Saturday, October 30, 2021

My Life In Pictures May 1 - May 10, 2021

 May 1 - Ignore my husband's deck mess. Plants and plant food still in the beginning stages of our summer flowers. Jinxy loves being on the deck and wants to go out all the time but the moment he is out there he wants to go back in. Go figure. 

May 2 - The only photo of the day is me with a filter. Hmmm...

May 3 - NADA

May 4 - When I hear a song in the car that I have forgotten about or that I am hearing for the first time and like, I take a photo. Out of sight is out of mind as you get older.

May 5 - There were only photos of my preschool classes painting their Mother's Day frames which I cannot share. 

May 6 - Minxy Jinxy in all his big boy glory.

May 7 - She may not be a baby anymore, but she is my baby.

May 8 - Mother's Day Dinner at Outback

May 9 - Luna enjoying the beautiful day out on the deck

May 10 - Dentist appointment and I just had to grab a shot of this steeple.

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Halloween with Laurie Berkner! - Virtual Halloween Party Concerts for Families - 2 shows - Oct. 31, 2021

As a preschool teacher, I play Laurie Berliner at least 4 times a week in the class. My class loves her as much as I do. 






SUNDAY, OCT. 31 - 12:00 PM & 5:00 PM EST

"The queen of kids' music" – People magazine

"Kids'-music alchemy at its finest."– Entertainment Weekly

“Laurie Berkner does what Fred Rogers did: respect, validate and reassure young children.”– Los Angeles Times

NEW YORK – Ready for a spooktacular Halloween experience? Iconic children's musician Laurie Berkner invites families to stop in for a spell at two special "Halloween Party" LIVE Virtual Family Concerts onSunday, October 31 at 12:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Laurie's concert websiteHERE. For double the fun, a family ticket grants admission to both livestreams.

Laurie will treat little tricksters to her brand new Halloween song, "I Picked One Pumpkin. She'll have everyone singing along to "What Am I Gonna Be (for Halloween)?," "The Superhero Mask Song," "Monster Boogie," "The Cat Came Back," and "Choc-o-lot In My Pock-o-lot." Laurie will also sing an array of fan favorites like "We Are the Dinosaurs," "Victor Vito," "Chipmunk at the Gas Pump," "The Goldfish," "Moon Moon Moon," and "Pig On Her Head."

For kids who are all dressed up with nowhere to ghost, Laurie's shows will give the season of costumes, candy, and jack-o'-lanterns a real "BOO-st." Laurie hopes families will join her in displaying their pumpkins, putting up their Halloween decorations, and getting decked out in their Halloween costume finery.

"Out of an abundance of caution to protect my fans and their families, I have made the difficult decision to cancel the rest of my 2021 in-person concerts. So, I am bringing my livestreams back! I’m so excited to be able to have a Halloween Concert this year that anyone can attend - and that keeps all of my fans safe," says Laurie Berkner. "It will be filled with extra on-screen Halloween magic and even a brand new Halloween song. I can’t wait to get back to joining families in their homes to sing and celebrate together!"

The Laurie Berkner Band's bass player, Brady Rymer, will be a special guest at this show, and other band members will also pop by.

Laurie Berkner's virtual family concerts are full-length, visually-enriched, interactive experiences, so kids might see images of marching dinosaurs during "We Are The Dinosaurs" or pumpkins in a pumpkin patch during "I Picked One Pumpkin." Kids and grownups alike are encouraged to share their thoughts and ideas with Laurie in a live chat throughout the show.

A fun-filled virtual lobby will feature pre-show music and videos and a Halloween game. For those who'd like to spend a few minutes chatting one-on-one with Laurie after the show, special Meet-and-Greet tickets are available.

