My View Book Review: RANDOLPH THE REINDEER by Sean Patrick O’Reilly

Title: Randolph the Reindeer

Author: Sean Patrick O’Reilly

Illustrator: David Alvarez

Publisher/Year: Arcana/2020

There’s a lot going on right now. A lot. And your head is probably swirling. And maybe you haven’t been thinking about Christmas just yet.

But I think we could all use a little cheer, don’t you? With that in mind, I’m happy to share a new Christmas picture book that recently received the Mom’s Choice Award.

Combine one arrogant reindeer in training, one friendly Krampus, and one skeptical elf. Add a broken camera and a disappointed boy. Mix in a terrible blizzard on Christmas Eve and a sleighful of determination. And what do you get? A recipe for merriment, Randolph the Reindeer, a Christmas tale like no other.

Randolph dreams of pulling Santa’s sleigh. But when he fails miserably and is humiliated during tryouts, despite bragging that he’s the fastest reindeer and is sure to be chosen to pull Santa’s sleigh that very night, Christmas Eve, he decides to leave town.

In North Pole, Alaska, Randolph makes a new friend, a boy named Jamie. Jamie says Randolph can pull his sleigh. Randolph wants to show Jamie just how fast he can go, but Jamie just wants to take pictures. Randolph doesn’t listen, however, and crashes the sleigh, breaking Jamie’s special camera.

Jamie is heartbroken and Randolph feels terrible. He sets off through a blizzard to make things right. And with a little help from Nikita Von Krampus, Mrs. Clause, and Jeremy the elf, Randolph saves Christmas for Jamie just in the (Saint) nick of time. 😉

With a fun, engaging story by Arcana Studio founder Sean Patrick O’Reilly, and bright, cheerful illustrations by Warner Brothers, Walt Disney, and Nickelodeon artist David Alvarez, you and your children will delight in reading Randolph the Reindeer together this holiday season. And it may just take your mind off of other things for a bit. Happy Holidays!

Picture Books At The Library: Christmas Roundup 2017

At the Library_Christmas


A first introduction to the biblical Christmas story.


Mouse snoops to find his Christmas gift when he spends Christmas at Bear’s house. Fun!


A young girl named Marie receives a nutcracker as a gift from her uncle. Beautiful adaptation of the Nutcracker story!


Peanut is nuts about Christmas and can’t wait to get to his grandma’s house for dinner, but will he get there on time when snow begins to cover the path?


Otto is very excited for Christmas–perhaps a bit too excited. Will he ruin everything?


Princess Eliza uses her gadget-making skills to help the elves prepare for Christmas while Santa Claus is sick.


A little girl is awoken on Christmas Eve by a very special reindeer.


The children show their dinosaur friends how to properly prepare for Santa’s arrival.


Little Bunny doesn’t know what to bring Jesus for his birthday. Sweet!


A pair of cardinals are separated when their tree is cut down and taken to the big city. Lovely!


Ride along through a winter wonderland with a girl, a boy, a dog, and a pony to the tune of Jingle Bells. Gorgeous illustrations!


Maxwell sets traps for Santa Claus.

A Labor Of Love: Harriet And The Little French Doll


The treasured story of Harriet and the Little French Doll has been passed down from my grandmother Harriet to my mother Shirley and finally to me. The events in the story, which take place over three Christmases, really happened to my grandmother when she was a young girl in the early 1900s.

In 1944, she typed the story, drew and painted illustrations for it, and handmade her own little book, complete with a cloth cover, and gave it to her daughter Shirley for her seventh birthday. Today, I’m proud to be the current keeper of the original book. The first half of the story introduces readers to all eighteen members of Harriet’s doll family (she loved dolls!), and the second half features the very special little French doll.

With an eye toward making the story available to others, I decided to recreate it using Amazon’s Kindle Kids’ Book Creator. I designed the book in Microsoft Publisher, with some minor text edits, and the addition of a foreword and an About the Author page. I included all of the original art, which I had snapped photos of and transferred to my computer. Surprisingly, the art required very little touching up. Then I converted the document to PDF and uploaded it into the Kids’ Book Creator, which saved it as a file on my computer.

After that, I opened Kindle Direct Publishing and followed the instructions to complete the book. This was my first time using Kindle Direct Publishing and I discovered there is a bit of a learning curve. But I sorted everything out, and now I’m pleased to report that a Kindle version and a paperback version of Harriet and the Little French Doll are now available on Amazon.

My grandmother was a special person. She lived with my family since before I was born and helped to raise my five siblings and me. I have many fond memories of time spent with Gramma. And I remember, too, that she was always writing, either with typewriter or pen.

