Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Sip Tea with Mad Hatter Tour


Enter to win an autographed copy of Sip Tea with Mad Hatter: At KAMP®, by award-winning author Loretta Neff; plus a $25 Visa gift card to buy supplies for your own tea party!
One (1) grand prize winner receives:
  • A copy of Sip Tea with Mad Hatter: At KAMP®, autographed by Loretta Neff
  • A $25 Visa gift card
Two (2) winners receive:
  • A copy of Sip Tea with Mad Hatter: At KAMP®, autographed by Loretta Neff
Giveaway begins June 21, 2017, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends July 21, 2017, at 11:59 P.M. PST.
Giveaway open to US and international mailing addresses.

Prizes provided by EW Foundation, Inc.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Author Laura Neff has created a kid-friendly guide to etiquette and manners, based on the setting and characters of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Each character offers different advice about being a guest or host at tea parties and other events. For instance, Absolem the caterpillar encourages guests to read their invitation carefully and be sure to dress for the occasion and arrive and leave on time. Alice models how to introduce yourself with confidence, while the Mad Hatter makes guests feel welcome by drawing them into conversations and including them in games. Once readers have finished the book, they will know all about table manners, accepting gifts graciously, and treating others kindly.

The illustrations are full of bold, vibrant colors that transport readers to Wonderland and a realm where a talking Dormouse or Cheshire Cat seem perfectly believable. Signature details such as Alice's blue dress and the Red Queen's grumpy pout make the characters easy to identify for even the youngest readers. At the end of the book there is a final list of all the life skills, as well as definitions of EWF Core Values, a glossary, and even a brief history of the afternoon tea tradition. All of those features should be very helpful to parents and teachers using the book. And everyone should refer to the "Magical Phrases and Words" that are listed - you can never have too many reminders to say please and thank you. For family members giving this book as a gift, there is a pledge for children to sign, promising to "Do well by doing good deeds."

Overall, this is an amusing and innovative way to introduce youngsters to social etiquette, good behavior, and graciousness in any setting. Young readers will be drawn to the colorful Wonderland characters and adults will appreciate the simple advice on being a polite host or guest.

Written by Loretta Neff
Illustrated by Anirban Mitra

Publisher’s Synopsis: Sip Tea with Mad Hatter  makes learning afternoon tea manners fun, meaningful, and most important, memorable. Any adult or child who reads this book will delight in the clever illustrations and correlations of Alice in Wonderland’s characters to the manners advice.

Phrases like Be as cool as a Cheshire cat, Don’t be a mean Red Queen, and My teacup runneth over with gratitude are easy-to-grasp concepts for children.

With the demanding schedules of parents, caregivers, and teachers, the importance of social skills is often overlooked. Learning social skills early, especially during childhood, can shape a child’s character and greatly impact his or her life for the better.
The EW Foundation® (EWF) vision is to teach, inspire, and motivate children to perform spontaneous acts of kindness and consideration. The benefits they receive from simple, good behavior will be both tangible and intangible. Our belief is that children can “do well by doing good deeds.“

The topics covered in this book are part of the EWF KAMP® curriculum – 2015 Promising Practices National Award Recipient by Character.org.

“Once again, thank you, Loretta Neff, for another well-written and entertaining resource that teaches important life skills.”—The Children’s Book Review

Ages 6-12 | Publisher: EW Publishing | 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-0998555904


Loretta Neff is an award-winning children s book author and the founder of the EW Foundation®, a nonprofit provider of character education programs. Loretta has specialized in character and etiquette education since 1994 with clients ranging from children to Fortune 500 companies.

Loretta’s books are inspired by her love of humanity and desire to share her resources with children who need them most. Through her books and charitable efforts, she hopes to engage young minds and instill the values that can shape and transform their lives in a meaningful and measurable way.

Her first book, award-winning Tame Your Manners, released March 2014, received coveted reviews and has become a bestseller in its genre. Described as Madagascar meets manners, the book continues to charm the hearts of critics and readers alike.

Her second book, Sip Tea with Mad Hatter, is another delightful concept for introducing children to good character and tea manners. The book was inspired by Alice in Wonderland and will challenge kids to be creative and Think outside the rabbit hole.

