I Love You Just Because [Children's Book Review]

One of the many blessings that I've been afforded in motherhood is that my children simply love to read! I know that repetition is a building block of early literacy, but it's HARD to read Green Eggs and Ham 53 times. HARD I tell you!

I Love You Just Because

This is a feel good book that leaves children with confidence and the warm and fuzzies. A great read for parents that aren't super forth-coming with words of affirmation, seeing different varieties of bears and knowing that those differences make them special and relating it to your child's own unique characteristics makes learning about acceptance cute.

I love the material of the book, it's the "slightly springy plastic-type nearly board book but not quite but much sturdier than paperback and yet not quite hardcover" variety.

While I loved the themes and the faith-based extras -- there are passages relating mostly to God's love of children on each spread, I didn't like the number of words on the page. Now before you laugh, I'm not opposed to lengthier stories -- it just didn't match the whimsical nature of the bears and the subject manner. Maybe it is the addition of a passage for each bit of narrative, maybe it's just a slightly smaller font than I'd have liked. Something about the pages feels busy to me. Nothing major.

Other than that tiny idiosyncratic complaint, this is a fantastic, sturdy, heartfelt story and book and has been read more than a few times before bed. Sometimes a good story and some cuddly bears are all it takes to explain why everyone is someone special!

Disclosure: Consideration in some form was given to the writer because of her affiliation with Flyby Promotions. 

Travel Book Spotlight: "The Unofficial Guide to Mall of America" By Beth Blair [a review]

I'm a nerd. Through and through. Lately, well ever since we descended upon Walt Disney World Resort last spring, I've been a guidebook nut. Even if it's a place I'm not currently planning to visit, I just love pouring over guides and dreaming of one day visiting each destination. Then work brought me to Mall of America over Memorial weekend. I was dreading going to a giant shopping mall. I'm NOT a big shopper. BUT...

The Unofficial Guide to Mall of America by Beth Blair
 photo courtesy of Unofficial Guides
I LOVED IT. So did my preschooler. In fact, I may NEVER be able to come up with a mother-son date night to top the one we had at Nickelodeon Universe.

"You're the best mom ever!!"
(That really was emphasized that night...)

Granted, we were treated pretty awesome. Not your typical experience -- no lines, we played carnival games, we ate great food...no little brother to scream or dad to become bored or homesick! It was optimal to say the least. I think we rode the log flume a total of 12 times. I might have also spoofed and told my five-year old that Paul Bunyan (who makes a cameo inside the faux mountain) said "Hi there, little boy!" (You couldn't REALLY hear WHAT he was saying, because the water noises were muffling his speech.) So, naturally, I invented all sorts of fun, personalized dialogue!

After that experience, I put Mall of America at the top of my list of favorite times and travel locales with my family. And we didn't shop AT ALL the entire time we were there.

The Unofficial Guide to Mall of America 

When I saw that Unofficial Guides (my FAVORITE guide for Walt Disney World) had just published a guide for Mall of America (MOA) I knew I had to read it! Reading it has done nothing to cure my love of MOA, in fact, now I just keep pining away for another trip to the "megamall."

The author, who happens to be a friend as well, Beth Blair, is a Minnesota-dwelling "soccer hockey mom" of sorts and is a font of knowledge when it comes to the monolithic mall.

The thing about Unofficial Guides that makes them fun to thumb through is that they are quite frank. You don't find a lot of the flowery spew about how everything is DELICIOUS and MOUTH-WATERING and it's not the adjective dumpster that many guides have become. I'm awful guilty of over-flowering descriptions of things I love. We all are. These guides push past that and point out what rocks without making you feel like you're in a Hello Kitty dream-scape.

The Unofficial Guide to Mall of America by Beth Blair takes would-be mall-goers through the process of not only touring the mall but also getting there, eating there, staying on-site (or off) and making decisions that are optimal for their mall experience. This is helpful to locals as well as tourists and ranks everything from the best dining to the places that have great credit card offers and deals down to what day of the week to bring the kids.

There is a LOT of information available in the book which incidentally becomes priceless to have in your purse or pack and retails for just $15.22 on Amazon. (At the time that I wrote this article.)

Disclosure: Beth kindly provided me a copy of her book to tell you all about it. I think if you're going to the Mall, even if I weren't the author's friend, that I'd totally recommend buying it! Promise!


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