Room On The Broom DVD Review/Giveaway

wpid-room_on_the_broom.jpgI’m a sucker for stories with lessons.  I also love when books are turned into films, though I’m always wary when a short story is turned into a longer movie.  It’s easy to bog down the story with unnecessary details, completely ruining the tale.  Thankfully, Room On The Broom is exactly the opposite of this.

The book was fantastic.  A witch and her cat would keep losing items of hers.  Animals would kindly return them and ask to ride on her broom.  The witch would agree until the broom was so overloaded that it snapped in two.  Unfortunately, one animal – a dragon – was not so kindly and tried to eat the witch.  The animals had to work together to try to save their friend.

The movie follows the same plot, but you begin before the witch and cat even take off for the first time.  Instead, you get to see some of the cat’s life alone with the witch.  As each item is lost and found, the animal returning it gets fleshed out more.  The dog is eager – bounding around the witch and sniffing the broom.  The bird is green – while all other birds were black and excluded her.  The frog was clean – in stark contrast to the messy frogs surrounding him.

While the witch is glad to have more friends, the cat sees each new animal as a threat to its life with the witch.  It tries to deny them access, but the witch is too kindly and takes them all in.  The cat must learn that these “intruders” are actually friends and work with them when the witch’s life is in danger from a scary dragon.

I loved how the movie not only used plot elements from the book, but took minor illustration components and turned them into scenes.  For example, one picture in the book showed them flying over a crane, sheep, fish, and beaver.  In the movie, this turned into a series of scenes where these animals turn up as they search for the witch’s wand,  In addition, the added elements (such as the cat’s annoyance towards the new animals) made the story even better.  I would definitely recommend both the book and DVD to parents for both entertainment value and the lessons they can teach children.


One of my readers will win a copy of Room on the Broom on DVDTo enter, follow the steps in the Rafflecopter widget below.

Contest starts today, August 21st and ends at midnight on September 7th. You do not have to be a blogger to enter, but must leave a valid e-mail address for me to contact you for your mailing address once the giveaway is over. I will select the winner using Rafflecopter and contact you via e-mail. You will have 48 hours to claim the prize. If there is no response, another winner will be selected. Open to U.S. and Canadian residents only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received both the book and DVD version of Room on the Broom to facilitate this review/giveaway.  All opinions expressed above are my own.

Don’t Judge A (Mo Williems) Book By It’s Cover


Disclosure: B received some Mo Willems books courtesy of Disney Publishing Worldwide both to review and to help celebrate the Pigeon’s 10th birthday. No other compensation was received.  I wasn’t asked to do anything, but I liked this book so much (as well as the other books), that I decided to post a review as well.

A few weeks ago, we were given the opportunity to review a few Mo Williems books,  While B has her review live today, I thought I’d add in my own thoughts as well about A Big Guy Took My Ball!, by Mo Williems.

Our boys love the Elephant and Piggie series.  They quote them endlessly and love re-reading them over and over.  Now that JSL is learning how to read, he’s finding that he can read these books himself as well.  Nothing is a better confidence booster for him as he sharpens his reading skills than reading a book from beginning to end with little to no help.

I was first attracted to A Big Guy Took My Ball! because it seemed like an Elephant and Piggie tale about bullying.  After all, the story involves Piggie playing with a ball and some big guy taking it from him.

After we read the book, however, we found out that there’s a twist.  Not to give too much away, but it turns out that this book isn’t about a bullying situation at all.  Instead, it is about how people can rush to judge people based on the way they look and based on misunderstandings.

I loved how Mo Williems’ characters handled the situation once the misunderstanding was cleared up.  The characters realized what they did wrong and did all they could to make things better.  They even learned that many pre-conceived notions you have can be wildly wrong.  This serves as a great model for children who are learning to navigate tricky social waters and who might run into people who look or act different.  The world would be a better place if more people lived life following Elephant and Piggie’s examples.

A Big Guy Took My Ball! will be released on May 21st, 2013.  As of this writing, you can pre-order it on for $5.48.

Editing Reality

DTRave_Cartoon_Computer_and_Desktop_smallYesterday, I wrote about a great book I read titled Off To Be The Wizard by Scott Meyer.  In it, the main character, Martin Banks finds that he can edit a computer file and alter reality.  A bigger bank account, taller height, and different location are just a quick file change away.

This got me to thinking what I would do if I found such a computer file.  Changing my bank account balance is the obvious choice.  However, like Martin, I might run into problems if I abused that.  After all, banks tend to get suspicious if large sums of money just appear in your account for no good reason.  I could change physical attributes like my weight or height, but those could have unforeseen consequences as well.  (Such as making me weigh less by removing organs from my body that I need to live.)

In the end, I think that the thing I’d edit the most would be location.  Imagine being able to take a trip anywhere by merely finding your location on a map and clicking.  I could take a trip to Disney World without needing airfare and, when the day was over, could teleport back to my own house and my own bed (saving money on hotels).  My daily commute to work would involve popping out of my house and immediately being by my desk.  A trip to my parents would be as easy as point and click.  Of course, my photography vistas would expand infinitely as I could quickly appear in a location, take some photos, and then disappear to go back home.

If you could edit any aspect of reality by simply editing a computer file, what would you do?

A Tale of Computers and Wizards


A couple of weeks ago, I was reading Epbot, a blog run by Jen Yates of Cake Wrecks fame, when I saw her review of a book titled Off To Be The Wizard by Scott Meyer.  I immediately knew this was a book I would have to read.

