Books

Lilly and Fin: A Mermaid’s Tale

Since joining Bookroo my family and I have received some really awesome books; I opted for the chapter books that way I can read to them for a fun story time. I always remember having books read to me as a child and wanted to be able to pass that on to my children. Also chapter books are something that they can read when they are old enough to read themselves and still be able to enjoy them even years from now. One of the books we have gotten in one of our boxes is a chapter book by Cornelia Funke called “Lilly and Fin: A Mermaid’s Tale”. We began reading this book for our homeschooling about a month or so ago; I believe sometime in September while simultaneously reading a couple of others that I plan to write about here in the future. Some where in September the idea of attempting to keep my four year old focused on schooling was just a pipe-dream and eventually let that go. I could tell he was just not ready for school at home and since his brother had gone back to public school the month prior I guess I just didn’t feel the need to push him. I mean he is 4 years old and a bit of a zig zagging all over the place kind of kid who has the attention span of a fly if you know what I mean. While schooling was over and all that didn’t mean that we couldn’t still read as that is something that we loved to do just because.
We finally finished our little book last week; it took longer than it actually takes to read the book because of life and only reading here and there but we did it! If you know anything about me as a parent you would know that I am really feeling great about getting yet another book under the old belt because I haven’t been much of a reader in a very long time. In a time when you spend quite a lot of time at home you more than likely like myself would pick up some new skills or hobbies to help pass the time. I have even started to read another chapter book that we received in a box myself or really whenever anyone will listen to me read it as my kids weren’t interested in a chapter book without pictures in it just yet. No worries I am quite enjoying the said book and when I finish it I will write about it as well.
To the book at hand “Lilly and Fin: A Mermaid’s Tale” it is a chapter book intended for ages 7-10 yrs & a reading level of 2-5. I don’t feel that just because a book is intended for a certain age group that it means it should be read by just that age group well depending on what that book is about would be the only reason I can think of to why a kid couldn’t read a book intended for a more mature audience. Otherwise I don’t see a problem! The book is a chapter book but it is a good read for kids or directed towards kids because it has a good amount of color filled illustrations intertwined throughout its pages. Within those pages are some fun activities that I will fill you in on here soon. Each chapter in this book doesn’t take too long to read and there are roughly 3-6 pages in each for reading amongst the other pages that are illustrated.


The book brings an interesting twist to how humans may be perceived by the underwater world. I think that this perspective is fun to see unfold especially from an entirely different world. Join two merpups (kid mermaid’s) on an adventure in their underwater world where they come to find that maybe their parents might actually know what they are talking about. They learn a lesson and meet some new and interesting figures; some friend & some foe. As you read you are taken on the journey that they will never forget and that will have forever changed their little lives.
Since both of my boys are still not readers for themselves and well my 6 year old is just now beginning to read but not ready for this level of book on his own I am the one who did the reading for this book. As I read through I learned a couple of things; one this was a great book for someone who was older than 4 which is expected. The second being that it was a little bit hard to get into the story line as an adult I should have been able to theoretically jump right in but for the first couple of chapters it was a bit hard to follow, but I was determined to finish it with or with out my listeners. I finished it with my 6 year old who soon decided he enjoyed it about half way through when it started to get a bit more interesting for him. More action & mystery I presume. My 4 year old wasn’t super into this one and that is okay as it wasn’t really for a 4 year old but still suitable for him to listen too if that makes sense. The first half of this book is all about giving a background about the characters both underwater and on land which is expected however the way that the book just jumps into the story makes it a little hard to get into it at first. Like I mentioned the real interesting parts weren’t until after a couple chapter’s or so. To help liven it up a bit I started making different voices to go along with each character because it was hard to get into the mind and that did seem to help the younger listening group.
I really wanted to love this book and it is great but about half way through in my opinion; I don’t love it but I like it. It has a good lesson for kids who don’t want to listen to parents or the rules teaching them that there are consequences for disobeying. Doing some things that you are told not to do can lead to danger and that there are reasons for rules. I would read it again so I did enjoy reading it, just not an easy one to get into. During the introduction of the characters I did enjoy seeing the different perspectives of the different characters for instance the Mermaid people see the humans so differently from the way most humans see the ocean and its creatures in it. Makes you think about things a bit more which is a good lesson to include in a book like this directed toward kids who are still learning.
Something I discovered while I was researching the author of this book Cornelia Funke is that the book was originally written in German and that this version I read was a translation from the original book; this may have a big part in why the book was a little awkward in the beginning. It could explain why it may have been hard to connect to the book. I assume it was translated correctly otherwise I probably would see more complaints on other reviews over the book when I researched it and the author. It is just that sometimes different language barriers can translate differently but correctly. I don’t have any idea if this is the reason why it was a little awkward it is just my opinion and would explain it a bit.