She was very talented, both artistically and as an author. She was a self-taught poet who wrote her first poem at the age of 11. She went on to write hundreds of poems over her lifetime. Many appeared regularly in magazines and newspapers, including Ideals, which, to this day, often still publishes her poetry in its special Christmas issue. I know without a doubt that I inherited the writer’s gene from her.

Image19_Harriet (Age 11)

My grandmother Harriet at age 11 with the little French doll (on the right)

My purpose for recreating my grandmother’s story, Harriet and the Little French Doll, is to share a tiny bit of her life and talent with the world.

My View Book Review: The Santa Corner by Jakie Rodriguez + Supporting Worthy Causes

Title: The Santa Corner

Author: Jakie Rodriguez

Illustrator: Bee L. Hannah

Publisher/Year: Mascot Books/2016

Back Cover Blurb: Santa is afraid he will not have enough presents to deliver to all the boys and girls, so he is asking for help. He is sending out letters asking children to collect toys they no longer play with. Gracie and Meghyn are ready to help, are you?

When Meghyn visits her friend Gracie’s house, she wonders why there’s a pile of toys in the corner and why she can’t play with them. Gracie tells her that the toys are in the Santa corner. Toys in the Santa corner are toys that kids no longer play with. Santa sends his helpers to pick them up in the middle of the night. They take the toys back to the North Pole, and they repair them too, if necessary. On Christmas Eve, Santa delivers the toys to children all over the world. Meghyn is excited to go home and start a Santa corner of her own.

I know it’s not Christmas, but what’s special about The Santa Corner is that it teaches kids, through a delightful story and sweet illustrations, to be generous and giving–qualities that can be encouraged anytime. And what young child wouldn’t want to help Santa if given the chance? Parents who want to cultivate a giving nature in their children, while at the same time, clear away the clutter of too many toys, will find the message of this book to be just what they need to succeed. Though not expressly stated in the text, parents might want to discuss with their kids how putting their toys in the Santa corner helps not only Santa, but also children who are less fortunate than they are. Creating a Santa corner is an excellent way to help others, and it can be started now.

I like to help others too. I often donate money or clothing to the Syracuse Rescue Mission, a local organization that’s working hard to end hunger and homelessness in our community. I donate to animal welfare organizations as well. And I’ve donated copies of my book The Peddler’s Bed to libraries and literacy organizations. There are MANY wonderful causes out there. I’m sure, just like Meghyn and Gracie in The Santa Corner, kids everywhere want to help others. Find a great cause that you and your children can support together.

A Tub, A Bed, And A Book Review

reading-tubFinal Final Cover







Thank you Terry Doherty at The Reading Tub for the lovely review of The Peddler’s Bed!

Click HERE to read the review. 

To all of my friends, fans, and blog followers, I wish you a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a New Year filled with an abundance of joy. May your dreams come true in 2017! 🙂

Picture Books At The Library: Christmas Edition 2016

At the Library_Christmas

In my position as a technical processing assistant at the DeWitt Community Library, I catalog a lot of new picture books. Unfortunately, I cannot review them all, but I do try to read them all. Below are a few I’ve cataloged recently.


On Christmas Eve, Santa looks everywhere for his special Christmas underwear with no luck. Will he have to wear shamrock long johns instead?


Clark the Shark spends too much time trying to figure out who his Secret Santa is and not enough time being a good Secret Santa himself.


A young boy named Alec and his grandfather lend their giant spruce tree to the city for the Christmas celebration.


Santa is moving too quickly to see who actually lives in each house he visits. Will it be a Christmas disaster?


Exquisitely illustrated version of The Nutcracker ballet with a surprise at the end.


Clementine is a teeny-tiny girl who lives with her average-sized family. It’s mostly fun being the smallest, but Christmas can be tricky.


Celebrates the joyful season of Christmas and the story of the nativity, told through the performance of a children’s Christmas pageant.


When the Gingerbread Baby hears about the Christmas Festival, he wants to rush down to the village with his band.


Greta likes to tell her younger sister Gracie everything she knows, especially about Santa.


Santa has stopped believing in a boy named Harold.


Maple and Willow love trees and now they are getting their first real Christmas tree.


A retelling of Margaret Wise Brown’s book of the same name, (originally published in 1952) that tells the story of Jesus’s birth, with new illustrations by Anna Dewdney.


Penguin discovers holiday magic in the most unexpected places.


It’s Christmas Eve at the Babymouse house, and all is well, or is it?


Hannah Greyweather’s life is changed when she finds a magic wish-granting boot in the forest outside her home.


One windy Christmas Eve, a present tumbles out of Santa’s sleigh. Santa doesn’t notice, but four little animal friends do.




One by one, from field and forest, the animals make their way to the barn. But the shy little fox has nothing to offer. So sweet and gorgeously illustrated.



