We Love Big Books and Cannot Lie

My girls have a bit of a love affair with huge books.  You know those books that are so big you can’t really hold them and must lay on the floor to even turn the pages.  We wanted to share some of our absolute favorite big books and of course, if we’ve left any off of the list please let us know, we are always looking to add to our collection!

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Many of these I have written about before but never have you seen them in one gargantuan collection of awesome!

Maps by Aleksandra Mizielinska and Daniel Mizielinksi (Big Picture Press, 2013) is a gorgeous book, we love looking at this book and all of the amazing details that are held within it.  It has almost all of the countries of the world (to my petite’s dismay it doesn’t have Ireland).  We love how this book offers up bite sized facts and introductions to many countries and is a visual feast.  It comes in at a whopping 10.9x 14.8 inches.

Animalium: Ticket to the Museum by Jenny Broom and Katie Scott (Big Picture Press, 2014)  reminds me of those stunning Audubon images that my grandfather so loved.  This book contains 200+ stunning images that are accompanied by informative text.  This book is a pure pleasure to pour over on a rainy afternoon.  This books measures in at 11 x 14.9 inches.

Timeline: A Visual History of Our World by Peter Goes (Gecko Press, 2016) 10.6x 14.6 is the perfect size for this amazing book.  Goes does a remarkable job of putting together historical events from the Big Bang to present day.  This book has the most amazing little snippets of history.  To confess, I spent my time in history in high school catching up on correspondences.  So this book has been a great reminder of what I would have learned had I been paying better attention.

Zoo-ology by Emmanuelle Grundmann and Joelle Jolivet (Roaring Brook Press,2003) this is a book that my husband came home with one day.  It continues to be a family favorite and one that the petites often can be found laying on top of and exploring the detailed illustrations.  What I like best about the layout of this book is how they share the animals, it isn’t by habitat or region as you might expect but rather by large and small, hot weather, cold weather, feathered, horned, spots and stripes.  This hefty tome comes in at 12.4 x 17.8 inches and is tied for first place in our biggest book competition with Almost Everything.

The 50 States: Explore the U.S.A with 50 fact-filled maps!  by Gabrielle Balkan and Sol Linero (Wide Eyed Editions, 2015) is an a visual delight!  This book is perfect for petites of all ages.  My youngest recently received it as a gift and she absolutely adores flipping through the huge pages and checking out all of the places on the map.  We love the Welcome to the State portion where you get some insight into what that state is all about.  We also love the little timelines in Moments to Remember, this books packs in so much information…it is a must for any family who loves to travel in the US.  This book isn’t the largest we are featuring today, but it is by far one of our absolute favorites at 11.5 x 13.8 inches.

Almost Everything by Joelle Jolivet (Roaring Brook Press, 2005) covers, well you guessed it, almost everything.  There are trees & flowers, fruits & veggies, houses, tools, cars, trains and more.  This book is so much fun to look through.  After purchasing Zoo-ology we knew we were huge fans of these gorgeous books.  This book is a huge book which we think makes it all the more fun to look through coming in at a whopping 12.4 x 17.8 inches you won’t find this in a standard sized bookshelf; and is tied for biggest book award with Zoo-ology!

Atlas of Adventure by Rachel Williams and Lucy Letherland (Wide Eyed Editions, 2015) is another completely stunning book that has the right to be on any coffee table in the land (or so I declare), it is that lovely.  This book is filled with glorious and adventurous illustrations.  This is a sort of adventure book in the sense that you have things to find within each page as well as fun facts to keep you learning.  It is perfect for petites who dream of traveling the world.  This book will fit perfectly under the seat cushion in front of you, coming in at 10.9 x 14.9 inches.

The Wonder Garden by Jenny Broom and Kristjana S Williams (Wide Eyed Editions, 2015) is a Technicolor feast of neon.  This book sends its readers on an adventure through 5 habitats with introductions to 80 animals.  This book with its exceptional bright pink and magenta tones will be sure to enthrall any petite who loves animals and interesting facts.  As my petites were reading it they kept saying “oh look at all the pink”.  Also I feel compelled to mention which habitats are covered because they are not the ones that typically come to mind, which we LOVE!  In this book you will be introduced to the Chihuahuan Desert, the Amazon Rainforest, the Black Forest, the Himalayan Mountains, and the Great Barrier Reef.  This brilliantly bold book will be sure to ensnare even the youngest of petites with the vibrant color and attention to details.  This book is also one of the smaller featured in this collection at 11.4 x 13.6 inches.