About Laurie Berkner: 
One of the most popular children’s entertainers in the U.S., Laurie Berknerhas filled countless venues nationwide with adoring fans. With an average of more than 16 million monthly streams and millions of albums, songs, and DVDs sold, Laurie’s songs have become beloved classics for children worldwide. The first artist to ever appear in music videos on Nick Jr., Laurie Berkner was featured in nearly all the episodes of the channel's Jack's Big Music Show. Laurie recently created her own Audible Original Series titled Laurie Berkner's Song and Story Kitchen and is currently in production on a second season. She has released fourteen bestselling, award-winning albums and has authored a number of picture books based on her songs. She has also written the music and lyrics for three Off-Broadway children's musicals produced by New York City Children’s Theater. Laurie has performed at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, and the White House, among many other prestigious venues.

Laurie Berkner has received tremendous critical acclaim. USA Today named Laurie "the undisputed queen of kindie rock." Time Magazine lauded Laurie as "a kind of sippy-cup Sheryl Crow ... Berkner inhabits a kid's curious perspective in her lyrics and pens folk-pop melodies that bear repeated -- very repeated -- listenings." The Wall Street Journal called Laurie "one of the most popular children's performers in America ... her music is distinctive because it speaks to kids without talking down to them, charming youngsters without boring grown-ups." NPR's All Things Considered declared, "Laurie Berkner is like a goddess to these children."

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Saturday, October 23, 2021

Mental Health Expert's 11 Ways to Reduce Holiday Season Stress


The holidays are right around the corner and this year do yourself a favor: have a plan to deal with all the stress that comes with the season. How do you best do that?


Dr. Fumi Stephanie Hancock, PsychDNP, is the CEO of POB Psychiatric Healthand a bestselling author of 24 self-help books. 


Her advice:


1.      Shop Now! Getting your shopping done early has always been a good idea, but especially so this year. There are global supply chain issues, barges loaded with containers backed up at docks, postal service slowdowns, among other issues. Make sure you give yourself an extra-large margin of safety when ordering packages and have a plan B in place in case of out-of-stocks. It will be a major stress relief to have shopping crossed off the to-do list early. 


2.      No Sweat- While the thesaurus doesn’t actually list “Holidays” as a synonym for “stress,” you wouldn’t be blamed for expecting it to be there. Holiday stress is as traditional as the holidays themselves, so don’t worry if you are one of the millions feeling it. Sure, there can be a lot of pressure from family, traveling, finances, etc., but just slowdown and breathe. Whether you feel like you don’t live up to your family’s unattainable standards, or you’d like to escape from them faster than the zombies on “The Living Dead,” just remember that you can do this. There are loads of relaxation exercises, deep breathing, counting to 10 (or 10,000), rhythmic pattern tapping, or whatever works. Try any of them, allow your stress to roll off of you and go forward with peace.


3.      Realistic Expectations- A huge source of holiday stress is feeling a need to please and make it a special time for everyone. The problem is that sometimes we can have goals that are so lofty that they are no longer realistic. This will inevitably lead to a disproportionately large sense of disappointment. It is okay if you don’t hold a gala ball in your living room or don’t hold your guest entranced while serving 5-star cuisine. Let yourself, and everyone else, off the hook and simply enjoy your time together. 


4.      The Day After (Light at the End of the Tunnel)- If you find yourself obsessively counting down the seconds until the holidays and stressing out about it, try to take your mind off of it by planning what to do after the holidays. The big day will still be there waiting, but some of the pressure may be released if it feels more like a stop on the road instead of a brick wall at a dead end that you won’t be able to pass.


5.      Focus on What Counts (presence, not presents)- While you want to find the special gift that perfectly fits each person, or you’d like to be the one who gave the most and biggest gifts, take a step back and focus on what really counts. The gifts are really just a gesture of love and appreciation. It’s having each other that is most important. 


6.      Appropriate Budget- Gifts are a lot of fun, but don’t go overboard. Not only will you stress yourself out if you put yourself in debt in order to finance the holidays, but you will very likely stress out your loved ones as well. Have an appropriate budget and ask everyone who will be there to do the same. Nobody needs to max out the credit cards in order to have a happy holiday.


7.      Diet & Exercise- The holiday stress can manifest itself in a number of ways, including mega doses of binge eating and drinking. These usually only make the stress worse. Give yourself a double dose of stress busting by exercising and eating right. Physical exercise releases endorphins, which make you feel great and reduce stress. Eating healthy foods in sensible portions will also help you feel better physically and mentally. 