Late one night, Slipper the cat awakens to find a furry-booted man in her home and, like any curious cat would, climbs into his big red sack. Beautiful!

Picture Books At The Library: Christmas Edition 2015

At the Library_Christmas

In my position as a technical processing assistant at the DeWitt Community Library, I catalog a lot of new picture books. Unfortunately, I cannot review them all, but I do try to read them all. Below are a few I’ve cataloged recently.

Share the joy of Christmas with your kids by reading picture books together. Here’s a look at some of the newest releases.



In this modern twist on a holiday classic, one special house is decorated inside and out with over-the-top holiday cheer!

Cork and Fuzz wake up knowing the day is special but not why, and when they finally find a quiet place to think about it, singing a festive song as a bell jingles and snow falls on a sparkling pine tree, they realize that their friendship makes every day special.


Bea and her friends are excited to put on their costumes and dance onstage in The Nutcracker.

From carolers to snowmen to stars, everyone’s favorite Christmas characters sing, shiver, and shine their way through the North Pole in this festive holiday twist on the beloved nursery rhyme Over in the Meadow.


From the moment they heard his booming voice, Santa’s parents knew their little one was special. After all, it’s not every child who is fond of the color red, is generous with his playthings and has an interest in chimneys.


It’s Christmas Eve, and all Yukio wants is an epic snowball fight. But when his friends are too worried about being good little ninjas to join in, Yukio sets out to sabotage Santa.


After Christmas is over, the tree begins to droop, and eventually Mom and Dad say it’s time for it to go. But Fritz isn’t ready to say good-bye.

The forest animals make snacks for the reindeer and decorate a large tree, and then they settle down together to wait for Santa.


A boy and his pet dragon discover the meaning of the Christmas spirit.


The Gingerbread Man and his classmates spread holiday cheer by delivering gifts and thank-yous to the people of their town.


‘Twas December 24th, and three brave knights were just settling in for the night when out on the drawbridge, there arose such a clatter! The knights try everything to get rid of this unknown invader, a red and white knight with a fleet of dragons.


The day before Christmas, everyone in Jose’s neighborhood seems grumpy, including his mother who is homesick for Puerto Rio, but when he and his parents return from the pizzeria where they borrowed an oven to cook their roast, the heavenly aroma reminds those they pass of all they have to celebrate.


When it’s time to audition for The Nutcracker, Zombelina knows she’s got what it takes to win the role of her dreams.


Picture Books At The Library: Christmas Edition

In my position as a technical processing assistant at the DeWitt Community Library, I catalog a lot of picture books. Unfortunately, I cannot review them all, but I do read them all and have assigned a :) to my favorites. Below are a few I've cataloged recently. (Whenever possible, summaries have been taken directly from the books.)

In my position as a technical processing assistant at the DeWitt Community Library, I catalog a lot of picture books. Unfortunately, I cannot review them all, but I do read them all and have assigned a 🙂 to my favorites. Below are a few I’ve cataloged recently. (Whenever possible, summaries have been taken directly from the books.)

I love Christmas, so I am super excited to share a sleighful of wonderful Christmas picture books, newly available At The Library!

🙂 What can a small angel give a most important baby? A Christmas story about the greatest gift of all.

Anticipating he will be eaten, a gingerbread boy cookie nervously awaits Santa’s arrival. When rough-housing puppies threaten Christmas morning joy, the cookie comes to the rescue, earning the Night Watchman job at the North Pole.

🙂 Sidekick Chick’s new mission for his best friend-and hero-Pug, who would rather sleep, involves dressing as Santa and spreading joy to everyone at Christmas.

🙂 Although the other reindeer laugh at him because of his bright red nose, Rudolph proves his worth when he is chosen to lead Santa Claus’ sleigh on a foggy night.

🙂 A lyrical invitation to watch for signs of the season’s approach-and revel in the homespun rituals that warm each family celebration.

Explores Latin American traditions for celebrating Christmas Eve in a text that combines English and Spanish words and follows the rhythm of Clement Moore’s “The Night Before Christmas”.

This delightful parody of The Night Before Christmas will leave readers of all ages shrieking with laughter.

🙂 An eager little Christmas tree, not very tall or well-shaped, is the last on the lot, but when it seems all hope of being covered with lights and ornaments is lost, a special person comes to take him home.

🙂 Little Blue Truck is spreading cheer by delivering Christmas trees to his animal friends.

A teddy bear in the toy department of a big store receives a new name and a new home from Santa.

These twenty-five short poems-composed by Santa himself-give you a peek into life at the North Pole as the December days tick down to Christmas.

A newly illustrated version of the traditional song.

🙂 In this not-so-silent night, God’s unique creatures come together for the singular purpose of celebrating the birth of Jesus.

