Big Tractors with Casey & Friends (giveaway ends 5/30/15)


A Year on the Farm-cover

Most young children are fascinated by vehicles. It’s not just a “boy thing.” Growing up I was really into trucks and cards. I LOVED my Tonka trucks back in the day when they were made out of metal.

I still remember when my kids were little. They were fascinated by things like firetrucks, Police cars, tractor trailers and farm equipment.

There is a new book available that many little boys (and girls!) might find interesting and fun. It’s called Big Tractors with Casey & Friends. It’s new from Octane Press. In fact, there are several Casey & Friends books worth noting. They offer readers a glimpse into farm life as well as machines used in modern agriculture.

Octane Press produces high-quality narrative and illustrated books for discerning enthusiast audiences. Some of the company’s best-known titles include Red Tractors 1958–2013: The Authoritative Guide to IH and Case IH Tractors and Beast: The Top Secret Ilmor-Penske Engine that Shocked the Racing World at the Indy 500. Octane Press has won several book awards, including IBPA Benjamin Franklin awards (Red Tractors 1958–2013, Forward, Adventurous Motorcyclist’s Guide to Alaska) and Independent Publisher Awards (In the Red, Red Tractors 1958–2013).

Big Tractors with Casey & Friends (ages 4-8) teaches readers about the various pieces of farm equipment and how they work, including interesting farming facts and so much more. Readers will also learn about the iconic red CASE IH tractor.

I’m an adult and I found the book interesting. I even learned a few things and I grew up around farms.

Casey & Friends is written by a “seasoned” educator and national curriculum writer Holly Dufek. Together with Cars artist Paul Nunn they are teaching children (and their parents) about the various types of farm equipment that is used to bring food to the table.

Most people don’t know just how much work is involved to harvest the foods that we eat on a daily basis. There is a lot of labor involved including heavy machinery.

casey fall

Here is some more information about the books series.

Meet “Casey & Friends.”
Written by Holly Dufek, Illustrated by Paul E. Nunn | Published by Octane Press
Ages 4-8 | 32 pages | 9×9-inch hardcover | $14.99 each

Follow Casey the farmer, Tillus the worm, Big Red the tractor, and a whole cast of cartoon equipment characters who teach important life lessons gleaned from the farm, like thinking ahead and working as a team. Each title is licensed by CASE IH and highlights a different aspect of farm equipment and technology with educational sidebars, picture glossaries and fun farming facts for added learning possibilities.

A Year on the Farm with Casey & Friends (Jan. 2015) introduces children to the world of modern farming by teaching them about the different jobs a farmer does each season. Casey and her team show how tractors, combines and other equipment: plant and harvest crops, work in the farmyard, and care for animals. Learn how farming involves planning for the year, reacting to the weather, and working as a team.

Big Tractors with Casey & Friends (Apr. 2015) shows how the biggest, most powerful tractors handle the demanding jobs of pulling and powering on the farm. Find out how Big Red and Sammy – the biggest tractors on the farm – use their powerful muscles to work in the field with the rest of the team. Learn about the science of farming and discover how advanced technology makes Big Red and Sammy special.

big red left facing

Combineswith Casey & Friends (June 2015) explains the step-by-step processes used to harvest crops by the most complex machines on the farm. Follow Cody and Kellie—the combines of Happy Skies Farm—as they do the work of three machines: gathering, separating, and unloading grain and corn.

Planters & Cultivators with Casey & Friends (Sept. 2015) features the specialized farm equipment used to cultivate, plant and spray crops. Learn how Tammi the Tiller, Evan the Early Riser Planter and Peter the Patriot Sprayer work together to make this year’s crop bigger than ever. Explore the science of soil and discover how Casey’s team keeps it healthy.

“Know a kid or two who thinks corn comes from the grocery’s freezer section? Put ‘em on track with A Year on the Farm with Casey & Friends….Plenty of detail combined with lots of color photos and illustrations makes this an engaging read for kids ages 4-8. A fun (and educational) read for kids and their grandparents!”

—Leslie McManus, Farm Collector Magazine

We have the book Big Tractors with Casey & Friends. I have since donated it to our classroom for other children to enjoy.

Look for these books where ever books are sold.

For more information about Octane Press visit OctanePress.com. You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter.