8.      Gratitude- When feeling stressed out or plagued by anxiety over the “what-ifs,” take all that energy and redirect it. Focus instead on what you are grateful for. Let the positives rule your mental preoccupation and let yourself feel the gratitude wash over you. Stress will drain away instantly. 


9.      Grandma, the Dog & the Kids- With so many things to worry about doing yourself, don’t forget to make arrangements for children, pets, and any elderly relatives who might need special accommodations. Are you bringing the dog with you? Is there enough on hand to distract the kids when you’ll be busy cooking and wrapping gifts? Does everyone have their medicine and emergency contact numbers available? Take care of this early so there won’t be any unnecessary hassles later. 


10.   My Own Private Hawaii- Even when the stress level has far surpassed the known limits and you are incarcerated between Uncle Jim and Grandma Myrtle with no emergency exit door clearly marked, you still always have the ultimate escape hatch available. Simply close your eyes and let your mind take you to any location you wish. You can still be with the family physically, but mentally relaxing in the tropics or skiing in the Swiss Alps. Just have fun on your personal adventure and don’t let the family stress you out. 


11.   Donate and Volunteer- If you really feel stressed about the holidays, you may need to step back to reconsider how bad you actually have it. Chances are, there are many who are far more unfortunate than you. Donating money and volunteering your time will help you to become part of a cause much bigger than yourself. Not only will you be grateful for what you have, helping uplift others will be the best way to send stress packing and put a smile on your face that will last well past the holiday season. 

Photo source 


Friday, October 22, 2021

5 Tips to Keep Your Pet Safe and Calm this Halloween: Top Medical Director Weighs In


While Halloween can be a fun night for humans, it can often be a time for our pets. Ringing doorbells, spooky masks, and strange decorations can mean sensory overload for our four-legged friends. When it comes to planning a safe and stress-free Halloween, it helps to plan ahead. 


Dr. Sarah Machell is a licensed, practicing veterinarian of just under two decades of experience in the establishment and growth of two successful small animal businesses. She is a foremost expert in advice and care for pet owners and is a sought-after expert in her field. Dr. Machell provides these five tips to reduce pet anxiety and keep them safe this Halloween:


  • Designate a Safe Space: Whether it’s a crate, a bed, or even a specific room in your home, make sure that your pet has a safe space where they can retreat if things get too scary. With trick or treaters coming and going, it’s important to make sure that your pet is secure and can't bolt through the door once the night gets underway.
  • Opt For Pet-Friendly Costumes: If you plan on dressing up your pet, it’s important to make sure that their costume fits well and doesn't pose any choking hazards, visibility issues or mobility restrictions. Costumes that make noises or have noisy components such as bells can be scary, so try to avoid them. Just like people, not all pets are excited to wear a costume. You know your pet best and should always check in to make sure that they’re having fun too. 
  • Keep Decorations Out of Reach: Jack-o’-lanterns and candles can set a spooky scene, but can become fire hazards if knocked over by a curious cat. Pets can get tangled in decorations like cobwebs and lights, so it's best to ensure they are kept out of reach and secured in place. Lastly, motion-activated decorations can scare skittish pets, so it’s best to turn them off when pets are around.
  • Hide The Loot Bags: Be sure to keep Halloween candy far out of your pet’s reach. Chocolate is toxic to both cats and dogs, and can lead to seizures, vomiting, and diarrhea, and depending on the type and how much was consumed can even be fatal. Xylitol, a common ingredient found in hard candies, can also be fatal to dogs. Opt for treats from your local pet store or make your own at home using pet-safe ingredients.
  • Leave Trick Or Treating to the Kids: Taking your dog trick or treating might seem like a good idea in theory, but strange noises, costumes, and darkness can cause stress and anxiety, so it’s actually best to leave them at home. If you do decide to take them with you, it’s important to make sure they are wearing an ID tag and that their information is up to date and easy to read. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Things to Do When You Turn 65

Turning 65 doesn’t have to feel like a choreOn the contrary, many people who retire at this age find it’s an opportune time to let loose, enjoy themselves, and start new plans for the twilight years of their life. Not only does turning 65 come with several financial and legal perks, but it can also be a great time to rediscover yourself and what you love. Below are a few things to do when you reach this special milestone.

