Five Snowy Books With A Family Connection

Winter comes with more than it’s fair share of holiday and family traditions but here are five books that celebrate family connections on ordinary days.


Owl Moon by Jane Yolen illustrated by John Schoenherr

A girl and her father go out looking for owls in a book that brings magic to an ordinary snowy night.

Snow Sisters by Kerri Kokias illustrated by Teagan White


Two sisters with very different ideas about what makes the perfect snow day.


What if Butterflies Loved Snow? by Jessie Stevens and Madhawi Karaya


A girl and her mother snuggle in bed and wonder what it would be like if butterflies brightened up the winter.

Snow Comes to the Farm by Nathaniel Tripp illustrated by Kate Kiesler


Brothers spend the day together watching the woods fill up with snow.

The Mitten by Jan Brett 


Grandmother knits her grandson a pair of snowy mittens in this silly winter story.


What’s your favorite winter book? Does it also celebrate a family connection?



The sight of a freshly alphabetized bookshelf brings with it a deep satisfaction.

I may have a pigeon living in the house, a sink full of dirty dishes, a desk piled high with things to do and the specter of the first Monday after a time change looming over me.

But my bookshelf is organized.

So I can’t have lost my grip completely yet.


(Pssst. The only correct answer here is “Right!”)

How about you, what random act brings immense satisfaction to your life? 

Introducing Book Bee

Meet Book Bee!

I know, I know, she does look a bit like she might have a long-haired guinea pig or perhaps even a bit of Yorkie in her lineage but we love her for it.

Book Bee (a gift from some fabulous, fellow bloggers you can meet here, here and here) mostly lives on Instagram. She likes to read books with me and share a few of the good ones that don’t make it onto the blog as book reviews.

She’s also very involved in the Book at the Door giveaway. The Book at the Door giveaway (just in case you missed it, or saw this month’s entry, which unfortunately makes it about as clear as mud) is a new monthly feature here. Once a month an artist will create a piece that includes the first line in a book that I have read and loved. All you have to do is comment on the post, telling me the name of the book so I know you want to be in the drawing and then, if you win, you get a print of the artist’s work and the book sent to you in the mail!

That’s right, actual mail, actual printed art and actual hard copy books. It’s a thing that makes both Book Bee and I very excited!

The Instagram link is hanging out over there in the sidebar. You don’t need an account to scroll through photos.  You can always click on her little fuzzy picture if you are curious what she’s reading now!

June’s Book at the Door giveaway with amazing art by Mr. Tookles is open through Tuesday! Come throw your name in the hat before Book Bee tries to keep it for herself! 

Holiday Reading – A Year of Book Reviews

Need a little inspiration when spending those amazon gift cards found under the tree? An idea for your next library visit? Something to read as you recover from the holiday?

Click on my gargoyle friend in the sidebar to scroll back though a year of book reviews.  The books behind the willowsFollow this link to see the latest of my recommended reads.

Or click on the guy below to browse last five years of book reviews!
book shelf

Then keep an eye out on Twitter over the next day or so as I revisit some of my favorites from the year.

I’ve heard said (from a favorite author of mine no less) that the best gift a reader can give an author is a book review.  So, Merry Christmas to all my favorite authors! May you have a wonderful year of writing.  After all, the best gift a reader can receive is a new great book!

Happy Tribus Day!

Happy Tribus Day!

A day to celebrate cookies, tea and blogging!Cookies, Tea, Blogging

What? You’ve never heard of it?

That’s OK. I’m sure it’s only because, thanks to CoachDaddy and Rarasaur, it came into existence earlier this week. And what a fantastic concept, because, well, cookies, tea and blogging! It’ll be international by this time next year!

(Of course if cookies, tea and blogging aren’t your thing, Tribus Day can work with that too. Just pick your three favorite things and start the celebration. That’s the beauty of Tribus day!)

I am happy to let cookies reside at the top of my list. They are my favorite thing, specifically chocolate chip cookies. I like other cookies, I might love some other cookies. But chocolate chip cookies never disappoint and that is a beautiful thing in a dessert.cookies

Cookies are extra fantastic because I like to bake. I’m not going to claim to be some expert baker but I’m a master craving fulfill-er. You come to my house looking for cookies, give me 20 minutes and I’ll have a hot one for you. Though you should plan to bring a Diet Coke just in case. You see I have this thing about baking (and driving, and waking up from a nap, and 3 o’clock in the afternoon and sitting at the computer and late at night with bourbon…) it’s just better with a Diet Coke at hand.making cookies with a Diet Coke

While cookies can be made on short order, the tea is always available.

