Sunday, March 7, 2010

Review: Cesar Takes a Break & Giveaway

Summary: When the children are away…the animals will play. Susan Collins Thoms makes a sparkling picture book debut with this hilarious story of class pets on the loose; colorful and humorous pictures by Québécois artist Rogé add to the great fun.

Life is great for Cesar the iguana. After all, he went from living in Pets-A-Plenty to an excellent new home in Ms. Lee’s elementary school classroom—with 25 best friends to pamper him. But now spring break has arrived, the kids are gone, and poor Cesar’s a puddle of sadness. Until…he takes a vacation too! From classroom to classroom he wanders, meeting all the other school pets and making hilarious notes in his journal.

Before long, he’s feasting on strawberries, dancing the Iguana Shuffle, and playing hockey in the teacher’s lounge. Will he ever want to return to his cage?

Cesar’s having a blast—and young readers will too! -- Sterling

CESAR TAKES A BREAK by Susan Collins Thoms and illustrated by Roge is just a wonderful and very entertaining book. I don't know who liked it more -- me or Booking Son. While I read a lot of books to Booking Son, this time we did something a little different -- we listened to the audio version of this book while also looking at the pages. It was definitely a good time for both of us!

CESAR TAKES A BREAK is the story of Cesar, an iguana who lives in a second grade classroom. When the kids leave for spring break, Cesar is sad to find that he's been left behind. He ends up going on his own vacation by visiting the other classrooms and meeting the other classroom pets. He has a great time and has to decide if he wants to stay on spring break forever.

The book is just precious. Not only is the story told in Cesar the iguana's unique voice, but it is also in the form of a Cesar's daily journal. The reader learns about Cesar's adventures in the elementary school. Some of his experiences include breaking into the Principal's computer, bowling with a guinea pig, and dancing the Iguana Shuffle with all the school pets. Booking Son thought it was a "pretty funny book, " and he loved the music.

At the back of the print copy of the book, there is a list of "a few fascinating facts about green iguanas" written by Cesar. Not only is it educational, but it is also very cute!

Sterling is launching a brand-new program called Listen-Along Storybook which provides parents and children with free audio books of their most successful titles, as well as a Jokecast featuring jokes from Sterling’s many joke books, all for free! The audio books and the Jokecast were made Sterling's little recording studio. They are voiced entirely by Sterling employees and even have original music!

Robert Agis, the creator of the Listen-Along Storybook program and the voice of Cesar, was hilarious and very fun to listen to. I think Booking Son enjoyed hearing the story in the characters' voices (I have a feeling that he finds his mother's attempts at voices to be pretty lame!)

Since I'm trying to encourage Booking Son to read, I absolutely love the idea of him being able to listen to a book while also following along with the words on each page. What I love even more is that these audio books are available for free!

I am so excited that Sterling is starting the Listen-Along Storybook program. I am predicting that it's going to be a big hit with kids and parents alike!

Check out this very funny video for a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the audio book for CESAR TAKES A BREAK:



Thanks to the publisher for sending me a review copy of this book.

Amazing Giveaway Alert: Thanks to the fine folks at Sterling, I have three sets of all eight books in the Listen-Along Storybook Collection! That means that three winners will win eight books each. (You can click here to see all the titles.) All you have to do is visit the Listen-Along Storybook site and tell me what book appeals to you the most. Please leave a valid email address along with the name of the book. This giveaway will be open until Saturday, March 20, 2010 at 11:59 p.m. ET, and I will notify the winners the following day. This contest is open to those of you in the U.S. and Canada only -- no p.o. boxes please. Good luck!

39 comments:

Melanie said...

Thanks for the review. I'm always on the lookout for great books for the nieces and nephew. And I think this one will be perfect for the nephew.

bermudaonion said...

I'd love to win these for my great-nephew. I think he would like Cowboy Camp the most. Great review and great giveaway! milou2ster(at)gmail.com

ruthhill74 said...

Cowboy Camp, definitely. ruthaw_1974@yahoo.com

Beth F said...

Oh wow!! My neighbors now have two boys under the age of 3 -- I bet they'd love this set. Since they take a walk past the railroad tracks almost every day, I bet they'd particularly like I Saw an Ant on the Railroad Track.

traveler said...

This is a great giveaway. So ideal for my kids. Cowboy Camp is my favorite. We all love the West and cowboys. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

Karlie said...

Cesar Takes a Break looks like the best choice for us. My son cracks up every time I say the word iguana!

writergal said...

Perfectly Arugula looks very cute and since I'm a vegetarian and am sure my nieces will be too . . .
But then I also like the illustration of Cesar Takes A Break
steele85 at gmail

Charleydog said...

Cowboy Camp!

Please enter my name in the giveaway for the book. Thanks!

pboylecharley AT hotmail DOT com

Heather said...

What a lovely giveaway!

I adore the 'I Saw an Ant on the Railroad Track' the most!

heatheranne99 at hotmail dot com

Jennette said...

