Posts Tagged ‘reading’

Big Tractors with Casey and Friends (Books and Toy Giveaway)

Friday, May 22nd, 2015

My husband is a country boy at heart, trapped in a city boy’s life. He spent his summers as a boy traveling from California to Iowa to spend time with his grandparents. During this time, he started collecting toy tractors and a lifelong hobby was born. We’ve always watched from the edges of farm life; taking Spencer to the World Ag Expo in Tularie, California, visiting a family member’s working farm in Northern California, and encouraging a love of farm toys of all sort.

I was absolutely delighted when I was offered the new series, Casey & Friends to review. We received Big Tractors (with Casey & Friends) book and a Case Magnum 370 CVT model by ERTL. When we opened the box, Spencer was super excited. Actually that’s a huge understatement. He was only minimally understanding about my need to take photos before ripping the package open.


Spencer reads at a 1st/2nd grade level and he could read it pretty well; stumbling over a few words like precision. He decided to read it himself while I was opening the Case tractor toy and made it most of the way through on his own. A preschooler and up would definitely be interested in having the book read to them.


From the publisher:

Big Tractors with Casey & Friends shows how the biggest, most powerful tractors handle the demanding jobs of pulling and powering on the farm. Find out how Big Red and Sammy – the biggest tractors on the farm – use their powerful muscles to work in the field with the rest of the team. Learn about the science of farming and discover how advanced technology makes Big Red and Sammy special.

Other titles in the series include: A Year on the Farm with Casey & Friends (available now), Combines with Casey & Friends (coming in June 2015) and Planters and Cultivators with Casey & Friends (coming in Sept 2015).  We will be adding more titles to our collection for sure.


I asked Spencer what he liked best about the book set and he answered the toy tractor. I should have been more specific. I asked him again but this time was smart enough to ask what he liked best about the book itself (literal child is literal) and he said he liked the facts and that it wasn’t just a story and that it used real photos of tractors instead of only drawings and he thought it was super cool that the tractor was red. When he finished reading it the first time he said “I liked this book. I’ll put it on the shelf with the bug book.” That is just about the highest praise Spencer can give. I really like that they highlighted the words in the glossary yellow where they appeared in the text. Well, I also like that there was a glossary.


The toy tractor is super cool too. We had to take it out of the packaging when my husband wasn’t looking because he’s a new-in-the-box sort of guy. Both kids enjoy playing with it. The labeling clearly states 3+, but it is hard to keep Truman away from toys with wheels. It’s sturdy and fun to roll around. There was even some pretend lego farming the other day.


Would you like to own your very Casey & Friends book + toy set? Just leave a comment on this post. If you need inspiration for your comment, tell me your very favorite farm animal.



Giveaway open to US mailing addresses only, one comment per person. Winner will be selected randomly by me on 5/31. Prize will be shipped by providing company.

Disclosure: I was provided the book and toy to review, no other compensation was received.


50 Books for 50 States!

Sunday, March 3rd, 2013

Sometimes random thoughts pop in my head. Like this one:

Are you following me on twitter? If not, you are missing daily gems like that one.

So, bee in bonnet firmly established, I decided to find out. I learned something along the way. I am not good at remembering where books are set beyond those set in major cities.  Google to the rescue! Luckily wikipedia and good reads can both be searched by location. I went with the first book I saw listed that I had read, not the best or most interesting.

Ta da!

