Exploring education through books, travel, and adventure

Recent Posts

Improve Cursive with Evan-Moor’s Daily Handwriting Practice

Improve Cursive with Evan-Moor’s Daily Handwriting Practice

I am a big fan of cursive writing! I started both of my girls with cursive writing right around third grade and they love it! This year my son will be in third and he can’t wait to start learning cursive. I wanted to have […]

Malamander – A Must-Read New Middle-Grade Book

Malamander – A Must-Read New Middle-Grade Book

“If the impossible is possible anywhere, it’ll be possible in Eerie-on-Sea” Welcome to the sleepy beach town of Eerie-on-Sea. It is winter, and everything is different during the winter. You see, legend has it that a monstrous creature called the Malamander prowls the shore of […]

Circus Mirandus is 100% Pure Magic

Circus Mirandus is 100% Pure Magic

Circus Mirandus is 100% pure magic from beginning to end. I finished the book in two days and could not put it down. Cassie Beasley beautifully weaves a story full of magic and heart with a little mystery tied in! I can’t wait to re-read this with my kids because I know that they will absolutely adore it.

Welcome to Circus Mirandus

Micah lives with his Grandpa Ephraim and they are two peas in a pod. Micah has grown up hearing his Grandpa’s stories of Circus Mirandus, a magical circus that he visited when he was a child. Sadly, Grandpa Ephraim is dying, and Great Aunt Gertrudis has come to help take care of Micah. She is a mean and cranky woman who despises Grandpa’s stories of the circus. Micah can’t envision a world without Grandpa Ephraim in it. One day, Grandpa Ephraim confides in Micah, Circus Mirandus is real. Not only is Circus Mirandus real, but The Lightbender, a brilliant magician, owes Grandpa a miracle. Micah sets out on a quest with his new friend Jenny to track down The Lightbender and get him to save Grandpa’s life. Will The Lightbender be able to help? Will he give Grandpa Ephraim his miracle?

My Thoughts

As you may have already guessed, I LOVED this book. There are so many factors that combined together to make this an incredible read. The biggest factor for me was the magic. Author Cassie Beasley created a perfectly magical world that is Circus Mirandus. A perfect blend of possible and impossible! She writes with such beautiful detail that you feel like you are experiencing Circus Mirandus for the first time right along with Micah…and it is pure magic indeed!

Next up would be the fantastic cast of characters. There are characters that I fell in love with, characters that made me laugh, and characters that I really couldn’t stand…I’m looking at you Great Aunt Gertrudis. Also, the relationships between the characters was incredible. Micah and his Grandpa have such a beautiful and special relationship that it hurt my heart to see them both suffering so. I am so eager to see how the relationship between Micah and The Lightbender will blossom…so excited for the sequel!

The last piece for me that made this such a memorable read would be the adventure and mystery. There were so many unexpected twists and turns! Just when you thought you had something figured out, you realize that there is so much more to the story! It was a non-stop page-turner for me.

This is a book that I am going to remember for a long time. The sequel is sitting on my table waiting for me to get home from vacation and I can’t wait. I was so sad when I reached the end of the book…not because I didn’t like the ending, but because I so desperately didn’t want to say goodbye to Circus Mirandus. I am so looking forward to the next installment!

My kids are going to absolutely love Circus Mirandus and I can’t wait to share this magical world with them. I think it will be even more special to share this as a read aloud with them! The second book, The Bootlace Magician will be released on October 1st, 2019!

To order your own copy of Circus Mirandus, click here.

At The Mountain’s Base: A Beautifully Woven Story of Family, Love, and Bravery

At The Mountain’s Base: A Beautifully Woven Story of Family, Love, and Bravery

At The Mountain’s Base is an absolutely breathtaking new picture book that celebrates love, bravery, and the unwavering support that family provides. This is a gorgeously illustrated poem that would make an incredible addition to a study on Native Americans or World War 2. At […]

All The Impossible Things- A Must-Read New Middle Grade Novel

All The Impossible Things- A Must-Read New Middle Grade Novel

  Some books have a way of simultaneously breaking your heart and making it swell. All The Impossible Things was a gut-wrenchingly beautiful story that captured my heart and attention.  I hope that my words can do this book justice because it is just so […]

The Curse of the Werepenguin Review and Craft!

The Curse of the Werepenguin Review and Craft!