Earlier I mentioned some fun activities that this book has hidden in its pages; what did I mean is what you are probably wondering!? So at the very end of the book there is a section dedicated to activities that the author snuck into the book to make reading so much more fun for the kids. It includes a board game printed on one of the illustrations you see above. You add your own game pieces and use your own dice but the rest on how to play is located in the book ideally after you have read through it but I suppose you could just skip ahead. Also there are fun hidden objects through out the illustrations that makes a sort of I Spy game that could be played alone or with other readers just as well. This would be especially great on a long car ride or similar situation. I thought that these were a great way to interact with the reader/readers of this book which allowed to bring it more to life than just reading the words on its pages. I figured I would give you a sneak peek in the picture above but if you want to know how to play and what fun hidden objects to find in the books illustrated pages then you will just have to purchase it or check it out at your local Library.

That brings me to the next topic how much does this book cost new? As I mentioned above I mean way up there; my family received this book in our monthly Bookroo box where the books in the box is to be worth more or pretty much the same amount of the monthly box price by pretty much the books we have received have all been well worth it and always come to a total well above the monthly box cost which makes it so awesome! This book costs $9.99 US / $13.99 CAN brand new. I found it on Amazon for $9.59 brand new US hardcover or $9.99 US Kindle. The book we have is a hardcovered book. I supposed you could try to find it used for cheaper if you looked on the right site such as eBay or Facebook Swap. I think that if you have a kid who is into the creatures of the sea or maybe even just you and love reading fun adventurous stories/books this book would be worth at least checking out. Perhaps at your local library if you aren’t yet committed to buying it for yourself.

In a conclusion for my thoughts on this book I would have to say that I do think it is a good book to read and it does have some good lessons in it for young readers. I love that it takes you into a whole different world that kind of connects the world that us humans know but also gives a new perception of what the underwater world of the oceans may be like like if you ever think about what the sea creatures really think about us humans sort of imagination perspective! It is worth checking out; maybe you will find a fun new story that is a hit as a new family favorite!

Amazing books kids love!

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Books, Motherhood

Give the Gift that Gives Back: Bookroo

I am always looking for the perfect gift for the holidays for my kids and I know a lot of other people go through this same crisis. In our family we don’t have a whole lot of money to throw away on some random toy that is going to be loved for a minute then tossed a side the next. When looking for a gift for any occasion I always tend to look for gifts that the person I am gifting to (usually my kids) will get something in return whether that be a new skill or something else they learn from that gift; something learned or rather something useful is the key! What better way to give the gift of knowledge than to actually give knowledge in the form of a book or books. Books for kids don’t need to be filled with history lessons or math problems for them to learn something from them. A book can be filled with stories that bring their imaginations to life and that is a great gift to give. It allows kids to be kids by giving the ability to get their brains working and thinking but in a way that lets their imaginations run wild. They can read it themselves or be read to and no matter how a book is read it opens up so much more for a kid than any old toy would do. My 6 year old is just learning how to read; he loves books and enjoys trying to read all sorts of new words that he finds in his books. He will even read to his younger brother’s who will eventually start reading on their own someday. Books are a great way to teach in a fun way for kids and adults too as I have come to love reading chapter books to my kids. It brings out their imaginations and dusts mine off letting me remember that fun feeling of all of the characters in a story that seemed to disappear as I grew into adulthood.

