Posts Tagged ‘non-fiction’


Come paw to paw with a polar bear and eye to eye with a giant squid in this interactive book that invites readers to compare parts of their bodies with life-size artworks of different animals.

Children can compare their ears with a kangaroo, their teeth with a tiger, their hand with a polar bear, and their tongue with a giraffe! A gallery at the back gives fascinating facts and details about all the animals.

This is a large (12×12) non-fiction picture book for kids 3+. It is full of information and illustrations that will delight any animal lover. The word LIFESIZE indicates that the mentioned animal, or part of an animal, is illustrated true to life size.  

Fun and educational ت

Kane Miller books are books kids love to read. Order online at Kane Miller Publishing’s shopping site Usborne Books & More.

Kane Miller EDC Publishing provided these books to help facilitate the writing of an honest review. A positive review is not guaranteed, and all opinions are my own. No other compensation was received.

Read Full Post »

At Least You’re In Tuscany 

Jennifer Criswell

Gemelli Press 


Kindle Edition, 220 pages

Book Description

When dream meets reality. . . 

Endless fields of flame-like poppies. Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. The sweet, rhythmic chime of church bells. 

Months upon months of unemployment? Struggling to communicate with locals? Duvets frozen on the clothesline? 

Jennifer Criswell’s move from New York City to Tuscany was not supposed to go like this. She had envisioned lazy mornings sipping espresso while penning a best-selling novel and jovial group dinners, just like in the movies and books about expatriate life in Italy. 

Then she met reality: no work, constant struggles with Italian bureaucracy to claim citizenship through her ancestors, and perhaps worst of all, becoming the talk of the town after her torrid affair with a local fruit vendor. 

At Least You’re in Tuscany is the intimate, honest, and often hilarious tale of Jennifer’s first year in Montepulciano. During that time, Jennifer’s internal optimist was forced to work overtime, reminding her that if she were going to be homeless, lonely, and broke, at least she would be all those things–in Tuscany. 

Through all her small-town bumblings, though, Jennifer’s mantra, along with a healthy dose of enthusiasm and willingness to learn about Italian culture, helped her not only build a new, rewarding life in Italy but also find herself along the way.

About the Author

Jennifer Criswell is a lawyer-turned-writer who chucked her legal briefs to pursue her love of writing after a life-changing trip to Italy in 2001. Jennifer lives and writes in a small hill town in Tuscany with her sidekick of a Weimaraner, Cinder.

At Least You’re In Tuscany is a great “get-away” read.  Jennifer’s telling of her first year in Italy was really enjoyable. Having moved a few times – although not out of the country- I can relate to the experience of changing location and lifestyle. A very optimistic book as suggested from the title.

Truth be told, laundry was a nightmare. My washing machine, with the unlikely brand name of Candy, may have sweetly served a mid-century housewife but now was so ancient that all it has left to offer was the dyspeptic sound of water trickling in and out and the vague memory of a more vigorous time. I’d learned I needed to manually spin the inner metal cylinder a few times during the two-hour cycle if I wanted all of the clothes to get wet, and mostly ended up reaching in to hand wash them myself. The process lent new meaning to the word agitation.

Then there was the drying. Prior to my move, my only experience with hanging anything outside to dry was an occasional beach towel flung over a hotel railing on vacation. In my dreams of Tuscany, I imagined this sort of back-to-basics thing would be fun. But let me disabuse anyone of that notion. Wrestling sopping wet duvet covers onto thin wire laundry cords perched outside the was was never, not for one moment, fun. Dangerous? Often. Time consuming? Definitely. Challenging? Yes. But fun? Not so much.

Italian words and sentences are used, sometimes with a translation but other times without. I think it was a nice touch but it could put some readers at a disadvantage as I was a few times.  A glossary would have been a helpful option.

Disclosure of Material Connection: This book was provided, by Gemelli Press through Net Galley, in exchange for an honest opinion. No other compensation was received.