Pierre the Maze Detective by Hiro Kamigaki & IC4DESIGN (Laurence King Publishing, 2015) is probably one of our most favorite books.  This is an incredibly engaging book, imagine Where’s Waldo, but a bazillion times better!  Yes, a full bazillion.  In this book you will enter into the world of Opera City and the 15 mazes that Pierre will need to solve to uncover the clues to find Mr. X.  You will travel through a cafe, hot air balloon festival, castle, forest, a busy port, haunted mansion, and of course an ocean maze complete with a Craken!  The mazes are amazingly detailed almost in a spell binding way that so much detail can be contained on each page.  You have to search for multiple things on each page to complete the maze and get a step closer to catching Mr.X.  We absolutely love this book, for a more complete review where I basically gush over this books awesomeness click here.

If you have other favorite big books please let us know, we would love to check them out.
Happy Reading!




The Airport Book…perfect for your next trip!

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The Airport Book by Lisa Brown (Roaring Brook Press, 2016) is a wonderful read.  This book is perfect for summer travel.

Last night as my husband read this to my girls we both looked at each other with that knowing look that this book is fabulous.  This book is fabulous for many reasons, the first – for any petite who has never traveled by plane before this book is fantastic in depicting the steps and things that will happen from leaving the house to arriving at your destination.  Immediately we both thought that this would be a perfect book for petites who might find air travel to be a struggle, to be a challenge, even petites who might be scared or need some practice to get ready for the big travel day.

The illustrations are busy and give you a sense of the feel of the airport.  The book exemplifies diversity, which I love!  The family that the reader follow is a family of four, Mom, Dad, older brother and toddler sister.  The family is biracial and like the rest of the illustrations this book does a wonderful job of giving a real world picture of all the people you might find at the airport (young, old, eccentric, multiple ethnicities, wheel chair users, seeing impaired with a guide dog).

The book completely prepares a little one for what air travel will look like from beginning to end.  It is perfect for petites ages 3-8, those who might need more support and planning to get ready for all of the noises and the bustle of air travel.  Or perhaps the perfect book for those who will be taking their first flight this summer.

Bon Voyage!

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Screen Shot 2016-06-13 at 2.51.02 PMTraveling with Young Toddlers

Best Bookshops Seattle: Petite Edition



There is something so special about walking into a bookshop and being immediately greeted and treated like you’ve been coming there for years (even on your first visit).  That is what you can expect when you stop in at The Secret Garden Books in the Ballard neighborhood (2214 NW Market St) of Seattle.  This independent bookshop is absolutely wonderful and has been in operation since 1977,  this bookshop has books for all ages, however, it would seem that their incredibly large children’s section is one of their passions.


I was so impressed with how inviting this store is, their staff is so incredibly helpful.  What I loved about this store is the way that they display their books, so many are facing out allowing you to interact with the books in much more enjoyable way.


Another aspect of this delightful bookshop is their huge selection of board books.  I was so excited to see so titles, so many fabulous options not just the usual.


What is even more impressive than their amazing stock of books, is their staff.  I had been wanting to pick up a new chapter book to read with the petite and was helped by the lovely Katie who had so many great suggestions about books that my girl might like and she was spot on with her recommendations.  I love a store when the staff is knowledgeable, has actually read the books and is passionate about books.

I am sure you will love everything about this shop, it’s amazing.  Here is everything you need to know to get there and experience it for yourself.  The parking in this neighborhood can be a little challenging, come ready to drive around for that perfect spot.

2214 NW Market Street
Seattle, WA 98107

Monday – Friday 10 – 8

Saturday 10 – 7

Sunday 11 – 5



I Love Paris in the Springtime

Okay, I’ve never actually been to Paris, but dream of it often, and am sure I will love it.  Lucky for us there are some fantastic books all about Paris that will help to pass the time until we can get there in person.


An Armadillo in Paris by Julie Kraulis is a delightful story of Arlo who is an armadillo from Brazil, he sets out on an adventure, using travel journals his grandfather wrote – he loves Paris and all of the adventures he has there.

A Walk in Paris by Salvatore Rubbino are on a walking tour of Paris, to the top of Notre Dame, with charming tidbits of trivia as you go.  This book is beautifully illustrated and absolutely wonderful.

