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Word Spelunking’s temporary hiatus is now permanent. All requests are closed and there will be no new content. Thank you to everyone I’ve worked with and everyone who has read and supported this blog. Y’all are awesome!!

Aeicha @ Word Spelunking

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Three New STEM Titles from National Geographic Kids

Y'all, today I am sharing three wonderful new STEM titles from National Geographic Kids! These fun, informative, and engaging books are full of awesome facts, gorgeous photographs, exciting illustrations, and more. Readers of all ages will have a blast exploring each of these titles!

Ultimate Space Atlas (ages 8-12) — Attention Space Lovers! Blast into space to explore our solar system and beyond. This out-of-this-world atlas takes readers through maps of the solar system, the Milky Way, and deep space, giving them a close look at and locations of planets, supernovas, and other universes. Sky maps will help kids spot these objects in the night sky and maps of planets and our solar system give the kind of incredible detail that National Geographic is known for. It's the perfect book for space fans and budding astronauts and a great pick to share with students for World Space Week (October 4-10, 2017).

Chomp! (ages 7-10) -- National Geographic Explorer and snake wrangler Dr. Brady Barr has been bitten by a lot of creatures over the years. So this book is born from first hand – er, tooth – experience of getting close to some of the biggest biters in the animal kingdom.  It turns out that there's a lot more to biting than meets the eye. Physical features and the how (and when and why) an animal bites reveals much about the animal itself. Chomp! highlights an array of awesome creatures with a diversity of chomp styles – from shredders and slicers to grippers and gulpers. Then it shows how tooth type, bite force, jaw shape, and food source all come to together to make each an incredible member of the animal bite force!

What Would Happen?: Serious Answers to Silly Questions (ages 8-12) -- Technology, physics, biology, engineering and even history all play a role when What Would Happen? poses some silly questions and answers them with thoroughly researched scenarios from experts in their fields.  What if you saw the world through the eyes of a dog? What if Earth suddenly stopped rotating? What if you never aged? What if you could teleport anywhere you wanted? What if you were raised by wolves? What if Neanderthals never went extinct? This out-of-the-box book cultivates a better understanding of the world as it is — and what it could be (zombie apocalypse, anyone?).  

**I received copies of the titles above for review purposes. All thoughts, opinions, and reviews are my own.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Beauty and the Beak Blog Tour (guest post & giveaway)

Welcome to Day #2 of the Beauty and the Beak Blog Tour!

To celebrate the release of Beauty and the Beak by Deborah Lee Rose and Janie VeltKamp (8/27/17), blogs across the web are featuring exclusive content from Deborah, plus 5 chances to win a copy of Beauty and the Beak!

Blog Tour Schedule:
August 29th — Word Spelunking
August 30th — Chat with Vera
August 31st  — Late Bloomer's Book Blog
September 1st — Living Simply

Deb Meets Beauty Up Close

While I was writing Beauty and the Beak with Janie, I travelled from California to Idaho to meet Beauty and Janie face to face. I had never seen seen a live bald eagle up close, only from a distance at the zoo or at a wildlife center. When Janie invited me to step right inside Beauty's own aviary, I was really nervous! Janie talked to Beauty while I was in there, so Beauty wouldn't be upset by my presence. Beauty looked straight at me the whole time. Bald eagles have an intense, piercing gaze—their vision is many times more powerful than a human's, so that when they hunt they can spot prey from high in the sky. Seeing Beauty so close, I better understood what a powerful hunter she must have been in the wild, and how devastating the damage to her beak truly was.

(PS—Janie is available to do Skype visits with schools, right from Beauty's own aviary!)

