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July 2016

    children's books, read aloud

    20 Repeat Read Picture Books for Kids!

    Today I’m sharing an awesome blog post compiled by one of my fellow bookstagrammers over on Instagram, Book Nerd Mommy!  Are you following her on Instagram yet?  If not, I’d highly recommend you do and check out her blog too.

    Have any of you noticed how your kids ask for the same book over and over again?  My kids do it all the time.  When I finish a book there is a chorus of “again, mommy” that rings out.  I used to let myself get a little annoyed or feel the need to switch out books more often until I read about how important repeat reads are.

    If you’re looking for some great repeat read picture books for kids I hope you’ll enjoy this list of 20 books recommended by the Kid Lit Picks book club on Instagram.  I’m a member of the book club along with 19 other fellow bookstagrammers.  Enjoy!

    kidlitpicksrepeatreads

    (Photos shared by @book.nerd.mommy, @afriendlyaffair, @spikypenelope, @appyreading, @chickadee.lit)

    I love sharing books  here and on my social media accounts.  Like, a ton.  There is such a fun book-loving community out there and I am always thrilled to engage with other book nerds.

    Recently, 20 of us bookstagrammers over on Instagram connected to create a book club called Kidlit Picks.  Each month we share books with a different theme under the hashtag #kidlitpicks.  It is a really fun time and a great way to get book inspiration for library visits and different topics you want to address with your littles.  Anyone can share books under the hashtag that go with the theme and the @kidlitpicks account features different books shared throughout the month.  Join us if you’re on Instagram! We’d love to share books with you!

    This months theme was “Repeat Reads” these are 20 of the books shared by the 20 lovely ladies that are behind Kidlit Picks.  Check them out!

    Happy Like Soccer by Maribeth Boelts and Lauren Castillo (shared by @smallysbookshelf)

    “This picture book is so well written and is a subtle reminder of how community and family can come to together to make a child feel loved.”

    Ninja Red Riding Hood by Corey Rosen Schwartz and Dan Santat (shared by @afriendlyaffair)

    “It’s so cute with its daring female lead, incredible illustrations , and a super fun rhyme scheme.”

    Orange Pear Apple Bear by Emily Gravett (shared by me! @book.nerd.mommy)

    “Apparently it’s addicting because it’s one my little can definitely put on repeat.”

    Prayer For a Child by Rachel Field and Elizabeth Orton Jones (shared by @hereweeread)

    “When I think about books that my kids and I have read over, and over, and over again, this one tops the list.”

    Pinkalicious by Victoria Kann and Elizabeth Kann (shared by @astoryaday)

    “It is my most favorite read loud story and I wish every household had a copy on their book shelves.”

    Mo Willems Books (shared by @appyreading)

    “We want to read them over and over again, and the stories, the characters, they stay with us, make us wonder, inspire us to create.”

    The Pout Pout Fish by  Deborah Diesen   (shared by @howifeelaboutbooks)

    “When the whole family random says “Blub, bluuub, bluuuuuuub” (Pout-Pout’s catchphrase), you know a book is beloved!”

    Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri (shared by @chickadee.lit)

    “After all, the only thing kids love more than tacos and dragons, is books about tacos and dragons. Just remember: hold the spicy salsa.”

    It Came in the Mail by Ben Clanton (shared by @spiky_penelope)

    “There are so many fun details in the illustrations, and Clanton uses the “mail” theme perfectly, making the book a unique read every time.”

    Oi Frog by Kes Gray and Jim Field (shared by @alittlebookhabit)

    “Perfect for anyone who loves silly rhymes- we will never look at satsumas the same way again!”

    Frieght Train by Donald Crews (shared by @the.book.report)

    “This is our second copy of it, as the first was so well read and loved it needed a replacement. That’s how much we love it!”

    Board Books (including Dear Zoo and Snuggle Puppy) (shared by @bookbloom)

    “When it comes to beloved books, these tattered and torn board books rank high on our repeat reads list.”

