Sep 17

Everyone’s favorite twelve-year-old blogger is back in RETURN TO PLANET TAD, and this time sharing his hilarious adventures of surviving the seventh grade! Eek! We just can’t get enough of this young man, so we’re bringing you more laugh-out-loud thoughts from the one and only Tad. Eat your heart out, ladies. 


Q: What is your favorite food? Least favorite food?

A: My favorite food is lasagna. My least favorite food is licorice. You’d think that would mean that the food about which I felt completely neutral would be licorice lasagna, but you would be wrong because that would be totally gross.

Q: Most embarrassing moment?

A: Why would I answer that?

Q: Chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry?

A: Chocolate. Followed by vanilla. But definitely not strawberry. I don’t think anyone likes strawberry. That’s why they put it into Neapolitan ice cream—to get rid of it.

Q: What sports do you like?

A: I don’t really like watching sports all that much ’cause I find it kind of boring. But you know what I bet would be a really good new sport for TV? Tag. Like, if they got professional athletes in an arena and tagged one of them and said, “You’re it!” and they had to chase everyone else around? I would totally watch that.

Q: What kind of movies do you like?

A: I like movies that have robots or talking animals or crime fighters in them, and every kind of comedy except romantic comedies. If someone made a movie where a robot and a talking animal fought crime and didn’t fall in love, it would be my favorite movie of all time.

Q: Pancakes or waffles?

A: Do the pancakes have chocolate chips in them? If so, pancakes. Otherwise, waffles. 

Q: What is your favorite brand mascot?

A: He’s not my favorite, exactly, but I want to say Crackle from the Rice Krispies box, because he works just as hard as Snap and Pop but never gets any attention. I also always feel bad for Mrs. Butterworth, because you never hear about Mr. Butterworth, so I kind of think that she’s a widow who lives alone and is really grateful any time she’s invited to breakfast.

Q: What is your favorite holiday?

A: Presidents’ Day, because you get a day off school but you don’t have to actually go anywhere or do anything.

Q: Coke or Pepsi?

A: Is there a difference? I like Dr Pepper. Did you know that there’s no period after “Dr” in “Dr Pepper,” so technically, the right way to pronounce it is “Durrrr Pepper”? I used to order it that way in restaurants, until my parents made me stop.

Q: Of all the nursery rhymes, which is the weirdest?

A: “Pop Goes the Weasel,” what with the whole exploding-weasel thing.

Q: Do you have a hidden talent?

A: Yes. 

Q: Do penguins have knees?

A: I don’t know. I’m just a twelve-year-old kid. Don’t you have Wikipedia?

Q: What’s the most embarrassing thing your parents have ever done?

A: Once, when she took me shopping for school clothes, I tried on pants and my mom said super-loud, “Those look like they’re too tight in the crotch area!” and there was a girl from my school there.

I still have nightmares about it.

Q: Who’s your favorite historical figure?

A: Whoever it is who invented Nutter Butters. They’re delicious.

Q: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?

A: Last March, they served green hamburgers at my school. The Vice Principal said, “Oh, neat! This must be for St. Patrick’s Day!” And the lunch ladies said, “It’s St. Patrick’s Day?” And then the Vice Principal took all the hamburgers back and ordered everyone pizza. 

Q: What’s your favorite subject in school?

A: My favorite subject is lunch. I’m really, really good at it.

Q: What’s the best day of the week, and why?

A: Saturday, because there’s no school that day, and no worrying about the next day of school, either. (The worst day of the week is Wednesday, which is not only the day furthest from the weekend, but it also has that weird, sneaky spelling, instead of being spelled “Wendsday” like it should be.)

Q: Cats or dogs?

A: Yes.

Q: What’s your favorite color?

A: Plaid.

 Q: Pirates or ninjas?

A: Ninjas are cooler than pirates, because ninjas can ninja pretty much anywhere, but pirates can only pirate on water. On land, pirates are just, like, weirdos with parrots.

Q: What’s the worst haircut you’ve ever had?

A: I once went to a barber shop that had a TV in it, which seemed great, because it gave you something to watch while you were getting your hair cut. But then I realized that the barbers were watching the TV, too. I had asked for a haircut that was short on the sides and long on top, and I wound up getting a haircut that was short on the left and long on the right. It was terrible.

Q: What’s the most boring thing you’ve ever had to sit through?

A: I once watched a movie called “The Seventh Seal” on Netflix. I got more than an hour into it before I realized that there probably wouldn’t be a single seal in it, much less seven.