I would like to introduce you to a great company Bookroo; they are a monthly book box service that sends books in the mail every month. They offer three kinds of books to be mailed depending on which is chosen for your subscription is the one you receive. They have a variety of monthly plans available as far as pricing is concerned. I have recently written some posts explaining the entire how to sign up for Bookroo at the links below. I encourage you to check them out if you are ready to give a great gift to your kids every month. Some great highlights about this company with out going into all of the details which will be linked below are: 1) that they wrap each individual book up in wrapping paper for your kids to unwrap when they are received they are always fun and different wrapping papers which make it all the more fun. I mean who doesn’t enjoy getting gifts to unwrap!? My kids love it and it makes the books we get all the more personal and special. 2) The books are well worth the price you are paying monthly. They don’t just put some cheap book in the box and call it good, NO , these books that are hand chosen by the way are carefully picked out. They do their research to find the best books to include in their boxes. They more than make up for the per box price which is different depending on the plan selection you choose. The per month box starts at $24.95 + Tax (for me tax is $4.99) which makes my moth to month box for the two chapter book selection I chose for my kids $29.94. However the price goes down if you choose to do the 3,6,or 12 box prepay. Check it all out here on my previous post all about Bookroo HERE!
If you would rather just go straight to the source check out their site here at BOOKROO.


For TODAY & TOMMOROW ONLY as this offer I am posting is only available until NOVEMBER 2nd 2020. Anyways Bookroo is offering a special promotion for a Black Friday deal since that is going to be a bit different this year for most; they thought they could still do something fun!

Click the Picture Above; don’t forget to copy the code below!

Use this code: EARLYBIRDBF for 25% off any multi-month subscription (and multiple new subscriptions!)
Valid through Nov 2 at 11:59 MST
Cannot be combined with other offers or applied to existing subscriptions!


Thanks for reading hope you check them out! I love being able to give something to my kids that gives them something in return and not to mention how fun books are in general! Drop a like below and follow my blog too if you want to stay up to date on new posts!

Motherhood, Review

Bookroo

(My name is Jenifer Smalley author of this blog. I was sent a box by Bookroo to give an honest review over their product and to share it with you my readers)

Recently I was chosen to participate in giving an honest review over a product; Bookroo. I thought how neat it would be to share this awesome company with you my readers and my family so I reached out to them to participate in a collaboration. I am excited to be able to share this company and my thoughts about them with you. Before my unboxing of the product and my review below here is a little background about the company and how the monthly boxes work.

Bookroo is a monthly book box service for kids of all ages. There are a few different book boxes or book clubs to choose from.

  1. Board Book Club: is for ages 0-3 years old. Each box comes with 3 sturdy board books for curious little minds who are still learning about books. At this age group those little ones need sturdy pages with all of the excitement and energy they have built up.
  2. Picture Book Club: is for ages 3-6 years old. Each box comes with 2 hardcover picture books. These picture books are great for beginners or for a read aloud story time. Let your young reader find wonder in each new book!
  3. Chapter Book Club: is for ages 7-10 years old. Each box comes with 2 chapter books. Each book has exciting content for advanced readers jump into each story for an exciting new adventure!

What makes Bookroo stand out from the rest?

  • Each book in every box received are specially gift wrapped for an added surprise! Who doesn’t get excited when opening presents? Exactly!
  • For parents each box also includes an insert that shows what books have been included with a little information about each book as well as author & illustrators.
  • The option to alternate between board books & picture books. Alternating Subscription

How does it work?

  • First select your Box.
  • Second select you subscription Plan.
  • Lastly set up your account & billing information.