The author had put the first seven chapters online for free so I downloaded and read those.  Actually, read is the wrong word.  Devoured sounds better.  I was done with those quickly and purchased the Kindle version to read the rest.  The story sucked me in so much that I was done in just over 24 hours.

The tale begins with Martin Banks.  Martin’s a pretty average guy.  He has a boring, dead-end job, a drab apartment, and not much money in his bank account.  He’s also a computer enthusiast.  One night, while hacking into a server (not to cause mischief, but just to see what he can find), he stumbles across a strange text file.  The file is large and has a boring name, but something about it piques Martin’s interest.  He tries to download it and is surprised when it instantly opens.

Martin quickly realizes that this file describes people and objects in the real world.  Not only that, but he can make changes to the file.  If he changes his longitude and latitude in the file, he teleports to another location.  If he changes his height, he gets taller or shorter.  He can edit his bank account balance and his cell phone’s battery level.  He can even hover or travel to the past (but not to the future).

With all this power at his disposal, it is almost inevitable that Martin runs into trouble.  He’s forced to flee and, given that he could be pursued any WHERE, decides to escape to a WHEN.  Specifically, the middle ages.  After all, the power to change reality could be viewed as magic and he could become a wizard.

What follows is a riveting adventure filled with magic, geeky references, and time travel as Martin learns how to be a wizard.  I’d definitely recommend this book to any who loves computers, fantasy, science fiction, or just a really good story.  Off To Be The Wizard is available from in both paperback and Kindle versions.

Disclosure: I purchased Off To Be The Wizard myself to read.  I wanted to share a book that I loved and wasn’t compensated in any way for this review.

Asperger’s Syndrome Resources

CrazyTerabyte_BookWhen you get an Asperger’s Syndrome diagnosis, one of the first things you do is go on a quest for information.  Thankfully, there are a lot of resources out there.  Here are a few of the ones we have found over our time.


Books are, of course, a great resource.  Many books have been written about Asperger’s Syndrome.  Some cover general information, some are designed to allow children to understand Asperger’s Syndrome, and some help educators know how to help Aspies reach their full potential.

Here are a few of the ones that we like:

Can I Tell You About Asperger Syndrome?: A Guide for Friends and Family – This book begins with an introduction from a child with Asperger’s and moves on to techniques that can help an Aspie learn and deal with the neurotypical world.

All Cats Have Asperger Syndrome – This is a humorous book relating cat behavior to Asperger’s Syndrome.  Behind the humor, however, is a very accurate telling of what it is like to have Asperger’s Syndrome.

Asperkids: An Insider’s Guide to Loving, Understanding, and Teaching Children with Asperger’s Syndrome – This book gives a good overview of techniques that assist kids with Asperger’s Syndrome to deal with the neurotypical world.  It also helps describe some ways to teach children on the spectrum.

Spaghetti is NOT a Finger Food ( and other life lessons ) – This is an e-book I’ve already reviewed.  It is a story detailing a day in the life of Connor, a kid with Asperger’s.  The story is told through Connor’s eyes, so you get to see just what he is thinking as events unfold.  It is a great book to read with kids to help describe some of the challenges that kids with Asperger’s Syndrome have.

Blog Posts and Web Pages

Of course, there are a lot of blog posts online dealing with Asperger’s Syndrome.  Here are a few that I’ve recently found useful/informative.

The AQ Test – This is a quick test to help determine if you have Asperger’s.  If you score above 32, you likely have Asperger’s Syndrome.  The average for those who are neurotypical is under 17.  (I scored a 36.)  Of course, as with any test, it isn’t completely accurate.  You could score high and not have Asperger’s Syndrome.  Still, a high score does mean that Asperger’s is a definite possibility.

Ten Things You Should NEVER Say To An Autism Parent – This is a great blog post detailing some of the questions that you are bound to hear when you have a child with Asperger’s/Autism.  Everything from questioning your parenting skills to doubting the diagnosis (because random strangers are better informed than your doctor) are covered.

Debunking 6 Myths About Asperger Syndrome – This has a few of the most common misconceptions that people have about those with Asperger’s Syndrome.  It provides some needed insight to dispel the myths.

Asperger’s and Literalism, aka Why We May Seem Condescending and Pedantic – This was a great post by a friend of mine, Christina.  Christina has Asperger’s and has a son on the spectrum as well.  Her blog post is a good insight into why people with Asperger’s might act rude when we don’t mean to.

50 Positive Characteristics of Aspergers – Too often, Asperger’s is phrased as a horrible disease that a person much fight against their entire lives just to have a chance at a normal life.  And while it may often feel this way, there are a lot of good things that comes with Asperger’s.  This focus on the positive was refreshing.

70 Tips & Tricks for Educating Students with Aspergers/High-Functioning Autism – Parenting a child with Asperger’s is tough, but so is being a teacher to an Aspie.  This list can give educators some valuable tactics to help students with Asperger’s Syndrome reach their full potential.

There are many resources out there for those with Asperger’s Syndrome and/or for those who interact with those with Asperger’s.

What resources would you recommend?

NOTE: Some of the links above are Amazon affiliate links.  I will receive a small compensation if you use them to make a purchase.  Also, the "book" image above is from CrazyTerabyte and is available from

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