Posts Tagged ‘Sterling Publishing’

Write a Review Wednesday: Listen-Along Storybooks

Welcome to another Write a Review Wednesday, a meme started by Tara Lazar as a way to show support to authors of kids literature. Last week we reviewed Groundwood Books’ I Know Here (age 4-7) written by Laurel Croza and illustrated by Matt James. This week things are a little different. We’re actually looking at a new program launched by Sterling Publishing called Listen-Along Storybooks. We reviewed this new feature with the book Ceasar Takes a Break (age 4-7 ), written by Susan Collins Thoms and illustrated by Roge. I have to thank Wendy at Sterling Publishing for my review copy.


Sterling Children’s Books is known for publishing amazing books, some we’ve had the chance to review and some we plan to review in the future. But this month, Sterling Children’s Books has launched a new program: Listen-Along Storybooks.

By visiting the website, visitors will be able to listen to a FREE audiobook of some of Sterling Children’s Books most popular titles. Currently there are eight titles included: Cesar Takes a Break, Cowboy Camp, I Saw an Ant on the Railroad Track, Perfectly Arugula, Jack and the Beanstalk, Tex and Sugar, We Go Together, and The Twelve Dancing Princesses.

Visitors can select the book they want to listen to or they can download the file to an MP3 player and take it wherever they go. The story can be listened to on it’s own or with the corresponding book. We were sent a copy of Cesar Takes a Break to try out the Listen-Along Storybook program. It was so easy to download the audio on my iPhone. No passwords or multiple steps; find the story you want to here and ‘click’ it’s playing or saved, whatever you prefer.

The kids enjoyed listening to the audio book of Cesar Takes a Break while we flipped the pages. They enjoyed hearing the different voices, a task that even I’m not very good at. Robert Agis who read Cesar, the main character, was great and really added emotion to the words he was reading (he’s also your host in the ‘How Cesar Takes a Break Audiobook was Made’ video below). My seven-year old also enjoyed just listening to the story on it’s own, without the book. One thing I noticed, unlike other audio books, there isn’t a tone to turn the page if your child is following along. This wasn’t an issue for us since I was reading the book with my kids.

I love that the audio stories add another element to an already enjoyable book. You can read the story, look at the book with the audio, or just listen to the audio; you have that much flexibility. Yes, you can download the audio without having the books but I think you’ll find having the pictures in front of you adds so much more to the experience.

Take a behind the scenes peek at what goes into making the audio for one of the Listen-Along Storybooks (specifically Cesar Takes a Break):


To help kick off the launch of the Listen-Along Storybook program, Sterling Children’s Books are offering to give three (3) of my readers a copy of all eight (8) storybooks currently included in the Listen-Along Storybook program. How fun would that be, listening to the FREE audiobooks while reading along with eight of Sterling Children’s Books most popular reads. The eight books included would be: Cesar Takes a Break, Cowboy Camp, I Saw an Ant on the Railroad Track, Perfectly Arugula, Jack and the Beanstalk, Tex and Sugar, We Go Together1, and The Twelve Dancing Princesses.

To enter, leave a comment below telling me which of the eight books you think your kids would want to listen to first. This contest is open to both Canadian and US residents but get your entry in before March 24. After that date I’ll be randomly picking three winners.

Update: Thanks to everyone for entering. Winners have been notified by email.

Write a Review Wednesday: Daddy Longlegs Blues

Welcome to another Write a Review Wednesday, a meme started by Tara Lazar as a way to show support to authors of kids literature. Last week I reviewed Barefoot Books book and singalong CD Driving my Tractor (age 2-5) by Jan Dobbins and David Sim. Still in a musical frame of mind, I’m reviewing The Daddy Longlegs Blues (age 4-7) written by Mike Ornstein and illustrated by Lisa Kopelke. I have to thank Derry at Sterling Publishing publishing for my review copy.


He’s Daddy Longlegs.
He’ll scat across your ceiling
and get funky on your floor.
Shake his booty down your hallway
and then shimmy out the door

Mike Ornstein’s tale of a Daddy Longlegs reads lyrically, like a blues tune. Daddy Longlegs wanders around town bringing rhythm and soul wherever he goes. He bellows on his saxophone, bounces with his fiddle, shakes his booty with his base, hangs loose with his guitar, beats his drum and even boogie-woogies on his baby grand.

The Daddy Longlegs Blues does a great job introducing kids to various musical instruments through words and illustrations. You can’t help but feel like moving and grooving with words like boucin’ and boppin’ in the story. I found myself singing parts of the story in a bluesy tune, especially the lines: He has the blues. The Daddy Longlegs blues. (You were singing it too weren’t you? It’s catchy.)

