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There's A Book

Today I’m thrilled to welcome author, Stacy McAnulty, to There’s A Book with a little Christmas wish list along with an accompanying cookie recipe! After you’ve read through Stacy’s wish list be sure to take a look at her debut picture book Dear Santasaurus! So, without further hesitation on my part, please welcome Stacy McAnulty…

Santasaurus Tour

In my debut picture book, DEAR SANTASAURUS, Ernest B. Spinosaurus writes letters to Santasaurus every month. Ernest wants to make sure the big green guy knows his wish list. So today, I thought I’d take a shot at making a Christmas list.

Dear Santasaurus

Stacy’s Wish List

1. Virus-Free Children: Every year one of my three kids has a cold or a stomach bug or the flu over Christmas break. I’d love to have a Christmas morning where tissues are mingling with the torn wrapping paper.

2. A Minion: Not the toy kind. I’d love one of these little yellow workers to help me with the wrapping and the baking and the cleaning. Maybe he could even give me a foot massage.

3. Dark Chocolate: Put it in my stocking. Wrap it up and place it under the tree. Send it via US mail. Such an easy gift to give. And personally, I love consumable gifts. That means I’ll never have to dust it or feel bad about selling it at a garage sale.

4. Free Time: This is probably harder to come by then a minion. I’ve only finished season 1 of Breaking Bad. I’d love to have time to watch the other 50 episodes. I’d order take-out and curl up on the couch until I know Walt’s fate.

5. And Some More Free Time: There’s a group of books patiently waiting for me on my kindle. They’re going to think I don’t love them if I don’t start reading them soon.

6. Peace: I wish this for everyone. That we can all find it during the holidays. That there are at least moments of it among the chaos and expectations. It’s not something that can easily be found. It often needs to be deliberately made.

And if I can’t have any of the above, I think I’d like a Fitbit Force, I plan on getting in shape in 2014. (It’s easy to make New Year’s resolutions when I still have a few weeks to change my mind.)

Stacy McanultyAbout Stacy:
Stacy lives in North Carolina with her three children, two dogs, and one husband. She loves books, Christmas, dinosaurs, and cookies. DEAR SANTASAURUS (Boyd Mills Press, 2013) is her first picture book. For more information on Stacy, please visit her website.

Visit Stacy’s Blog for a slew of cookie recipes!

Find Dear Santasaurus by Stacy McAnulty at the following spots:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Powell’s Books | Indiebound | Book Depository | Goodreads | ISBN/ISBN-13: 1590788761 / 9781590788769

Thank you again to Stacy for stopping by today! I can’t wait to try the cookies she’s been sharing these past few days! Connect with on Twitter and on Facebook!
Purchasing products by clicking through the links in this post will provide us a modest commission through our various affiliate relationships.

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Mitchell Goes Bowling coverMitchell Goes Bowling by Hallie Durand and Illustrated by Tony Fucile
Published by Candlewick Press
Pages: 40
Ages: 3-7
Buy It: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Powell’s Books | Indiebound | Book Depository | Goodreads | ISBN-10/ISBN-13: 0763660493 / 9780763660499
Publishers Summary:

Mitchell liked to knock things down.
That’s just how he rolled.

One Saturday, when Mitchell almost knocks down his dad, his dad catches him and puts him in the car. And when they step into the bowling alley, Mitchell feels right at home. Pizza! Giant crashing noises! Special shoes! But as Mitchell picks up the biggest ball and quickly learns the word gutter, and when Dad does a little kick with his leg and earns a big X on the scoreboard, Mitchell starts to get peevish. How can Mitchell get a chance to do a steamin’-hot-potato-dance too? With wit, warmth, and comedic charm, Hallie Durand and Tony Fucile roll another strike with this tale of a lovably rambunctious child and his doting dad.
Battle on! Head to the lanes for another hilarious, high-energy story as four-year-old Mitchell and his obliging dad strike a winning deal.

TurkeybirdTurkeybird Starts Throwing: STRIKE!!! Whacking down things sounds and pins sounds like so much fun! After we read this book I’ve been asking to go bowling over and over again. I especially want to go with my dad because I think it would be so much fun. I bet he could knock down lots of pins just like Mitchell’s dad!


Mom’s Two Cents: Mitchell is determined to knock down anything and everything in sight, but his parents have had just about enough. When Mitchell knocks over his final household item and even his dad they decide a Saturday at the lanes to learn to knock down a more appropriate target; bowling pins. After struggling to knock even three pins down Mitchell is frustrated, wanting to knock a strike out just like his dad. It’s only when he joins up with his dad for an afternoon of fun that he’s able to get a STRIKE and knock down just what he’d hoped for.