Buy: Persnickety Press
BEAUTY AND THE BEAK is a new, nonfiction picture book about Beauty, the wild bald eagle that made world news when she was illegally shot, rescued, and received a pioneering, 3D-printed prosthetic beak. BEAUTY AND THE BEAK follows Beauty close up from the moment she uses her baby beak to emerge from her egg, through her hunt when she uses her powerful adult beak to feed herself, to the day her beak is shot off leaving her helpless. This brave and heartlifting story continues through her rescue, into the months of engineering her 3D-printed prosthetic beak and intense hours of her beak surgery, to the moment she takes the first drink of water by herself with her new beak. BEAUTY AND THE BEAK captures the spirit and courage of this amazing bird and America’s national symbol―whose species was nearly wiped out by human activity, only to be restored and thriving because of environmental conservation and human compassion. This book will resonate with stories of other animals endangered or in need, and with stories of humans, from young children to military veterans, in need of prosthetic limbs, who are being given new lives with state-of-the-art devices. The book includes expanded information about bald eagles as a top predator species, their near extinction in most of the U.S., their successful reintroduction back into the wild, and efforts to conserve this critical raptor species today.
Deborah Lee Rose is an internationally published, award-winning author of many beloved children’s books. Jimmy the Joey: The True Story of an Amazing Koala Rescue is a Reading is Fundamental/Macy’s Multicultural Collection title and Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Students K-12. Into the A, B, Sea was named to the New York Public Library’s 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing. Deborah helped create and directed communications for the ALA/AASL award-winning national STEM education website, and helped created STEM activity apps for Lawrence Hall of Science which have been downloaded more than one million times. She also served as Director of Communications for Lindsay Wildlife Experience, which includes one of the first wildlife rehabilitation hospitals established in the U.S. Deborah lives in Walnut Creek, CA, and speaks at book events, conferences, schools and libraries across the country. Visit her website at deborahleerose.comFollow Deborah: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Jane Veltkamp is a raptor biologist and rehabilitator, wildlife educator, trained nurse, and master falconer. She led the team who developed Beauty the Bald Eagle’s prosthetic beak and has lifetime care of Beauty. Jane is founder and executive director of Birds of Prey Northwest, in Idaho, a raptor center which educates the public about raptor conservation, including through live raptor programs, and has provided medical treatment and rehabilitation to thousands of injured birds of prey to return them to the wild. She spent ten years of her career reintroducing ospreys and peregrine falcons to regions where they had disappeared from their habitat in South Dakota and Indiana. She rescues and cares for Bald Eagles, including Beauty, by permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Jane lives near Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, and is also the eagle expert for the Coeur d'Alene Tribe's Native American Aviaries. Visit her website at birdsofpreynorthwest.orgFollow Janie: Website;| Facebook

Persnickety Press is the sister imprint of the Cornell Lab Publishing Group. Persnickety publishes a broad range of books for children and young adults, both fiction and nonfiction, from picture books through teen titles. Our books focus on empowerment, showing young people that what they do matters, what they care about is worthy of their attention and dedication, and even as children, they can make a real difference. 

One (1) winner will receive a copy of 
Beauty and the Beak!
-US only
-ends 9/4/17 at 12 am ET
-winner will be emailed and must claim prize within 48 hours
-Word Spelunking is not responsible for lost, damaged, stolen prizes in mail
fill out Rafflecopter form to enter:
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Uni the Unicorn and the Dream Come True Blog Tour (picture book review)

Uni the Unicorn and the Dream Come True
(Uni the Unicorn #2)
By Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Illustrated by Brigette Barrager
August 29, 2017
Random House BFYR
Source: from pub for review
Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Brigette Barrager reunite to bring us a sparkly, magical sequel to Uni the Unicorn!

The Land of Unicorns is in trouble -- it has been raining and raining for what seems like forever. This is a big problem because there are only three ways that unicorns can get their magic: from the golden sun, from magnificent rainbows, and from the sparkle of believing.

Luckily, Uni the Unicorn has always always always believed...that little girls are REAL. Join this very special unicorn and the little girl who believes right back as they finally meet and work together to save a magical land and all who live there!

Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Brigette Barrager reunite to revive this world glowing with possibility and hope that is the stuff of childhood fantasies.

It’s been raining for days in the land of unicorns, which means no sun, no rainbows, and no sparkly magic. But Uni, a very special unicorn, believes that little girls are REAL and knows of one special little girl who just may be able to help...and when that special little girl and that special unicorn make a wish at the same time, they’re magically brought together and set out to help the other unicorns stops the rain and bring magic back to their land.

The late, great, and beloved author Amy Krouse Rosenthal has left behind another enchanting, exciting, and engaging story about Uni the Unicorn! Uni the Unicorn and the Dream Come True is told through perfectly simple and charming text, as Rosenthal weaves a fantastical and fanciful tale bursting with imagination, magic, and sweetness. Little readers will be dazzled by the world of unicorns and love seeing this world go from dreary and rainy to sunshiney once again!

Brigette Barrager’s bright, gorgeously colored illustrations bring this fairytale-esque world to life beautifully! With a dreamy and sparkly color palette, wondrous scenes, and adorable characters, the illustrations in this book will captivate the imaginations of little readers.

Fun from beginning to end, with a fantastical story and marvelous illustrations, Uni the Unicorn! Uni the Unicorn and the Dream Come True is sure to charm readers of all ages!

AMY KROUSE ROSENTHAL is the author of lots of books for children (such as That’s Me Loving You, Al Pha’s Bet, On the Spot, and Uni the Unicorn) and some books for grown-ups (like Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life). You can find more about Amy’s books online at

BRIGETTE BARRAGER graduated from CalArts with a BFA in character animation in 2007. She likes tea and books and general old lady-ish stuff, and hates when people’s toes hang over the edge of their sandals. Visit her at

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The World's Greatest Adventure Machine Blog Tour (guest post & two giveaways)

Welcome to Day #3 of The World's Greatest Adventure Machine Blog Tour!

To celebrate the release of The World's Greatest Adventure Machine by Frank L. Cole (8/8/17), blogs across the web are featuring exclusive content from Frank and 10 chances to win a copy of Adventure Machine, as well as theme park tickets in the Grand Prize Giveaway!

An adventure novel about four lucky kids and a mysterious, but thrilling ride for fans of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or Jurassic Park! CastleCorp and the famous Castleton brothers are unveiling the World’s Greatest Adventure Machine! The roller coaster is an experience like no other, and four lucky kids have won the chance to be the first to ride it. There’s Trevor, whose latest stunt got him in trouble at school again. There’s Devin, whose father is pushing him to be the next Internet sensation. Nika’s wealthy grandfather isn’t too pleased about her participation. And Cameron, he’ll be the first to tell you, is a certified genius. The whole world is watching. But as the kids set off on their journey, they begin to realize that there is perhaps more to their fellow contest winners than meets the eye. And the Adventure Machine? It might just have a mind of its own. Join the contestants on their wild ride if you dare. Your adventure starts now!

Add on Goodreads

Favorite Theme Park Memory
by Frank L. Cole

My favorite memory would have to be the time Heidi (my wife) and I just decided out of the blue to take a weeklong trip to Disney World when we were still newlyweds. That was over 16 years ago, but I still consider it one of my favorite vacations of all time. We were young and excited and this was a big trip to plan when we rarely did anything crazy. I had expected the park to be swarmed with guests, because it was early May, but the place was all but empty. I’ve never seen The Magic Kingdom so barren of people. It felt as though they had opened everything just for us. We walked onto every ride without waiting more than a couple of minutes at the most. They even allowed us to stay on and ride again if we wanted because there was no one in line. We spent a lot of money on food and treats and souvenirs. Money well spent! We had enough time to slowly wander Main Street and The Living World at The Epcot Center and learn about things we never would have had the place been packed. It truly was magical seeing the characters walking around and having time to take pictures with them. I’ve since been back to Disney Parks seven or eight times over the years and they have always been beyond packed. It’s still amazing and I love the environment there, but we’ve constantly been rushed and I compare every experience I have to that first one when Heidi and I strolled alone through The Magic Kingdom. Nothing ever lives up to it.

FRANK L. COLE lives with his wife and three children out west. When not writing books, Frank enjoys going to the movies and traveling. The World’s Greatest Adventure Machine is Frank’s ninth published book and his second with Delacorte Press. His first was The Afterlife Academy. You can learn more about his writing at or find @franklcole on Twitter. 
Follow FrankWebsite | Twitter | Facebook

Blog Tour Schedule:
August 14th — BookhoundsYA August 15th — Good Choice Reading
August 16th— Word Spelunking August 17th — Life Naturally
August 18th — A Dream Within a Dream August 21st— Reading Teen
August 22nd — Crossroad Reviews August 23rd — Novel Novice August 24th — YA and Kids Books Central August 25th — Once Upon a Twilight