Look into Medicare

Did you know that turning 65 makes you eligible for Medicare Parts A and B? In addition, you also have the option of enrolling in Medicare Part C (also known as Medicare Advantage), which covers vision and dental. This can be a real lifesaver for those who were previously receiving health insurance through their employer. 

However, it’s worth noting that Medicare doesn’t cover the cost of all your medical expenses, such as prescription medications. Therefore, it’s worth looking into supplement plans such as the Medicare D Prescription Drug Plan and/or Medigap, offered by private insurance companies and helps fill the financial gaps of a regular Medicare plan.

Attend to Legal Matters

When you turn 65, it’s also an important time to get your legal and financial affairs in order. If you’re an organized person, you may have already done this; but if you haven’t, make sure you set up and/or review your will, any powers of attorney, as well as for instructions for long-term medical care. The benefit of having this set up ahead of time is that you can rest assured that your needs will be taken care of in the way that you want. It also eases the burden on your loved ones in the event of long-term illness or death.

Investigate Assisted-Living Options

While you may not want to think about giving up your independence, it’s nonetheless important to investigate assisted-living options. You never know what could happen in terms of illness or disability, and it’s best to find someplace you like and will be comfortable in. Otherwise, you run the risk of having the choice made for you, and you could end up in a facility that doesn’t meet your needs or preferences. There are many excellent assisted living facilities, such as, that provide private, comfortable accommodation and tailored levels of care.

Research Your Perks

Turning 65 also means that you’re eligible for a number of perks. For example, there are travel discounts available for people aged 65 and above. This could be great news if you’vehad your eye on an exotic or tropical holiday abroad! If you haven’t looked into it yet, check with your airlines and travel providers for what deals they offer for people 65 and over.

Another perk for people of this age group is a property tax break. If you own your own home, you may be entitled to deductions once you hit 65. These vary by state and municipality, so be sure to check into it as the discounts can certainly add up.

Photo source


Friday, October 15, 2021

Ways To Save Space In Your Home

If you're like most people, you have more stuff than you do space. While you've likely reduced what you own, sometimes you just can't get rid of everything. That's where making some other changes can come into play. Here are some ways that you can save room in your home. 

Loft Beds

Consider using loft beds Chicago if you don't have enough room in your children's room for a bed and a play space or desk. A loft bed is just like a bunk bed, except there is no bottom bed. Instead, it has an empty space that you can use however you would like. Whether you decide to put a desk in the space or your child's dresser, you're going to be thankful for the extra room. 

Magnet Shelves

If you have a small kitchen without much storage, consider using a magnet shelving system. They are one or two shelving units with a powerful magnet on the back of them. It can be attached to the side of anything metallic. Most commonly they are put on the side of a fridge or washer and dryer unit if you have one in your home. 

The magnets are incredibly strong, and the shelves don't move at all. You could use the extra shelving for laundry supplies, spices, or even drinking cups. Some of the shelving units even come with extra side hooks for rags or oven mitts. 

Sliding Storage

If you have small spaces in your home that don't fit anything, you should look into sliding storage racks. They are small racks, often as little as 5 inches wide, that can fit into those areas. Even though the racks aren't very wide, they can be as tall as you need them to be. A rack as tall as the height of a regular kitchen sink can easily have five shelves, which gives you a lot of space to store things. 

6 Questions To Ask Before Starting A Family


Thinking  about starting a family? Well, you should give it some serious thought before you go ahead. Having children will fundamentally change your life. Here are six questions to ask before starting a family. 

Can you afford child care? 

A child requires a lot of time, energy, and money. Before you think about starting a family, ask yourself if you can afford child care. You will have to pay for daycare or stay at home with the kids when your partner is at work.


When considering having children it's important to think about how this might affect your career. You could have to take a career break or change your job. Do you have the financial means? It's going to cost thousands of dollars a year just to keep a kid alive!