The Curse of the Werepenguin

Bolt Wattle is an orphan. He has spent most of his life at Having spent most of his life at the Oak Wilt Home for Unwanted Boys, all Bolt wants is to find his real family. One day Bolt learns that he has been adopted by a Baron! Baron Chordata lives in far off Brugaria and has sent for Bolt! Could this be the long lost family Bolt has been dreaming of? Nope. Not likely. When Bolt arrives in Brugaria he learns that the Baron is a short-tempered, tuxedo-wearing, 12-year-old BOY! Not quite what Bolt had hoped for. Things are about to get much worse, however. Bolt learns that the Baron isn’t your average 12-year-old in a tuxedo…he is a werepenguin. Yep…it’s a thing. To make matters even worse…the Baron bites Bolt and turns him into a werepenguin too. Half boy…half penguin…all the way scary! Bolt is determined to reverse this curse…but how can he do this alone? Maybe he doesn’t have to! Maybe, with the help of a rather zany cast of characters (a girl bandit, a crazy fortune teller, and a french-bread-wielding leader of a whale cult…told you they were zany) Bolt can reverse the curse and prevent the Baron from taking over Brugaria!

Our Thoughts

Have you ever read a book and immediately wished you could peek inside the authors head and see HOW the book came to be? In a non-invasive way of course! This was such a creative, zany, weird, and hysterical book that I am certain could only come from the most creative of minds.

I read this book to my 3 kiddos and it had us laughing out loud. Author Allan Woodrow wove humor throughout the majority of the pages! We especially enjoyed the jokes that traveled the length of the story, such as what happens when someone says Baron Chordata’s name…cue the screaming and fainting. The characters were all so zany and interesting…we especially enjoyed the “lowly” housekeeper and the french bread wielding leader of the whale cult…not to mention Blazenda, the cackling fortune-teller (See, I bet you want to peek inside his mind now, don’t you?) This was such an off-the-wall, fun read that left us craving fish sticks…;)

Let’s Get Crafty

One of our favorite things to do after we finish a book is to come up with some form of art project or craft project. We were inspired by the cover of the book and decided to make our own werepenguins. Being the crafty folks that we are, we decided that we would bust out our needle-felting supplies and create our very own crazy eyebrowed werepenguins. The little needle-felted penguins started out so cute…all fuzzy and black and white and harmless. However, once you add little red eyeballs, scraggly eyebrows, and scary horns…you end up with a pretty evil looking werepenguin…mission accomplished I suppose! My son flat out refused to make his evil, so we have 3 evil penguins and 1 cute fuzzy penguin. He couldn’t be swayed. It was such a fun project and we were super excited with how they turned out! For those of you who are crafty readers, we just used a simple needle felting kit, wool roving, and a styrofoam egg from the floral section at the craft store. Side note, the egg shape makes the perfect wobbly little penguin and doesn’t use as much wool!

werepenguin book and craft


Allan Woodrow is the author of many books including The Pet WarClass DismissedUnschooled, Field Tripped, and now, inspired by Dracula, old werewolf movies, Young Frankenstein, and an odd affection for fish sticks, The Curse of the Werepenguin. When Allan isn’t writing, or noshing on breading-coated seafood, he’s often presenting to schools, libraries, and conferences. You can learn more about Allan at allanwoodrow.com


If you are looking for a fun, funny, wildly absurd, and out of the ordinary read, then I absolutely suggest you give The Curse of the Werepenguin a try!

The Curse of the Werepenguin released on August 13th, 2019 and is published by Penguin Random House (the irony is not lost on me). You can grab a copy here.

Thank you so much for Penguin Random House for providing me with an Advanced Copy of this book for review. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own!


Evan-Moor How to Teach Art to Children Review

Evan-Moor How to Teach Art to Children Review

How to Teach Art to Children is another incredible resource from Evan-Moor! I am consistently so impressed by the quality of the educational resources that Evan-Moor produces, and this book is no exception! If you are a homeschooler or a parent that is looking for […]

2 Must-Have Books Arriving This Fall!

2 Must-Have Books Arriving This Fall!

I am always on the lookout for amazing new resource books to add to our homeschool library. I was thrilled when Quarto Kids sent me 2 samples of new books they have coming out this fall. They are incredible!!! Quarto consistently knocks it out of […]

My Most Anticipated August New Releases!

My Most Anticipated August New Releases!