This truly was a fun read! Both Turkeybird and Littlebug loved it and have been begging to go bowling ever since. Not only that, but it has a wonderful message all about teamwork. Children will no doubt relate to Mitchell and his devious adventurous ways, but the connection with his dad is what truly stands out. Mitchell Goes Bowling was a fantastic read and one we’ll no doubt be re-reading again and again many times to come!

The1stdaughter Recommends: Ages 3 to 8. A whole lot of fun and even more teamwork, this story will delight young readers and have them hoping for a strike of their own very soon.

October is National Learn to Bowl Month!

Read to Us! Story-Hour Kit


Thanks to the wonderful people at Candlewick Press and Blue Slip Media I have one copy of Mitchell Goes Bowling by Hallie Durand to giveaway to There’s A Book readers. Be sure to enter using the rafflecopter form below and be aware that this one is for US residents only.

Find Mitchell Goes Bowling by Hallie Durand and Illustrated by Tony Fucile at the following spots:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Powell’s Books | Indiebound | Book Depository | Goodreads | ISBN-10/ISBN-13: 0763660493 / 9780763660499

Hallie Durand is the author of Mitchell’s License, now available in paperback as Mitchell Goes Driving, among other books for children. About Mitchell Goes Bowling, she says, “I love hanging out at the lanes with my crew, especially when I get a couple of Xs!” She lives with her family in Maplewood, New Jersey. To learn more, visit her website at

Tony Fucile is the author-illustrator of Let’s Do Nothing! as well as the illustrator of the Bink & Gollie series by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee. He has spent more than twenty years designing and animating characters for numerous feature films, including The Lion King, Finding Nemo, and The Incredibles. He lives with his family in the San Francisco Bay area.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Candlewick Press, and Blue Slip Media for providing a copy of this book for review! Connect with them on Twitter, Google+ and on Facebook!
Purchasing products by clicking through the links in this post will provide us a modest commission through our various affiliate relationships.

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The Real BoyThe Real Boy by Anne Ursu and Illustrated by Erin Mcguire
Published by Walden Pond Press
Pages: 288
Ages: 8-12
Buy It:
Publishers Summary:

On an island on the edge of an immense sea there is a city, a forest, and a boy. The city is called Asteri, a perfect city saved by the magic woven into its walls when a devastating plague swept through the world years before. The forest is called the Barrow, a vast wood of ancient trees that encircles the city and feeds the earth with magic. And the boy is called Oscar, a shop boy for the most powerful magician in the Barrow, who spends his days in the dark cellar of his master’s shop grinding herbs and dreaming of the wizards who once lived on the island. Oscar’s world is small, but he likes it that way. The real world is vast, strange, and unpredictable. And Oscar does not quite fit in it.

But it’s been a long time since anyone who could call himself a wizard walked the world, and now that world is changing. Children in the city are falling ill; something sinister lurks in the forest. Oscar has long been content to stay in his small room, comforted in the knowledge that the magic that flows from the trees will keep his island safe. Now, even magic may not be enough to save it.

Anne Ursu has written an unforgettable story of transformation and belonging—a spellbinding tale of the way in which the power we all wield, great and small, lies in the choices we make.

In city filled with magic and people so perfect that everything about them shines, it is Oscar who stands out in a crowd. Perfectly ordinary and even a bit odd, Oscar’s small world as a boy grinding and mixing plants may seem mundane to people looking from the outside. To the apprentice serving under his master, Wolf, Oscar is a nuisance to be disposed of at the earliest convenience. Master Caleb and Oscar’s new friend Callie see things very differently and when life in the Barrow becomes increasingly dangerous it turns out that there truly is more to Oscar than even he ever expected.