    Monkey and Me by Emily Gravett (shared by @happily.ever.elephants)

    “…But then you come across a gem like Emily Gravett’s Monkey and Me, and your heart overflows as you watch your little one open a new world with the simple turn of a page.”

    Bin Ich Klein? Am I Small? by Philipp Winterberg  (shared by @homegrownreader)

    “An engaging book available in 100+ languages and so well loved in our house that I’ve had to reconstruct the binding.”

    Marvelous Cornelius: Hurricane Katrina and the Spirit of New Orleans by Phil Bildner and John Parra (shared by @afrobookworm)

    This “is a story that teaches children that it sometimes only takes one great individual to spark a positive reaction in others; as well as the importance of community and the great things that can be achieved in the midst of supporting each other.”

    The Snatchabook by Helen Docherty and Thomas Docherty (shared by @childrensbooksgalore)

    “Can Eliza Brown solve the mystery of the disappearing stories? Snatchabook is one of my all time favorite books!”

    Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters by John Steptoe (shared by @ilovebooksandicannotlie)

    “Every time I read it, I think back to that first year of teaching. I love the story but I also love the memories I associate with it.”

    Cordelia by Michelle Nelson-Scmidt (shared by @usbornestagram)

    “Here’s Cordelia, my absolute favorite picture book to read to myself – it’s brand spankin’ new and it’s amazing.”

    Did You Take the “B” From my _ook? by Beck and Matt Stanton (shared by @fee_loves)

    “Firstly, narrators must approach this book with a healthy dose of silly because you will be rewarded with plenty of belly laughs for your efforts. ”

    Little Mouse by Riikka Jantti (shared by @ohcreativeday)

    “I love the vintage feel of the illustrations and the way it reminds us as parents that the everyday is a thing of wonder for our littles.”

    Your turn: What repeat read book(s) would you add to this list?  Feel free to share in the comments.

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    adult books, book reviews, giveaways

    Bad Girls Throughout History by Ann Shen: A Review + Giveaway!

    Bad Girls Throughout History: 100 Remarkable Women Who Changed the World by Ann Shen
    badgirlsthroughouthistory
    Publisher: Chronicle Books
    Format: Hardcover
    Pages: 222
    Available for Sale: September 6, 2016

    Synopsis (from Amazon)
    Aphra Behn, first female professional writer.  Sojourner Truth, activist and abolitionist. Ada Lovelace, first computer programmer. Marie Curie, first woman to win the Nobel Prize. Joan Jett, godmother of punk. The 100 revolutionary women highlighted in this gorgeously illustrated book were bad in the best sense of the word: they challenged the status quo and changed the rules for all who followed. From pirates to artists, warriors, daredevils, scientists, activists, and spies, the accomplishments of these incredible women vary as much as the eras and places in which they effected change.

    Reflection
    When I saw this book featured on Chronicle books Instagram page I knew I had to have it.  An entire book dedicated to 100 remarkable badass women throughout history?  Yes, please…sign me up!  I don’t know about you, but I love the fact that the author added the word “bad” in the title to describe these women.

    I mean, let’s face it, history is filled with bad boys who pushed the envelope and are remembered because of it, but you seldom hear about the girls.  This book fills the void of the bad girls throughout history who defied boundaries and social conventions of their time.

    As the introduction states, “This is a book about girls who had a ton of fear and personal flaws and faced insurmountable obstacles, but did amazing things anyway.”  The author also mentions this book isn’t by any means an exhaustive list nor does it provide lots of detail of their personal stories.  Instead, you’ll find short essays accompanied by the most beautiful watercolor illustrations you’ve ever seen!  The essays are meant to whet your appetite for exploring more on your own if you want to dig deeper into these women’s lives.

    From scientists and artists to writers and astronauts, this book highlights some of the most badass women who ever lived on planet Earth.  Some of the featured women include:  Oprah Winfrey, Marie Curie, Elizabeth Taylor, Madonna, Amelia Earhart, Cleopatra, Joan of Arc, Beatrix Potter, Rosa Parks, Josephine Baker, Lucille Ball, Judy Blume, Marie Antoinette, Joan Jett, Julia Child, Susan B. Anthony, Dolly Parton, Jane Austen, Maya Angelou, Ada Lovelace, Harriet Tubman, Queen Elizabeth I, Helen Keller, Madam C.J. Walker, Malala Yousafzai and so many more!  Granted, practically every woman surveyed about her top 100 leading ladies would differ drastically, but I think the author did a wonderful job with her selection.  There are women of all different races, backgrounds and faiths represented throughout.

    The book starts off introducing Lilith, the lesser-known first wife of Adam who was kicked out of the Garden of Eden. The remaining 99 women are introduced in chronological order from the before Christ (B.C.) period to present day. The last woman featured is Malala Yousafzai who at the age of 17 became the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner ever for supporting girls’ education rights.

    I’m so in LOVE with this stunning book!  I took the time to read it from cover to cover over the course of two days. Not only is it visually appealing, but it’s also chock full of interesting tidbits and facts.  There are so many women I never heard of before like Maria Mitchell (1818 – 1889), the first female American astronomer, Anna May Wong (1905 – 1961), the first Asian-American movie star and Amalia Eriksson (1824 – 1923) who invented peppermint stick candies.  Who knew?

    badgirlsthroughouthistory7

    Reading this book made me realize just how grateful I am to be constantly surrounded by powerful and inspirational women in my own personal life as well as in the media.  Women like Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, Marie Forleo, and Sheryl Sandberg inspire me to do my part to change the world no matter how small it may be like posting book recommendations on Instagram or blogging.  This book also made it crystal clear that powerful women have had a major impact on society since the beginning of time, they just haven’t been acknowledged as much as men have.

    I believe this book does an amazing job communicating the fact that girl power is very much a force to be reckoned with. These 100 inspirations all prove that women run the world—whether they’re pirates, activists, warriors or dare I say, presidents.  You’ll definitely want to prominently display this gem at the forefront of your book shelf.  A winner!

    I think this book also makes a great gift idea – pre-order one now for yourself or for one of the badass women in your squad.  You can also try your luck at the giveaway listed below.

    The Giveaway!
    Our friends at Chronicle Books were gracious enough to sponsor a book giveaway for one (1) lucky winner!  Yes, you can win a FREE copy of this book before it’s available for sale.  Ends, Friday, August 12, 2016.  Good luck!

    Bad Girls Throughout History Book Giveaway

     About the Author
    Ann Shen is an illustrator and graphic designer whose bright, colorful style has been put to work on everything from young adult book covers to fashion doll packaging designs. Her illustrations have been featured in the New York Times, BUST, Grazia, The Huffington Post, and other productions.  She lives in Los Angeles.

    About Chronicle Books
    Chronicle Books was founded in 1966 and is inspired by the enduring magic and importance of books.

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    children's books, giveaways, product reviews

    I’m a Pretty Princess Party Set + A Giveaway!

    I’m always on the lookout for positive, self-esteem boosting products for kids, especially ones targeted for black girls and boys.  My daughter will be turning 4 in September (where does the time go?) and she specifically told me she wants to have a princess themed party.

    Princesses are a loved part of many American girls’ culture, but it’s no secret there is very little representation of different races and cultures.  While I don’t restrict my kids to only play with certain toys or use specific products based on race, it is important for me to expose them to books, toys and products in which they can see themselves being represented.  That’s why I ‘m so excited I came across this adorable princess princess party set from Crystal Swain-Bates.  The party set is perfect for throwing a black princess party, birthday party, baby shower, or sleepover.

    I initially mentioned Crystal on my blog last year when I mentioned her awesome coloring books for black kids in the holiday gift guide that went viral.  Crystal is the author of seven fun black children’s books and the owner of Goldest Karat Publishing, LLC, a boutique publisher aiming to fill the ethnic diversity gap in traditional publishing.

    prettyprincesspartyset

    Are you planning a celebration for your pretty black princess? Tired of all of the blond hair, blue eyed princesses that your daughter can’t relate to? Get this party in a box featuring a beautiful black princess named Makayla from the book I’m a Pretty Princess!

    imaprettyprincess

    This set for 16 contains the following items:  (16)  9 inch plates, (16) 7 inch dessert plates,  (16) 9 inch cups, 16 pink and yellow balloons, 16 cupcake wrappers, and (1) pink tablecloth.  Also available is the “Big Hair Don’t Care” party set which is just as cute!

    bighairdontcarepartyset
    This set for 16 also contains the following items:  (16)  9 inch plates, (16) 7 inch dessert plates,  (16) 9 inch cups, 16 pink and yellow balloons, and 16 napkins.

    Remind your little black and brown girls of their sparkle by throwing them their very own princess party.  Click here to order a party set or browse some of the other amazing items available on the website including: books, coloring books, magnets, t-shirts, tote bags and more!  Use discount code “hereweeread” to get 10% off your purchases.

    Connect with Crystal Swain-Bates!

    Website | Facebook | Instagram

    The Giveaway!
    Our friend Crystal was gracious enough to sponsor this fabulous giveaway for a “Big Hair Don’t Care” party set.  Be sure to enter before the deadline.  Good luck!

    Big Hair Don’t Care Party Set

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    book reviews, children's books

    Our Latest Obsession: Flying Eye Books

    It is nearly impossible for me to walk by a book published by Flying Eye Books without stopping to take a peek.  I can spot one of their books from a mile away and automatically know they published it.  Can you relate?

    Established in early 2013, design-conscious publisher Flying Eye Books prides themselves on paying attention to detail in design and focusing on the craft of children’s storytelling and non-fiction. At the core of what they do is a simple pledge: “whatever the project, whatever the medium, genre, or format, Flying Eye Books will take your children’s eyes on a journey of wonder!”  Flying Eye books are generally for children from ages 3 – 11, but even adults like myself rave about these amazing books time and time again.

    We love Flying Eye Books in our house for several reasons:

    flyingeyebookslogo

    • They have the most beautiful, vivid and original illustrations/designs
    • Their books are full of fun, educational and entertaining content
    • Their books have great endpapers making them a visual treat to look at from beginning to end
    • Their books are so gorgeous they don’t have book cover jackets (at least I’ve never seen one of their books covered with a jacket)
    • The quality of their books is exceptional: well-bound with durable hardcovers and thick paper that can handle lots of kid-handling and page turning
    • They are active in supporting communities and schools

    Flying Eye Books has published an array of stunning and innovative and award-winning titles from picture books to illustrated biographies.  One of my son’s favorite’s is Tough Guys Have Feelings Too by Keith Negly.  Negly is a nationally recognized editorial and children’s book illustrator with 15 years experience working for major newspapers, magazines and publishers.  Tough Guys is his debut children’s book.

    10-07-15_ToughGuysHaveFeelingsToo_cover.indd

    The first few times the kids and I read Tough Guys their first reaction was laughter.  They laughed at some of the guys shown falling in the book like the cowboy being thrown from the back of a horse.  However, now when we read it they always ask me why each of the guys are crying.  They want to know the story behind each of the men’s sadness.  They notice things like the astronaut holding a picture of his family and guess he must be sad because he misses them.  They see the tattooed motorcycle rider crying beside the dead body of a squirrel in the road.  It’s amazing to see the connections they now make with this book and have a deeper understanding of it.

    toughguys1
    I try my best to explain to the kids that it’s OK to cry and show emotions – even for big, tough guys.  I love how this book with its short, but poignant text gives us a chance to empathize with grown men who are seldom shown crying.  As my son gets older I’ll be sure to read this book with him often as I know he’ll likely be influenced by my husband and others not to cry or as my husband says, “Be a man…man up!”  While I don’t want my son to be seen as a “punk” I do want him to know it’s OK to cry sometimes even if he only does it in my presence or when he’s alone.

    Overall, I think Tough Guys is a winner!  It’s a wonderful, simple and highly emotive book that allows little readers to explore feelings and emotions while addressing the macho male stereotype “real men don’t cry.”  A must-have for your child’s home library collection.

