Reading with Chronicle Books (Book Review)

It's been a long couple of weeks as my family and the rest of the world continue doing our part during Covid-19 by social distancing. With school being out until this is all over, these last two weeks I, along with you, if you're a parent, have been home schooling our kiddos as best we can. One of the things I've been doing is praticing sight words with my five year old and continuing her practice with reading as she's starting to pick it up and is doing quite well. 

So when we received a couple of children's books from our friends at Chronicle Books, we were both really happy that she'd have two new books to look through and two new books that we could read together, especially with us being at home right now. We received newly released Tiny T. Rex and the Very Dark Dark and an early copy of Rain Boy. Two different books that are beautifully written and illustrated.
By: Jonatan Stutzman
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Publication Date: March 3, 2020
ISBN: 9781452170343
Pages: 48

Tiny T. Rex and his friend Pointy are having a campout in the backyard! It is what best friends do. But without their nighty-lights, the dark outside suddenly seems VERY dark . . . and very full of spooky things. Good thing Tiny has a super-secret plan to keep the dark at bay! Full of warmth and plenty of laughs, this new adventure starring Tiny T. Rex shows that friends will always find a way to face their fears together-even when those fears are not what they seem!

The first of the two books we read was Tiny T. Rex and the Very Dark Dark. This was such a cute story about two best friends camping in their backyard in the dark. Bailey absolutely loved this story and it's made her want to camp in her backyard too. She says she won't be scared of the noises and the dark because she'll get her brother to sleep in there with her like Tiny T had Pointy, lol. With everything going on right now, we may not be camping in the backyard, but once the weather is a bit warmer, this book does have me thinking to put up our camping tent so she can have a somewhat clubhouse to hangout in during the day to keep busy. We also learned that Tiny T. Rex has other books and adventures that he goes on and Bailey was super excited to learn that as she absolutely loved both Tiny T and his best friend Pointy.  This was such a great book and Bailey did most of the reading. She had trouble with a couple of words, but I was very proud of her for reading this book.

For any parents out there that are looking for a new book for your child, I'd definitely recommend this book. The story helps kids not be afraid of the dark and the illustrations were beautiful, not to mention, this would be a huge hit for any kid who loves dinosaurs!

Title: Rain Boy
By: Dylan Glynn
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Publication Date: April 21, 2020
ISBN: 9781452172804
Pages: 40

Wherever he goes, Rain Boy brings wet-which means he's not very popular. Sun Kidd brings sunshine everywhere she goes, so everyone loves her. Only Sun Kidd sees what's special about Rain Boy. But when she invites him to her birthday party, disaster strikes, and Rain Boy storms. Now the world is nothing but rain. Will the other kids ever love Rain Boy for being himself? And. more importantly, can Rain Boy learn to love his rain?

After reading the first book, we went straight for Rain Boy. This book was a fav for me as it teaches kids about differences, acceptance and loving yourself for who you are. This is a message I've been teaching my kids as they grow up, especially having a kid in the LQBTQ+ community. Not only that, but our family is mixed raced and so my kids have been raised to not judge a book by its cover. To get to know someone for who they are, not what they look like and the message was very clear to Bailey as she read this story. She felt sad for Rain Boy and she didn't want him to go in hiding after Sun Kidd's party, but as we kept reading, she saw that with the rain came greener grass, flowers blooming and before we knew it the kids were laughing, jumping and playing in the rain and Rain Boy soon came out of hiding. He saw the good that he did and how the kids all around loved playing in the rain. They loved playing together. We absolutely loved this book. It was beautifully written and illustrated. The message behind the story is great and I hope once school is back in after Covid-19, Rain Boy gets in all the school libraries for our younger kiddos to read. It's a great book for all kids to learn about acceptance and kindess. 

Bailey and I loved both books and are so happy to have them added to her bookshelf. If you're looking for great children's books to help you little one learn to read, definitely check out both Tiny T. Rex And The Very Dark Dark and Rain Boy. For more information about these books and other books, be sure to head over to Chronicle Books

Disclosure: All opinions are my own. I received the above mentioned books at no cost for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received. 

1917 Blu-ray Movie Review & Giveaway #1917Movie

During World War I, two British soldiers -- Lance Cpl. Schofield and Lance Cpl. Blake -- receive seemingly impossible orders. In a race against time, they must cross over into enemy territory to deliver a message that could potentially save 1,600 of their fellow comrades -- including Blake's own brother.

During the historical First World War, two soldiers are tasked with a seemingly impossible mission, deliver a attack cancellation order in hopes to save the lives of  1,600 soldiers, including the brother of one messenger. 

