and Janice Nadeau, young readers are introduced to France's version of the tooth fairy.

La Petite Souris (The Tooth Mouse) is retiring and looking for his successor! Many mice would love the job so they have to go through a series of task to prove they are worthy.  Sofie, a sweet young mouse, wants the job most of all.   She has to prove that she is brave, honest and wise enough to become the Tooth Mouse. She goes through a series of difficult tasks and faces many challenges.  In the end, it was the simpliest answer that proved most wise to earn her the spot.

Miss Nancy and her staff at The Storybook Shoppe always knows books that are going to captivate my daughter.  This one kept Molly on the edge of her seat the entire time, mostly because of the topic and the beautiful illustrations.  It's an adorable book that we love.

This book also makes a great birthday gift for 5 or 6 year old who starts loosing their teeth.  Pair the book with this cute tooth mouse box.  Kids can insert their baby teeth in the pocket of the tooth mouse and it's a great keepsake.

Buy these items right here on the blog!  These treasured book and keepsake make a great gift or addition to your library at home.

BUY IT NOW: The Tooth Mouse Book 
Normally 16.95
Take 10% off and pay $15.25 plus tax and shipping

BUY IT NOW: The Tooth Mouse Gift Box
Normally $19.99
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BUY IT NOW: Tooth Mouse Book & The Tooth Mouse Gift Box 
Normally $36.94
Take 10% off and pay $33.34

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Creepy Carrots

Miss Nancy at The Storybook Shoppe recommended Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reyonlds to us a few weeks ago, and I just had to share this one with you for Halloween.  My daughter, Molly, has a bit of dark side when it comes to choosing books. She gets a kick out of "scary" subject matters.  Creepy Carrots satisfies her curiosity for "scary" with this delightful book about Jasper the rabbit who fears his favorite treats are out to get him.

Jasper, like all rabbits, loves carrots.  He loves them so much that he visits the carrot patch on his way to school, on his way home, on his way to little league practice.  He can't get enough!  It seems he is quite greedy, actually.

Copyrighted material used via Amazon
But soon Jasper feels like the carrots are following him. They're creeping him out! While he brushes his teeth, while he's sleeping, are the carrots he loves so much following him?  They're haunting him everywhere he goes!

Often times when I finish a book with Molly, I ask her, "what do you think the author was trying to say to us?"  (It's easier than: what's the morale of the story?)   She had to think about this one for quite some time then she said that maybe he had too many carrots and they were mad at him.   Smart 4 year old.  I think she's right, maybe there is a message about greed in this one.   There is also a clever ending that negates all the "scary."

One of my favorite things about Miss Nancy and her staff at The Storybook Shoppe is that they introduce our family to books I never would have picked up.  This isn't one I would have gravitated towards but it is a HUGE hit right now for Halloween. The illustrations by Peter Brown really delight and it's a book that keeps you guessing until the end.  Are the carrots really following Japser? Or is it just his imagination?

Buy Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds now, right here on this blog, and support a Bluffton, SC children's bookstore.    By buying books on our blog, you are supporting a local community!  We're offering 10% off as a thank you.

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