Is Beach-Trashing OK? Author Fiona Lumbers is back, with CLEM and CRAB.

Clem, a little girl, discovers a crab at the beach; and, sadly, she also discovers a lot of junk left behind by her species, humans. What she does with the collected trash isn’t unique—making a collage—what happens in her classroom is.

Mention the words, sea, surf, and sand to someone, and often, what follows is a smile. Why? Because the experience of being by an ocean with its repetitive waves lapping onto the shores, where its daily gifts from beneath the water come forth, is memorable. Many children experience this ocean thing at early ages, perhaps when they were first introduced to the water and sand, with a bucket and a shovel. In her 32-page picture book, CLEM and CRAB, author and illustrator, Fiona Lumbers, shares the good, the bad, and the ugly of one particular beach story. Through pastels colors and simple text, she tells a story that displays true sensitivity to the environment–and points out that children–like parents, teachers, and others–can help improve the made-messy-by-people beaches, even if it is, one… beach…at a… time.

Mrs. Patricia Ann Timbrook, PatSays, a children’s book reviewer. September, 2019, review. This is a 5-star book.,-with-clem-and-crab/

NEW: August Starts a Free Book Give-Away. Here’s How it Works…”

(Picture Book Selection for August 2019)
  1. The list of new followers’ names will be posted on my Facebook page, on, my blog, on the last day of each month when there is a book give-away. For example, on August 31, 2019, I will post the list of new followers’ names for August only.
  2.  The first day of the following month, September 1, 2019, I will post the winning name selected randomly from the list. Then, September 1 also begins the next month’s book giveaway, and so on.
  3. I need a minimum of 10 new followers or more in the month in order for there to be a drawing and a book giveaway.
  4. NO fees required. (Not sure if necessary to include this; but, I am anyway.)
  5. Added bonus: Should 50 or more new names sign up to follow my blog within the book give-away month, I will donate a second book to the Children’s Department of Western Maryland Hospital.

The rules are simple. Hope to see your name on the list. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions at

Double-Dog Dare!– #4 in the “Doing-the-Dog” Series for Children’s Book Reviews, from PatSays

                         The Pups Save the Bunnies, by Alyssa Satin Capucilli (published by Nickelodeon in 2016), and Biscuit and the Big Parade (an I Can Read! book) by Ursula Siegler Sullivan (published by Harper in 2018), certainly qualify for today’s Double-DOG Dare Challenge: Which one will come out on top of the pile? Let’s judge them by three areas:

First, which pooch pal(s) does the kisses thing? ( I call it the lick-ability factor.)

Second, which doggy truly does “get it” from humans (Dog IQ)?

Third, what about each canine’s personality?

To Issue #1.Okay, what about lick-ability?  If your child isn’t seeking a smoochy-pooch story, then this is a definite “At-a-boy.” tag for both books. The artist for Biscuit illustrates a perky golden Cocker Spaniel that prances merrily alongside its owner toward the Big Parade; and the author’s well chosen words and brief sentences provide the teaching part beginning readers need. As in the Pups, no smothering tongue-licks there either, even though the Paw Patrol gang of a police dog, a construction worker dog, a fire dog, and three more dogs work together to resolve a problem.

To issue #2. Next, does Biscuit score in his IQ as a puppy? He does! He gets an A+ with his smarts when he rescues something important. But, the Pups, too, score the same: an A+ because of their team efforts to solve the farmer’s big carrot scare.

To Issue #3. Then, at the end of each story, both types of canines– Biscuit the puppy, and the Pups (aka Paw Patrol)– prove themselves small heroes with big hearts.

Dogs and their love-ability characteristics are the reason they score most often as the #1 pet choice by millions of Americans.

Mrs. Patricia Ann Timbrook, PatSays Children’s Book Reviewer, July 17, 2019.