    Connect with Flying Eye Books!
    Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

    Your turn: What’s your favorite book published by Flying Eye Books?  Feel free to share in the comments.

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    book reviews, children's books, read aloud

    Return: The Journey Trilogy (A Book Review)

    Return by Aaron Becker
    return
    Publisher:  Candlewick
    Age Range:  4 – 8 years old
    Grade Level:  Preschool – 3
    Pages:  40
    Format:  Hardcover
    Available for Sale:  August 2, 2016

    Synopsis (from Amazon)
    Welcome the much-anticipated finale of Caldecott Honoree Aaron Becker’s wordless trilogy—a spectacular, emotionally satisfying story that brings its adventurer home.

    Failing to get the attention of her busy father, a lonely girl turns back to a fantastic world for friendship and adventure. It’s her third journey into the enticing realm of kings and emperors, castles and canals, exotic creatures and enchanting landscapes. This time, it will take something truly powerful to persuade her to return home, as a gripping backstory is revealed that will hold readers in its thrall. Caldecott Honor winner Aaron Becker delivers a suspenseful and moving climax to his wordless trilogy, an epic that began with the award-winning Journey and continued with the celebrated follow-up Quest.

    Reflection
    Journey was one of the first wordless books I ever read with my kids when the first book in this amazing trilogy was released.  We then read the second book Quest in 2014 and have been anxiously awaiting the release of Return ever since.

    We were lucky enough to receive an autographed copy of Return which was a pleasant surprise.  As if this book wasn’t gorgeous enough already, having a signed copy from Aaron Becker makes it even more beautiful and special to me!

    Before I give my thoughts on the book Return, let me first provide a brief overview of the first two books in this series.  Journey tells the story of a bored little girl who went to a magical place through a red door that she drew on the wall in her room with a red crayon.  The book ends with the girl finding a friend.  It’s a beautiful wordless picture book with amazing drawings to capture any little readers’ imagination.

    Quest, the second book in the series, starts off where Journey ends. The boy and girl find themselves with a King who hands them something very important for their quest: a colored map.  The children unravel a very colorful mystery as they venture to rescue the King.

    returnaaronbecker


    Just as I suspected, Return did not disappoint!  It’s just as good as the first two books.  This time the young protagonist is at home and she’s bored again so she decides to leave and go through the magical red door.  Noticing that his daughter is gone, the girl’s father decides to follow her to see where she went.  Off they both go into a colorful world filled with kings, castles, canals and exotic creatures.  Oh my!

    Having been there two times before, the little girl understands the magical world a lot better this time as she and her father navigate their way through it.  The father seems to be amazed by the wonder and curiosity of this beautiful place.  Who wouldn’t be?  The illustrations are stunning and the story is so compelling it sucks you right in.  I’m not going to spoil how it ends you’ll just have to read it and see for yourself.

    return

    We loved this fantastic book filled with themes of adventure, fantasy, imagination, family and friendship.  The kids and I enjoy narrating the story each time in our own words.  It’s so interesting how with each reading we seem to notice something new that we never did before.  I think that’s what makes wordless books so great.  They provide opportunities for readers both young and old to engage more fully in recognizing the tiniest of details that make up a story.  Be sure to check out Return when it’s available along with the other two books in this series if you haven’t already done so.  I hope you enjoy this wordless beauty as much as we did!

    Your turn:  Did you read the first two books in this series?  What’s your favorite thing about “reading” wordless books with your kids?  Feel free to share in the comments.

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    book reviews, children's books, read aloud

    Mary Had a Little Glam (A Book Review)

    Mary Had a Little Glam by Tammi Sauer, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton
    maryhadalittleglam
    Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books
    Pages: 32
    Age Range: 3 – 7 years old
    Grade Level: Preschool – 2
    Format: Hardcover
    Available for Sale: August 2, 2016

    Synopsis (from Amazon)
    This little Mary has STYLE! In this fun take on Mother Goose, fashion-forward Mary helps some of childhood’s most beloved characters go glam. From the kid who lives in a shoe (and dons some fab footwear, too) to Jack, who breaks his crown but gets a great new one, Mary’s school friends look fantastic in their finery. But are they now too well dressed for recess? Not to worry—Mary always shows her flair for what to wear!