Based on EW Foundation s KAMP® curriculum, a 2015 and 2016 Promising Practices national award winner, her books emphasize good character and core values while offering an affordable and comprehensive learning solution. Children can enjoy the series at their own pace or share it as a family or class. (For ages 5 12.) Loretta received a BA degree in 1989 with honors and had her sights on the legal profession. But after being accepted to law school at Michigan State University, she never attended, having found her real passion for philanthropic work and the teaching of business and social etiquette. Loretta remains committed to the advancement of numerous charities, societies, and educational foundations.



The Children's Book Review
Crafty Moms Share
Kori at Home
Lille Punkin'
icefairy's Treasure Chest
The Fairview Review
Word Spelunking
Mommy Ramblings
To Read, or Not To Read
Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers

The Fairview Review is working in  partnership with The Children’s Book Review and the EW Foundation, Inc. to promote this tour.

Summer Reading 2017 It's Hard to Swim (Ellie the Wienerdog #2)


Ellie, our favorite dachshund, is back in her second book. This time around she tells us that it is hard to swim because she is meant to be on dry land. The first page shows her underwater with her cheeks puffed out from holding her breath. She lists all the things she doesn't have such as fins and scales, and we see her being sent aloft on the plume of water from a whale's blowhole. But all of this is just to let us know what is coming. Her human approaches with a doggie life vest and Ellie leans against the dock with her paw to her forehead like a classic damsel in distress. She imagine that she might simply sink and no one will ever be able to find her. The creatures she pictures in this calm little body of water include fierce looking fish, a seahorse with fangs, a shark with a dinner table and napkin just waiting for a meal, even a fish with a fork. As her human lowers her toward the water she holds her paws to her chattering teeth, then calls out, "GOODBYE! I'm going in !" (Talk about drama.) Soon she is trying out different strokes across and even under the water and having a good time, while smiling fish watch.

Even though Ellie is a dog and not a child, it is still easy to learn from her example. She builds up so many possible dangers in her imagination, then finds out how much fun swimming can be. At the end of the day she is wagging her tail and saying that "if you give it a try, you can do anything you wish!" Those fish that she was so afraid would eat her are now smiling and holding up score cards like Olympic judges to praise her swimming. She even decides that since she learned to swim, maybe she can teach the fish to sit. The scene of Miss Ellie's classroom with the puffer fish upside down, the shark with a bite missing from its desk, and the goldfish beaming as it perches on a chair in its fishbowl helps young readers imagine what would happen if the fish could come onto land to learn a new skill.

Although this story shows Ellie learning to swim, the lesson could easily apply to any new situation that is making someone nervous. She shows that things are not nearly as bad as we imagine them to be, and that once you give something a try you usually find it to be much easier than you thought.

I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

Summer Reading 2017 It's Hard to Be Good (Ellie the Wienerdog #1)


Dachshund Ellie with her big brown eyes and wiggly body is trying to be good. In a scene reminiscent of vintage Looney Tunes characters, she has her good and bad selves both trying to influence her. Both halves of her conscience appear in dream bubbles, the naughty side appears among flames and tugs on Ellie's ear to get her attention with a wicked grin. In contrast, the good side is floating among clouds and barking to try and call Ellie away from the bad influence. Ellie says she's only a hound and thinks with her nose. As much as she longs for those words, "What a good dog!" it is hard to resist with "a freshly made sandwich calling." The illustration turns the letters of the word "calling" into slices of bread, ham, lettuce, and mustard, emphasizing the allure of that sandwich. When her "mind starts to spin," we see Ellie's eyes filled with spirals and her ears floating around her head in a psychedelic swirl. Will she be able to fight her way through the haze of fresh ham and earn a treat for being a good girl?

Young readers will find Ellie adorable with her expressive face and dramatic description of how her hound's nose leads her into temptation. It is easy to identify with her and the urge to give in when surrounded by tempting items. When she says that earning praise makes her heart grin, we can actually see a pale purple heart on her chest with a small smile on it. And when she imagines grabbing the sandwich and running off with it, her thought bubble shows an image of herself with the sandwich clasped in her front paws and her back legs running so fast they are a blur. This is a story sure to entertain adults as they help youngsters read and enjoy it. 

