Baby Frederico Thursday Reviews! – ‘I Am Abraham Lincoln’


*Every Thursday we introduce you to another quick bedtime story (or book review) from our family’s favorite resident reptile – Baby Frederico. His backstory can be found here.  Enjoy!

Baby Frederico loves his Momma Mia and Papá Frita, his buddy Grenelda the Grasshopper, blue crayons, popcorn and…books about Abraham Lincoln.  Here is something new:

April 10, 2014

Hi everyone,

Here is a brand new book, hot off the press, and by one of the coolest new children’s authors on the shelf – Brad Meltzer (he even signed his book for us).  My Papa Frita likes to watch his television show ‘Decoded’ on The History Channel; I like to read the great new series, Ordinary People Change the World, that he is now writing for reptilian (and human) readers like us!

So today, let’s make a list of all the great things I love about I Am Abraham Lincoln (2014, Penguin) with illustrations by the amazing (and former letterer for Marvel Comics!) Christopher Eliopoulos.  This is a book of history and helpers and heroes and friendship and politics and growing up…in just 38 short pages.

1.  There is nothing like a good book of words AND drawings, all in the same place. This book does that on EVERY page.

2.  There’s a turtle in this book, and you know how much I love small green animals.

3.  The book is written from the point of view of Abraham Lincoln as a little boy.

4.  Abe even gives us some ideas about how to deal with bullies.

5.  Abe tells us about how many times he failed before he was elected president of the United States.  My grandma always says, “If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.”  Abe must have had a grandma like mine!

6.  There is even a page of photographs from Abe’s real life.

7.  The most important part of the book is that it explains how one person can make a difference – one child, one adult.  I could even be a hero to someone!

I am learning that ordinary people can and do change the world.  Abe is a lot more like you than you might think.  If you’ll read this book, there is no telling what it will make you stand up for now….and when you grow up!

Reading is it,

Baby Frederico

‘Mercedes and the Chocolate Pilot’ – Tuesday’s Look at this Book!


* Every Tuesday we introduce you to a favorite book from our secret book room, and give you a unique “recipe for fun” this week over on our Book Cook page.


Today’s great book: Mercedes and the Chocolate Pilot written by Margot Theis Raven and illustrated by Gijsbert van Frankenbuyzen (2002, Sleeping Bear Press)

The Author’s Website:

The Illustrator’s Website:

Awards:  2003 Children’s Choice Award; IRA 2002 Midwest Independent Publisher Merit Award; and the 2004-05 Children’s Crown Honor Award – 2004-05 Show me Award

Time to Read: we read it just before bed and it took about 10-15 minutes with a few extra minutes to talk about the history and read the epilogue.

Summary:  from the inside cover…A true story of the 1948 humanitarian rescue mission, the Berlin Airlift, and the candy that dropped from the sky…[The story of] a seven-year old girl named Mercedes who lived in West Berlin during the airlift and [Lt. Gail S. Halvorsen] who came to be known as the Chocolate Pilot.

Best Quote from the Book:  “The memory of this day would stay with her for the rest of her life.”

Our View:  This book is among our newest finds and is already a treasure in our book room.  This is a truly powerful tale of history and children that is beautifully illustrated.  It is not only a work of art, but of literary worth and will take your breath away as you read the conclusion of the story and hear what has since happened to each of the people in the story.  The girls and I read this book just before bedtime and it propelled us into a discussion of war and worry and children and life in difficult times.  It is also a glorious story of chocolate and the magic that it can work even in difficult times.  The heroes are plentiful in this wonderful book.

Remember to visit our Book Cook page for the recipe – Wild Blue Yonder Chocolate Cake!  – created by the kids for this particular book.

Historical Marker Ahead!

 Never throughout history has a man who lived a life of ease left a name worth remembering. – Theodore Roosevelt


Wiley Post

One of the great experiences of my life has been writing for a history publishing company out of Texas. Every couple of years I receive an assignment to travel to a small town or county somewhere in the U.S. and write a book about their history, as well as take photographs and do some interviews with a few of the area’s long-time residents.
The best part about this work is that I get to take my family along for the experience. Everyone gets involved as we scour dusty libraries and find historic old cemeteries. We visit famous landmarks and highlight all kinds of routes on half a dozen maps.
But the one thing that our youngest daughter has always enjoyed is locating historical markers. I know it sounds crazy, but something about finding these signs along the road really grabbed her attention when she was young and first started going with us on these trips. She was maybe 4 or 5 and would holler from her carseat, “Historical marker, historical marker” whenever she noticed one of those signs.
Today, the kids have a love for history that runs deep. They admire the wisdom that is inherent in the places and people that have inhabited the “long-ago” and are intrigued by the ways in which they are writing the history of their own lives.
And one day, the history that once intrigued them will be a history of their own.

‘The Butterfly’ – Look at THIS book!

* Every Tuesday we introduce you to a favorite book from our secret book room, and give you a unique “recipe for fun” this week over on our Book Cook page…


Today’s great book:  The Butterfly by Patricia Polacco (2000, Philomel)

Time to Read: a moving story of history and childhood captured in a children’s book for bedtime or anytime reading

Summary:  Publishers Weekly wrote, for ages 4-8, “Polacco continues to mine her family history, this time telling the story of an aunt’s childhood in wartime France. Young Monique doesn’t comprehend the brutality of the Nazis’ mission until the day three German soldiers find her admiring a butterfly…then grabs the butterfly and crushes it in his fist. The butterfly, or papillon as it is frequently called here, becomes for Monique a symbol of the Nazis’ victims. Her sympathies are quickly focused: one night Monique wakes up to discover a girl in her bedroom and learns that she and her parents, Jews, have been hiding for months in Monique’s house, protected by Monique’s mother. The girl, Sevrine, has been forbidden to leave the hiding place, so she and Monique meet secretly. Then a neighbor sees the two girls at the window one night, and Sevrine’s family must flee…”

Best Quote:  “They both watched as butterflies started to land on the dry stalks of faded flowers.  First there were three, then ten, then twenty and thirty.  Neighbors came out fo their cottages and peered over the wall in wonder.”

Our View:  I was stunned by this children’s book.  It is one of those books that you want everyone to know about and read.  I urge you to find it and read it with your family.  We read the first pages knowing very little about where the plot would take us, so each page was a treasure and a surprise and painful and wonderful and mysterious and ultimately uplifting.  The author’s note about the actual history behind the story is worth its weight in gold.  This is an important work that has become an instant classic at our house.  The book we are most familiar with from this author is Pink and Say (1994, Philomel).  We’ll review that one here soon!

Remember to visit our Book Cook page for the recipe – “Butterflies Rising” – created by the kids to accompany this particular book.