(there are two giveaways, so be sure to fill out each Rafflecopter form to enter both giveaways)

Win a copy of  
The World's Greatest Adventure Machine!
I have one copy for one winner.
-US only
-ends 8/25/17
-winner will be emailed and must claim prize within 48 hours
-word spelunking is not responsible for lost, damaged, or stolen prizes in the mail
Fill out Raffecopter form to enter:
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  • One (1) winner will receive a copy of The World's Greatest Adventure Machine and a set of two theme park tickets to the park of your choice (up to $125)
  • US Only
  • Enter via the rafflecopter below
  • Giveaway ends 8/27 at midnight ET
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Friday, August 11, 2017

Spotlight and Giveaway: the middle-grade 100 Dresses Series by Susan Maupin Schmid

I'm excited to be spotlighting and giving away Susan Maupin Schmid's middle-grade series 100 Dresses...

If The Magic Fits
(100 Dresses #1)
by Susan Maupin Schmid
October 25, 2016
Random House BFYR

Inside an enchanted castle, there’s a closet—a closet with one hundred dresses that nobody ever wears. Dresses like those need a good trying-on, and Darling Dimple is just the girl to do it. When she tries on Dress Number Eleven, something unbelievable happens. She transforms into the castle’s Head Scrubber! It turns out that each dress can disguise her as someone else. And Darling is about to have an adventure that calls for a disguise or two…or a hundred.

Ghost of a Chance
(100 Dresses #2)
by Susan Maupin Schmid
July 25, 2017
Random House BFYR

Inside an enchanted castle, there’s a closet—a closet with one hundred magical dresses that only Darling Dimple can wear.Each one disguises her as somebody else.
It turns out that Darling needs disguises. A thief is on the loose! Someone is causing an uproar among the servants—moving things around, stealing clothes from the laundry, and even pocketing Princess Mariposa’s jewels. Then Darling and her friend Roger think they spot a ghost roaming the halls. Could the culprit be a spirit? Can Darling and Roger get to the bottom of it all? With the help of the one hundred dresses, there just might be a ghost of a chance.

Praise for 100 Dresses
“A cheery start to a new series, this fairy-tale-style fantasy will brighten the cloudiest of days.” —Kirkus Reviews
A spunky and lively narrator, Darling Dimple is easy to love.” —School Library Journal
“A charming new fairy tale! Readers won’t want this adventure to end!” —Jessica Day George, New York Times bestselling author of Tuesdays at the Castle

Susan Maupin Schmid is the author of 100 Dresses: If the Magic Fits. She grew up next to a cemetery. She never saw a single ghost. Not one. But she did have a favorite tombstone: Princetta Blakely’s sparkly black granite monument. Susan liked to imagine what life would be like with such an amazing name. And she read books. So many that she exasperated her local librarian. When her parents built a summer home by a lake, she pocketed a library card at that library. Through the years, Susan has continued to read, imagine, and collect library cards. To find out more, visit and follow her on Twitter at @maupinschmid

Win both books in the 100 Dresses series!
Susan has generously offered a paperback copy of If The Magic Fits and a copy of Ghost of A Chance, for three winners.
-US only
-ends 8/20/17
-three winners will each get both books
-must follow Susan on Twitter to enter
-winners will be emailed and must claim prize within 48 hours
-word spelunking is not responsible for lost, damaged, stolen prizes in the mail
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Back To School Reading: Books For All Ages

Back to school time is just around the corner and I have a fantastic list of books, for all ages, to share today...

From National Geographic Kids

Weird but True! Daily Planner: 365 Days to Fill with School, Sports, Friends and Fun (ages 8-12, $12.99) - Nat Geo Kids has made getting organized for school FUN and injects some creative thinking into the process, too!  In the planner, each day of the school year is peppered with weird-but-true facts.  Turn the pages and write the class schedule for the year, record school work, keep track of activities, and plan social time, all while learning wild things about the world around them. Fun writing prompts invite students to celebrate weirdness and hone their writing skills at the same time. Plus there are homework help sections, useful distance, volume, weight and multiplication charts and tons of space to write or doodle their daily schedule any way they wish. With beautiful full-color artwork and engaging information and activities, this is the must-have planner for the 2017/2018 school year. Spiral bound and durable, it will last until the final school bell rings in June.  