Books set in all 50 states

Alabama – To Kill A Mockingbird
Alaska – Call of the Wild
Arizona – The Bean Trees
Arkansas – True Grit
California – The Immigrants
Colorado – Catering to Nobody
Connecticut – Homecoming
Delaware – And Never Let Her Go
Florida – Striptease
Georgia – Gone with the Wind
Hawaii – Still Life with Woodpecker
Idaho – Angle of Repose
Illinois – The Jungle
Indiana – God Bless You, Mr Rosewater
Iowa – Gilead
Kansas – Little House on the Prairie
Kentucky – Uncle Tom’s Cabin
Louisiana – Dead Until Dark {Sookie Stackhouse}
Maine – Carrie
Maryland –  A Taste of Blackberries
Massachusetts – Kane and Abel
Michigan – The Road to Wellville
Minnesota – Lake Wobegon Days
Mississippi – Tishomingo Blues
Missouri – A Good American
Montana – A River Runs Through It
Nebraska – O Pioneers!
Nevada – Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
New Hampshire – A Separate Peace
New Jersey – Are you there God? It’s me Margaret
New Mexico – Crossing to Safety
New York – The Great Gatsby
North Carolina – A Walk to Remember
North Dakota – The Big Rock Candy Mountain
Ohio – Sula
Oklahoma – The Grapes of Wrath
Oregon – One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Pennsylvania – Bee Season
Rhode Island – My Sister’s Keeper
South Carolina – The Secret Life of Bees
South Dakota –  Little Town on the Prairie
Tennessee – The Firm
Texas – Why Girls are Weird
Utah – Refuge
Vermont – The Secret History
Virginia – Skinny Legs and All
Washington – Twilight
West Virginia – Jacob I have Loved
Wisconsin – Little House in the Big Woods
Wyoming – Shane

I decided that fictitious cities in named states counted, mostly so I could use Twilight. I used all fiction except for Delaware and Utah where I couldn’t find one, but had read nonfiction set there.

I’m only up to 10 books read for 2013, which is disappointing. Maybe I should start reading instead of playing Candy Crush before bed.


Books, books everywhere and not a thing to read

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

Welcome to the collecting blog hop! If you participated, be sure and link at the bottom and add the code to your site so everyone can visit.

I didn’t know reading made me weird or a nerd or unusual until Middle School. I was publicly shamed for reading a book. By a teacher. Ok, so I was reading Gone with the Wind during math class, but hey, at least I was reading and not doodling or blowing things up or something disruptive or non-educational. My mom said pretty much the same thing to the teacher when he called me on it during a parent-teacher conference. My mom was a reader too. She understood. Besides she made the excellent point that if I had an A (which I did) and I was not disturbing other kids (which I was not) exactly what was the problem. Teachers hated my mom.

I love reading and I also love books. I like the act of reading a book, turning the pages, the crisp, clean smell of a new book or the musty funk of an old one. I’m not sure I could ever adjust to an electronic reader. How would I turn down the corner of a page to hold my place? I’m also hard pressed to let a book go. Books are one of the few things that survived nearly all of my 14 moves in my 2os. I sold back text books and the errant novel when I was truly desperate for cash, but for the most part I simply added (and added and added) to my collection.

My books aren’t fancy, although I do have some signed ones. My books aren’t rare, but some, especially some of the cookbooks, are out of print. I might own 3 copies of the Joy of Cooking from 3 different decades. And I love them all. Some are still in boxes because we don’t have room in our house for all of my books. (And my husband’s books. We book nuts attract each other, I guess.) Right now, we have 4 overflowing floor to ceiling bookcases, two smaller bookcases, a cookbook only bookcase and I have stacks of books on my nightstand. I have a problem.

Some highlights:

My signed copy of Drop City. I love, love, love TC Boyle and I went to a reading and good this one signed and he complimented my shoes. Score!

My mom’s copy of Frugal Gormet.  Say what you will about Jeff Smith, this is a really good cookbook. His PBS show was a mainstay in our house growing up and the cookbook opens to a very stained and splattered chicken piccata recipe with my mom’s handwritten changes.

Ellen Tebbits. I don’t even know how many times I have read this book. It is one of my all time childhood favorites. I have know idea how I have managed to hold on to it for all these years.

And my all time best used book score, my matched set of the Incarnations of Immortality series. I borrowed them for a friend the first time I read them and managed to put together my own set over the years by scouring used book stores and thrift stores for matching covers.

For those of you expected an homage to glass chickens, it turned in to a maudlin meditation on loss and estate sales. In short, a post for another day.

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