A Modern Day Fairy Tale

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Stuff Your Stocking with Tilbury House Children's Books {+ A Prize Pack Giveaway}

**Books received for consideration. Post contains affiliate links. All thoughts are 100% my own. 

Toys may get all the glory when it comes to gifts during the holiday, but when I must admit that I remember few of the toys I received... but the books? Now those I remember.

When we find in love with a good book it has a way of sticking with us many years, long after those fancy toys have become old and tired. I was always asking for one book or another. My kids are the same way, thankfully, and I love encouraging that.

Today, I wanted to share with three fantastic books perfect for holiday gifting:

If da Vinci Painted a Dinosaur by Amy Newbold and illustrated by Greg Newbold (ISBN: 978-0884486671; Ages 6-9; 40 pages; Hardcover $17.95): In this sequel to the tour de force children's art-history picture book If Picasso Painted a Snowman, Amy Newbold conveys nineteen artists' styles in a few deft words, while Greg Newbold's chameleon-like artistry shows us Edgar Degas' dinosaur ballerinas, Cassius Coolidge's dinosaurs playing Go Fish, Hokusai's dinosaurs surfing a giant wave, and dinosaurs smelling flowers in Mary Cassatt's garden; grazing in Grandma Moses' green valley; peeking around Diego Rivera's lilies; tiptoeing through Baishi's inky bamboo; and cavorting, stampeding, or hiding in canvases by Henri Matisse, Andy Warhol, Frida Kahlo, Franz Marc, Harrison Begay, Alma Thomas, Aaron Douglas, Mark Rothko, Lois Mailou Jones, Marguerite Zorach, and Edvard Munch. And, of course, striking a Mona Lisa pose for Leonardo da Vinci.
As in If Picasso Painted a Snowman, our guide for this tour is an engaging hamster who is joined in the final pages by a tiny dino artist. Thumbnail biographies of the artists identify their iconic works, completing this tour of the creative imagination. Color throughout.

Now, I must admit that I had never heard of the previous book, 'If Picasso Painted a Snowman' before receiving this book... but while it might be the sequel, each book certainly stands on its own. And they do so beautifully. With each turn of the page, we see famous painting by timeless artists, re-imagined as dinosaurs. Dino Lisa!? Yes, please! First and foremost, is there any child that doesn't love dinosaurs? I know both of my children do, as did I as a child. By taking that subject that is already loved, it becomes a great way to introduce kids to these artists and paintings in a way that is fun for them. It truly was a book that we could very much enjoy together as a family.

While the dinosaur remakes are fun, in the end it gives us a look at the real painting and the artist, so it is quite the educational experience as well. We cannot get enough of this clever book. While this may be suggested for ages 6-9, I think this will be one that any child with an interest in art and/or dinosaurs can find joy in. I certainly did, as did my 11 year old.

Mother Earth’s Lullaby by Terry Pierce and illustrated by Carol Heyer (ISBN: 978-0884485575; Ages 4-7; 36 pages; Hardcover $17.95): When Mother Earth bids goodnight, / the world is bathed in silver light. / She says, “Goodnight, my precious ones.” / Nature’s song has just begun.  
Mother Earth’s Lullaby is a gentle bedtime call to some of the world’s most endangered animals. Rhythm, rhyme, and repetition create a quiet moment for children burrowing down in their own beds for the night, imparting a sense that even the most endangered animals feel safe at this peaceful time of day. In successive spreads, a baby giant panda, yellow-footed rock wallaby, California condor, Ariel toucan, American red wolf, Sumatran tiger, polar bear, Javan rhinoceros, Vaquita dolphin, Northern spotted owl, Hawaiian goose, and Key deer are snuggled to sleep by attentive parents in their dens and nests under the moon and stars.
Brief descriptions of each animal appear in the back of the book. Color throughout.

Mother Earth's Lullaby is such a beautiful, peaceful bedtime story. With it's beautiful rhymes, it certainly did have that lullaby affect. Isn't that just what a great bedtime story should do? More than that though, I loved looking at the images on each page. Each featured a beautiful illustration of mother and child, with endangered animals. My kids happen to love animals, so they too could not get enough. It truly was a great book to end each day.

Still, much like the art book, this one isn't just a cute story. In the end we are given more information about each animal featured within the pages. You may not find that you'll read through them all at bedtime, but it can be a fantastic way to foster an interest in animals and learning! We loved it, and have found it's become a regular in our bedtime story rotation.

How Nature Works: Don’t Mess With Me: The Strange Lives of Venomous Sea Creatures by Paul Erickson and photographs by Andrew Martinez (ISBN ; Ages; pages ; Hardcover $17.95): The role of venoms in nature … and in human medicine.
Why are toxins so advantageous to their possessors as to evolve over and over again? What is it about watery environments that favors so many venomous creatures? Marine biologist Paul Erickson explores these and other questions with astounding images from Andrew Martinez and other top underwater photographers.
GREAT for teaching STEM Marine Biology.
Scorpions and brown recluse spiders are fine as far as they go, but if you want daily contact with venomous creatures, the ocean is the place to be. Blue-ringed octopi, stony corals, sea jellies, stonefish, lionfish, poison-fanged blennies, stingrays, cone snails, blind remipedes, fire urchins―you can choose your poison in the ocean. Venoms are often but not always defensive weapons. The banded sea krait, an aquatic snake, wriggles into undersea caves to prey on vicious moray eels, killing them with one of the world’s most deadly neurotoxins, which it injects through fangs that resemble hypodermic needles. The Komodo dragon, an ocean-going reptile, tears into a water buffalo with its blade-like teeth, then secretes a deadly toxin into the open wounds.

Looking for something a little bit different for your more experienced reader? This might be just the thing! Don't Mess With Me takes a look at some sea creatures that... well, you wouldn't want to mess with. This is a bit of a longer read, packed full of facts and pictures that kids will love taking in. It's certainly not likely to be your little one's bedtime must read. But it's still going to be one they love!

I found in our house, my 11 year old much preferred this over the other two... and much more so than my daughter did. He loves learning about animals in general, but these scarier creatures were particularly interesting for him to learn about. Likewise, I enjoyed reading through it myself. It's very informative, but also very captivating too with the stunning images throughout.

Whether your child loves art, cute and cuddly animals, or all things creepy, crawly... these books have everyone on your list covered with something just for them! You can purchase all of these books at your favorite book retailers just in time for Christmas gifting.

See these titles and more from Tilbury House at the links below:

And one very lucky reader is going to win a prize pack featuring all three books AND 'If Picasso Painted a Snowman'! Enter using the giveaway form below:


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