National Geographic Kids United States Atlas, 5th Edition (ages 8-12, $12.99) - This is THE gold standard of atlases and a must-have reference for home or school.  Featuring more than 75 maps, over 350 color images, lively photo essays, and an easy-to-use place-name index, National Geographic ’s world-renowned cartographers have paired up with education experts to create an unparalleled resource of information about the United States.  Kids will discover the latest data and trends regarding land and water, people and places and eight socially themed maps on nature, population, energy and fire delve deeper into key issues.  

Picture Books

Kim Krans’s stunning picture book WHOSE MOON IS THAT? addresses the question: do any of us “own” nature?
When a curious cat asks the question, "Whose moon is that?", a panoply of animals try to stake their claim. The wolf, the owl, and the starry sky all have their reasons, but the moon ultimately answers for herself -- her light is meant to be shared by everyone. The stunning ink-and-watercolor illustrations beautifully illuminate this simple exploration of our relationship to the world around us and our place in it.
(Random House BFYR | Ages 3-7 | On sale August 1, 2017)

Veteran children’s author Margery Cuyler and illustrator Will Terry deliver a true bone-ified friendship story in BONAPARTE FALLS APART.
Young skeleton Bonaparte was having a tough time just hanging loose when he couldn't keep hold of himself. When he plays catch, his throwing arm literally takes a flyer. Eating lunch can be a real jaw-dropping occasion. How can he start school when he has so many screws loose? Friends Franky Stein, Black Widow, and Mummicula all have some bone-headed ideas to help, but it takes a skeleton's best friend—a dog named Mandible—to retrieve Bonaparte's missing confidence.
(Crown BFYR | Ages 3-7 | On sale August 15, 2017).
Penny Parker Klostermann and Ben Mantle offer a fun fractured fairy tale about an aspiring chef who mistakenly turns story ingredients into delectable dishes in A COOKED-UP FAIRY TALE.
William doesn't quite fit in in the magical land of fairy tales. He'd rather poach pears than pursue princesses, and values gnocchi over knighthood. When he stumbles on a delivery of food destined for Fairy Tale Headquarters, (a pumpkin, an apple, and a few measly beans), he decides to spice things up and whips the paltry ingredients into delectable dishes. But as you might have guessed, Snow White doesn't exactly need her magic apple baked and drizzled with caramel. The team that brought you There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight delivers a hilarious fractured, whipped, and souffled fairy tale that is chock-full of delicious details and jokes to satisfy every appetite!
(Random House BFYR | Ages 3-7 | On sale September 5, 2017).
Acclaimed illustrator Bob Staake brings us an emotionally rich picture book about a character who discovers that the search for knowledge is more important than knowledge itself in THE BOOK OF GOLD.
Young Isaac Gutenberg isn't a curious boy . . . that is, until he meets an old shopkeeper who tells him about The Book of Gold, a special book, hidden somewhere in the world, that turns to solid gold when opened. Isaac is determined to find the book—it will make him rich! He opens many books in his search, and quickly closes them when they don't turn to gold. But when a glance at a page makes a question pop into his mind, everything changes, and he begins reading every word. This sweeping picture book asks important questions: Is searching for knowledge better than having it? How important is curiosity? And what makes a life meaningful?
(Schwartz & Wade | Ages 4-8 years | On sale September 12, 2017)

Shake, wiggle, and tickle the monster out of this book--an interactive bedtime read-aloud by a YouTube star, musician, and children's book author!

With the irresistible pull of Herve Tullet's Press Here and the charm of The Monster at the End of This Book, Tom Fletcher's inviting interactive read-aloud will have kids tilting, spinning, and shaking the book to get the adorable little monster out! That's right! He's out of the book . . . and in their room somewhere. Uh-oh!!
The co-author of the Dinosaur That Pooped series has created a monster that readers will fall in love with--and want to play with--again and again! It will get your own little monster tuckered out and snuggled in!
Tom Fletcher has a huge social-media presence, with over a million followers on Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. His videos "Buzz and the Dandelions" and "My Wedding Speech" went viral and have been viewed tens of millions of times all over the world.