My kids would adore these books! But I really liked We Go Together!
jennette6963@msn.com

Mystica said...

Thanks for a great review. Please count me in as these would be lovely for a nephew of mine.

mystica123athotmaildotcom

Dawn M. said...

My favorites are Tex & Sugar and Cesar Takes A Break. I think my niece would love them. :0)

Thanks!
librarygrinch at gmail dot com

ossmcalc said...

I would love to win these books for my grandson. I think that he would really like the book Tex & Sugar since he lives in Texas.

Thank you,

Christine
womackcm@sbcglobal.net

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

No need to enter me, babe. I'm dropping in to say thanks for the e-mail. I've got this posted at Win a Book for you.

jan said...

Perfectly arugula sounds pretty cool,,thx for the contest,,
thehighflyer3(at)hotmail(dot)com

Pam said...

I remember loving all my books on tape as a kid. I think "I Saw an Ant on a Railroad Track" sounds like loads of fun!

melacan at homtail odt ocm

BUSY BEE said...

My girl would love the 12 dancing princesses. Thanks for the great giveaway.

bsyb100 at gmail dot com

julie s said...

My son would love Jack and the Beanstalk the most. Thanks for the giveaway!!

Julie S

julstew at gmail dot com

Rachel said...

My boys would love Cesar Takes A Break. They have a Webkins iguana and they love lizards of all kinds. Thanks for hosting the giveaway!

mcelhra1 at yahoo dot com

cstironkat said...

Lydia would like the 12 Dancing Princesses and Holt would like Cowboy Camp and Cesar takes a break. Thank you for the chance to win.

GaryPaulson said...

I would love to read these books to my grandkid and love the idea they can listen to it being read anytime online.

I believe my grandsons would love "I Saw an Ant on the Railroad Track"

gopaulson(that pesky at sign)gmail.com

April said...

I Saw an Ant on the Railroad Track would be a big hit for sure.

Thanks for the contest!

librarianapril at gmail dot com

Laura said...

I have always loved "Jack and the Beanstalk". I wold love to win this set. Thanks.

Laura.Adams@ky.gov

Jolee said...

Jack and the Beanstalk sounds fun to try too. Thanks!

dispatcher_kristy said...

The one that caught my eye is the "I Saw an Ant on the Railroad Track" book

dispatcher_kristy@hotmail.com

Stephanie said...

My son would enjoy I Saw an Ant on the Railroad Track since he loves all things train-related, but all of the titles sound appealing. Thanks for the review and fun giveaway!

Katrina said...

The Twelve Dancing Princesses looks cute

wildcat32 said...

I think my son would love Cowboy Camp.
monster6236(at)gmail(dot)com

Kristie said...

My daughter would love The Twelve Dancing Princesses!

khmorgan_00 [at] yahoo [dot] com

Over the Mountain Mommy said...

I like the picture on I Saw an Ant on the Railroad Track. :)

onlycancan ta hotmail tod com

Marianna said...

Cowboy Camp! My sons would love it!
mannasweeps (at) gmail DOT com

mabr said...

Both of my sons would love Caser. One is in 2nd grade, the other a preschooler. Thank you for the great giveaway!
mabr22@verizon.net

Amy B. said...

Perfectly Arugula looks like fun!
Thanks for the giveaway!
Amy B.
adennispac@yahoo.com

CindyW said...

We are asking for your assistance, and guidance to get the word out about an amazing program to make small pets available to grammar school teachers in the classroom. This program is designed to help teachers that would like small animals as teaching aids or mascots etc. in the classroom, or to assist teachers who presently have animals, in obtaining supplies needed to care for the pet. We realize that teachers have limited funds and our program offers grants of up to $150.00 for the purchase of small animals such as fish, hamsters, birds, as well as supplies.
We have the money, we have the program, we have a web site, all that is needed is your help to get the word out. We at Pet Care Trust, feel that exposing children to the care and responsibility for animals is imperative in the development of good character and compassion in relationship to all living things. Too much time is spent killing and destroying as a pastime on the computer. The care of animals teaches children life affirming values.
If you could pass this along or give me advice on the best the get this information to teachers it would be much appreciated.

Join us on Facebook! www.petsintheclassroom.org

Misusedinnocence said...

My son would love all of them but Cowboy Camp would be his favorite. :)

misusedinnocence@aol.com

Libby's Library said...

Perfectly Arugala - loved it!
Thanks for the great giveaway.libneas[at]aol[dot]com

LittleEagle said...

I want to read these books. I would also enjoy "I Saw an Ant on the Railroad Track" Thank you for hosting this giveaway. sharonaquilino at hotmail dot com

skkorman said...

These would be great for my granddaughter! "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" sounds good to me!!

skkorman AT bellsouth DOT net

dlhaley said...

Perfectly Arugula sounds really cute, but I'm sure my daughter would like any (and all) of them!

dlhaley[at]hotmail[dot]com