What about other expenses?

Are you thinking about buying a bigger house? Having children will change your life. When you have kids you need more space, what with all the equipment, etc. You might want to consider moving to another part of town or even the municipality. If you are thinking about selling your house then weigh up the pros and cons first. Is it too much of a hassle? 


Can our relationship survive parenthood? 

For some couples, having children is the best thing that could ever happen to them. However, an increasing number of couples find that parenthood is too much and they end up splitting up. This can be a huge financial and emotional burden. Do you both want children? If only one of the parents wants to have kids then it might not be worth going ahead.


Is your family protected?

Often, when people think about starting a family they don't think about their own personal protection. Ask yourself if you are covered by insurance in the event of something happening to you or your partner? Do you have life insurance? You should speak with a family law attorney just to lay things out on the table.


Can you take time off work?

If you are thinking about starting a family, then this will impact your income. What effect will it have? It might be worth looking into what your maternity leave options are before getting pregnant. If you work for yourself, then you might want to consider taking some time off work, even if it's just six months. Think about how much money you will need to cover your living expenses. If you are thinking about taking a career break, then what will be the effect on your career?


Do you have health insurance? 

Another important factor to consider is health insurance. You might not think of this when you are thinking about having children but your family will need medical coverage. Do you have any pre-existing conditions? If you do then you might want to get additional health insurance for the new baby. Maternity care costs can be very high, so it's important to think about this now.

Your baby needs vaccinations and check-ups throughout its childhood. Who is going to pay for the child's healthcare? You need to be prepared for any unexpected bills. You might also want to consider if your house or car insurance will cover you in the event that your baby gets injured at home or in a road accident.

Photo owned by me

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Get Organized In 2022

There is no time like now to get organized for the upcoming year! It's never too late. Keep yourself on task with this planner.

College can be overwhelming and stressful! When you write everything down, it actually makes you feel better. Staying organized and spreading out what you need to do over multiple days and weeks makes assignments and goals seem less ominous.

That’s why the Class Tracker Ultimate Student Planner makes a great gift for the college student on your list!

This isn't your ordinary mass-produced daily planner. The 2021-2022 Class Tracker College Edition makes it a breeze for college students stay on top of assignments, key deadlines, daily tasks, and extracurricular activities. It has weekly pages designed specifically for a college student’s overly-scheduled life including pages to record class schedules, set goals, take notes, and keep track of self-care. It’s dated August 1-June 30. An undated version is also available.

Other features include: coiled bound with rounded corners and brightly colored covers with poly protection for stand-out sturdiness. Colors include black, light blue, pink with navy, and mint with pumpkin.

$24.99. Available at:

Little Ellen's Happy Elloween Episode Today

New episodes of Little Ellen premiere Thursday, Oct. 14 on Cartoonito on HBO Max, including a fun, spooky episode to help get you and your preschoolers into the Halloween spirit.

In “Happy Elloween,” Little Ellen, Freckle and Becky decide that they’re old enough to go trick or treating without an adult for the first time. Then, they question their decision when this Halloween proves to be the spookiest one yet!

Here is a fun look at the new trailer:

About Little Ellen: Little Ellen is a 2D-animated preschool series that explores the world through the eyes of a hilarious and unpredictable seven-year-old Ellen DeGeneres. The series follows Little Ellen (voiced by Laurel Emory) and her best friends-Freckle (voiced by JeCobi Swain) and Becky (voiced by Johanna Colon) –on fun, everyday adventures  with her across the musical city of New Orleans, teaching lessons of resilience, optimism and courage along the way.


Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Beautifully Illustrated, Educational Picture Books from Prestel Junior for Ages 2-7+ Discuss Emotion, Poetry, Weather, Microbes and more @presteljuniorinternational


Where is Everyone? 
by Tom Schamp (September 2021; ISBN: 978-3-7913-7450-5; Hardcover $14.95; Ages 2+; 14 pages)

A toaster, a refrigerator, a sink, a bed, a car. Most kids can recognize these and other things that are part of their everyday lives. Leave it to Tom Schamp to imagine a different way of seeing them. As kids pore over these brightly colored and highly detailed pictures they’ll be delighted to discover a monkey on a surfboard and an elephant in a bowler hat— all inhabiting the same shapes they recognize in their homes. Each whimsical illustration offers a chance to explore, discuss, and giggle at the unexpected. Every page will encourage kids to think creatively and differently about the world around them and the possibilities that lie hidden in the things we see every day.