(Random House BFYR | Ages 3-7 years | On sale September 5, 2017)

A beautifully illustrated picture book about Barbie--the most famous doll in the world--and her visionary creator, Ruth Handler.

After noticing how her daughter played with "grown-up" paper dolls, Ruth Handler wanted to create a doll that would inspire little girls to use their huge imaginations and big dreams about their futures. While others told her it wasn't possible, Ruth Handler proved them all wrong by creating the most famous doll ever. This beautiful hardcover picture book will inspire children ages 3 to 7 to believe that anything is possible--especially with Barbie!

Since 1959, Barbie has shown girls that they can live their dreams. From an astronaut to a chef to a president, she knows that girls can do anything!

(Random House BFYR | Ages 4-8 years | On sale September 5, 2017)

Goodnight moon,
goodnight sun.
Goodnight, goodnight,
to everyone

Every child is getting ready for bed. But children aren't the only ones who go to sleep at night--so do plants, animals, and everything else. It's time to say goodnight to the world!

This gentle, rhyming book with soft, beautiful illustrations is perfect for snuggling up with at bedtime.

(Bloomsbury USA Children’s | Ages 3-7 years | On sale August 15, 2017)

When the news reports are flooded with tales of hatred and fear, a girl asks her papa what she can do to make the world a better place. "Come with me," he says. Hand-in-hand, they walk to the subway, tipping their hats to those they meet. The next day, the girl asks her mama what she can do--her mama says, "Come with me," and together they set out for the grocery, because one person doesn't represent an entire race or the people of a land. After dinner that night, the little girl asks if she can do something of her own--walk the dog . . . and her parents let her go. "Come with me," the girl tells the boy across the hall. Walking together, one step at a time, the girl and the boy begin to see that as small and insignificant as their part may seem, it matters to the world.

(G.P. Putnam’s | Ages 5-8 years | On sale September 5, 2017)


Think fast with A.J. and Andrea from My Weird School!
Did you know that the planet Jupiter has at least fifty moons? Did you know that Albert Einstein’s brain was stolen after he died?!
Learn more weird-but-true science facts with A.J. and Andrea from Dan Gutman’s bestselling My Weird School series. This all-new series of nonfiction books features hundreds of hysterical facts, plus lots of photos and illustrations.
Whether you’re a kid who wants to learn more about science or simply someone who wants to know how many million times the earth could fit into the sun, this is the book for you!
With more than 11 million books sold, the My Weird School series really gets kids reading!
(Harper Collins | Ages 6-10 years | On sale July 20, 2017)

Think fast with A.J. and Andrea from My Weird School!

Did you know that the word “independence” never appears in the Declaration of Independence? Did you know that soldiers in World War I collected thousands of glowworms in jars to help them see at night?!

Learn more weird-but-true U.S. history facts with A.J. and Andrea from Dan Gutman’s bestselling My Weird School series. This all-new series of nonfiction books features hundreds of hysterical facts, plus lots of photos and illustrations.

Whether you're a kid who wants to learn more about our country's history or simply someone who wants to know how many Americans are involved in toilet-related injuries each year, this is the book for you!

With more than 11 million books sold, the My Weird School series really gets kids reading!

(Harper Collins | Ages 6-10 years | On sale July 20, 2017)

With more than 11 million books sold, the My Weird School series really gets kids reading!

In this eighth book in the new My Weirdest School series, it s Grandparents Day at Ella Mentry School! Alexia s grandmother Mrs. Master makes weird inventions for a living, but A.J. and the gang come up with the weirdest invention of all. And they re going to make a bazillion dollars from it! Will they succeed? Or will their great big idea be flushed down the drain?

Perfect for reluctant readers and word lovers alike, Dan Gutman s hugely popular My Weird School chapter book series has something for everyone. Don t miss the hilarious adventures of A.J. and the gang!

(Harper Collins | Ages 6-10 years | On sale June 20, 2017)

*I received copies of the books above for review and promo purposes. All reviews, thoughts, and opinions are my own.