About one week ago Anne Ursu shared a post on the Nerdy Book Club that changed the course of my review. You see, I have a tendency to take books very personally. Every so often the lines between reality and fiction blur momentarily while reading, expanding the way you see your world and the experiences or relationships you have. Even more rarely, thanks to the beauty of the internet, you discover something about the author behind the book that causes their writing to mean that much more to you. An understanding, a connection and sometimes even a friendship or kinship is developed. Let me first share this paragraph from The Real Boy and then I’ll continue:

Oscar awoke in the morning with the feeling of dread twitching in his body, as if mice had been skittering along the inside of his skin all night. With a deep breath, he counted the things around him that were real. There was a the ceiling; there were his walls; here was his bed, his blanket, his Pebble.
p. 23, ARC, The Real Boy by Anne Ursu

You see, I’d read this some time before Anne’s post went up on Nerdy Book Club and when I read this paragraph(among others) it was clear to me that Oscar was very much like my Turkeybird. And now, having read the post, very much like Anne’s son as well. This connection, this knowing that someone else so clearly (clearly is a loose term because I’m not certain any of us will ever completely understand another without physically being in their shoes) understands and has written a character I cannot wait to share with my own son, has meant more than I can communicate. As readers we long to find characters we can relate to, those that speak to us in a way that help us to feel less alone in this enormous world. As a parent this feeling of longing for the exact right books for our children is multiplied a thousand times over. When we find one such book it’s all we can do to bide our time waiting for the right moment to casually hand it to them with every secret hope they’ll love it. This, is how I feel about The Real Boy. And for this reason I’m happy to say my review has been skewed, but why not? Books are supposed to be personal, aren’t they?

The Real Boy by Anne Ursu is a book I will champion for years to come, and not only because of the character connection I mentioned above. Anne has created a story world layered in rich bold characters, settings and conflict. Where you start within the first few chapters is only the beginning of something bigger, not only for Oscar but the world around him. Oscar’s relationships were a large part of the story connection, from good to bad and especially the small subtleties of his relationships with the cats in his home. When Callie is introduced to the story I couldn’t help but root for their friendship. So often all we need, no matter who we are, is someone to cheer us on and ask the right questions of us. Callie saw something in Oscar that most overlooked, his potential. Through Callie’s friendship and Master Caleb’s encouragement, Oscar slowly makes the choices he needs to to propel him forward.

In all honesty, I could continue to talk about The Real Boy by Anne Ursu for days. There is so much to be discovered within the city of Asteri and land surrounding it. Magic, the lack of magic, characters who come to life page after page, conflict and intrigue, the power of good and bad choices, and most of all the power of friendship and kindness. Oscar, though it’s never said in the book that he’s autistic, has characteristics that so many children today will relate to and be comforted by. They’ll possibly feel freed by knowing they aren’t alone in the world and that this very Real Boy understands the way they think. There is so much more I could say. The Real Boy by Anne Ursu is powerful and heartfelt, a story I will treasure for years.

The1stdaughter Recommends: Ages 7 and up. Magic, intrigue, friendship and the power of making choices. A powerful follow-up to Anne’s novel, Breadcrumbs, that begs to be read by all.

RB - Blog Tour Banner


I have to give a huge thank you to the publisher, Walden Pond Press, for giving me the opportunity to review and be on the tour for The Real Boy as well as host a giveaway for one signed hardcover of the book!
Be sure to enter using the rafflecopter form below and be aware that this one is for US residents only.

Also, Walden Pond Press is hosting a Facebook sweepstakes in celebration of THE REAL BOY by giving away $300 worth of books! Stop by their Facebook page to enter and read more details.

Find The Real Boy by Anne Ursu and Illustrated by Erin Mcguire at the following spots:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Powell’s Books | Indiebound | Book Depository | Goodreads | ISBN/ISBN-13: 0062015079 / 9780062015075

Thank you to Walden Pond Press for coordinating this blog tour! Find Walden Pond Press on Twitter and Facebook!
Purchasing products by clicking through the links in this post will provide us a modest commission through our various affiliate relationships.

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Welcome to the Counting by 7s blog tour! Willow Chance is a 12-year-old genius who finds it comforting to count by 7s. She’s never really connected with anyone other than her parents, but when they both die in a car crash, she’s left completely alone. We asked author Holly Goldberg Sloan to share her 7s – from the seven favorite books to seven things her fridge can’t do without, follow Holly on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays as she counts her own 7s.

Holly’s Guest Post: 7 things in my life that I will never forget

1. I will never forget the sunrise after my first son was born. The labor was not easy, but the baby boy eventually made his appearance. I was wheeled out of an operating room and taken up to recovery. The orderly pushed my hospital bed by a bank of windows and outside the sun was just edging over the horizon. I saw that first hot orange light and I swear I heard a symphony start to play. I had never before (or since) felt so alive.