   The story is very well written, the scenes are incredibly detailed. The devastation of war was depicted both subtly in the background of each scene and portrayed well through the eyes of any character on screen. The cast delivered astounding performances. The shock and mental trauma that was being displayed while still following orders trying desperately to achieve what seems so unattainable. The demeanor of the supporting characters showed how daunting a situation they faced.  Once they crossed the front line, they were all alone.  

This movie is not an action adventure where a muscle bound hero kills ‘em all. It is the story of what a real hero looks like, not impervious to pain, tires and fails at times. The acting in this movie is exciting and awe inspiring. It was surprising how many opportunities went by to make his way easier by killing, but attempted to avoid or run from rather than kill the enemy.

In celebration of the movie 1917 being out now on digital, blu-ray, 4K Ultra HD and DVD, we are giving you a chance to win a copy of this movie to watch at home. Leave a comment below sharing who you would watch this movie with. 

Disclosure: All opinions are my own. I received 1917 on blu-ray at no cost for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received.

Sonic The Hedgehog Movie Review #SonicMovie

Powered with incredible speed, Sonic the Hedgehog (voiced by Ben Schwartz), aka The Blue Blur, embraces his new home on Earth. That is, until he accidentally knocks out the power grid and sparks the attention of super-uncool evil genius Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey). Now it’s super-villain vs. super-sonic in an all-out race across the globe to stop Robotnik from using his unique power for world domination. Sonic teams up with The Donut Lord, aka Sheriff Tom Wachowski (James Marsden), to save the planet in this action-packed hit that’s fun for the whole family.

My husband and I have been huge fans of Sonic The Hedgehog since we were both kids playing the videogame on Sega. So when we had kiddos and when they were old enough, they fell in love with Sonic too. They use to watch the cartoon shows of Sonic and got so into it that my son was even Sonic one year for Halloween. 

When we heard that they were turning one of our favorite animated characters into a movie, my family and I were so excited to see it in theatres, but with everything going on with Covid-19 we didn't get a chance to see the movie on big screen before we started social distancing. So when we got the chance to watch the movie, thanks to our friends at Paramount, I jumped at the opportunity and it couldn't have happened at a better time with us being home quarantined until further notice. 

We broke out the popcorn machine, grabbed some of our favorite snacks and sat down as a family to watch this movie and let me just say, it did not disappoint. When we first see Sonic we see him as baby/younger Sonic who is a special hedgehog that has so much speed and with evil beings after him because of his special abilities his caretaker, an owl, called Longclaw fights to save Sonic from what is after him and while doing so gives him a bag of rings that are magical and open up as a portal to wherever sonic needs to go to be safe. 

Next we see Sonic, years later, enjoying his life in the quiet small town of Green Hill, which is the name of the first level of the original Sonic The Hedgehog game. It was so awesome to see that they added that in to the movie and I loved that my kids knew right a way that Green Hill was from the videogame. As he's enjoying his life in Green Hill we are then introduced to Sheriff Tom Wachowski  who is looking to fulfil something more as a cop. Being a sheriff in a small town with little to no trouble, has Tom feeling like there is more in life that he could be doing, so he makes an announcement that he is going to be leaving to transfer to the city with his wife. Before the announcement and when we first see Tom on duty, he is at a checkpoint, but is bored out of his mind until Sonic flashes by and his radar gun at such high speed. While trying to find out what is speeding by, Tom gets out of his police car to find one of Sonic's quills and takes it home. 

While running around Green Hill, Sonic decides to play baseball by himself and gets so powered up that he knocks the power grid out and the army brings in Dr. Robotnik to find out the cause of the black out. Jim Carrey plays Dr. Robotnik so good and just what we would imagine his character to be a narcissus who thinks he's better than everyone else. 

While Dr. Robotnik is in town, Sonic is almost caught by him and goes to Tom for help. He calls him the Donut Lord for always talking and eating the donuts. While Sonic is trying to get Tom's help, Tom shoots Sonic with a tranquilizer and when that happens, Sonic takes out one of his rings to leave Green Hill and to go to Mushroom planet, but see's Tom's shirt saying San Francisco, so the bag of rings ends up there. (Tom throws in a dad joke about Mushroom planet later, my husband and I thought it was hilarious, my kids laughed and thought it was a dad joke they thought their dad would say) Tom's wife is away visiting her sister in San Francisco, so when Sonic wakes up, he convinces Tom to take him there to get his bag of rings so that he can leave Earth. 