April Review of author-illustrator Debi Gliori’s board book, The BOOKWORM

Reviewer: PatSays, Patricia A. Timbrook, Children’s Book Reviewer

Max has a need to own a pet. He begins by asking for the most obvious one: a puppy. But, Mum turns that one down, as well as the next four pets and critters Max requests. Not discouraged, Max decides to find a pet on his own. With several failures, he settles on an average worm found in the yard, that he moves from its outside home to Max’s bedroom. There, he sings and reads to the worm and names it, the “Bookworm”. Throw in a little more imagination from Max, and the Bookworm soon becomes a dragon that flies away. Not discouraged this time either, Max, returns to Mummy’s idea of owning a goldfish as a pet. And, voile! Max can imagine the goldfish is slowly morphing into a shark. Mummy and Daddy never believe the dragon story, of course. But, that’s still okay with Max. In the end, the Dragon “Bookworm,” returns to Max’s room to hear another bedtime story.

Unique in its concept, as well as its play on words—The BOOKWORM—by Debi Gliori, validates her understanding of how the minds of little ones think and imagine. The illustrations in the seventeen-paged board book, include many soft-face characters, and detailed surroundings. The imagined worm-turned-dragon changes from a small, pale earthworm into a big, bright, red dragon. The book, short in text, ( even though there is an ocasional word not for a young child, i.e. “decided”) sells on “believability.” Are Ms. Gliori’s talents of writing and illustrating “all in the wrist”? Or, perhaps, it’s better to declare that hers are, “all in the Mind.”

Rating: 5 stars
Image result for images of the bookworm board book by debi gliori

Remember Kids’ Arch Books?, Well, Joseph’s Still Among Them…

Reviewer: Patricia Ann Timbrook, PatSays

Remember Arch Books? You might, if you were raised in a Christian household or had received them as a gift. I purchased them in the late 90s to read to our grandchildren. From the Arch Book’s website, the picture books number in the hundreds and they are priced modestly. So, collecting them can be inexpensive and fun. Amazingly, their 150 year-old publishing company, Concordia, to date has produced millions of these little books (and a lot of other resources) from both the Old and the New Testaments. If you have not yet discovered these bible story gems for little ones, you still can– online at,  in a Christian bookstore, or borrow a copy from a Christian school library.

Joseph Forgives His Brothers, a 1996 paperback bible story, by author Robert Baden and illustrator Chris Sharp, is one of many Christian children’s books I had purchased for our grandchildren in the late 90s. Arch Books have stood the test of time and the test of time includes parents, grandparents, or anyone who enjoys reading aloud to children, the accounts from the old and the new testaments in an age-appropriate level.  Arch’s picture book account of what happened when Joseph’s siblings banished him is written with historical accuracy and a rainbow of bright illustrations, that, together, adequately depict appropriate feelings of jealousy and mercy; and acts of God’s protection and care. The theme of forgiveness reflects the love that Jesus has for all of mankind. And, the actions following that forgiveness prove the depth of that Godly trait. In Joseph’s case, not only did he forgive them for their wrongdoing toward him; but, he gave his brothers money, he fed them, and he provided his entire family with a new home. This pictures the grace of God, that “outstretched arm” that gives to man that which is undeserved.

The “Dear Parents” section on the last page of every Arch Book truly complements each book’s theme, with suggestions on how to explore other ways to help children understand family issues, whether they be envy, or selfishness, or jealousy; this page also includes what the bible says regarding the love of Jesus. Joseph Forgives His Brothers, as well as all of the other dozens of Arch Books by Concordia, stay true to their mission: to produce the truth of God’s Word for children.

(PatSays, Children’s Book Reviewer Patricia A. Timbrook 3/25/2019)

Rating: 4 stars


Libros Arco...





It’s All About GOD– the New Christian EPIC Devotional Book for Kids scores A++!

Epic Devotions: 52 Weeks in the Story That Changed the World  -     By: Aaron Armstrong     Illustrated By: Heath McPherson

When B & H Publishers produced EPIC, The Story that Changed the World, a new bible book for kids in 2018, the Christian company scored an A plus. And, with its newest addition, EPIC Devotions, 52 Weeks in the Story That Changed the World, it scores an A double plus.