When I See Red by Britta Teckentrup (September 2021; ISBN: 978-3-7913-7494-9; Hardcover $14.95; Ages 4+; 40 pages)

The heroine of this beautifully illustrated story feels her anger like a storm in a dark forest. It sweeps her away, and she thunders and howls. She pours down her emotions like sheets of rain; rage surges like a wind whipping angry waves. Her anger takes her on a wild ride.

Appropriate for a wide variety of ages, this book illustrates many aspects of anger that are often hard to articulate— how overwhelming it is, how isolating, even scary. But it also shows anger to be a source of power and an agent for change. Teckentrup’s impactful, boldly colored paintings skillfully evoke the way intense anger can take us on an emotional journey, one that can be both exhausting and affirming. This beautiful tribute to one girl’s experience of anger offers readers the opportunity to make sense of, and talk about their own feelings of rage in a time when that kind of understanding is more important than ever.

The Weather Pop-Up Book by Maike Biederstaedt (September 2021; ISBN: 978-3-7913-7393-5; Hardcover $25; Ages 5+; 15 pages)

In her hugely successful books Creatures of the Deep and What’s in the Egg?, as well as her enormously popular series of greeting cards for the Museum of Modern Art, Maike Biederstaedt has established herself as one of the preeminent paper artists working today. Now Biederstaedt takes book engineering to new heights as she immerses readers in five electrifying weather scenarios. As each spread unfolds, a meticulously designed landscape emerges—a freighter balances like a nutshell between high waves in the sea; a tornado takes terrifying aim at a truck trying to outrun it; a rain-spewing storm cloud towers like a skyscraper over a farm house. Nature’s delicate beauty emerges in the intricate shapes of a snowflake and in the luminous arc of a rainbow. Each page features an informative description of its weather event and the book closes with sobering commentary on the effects of climate change. A wondrous introduction to weather for budding climatologists, this is also an artistic tour de force that collectors will treasure.

At the Height of the Moon edited by Alison Baverstock, Matt Cunningham, and Annette Roeder (September 2021; ISBN: 978-3-7913-7480-2; Hardcover $24.95; Ages 5+; 160 pages)

Drawing from centuries of artistic and literary traditions from around the world, this gorgeous bedtime book pairs works of art with poems and short fiction. Divided into eight thematic sections it features dozens of double-paged spreads that families will turn to again and again as part of their bedtime routine. The carefully chosen, diverse selection of images includes works by John Singer Sargent, Georgia O’Keeffe, Utagawa Hiroshige and Henri Le Sidoner among many others, beautifully reproduced in luminous color. Accompanying these artworks are poems, mediations and short fiction that range from lighthearted verse to eerie folktales. Together these words and pictures create meaningful impressions that children will treasure and remember as they drift off to sleep—and hold onto for the rest of their lives.

Is There Life on Your Nose? by Christian Bortslap (September 2021; ISBN: 978-3-7913-7497-0; Hardcover $17.95; Ages 6+; 56 pages)

Germs, microbes, bacteria—these days those words are fraught with fear and uncertainty. But they’re not all bad. In fact, most of them make life and nature possible. Christian Borstlap’s playful, boldly colored illustrations and cheerful text will help kids understand that microbes are everywhere—in our noses and tummies, in the food we eat, in the air we breathe. From the world’s largest organism in Oregon’s Blue Mountains, to the bacteria that started life on earth; from microbes that help recycle plastic, to yeast that makes bread taste good—this book shows the incredible diversity of these tiny beings and how they affect every aspect of our lives. Borstlap uses both science and humor to demystify a potentially scary subject, and closes with double-page spreads that are packed with information to satisfy the most curious readers.