Everbody Bonjours! by Leslie Kimmelman is a sweet book about a little girl traveling through Paris, with a fun rhythmic cadence which makes it really fun to read.  The story is all about saying hello and that Paris is a really fun place for petites to explore.

Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans a true classic, if you’ve yet to purchase a Madeline book for your petites collection, this is the perfect one to start with.

Paris in the Spring with Picasso by Joan Yolleck is a really beautiful story of with all the characters you will remember, Gertrude Stein, Pablo Picasso, Max Jacob, Guillaume Apollinaire and Alice B Toklas.  I love the vibrant illustrations from Marjorie Priceman.  A really fun and stunning read, probably more suited to older petites as it is a little long.

The Iridescence of Birds: a Book about Henri Matisse by Patricia MacLachlan with illustrations from Hadley Hooper is a completely lovely book.  I adore this story, it is so sweet as it depicts Henri Matisse’s childhood and how he grew into the artist we all know and love.

Adele & Simon by Barbara McClintock is an incredibly cute book that has an old school feel to it.  There is so much to see in the early twentieth century pen and ink illustrations.  It is a sweet story about a sister and brother looking out for each other as they travel through Paris.

This is Paris by Miroslav Sasek these books are stunning in their illustrations and put together in a way that is basically an illustrated travel guide pleasing to petites and adults alike.  What I find so fun about the This is series is that Sasek died some thirty years ago and his illustrations are being reissued and enjoyed by so many.  This is the World came out last year and is stunning if you have a globe trotting petite you might really enjoy this title.

Linnea in Monet’s Garden by Christina Bjork is a beautiful book that celebrates a child’s love of impressionism and Monet’s beautiful gardens.  This book is quite lovely, it is rather long though and probably better suited to slightly older children.

All of these stories have one thing in common they inspire a love of adventure and wanderlust.  If you can’t get to Paris then you might as well enjoy some lovely stories in the meantime.

Gift Giving: Wanderlust Edition


Here are some of my favorite gifts for the travelers in your life.  Whether they are traveling in their car or bus to work or globe trotting on adventures that we can only follow on instagram.  Here are some perfect gifts you can pick up today for your favorite traveler.

Moleskin Notebook You can never really have enough notebooks especially for keeping track of all of the amazing places you plan to see on your travels.

Unique Map Gifts This is something to adorn your walls –  garlands to keep you inspired and thinking of your next travels.  I love this garland, maybe because I make them with love, but because they inspire me to think about the where to go next travel plans.

Water Bottles Always a good idea for long flights or road trips.

Pashmina I think I have a rainbow of colors of pashminas and am pretty sure I need to add this lovely one to the mix, always nice to wear on a flight.

Specialty Lotion This is a favorite of mine, because it is nice and thick and smells great, but not in an overpowering way.

Lip Gloss One of my all time favorite lip glosses, you cannot go wrong with this as a stocking stuffer.

Let me know what I’ve missed, what are your favorite gifts for the travelers in your life?





Best Bookshops Seattle: Foodie Favorite

If you are a foodie, bibliophile or cookbook collector you simply must go to The Book Larder: a community cookbook store in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle (4252 Fremont Ave N, Seattle, Wa 98103).  This is an entire store dedicated to cookbooks!

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I personally love cookbooks, when I was a child I would sit and pour over the pictures in my moms cookbooks.  I love them, everything about them.  If you love cookbooks even a little bit, you will love this store.

What is even better is the staff are so knowledgable about the cookbooks, they can recommend books and have a huge array of cookbooks from around the country and globe as well as vintage cookbooks.  What is so special about this store is the laid back feel when you walk in, you could spend hours in there and still not see all of the books they have to offer.

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Another aspect that makes this shop so inviting is the kitchen table in the middle of the store.  Not only do they sell amazing cookbooks, but they have classes and demos on a regular basis too!  The cooking classes range from $30-$85 and the book talks are free.  You may have to stop me before I completely start to swoon.

This is the perfect shop for people who love to cook or who want to buy a unique or special cookbook for the foodie in their life.  With exceptionally unique cards, tea towels, totes and recipe cards.


Make the most of your visit:

Leave the petites at home so you can fully immerse yourself in this awesome shop.  This is not really a kids bookshop and will be more enjoyable without petites in tow.  With that said, I brought my five year old and it was fine, I just didn’t get to browse as leisurely as I would have liked.  The shop owner graciously offered to bring out crayons, thankfully on our visit their were food samples which kept her occupied.

