January/February Book Subscription Boxes – Kids & Middle Grade

Lately I’ve been trying random book subscription boxes just to try to figure out which one I want to get on a regular basis. For January/February, I tried the following two boxes:

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This first box was the January Book Drop subscription. I picked the middle grade option, although I was torn between that and the young adult option. This subscription box sends you one book per month (along with a card about the book and little extras like bookmarks) and is pretty cheap (about $10 including S&H for this shipment). The Book Drop is run by an independent bookstore, which makes buying it even better since I like to support small businesses.

The book they sent this month was Winterhouse by Ben Guterson. I really enjoyed this mystery novel! The main character is a book nerd and loves to do puzzles, just like me! I did figure out the plot of the book pretty early on though, so the mystery wasn’t all that hard for me.

Here is the second box I received, this one in early February:

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This box was from Kids Bookcase Club. It cost $9.99 plus S&H. You get three kids books a month. This was the 7-8 year old box. Out of the three books they sent, my favorite by far was Terrific by Jon Agee. This picture book is sarcastic and hilarious! I love the grumpy old man who is the main character! The Very Fairy Princess was a cute picture book, but not exactly my taste. The Animal Planet Dolphin Rescue book was a young reader chapter book and it was cute and interesting, but obviously a simple read. For next month’s box, I decided to up the age to the preteen box to see what kind of middle grade books they send.

For the upcoming month I am also trying out the Scribbler subscription box for writers and the SpearCraft Book Box (which comes with all kinds of cool reader goodies)! So stay tuned!!!

Two Children’s Books Perfect for the Holiday Season

Since the holiday season is rapidly approaching, I am going to feature two holiday books geared for children today. Both books are written by Pat and Jason Brannon, a mother and son team who obviously have a great passion for telling children’s stories. So without further ado…on to the books!

 Our first featured book today is a storybook that is perfect for beginning readers. With large print and easy-to-read vocabulary, “Snowman War” (co-written by Jason and Pat Brannon) is a funny, enjoyable story for kids who are still learning to master the art of reading.

The theme of “Snowman War” is based around a long-standing feud going on between the Frost Family and the Winter Clan, both of which are families composed entirely of snowmen and snowwomen. When the fight gets serious, things get funny fast! I loved all the snowman banter and namecalling and am sure children will be giggling out loud as they read this tale.

However, this is not just a story full of fluff and humor. The ending makes a great point about the importance of seeing past our differences and learning to work together for the ultimate good of all. From beginning to end, this is a fun, rollicking tale full of action and humor, that still manages to impart some good old-fashioned values. A great pick for any family to share this holiday season!

 Our second featured book actually contains two stories, “The Year Santa Refused to Wear Red” (written by Pat Brannon) and “The Sound of Hope” (written by Jason Brannon).

The first story is summed up fairly well by the title. Santa gets tired of wearing red, so he decides to change his style and instead wear a fancy suit, cowboy boots and a cowboy hat. I must admit the idea of Santa dressing in such an outlandish fashion had me laughing as I pictured this new cowboy/business man image that Santa had created for himself. Of course, such a huge change to Santa’s image creates a great deal of controversy. Soon, Santa has to make a choice to either go back to his traditional look that everyone loves or to stick with his new style. Luckily, he makes a good choice that brings joy to everyone. This is a story that independent readers could enjoy over and over again whenever the holiday mood strikes.

The second story, “The Sound of Hope” is a creative, uplifting retelling of the Nativity story, told from the viewpoint of one of the donkeys in the stable where Jesus was born. Although I have read the traditional story of Christ’s birth many, many times, I found that the unique angle of this story brought a fresh perspective to the beautiful story that we may start to take for granted after hearing it for so many years. This is the kind of story I would highly recommend that a family sit down and read together around the Christmas tree or in front of the fireplace. It will surely spark some interesting conversation as it tells the old, old story in a way that will bring it alive for everyone, regardless of their age.

As you could probably tell, I really enjoyed both of these holiday books and hope you will check them out for yourself, especially if you have elementary-aged children. If you would like to find out more about these books or purchase a copy for yourself, please visit the “Books” page on Pat Brannon’s website (these two books are toward the bottom of the “books” page, so you will need to scroll down a bit).