The Book of Labyrinths and Mazes by Silke Vry and illustrated by Finn Dean (September 2021; ISBN: 978-3-7913-7474-1; Hardcover $19.95; Ages 7+; 96 pages)
This brilliant book on mazes and labyrinths in history and the modern world encourages young readers to really think about why these puzzles are so appealing. Filled with photographs, drawings, artwork, illustrations, and puzzles, it takes a thematic approach to these enigmatic works. Why are we sometimes afraid to get lost—and why does the idea excite us? How do mazes and labyrinths figure in history and mythology? What can nature tell us about humankind’s obsession with lines, spirals, and patterns? Along the way children will learn about the labyrinth designed by Daedalus for King Minos in the ancient city of Crete; the mystery of the Hemet Maze Stone in southern California; and the magnificent labyrinth at the Cathedral of Chartres. They are encouraged to trace their fingers along a labyrinth to experience its soothing effect, to solve maze-related number puzzles, and to create their own mazes and labyrinths. Packed with fun facts and engaging ideas, this book will help children understand why mazes and labyrinths are so popular, while inspiring them to identify and create these fascinating puzzles in their own world.

The Book Of Labyrinths and Mazes by Silke Vry and Finn Dean was amazing. I didn’t read it to my toddler class, only showed them so pictures however I did read it while they napped. It is brilliantly done. I loved how this book about labyrinths and mazes also felt very much like a self help book about life! It also opens the mind to how many mazes and labyrinths we see in our every day lives. Your fingerprint, brain, intestines, and inner ear are all labyrinths. Fascinating book!!!! Thoroughly enjoyed it and have grown to love anything @prestel_publishing puts out. Visually the books are stunning. The covers need to be displayed. 

The Day Time Stopped by Flavia Ruotolo (October 2021; ISBN: 978-3-7913-7489-5; Hardcover $14.95; Ages 5+; 48 pages)

One afternoon in Italy, a little girl is about to take a bite of her delicious popsicle when time . . . stops. At that very moment, across the planet, people and animals are frozen in action— captured by this book’s warm, quirky illustrations and clever, time-stamped captions. A penguin hatches in South Georgia; a little girl gets a haircut in Brazil; a family sits down to breakfast in California; a tiger falls asleep in Bangladesh; a boy’s football ball gets stuck in a tree in Cape Verde. The sheer enormity of planet Earth can be impossible for young kids to grasp. Here, in this playful introduction to time zones, hemispheres, and life in different climates, kids will identify with all the ordinary things going on at the same time in our extraordinary world.

I Saw a Beautiful Woodpecker by MichaƂ SkibiƄski and illustrated by Ala Bankroft (October 2021; ISBN: 978-3-7913-7486-4; Hardcover: $16.95; Ages 6+; 128 pages)

It is the summer of 1939 in Warsaw, Poland and Michal is an eight- year-old boy just finishing his school year. In order to improve his handwriting, Michal’s teacher gives him a simple assignment: keep a journal, writing one sentence a day. Eighty years later, Michal’s diary has been gorgeously illustrated with beautifully atmospheric paintings. Eloquent in its simplicity, the journal is a remarkable artifact that captures the innocence of childhood and the trauma of war. The journal starts out with a typical boy’s observations: “July 15: I went to a stream with my brother and teacher.” “July 23: I found a caterpillar.” However over the course of weeks, menacing details emerge. “July 27: A plane was circling over Anin.” “September 1: The war has begun.” “September 3: I hid from planes.” “September 14: Warsaw is bravely defending itself.” These haunting entries are interspersed with visits from relatives, a soccer game, a trip to a park, an ice cream cone. Photographs of pages from Michal’s diary enhance the poignancy of this simple record—an ordinary holiday interrupted by war; a life changed forever by an extraordinary moment in history.

MICHAƁ SKIBIƃSKI was 8 years old and a schoolboy at Warsaw Primary school when he wrote this diary in the summer 1939. Today he lives in a retirement house for elderly priests. ALA BANKROFT is a painter, photographer and film animator living in Warsaw, Poland.