Read Full Post »

This a great book that’s available from Firefly Books

Top 100 Step-by-Step Napkin Folds: More Than 1,000 Photographs

Top 100 Step-by-Step Napkin Folds
More Than 1,000 Photographs

224 pages, 9″ X 11″ X 11/8″

more than 1000 step-by-step color photos, index, entertaining diary

wiro-bound concealed hardcover

Published by Robert Rose Books

A gorgeous table begins with beautiful napkin folds.Knowing how to execute a perfect napkin fold is not a skill everyone has, but it’s one you can easily and quickly teach yourself. Napkin folds bring a touch of elegance, whimsy or retro style to your table. And napkin folds take your table setting to the next level with no added expense — you’re just learning dozens of clever new ways to present something you already have.The 100 folds are divided into easy, intermediate and advanced sections, so you’ll know which ones to start with and how to work your way up. Simpler is often better and often the most formal folds, in fact, tend to be relatively easy. And when you’re using napkins with an elaborate pattern or design, a simple fold may show it off the best.The hundreds of step-by-step photographs, detailed instructions and wide array of ideas will make every event memorable — whether it’s a child’s birthday party or a sophisticated dinner party for grownups. And the concealed wirobound hardcover format with its user-friendly approach makes following instructions a breeze.Like a handwritten thank-you note, napkins folds might be less common than they once were, but they’re always noticed, always appreciated and always in style.
Denise Vivaldo is a seasoned food professional who has catered more than 10,000 parties. She’s the founder of Food Fanatics, a recipe-development, food-styling and catering firm. She’s catered everything from the Academy Awards Governor’s Ball to Hollywood wrap parties. She is the author of Entertaining Encyclopedia.

My review:

November welcomes the holiday entertaining season and Napkin Folds is just the book you’ll need to add some pizzazz to your table.

The book starts with easy folds and continues with intermediate and advance folds. The advanced are really not that tricky. Each fold is numbered and presented in color on both pages. A short paragraph intro tells about the fold, napkin material, and color to use;  written directions and photos follow. The photo steps are shown “to the observer”. This was backward to me and I turned the book upside down while I worked on a fold. My suggestion is that the photo steps be presented from the view “of the person folding”. The book’s spiral binding keeps the book open flat.

 Using a perfectly square napkin is recommended but sadly none of the ones I owned were perfect. I’ll be considering that when I purchase more. The intro is where I learned how the napkin ring originated. “The original intent of monogrammed silver napkin rings was to identify the napkin of each household member so his or her napkin could be reused, avoiding the labor-intensive task of daily laundering.” And the last page of the book contains a reproducible entertaining dairy. I love this book with the many creative folds for a specially prepared table. I would recommend it for use with any home economics curriculum. 

My thanks to Firefly Books for allowing me to review this book. This book was provided in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was received.

Read Full Post »

I’m delighted to share some of the Firefly books with you over the next several months!

What is Firefly Books?Firefly Books Ltd., established in 1977, is a North American publisher of non-fiction and distributor of non-fiction and children’s books. Firefly’s goal is to bring readers beautifully produced books written by experts at reasonable prices.

October book pick:

Pavement Chalk Artist: The Three-Dimensional Drawings of Julian Beever

Pavement Chalk Artist
The Three-Dimensional Drawings of Julian Beever

128 pages, 10 1/4″X 10 1/4″ X 9/16″
more than 85 color photographs

More than just traditional flat drawings, the works Beever creates are uniquely three-dimensional anamorphic drawings. They are drawn in perspective and distorted so the subject can be viewed properly only from one particular viewpoint. For those who are standing in the right place, his chalk drawings invite them to step right into the scene or, in the case of the artist’s well-known Swimming Pool in the High Street, dive right into the water.

Pavement Chalk Artist includes a fabulous selection of Beever’s most intriguing anamorphic drawings. Each one is accompanied by a description of the techniques he used and the challenges he overcame. These photographs record the development of his unusual skill and understanding of perspective. Readers can see how his art progresses and matures as he takes on commissioned works and a wealth of original, inventive subjects in locations worldwide.

My review:

Just as October amazes us with colorful scenery, this book is a collection of spectacular photographs showcasing the amazing sidewalk art of Julian Beever.

The book starts with a short introduction about the artist and a short explanation of anamorphic technique. The remainder of the book is full -page sized photographs of his sidewalk chalk drawings with a bit of a description about each project. This is a fascinating book that will delight those who love art and creativity. I found each art project to be full of details making for a scene that tells a story. Much like an ISPY book, it captivates an audience of all ages. Aside from being an awesome picture book, Sidewalk Chalk Artist is a good art resource book for home school students in middle thru high school for an observation of anomorphic drawings from a gifted artist. I would have liked more photos from different angles to see the distorted image as well as some progression photos of the projects.


“Making Mr. Snowman” is my favorite

My thanks to Firefly Books for allowing me to review this book. This book was provided in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was received.

Read Full Post »