Why such a high rating for any new version of a retelling? After all, isn’t that what new bible versions do? retell in their own style and vernacular? In that sense, EPIC should be but one more kids’ bible versions. But, it is not just one more version. It stands out for its uniqueness. The high rating for this truly invaluable book comes because it is scriptural accurate, powerfully illustrated in bold colors,  and includes in each of its 52 devotional weeks, thought-provoking questions for kids, and verses to help answer those questions.

First, it was EPIC, THE STORY THAT CHANGED THE WORLD; today it is EPIC DEVOTIONS. Don’t be surprised if B & H puts together another BLOCKBUSTER in 2020– another EPIC.


The Society of Extraordinary Raccoon Society on Boasting

In the USA, Christmas time has arrived again. We all know when it comes, don’t we? Even if we don’t look at a calendar, we see the signs: new toys and tree ornaments,  glossy magazine ads, the “before-the-season sales” sale; the street santa clauses and church  carolers, the stocked-up market shelves and stores, and Town Square tree-lighting ceremonies. T’is also the time when Christmas party toasters, boss “roasters”, and unwanted self-boasters seize their opportunities, like some of the fighting Black-Friday shoppers, and wield “wounds”, as well as words.

So, too, words and wounds permeates Randall Goodgame’s new children’s book, THE SOCIETY of EXTRAORDINARY RACCOON SOCIETY on BOASTING. As in his other Slugs & Bugs books, he tells a story that is founded on a Biblical scripture, so that children will see the theme in action. Through the illustrations of two main characters, Maggie and Marty, kids witness what the “Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”, really is, and what God’s Word tells them to do about it. The “Good’ in this educational book is the Soers (The Society); the “Bad’ is what happens between friends when boasting, fighting, selfishness enters the scene; and, the Ugly? Let’s say, that’s what sin looks like; and, in this story in particular, it’s the ugliness of boasting in self, rather than boasting in the Lord.

Children’s Book Reviewer, Mrs. Patricia Ann Timbrook, PatSays, December 4, 2019.


Can Kids Find Their Own “Shape?” Pamela Kennedy Shows Us How They Can.

Who knows how to help young children identify shapes, see themselves as one of several basic shapes, and put that together in a simple board picture book? Answer: Children’s book author, Pamela Kennedy in her newest board book, WHICH SHAPE SHOULD I BE?, illustrated by Holli Conger, and published in 2019 by B & H Kids, a Little Words Matter series.

Although not a typical board book for youngsters–packaged with few words and mostly pictures–the author uses more grownup sentences, rhymes them, asks questions, and lets the child select from a multiple choice picture. Each large shape is pictured on the left page, while the  multiple choice illustration is located on the right side. Following the nine shapes on 22 pages, is a Christian message and a bible verse that supports the book’s theme: God made us all different. WHICH SHAPE SHOULD I BE? would be an educational addition in elementary schools, for family reading times, and for Sunday School hours.

Which Shape Should I Be?  -     By: Pamela Kennedy     Illustrated By: Holli Conger

Children’s Book Reviewer for Lifeway Publishers, PatSays, Mrs. Patricia Ann Timbrook, November 13, 2019.

Watch Out for More SLUGS & BUGS!– It’s Randall Goodgame’s Latest Kids’ Book

Book cover image of The Society of Extraordinary Raccoon Society        Ambassador International button

PatSays, Children’s Book Reviewer,


Who’s watching out for those ugly SLUGS & BUGS? Not the real ones–just the ones created by Christian author and award-winning musician, Randall Goodgame? He’s the man who created the rhymed title, SLUGS & BUGS for his songs in 2008. From there, he went into writing his Slugs and Bugs series for the children’s Christian book market, through B & H Kids Publishing, in Nashville, Tennessee. His latest picture book, The Society of Extraordinary Raccoon Society, illustrated by Joe Sutphin, introduces young children to the meaning of cheerful giving, adapted from the bible verse, 2 Corinthians 9:7.

In this 30-page, hard-back book, an adult raccoon invites two young raccoons to step into the world (inside a big tree) where other raccoons live together in a new and happy “society” of extra-ordinary raccoons.  The book’s format of thirteen full, double-page spreads, illustrate the story with a multitude of expressive characters. In large print, the sentences–sometimes complex, sometimes simple, and sometimes rhymed–depict what happens when raccoons stop stealing, like raccoons most often do; and, instead, they become happy givers. The parallel of raccoons-to-people helps kids better understand the principal of giving, according to God’s Word. Also, parents who go online for the book, will find a Bonus Content available.