I have a new hobby. You might even call it a sport. It takes great skill, determination, and endurance…I stalk Amazon for upcoming new book releases. Oh, it’s a thing. So, instead of just stalking alone and creating beautifully long wishlists, I have decided to share with you guys! Every month I am going to share my most anticipated new releases for the following month! There are so many amazing titles coming up for the fall…like really, really good. It wouldn’t be fair to keep all of the goodness to myself…so let’s see what is heading our way for August!

August New Releases

August is just the tip of the iceberg for new releases. September and October might even be more delicious. So, this list will be comprised mostly of picture books and several non-fiction resources that we desperately want to add to our collection. I will hopefully have a post put together soon with some Middle-Grade books we are anxiously awaiting!

Manhattan: Mapping The Story Of An Island

This looks like a gorgeous book. The combination of history and picture books is irresistible to me! I can’t get enough. There is something about the way history is presented in a picture book that just makes it so captivating and accessible. Manhattan: Mapping the Story of an Island is full of history, timelines, and stories of what made it the place it is today! Definitely adding this to our collection! Manhattan is due to arrive on August 6th.


You Are My Friend: The Story Of Mister Rogers And His Neighborhood

I grew up watching Mr. Rogers Neighborhood on our local PBS station. He was the sweetest man who always shared such a wonderful message. You are my Friend: The Story of Mister Rogers and his Neighborhood is the story of Fred Rogers long before the world knew him as Mr.Rogers. He struggled to make friends as a child and was often sick, but he pushed past everything to share a message of kindness and compassion. As a picture book biography addict, I have to say I am so excited to see this book! I think it will be another great one! You Are My Friend releases on August 6th.


Mary Blair’s Unique Flair: The Girl Who Became One Of The Disney Legends

Disney lovers, you’d better hold on to your Dole Whips because this one is going to be fantastic. Mary Blair’s Unique Flair is a biographical picture book all about the life of Mary Blair who is extremely well known for her work as an artist, animator, and designer for Disney! Mary worked on such films as Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, and Cinderella…and if you have ever ridden It’s a Small World…that is the work of Mary! To say I am excited about this book would be an understatement. Biographical picture books are my VERY favorite books…and when you add in some Disney…yep…excited! You can find Mary Blair’s Unique Flair on August 13th…or pre-order like I did!


Miep And The Most Famous Diary: The Woman Who Rescued Anne Frank’s Diary

Another amazing biographical picture book coming your way. This is the story of Miep Gies. While we have all heard the story of Anne Frank, not many have heard of Miep Gies…I know I hadn’t. Miep is the woman who sheltered Anne and her family for many years…and is one of the only reasons why we have heard Anne’s story. I am so excited to read this book. Books like this are why biographical picture books are so amazing…they introduce you to so many amazing people. I already know I will love this one! This lovely book arrives on August 15th.

A Taste Of The World: What People Eat And How They Celebrate Around The Globe

Well, this book just ties in perfectly to our around the world unit that begins in the fall. We are planning to travel the globe and learn all about other countries…including food and celebrations! This is going to be such an incredible addition! My kids love learning about other countries and cultures and especially love cooking and eating new foods! I have seen snippets of the inside of this book and it is absolutely gorgeous! I have pre-ordered this as well! (Man I hope my husband doesn’t read my blog…) A Taste of the World arrives in the US on August 15th.


Dancing Hands: How Theresa Carreno Played The Piano For President Lincoln

I hope you aren’t tired of picture book biography recommendations because here comes another one. They have introduced me to SO many amazing people I have never heard of. Dancing Hands: How Theresa Carreno Played The Piano For President Lincoln is the story of Theresa Carreno who was a child prodigy piano player. She lived and breathed piano and often wrote her own songs. Theresa and her family had to leave their native Venezuela because of the revolution and ended up coming to the United States. They arrived at a place that was so strange and unfamiliar and where no one spoke Spanish. They also arrived in the middle of the Civil War. Theresa never stopped playing though and was eventually asked by President Lincoln himself to come and play at the White House! I cannot wait to get my hands on this book. It sounds like an incredible story and the illustrations are absolutely gorgeous! Dancing Hands arrives on August 27th.

There are so many more books arriving in August, but for now, I just wanted to share my tip-top favorites! What are your most anticipated reads for August?


Out of this World Books for your Astronomy Unit!

Out of this World Books for your Astronomy Unit!

We are just at the beginning of our astronomy and space unit! The kids have been looking forward to this unit for months! I have spent so much time collecting resources, books, supplies, and organizing activities and I can’t wait to share it all with […]