Store Hours
Monday–Friday: 11am–6pm
Saturday: 11am–5pm
Sunday: 12pm–4pm
Parking: lots of street parking that is free, you may have to walk a little bit.
Check their website for classes or book signings – https://www.booklarder.com/events
I can’t wait to hear what you think about this amazing shop and better yet what cookbook you leave with.
Bon Appetit!


Bucket List Bookshops & Book Events: Scotland

Recently I was looking around the internet at possible future travel locations and ended up reading all about Scotland.  What I found to be so fascinating about Scotland is not only that rugged beauty, but that the Scots have a deep love and appreciation of books and literacy.  So much so, that they have a week long celebration of books every year in November.  So I did a little more digging and it turns out that it was just last week.  What is so remarkable, okay there are quite a few things that are remarkable, but the first is that its book week for all genres, here in the states we have Children’s Book Week and Banned Book Week.  Still cool, but not exactly the same thing.  What I loved most about Scotland’s Book Week is that it is about all aspects of books – early literacy programs and book gifting, writing of books, inspiring readers and writers, funding literacy events, outreach for needy families, online lists and resources for all book lovers.  The Scottish Book Trust website is complete with lots of resources, fun articles and my personal favorite – book lists.  Check it out here.

Another fun aspect is that I’m currently obsessed with is a mystery book sculptor,  who hides (her, people believe it may be a woman) amazing sculptures all around Edinburgh.  These mysterious sculptures have been hidden around the city since 2011. What is so neat is that the citizens of Edinburgh have been on a scavenger hunt, if you will, to find these sculptures.  They are usually left at a Scottish historical site or points of literary interest.  The sculptures come with a message about literacy and the importance of books and literacy.  They are amazing.

Mystery Book Sculptor Scotland

Scottish Book Week, Scotland.org

I’m rather obsessed with how fun this is, in 2012 the sculptor created five sculptures and hid them around the city for Book Week.  They released online clues as to where they would be hidden, when they were found the “winners” received a smaller sculpture and the honor of being awesome and finding the sculpture.  So much fun.

WigtownWigtown Town Center

Next Wigtown, this is where I want to go, it is a town that was named Scotland’s National Book Town in 1998, this charming little town has everything a book lover could ask for, 20 businesses dedicated to books.  Its own book festival.  This is where I get super excited, I found this on their website:

The Open Book is a six-month project run by Wigtown Festival Company. The project will invite members of the public to apply to help run a real bookshop in Scotland’s National Book Town in Wigtown for a period of between 2 and 6 weeks and to blog about their experience. Training will be given in bookselling, and help will be provided by Wigtown’s community of booksellers, who will also offer practical and moral support. 

WHAT?!  Amazing, right?  If you want to check this out go to their website.

Finally, and I think I may have saved the best for last here, Leakey’s Bookshop and Café which is Scotland’s largest secondhand bookshop.  It is in Inverness and just looks cool, it looks like it smells amazing…all you will need to be in complete bliss is a cup of tea, a drizzly afternoon and a wallet full of pounds….oh yeah and a cute tote bag to carry all of your finds home.



Saturdays in Seattle: Eating Your Way Through Pike Place Market

I am going to start spending a little more time talking about Seattle.  My petite family has lived in Seattle for almost ten years now and we love it here.  I want to share some of our favorite places, I am going to start with one of Seattle’s most famous tourist attractions.

Pike Place Market

When we go to the market we spend more time eating or buying things to eat than in the shops, so I am going to focus on our favorite food locations.  Yes, everyone does it when they are here, but there are some places that are so worth the sometimes stressful trip inside.  A couple things to know, don’t drive onto Pike Place it is a total disaster.  Drive around the busy market.  Let me start you off on the right foot.  If you have children pay really close attention.  Whatever you do, do not take a stroller into the market, especially on a weekend or holiday.  Trust me, I am a local and I go there…just usually not on the weekends.

Source: Facebook

Source: Facebook

Inside the market you must eat doughnuts at Daily Dozen Doughnut Company, they make these amazing mini doughnuts right there they come in a brown paper sack and are worth the wait in the line.  We love the cinnamon sugar.

Source: google images

Source: google images

Next stop, Delaurenti’s, right next to the doughnut vendor, you can check out some yummy Italian fare while your doughnuts cool down a little.

Source: Seattle Times

Source: Seattle Times

And while we are checking out amazing foods, you simply must walk further into the market into Market Spice.  This little shop has been around since 1911 and for a good reason, you guessed, it they have amazing spices and teas.  What we love most about this place is the incredibly knowledgeable staff.  They can give some great recommendations of new things to try.  Another bonus, the prices are amazing.

Bloody Mary

Source: Lowell’s

While you are here you can get an amazing Bloody Mary at Lowell’s, I am not sure how the food is, because I was treating my Bloody Mary as a meal.

Head downstairs and straight into Golden Age Comics, the oldest comic book store in America!  This place is the real deal you can find tons of comic books, pop culture collectables, scripts, autographs and even toys.  My super cool sister in law picked up an awesome Dr. Who script and loved her entire shopping/browsing experience.

There are tons of amazing vendors and fabulous local artisans if you’re looking for a little fun something to take home or as a gift.  It is worth it to walk all around and check things out for yourself.

Source: Facebook

Source: Facebook

Outside of the market and across the street are some pretty amazing Russian treats at  Piroshky Piroshky , they have so many to choose from, you will probably just want to get a box.

Source: Seattle Weekly

Source: Seattle Weekly

Mee Sum Pastry right next door has amazing BBQ Pork Hum Bao’s a fabulous price as well.   This is where you may need to dig deep and decide if you can possibly eat one more delicious thing or if you need to get one to go.

This is where you will find the Flagship Startbucks…fun for those of you caffeine fiends – the lines tend to be long, but you will be munching on a Piroshky or Hum Bao so you won’t mind.

Source: Beecher's

Source: Beecher’s

Beecher’s Handmade Cheese – you can get just a little sample here and decide if you want to commit to a bigger hunk of cheese.  This is also a fun stop for the petites to see how cheese is made.  They also have delicious mac and cheese if you’re still hungry.

Source: Le Panier

Source: Le Panier

Le Panier – delicious French bakery some Seattleites will argue the best.

I realize that this is basically all about the food at the market, it’s true.  There are tons of great shops inside and outside of the market.  Here are just a few of my favorites.

Source: Metskers

Source: Metskers

Metskers Maps if you happen to love maps as much as I do you need to go to this store.  They have globes in so many different styles you will be wondering how to carry all of your piroshky’s and globes home.

Source: Antiques at Pike Place

Source: Antiques at Pike Place

Antiques at Pike Place for anyone who is looking for their next treasure, you will perhaps find it here.  Also a good place to burn off some calories after your snacks.

The Soap Box,  is such a fun little shop, filled with great smelling soaps and aromatherapy items.  A great place to stop and buy a bath soak for your tired toes.

You can squeeze it all into one day if you have to, but it might just be more fun to stay close by and go back – you’ll feel just like a local your second time through.

If you have a question about the market feel free to ask me in the comments below, I would love to help you plan your market adventure.





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

Source, Facebook

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.


Top Ten Libraries…Get Your Passport Ready

When I think of books I love, I often times think of the places I read the books.  Libraries are such special places; I wanted to share my top ten libraries that I have been to or really wanting to cross off my Library Wanderlust List.  These are just my current top ten, there are so many more, oh my goodness so many more.

1. Long Room, Trinity College – Dublin, Ireland.

Long Room, Trinity College, Dublin Ireland

2. Suzzallo Library, University of Washington – Seattle, WashingtonSuzzallo Library University of Washington

3. Seattle Central Public Library – Seattle, Washington

Seattle Central Library Seattle Central Library Interior

4.  Library of Congress – Washington DC

Library of Congress, Washington DC

5. New York Public Library – New York, New York

New York Public Library

6. Vancouver Public Library – Vancouver, Canada

Vancouver Public Library

7. Harper Memorial Library, University of Chicago – Chicago, Illinois


8. George Peabody Library, Johns Hopkins University – Baltimore, Maryland

George Peabody Library at Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, Maryland

9. Library of Dutch Parliament – Hague, Netherlands

Library of Dutch Parliment

10. Rijkmuseum Library – Amsterdam

rijksmuseum Library

I’ve only been to the first four libraries, but have a strong desire to visit the rest in my lifetime.  What libraries would make your top ten?