Happy New Year!: #PictureBookADayChallenge2018 & Giveaway

Happy New Year Readers!!!

One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to read a new (to me) picture book every day for a year. I have decided to host a CHALLENGE for you to read with me. This is my way of encouraging you to read aloud to the children in your life. Reading is a fundamental part of child development – even for infants (or in my case – I was read to while in the womb)! So many studies have shown the importance of reading aloud to your kids, and what a lasting impact it can have on their lives. My hope is that this challenge helps make reading a daily habit in your family!

Follow Mini Moments of Magic on Instagram (@MiniMomentsofMagic) or Twitter (@MMMkidlitblog) to check out what I’m reading! I will be trying to read a new book every day, but you are welcome to re-read family favorites!

At the end of every month, I will do a roundup post here on the blog and share with you which books stood out from the rest. I will also giveaway a copy of my favorite book of the month to a lucky reader!

Giveaway Rules To Enter:
1. Read a picture book to your child (or inner child)!
2. Follow Mini Moments of Magic on Twitter or Instagram
3. Post a photo of you/your cute kid(s) reading a picture book on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #PictureBookADayChallenge2018 and TAG the blog!
Bonus for January: Share this blog post on Facebook to earn 5 extra entries!!!

That’s all you have to do! Every day that you share your #PictureBookADayChallenge2018 photo will count as one entry. I will announce the winner during my monthly roundup post!

Leave me a comment below if you excited about joining me for this challenge!

Happy Reading!
❤ Jordan

P.S. Come back here Wednesday for my post on how to get free/cheap books!

Mondays on Memory Lane: The Search for the BEST rendition of “The Night Before Christmas”

Every Christmas Eve when I was a little girl, my baby brother and I would snuggle in my bed with Mom and she would read to us Clement C. Moore’s classic poem, “The Night Before Christmas”. I think this may be one of my all-time favorite poems (yes… out of all poems). I love it so much that in middle school I selected it to recite it in front of my English class. I’m pretty sure I was the only person who memorized a Christmas poem, but I have always kind of danced to the beat of my own drum.

This Christmas season I have been on the hunt for the very best illustrated version of this holiday standard. There are so many different versions, that Santa could not fit them all in his sleigh if he tried! What I found though is that there isn’t one superior version. Each of my top picks has something special about it. My hope is that this list helps you find the perfect version for your family’s library.

Best Traditionally Illustrated:
The Night Before Christmas: The Heirloom Edition
Illustrated by: Charles Santore

This version is perfect for those looking for a classic/traditional version. The stunning and detailed illustrations transport you back in time. I love how this interpretation matches the antiquated English of the text. This version also includes an audiobook CD narrated by Jeff Bridges, a Christmas Countdown poster, Keepsake Envelope, and Holiday Music CD.

Best Contemporary Illustrations:
The Night Before Christmas
Illustrated by: Antonio Javier Caparo

Caparo’s life-like illustrations seem to pop off the page in this edition and almost have a Pixar-ish vibe. These modern illustrations combined with the original text make for a version that is relatable to today’s child. The family pictured in the story could be any contemporary family. This version also wins the “Most Friendly-Looking Santa” award!

Best Version for Babies/Toddlers:
The Night Before Christmas
Illustrated by: Janet Samuel

Unlike many of the versions I checked out, Samuel’s illustrated version features bright and cutesy pictures. This charming edition is perfect for little ones! I love the merge of the bubbly, cartoon-like Santa with Moore’s original text.

Most Nostalgic:
The Night Before Christmas
Illustrated by: Jan Brett

Jan Brett’s books always make me think of wintertime. Many of you will recognize her iconic artistic style from her seasonal classic, The Mitten. The little ‘windows’ of detail on each page were always my favorite parts of her books, and her interpretation of The Night Before Christmas does not disappoint! This version also features a DVD audiobook including Brett’s illustrations. It is narrated by Jim Dale, with accompanying music from the Boston Pops Orchestra.

Best Religious Interpretation:
Twas the Evening of Christmas
Written by: Glenys Nellist
Illustrated by: Elena Selivanova

Christian children’s author Nellist tells this nativity story in the same style as Moore’s classic poem. The rhyming and word choice are on point. This book is not only a great twist on the original Christmas poem, it’s an excellent retelling of the Jesus’ birth that is guaranteed to hold your child’s attention. Selivanova’s illustrations round out this beautiful book, with cheerful pictures of the Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus and the stable animals.

Top Contemporary Retelling:
Frozen Olaf’s Night Before Christmas Book
Written by:
Jessica Julius
Illustrated by: Olga T. Mosqueda

True to Olaf’s character he combines love and laughter in his retelling of the traditional tale. Fans of Disney’s Frozen (like me!) will LOVE this ‘fractured fairytale’ version. Includes a CD audiobook narration by Olaf!

Which is perfect for your family? Let me know in the comments!

