Blog Tour + Review : Little Excavator by Anna Dewdney

Published by Viking Books for Young Readers Genres: Children's Books, Children's Picture Book

Welcome to the blog tour for Little Excavator by Anna Dewdney. If the name sounds familiar, it is because Anna wrote the beloved LLAMA LLAMA series.  In Little Excavator we are introduced to a brand new character to love called “Little E”.


About The Book:

There’s Loader and Dump Truck, Backhoe and Crane. They’re ready to transform a vacant lot into a neighborhood park. And who wants to help most of all? Little Excavator! But are there any jobs for someone so small?This is a book for fans of Anna’s work (her signature rhyming text and illustrations make this a perfect read aloud) and for all kids fascinated with things that go! And it ultimately includes the message that bigger doesn’t mean better—when you’re small you can accomplish big things too.

About the Author:

Anna Dewdney was a teacher, mother, and enthusiastic proponent of reading aloud to children. She continually honed her skills as an artist and writer and published her first Llama Llama book in 2005. Her passion for creating extended to home and garden and she lovingly restored an 18th century farmhouse in southern Vermont. She wrote, painted, gardened, and lived there with her partner, Reed, her two daughters, two wirehaired pointing griffons, and one bulldog. Anna passed away in 2016, but her spirit will live on in her books.


Thank you to Penguin/Viking Young Readers for providing me with a finished copy in exchange for an honest review. #PRHPartner


My Review:

All Little Excavator wants to do is help build the new neighborhood park. He might be small, but he’s got heart and spirit.  This is one of the many lessons this charming book has to offer, along with a variety of rhyming texts that is sure to keep the kiddies entertained. The beautiful illustrations are bold and full of color.

Children will be drawn in by Little E, as he tries to find the right job to do, and how he (though small) can help in a BIG way. At first he seems to be more in the way than helping, but by the end of the tale, it is his small size that helps complete the park.

The lesson of “size doesn’t matter” and that anyone (big or small) can make a contribution are lessons that every child needs to learn, and be encouraged to act on in daily life. This is one of my very favorite lessons from Little Excavator. Most importantly, this lesson flows through the story, and isn’t “preached” at but gently demonstrated.

Little ones will have a blast reading Little Excavator out loud either in a group or with their caregivers. My nephews love playing with their trucks, and they especially loved making all the noises of the various construction vehicles as I read this book with them. They were very happy that Little E was able to help out in the end.  Little E was a big hit with them and I highly recommend it for little readers everywhere.

Book Review: Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin, illustrated by Daniel Salmieri

by Adam Rubin, Daniel Salmieri
Published by Penguin Genres: Children's Books

“Dragons love tacos. They love chicken tacos, beef tacos, great big tacos, and teeny tiny tacos. So if you want to lure a bunch of dragons to your party, you should definitely serve tacos. Buckets and buckets of tacos. Unfortunately, where there are tacos, there is also salsa. And if a dragon accidentally eats spicy salsa… Oh, boy. You’re in red-hot trouble.”

Who ever knew Dragons loved tacos so much? Clearly the authors of this hilarious and entertaining book do. They share their expertise on throwing the best taco party on the block and what dragons will expect. Most importantly, they tell us that dragons do NOT like spicy salsa. In fact, there will be all sorts of trouble if a dragon eats spicy salsa. So make sure to hide it, better yet bury it if you can.

This entertaining and fun story is filled with dragons of all kinds, the vivid and bold illustrations are sure to grab your attention. Readers will find something new and unexpected happening on every page, so even the shortest of attention spans can be remain engaged. Young readers will delight in the silliness and be inspired to throw their own Dragon taco party.

If you love dragons, tacos, and parties, you need to read this book! Just make sure to keep the spicy salsa hidden…in case any dragons drop by.


Are you ready to make your own delicious tacos? Try out my yummy and healthy recipe (little dragons and big dragons alike will love it!)


Sticky and Sweet Lime and Honey Chicken Tacos

Sweet and Sticky Lime Chicken Thighs – An easy and quick one skillet meal including sticky, tender and delicious chicken thighs rubbed with a homemade spice rub and brushed with an amazingly sweet lime honey sauce.




  • 1 teaspoons, or to taste, paprika (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper


  • ⅓ cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • ½ of a Fresh squeeze lime


  • 1 tablespoon virgin olive oil
  • 6 to 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • green onions, for garnish


  • Whole wheat soft tortillas (medium size)
  • 6 to 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • green onions
  • grated lime rind (for a citrus kick/garnish)
  • shredded lettuce for topping
  • sour cream (to drizzle on top of lettuce)


  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Place skillet or grill pan over medium high heat with olive oil.
  3. Combine the spice rub ingredients and mix until thoroughly combined Rub the chicken with the prepared spice rub and toss to coat (if you like you can let this marinate for a few hours before you cook it).
  4. Add chicken to skillet and cook for 5 minutes on each side, or until browned.
  5. Prepare the honey sauce by combining honey and apple cider vinegar and lime juice; stir until well incorporated.
  6. Remove chicken from heat and pour honey sauce over the chicken thighs, turning to coat.
  7. Bake in over for 25 to 30 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.
  8. Remove from oven and let stand couple minutes.
  9. Cut chicken into slices
  10. Place whole wheat soft tortilla on plate, place chicken on the tortilla and garnish with green onions, shredded lettuce and a drizzle of sour cream (you can also top off with your favorite salsa).
  11. Serve and ENJOY!


