Posts Tagged “book review”

Historical Scenes Built With Legos

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While this post contains affiliate links, and a sample copy of Brick History was provided for the purpose of this review, the opinions expressed within are strictly my own. #Sponsored

Brick History Profile Pic


We love Lego building sets as much as the next family. We love history. So when given the opportunity to check out Brick History, featuring 50 of the most pivotal historic moments in time…yeah we got a little excited. The detail in these scenes is incredible and what’s really nice is that the author, Warren Elsmore, including smaller building projects with step by step directions/illustrations. This is a pretty cool way to get kids thinking about history or enhancing some Social Studies topics. In fact, as I write this review sitting at McDonald’s, a little boy approx 3 1/2 years old sits across from me, completely mesmerized with the pirate ship scene. The book comes with 2 tear out posters of Lego scenes… I can’t help but give them to him. 😉

Brick History Pic

There are 45 larger dioramas and 30 buildable projects to give you the best of both worlds. There are four chapters and an incredible introductory section that offers tips on building, cleaning and even photographing your Lego creations. Again, pretty cool. The chapters are outlined below as described in the press release March, 2016.

  • Prehistory and the Birth of Civilization—The Big Bang, the very first Olympic Games, and the Norman conquest of England
  • Renaissance and the Age of Empire—the invention of the Gutenberg Printing Press, the defeat of the Spanish Armada, and the Mayflower’s journey to America
  • 19th Century—the California Gold Rush, the abolition of slavery following the Civil War, and Alexander Graham Bell’s invention of the telephone
  • 20th Century and Beyond—the Wright brothers’ first flight, the sinking of the Titanic, Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, and the royal wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton

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Book Review: Baba Didi and the Godwits Fly

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Hardcover of Baba Didi and the Godwits Fly

We love doing book reviews especially when we come across a true gem with creative illustrations, a good story line and meaning beyond great characters.  Nicola Muir’s Baba Didi and the Godwits Fly is just that kinda of “gotta-share” book we like to bring to our readers.  We were provided a free copy of this book to review but the post is not compensated and the opinions that I’m about to share are in fact all mine.  Actually, just before typing this up, my daughter asked me to read her this story again before taking her nap… and I’m glad I obliged because once again it lifted my spirits and helps me to stay on track despite the continual distractions that surround me.

So here’s the deal, Baba Didi tells the story of the Godwit birds to her grand-daughter explaining that they represent something far more than a small brown bird on a long journey.  This story, as told as a light-hearted conversation between grandmother and grand-daughter, delivers a message of resilience, perseverance and overcoming adversity in away that children can understand.  In her explanation to Isabella, Baba Didi relates her own story of migration to this 18,000+ mile journey of the Godwits.

Illustrator, Annie Hayward, beautifully captured the little birds and their bigger message.  Love the colors through out and facial expressions on what appears to be canvas artwork.  Lovely!  My favorite illustration is that of a city with boats docked and airplanes in the sky, about 1/2 way through the book, where Ms. Hayward offers a peaceful greeting between sea and shore. My daughter took an extra long pause on the page illustrated by a Croatian immigrant family departing on a colorful boat and be waved off by another family on the shore.

Storytime with Baba Didi and Daddy

Additionally, we love a story that can showcase some geography without the boring lessons of “this is here and that is there”.  In this story children learn that the Godwit birds fly to and from places in Russia, Argentina, China and New Zealand. And while Baba Didi and the Godwits Fly doesn’t take you around the world with them, it does offer the opportunity for further discussion and exploration of these countries and cultures.

Suggestions to couple with the reading of Baba Didi and the Godwits Fly:

  • Create small paper Godwits and place on a globe or map highlighting places they migrate (Japan, Korea, US, New Zealand, Australia, China, Russia, Argentina).  Talk about which of these places you’ve been or learned about. What is something you’ve found special in your travels?
  • Draw one of these places from a “birds-eye” view.
  • Discuss why it is important to travel or learn about new places and cultures.
  • Have a few examples from your childhood or recent family experiences when you’ve (singular or plural as a family) had to overcome challenges.  When has your family had to overcome fear (a big move, a new job, a huge storm)? How did you plan for it, either before or after?  What lessons were learned?  Give examples for other challenges – since life is filled with big ones and lots of smaller ones too.  Examples might be a party canceled, major traffic delays, a missed flight or flat tire.  How did you cope with these setbacks?  What would be done differently?
  • Invite your children to a discussion by asking them when have they wanted to quit?  This will open doors to many follow up conversations and be sure to let them know that grownups too sometimes want to give up.  Here are my top 10 examples but see what your kids come up with and then as a family how you can support one another to make it the whole journey.
  1. losing a boardgame or sports game
  2. getting lost driving and wanting to turn around for home
  3. homework (includes book reports and finishing assigned book)
  4. fundraising (or saving for a big item when little splurges are tempting)
  5. exercise
  6. an art project not turning out like your vision
  7. running a race
  8. burnt cookies (or pot roast or cake or casserole or coffee or…)
  9. remodeling
  10. eating healthy

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