    Reflection
    Move over Fancy Nancy and Pinkalicious, there’s a new girl in town.  Mary is her name and fashion is her game!

    “Mary had a little glam that grew into a lot.  And everywhere that Mary went, she wasn’t hard to spot.”

    maryhadalittleglam3

    In this adorable book, Mary helps some of childhood’s most beloved characters go glam!  It’s the first day of school at Mother Goose Elementary School and Mary tells her mom she “must accessorize”!  Much to her surprise, when she arrives in her class she sees all of her nursery rhyme friends like Little Boy Blue, Georgie Porgie and Little Bo Peep looking glam-less from head to toe.  Quick on her feet, Mary steps in and starts offering fashion tips from fabulous footwear for the kid who lives in a shoe, to a new stylish crown for Jack.  But when it’s time for recess, they realize they have one problem…they’re way too overdressed to play.  Don’t worry – Mary is the queen of accessorizing and she always knows what to wear.

    maryhadalittleglam2
    The kids and I absolutely adore this book…it’s such a fun rhyming book.  Mary is the cutest little fashionista I’ve ever seen in a children’s book!  Toting her little lamb purse and donning her pink sunglasses with matching outfit, Mary is ready for the first day of school.  I love how she takes control of the situation and starts dressing everyone up.  Even the teacher, principal and classroom pet get head-to-toe glam makeovers!  From pink feather boas to gowns and crowns it’s an accessorizing extravaganza.

    This book was illustrated by one of my favorite illustrators, Vanessa Brantley-Newtwon.  Vanessa can seriously do no wrong!  I love all of the bright and cheerful colors she used, the diversity in the characters and her outstanding attention to detail.

    maryhadalittleglam1

    The overall message of “less is more” at the end just seals the deal for me.  While I LOVE little Mary’s sense of style, I appreciate the fact that the author showed girls there is a time to dress up and be fancy, but there is also a time to play and have fun.  It’s ok to get a little dirty every once in a while.  You can still look cute and let your true natural beauty shine through.  I think it’s so important to teach little girls things like this because a majority of the world still defines natural beauty based on physical traits only: perfect skin, straight teeth, straight hair, skinny body.  Mary teaches us that while true glamour often calls for lots, sometimes less is more.  Natural beauty is derived from within and exudes from your soul, transforming you into a brighter, lovelier and kinder person than anything material or physical can ever do.

    This playful story adds a whole new flair to our favorite Mother Goose rhymes and teaches children about real glamour and true natural beauty.  Two snaps up with a twist for Mary…a winner!  A must-have book for fashion-forward little readers everywhere.

    About the Author
    Tammi Sauer is a former teacher and library media specialist who is highly involved in the children’s book community.  Her picture books include: Your Alien, Cowboy Camp, Chicken Dance, Bawk & Roll, and The Twelve Days of Christmas in Oklahoma.  Tammi lives in Edmond, Oklahoma.  Connect with Tammi at her website or on Twitter.

    About the Illustrator
    Vanessa Brantley-Newton is a self-taught illustrator who has worked on over 30 books.  She’s the author and illustrator of Let Freedom Sing and Don’t Let Auntie Mabel Bless the Table, and is the illustrator behind One Love and Every Little Thing written by Bob & Cedella Marley, and Presenting Tallulah, written by Tori Spelling.  Vanessa lives in Charlotte, NC.

    Your turn: Are you looking forward to reading this book with your little fashionista(s)?  Feel free to share in the comments.

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    family fun, literary road trip series

    Literary Road Trip Series: Our Trip to Edaville USA!

    Disclaimer:  We received complimentary passes to go to Edaville USA in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

    My family and I recently had the opportunity to go to Edaville USA in Carver, Massachusetts.  Since it’s about a 2.5 hour drive, we decided to spend the weekend in the area which turned out to be a great idea given the 4th of July holiday traffic.