About The Authors:

Adam Rubin is the New York Times best-selling author of a half dozen critically-acclaimed picture books including Secret Pizza Party and Robo-Sauce. He spent ten years working as a creative director in the advertising industry before leaving his day job to write full time. Adam has a keen interest in improv comedy, camping and magic tricks.

Daniel Salmieri has illustrated many fantastic picture books, including the New York Times bestseller Robo-Sauce. He grew up in Brooklyn, New York, constantly drawing and painting images of ninja turtles, dinosaurs, and fighter jets (not in the same scene…), and graduated from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.



Now, I’m not sure you’ve heard, but the tacos are becoming extinct! We need your help to save them (and to keep the dragons happy and the parties coming). We all must do our part to #SavetheTacos! You can help by pre-ordering Dragons Love Tacos 2: The Sequel.

To help us save the tacos, Penguin Kids is sending everyone who pre-orders Dragons Love Tacos 2 a bumper sticker and entering them to win the Ultimate Taco Party gift basket!


And if that’s not enough, you can enter to win a Dragons Love Tacos Book and Toy Set!

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on April 3, 2017 and 12:00 AM on May 1, 2017.  Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about May 5, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.

Week One:

April 3 – Pirates n’ Pixie Dust – Taco Scavenger Hunt

April 4 – Margie’s Must Reads – Review + Recipe

April 5 – A Story a Day – Review + Taco Craft

April 6 – The Book Shire

April 7 – Swoony Boys Podcast – Recipe + Taco Craft


Week Two:

April 10 – Ali’s Book Nook – Review + Recipe

April 11 – Mundie Kids – Review + Taco Party Checklist

April 12 – The Children’s Book Review – When You Invite a Dragon to Dinner…

April 13 – Reading is Better with Cupcakes – A World Without Tacos?!

April 14 – My Bookbloom – Review + Taco Activity


Week Three:

April 17 – As They Grow Up – Review

April 18 – The Book Nut – Taco Soup Recipe

April 19 – YA Book Nerd – Missing Taco Hunt

April 20 – Inspiration Laboratories – Dragons Love Tacos Birthday Party

April 21 – In Wonderland – Review + Taco Salad Recipe


Week Four:

April 24 – A Homeschool Mom – Review + Chili Pepper Experiment

April 25 – The Plot Bunny – Review + Recipe

April 26 – No BS Book Reviews – Taco Craft

April 27 – My Little Poppies – Review

April 28 – Happily Ever Elephants – Review


Picture Book Review: The Land of Nod by Robert Louis Stevenson, Robert Hunter (Illustrator)

Picture Book Review: The Land of Nod by Robert Louis Stevenson, Robert Hunter (Illustrator)The Land of Nod by Robert Louis Stevenson, Robert Hunter
Published by Flying Eye Books on February 14th 2017
Genres: Children's Picture Book
Pages: 32

Ever wondered about the mysterious place we all visit when we fall asleep? Robert Louis Stevenson's classic children's poem about dreamland is given new life in this wonderfully illustrated book. Accompanied by Robert Hunter's bold and beautiful illustrations, this picture book will bring the beloved Scottish author's work to a whole new generation of young readers.
Robert Frank Hunter is a London-based illustrator. Working on a range of projects in both print and moving image, he is keen to keep applying his work to new disciplines.

When you open the gorgeous and colorfully illustrated The Land of Nod, you are instantly captivated. These beautiful images provide a dream-like landscape to accompany the words of Robert Louis Stevenson’s poem “The Land of Nod”. Every single page is full of details and whimsical drawings reminiscent of the “feeling” of a dream. Which is sure to draw readers deep into the story. Because of the lovely hues of blue and pink Mr. Hunter uses in his illustration, he is able to create a “twilight-type” mood and truly bring the poem to life.


It is clear from the illustrations and the words of the poem that the little boy is feeling isolated from the outside world. However, in his dreams, he can go on all kinds of adventures and see all sorts of different things. This would be an excellent choice for a bedtime story, or for inspiring young poets. As well as a book to read to little ones when they are sick and have to stay in bed. I highly recommend The Land of Nod to dreamers of all ages.



The strangest things are there for me,
Both things to eat and things to see,
And many frightening sights abroad
Till morning in the land of Nod.”


*Thank you to Flying Eye Books for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.  


Blog Tour + Review+Giveaway The Storybook Knight by Helen Docherty and Thomas Docherty

Storybook Knight

The Storybook Knight

By:Helen Docherty, Thomas Docherty

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Pub. Date: Sept 6th, 2016

My Rating: FIVE Stars!