Music is big in our house, especially jazz and blues, so my kids loved reading a story with a musical twist. Mike Ornstein did a great job weaving in truths about Daddy Longlegs. Did you know they’re not spiders? It’s now a fact my kids share with everyone.

Lisa Kopelke‘s use of font style and size also helps convey a fun, musical feel to the story. The words move in and around the illustrations like a song.

If you’re child is a music fan, there are also pages at the end of the story that cover a glossary of blues terms and a description of the musical instruments used in the story. I especially liked the last page which explains a little more what a Daddy Longlegs is as well as the Blues music genera. Mike Ornstein does an incredible job tieing the two things together.

Want to add a copy of The Daddy Longlegs Blues to your personal library? Visit If you’re looking for other great book recommendations for your kids, you can read past Write a Review Wednesday posts.

Write a Review Wednesday: The Nutcracker

Welcome to another Write a Review Wednesday, a meme started by Tara Lazar as a way to show support to authors of kids literature. Last time I looked at Chronicle Books cute Christmas story Christmas with Rita and Whatsit written by Jean-Philippe Arrou-Vignod and illustrated by Olivier Tallec. This week I have Sterling Publishing’s classic Christmas tale The Nutcracker, adapted by John Cech and illustrated by Eric Puybaret. I have to thank Derry at Sterling Kids for my review copy.


John Cech based his wonderful adaptation on the original story by E.T.A. Hoffman. As a family we’ve never seen the Nutcraker ballet but we are familiar with the overall story. I was worried at first that my three-year old daughter would loose interest as the story does have a large number of word pages. But I think Eric Puybaret’s magical illstrations entranced her. As I read, she stared in wonderment at the story, picking out elements, like the Mouse King with seven heads or the Fairies floating down form the sky. The illustrations filled the page with colour.

My oldest daughter loved the story; she loved the relationship between the Nutcracker and the little girl. She especially loved the end where the girl and Nutcracker prince meet. She actually let out a sigh, they type you let out when you see something beautiful. She loved the love story. I enjoyed the background on the Nutcracker, how he came into being.

The Nutcracker is a classic Christmas tale and this edition from Sterling Publishing is a beautiful edition, one you should add to your Christmas collection.

You can add The Nutcracker to your personal library from If you are interested in other great books for kids, read through the other Write a Review Wednesday posts.

Write a Review Wednesday: The Great Reindeer Rebellion

Welcome to another Write a Review Wednesday, a meme started by Tara Lazar as a way to show support to authors of kids literature. Last week I looked at a great new picture book for preschoolers, Meeow and the Big Box (age 2-4 ) fromSterling Children’s Books and written/illustrated by Sebastien Braun. With December just around the corner, I can’t help but get into the Christmas spirit all ready. And it’s easy with The Great Reindeer Rebellion (4-8), a funny Christmas rhyme written by Lisa Trumbauer and illustrated by Jannie Ho. Thank you Derry from Sterling Publishing for my review copy.


‘Twas the week before Christmas,
and somewhere up north,
dear Santa was frantic –
he paced back and forth.

He had just heard some news
that he sure didn’t like:
It seemed that the reindeer
were going on strike.

Following the same rhythm as The Night Before Christmas story, Lisa Trumbauer spins a laugh out loud tale about Santa’s trials and tribulations on finding a new sleigh team. How hard could it be to find eight animals to help Santa and save Christmas. Not hard it turns out. Cats and dogs, flamingos and kangaroos, even elephants all offer their services to Santa; eager to pull the sleigh on that one magical night.

But Santa and the animals soon discover that not everyone is cut out to pull the sleigh. Fresh baked cookies, mice and even the Christmas presents seem to cause problems for sleigh team after sleigh team. It’s not until the reindeer offer a solution that everything back on track.

The first thing I noticed with this book is the page stock. Unlike most picture books, the pages are stiff cardboard making it easy for even younger readers (or lookers) to enjoy without much fear of page ripping. Although The Great Reindeer Rebellion isn’t a touch-and-feel book, some of the images are embossed adding a nice dimension to the pages.

Reindeer on strike!

Reindeer on strike!

All three of my kids loved this story. The familiar rhyme drew them right in. The pages are layed out in such a way that the kids enjoyed guessing what mess the new sleigh team fell into. The placement of the text also added to the lyrical feel of the whole story; it weaves wonderfully through the pages. Jannie Ho’s illustrations are bright and fun, adding to the feel of the whole story as they fill the page. She did a wonderful job carrying the reader from one sleigh incident to another. The kids loved seeing the background images of the flamingos with bandages in the background as the next sleight team made their attempt.