2. My husband and I took a boat from San Pedro to the island of Catalina. It was a sunny day, but very windy and the other passengers had all gone inside. We had stayed up on the top deck looking out at the dark blue ocean. Suddenly my husband Gary grabbed my arm and pointed. Just alongside the boat was an enormous whale. Moments later the captain cut the engine and the boat stopped. The whale then stirred and started to swim. It was like watching a building move–the creature was that big. We were awestruck by the beauty of the animal.

3. Crater Lake in Oregon is a sight to see. The color of the water is breathtaking, as is the size and shape of the magnificent body of water. I was a kid when I first saw it and I’ve never forgotten how impressed I was.

4. I went to college in Massachusetts. My parents didn’t have the money for me to travel from Oregon to Boston, so I had never seen the school. But I had spent hours and hours looking at the college brochure, which had pictures in black and white. As I drove onto the campus that first day I was in shock. Nothing looked the same. The place was in color!

5. When I was in grade school my best friends were Annie and Katie Kleinsasser. I spent an insane amount of time at their old farmhouse that had been restored and stood only blocks from the University of Oregon. My family had a dog, but the Kleinsassers had cats. One morning after I had spent the night, I got up early to go to the bathroom. Everyone was asleep and the house was quiet. As I passed through the family room I heard a noise coming from a dark corner. I went to check and one of their cats was inside a box on a pile of clothing. She had just given birth to kittens and they were all around her. I was mesmerized. This was a big secret.

6. My family took a camping trip when I was in junior high school and we went to Canada. We put up a tent in a campground but no one else was there. It got dark and a truck came in with a local ranger. He told us that we should be careful because there was a grizzly bear that often visited the city dump, and that was right near the campground. After much debate between my parents they decided to stay the night, despite the warning. I insisted on sleeping in the car and so did my little brother. In the middle of the night, the bear arrived. A grizzly bear in the dark in an empty campsite is not something you forget, even if you are locked in the car and your parents are sleeping in a tent.

7. The first time I saw New York City, I approached the city by train. I could see the island and it was more magnificent than any picture or piece of film I had ever seen. It was everything I hoped it would be and more. It was New York, New York. Skyscrapers and everything.

Counting_by_7sCounting by 7s Synopsis:

In the tradition of Out of My Mind, Wonder, and Mockingbird, this is an intensely moving middle grade novel about being an outsider, coping with loss, and discovering the true meaning of family.

Willow Chance is a twelve-year-old genius, obsessed with nature and diagnosing medical conditions, who finds it comforting to count by 7s. It has never been easy for her to connect with anyone other than her adoptive parents, but that hasn’t kept her from leading a quietly happy life . . . until now.

Suddenly Willow’s world is tragically changed when her parents both die in a car crash, leaving her alone in a baffling world. The triumph of this book is that it is not a tragedy. This extraordinarily odd, but extraordinarily endearing, girl manages to push through her grief. Her journey to find a fascinatingly diverse and fully believable surrogate family is a joy and a revelation to read.

HollyGoldbergSloanimageAbout Holly Goldberg Sloan:

Holly Goldberg Sloan was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and spent her childhood living in California, the Netherlands, Istanbul, Washington, DC, and Oregon. She has written and directed a number of successful family feature films. The mother of two sons, Holly lives with her husband in Santa Monica, California. I’ll Be There was her debut novel (she earlier had written a middle reader book called Keeper).


First of all, thank you so much to Holly for taking the time to write this fantastic novel and accompanying guest post. This is an absolute favorite novel of mine this year and has had me in tears numerous times (which I guarantee is a good thing!). Because I love it that much I’m offering one hardback copy of Counting by 7s to one There’s A Book reader! Good luck and if you don’t win, please do pick this one up because you don’t want to miss it!
Be sure to enter using the rafflecopter form below and be aware that this one is for US residents only.

Follow along the Counting by 7s blog tour to read all seven of Holly’s posts.

9/2: Live To Read
9/4: To Read, or Not To Read
9/6: I Am A Reader, Not A Writer
9/9:  Making the Grade
9/11: There’s A Book
9/13: Abby the Librarian
9/16: The Book Muncher

Find Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan at the following spots:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo eBook | Powell’s Books | Indiebound | Book Depository | Goodreads | ISBN10/ISBN13: 0803738552 / 9780803738553

Thank you so much to the publisher, Dial Books for Young Readers, for providing a copy of this book for review! Connect with Dial on Twitter and on Facebook!
Purchasing products by clicking through the links in this post will provide us a modest commission through our various affiliate relationships.

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