Perfect for parents and teachers of young children who are working on learning right from wrong and choosing to do what they know is right. I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Spring Reading 2017 DC Super Hero Girls: Summer Olympus


Diana and her friends at Super Hero High are ready for summer break, and everyone has fun plans for their time off. For young Wonder Woman, there is an invitation to spend time with her father's side of the family in Olympus. So Diana and her pal Bumblebee are hanging out with the Olympian gods and demigods when Batgirl, Beast Boy, and Katana come across a mysterious thief who is stealing classic artifacts from museums across Europe. But eventually these story lines will have to merge, because the stolen items all belong to Diana's half-siblings from her father Zeus.

Summer Olympus is a mix of school story, super hero action, and summer adventure. It also features the half-goddess side of Wonder Woman's background. This could be an introduction to mythology, or for readers who already have an interest, it can be a different view of these ancient literary figures. Perhaps the most important theme in the story is friendship. We see different groupings of the characters who choose to spend their vacation together, and interactions between the characters through phone calls and social media. But the power of their "sisterhood" may not be enough to overcome the villains.

Whether you are already interested in the characters, or this is an introduction to them, these stories show these young women (and a few of their male friends), learning to handle their powers and becoming the figures we are more familiar with in their adult personas.

I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Summer Reading 2017 egg


Kevin Henkes is a favorite author/illustrator for a reason. His 50th book is more of his signature style. A blue, a pink, and a yellow egg hatch, but one egg is "waiting." The little birds from the other eggs come and "listen" to the last egg. Then they "peck-peck-peck" (repeat about 20 times). And when the green egg cracks open, "surprise!" The birds fly away, startled, and the newly hatched baby is sad and alone. Will they come back?

This would be a great book to pair with a story like "The Ugly Duckling" and talk about expectations and how authors can surprise us by having something unexpected happen. It would also be good for talking about making friends, accepting others despite their differences, etc. The way that many of the pages are broken into panels would make it perfect for introducing how to read comics and graphic novels; how one moves from panel to panel and where to start on the page could be easily demonstrated.

Summer Reading 2017 Hug This Book


In a rhythm reminiscent of Green Eggs and Ham, the author reels off all the things you can do with a book. Everything from "You can read this book to a hippo," to "You can kiss and hug and smell this book" is suggested. The ink and paper illustrations are digitally colored and show scenes that look like they are drawn on a chalkboard or cityscapes with faces peeking out of windows. Young readers are liable to laugh out loud at scenes of two kids in the same sweater, or someone asleep under a tented book. My favorite is the final page that suggests, "You can start at the beginning and read it to a friend!"

Friday, June 23, 2017

Summer Reading 2017 You May Already Be a Winner


Olivia is a character that is full of life, which is a funny thing since she begins her story with, "One day I sunk to the bottom of the pool and died." It turns out that she did not die, but she does have very vivid daydreams. The daydreams are a way to escape from the unpleasant parts of her life, things like having to stay home from school and watch Berk, cleaning the trailer and fixing dinner because her mom comes home too tired to do it, or writing emails to her father that are never answered. Olivia, her mother, and her sister Berkeley live in Sunny Pines, "a trailer park attached to a KOA." Olivia becomes determined to offer Berk something better, so she enters online contests, as many as she can find. The sweepstakes entries are another coping mechanism to deal with missing her father, the loss of her best friend, having to stay home from school, and all the other negative circumstances in her life.

Along with Olivia, we see her neighbors and learn their stories, too. We also meet her eccentric friend, Bart. Can he really be an agent for the FBI doing surveillance in Sunny Pines? That is only one question we try to find the answer to as the story unfolds. We also wonder if her father is really off helping the rangers in Bryce Canyon and when child & family services will intervene in their lives. Sixth graders can't just stop coming to school without local agencies getting involved. And we wonder, just as Olivia does, what will happen when their situation is discovered.

The setting and characters are full of realistic details, and we can recognize how easily a family could wind up in the same condition as Olivia's. We laugh at her daydreams of heroically fighting fires or receiving the kiss of life from the life guard, but we also understand that we are laughing to keep from crying over her life. This is a strong piece of realistic fiction that showcases a memorable character. Fans of See You in the Cosmos might enjoy Olivia's tale.

I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley.