I Love This Book…


When I first saw that Pandora by Victoria Turnbull was coming out, on April 4th,  I had no idea what it was about, I simply loved the cover art and knew it was immediately being added to our library hold list.  When it arrived, it was clear as we opened the cover we were the first people to check this book out and have the privilege of reading it.

Pandora is a little fox, who lives in a world of discarded and broken things all alone.  She has made herself a handsome home (which my petites thought was quite fun and now they call their rooms handsome) she uses her time repairing and restoring items that she can mend and fix.  However, she is lonely and no one ever comes to visit her.

One day something falls from the sky, it is a tiny blue bird with a broken wing.  Pandora doesn’t know how to fix its wing, but does her best to take care of it and over time the bird regains its strength and begins to fly small distances.  Always returning with small gifts from its journeys, until one day, the bird doesn’t come back.  Pandora is alone, again.

As the days pass, slowly something lovely and beautiful starts to grow until one morning Pandora wakes to the sound of her bird friend and the stunning changes that have happened to her once broken and discarded world.

petite-stag-favoriteWhen we finished reading this story, my seven-year old picked up the book and held it to her chest and sighed and said oh mommy, I love this story so much.  How much is it?  Can we buy this book so I can always read it?  This is a story that is so much more than a story, it is about loving what you have, appreciating what you have, finding the goodness in what others may discard, taking care of others, being aware of feelings and what it means to have joy.  This is an absolutely perfect story for petites.  We have read it every single day since we have checked it out from the library.   It is quite clear that this is a new Petite Stag Favorite.

This is Victoria Turnbull’s third book, she is an author from the UK who has incredible talent – her words are so carefully chosen and her illustrations evoke such incredible feeling.  We cannot wait to see what she comes up with next.  To see more of her other two books and Pandora check out her website.


The Octopus Scientists

Recently I was I reading news updates and one stuck out to me immediately, Inky the Octopus Escapes from a New Zealand Aquarium.  It is no secret that my family and petites are ocean loving people, so this is a story I cannot wait to share with my petite when she gets home from school today.  Basically what happened is a very smart octopus decided he wanted an adventure and that his current living situation was too small – why stay in an aquarium when you can roam the entire ocean?  So, Inky escaped from his enclosure making a daring escape crossing eight feet and into a drain where he slid down a 164 foot drain pipe to the sea.  Amazing, I love that these animals can be so sneaky and smart.  You may remember last year our own resident octopus attempted a jail break at the Seattle Aquarium.  Watch the video clip, here.  Hilarious.  I love these animals and so do my girls.  Which is why we’ve been reading this fabulous book about Octopus Scientists.

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Many of the books I share at The Petite Stag are fiction so I am really excited to be sharing this amazing non-fiction book.  The Octopus Scientist: Exploring the Mind of a Mollusk by Sy Montgomery and photographs by Keith Ellenbogen.  Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Co., 2015.  This book is perfect for the budding marine naturalist age range roughly 5th to 8th grade.  However, since I am reading it aloud and discussing the more academic scientific words as we read, this book can be made accessible to kids as young as six.  Through this book you learn about the scientists who are studying the octopus on the island of Moorea in French Polynesia.  This book is perfect for the budding naturalist or a kiddo doing a report on this most interesting mollusk.

The photographs by Keith Ellenbogen are gorgeous, there is a particular part that both the petites love where a photo series has captured the color changing process.  I find that introducing animals or honestly anything is always more fun with interesting facts and this book provides you with many interesting tidbits along the way.  In fact, this morning as Zoe raced to the bus stop I heard her telling a much older bus rider that “did you know that  an octopus has three hearts and they pump blue blood?  They do!”.  I love that this book delves deeply into the science, into the octopus and the role that they play in our oceans and what their health means for the oceans’ health.  The images that are in this book perfectly capture the scientific process and are quite exciting to curious minds.  This book really gets you thinking about this incredibly smart animal.

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For more reading about these delightfully intelligent and adventurous creatures check out this article interviewing the author of this book Sy Montgomery.  He wrote another book, which made him a finalist for the National Book Award and also the esteemed status of being a New York Times Bestseller, The Soul of an Octopus, Simon and Schuster, 2015.

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I think that these World Octopus Day fact sheets are perfect to get petites interested in the nifty octopus.  I know I certainly love the fun facts.  I hope you enjoy checking out these fascinating reads.

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When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons

April is National Poetry Month.  This is such an incredibly fun time for most lovers of English.  I loved teaching in April and sharing poems and having students work on crafting their own.  It is a magical experience to see little ones really become creative and often times poems give just that creative outlet.


When I heard that Julie Morstad was working on a new book, I got really excited, she is one of the illustrators that I follow, or stalk might be the more appropriate way to put it.  I love her work, you will probably remember her from I am Sadie or perhaps Julia, Child, which is shared in my Petite Foodie series.  I love her work and even more so the amazing writers that she teams up with.

When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for all Seasons, by Julie Fogliano and art by Julie Morstad; published by A Neal Porter Book, 2016.  This is a book that shares poems for specific days throughout the year; starting in the spring and working through to the winter.  The petites particularly enjoy the poem for June 10th discussing all sorts of flowers and how they came to be, another is June 15th sharing about eating berries which is a favorite summer past time for  my girls.  Just like you will recall from This is Sadie, the illustrations are divine.  I love the small bright pops of color and attention to the little details whether is a small butterfly flitting about or a bicycle being gently dusted with snow.

Both Julie Fogliano and Julie Morstad seem to have melded together to create this perfect union of words and illustrations, the imagery that is depicted within the lines of the poems are so perfect.  It is almost as if each poem has captured that particular moment in time and you feel almost as if you were right there smelling the tomatoes ripening on the vine, or the salt spray in your hair.

I think that this book would be perfect to share with petites to spark their creativity and foster a love for the seasons.  This book would also be perfect to teach poetry writing to elementary and lower middle school students.  The poetry is accessible and would be a great starting point for many students as they start to explore creative writing.

Going on a book hunt

This morning was a dreary Seattle morning, a bummer since it was almost 80 degrees just two days ago.  However, while checking out my Insta feed, I saw something awesome!


So of course, I asked the petites if they wanted to go on a mission to find Elliott the Otter.  What do you know, of course they did, these kids love books, one of my proudest moments as a mom was watching my oldest teach her little sister how to smell a new book. Let the exploration begin.

Going on a missionSeattle is such an incredible city, a city that loves books and loves to share that love.  We have so many little free libraries in Seattle that it is not entirely uncommon to have two or even three in the same block.  Ballard is one of those neighborhoods, they have some lovely little free libraries cropped up all over their streets.

Sassquach Books, who produces some amazing titles that we a particularly fond of:

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So this morning when I saw that they had placed some books in little free libraries – well, I hoped we might have the opportunity to find one.  I love their giving spirit and to be perfectly honest, my family needed a little pick me up.

She found itHooray, she found itShe was so excited when she found it, she actually screamed hooray, we found it…I can’t believe it!  So from the bottom of our hearts, to whomever had this brilliant idea and who went around Ballard placing these lovely books we thank you Sasquatch Books.

Stay tuned for our review of Elliot the Otter.

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Infuse: oil. spirit. water

9780804186766Infuse: Oil, Spirit, Water by Eric Prum & Josh Williams, is an aesthetically pleasing cookbook that will teach you everything you need to know about infusing oil, spirits and water with some of the most delicious ingredients.  Once you are done looking through the pages of this gorgeous book, you will want to get your hands on some mason jars and get to work.

Eric Prum and Josh Williams are two friends who share the same passion for enhancing things that are already delicious and making them even more spectacular.  Infuse is broken into four parts: 1. the basics; materials you will need to get started.  2. oil; where you will find recipes for grilled pizza Bianca, simple vinaigrette, flash-infused oils and more. 3. Spirit; where they share the recipe that started it all – peach bourbon along with so many more recipes that are perfect for a hot afternoon or a chilly night.  4. water; there are some delicious additions to water that are sure to brighten any meal – the ones that I cannot get enough of right now are for cold brewed teas: lemongrass green tea, honey-peach black tea, lavender meyer lemon mint tea and summer berry hibiscus tea.  Are you thirsty, yet?

This book does a fantastic job of telling you exactly how to make these divine infusions as well as how long it will take for them to be infused to perfection.  With 50 recipes for you to enjoy this book would be perfect for anyone who loves to eat and loves flavor.  This book may be just what you need to take your cooking and bartending to the next level.  I love that when I finished flipping through this book there were multiple recipes that I wanted to try.

Here is a link to Eric and Josh’s website, The Mason Shaker where you can learn more about the authors as well as purchase their mason tap and mason shaker.  If you are a fan of this book then you will most definitely want to check out their other title published in 2014, which I think would be the perfect addition to any bar cart as well as a fantastic house-warming gift paired with some bar tools or mason jars.

Infuse is published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House, May 2015.  I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Let’s Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with some Chips and Salsa

Happy Cinco de Mayo friends!

I wanted to share a new cookbook with you that is about one of my favorite things to eat.  I love chips and salsa.  When I say I love, I mean I crave and once I open a bag of chips lookout.  My absolute favorite chips are Juanita’s made in Hood River, Oregon.  They are by far superior chips and once you’ve had them, all other chips will be unworthy of your salsa and guacamole.  Alright, now that we have established the best chip to be dipping you need some salsa.

Salsas and Moles by Deborah Schneider published by Ten Speed Press in April 2015.  Is a small book packed full of 60 recipes for Pico de Gallo, Mole, Chimichurri, Gaucamole and many other delicious recipes.  The only trouble you will have is deciding which salsa to make first.


Some of these recipes look like they have been passed down from a previous generation.  To be honest, when it comes to mole, I have this friend who made it for me a few times and I knew it was detailed with a lot of different ingredients, but I have been rather intimidated to make it on my own.  However, Schneider gives you all the steps you will need to make many different types of mole – so really the tough part I suspect will be choosing which one and then collecting the ingredients.

What I really loved about this book is the explanation about chilies and what Schneider calls the essential guide to chiles.  This is so helpful for me, I never really knew about the flavor components or heat ratings beyond a habanero is really hot.  I think that this is the perfect foundation for the rest of the book and the delicious recipes.  I was so excited to see the recipes for new types of sauces like her recipe for chimichurri which is delicious and so easy to make.

Some other things about this book that I love, the size, it is a smaller book which for some reason makes me love it even more.  There are gorgeous pictures throughout, which is so helpful when making a new recipe; I love seeing what it should look like.  Overall, this is a great cookbook and if you or someone you know loves eating salsa or cooking authentically then this is the book for you.

Bloggers note: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. However, the thoughts and opinions are my own.




Tinkerlab: a hands-on guide for little inventors


I have been waiting for a really long time to get my hands on Tinkerlab, when I heard about this book I immediately put it onto my library hold list, and it was like Christmas morning learning that my hold was ready to be picked up!  Yes!  However, as soon as I opened this book I realized one thing immediately.  I should have just bought it, because it is AWESOME!  Have I mentioned recently I love quotes, well I do, I knew that this book would be awesome when this was how the introduction began.


Rachelle Doorley’s Tinkerlab: A Hands-On Guide for Little Inventors is filled with helpful tips, inspiring quotes and really great parenting advice.  I found the message within the pages to be refreshing.  Rachelle Doorley explains her rationale behind how she sets up her tinker-space and immediately it made me think of the Montessori school that my husband worked in when we first met.  There was discovery, easy to accesses, but incredibly thoughtful well planned spaces and activities.  I loved the chapter all about the Ten Tinkerlab Habits of Mind, it just makes sense, is so important and thoughtful.

There is a mindfulness that is so present in this book.  Recently I saw a pinterest pin that was this beautifully displayed art tray from IKEA.  Immediately I thought of all the reasons why it wouldn’t work out and justifications to go along with it.  However, I decided to pull out all of the art supplies the petites use regularly and put them on a tray on the table and see what happens.  What happened you might ask?  Creativity.  Cooperation.  Inspiration.  As it turned out the pin that I was looking at was from this book!  Setting up your own tinkerlab might seem a little overwhelming at first, but once again, Doorley has made it so simple here is a list of her resources.

This book is not just an arts and crafts book.  It is a book that has rationales, developmental milestones and supporting ideas to get petites creating, it has encouragement and inspiration on every page.  As if Rachelle Doorley isn’t brilliant on her own, she has contributors that are professors, culinary experts, art directors, educators, directors of nursery schools and parents.  Seriously brilliant people have come together to make a handbook to inspire young minds.

Can’t get your hands on this book for a few days?  Don’t worry you can hop on over to Tinkerlabs facebook page and Pinterest to tide you over until your book comes.  If you like this post and want to know more about the books we read at The Petite Stag follow me!  Or check out The Petite Stag Facebook Page.





The Postage Stamp Vegetable Garden

It is feeling like springtime here in Seattle, the blossoms are out and making the neighborhood smell divine. This time of the year brings about such possibility. Seed catalogues have arrived and the possibilities are endless. I’ve never had the garden that I have dreamed of, I have always had a porch or a cement pad that I have been able to utilize and turn into something.  However, having a small space does bring about certain challenges.  The goal of this 40th anniversary edition is

To accommodate today’s lifestyles, a garden needs to fit easily into a very small plot, take as little time as possible to maintain, require a minimum amount of water, and still produce prolifically. That’s exactly what a postage stamp garden does. Postage stamp gardens are as little as 4 by 4 feet, and, after the initial soil preparation, they require very little extra work to produce a tremendous amount of vegetables–for instance, a 5-by-5-foot bed will produce a minimum of 200 pounds of vegetables.


Recently, I came across Karen Newcomb’s most informative book The Postage Stamp Vegetable Garden: Grow Tons of Organic Vegetables in Tiny Spaces and Containers.  This book is filled with such helpful pieces of advice and tips for making the most of the space you have.  I think that one thing that this book does really well is offers the specific types of midget vegetables that work the best in containers and smaller gardens…for me, this has always been the most difficult aspect of the small garden – finding the varieties that are successful.  This book takes all the guess-work out of planning.

Karen Newcomb gets even more specific by telling you which varieties and types of veggies will give you the most bang for your small gardening buck.

What I like most about this book is that it really covers all you would need to know about having a small garden.  If you were to buy one book as a resource for your small garden this book should be it.  There is no reading about a variety of tomato then needing to get out another book to read about the details of that plant or of getting on the internet to find out who sells those seeds.  This book has all of that information in one easy to read and use location.

The varieties of plants are specific, with how much space you need, how long it takes, what the plants prefer and also where you can find them (which seed companies).  There is also a section that clearly tells you how much time you will need to start those seeds indoors.  Something I’ve not seen before that this book has is a table that tells you how many plants you will require to feed each person in your family.  This is so helpful when you have limited space and need to maximize what you do have.


This book is packed with information that will help you to have your dream garden no matter how much space you have.

When first published 40 years ago, the postage stamp techniques, including closely planted beds rather than rows, vines and trailing plants grown vertically to free up space, and intercropping, were groundbreaking. Now, in an ever busier world, the postage stamp intensive gardening method continues to be invaluable for gardeners who wish to weed, water, and work a whole lot less yet produce so much more.

The one downside of this book for me is the lack of pictures.  I am very visual when it comes to things like gardening and I would have loved to see more pictures of the plants or actual gardens.  With that said the information is so thorough that I almost didn’t mind the lack of pictures.

Note: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.  The opinions in the post are my own.

Bucketlist Bookshops: Ireland

Best Bookshops Ireland

I have a deep love of Ireland.  If you’re new to my blog and love Ireland too, you might want to check out this and this.  You see, I had the trip of my lifetime a few years ago, a trip that when I tell people about meeting and finding my family in a small Kerry town, they get chills.  When I think of our next trip to Ireland, I think about the things we would do this time.  Bookshops!  We only popped into two while we were in Ireland the first time and I would love to check out some of these fabulous shops.

Charlie Byrne Bookshop

Charlie Byrne, Middle Street, Galway.  We went here and it was amazing the staff was so friendly, perfect place to stop in and pick up a great book.  Also in 2013 they won The Best Bookshop in Ireland award – congratulations!

Source Clifden Bookshop Facebook

Source Clifden Bookshop Facebook

The Clifden Bookshop, this is the perfect bookshop to stop in find some great treasures.  Clifden is one of the most stunning towns I have ever seen.  Go there!

Bridge Street Books FB

Source Bridge Street Books Facebook

Bridge Street Books, Bridge Street in Wicklow.  This is a must stop shop, it also won the Irish Times Best Book Shop in Ireland 2014.

Image from O'Mahony's

Image from O’Mahony’s

O’Mahony’s Bookshop, 120 O’Connell Street, Limerick; this family owned bookshop has been a local favorite since 1902.

Vibes and Scribes

Image from Vibes & Scribes

Vibes and Scribes, 21 Lavitts Quay, Cork they also have a craft shop across the quay at 3 Bridge Street.

Whyte's Childrens Section

Source Whyte Books Facebook

Whyte’s Bookshop, in Schull, Cork.  What a quaint children’s section the petites will love it, this is amazing and worthy of a trip to Cork.

The book centre waterford

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The Book Centre, John Roberts Square, Waterford – this place is seriously cool, according to their website, they are housed in the old Art Deco styled Savoy Cinema, built in 1937.

Source The Gutter Bookshop Facebook

Source The Gutter Bookshop Facebook

The Gutter Bookshop, Cow’s Lane, Temple Bar, Dublin.  There is so much to see and do in Dublin – we missed this gem the first time around, we won’t be missing it a second.

Please tell me if I have missed a fantastic Irish bookshop.  I have only been to one of these and the rest are on my bookshop bucket list.  If you have been to one of these tell me all about it, I can’t wait to get back to Ireland and explore these lovely shops.


Petite Gardeners

My petites love to garden and here in the Pacific Northwest we get a little rainy and gardening for our family often doesn’t extend into the winter months.  Until now, I was poking around on Pinterest the other night and saw this, first of all could this little petite be any cuter?  No, I don’t think so.  Check out Katie’s blog here, this is the tutorial for the garden box.  I am in love and digging through my felt to see what I already have to make this adorable play garden.  I haven’t tried the tutorial yet, but just looking at all the details provided I am thinking I am in good hands.  What a fantastic idea to tide petite gardeners through the winter months.

Garden Box Made by Katie at www.skunkboyblog.com

Garden Box Made by Katie at http://www.skunkboyblog.com

Since I am so fond of pairing toys with books I thought about some of our favorite books about gardening and one author comes to mind – Lois Ehlert.  We absolutely love her books, the bright colors and abstractness of the images are fabulous.  I was so excited when I realized that there is a boxed set of her gardening books – Lois Ehlert’s Growing Garden.  The set includes Planting a Rainbow, Eating the Alphabet and Growing Vegetables Soup.  These books are really fantastic for little ones who are learning words and colors as well as for older kiddos who are learning about planting, harvesting and cooking.  These books coupled with the lovely garden box would be an amazing gift for an little one who loves to garden.

Lois Ehlert Boxed Set