Friday, January 30, 2009

Book of the Day: Roasted Peanuts by Tim Egan

Why I Love This Book:
Let's face it...some of us are simply not athletes. This was something I learned about myself very early on. Tried 'em all. Softball. Tennis. Basketball. Field Hockey. Swimming. Diving. Gymnastics. Track & field. Golf. I wasn't just average at any of these sports. I stunk, plain and simple.

The most difficult for me was softball and for some reason I stuck with it for 5 years. The ball scared the living daylights out of me. And the few times I did manage to catch it, my hand always hurt. I mean, really hurt. I couldn't bat either. The coach finally taught me how to bunt. Every outfield knew to move in close when I came to the plate. And the glasses with the safety strap didn't help either. I am Jackson in Roasted Peanuts, except that I couldn't throw either.


Peanuts! Get your peanuts! Peanuts here! Any child who has been to a professional baseball game has surely witnessed the peanut vendors, many of them fixtures at the ballpark long after the players have moved on to other teams or retired from the game. And Roasted Peanuts accurately portrays the valuable role a peanut vendor can play in the baseball experience.

While this endearing story is wonderful for every baseball enthusiast, do not let the theme pigeon-hole this book for a particular audience. The storyline applies to the many challenges a child will encounter in life, whether on the winning or losing end.

It begins with Sam and Jackson- best friends, baseball fans, and vastly different athletes. Sam hits every pitch out of the park and catches every ball that comes his way. And then there’s Jackson. He has an uncanny ability to throw a ball with accuracy (though not hard enough to pitch), but it does not override his inability to run fast, swing the bat, or field even the easiest of balls.

After try-outs, it comes as no surprise who makes the team, and who leaves in defeat with the sound of laughter still ringing in his ears. So the two pals part ways. Sam pursues his dreams of playing ball, but his performance tanks and he is heckled mercilessly on the field. Jackson, meanwhile, stagnates in his apartment, feeling sorry for himself all day long.

And so the primary lesson of this touching story unfolds, as the two friends figure out how to work as a team and succeed together using their unique yet complementary talents. Without giving away every last detail, just know that both Jackson and Sam come out shining in their own right.

Roasted Peanuts is such an enjoyable read for parents and children alike. The story is told in a refreshingly simple, non-preachy, matter-of-fact kind of way. For this reason, children as young as four can grasp the message and those as old as eight can relate to the challenges Jackson and Sam face and overcome.

Send a child Roasted Peanuts from The Lollipop Book Club

25 Things About Me

I am a Facebook junkie. When I should be cooking dinner or putting my kids to bed, I find myself engrossed in family vacation photos of a classmate from 1st grade. This past week, a new FB post has been spreading like wildfire. It's called "25 random things about me".

I have found it absolutely fascinating to read the quirky, interesting, and surprising tidbits about people I thought I knew pretty well. So I thought I would share my list with you as I start down this blogging journey.

(1) There are 1,000,000 other things I should be doing right now.

(2) I have an internet business and I compulsively check for new sales. If I received an order every time I looked, I'd be a rich woman.

(3) I am terribly afraid of heights, but only if I am not strapped in. I am fine with crossing bridges in the car, traveling on airplanes, and even riding roller coasters. But I can't walk on the second floor of the mall without hugging the wall. And forget about sky rides. Truth be told- I'm afraid I will jump.

(4) I always thought a cruise would make a nice vacation, but I have changed my mind in recent years. See #3.

(5) I spend 2 hours at the gym every day...but most of the time I work on the computer while my children play in Kids Club.

(6) I'm the daughter of a preacher, but I hardly ever go to church.

(7) If I ate as healthy as my children, I'd be 10 lbs. lighter, easy.

(8) I have had 1 manicure in my life- on my wedding day.

(9) Despite an inexcusable number of slips on my part, my 7 year old son believes he heard his first curse word the other day on the playground- whoopy ass.

(10) I mow the lawn (and it's pretty big) despite my husband's suggestion that we hire a service. Makes me feel better about #5.

(11) A massage is the ultimate indulgence for me, but unfortunately I am too ticklish to fully relax. Though one time when I was pregnant, I fell asleep and missed the whole thing.

(12) My husband is much more stylish than I am. I have an eye for good clothing & accessories, but I feel like it is too much work sometimes. Besides, my kids tend to ruin most of my nice things anyway, so why bother.

(13) I would have a few more kids if I was a few years younger- and if my husband was on board.

(14) After a number of decorating nightmares, I finally pulled together one room in my house that is magazine-worthy. Maybe one day I'll post a pic on FB.

(15) I don't worry about anything. I consider this to be one of my best traits.

(16) I often encourage my children to watch more television so that I can get work done.

(17) When I was 8, I walked to Holland Elementary and wrote Jason Lyons' name all over the pillars at the bus drop-off point. In chalk, fortunately. The next day he was called to the principal's office. This is my confession...I never told him or anyone else, but I felt bad for a long time.

(18) I truly believe our children inherited the best of us.

(19) My husband calls my car the ghetto mobile. It was a nice, new VW Passat that has, admittedly, seen better days. He has suggested a new car, but I refuse until the kids are less messy.

(20) My son told me the other day that he gets a headache in my car, but not in Daddy's. When I asked him why, he said it's because Daddy has rules and therefore his car is clean. "What rules?", I asked. He said, " No toys, no eating, no drinking, things like that." He will live to regret those words.

(21) I buy my sunglasses at the grocery store, and it seems like I replace them as often as I buy milk.

(22) If I won the lottery, there is not much I'd change about my life. And I wouldn't tell anybody, especially my children.

(23) I adore Neil Diamond.

(24) I am the worst athlete in the world. I played community softball for 5 years, and made the winning catch in a championship game. That is a moment I will never forget.

(25)When I was studying abroad in Spain, my 80-year old grandmother came to visit me. We laughed together for the entire week . That was the most memorable, worthwhile part of my experience.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Sweet Greetings

Welcome! I am so happy that you have found my blog. It is my goal to bring you all kinds of fun and useful information about children's books. Children's books are my passion and I spend a tremendous amount of time searching for the most entertaining, enlightening, and touching stories.

But let me back up a little bit. First and foremost I'm a mom of Daniel (7), Jack (5), and Katelyn (21 months) and am happily married to their wonderful father, Brian. I adore our busy, hectic, noisy lifestyle- wouldn't trade it for the world.

Up until my daughter was born, I worked in the corporate world of benefits management & consulting. These were 14 very educational years, and the business skills I learned are proving invaluable as I grow my own business- The Lollipop Book Club.

As I discover wonderful new children's books and resources in my business venture, I will share the information with you here!

Sweet Reading!
Karen Gallagher