CASEIH Tractor Toy

I have a copy of this book, as well as CASE IH Magnum 370 CVT Tractor Toy (1:64 scale – MSRP $8.50 – ages 3+) to give to a lucky reader. 

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and will end on May 30, 2015 at 11:59 PM (EST). The winner will be chosen at random using a random number generator. The winner will be notified via email. The winner has three days to respond or a new winner will be chosen in their place.

To enter please comment on this post and tell me why you would like to win this prize package?

For extra entries you can use the Rafflecopter widget (below) but you MUST complete the initial entry requirement or the extra entries won’t qualify (I do check). Extra entries are optional.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


*I received a free sample in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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New products from Kohl’s Cares



Are you familiar with Kohl’s Cares? Kohl’s Cares is a special charity from the retail giant that helps to support children’s health and educational programs across the country. 100% of the proceeds from the sale of Kohl’s Cares products goes towards these programs. Since the year 2000, Kohl’s Cares has raised a whopping $257 million dollars. That is amazing.

Kohl’s Cares offers wonderful products for both children and adults. Every Kohl’s Cares products sells for $5.00. And let me tell you from personal experience, the products are worth much more than that. Some people might assume the products are cheaply made for such a low selling point. That is not the case at all. Take their plush animals for example. They are just as well made as the $25+ plush you find in specialty stores. Unlike those plush 100% of the sale of the Kohl’s Cares plush goes towards children’s charities.

I personally enjoy the products offered through Kohl’s Cares. They do offer “grown up” things like cookbooks (which I love), but mostly it’s books and plush animals. Often the plush and the books match up. For example, last time around Kohl’s Cares offered a plush “Dough/Dug” (don’t remember how it’s spelled) from the film Up. In addition they also offered an Up book.


I’m a bit kid at heart so I often purchase the books and matching plush – I can’t have one without the other. LOL! Some I keep for myself. I display them on my bookcases and I rotate them a few times per year. Others I hold on to as a set to give as a gift. It’s always a great idea to have gifts on hand and I like offering the little kids in my life the plush/book combo. It makes a wonderful and appreciated gift plus it only costs you $10 ($5 each). How often can you find a quality gift at that price point?

I also donate some of the plush and books to my place of employment. The kids love them and it makes me smile when I see them enjoying them.

Kohl’s Cares offers new products for a limited time (until supply lasts) every few months. I make sure to bookmark their site and check in every few weeks to see if they have new products available. I don’t want to miss out on anything.

Kohl’s Cares is currently offering some of these delightful products. REMEMBER each product is $5 – they do not come as a set.

Bear Elephant Turtle Whale

Kohl’s Cares was kind enough to send me the Bear and book set, as well as the Turtle and book set. I love the plush and books so much that I went out and purchased the Elephant and Whale plush, as well as their matching books.

These are not mini-plush animals. They are full size (regular plush size) – ideal for hugging and snuggling up with at night.

I love the books! Not only are the stories delightful (perfect for bed time), the illustrations are beautiful too. They are quick reads with only a few words or a single sentence on most pages. These books would be great for early readers too.

If any of these interest you I would recommend you visit your local Kohl’s soon, or shop online. Once they are sold out there will be no more.

Kohls Cares Spring 2015

Make sure to check Kohl’s often, or visit their online site, to see what new Kohl’s Cares products are available. They change throughout the year.

Look for the Kohl’s Cares products near the check out lanes. They are usually on prominent display. Remember, 100% of the proceeds goes towards children’s health and educational charities.

To find a location near you (or order online) visit Kohls.com. To find the Kohl’s Cares products do a product search for Kohl’s Cares. You can also find Kohl’s on all the social media channels (links are found at the bottom of their website).

Have you ever purchased, or received, any Kohl’s Cares products? Would you consider buying them as a gift for someone special? Feel free to share your thoughts.



*I received some free product samples. I also purchased some one my own. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Gabby Duran and the Unsittables

Gabby Duran

I have always encouraged my children to read. I am all for literacy. Even where I work we promote literacy and give out books to all the kids we see when ever we can. We also like to read to the children whenever possible.

I love books that are truly creative and encourage a child to use their imagination.

There is a book that will soon be released (May 12, 2015) that your child might be interested in. It’s called Gabby “Duran and the Unsittables.” The book is geared toward 8-12 year olds (or grade level 3-7).

The book was written by Elise Allen and Daryle Conners.