“Let’s Pretend This is a Real Book Review.” A PatSays Children’s Book Review

Book Cover Image of Harold and Hog PRETEND FOR REAL!            Ambassador International button  Cybils-Logo-2019-Round1Judge



If you hear the name Mo Willems, do you smile, and say, “Oh, my kids and my grand-kids love his books.”? If you don’t know anything about this prolific children’s book author and illustrator, then maybe you should, because he is a direct “descendant” of Theodor Suess Geisel–and you know that name, right? (Lots of pretending going on in his children’s books.) So, what’s this pretending thing in the review title all about?

We will first set a “pretend” mode, meaning that we–you, the reader, and I, the reviewer–will be playing a game together, an imagination game about the book,  HAROLD & HOG PRETEND FOR REAL!  You will imagine that you are asking the questions, when I am actually asking them for you. Then, I will respond with a “pretend-it’s-true” answer. So, let’s begin.

1.Reviewer Me: There’s an elephant and a pig that pretend to be Harold the Elephant, and Hog.

Reader You: Why do they want to do this?

2.Reviewer Me: They simply want to be like someone else of their own kind: Elephant wants to be like Harold, an elephant; and Piggie wants to be like Hog. They adorn visual aids–glasses to be like Harold and a pig nose to be like Hog.

Reader You: Is this why the author titled the book, Harold and Hog PRETEND FOR REAL!? Is this all that the book is about, playing the game of pretend?

3.Reviewer Me: Yes. It’s all about that.

Reader You: But, why would a children’s writer do that?

4.Reviewer Me: For Fun, and because that’s what young children do a lot of.

Reader You: Ok. I get that. So, what comes from Elephant’s and Piggie’s playing pretend?

5.Reviewer Me: They IMAGINE things, such as smiling like Harold, dancing and flying like Hog.

Reader You: And, they enjoy doing this? 

6.Reviewer Me: It’s a toss up. Seems like Elephant loves pretending. Piggie, not so sure.

Reader You: What happens when they stop pretending?

7.Reviewer Me: They switch roles: Elephant puts on a nose to be Hog, while Piggie puts on eyeglasses to be Harold the Elephant.

Reader You: So, then do they have real fun or pretend fun?

8.Reviewer Me: It’s a toss up. Maybe they have both. At first, it is real fun. But, after a while the real fun fades and the pretend fun steps in.

Reader You: Is that all there is to the book?

9.Reviewer Me: It is, until Pigeon comes along, is invited to join the Pretend Party, refuses, and leaves. He likes being himself.

Reader You: This can’t be the end of the book, right? Tell me how it ends.

10.Reviewer Me: Harold and Hog, Elephant and Piggie, all live happily forever after in Pretendville… Of course not! I threw that ending for fun. Besides, Real Reviewers never give the ending away, only Pretend Reviewers do that.

Reader You: What is the book’s “take-away”?

11.Reviewer Me: For real, this time, I can say that HAROLD and HOG PRETEND FOR REAL is uniquely  formatted, funny in its dilemmas, and that there’s a truth in its underlying theme: Pretending to be someone else may be fun. But, being “Piggie” or “Elephant” is all right, too. For REAL. 

PatSays, Children’s Book Reviewer, October 12, 2019 (Mrs. Patricia Ann Timbrook)




Combine a Boat Ride, a Chocolate Cake, and a Sunrise in a New FOX and CHICK Kids’ Book, a PatSays Book Review

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A fox and a chick, together? As friends? Really?? Sure, and why not! We have all seen crazier combinations in children’s books, right? Well, if the combo doesn’t catch your attention immediately, then maybe the abstract-y characters will. Italian-born author and illustrator Sergio Ruzzier tells three stories in this Early Chapter book. Even though it seems, at first, as if I were reading a cartoon strip,  then a picture book, then back to the cartoon strip again, the text and story, like a leaf swirling along down a river, flows together. The simplicity of each story line—The Quiet Boat Ride (anything but), The Chocolate Cake (not a surprise), and The Sunrise (turned into a Sunset)—arrives, states its point, and ends satisfactorily.

