Hi Friends! I’m Natalie Mason. I live in Charleston, SC and I am mom to Sterling 12 , Frances Moon 8 and our mini golden doodle Dolly.



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Children’s Book Review with Fran Hawk | Vol 3 School

Jul 19, 2015

Happy Sunday!  I am starting back up the children’s book review series with Fran Hawk.  Today Fran discusses books about kids and school which is perfect timing since school starts back in less than a month! 


“Take a Kiss to School” by Angela McAllister. Reassuring.

“Pirates Go to School” by Corinne Demas.  Funny.

“Spider School” by Francesca Simon.  Gently scary.     

The subject of school is endlessly interesting to children.  Authors for children are endlessly creative. That combination makes for a burgeoning genre of books about school.    

 Most books focus on the child who goes to school. What about the child who is left behind?  “Maple and Willow Apart” by Lori Nichols is the third book in the delightful “Willow” series.  Each of the books explores aspects of siblings and sisterhood for children ages 3 to 5. In this story, Maple is starting big-girl school. She comes home each day from kindergarten bursting with stories about her exciting class.     

Willow is playing alone at home for the first time in her life. She misses her sister and invents an interesting way to compensate for her absence. The sisters find a sweet middle ground that brings them close together again-especially on weekends.    

 Getting to school will be a special challenge for the child who dawdles. “Dilly Dally Daisy” by Mark Fearing is exactly the right book for children who are easily distracted from the immediate task at hand. Daisy knows that it’s important to be on time for the school bus. But she can’t brush her hair because she’s been using her hair brush as a paint brush. She decides to cover her hair with a hat, but it takes time to choose the absolute best hat. And she must move her stuffed animals to the window sill so that they can see her departure. Daisy is a cautionary tale. A hilarious cautionary tale.     

When you’re looking for books about school for children, I can almost guarantee that you’ll find the right book for the right child at the right time.

Fran Hawk

Big thanks to Fran!! Can’t wait to order a few of these books for Sterling!

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Children’s Book Review With Fran Hawk

Oct 5, 2014

 I am excited to announce a new series I will run on Sundays with reviews of children’s books.  I am such a book nerd and love sharing my joy of reading with the kids.  We have quite the book collection but I am always looking for new ones to add.

In comes Fran Hawk.  Fran Hawk is my sister in law’s mother in law (try that for tongue twister) and one of the smartest, sharpest women I know.  She is a literary genius.  She is an author and used to write a column for the newspaper here in Charleston.  I cant say enough great things about her.  She knows her books so I know you will all love her recommendations too!  

I will let Fran take it away!

 Are you bored witless by the picture books you read to young children?  Do you comb through the library and bookstore shelves looking for children’s books that are actually interesting? You are not alone!     I just finished wading through a stack of new publications.  Out of about 50 new books for children, I only found a handful that I could recommend with my conscience intact.  Why and/or how do so many blah books get published.  I don’t know.

Here are 4 of my favorites from the current crop:

 “Little Boo” by Stephen Wunderli is a gentle story for pre-schoolers about a pumpkin seed that wants to be scary.  It’s a challenge to add anything new to the slew of Halloween books already available, but “Little Boo” is original.  He has to wait through the seasons until he grows from a seed into a pumpkin.  As a jack o’ lantern, he is scary indeed.   

  “The Cat, the Dog, Little Red, the Exploding Eggs, the Wolf, and Grandma” by Diane and Christyan Fox is a new take on the familiar “Red Riding Hood” story for children ages 4-6.  As Cat tries to read the story aloud, Dog interrupts constantly.  He wants a plot filled with superheroes and special powers.  He questions motives and makes suggestions to “improve” the tale.  Hilarious!   

  “Hope Springs” by Eric Walters is a serious picture book for children ages 6-9.  It’s based on the true story of an orphanage in Kenya where drought threatened the lives of all living things.  This compelling book conveys the concepts of generosity and generosity of spirit in ways that deeply connect with children.    

 “Rags, Hero Dog of WW I: A True Story” by Margot Theis Raven is a riveting picture book written for children ages 6-10.  Rags is a stray little mutt who becomes a soldier’s best friend as World War I rages on French battlefields.  He courageously delivers messages from the front lines, and brings a bit of cheer to the fighting men.  Rags served in three major campaigns of WW I.  He saved many lives and was inducted in the Legion of Hero Dogs.     

These books are a start to banishing boring

.Fran Hawk

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Leave a Reply

  1. This is so neat, Natalie! Great idea, and I'm so excited to get some new reads for the kiddos! Thanks, Fran!

  2. kater says:

    Fantastic idea! I love getting recs for children's books as I've certainly purchased my fair share of duds. Off to order "Little boo" now!

  3. Ashley says:

    What a great idea! We are always looking for new book recs!

  4. The books you are recommending sounds really interesting, i will find them for my kid.

    Tenancy cleaning Fulham

  5. Caroline says:

    This is great! I am always looking for good, quality books for my son. And I think I know Fran…was she a librarian in Mt. Pleasant for a few years at an elementary school? Anywho, great series!! 🙂

  6. Aimee says:

    I love that you plan to make this a regular post! I am always on the lookout for fun/new books for my boys.

  7. fep516 says:

    You must get BJ Novak's (from The Office) new kids book – The Book with No Pictures. It is SO clever and my daughter just rolls with laughter every time I read it!