On there way to San Francisco, we see where Sonic's love from chili dogs come from as they stop at a bar for a break. My kids loved seeing him eat a chili dog and seeing how the movie implemented some of what we see in the videgame. They also loved seeing Sonic interact with Tom's dog and how Sonic gets his infamous red shoes. I won't spoil the ending for you on how or if he beats Dr. Robotnik, but I'm sure you can guess.

 From beginning to end, my family absolutely loved this movie and we loved how it left off, in hopes of a sequel where we get to see Sonic's sidekick, Tails. 

Sonic The Hedgehog is now available to buy on digital download as of today, March 31st and will be available on on Blu-ray™ and 4K Ultra HD™ May 19. For more information you can check them out on their website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Disclosure: All opinions are my own. I received Sonic The Hedgehog movie at no cost for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received.

Learning New Hobbies With DK Canada

Like many others around the globe right now, I’m spending these couple of weeks at home, watching, reading, learning. Finding new ways to connect and reflect. What a hectic few weeks it has been for so many! I couldn’t be more excited to get an opportunity to select three books from our friends at DK Canada and share them with you.

I started off with: Your Well-Being Garden, How to Make Your Garden Good For You by Alistair Griffiths and Matt Keightley. Right from the get-go, amidst a global pandemic, even just READING this gardening book filled me with comfort. Stunning pictures, this book is packed with information for every level of gardener, it’s a beginner’s thrill for me. Chapters filled with all sorts of helpful information on things like healthy soil, growing your own food, attracting pollinators and sustainable gardens (my fav!) It covers everything from garden designs to selecting the perfect fragrances and, of course, how to make your garden good for you! Your Well-Being Garden is retailed for $29.99.

My second read this week is Photography by Tom Ang. To say this book is visually appealing is an understatement. This book is beautifully designed, page-by-page. Excellent conversation piece and coffee table-worthy for sure! Packed with galleries of photos and tightly organized topics covering history of photography, art and techniques, it covers everything. Every single page has something fantastic to glue your eyes to. It’s a winner in my book and is retailed for $39.00.

My next and last mission: The Knitting Book by Vikki Haffenden & Frederica Patmore. Knitting is a craft I have always admired and always wanted to learn. The attractive colourful pages promise to make an experienced knitter out of anyone, even if you’ve never held a pair of knitting needles before. And lucky for me, I never have! This book is beautifully designed and organized by colour-coded tabs covering everything from basic tools and materials to varying degrees of knitting techniques and contains an awesome collection of stitch patterns. I’ll admit, I need a bit more practice but following along in the easy-to-use instructions was a blast! The Knitting Book is retailed for $52.00.

All three books was such a great distraction to have when I needed to unplug from the online world and for us keeping our social distancing from friends and family. I picked up a new hobby with The Knitting Book, learned some new tricks to apply to my garden and the Photography book was just beautiful to look through. I'd definitely recommend all three books and if you get a chance to get your hands on one and check it out, please let me know in the comments!

Disclosure: All opinions are my own. I received the above mentioned books at no cost for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received.

DOLITTLE Blu-ray Giveaway #DolittleMovie

Are you ready to hear Robert Downey Jr. talk to animals?! I know I am! I'm super excited to share with our readers that we're hosting a giveaway for two Canadian readers to have a chance at winning their own copy of the movie, Dolittle on blu-ray, in celebration of the movie being released on digital download today, March 24th!

I don't remember watching the original movie, but I did see Dr. Dolittle with Eddie Murphy when I was younger and absolutely loved it. We just recently watched it with the kids so we can talk about the difference between the movies. My family and I are super excited to share our review with you all in a couple weeks.

Robert Downey Jr. electrifies as the man who could talk to animals: DOLITTLE. After losing his wife, he hermits himself away behind the high wall of his manor but is forced to set sail on an epic adventure when the queen falls gravely ill. Helping Dolittle in search of a rare cure are his rambunctious animal friends—including Chee-Chee (Malek), an anxious, self-conscious gorilla; Dab-Dab (Octavia Spencer, The Help), an enthusiastic but bird-brained duck; the bickering duo of cynical, neurotic ostrich Plimpton (Kumail Nanjiani, The Big Sick, “Silicon Valley”) and chilly-but-chill polar bear Yoshi (Cena); as well as a headstrong parrot named Polynesia (Thompson).

Dolittle is available on digital download now and on 4K Ultra HD™, BLU-RAY™ and DVD: April 7, 2020. For more information about Dolittle,  be sure to head to their website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment below sharing which animal you'd love the ability to talk to with.