    As you may know, this summer the kids and I have been traveling to different literary destinations (mixed in with a little family fun).  While Edaville has little to do with books or reading, it certainly covers the family fun component.  This amusement park allows you to enter a world of imagination and wonder where both the young – and the young at heart – can discover the magic of Thomas & Friends.

    EDAVILLE USA

    Thomas Land theme park covers 11.5 acres within Edaville USA, bringing the Island of Sodor to life in a lush New England landscape. Families can visit iconic destinations including Knapford Station and Tidmouth Sheds and enjoy 11 themed rides featuring favorite characters like Cranky the Crane, Harold the Helicopter, and more!  Edaville also offers special events throughout the year, including Hello Kitty, Curious George, Pete the Cat, Superheroes & Princesses, Pumpkins AGLOW just to name a few.  It’s the perfect family-friendly destination for your train loving kiddos!
    EdavilleUSA

    When we arrived at the park we were expecting it to be packed since it was a holiday weekend.  However, we were pleasantly surprised to see it wasn’t too crowded at all.  We found a parking spot fairly quickly right in the front three rows.  As soon as we enter the park, there is a carousel ride off to your left so expect your kids to want to ride like mine did.  Also in the park entrance there is a huge pond where kids can try to catch their own fish.  Currently, there is another portion of the front entrance that is under construction.  It looks like it’s going to be really cute once it’s completed.  We saw a sign posted on the way out that said it will be a Charles Dickens Village opening just in time for the Christmas holiday season!

    EdavilleUSA2

    There was also little to no wait time for each of the rides which was great because my kids are very impatient when it comes to waiting.  A majority of the rides are for kids, but there are some that my husband and I went on like the free fall which is always a fun time.  I love that everything in this park is clean & bright and the characters are instantly recognizable.  The kids loved seeing Gordon, James, Emily, and Percy all hanging out at Tidmouth Shed.

    The kids said their favorite part of the park was seeing Thomas the Train up close and personal.  Oh yeah, and I can’t forget the dinosaurs in Dino Land!  After walking around the entire park, my husband and I enjoyed going on the ride around the amusement park which lasted about 15-20 minutes.  The ride was just the right amount of time we needed to rest our tired feet before heading back out into the park with the kids again.

    EdavilleThomas

    For lunch we ate at the on-site Dockside Diner.  They had a variety of options to choose from like fresh salads, sandwiches personal sized pizzas and hot dogs.  On our way out of the park, I took a quick peek inside the gift shop.  I saw several trains & sets plus a host of other items sure to excite and entertain any train or Thomas enthusiast!

    Edaville is such a fun and family-friendly amusement park.  We can’t wait to go back next summer to enjoy the upcoming Pirate Adventure attraction, Charles Dickens Village and water rides!

    After leaving the park we attempted to visit the Carver Public Library, but it closed early since it was Saturday.  It looks like a really nice library from the outside.

    PlymouthMA

    We also tried looking for some local book stores in the area, but couldn’t find one.  Therefore, when we opted for exploring the sights around the hotel we stayed at in Plymouth, MA which was just a short 25 minute drive from Edaville.  I was delighted to see the replication of the Mayflower II ship was located directly across the street from our hotel at Pilgrim Memorial State Park pier.

    The Mayflower II is a full-scale reproduction of the tall ship that brought the Pilgrims to Plymouth in 1620. Costumed role-players tell you about their perilous journey across the Atlantic, while modern guides speak about the fascinating history of Mayflower and Mayflower II.

    We also saw the nation’s oldest continuously operating public museum, Pilgrim Hall Museum.  The museum has an impressive collection of Pilgrim possessions telling the story of brave and determined men and women building lives and homes for themselves and their children in a new world.  So interesting!

    Overall, we had an amazing weekend in Massachusetts exploring Edaville and Plymouth! Put Edaville USA on your list of family-friendly destinations to visit this summer with your little readers and train enthusiasts!

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