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Better. #notamorningperson

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Mornings inevitably lead to a quick zap in the microwave in order to get the caffeine into my body as soon as possible. Other times of day I’m willing to wait for water to boil and the tea to steep properly for a superior cup. But in all that waiting you’ve got to do something, and nothing goes with tea quite like books.reading a book while waiting for water to boil Then once the tea is made you need to let it cool a bit so you can just finish the chapter, and then once it’s done there is such a nice rocking chair under the window, good light, and a spot nearby to set a cup of tea… Ahhhh!

As for blogging, well let me check some stats here… Looks like I’ve been blogging for 65 consecutive months and published 1,136 posts. This blogging business seems to have some appeal for me!

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I could get used to this!

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And the best part is that a majority of those posts have pictures. Pictures that I’ve taken. In the last few years my camera has gone from being somewhere about the house, to immediately accessible at all times. I have discovered that anything, even a trip to the park, can be made more enjoyable with a camera in hand.   And then, joy of all joys, I get to put them on my blog and share them! What’s not to love!?!

picture of laptop

I just tried to take a picture of the camera sitting next to the laptop – not my smartest move.


All three together?blogging, tea, cookies

Looks like a beautiful day!

Of course a day with my camera in hand and plenty of Diet Coke and books would be pretty awesome too.Camera, Diet Coke, BooksBut then I’d miss my cookies, blogging and tea!

Happy Tribus Day!

How will you celebrate?


All Is Not Right With the World

All is not right with the world.

I know this must be so because today I realized that it is December 11th and I have not read a single book in December.

Not even part of a book.



This me not reading thing is so odd I don’t even know what to say about it.

I do, however, know what to do about it.DSCN6382

I have already picked Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb back off the bookshelf for a re-read. I’m two chapters in and I can practically feel the universe coming back into order.

Then, I’m going to ask all you lovely people what I should read next.

I’ll take those suggestions straight to my inter-library loan website and I’m sure by this time tomorrow the world will be right again.

Now excuse me, I’m off to see what Fitz does next…

I Saw Your Yoga

Ivy: “Mom! I saw your yoga!”

I am confused.

I don’t do yoga.

I’m not sure that I have “a yoga.”

I’m not sure what “a yoga” would be.

I ask for clarification.

I get none.

After a long circular conversation Ivy sighs with exasperation and goes to show me “my yoga.”

We find it on the gargoyle

The bookshelf, which I might add, goes floor to ceiling, has enough room for all my books and my baby gargoyle.

The unpacking is coming along.

Slowly but surely it’s coming along!

Monkey Monkey Monkey by Cathy MacLennan (and Other Monkey Books)

This is Jane:Jane peeking through gate

She likes monkeys.

After reading Hug and Little Gorilla (yes, I know, they aren’t actually monkeys) 7,000 times we got a copy of Caps For Sale and read it 200,000 times. Then I got smart and asked my local librarian to help find some monkey books.

Sock Monkeys Do The Monkey Monkey sounds intriguing and Jane loved it. The problem is that it’s sock monkeys doing the hokey pokey. No offense to William B Windburn because his sock monkey photos are great, I just happen to hate the hokey pokey.

We both were satisfied with Busy Monkeys but it’s a two word a page board book which turns into a parental bored book awful quickly.

Then Monkey Monkey Monkey showed up.

She loved it.

The other girls liked it.

The illustrations are super cute.

I have never said nor heard the word monkey so often in my life.

It’s catchy.

It rings in your head after you are done.

I put it on the pile to return to the library.

I took it off and kept it an extra week.

I debated but put it on the pile the next week.

I debated more and took it back off.

I debated more and put it back on.

The kids took it off and we read it again.

Everyone wandered off saying “Monkey wants some monkey nuts. Monkey, monkey, monkey nuts.”

I decided we were all going insane, put it at the bottom of the pile and threw it in the book return as soon as possible.

Would I recommend it? If you’ve got a monkey loving child and a high tolerance for the word monkey it’s mostly perfect.

These are by no means all of the monkey books we’ve read in the last few weeks. Curious George has been a regular as well as a few terrible books I shall not mention here and many that had monkeys featuring as minor characters.

Any other favorite monkey (or gorilla she doesn’t seem to be too picky) books you can recommend?