Goodreads: “Even dragons can’t resist a good story…

Even though Leo would rather sit at home and read, his parents send him out into the world in the hopes that Leo will become a famous knight. But when Leo comes up against the land’s most fearsome beasts, he soon discovers that scary monsters enjoy a good book as much as anyone…” 

I am really excited to be participating in the blog tour for The Storybook Knight by Helen Docherty and Thomas Docherty. I previously reviewed this gorgeous book here, but I wanted to do a little something special for this tour to help promote and celebrate this enchanting story.

The Storybook Knight centers around Leo, a cute little mouse who happens to love reading over swordplay and being a knight. Even when he is sent off to find fame and glory by his parents, he still manages to take some books with him. As he reluctantly sets off to find adventure, he starts to come across a variety of fearsome beasts.

Luckily, Leo is able to befriend them all by sharing with them a story. He uses his imagination to alter some of them to fit his needs. In the end, he is able to convince each of the creatures not to harm him. He also inspires them with his stories and books, and by doing so lights the joy of reading in their hearts.

I am so glad I was able to read this beautifully illustrated and charming story. There are some lovely lessons is this book, especially these:


Want to join Leo and become a Storybook Knight too? Pledge your alliance here to receive a certificate of membership, Storybook Knight news, and more!

I highly recommend The Storybook Knight to anyone who loves beautifully detailed picture books with a strong and important lesson. I would also recommend it to anyone who likes stories with knights, dragons and a bit of silliness in them. A must read for lovers of reading and books.

I would like to thank Sourcebooks Jabberwocky for the beautiful finished copy they sent me in return for participating in the tour, and Netgalley for the e-ARC I was sent a few months ago in return for an honest review.

FullSizeRender (51)Remember: A Story is Mightier than a Sword…




Helen Docherty has spent most of her career as a language teacher, most recently specializing in Spanish. Her website is

Thomas Docherty studied metalwork and sculpture at college before becoming an illustrator of children’s books. His website is

Helen and Thomas live in Wales with their two young daughters.

Author / Illustrator Links:

Thomas Docherty:

Twitter: @TDIllustration

Helen Docherty:

Twitter: @docherty_helen


Enter for a chance to win an original sketch of Leo and Ned by illustrator Thomas Docherty!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Children’s Picture Book Review: Ooko by Esme Shapiro

Children’s Picture Book Review: Ooko by Esme ShapiroOoko by Esme Shapiro
Published by Tundra Books on July 5th 2016
Pages: 32

     Ooko has everything a fox could want: a stick, a leaf and a rock. Well, almost everything . . . Ooko wants someone to play with too! The foxes in town always seem to be playing with their two-legged friends, the Debbies. Maybe if he tries to look like the other foxes, one of the Debbies will play with him too. But when Ooko finally finds his very own Debbie, things don't turn out quite as he had expected!      A quirky, funny, charmingly illustrated story about finding friendship and being true to yourself.

Ooko is a very adorable little fox, and even though he has a stick, a leaf and a rock, he is lonely. Ooko decides he needs to find a friend and sets off looking. Ooko gets excited when he finds what looks like another fox playing with a little girl (who he thinks is a 2 legged furless fox). He tries to walk over so that he can play with them but they run away and the little girl’s mother calls out to her “ Debbie, Watch out!”.

image (5)

Ooko now thinks all 2 legged furless foxes are called Debbie and he wants his very own. Ooko thinks that debbies don’t like him the way he is, so he tries really had to change his appearance to look more like the other foxes aka dogs around him. Eventually, a short sighted lady mistakes him for her puppy Ruthie. The lady gives him a bath, dresses him in an itchy wool sweater and takes him for a walk. Ooko is starting to realize that debbies don’t play very fun games after all. While out on a walk he comes upon a racoon name Oomi. Oomi loves to play with sticks just like Ooko does and together they set off to play. Ooko realized that he doesn’t need to change anything about himself in order to have a friend to play with.

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I fell in love with this book during ALAMW this past January. While at the Tundra Books booth, one of the representatives pointed it out to me. When it became available on NetGalley I just had to read it in full. The illustrations are whimsical, colorful and quirky. The story is simple enough for younger readers to handle sitting through, yet cute and entertaining enough for older readers too. The message at the end of the story is a really good one too. Ooko was precious and I felt so bad for him when he was sad and lonely. Young readers (and older readers too) are sure to delight in the loveliness of the artwork and have plenty to look at while reading.

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The moral of the story is to be true to yourself, and not to worry that by doing so you won’t find any friends. Out there somewhere is someone that will like you just the way you are, without any need to change yourself and who likes to play “sticks” or “leaf” or “rock” just as much as you do. I really enjoyed this book, and I highly recommend it as a good book to read out loud either at story time, bedtime or whenever a story is requested or needed.

Thank you NetGalley and Tundra Books for the opportunity to read this book prior to publishing in exchange for an honest review.