We have a copy of the book but I haven’t had the opportunity to read it yet. It sounds like a lot of fun

Case File: The First Unsittable

Summary: The Association Linking Intergalatics and Earthlings (hereby known as A.L.I.E.N.) has a new member. After months of investigation, Gabby Duran, Associate 4118-25125A, has proven herself to be a babysitter extraordinaire. Her celebrity clients fly her around the country to care for their rambunctious little humans. Our spy, Associate 4118-23432B, otherwise known as Edwina, believes Gabby can be trusted with the truth: aliens are living among humans on Earth. And here at A.L.I.E.N we believe that even extraterrestrials need a babysitter now and then. No one was up to the task…until now.

After accepting the top-secret position, Edwina has paired our new associate up with her first charge, a little girl from the planet Flarknartia. The timing for associate 4118-25125A is less than ideal. It’s a school day on Planet Earth, Gabby’s audition for the solo part in the band is tonight, and this tiny alien is a bit more than meets the eye.

Can Gabby Duran, Associate 4118-25125A, First Sitter to the Unsittables, keep her otherworldly charge safe in the unpredictable halls of middle-school and keep A.L.I.E.N hidden?

The book has been touted as “The Babysitters Club” meets Men in Black. I loved that book series and the Men in Black movies so I bet this is a really fun book.

If you would like to learn more about Gabby Duran you can visit the Official Site. You can also follow Disney-Hyperion on Twitter as well as follow Elise Allen & Daryle Conners on Twitter too.

To see what others are saying about the book check out the hashtag #GabbyDuran.

What do you think about this book? Does it sound like something your child or grandchild might like?



*I received a free sample copy and other goodies in exchange for my participation. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own (unless otherwise noted) and not influenced in any way. 

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Happy Anniversary Fancy Nancy, Disney Junior’s new animated series


Fancy Nancy Anniversary Book

Are you familiar with the New York Times best selling book series, Fancy Nancy? I have heard of Fancy Nancy before but I have to admit that until now I have never read any of the books. My kids are teenagers and the book series came out after they grew up. In fact, Fancy Nancy is celebrating it’s 10th Anniversary this year. Happy Anniversary Fancy Nancy!

To celebrate this wonderful milestone, HarperCollins is releasing several delightful Fancy Nancy books including easy readers and activity books. They even published a beautiful anniversary book that comes with a hardcover and dust jacket accented with just the right amount of sparkle.

There are A LOT of fun Fancy Nancy books to choose from.


HarperCollins was kind enough to send me a few books which I brought to the classroom where I work. I am keeping some of the books as classroom editions. A couple of the books I plan to give to some of the children who come to us. My co-worker was so impressed by the beautiful anniversary book that she asked me if she could give it to her neighbor’s daughter who LOVES Fancy Nancy. Of course I said “yes.”

I love the anniversary book but I think my favorite has to be the Fancy Nancy’s Perfectly Pink  Playtime Purse. The book features a handle, like a purse, so that little girls can carry it around. Inside the book is filled with a lot of fun activity pages that are sure to keep you little Fancy Nancy fan occupied and entertained for hours.

Fancy Nancy Purse

If you would like to check out these or other Fancy Nancy titles please visit the official Fancy Nancy website, www.FancyNancyWorld.com.

In addition to information about Fancy Nancy books you can also find free printables, party tips, games and more. Fancy Nancy can also be found on the various social media outlets. All the social media links are found on the bottom right of the Fancy Nancy website.

As if all the delightful new Fancy Nancy books weren’t great enough – the brand also announced that they have teamed up with Disney Junior to develop and animated movie and series for Fancy Nancy.

Fancy Nancy, the New York Times bestselling book series by Jane O’Connor and Robin Preiss Glasser, has been optioned by Disney Junior for development of an original animated TV movie and series, as well as for related role-play items and other consumer products licensed by Disney Consumer Products.  In addition, HarperCollins and Disney Publishing will collaborate on book editions based on the television series.

The stories, geared towards kids age 2-7, have an underlying theme of self-expression and love of family as they follow the adventures of a girl who likes to be fancy in everything from her creative, elaborate attire to her advanced vocabulary.


O’Connor said, “This is definitely one of those ‘pinch me’ moments. When Robin and I met Nancy Kanter and her team, we knew instantly that Disney Junior was the plus-perfect home for Fancy Nancy.