Unusual in children’s books, these two unlikely friends, Fox and Chick, work together as a comedy team in their viewpoints: Fox is the sensible, assuring friend, while Chick clucks imagination and worry into each situation. For instance, Chick worries: “Will a boat ride mean sea monsters, pirates, and shipwrecks?” Fox: ” This is a pond, not the Sea. There’s nothing in this boat that pirates want. And, this is a quiet boat ride.”

Because of the short sentences and only three chapters, along with funny drawings and simplicity of stories, kids will stay with this book to its final page, full of creepy-looking (yet harmless) abstract-y monsters. Let’s trust, too, that there may be a thought or two instilled in young readers: to look for the good and the positive in everyday situations.

PatSays, Mrs. Patricia Ann Timbrook, Children’s Book Reviewer, October 7, 2019

“Don’t Wake Up That Bear! Or else–” Julian Gough’s RABBIT and BEAR series, a PatSays Children’s Book Review

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Rabbit and Bear: Rabbit’s Bad Habits by Julian Gough

Published by Silver Dolphin Books, 2019

What can awaken a bear from her winter nap? In this instance, it is a robber that sneaks into the her bearcave, steals her Spring food supply, and jumps on her head before escaping as fast as lightning.

In its jolted beginning of Rabbit and Bear: Bear’s Bad Habits, author Julian Gough tells a wintry tale of two woodsy characters—one is Rabbit, the other is Bear, whose lives become intertwined by mounds of snow, critter smartness, and one wolf.

Throughout the 57 pages, the pale blue, gray, and white illustrations complement the cold, wintry, deep-in-the-woods setting. In the first conflict, Rabbit informs Bear about the facts of gravity, as well as the smart direction of rolling a snowball downhill, not uphill, and that only an idiot does that: alluding to Bear, of course. So, Bear listens to Rabbit, the expert, and the snowman-making gets resolved as quick as two snowflakes melting on one wolf’s tongue. But, about halfway through the book, an unusual disruption occurs, an oddity, sort of: Rabbit (the expert of many things), scientifically explains to (dumb) Bear, why rabbits eat their own “poo,” as he calls it. Really? If all of this FYI were eliminated, perhaps the story would flow more easily, and the Easy Reader/Early Chapter status, become more identifiable. Following this long, unnecessary “codicil”, the second conflict enters the story: Wolf bounds into view for a chance at capturing Rabbit for his lunch. (No “poo” here!) Now, at this point, Bear becomes the smarter of the two, when she uses her newly-told-information about gravity to help rescue Rabbit. The tale of two animals—one, not as smart as he thinks, and the other, smarter than she realizes—ends with a safe, warm, and cozy setting; peaceful resolutions; and a hope that tomorrow will be a good day: Hmmm. They seem like the same things that today’s childen (and adults?) need and want in their own lives.

PatSays, Mrs. Patricia Ann Timbrook,

Blabbing about a Crabby Crab? New Scholastic Book by Jonathan Fenske

book cover image of HELLO CRABBY


Let’s talk about the word, crabby. Immediately, what comes to mind? Being grumpy? Or, fretful? Irritable or cross? What about, curmudgeonly? Whichever one of these descriptions is yours, perhaps you will agree that anyone who is a crab (not a good trait, right?), often prevents others from being his or her friends. In Jonathan Fenske’s latest early reader, Hello, Crabby, his Crabby Crab  does have friends–even though he is crabby all the time. He does not like to smile, does not laugh at jokes, dislikes almost everything about the beach, including Boring Barnacle, and Pushy Plankton. And as his name implies, Pushy Plankton is pushy. His mission is to rid Crabby of his crabbiness in two ways. When he does, how does Crabby react?