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase using one of the Amazon links on my site, a small portion goes to Mini Moments of Magic. Thank you for your support. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Friday Finds: Finding Winnie – The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear

Happy Friday Readers!

Every Friday here at Mini Moments of Magic I will be sharing with you my latest picture book favorite finds. Today’s featured book, Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear by Lindsay Mattick and illustrated by Sophie Blackall, caught my eye during my latest trip to my local bookstore. That particular trip to the bookstore two weeks ago was actually one of the reasons I finally started this blog. I can never seem to go into a bookstore without leaving with at least two new picture books to add to my collection. For those of you who don’t know me, this may not seem unusual, but I don’t have any children… I don’t even have any nieces or nephews to spoil with picture book treasures. Nope! All of the picture books in my collection I’ve bought for myself (and I guess my future children). Give me a picture book over a ‘grown-up’ book any day! Lucky for me, my husband only thinks I’m a little bit bananas! :p

On to today’s review!

Finding Winnie snagged my attention immediately when I walked into the children’s section of the bookstore. It was featured on a table with other award-winning contemporary picture books, but the adorable bear on the cover instantly drew me to this particular book. Winnie seems to be staring longingly at the readers begging for them to take him home. Even from just looking at the cover, it’s clear to see why Sophie Blackall won the 2016 Caldecott Medal for her illustrations. The moment I knew I had to have this book though was when I read the story’s tagline, “The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear”. Of course, the bear they are referring to is none other than Winnie the Pooh! I had no idea that A.A. Milne’s character, Winnie the Pooh, was based on a real bear, but as a huge Disney fan, this was a must have for my collection. Honestly, I didn’t even read the book in the store (which is unusual for me), but I when I did finally get to reading it a few days later, I was amazed by this touching true tale.

This story begins with a mother snuggled in bed with her son. The little boy, Cole, asks his mother to tell him a true story about a bear. As the mother tells this unbelievable story, we get also get snippets of Cole’s side commentary. This gives Finding Winnie a touching real-life aspect and feel. The mother’s bedtime story is about a veterinarian, Harry Coleburn, who rescues a baby bear from a trapper on his way to take care of the Canadian cavalry in World War I. It follows the adventures of Capt. Coleburn and a very special bear, Winnie, up until the point where Winnie meets Christopher Robin (yes, he was real too!). I won’t give too much more away but know that this is a wonderful book!

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Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear by Lindsay Mattick & Illustrated by Sophie Blackall

 

Finding Winnie‘s Mini Moment of Magic: The SURPRISE at the end! I definitely didn’t see it coming, and it makes this true story even more incredible. You will just have to get the book and read it for yourself!

I highly recommend this book!!!! I would give it an 11/10! It really is that good! Finding Winnie would make an excellent Christmas gift for any little bear fans/book lovers/young readers in your life. I think this is a story that will be cherished by parents and children alike, and I recommend it for children ages 3-7. I hope you love it as much as I do!

Happy Reading!

❤ Jordan

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase using one of the Amazon links on my site, a small portion goes to Mini Moments of Magic. Thank you for your support.

Mondays on Memory Lane: Jingle Bugs

It seems perfect to kick off my brand new blog with a “Mondays on Memory Lane” post. My love of picture books began when I was still in the womb (no, REALLY I promise!). My mom, who was Kindergarten teacher at the time, would read to me almost every night while I was in her belly. It was no small wonder that I adored being read to as an infant/toddler. As soon as I could read on my own, I devoured every book I could get my hands on. To say I loved reading as a child would be an understatement.

Anyways I digress… Every Monday I will be sharing a picture book that I treasured during my childhood. These are books on my shelf that have worn corners, uber-soft bindings, and a little extra love on some of the pages from being read over and over!

This week I’m featuring a family Christmas favorite: Jingle Bugs by David A. Carter!

Jingle Bugs (David Carter’s Bugs)

Recommended Age Range: 3-7 years

This was a holiday staple in our house growing up. Who doesn’t love a great pop-up book??? My little brother (who is 3 years younger than I am) would have me read it to him, and once was never enough. Jingle Bugs has it all: cute rhymes; colorful, pop-up Christmas bugs; happy, holiday music; and twinkling lights! Your little ones will adore this silly holiday story!

We had so many of David A. Carter’s “Bugs” series pop-up books. You won’t be disappointed with any of them. Be sure to check out his other holiday must-reads:

Chanukah Bugs: A Pop-up Celebration

The 12 Bugs of Christmas: A Pop-up Christmas Counting Book (David Carter’s Bugs)

Snow Bugs: A Wintery Pop-up Book (David Carter’s Bugs)

Leave me a comment and let me know if you have read any of David A. Carter’s Bugs Series or tell me your family holiday favorites!

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase using one of the Amazon links on my site, a small portion goes to Mini Moments of Magic. Thank you for your support.