Preiss Glasser said, “After the thrill of seeing my two-dimensional drawings of Nancy and her ‘world’ come alive in spin-off musicals and ballets, the opportunity to see her animated by Disney is a dream I never would have dared to dream!”

Now in its 10th year, “Fancy Nancy” includes over 60 titles, has sold more than 28 million books and has been translated into 20 languages.  Beloved by young children around the world, Fancy Nancy was named 2008’s Book Character of the Year by Global License.  The series has received two Toy Industry Association’s Toy of the Year Award nominations, two LIMA International Licensing Excellence Award nominations and was named the Best Character Brand Program of the Year in 2009.

Even though I didn’t know much about Fancy Nancy until now I am looking forward to checking out her series when it airs on Disney Junior. I bet it will be adorable. I have a feeling that there will be a whole new generation of fans in the near future.

If you would like to learn more about HarperCollins Children’s books please visit  www.HarperCollinsChildrens.com.

Disney Junior’s website is DisneyJunior.com.

Are you familiar with Fancy Nancy? Does your child have a favorite Fancy Nancy book? What do you think about the new series? Feel free to share your thoughts. I always love to hear from readers.



*I received free books samples. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.  

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The Rootlets – a new kind of super heroes



Does your child love vegetables? What about a variety of vegetables?

I’ve always loved vegetables, even as a little girl. I have heard stories from other parents how difficult it can be to get children to eat their vegetables. As a veggie love I couldn’t imagine it being difficult.

When my kids were little I introduced them to a variety of vegetables as soon as I got the “OK” from the pediatrician. Even at a young age my kids were enjoying spinach, broccoli and brussel sprouts. Now that they are teenagers they still enjoy a nice variety of vegetables. In fact my kids prefer raw veggies over cooked (I mostly steam) veggies.

I consider myself lucky that my kids love veggies. I know other parents who are still struggling to get their kids to eat their vegetables, or try new vegetables. Some kids tend to stick to carrots, peas and string beans when there are so many delicious vegetables out there to enjoy.

There is a new book that was just released that aims to show young children just how “cool” vegetables can be. The book is called The Rootlets: Super Rootabilities. It was released last month in honor of March being National Nutrition Month.

The Rootlets: Super Rootabilities was created and written by Vicki Marquez and illustrated by Jeremy Russnak.

The Rootlets are a new generation of superheroes – Brocc, Carrotina, Cornelius and Kaley . They live on Planet Planted and live in a town called VeggieVille. They have a cute dog named Basil and a guardian named Yammy Grammy. Yammy Grammy plucked the superheroes from the ground when they were just little sprouts.

When the Rootlets learn that they might have super abilities – or “rootabilities” – they set out on a wild adventure to find out the truth about themselves.

This is a super cute book aimed towards children ages 4-9. Younger children can enjoy the book with the help of a parent or grandparent to read it to them. The lessons learned in the book about health, friendship and using your imagination is something older kids can appreciate and understand too.

Basil Rootlets


I love the illustrations in the book. Not only are they adorable they are also very colorful. The colors really pop off the pages.

This is a very creative book. The author came up with some fun names for the characters, such as Mr. Fungi (“Fun Guy”) and put a lot of great detail into the story (I like National Plantographic magazine – too funny!).

My kids are too old for this books demographics. I took the book to our classroom but I haven’t had the opportunity to read it to any children as of yet so I cannot provide any feedback on how children enjoy it. After reading it myself I can’t see how a child would not enjoy this fun and colorful adventure.

As a parent I love the messaging behind the story and I appreciate having super heroes that might encourage children to want to try out and enjoy more vegetables.

“The Rootlets are so much more than adorable little superheroes, they’re positive role models with the power to help kids embrace and love veggies,” says Marquez, the book’s author. “It’s my dream that families use The Rootlets as an entertaining resource to get their little ones excited about healthy living and yummy plant-based foods in a refreshingly fun way.”

The book is just the first product launched by the Rootlets brand. Their mission is to introduce children to a whole of fruits and vegetables, as well as the importance of healthy eating. More books are in the works as well as games, toys and even an animated television series. I can see these characters on TV. I think they would have great appeal for children.

In addition The Rootlets are going to be launching a website which will be a fun, interactive experience for children with games and activities as well as learning resources and exclusive content for parents.

“Veggies rock and The Rootlets take veggie coolness to a whole new level – especially for the kiddos. My daughter is a huge fan. Great book, great brand, great message. I can’t wait to see what’s next for these rad little characters,”  says Chad Sarno, Plant-Based Chef Educator.

The book is available for purchase (I have seen it on Amazon) for a suggested retail price of $12.99. The book is 40 pages in length. That might not sound like much but it’s jam packed with a lot of fun and adventure.

If you would like to learn more about The Rootlets brand please visit www.TheRootlets.com. They can also be found on social media.

What do you think about The Rootlets? Do you think it’s a fun way to introduce healthy eating to children?



*I received a free book sample to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

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March is National Reading Month – Get some great tips from Olympic gold skater Kristi Yamaguchi (giveaway ends 3/29/15)


Child Reading

Did you know that March is National Reading Month?

Most people know that reading is necessary for a successful future. It’s important to encourage a love of reading, even at a very young age.

I love reading. I read all the time when I was a child and teenager. I loved reading so much that I kept most of my books from my youth. It was my plan to read my beloved books to my own children some day. I am happy to say that I did read my favorite books to my children. I still have them and plan on reading them to my grandchildren some day too.

I also kept my kid’s favorite books. I hope that one day when they are parents they will read their favorite books to their children too.

According to the US Department of Education, only about half of all young children who are three to five-years old are read to on a daily basis by a family member. That’s sad. I know that people lead very busy lives, but surely they can put aside 10-15 minutes once a day to read a story to their child or children.

It makes me sad when I go places, such as a doctor’s office, and see children as young as 3 years old totally immersed in a game on their parent’s cellphone when they should be reading a book.

Reading to a child

It’s up to parents, grandparents and care givers to help nurture a child’s love for reading. If you start when children are young they typically grow up to be active readers as young adults and adults.

I also took cues from my kids. When they showed interest in a book series or subject I would pick up books that would interest them from the library. In fact we used to make weekly trips to our local library. They used to love to pick out their own books to read.

For their birthday, Christmas and Easter they would get books from Santa and the Easter Bunny. Even the Tooth Fairy would bring them book every time they lost a tooth (and a quarter too).

I always made sure there were (and still are) ample books around for my kids. Even though they are teenagers now I still encourage them to read.

Some of my fondest memories with my children are reading them bedtime stories. I miss those days.

LeapFrog and the Always Dream Foundation have teamed up with Olympic gold skater Kristi Yamaguchi to help promote reading for National Reading Month.

Kristi is not only a mother, she is also a published author. She’s published two adorable children’s books – Dream Big, Little Pig! and It’s a Big World Little Pig! – as well as other books.

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to ask Kristi a few questions about encouraging reading in children and what parents can do to help children read. Kristi answered my questions in this exclusive video (below). I hope you will take a few moments to check out her replies.

I appreciate that Kristi took the time to answer my questions. I also want to thank LeapFrog and the Always Dream Foundation for making this possible.

To encourage families to read together, LeapFrog and the Always Dream Foundation have a special initiative called the 20/20 Challenge.

During the month of March, parents are encouraged to take the pledge to read to their child/children for at least 20 minutes a day, every day. For every pledge LeapFrog receives they will donate 20 LeapFrog readers to Kristi Yamaguchi’s non-profit Always Dream Foundation. The books will be donated to under-served classrooms. Through this campaign the goal is to donate over 350,000 books to children in need.

Please consider being a part of this wonderful #LeapFrogChallenge. To learn more, or to take the pledge, visit www.LeapFrog.com/Challenge. The challenge ends on March 31, 2015 so I hope you will take the challenge right away.

20/20 Pledge

To help encourage you to take the pledge, I have an AUTOGRAPHED copy of a Kristi Yamaguchi book (at this time the title is not known). It’s an actual autographed copy, not a photocopy of an autograph.

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and will end on March 29, 2015 at 11:59 PM (EST). The winner will be chosen at random using a random number generator from all eligible entries. The winner will be notified via e-mail and will have three days to reply or a new winner will be chosen in their place.

To enter please comment on this post and tell me how you help encourage a child to read – OR – what was your favorite book as a child?

For extra entries you can use the Rafflecopter widget (below) but you must complete the initial entry requirement or the additional entries wont’ qualify (I do check). Extra entries are optional.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


*I will received an autographed book in exchange for my participation. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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