The conversational tales in the Crabby Book series allow repetition of words, so important and valuable, to and for, any early reader. Hello, Crabby, set in an enjoyable place for most kids, the beach, focuses on a human mood: dissatisfaction. Author Fenske using a familiar critter at the beach as well, the crab, and a small cast of other sea friends, creates an ocean of crabbiness for his readers. Then, he further exaggerates that mood through his main character’s crabbiest behavior, so that kids “get it” from page one. By the story’s end, with dozens of funny-paper-square drawings by artists Kirk Benshoff and Marissa Asuncion, and a lot of questions and answers from Pushy Plankton, even Crabby Crab, with his over-the-top, peevish, irritable, grouchy, and curmudgeonly personality, discovers that the kind acts of others can change feelings.

As to the topic of Early Readers, Scholastic’s Acorn Imprint (geared toward Pre-K to First Grade), has accomplished a critical task: plugging into our 21st Century kids who are at the first level of reading. How? They have done so by publishing kid-friendly illustrations, current American culture, and simple vocabulary, ll packaged as Early Reader Books, a genre not yet invented for first graders in the early 1950s for us baby-boomers. Had “Early Readers” been around then, perhaps we (and, specifically I am referring to myself), could have hop-scotched a reading level or two at a faster pace. As it was, learning to read well didn’t happen until a few grades later for me. But, when it did happen, I loved reading books. And, for over 40 years now, I have been “into” children’s books, either writing, editing, or reviewing them, such as I am doing for this one. Most appreciatively, I applaud today’s publishers, especially those who carefully and caringly create and publish all the books labeled, Early Reader.

PatSays, Mrs. Patricia Ann Timbrook, Children’s Book Reviewer, October 6, 2019.

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GREAT and SMALL PRAYERS for BABIES, by Pamela Kennedy and Illustrated by Anna Abramskaya


In this latest nonfiction board book by prolific children’s book author, Pamela Kennedy, the reader (and the baby) can view prayers coupled with gratefulness by incorporating multiple baby animals–each one in a different setting–and pairing it with an “opposite” (animal, insect, etc.) that is hidden beneath a pull-down page pocket. In brief and simple rhyming sentences, the author points out things for which to be thankful, i.e., flowers, bees, birds, sky, sea, etc.

To complement the theme and the age level for the book, artist Anna Abramskaya, provides pastel spot drawings for each of the twelve smiling, friendly-looking animal babies. The drawings with only a white background, help the characters stand out.

Apart from this little book’s appealing nature, it also holds several subtleties worth citing. For instance, by using “invisible opposites”–big and small, left and right pages, outside and inside (which is the pull-down board page), reveals the author’s invaluable writing skills; and, by including a scripture verse at the end of the book, validates the importance of prayer and the Word of God.

5 stars, PatSays, Children’s Book Reviewer (Mrs. Patricia Ann Timbrook)


Did GOD Number even your pores? Read Scarlet Hiltibidal’s Answer in her new YA called, HE NUMBERED the PORES on MY FACE

book cover image for HE NUMBERED THE PORES ON MY FACE

If you were asked to find a Christian book for today’s teenaged girls, a book that addresses such topics as “hottie” lists, clogged pores, and eating disorders, then here’s a new nonfiction novel that meets more than that list, and much more. It’s titled, HE NUMBERED THE PORES ON MY FACE, by author Scarlet Hiltibidal.

In less than 200 pages, three Sections, and 10 real-life-trama-titled chapters, anything that anyone might imagine that could happen to a teenage girl growing up in busy Burbank, California, happened to Scarlet. She detailedly describes how the puberty years brought about embarrassment and insecurities, and passed over into her adult years. What seemed funny to others during some of those unfair and cruel times, ultimately lead her to depend on the only One who could turn those “stones” into “bread”: Jesus Christ. Although this diaried story  reveals and exposes many of her faults, weaknesses, and scary disorders, the author excels in pointing to the Cross of Calvary for answers and help, no matter what teenagers may encounter.

This book could work as a group devotional study for teenage girls. The scriptures listed at the chapters’ ends, provide the basis for meaningful discussions about what God’s Word says regarding answers to everyday problems.

5 stars, PatSays, Children’s Book Reviewer, September 23, 2019