Friday, March 05, 2010

Cesar Takes a Break by Suzanne Collins Thoms: Review, audio program and *giveaway*

This drawing is now closed to further entries. Results forthcoming!

Cesar Takes a Break
by Suzanne Collins Thoms
Illustrated by Rogé
Copyright 2008
Sterling Kids - Children, ages 4-8
40 pages

Cesar is a classroom lizard who has just received a journal in which to write down his experiences when this lovely children's book opens. In journal form, he talks about his good fortune: he is lucky to have 25 friends who shower him with gifts and tell him their secrets.

But, when his "friends", the students who've adopted him as their class pet, leave for spring break, Cesar is not sure what to do with his time. At first, he's lonely and bored, but then he plays on the principal's computer, snacks in the lunch room and finds some new friends. Cesar and his new pals, all of whom are classroom pets, fill their week with fun activities -- playing hockey in the teacher's lounge, reading books in the library, putting on a play.

At the end of the week, Cesar considers leaving the school to see the world. But, then he realizes that his class needs him. He can't wait till the next spring break. Cesar Takes a Break ends with a page of "Fascinating Facts about Green Iguanas".

There was a single sentence that bafffled me, at the beginning of Cesar Takes a Break, but otherwise, I loved Cesar's little adventure and the occasionally sneaky word play. For example, when a turtle named Peace goes off to see the world and the other animals say he never makes it past the lunchroom door, Cesar says, "Still, we should give Peace a chance."

Sterling Kids has created free audio program to go with 8 of their children's books and I think it's so wonderful that I asked to join in on the promotion and giveaway. You can view a video of The Making of Cesar Takes a Break, the audiobook. I have a little trouble getting embedded videos to show up, hence the link.

If you view the video, you'll see people reading the various voices as they record the audio. I've listened to the audiobook and enjoyed it, but what I'm most excited about is that the audios are completely free. I asked Wendy of Sterling Kids if parents can legally burn the audios to CD or load them to an iPod for portability and she said, "Absolutely!" You can listen to the audios and download the audio books, along with a special "jokecast" at the Listen-AlongStorybook website.

When my children were small, we adored book and audio combinations. We took a stack of books, a bin of toys and the audios along on road trips to help keep the children occupied and they were a wonder. Not only do your children get to work on their listening skills, but they are encouraged to make reading a part of their lives, wherever they go.

To celebrate the new Listen-Along program, Sterling Kids is doing a huge giveaway.

3 lucky readers will receive all eight of the Sterling titles currently featured on the Listen-Along Storybook site! To enter this giveaway, prance on over to Listen-Along Storybook and let me know which title is your favorite, plus follow the other rules. You have to be good at following rules.

The rules. Break not the rules or you shall suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous misfortune:

1. Tell me the title of the book that appeals to you the most (as described in the green, italicized paragraph with link, above).

2. Leave your email address - this is a MUST. No email, no entry.

3. One entry per person or address. There are no opportunities for extra entries. Winners must be residents of U.S. and Canada only - no P.O. Boxes.

4. Drawing will be held on Sunday, MayMarch 21 (Sorry, forgot what month it is). Winners will have 48 hours to send their mailing address; I advise following this blog to avoid missing out on the winners list but following is not a requirement for signing up.

Note: I received a review copy of the Listen-Along Storybook Cesar Takes a Break. I was not provided any monetary compensation for this post. I chose to participate in this promotion because I think it's awesome. My copy of Cesar Takes a Break will be passed on to a mother with small children.


  1. I am not entering .. but just wanted to comment on the book itself. Looks like such an adorable little book! I am sure when I taught kindergarten, that the kids would have loved it!

  2. Allison,

    It's a really cute book that would be perfect for a kindergarten or preschool class. The illustrations are bold and colorful - just perfect!

  3. They're all great titles, but "Perfectly Arugula" just sounds too cute!


    Thanks for another fab giveaway and congrats on Fiona - what a cutie!

  4. They look so cute!!! And Cowboy Camp looks strangely familiar...but The Twelve Dancing Princesses has a gorgeous cover!


    Thanks Bookfool and say hello to Princess Fiona! :)

  5. Heather,

    I love that cover, too. "Princess Fiona"! I like! She is such a sweetie. I don't know how we've managed, but every cat we've been owned by has had a marvelous personality -- all different, all extremely loving.

  6. I think my great-nephew would like Cowboy Camp the most, so I'll say that one interests me the most. milou2ster(at)

  7. "Perfectly Arugula" sounds like a fun read.

    dlodden at frontiernet dot net

  8. What a neat giveaway. I just became a grandmother for the 1st time 2 months ago, and these would be great to hold onto till she gets a little older. My favorite is the Twelve Dancing Princesses.

    Thanks for the chance.

  9. Hi Nancy, I've got this entered at Win a Book for you. No need to enter me.

  10. The Twelve Dancing Princesses looks the cutest to me

    ykatrina at hotmail dot com

    my daughter would just love it!

  11. I love Jake and the Beanstalk - it used to be one of my favorites when I was little!

  12. Cesar Takes A Break is my favorite. I think my niece would really enjoy it. :0)

    librarygrinch at gmail dot com

  13. I Saw an ant on a railroad track looks really good!



  14. Cowboy Camp looks great! My neice would love this. Thanks for the awesome giveaway!

    dawnpnr at aol dot com

  15. Thanks for this lovely giveaway. Cowboy Camp is my favorite since my little boy would love it. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  16. I never ever win anything, but, as a children's librarian in a primary school, how can I not try?!

    I love all these titles, but I'm most intrigued with I Saw an Ant on the Railroad Track.

    E-mail is: OR

    Take care,
    readerbuzz aka Debbie Nance :-)