Q: What’s the most interesting word you know?

A: The most interesting word I know is “priceless”, because it sounds like it should mean “free”, but it actually means “very, very expensive”. It’s like how “infamous” should mean “not famous”, but instead it means “really famous but for a bad reason”. I feel like both of those words wound up in the dictionary when Webster got, like, drunk one night or something.

If Tad sounds just like your middle grader, have them check out the PLANET TAD series by Tim Carvell


Sep 16

New releases! Browse them all at 

Sep 15

Howdy parents, I’m Jennifer Lynn Alvarez, author of The Guardian Herd series. I’m an animal lover extraordinaire and mother of three. I’m here today to share my thoughts with you on bringing home that first pet because right about the time you’ve made it through night feedings, diaper changes, and sippy cups—is right about the time your child will ask you for one (or for a new baby, but that’s another article entirely!)

This might seem a giant step backward into the chaos you’ve just survived, but think of it this way—you’re prepared! The only difference is that this “toddler” will have a furry face, it won’t wear a diaper (unless you adopt a chimpanzee, which I doubt you will), and its teeth will be a lot sharper.

But your child is adorably cute and says “Pretty please”, so how can you say yes to the pet, without losing your cool?

Well the fantastic thing about pets is that they come in so many species. Much like a video game, you can choose a pet based on your experience level from: beginner, novice, advanced, and expert.

Let’s start with the easiest of pets—for the beginner—something like a goldfish. You don’t have to groom it or walk it; in fact, you should probably do neither of those things with your fish. And goldfish are fun! Your child can decorate the tank or bowl with pirate treasure, sunken ships, and castles. Set up and cleaning is inexpensive and easy, and your child will enjoy watching the goldfish explore (just don’t feed it too much. Someone wrote a book about that, a cautionary tale, I believe!)

Moving on to the novice level … maybe you like the idea of a simple pet, but you want one your child can hold and cuddle. You’re looking for something warm-blooded—like a hamster, rat, or bird. Your child can play with these pets, and then put them safely away to do other things, like reading books. You’ll have to clean this pets’ home once a week, but at least you’ll know it’s not roaming loose in yours! (Unless someone forgets to shut its door—but trust me, that won’t happen more than once or twice a day.)

“But I survived 2am feedings and overflowing pull-ups,” you say. “I’m ready for an advanced pet.” Okay, I hear you. You want a pet that runs loose in your home and has the potential to destroy furniture. At this level, let’s try a cat. They can’t be trained, most of them, so you can’t fail at owning one. In fact, you’ll soon realize the cat owns you. You’ll buy it a bed, but it won’t sleep there. You’ll buy it toys, but it will unravel the toilet paper roll. But the first time your cat purrs, your child’s delight will make the white hair all over your black pants worth all the trouble!

Truth is, most families skip straight to the expert level of pet ownership—the DOG! Dogs are like kids, right? Sociable, smart, and playful? And if you’ve raised your kid well enough to say, “Pretty please”, then how much harder can a dog be, right? Wrong! Dogs take over your life, just like kids. But also like kids, you soon can’t imagine life without them. Dogs are expensive to maintain, and require lots of training, but a good dog will be your child’s best friend and loyal protector for life—and that partnership is worth the pile of chewed up shoes it will cost you.

So these are some great options to get you started—from the beginner level pet to the dizzying heights of the expert level pet—but wherever you begin, your child will be enchanted, and this bonus is enjoyed at every level.

Jennifer Lynn Alvarez is the author of The Guardian Herd series for middle grade readers. When writing her books, Jennifer draws on her lifelong love of animals for inspiration. This is her debut novel.


Sep 15

We have 3 signed copies of a classic Berenstain Bears story to give away.

Brother and Sister Bear are excited learn about dinosaurs, everything from their long, ferocious teeth to their long, ferocious names. A visit to the Bearsonian Museum and information from Professor Actual Factual have them roar-ing for more!

Enter for a chance to win a copy below by Wednesday September 17! Open to US residents only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sep 13

Jennifer Lynn Alvarez knows a thing or two about horses! 

Sep 12

Pete the Cat gets it.


Pete the Cat gets it.

Sep 11

Meet Louise.

Sep 10
No matter the season, a good book always provides a great escape. 
Illustration by bookibookibooki

No matter the season, a good book always provides a great escape. 

Illustration by bookibookibooki

Sep 09

A few creatures found in BALANCE KEEPERS by lindsaycummingsbooks

Sep 09

A new batch of #kidlit out today! 

Browse them all here: