Category Archives: book

Storybook-Music CD Review, “Chicken Joe Forgets Something Important” & GIVEAWAY

all rights reserved The Secret Mountain

I recently was invited to review a children’s book and music as well.  In this posting, I do a review and promotion of the storybook with music CD by The Secret Mountain titled Chicken Joe Forgets Something Important.  It’s a cute little story which made me want to use a Southern accent when I read it.  Maybe ’cause I’m from New Orleans, or maybe just because the language and names of the animals inspire it or perhaps the folk/bluegrass music CD that accompanies the book.  In any case, it’s a truly fun book for kids and adults too.  You can also play the story for them on the CD and then, after the storybook there are several songs that are both cute, funny, and fitting performed by Keith Grimwood and Ezra Idlet who make up Trout Fishing in America, a band duo that makes family music fun. They are four-time grammy nominated as well and described by the Los Angeles Times as “Some of the most lyrically creative, musically sophisticated, vocally muscular music-makers in the family music business.” Their tunes are spunky and catchy which have led to accolades from both Billboard and USA Today. Check out the band’s website and all their other music as well.  To preview the book, Chicken Joe Forgets Something Important, check out Secret Mountain’s website and all the other cute, educational books they carry as well.  The illustrator for this book, Stéphane Jorisch is a four-time winner of the Governor General’s Literature Award in Children’s Literature Illustration, the Ruth-Schwartz Children’s Book Award and the Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator’s Award.  The publisher of the book, the Secret Mountain, has earned a NAPPA Gold Award and is a Gold Medalist in the Moonbeam Awards.

All Rights Reserved by Illustrator and The Secret Mountain

The premise of the storybook is as follows: Chicken Joe, the cat who sleeps in the hen house, is happily dreaming about rock and roll. A rooster’s raucous crow wakes him up way too early. Everyone on the farm knows today is a special day, but in his sleepy morning haze, Chicken Joe can’t remember just what it is. Even Joe’s best friend, a city dog named Miss Kitty, won’t tell him. Find out why this is Chicken Joe’s big day!  The most interesting thing about the book is how the characters are named such that you would think when hearing their names that they are a certain animal but in reality, they turn out to be something else.  It is a great lesson for kids too – not to rush to judgment or judge just by names alone and to dig deeper.  The illustrations are amazing and the musical accompaniment just brings the story to life.

Currently, the book with CD retails on Trout Fishing in America for $16.95 and on the Secret Mountain website for $22.95 but you can get a copy of this storybook-CD set for FREE!  Don’t forget to enter the giveaway here (see below) and good luck.  I have a feeling your kid(s) will laugh and enjoy it and the music that comes along with it.

GIVEAWAY: To enter the giveaway (U.S. residents only please) to win your own copy of the book-music CD that retails for up to $22.95, do the following:

Mandatory (for one entry):  

(1) Leave a comment to answer this Q: What animal do you think Chicken Joe is?

Optional (leave a separate comment for each one you do):

(2) Tweet the following (can do once per day) and then leave in a comment the link to your tweet and your twitter handle.  Chicken Joe Forgets Something Important- StoryBook-CD enter for your chance to win here:  via @getcluedin

(3) Follow @getcluedin on twitter

(4) Like Get Clued In’s page on facebook

(4) Subscribe to Get Clued In! (this blog) via one of the methods listed: RSS, Emails, or through Networked blogs on facebook

Contest will run from posting through January 6, 2012, 10 AM Eastern Standard Time- Winner Selected and Chosen using “And the Winner Is” plug-in and announced here and notified via Email on January 6, 2012 by 8pm.  

Thanks for everyone who entered… the plug in “And the Winner Is” Chose: I confirmed this and she was notified and has responded.   Thanks again for all who entered and if you did not win, fret not.  Please check out the websites linked above for your very own copy of this and other great books by The Secret Mountain.



Your Winner

Author: Amanda H (email REMOVED – Privacy purposes)
Comment: permalink
The Meow Meow as my kids call it.


Disclaimer:  In addition to this, please also see Get Clued In’s disclaimer which applies to this entire blog.  I was compensated with a copy of the book and CD accompanying it.  Get Clued In is in no way responsible for sales and transactions by the Secret Mountain or Trout Fishing.  Giveaway rules must be complied with to be eligible to win and contest winner must be a U.S. resident and/or shipped to a U.S. address.


The Help- A Movie Review & Book Review Revisited

This past weekend, I saw the movie, The Help which was based on the best-selling novel by Kathryn Stockett.  I finished reading the book in May & loved it.  The book review is posted here and I’d like to re-visit it before I talk about the movie and how fabulous that was as well.

The Help was a gripping book – at times, I could not sleep after reading it.  I was hooked and what was neat about the book is how the author wrote it from the perspective of the three protagonists- the main characters of the book. She not only shifted from accent to accent when she did this, she kept the reader focused on each of their lives and she did it quite gracefully.  You were able to get to know everyone in this town quite intimately and felt like you knew them. The book, of course was amazing to read and I would highly recommend reading it even if you watched the movie or the type of person who just watches movies in favor of reading the book.  While the movie was excellent (I give it five stars) and gripping in its own right, the story derives its basis from the book and the book will let your imagination run wild in ways the movie did not.

Of course, considering the book was 451 pages long, the movie was made quite well and did not miss a beat.  The premise of the book is the same and the movie captures it perfectly– the 60s, the dawn of the Civil Rights movement, and the South- specifically, Jackson, Mississippi, and the point of the view of the help- the hired maids, nannies, and help that enriched so many homes but yet never received the respect they seemingly deserved.   This is a heart and gut-wrenching movie and book about the struggles the help faced and what they put up with to keep their jobs, their homes, their families in-tact, and all the while living in silence.  They accepted separate but equal, accepted being treated like fourth and fifth class citizens, lived in fear, and accepted their fate.

There is a line in the movie which sums it up the best because no one seemed to care about the stories of these men and women.  In fact, even the police at the time took it at word when a white man or woman reported a robbery or pointed the finger at a black woman or man. No one listened, no one cared but when these women were able to speak, when they were able to write the truth, when they were able to share their stories, they felt, despite their physical and societal status… Free!


Book Review- ‘The Help’ by Kathryn Stockett

All rights reserved, Penguin Publishing

I recently finished a book I initally had a hard time starting but once I did, I really got into it. Six months ago, I was finishing the Stieg Larsson trilogy (Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series) and it was tough to go from that genre to this book but I tell you, I am glad I read The Help. This is a book that really gets you thinking about how the South and really the country, just 40-50 years ago, was segregated.  “Separate but equal” really was just a punchline for the dirty truth- DISCRIMINATION.  It’s hard to believe the decade before I was born in this country, we treated people differently simply for the color of their skin and of course, fear of differences.  Sure, it’s controversial, sure, it raises some criticism but it is a good book.  It is well-written, and written from the perspective of three separate female characters.  If you can keep who is the narrator at any given time, this book just flies by and before you know it, the book is done, leaving you wanting to know more.  What happens to everyone?  Is there is a sequel?  I was left wanting more and that to me, is a sign of a great book.

This book is set in Jackson, Mississippi, in the early 60s.  It covers the time of President Kennedy and his assassination.  Martin Luther King, Jr., is starting his nonviolence movement for desegregation and equality for Blacks in America.  It is a great story about the times from the point of view of the help- the cooks, the maids, and the women who were nannies, often for white families.  Whether historically accurate or not, it really does get you thinking about how different times were back then.  When I place myself as a character in the book, I do not think in my wildest imagination, as I fast forward 40+ years, that we would have an African-American President of the United States.  That is a truly historic event in American history and this fictional book absolutely confirms it.  Of course, I always read everything with a purpose and this book definitely has purpose.  The movie is set to release this August and I would definitely recommend this quick read before you head out to see the movie.  The Help by Kathryn Stockett, a book that makes you think, a book that makes you appreciate where we are today as a country despite our continued differences.