The Great Reindeer Rebellion is delightful Christmas story. When we were done reading, my kids went on at great lengths discussing and debating other animals that could pull Santa’s sleigh and if they’d be successful or not.

The Great Reindeer Rebellion will certainly have a spot on our holiday book shelf. You can add a copy to your personal library from If you’re looking for other great book suggestions, read some the past Write a Review Wednesday posts.

Write a Review Wednesday: Meeow and the Big Box

Welcome to another Write a Review Wednesday, a meme started by Tara Lazar as a way to show support to authors of kids literature. Last week I ventured into the realm of non-fiction with Enslow Publishers’ Adding with Sebastian Pig and Friends At the Circus (age 6 to 9), written by Jill Anderson and illustrated by Amy Huntington. This week is about the younger set. Meeow and the Big Box (age 2-4 ) is a fun book from Sterling Children’s Books and written/illustrated by Sebastien Braun. Thank you Derry from Sterling Publishing for my review copy.


Meeow is a black cat. Meeow likes the colour red. Meeow likes to make things. What will Meeow make with red paint, a big box, an orange chair and a blue mug. Clever Meeow!

My kids love cats so they fell in love with Meeow even before we opened the book. My youngest loved the velvety feel of Meeow on the front cover of the book also; to her Meeow felt fuzzy like a real cat. The story of Meeow taking simple household elements like a brown box, a blue mug and an orange chair and using imagination to convert them into something fun, is something all kids do and can relate to. The type is big, clear and uncluttered making it easy to read. The dialog is like the a conversation the parent may have with a child, simple yet descriptive. Each step Meeow takes is described. Primary colours are used in the simple illustrations and in describing the elements Meeow uses; instead of just a chair it’s an orange chair.

I could see my two-year old trying to figure out what Meeow was trying to build. With each page turn a little more was revealed. The way the pages are layed out, the dialog encourages kids to think and guess what Meeow could be making before it’s revealed at the very end. And I love how the last page illustrates what Meeow sees the actual creation to be.

While reading Meeow and the Big Box my kids made guesses like a rocket ship or a car or a house. I love the simplicity of this story and the warm, fun, child-like nature of Meeow, but the best part of the story to me was when we finished reading. The book done, my kids went away and started making their own in home creations out of chairs and pillows and blankets. A book that impresses upon kids beyond the reading experience has to be one worth adding to your own personal library.

What is Meeow making?

You can also read the review on Meeow and the Little Chairs.

To add Meeow and the Big Box to your own personal library, visit For other book suggestions checkout the past Write a Review Wednesday posts.

Write a Review Wednesday: The Scariest Monster in the World

Welcome to another Write a Review Wednesday, a meme started by Tara Lazar as a way to show support to authors of kids literature. Last week I wrote a review on the wonderful Halloween rhyming story Over in the Hollow, written by Rebecca Dickson and illustrated by S.britt (published by Chronicle Books). With this being the last Wednesday before Halloween, I’m still thinking about great monster stories. This week have the cute story The Scariest Monster in the World (age 3-6) by Lee Weatherly and Algy Craig Hall (published by Boxer Books, an imprint of Sterling Kids Publishing). I have to thank my friend Derry at Sterling Kids Publishing for my review copy.


scariestcoverOnce there was a very scary monster. All the animals in the world ran whenever they saw him coming. That is until the monster was hit with something terrible: hiccups! Now he needed the animals to help him. The very scary monster tried everything the animals suggested, but nothing worked. The only thing the animals thought would cure the monster’s hiccups was to scare them out. But what could scare the scariest monster in the world?

The Scariest Monster in the World is a not-so-scary monster story. The image of him on the front cover sort of gives that away. The tricks the monster goes through to try and rid himself of the dreaded hiccups made the kids giggle. What ended up curing the monster’s hiccups was a great surprise.

I loved how some words were given emphasis by showing the text large like an image. When reading I couldn’t help but make the sounds associated with these words; the large type invited me to create the sound effects. After the monster cures his hiccups, you would expect the story to end, you would expect the monster to go back to being the scariest monster in the world, but he doesn’t want to scare his new friends anymore. Not only do the animals help the monster with his hiccups, they help him to be a friend.

My kids love monster stories. This is a wonderful monster story that even my two-year old can enjoy without any scary thoughts. This is a wonderful tale of discovering friendship. I love that it shows someone who spends their life being mean can change and be accepted by others, by new friends. This is a great lesson of acceptance that all kids will enjoy.


The scariest monster in the world isn't so scary with hiccups

If you want to add The Scariest Monster in the World to your personal library, visit You can discover other great books by reading past Write a Review Wednesday posts.