Gift Bookroo

Give the gift of Bookroo. You can give a Gift subscription to someone who loves reading just as much as you do. Maybe your a grandparent or just trying to find that special gift for a young reader who loves books! Gifting Bookroo is the perfect solution. The subscription for gift boxes work just a little differently. You will buy a single box, 3 month, 6 month, or 12 month subscription up front. It is a one time payment that does not renew. The recipient of the gift will receive the boxes for every month you pre-purchased ahead of time until the amount of months purchased is fulfilled.


Questions?

Bookroo’s frequently asked question page covers topics such as How do you decide on which books to send? When does the subscriptions renew? or the unfortunate How do I cancel my subscription box?
FAQs

If you have any other concerns you can always contact the company through their Help Desk.


Reviewing Bookroo

Every box comes like so with the Bookroo companies standard packaging that includes their logo and some cute inspirational sayings on the sides of each box! I thought that was a neat touch instead of just a regular brown cardboard box.

After getting into the box I found the two books for this month both wrapped in fun colorful wrapping paper. Both of my older boys loved that they each got a little present to unwrap! There was also the insert that comes with each box telling about the books that are wrapped up. The little insert tells about the author as well and even though I only got the picture books it tells about the little board books for the month as well.

Now for the fun part; (I opted to just take pictures of the unboxing as I didn’t want to film my kids opening everything up on video then putting it on the internet.) Anyways they loved that they could open up a special present with a surprise book inside. It was a very special experience for them for sure! They each chose which one they wanted to open then went to town.

The two books that we received are: Bertie Wings It. Author Leslie Gorin. Illustrator Brendan Kearney. And Good Night Truck. Author Sally Odgers. Illustrator Heath McKenzie. We love both of them! They spent quite a long time switching back and forth taking turns to flip through the books themselves.

I think that the unique twist of each book being a little gift is a great way to get kids excited about reading and about books in general. Most kids love to open presents and they typically love to look at books at least mine do. That in itself would be worth the price especially if you just wanted to just buy a one box monthly subscription. Everything would be pre-wrapped for you. In my opinion for the price of a single box for the picture books box which rings in at $19.95 plus $4.99 for shipping. Bringing a monthly month to month subscription to $24.94 per month (this month to month box is cheaper than the single purchase gift option(something I noticed; probably because you would not be a repeat customer. Meaning that you get a bit of a discount by buying the month to month renewable option rather than just the gift option). If you would rather opt for the single month gift option you are still getting a good deal as that option is $24.95 plus $4.99 shipping making the total $29.94. It’s a good deal because you get great quality books which in reality would cost a lot more versus the prices that the two options cost.

The two books that we received are priced on each book as seen in the picture below and as follows:

  • Good Night Truck – $16.99 US ($19.50 CAN)
  • Bertie Wings It – $14.95 US ($16.95 CAN)

When you add the two totals up (the US total for me);
$16.99
+ $14.95
————–
$31.94
You end up saving money, especially if you were to order these books from another place you may also need to factor in shipping on top of the total price and taxes. The total will be much higher than the $31.94.
$24.94 or $29.94 isn’t such a bad price after you do some research on what it would cost to buy these titles brand new somewhere else. Both Hardcovers.

I enjoyed this subscription box if I had one thing to say is that I wish they included an option for three books like they do for the board books in the other box choices maybe a paper-back book box. Perhaps a cheaper box even just one book because I know that there’s a lot of people out there can’t afford a monthly box every single month. We are a once in a while splurge kind of family. I will add that you are not locked into this monthly box as you can cancel at anytime. On that note I would suggest that if you are interested to try it out! I am looking at getting one of the gift boxes as a Christmas gift this December for a special treat for my kiddos. Even if I probably won’t do a current subscription box. I love that they have the two different options to choose from. Gift or Subscription Box! I enjoyed working with Bookroo to bring you this review over their subscription box service; I encourage you to try this box out if it’s something you are thinking about and if you live in the US as they only currently offer shipping in the US at this time!


Visit: Bookroo.com
Get 15% off Personal & Gift Subscriptions Using Code: SOWINGSONS (Expires September 31, 2020)


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