🙂 With Duvoisin’s glorious artwork accompanying Clement C. Moore’s classic text, families now have a new edition of the story to treasure-and enjoy for generations to come. The special size makes this a perfect stocking stuffer.

The Night Before The Night Before Christmas By Jay Dee (Plus a Giveaway!)


Title: The Night Before The Night Before Christmas

Author: Jay Dee

Illustrator: Darren Geers

Publisher/Year: Kraine Kreative/2014

Summary: At Santa’s workshop, the night before the night before Christmas is hardy a time to rest. The elves work tirelessly to get the final toys made before Christmas Eve, but Elfie just can’t keep pace. He spends too much time making his toys perfect, and when Santa comes to check on production, everyone is surprised by his reaction.

The Night Before The Night Before Christmas is a beautifully illustrated, timeless tale with a twist. It is the night before Christmas Eve and all of Santa’s elves are at work making the final toys for Santa to deliver to all the good girls and boys the very next night. Main character Elfie is a likable little fellow who takes pride in his work. And he wants the toys he makes to be perfect. His perfectionism is something many of us can relate to; I sure can. But unfortunately for Elfie, this is no time to be perfect. Or is it?

My favorite part of the story, besides the spectacular full-page illustrations, is that Santa himself knows the reason for the season, or put another way, Santa knows the true meaning of Christmas and who and what it is that makes Christmas special. You have to be open to what I call a “time paradox” (the twist) at the end of the story, if you are, I’m confident that you and your children will embrace the feel-good message presented here. Overall, The Night Before The Night Before Christmas is a sweet story about a very special Christmas gift.


I am giving away a copy of The Night Before The Night Before Christmas, generously donated by the author, to one lucky person. To qualify for the giveaway, you must 1) follow this blog and 2) comment on this post. I will choose a winner at random, who I will contact via e-mail for a mailing address. Sorry, this giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. You have until December 7, 2014 to qualify.

Please share this review and giveaway on social media. Thank you!

Update (12/8/2014): Congratulations to Linda Kautzman, the winner of The Night Before The Night Before Christmas! Thank you to everyone who entered and commented on this post. Look for more chances to win picture books in the future!

The North Pole Penguin by Christopher Payne

The North Pole Penguin

Title: The North Pole Penguin

Author: Christopher Payne

Illustrator: Lorena Soriano

Publisher/Year: CreateSpace/2014

Now that Halloween is over, my thoughts have turned to Christmas. It’s less than two months away after all. I’m already thinking about the decorating, shopping, and visiting that make up part of the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. You may be too. But are you also thinking about Christmas books? If not, I have the perfect one to get you started: The North Pole Penguin. 

This book has the potential to be a Christmastime classic. With its clever rhyme and bright, put-you-in-the-spirit illustrations, The North Pole Penguin begs to be read over and over again. The story is about Parker Preston, a penguin from the South Pole, who loves Christmas and longs to thank Santa Claus in person for stopping at his igloo every year. So he sets off for the North Pole with a gift for Santa and meets new animal friends along the way who also want to give gifts to Santa. Some even accompany him on his journey. Here’s a sample from the book:

Upon some thinking long and hard, he knew his Christmas cause

To cross the globe and go and see the man called Santa Claus.

He’d bring him gifts and change the roles before the winter’s thaws

To give back to the special man whose kindness had no flaws.

If you’re searching for a sweet Christmas story with amazing illustrations and the strong possibility of becoming a holiday tradition, The North Pole Penguin is a perfect choice.

A Wish To Be A Christmas Tree

Title: A Wish To Be A Christmas Tree

Author: Colleen Monroe

Illustrator: Michael Glenn Monroe

Publisher/Year: Sleeping Bear Press/2000

A Wish To Be A Christmas Tree is a gorgeously illustrated holiday picture book told in flawless rhyme. It is sweet, magical, and heartwarming. The story is about a sad evergreen tree that has watched year after year as the trees around him are chosen to be Christmas trees. He knows it’s too late for him because he has grown too big and tall. He is heartbroken because being a Christmas tree has always been his dream. In order to cheer him, the woodland creatures find a way to show him just how much he is appreciated. This book is just beautiful in so many ways. First, look at the wonderful cover image above. From the sparkling snow, to the glowing background, to the character in the tree’s face, this picture makes you want to open the book to see more. Even the title is in the shape of a tree. And if you open the book, you won’t be disappointed. My favorite illustration depicts songbirds perched in the tree’s branches. The picture accompanies wonderful text such as this: “The first morning sun brought a wondrous sight, as icicles glimmered and captured the light. Colorful birds perched all over the pine, as beautiful as bulbs and just as fine.” Love it! Besides being visually stunning and a joy to read, the story conveys a message of friendship and caring. A Wish To Be A Christmas Tree is a must read!