I’ve been picking up these Wonderbook’s from our library lately and I thought I’d give a shout-out to them.

These are Wonderbook’s that our library has been purchasing for the younger readers in our area. What is a Wonderbook? To me, a Wonderbook is a great resource for kids and adults alike. These books read to a child while at the same time, they allow the child to follow along with the printed text in the book. I know…….some of you might be thinking, I’ve seen books like these before, picture books or other character driven books where you’re supposed to push the colored-buttons and they’ll tell you to turn the page. Well, what I think sets these books apart is the variety and diversity that you’ll discover with these.

Not only do they cover easy picture books but you’ll find some nonfiction children books, Level books, children’s chapter books, and books for children in different languages. books. Pretty amazing, huh? Yeah, I thought so too.

These books come with easy-to-use instructions right inside the front cover and you can stop them whenever you need to and they pick right back up, where you left off. Our library charges them up when they get returned to the library to make sure they’re charged up for the next patron so we don’t have to worry about the battery dying (they can be charged with a micro-USB too). You can adjust the volume, jump forward and backward in the book using buttons also. There is a read-along mode and there is learning mode with each Wonderbook. In the read-along mode, they instruct you on how to proceed with the Wonderbook – where to start and when and what the sound will be like, when you are to turn the page. In the learning mode, they ask questions about the book: what character did you identify with the most? If you could ask the author a question, what would it be? What’s the books main idea? etc.  

These books are expensive to purchase, I’ve checked into them so I’m glad my library has this option available and I’m so excited that they brought them to my attention. 

My three-year grandson’s like to take these books and sit on our comfy furniture and listen to them on their own. I think they’re finding their independence. I like watching them as they listen as they’re scanning the pages with their eyes. It’s like their eyes are trying to follow the text and the look at the picture at the same time. The voice is slow and clear so they’re able to understand which is great. This is a good option for them and I’m glad that they’re excited to read them. They do cut into my reading time with me, as they want to do them on their own after I read through them once with them but I have plenty of other books to read with them. I find the pace rather slow but the kids like it and that’s what matters. 

 I just checked out a Wonderbook for me to listen to: Lalani of the Distant Sea by Erin Entrada Kelly which is a middle school read.  This is the second book in the series and I’ve been wanting to read it.   I read a lot of middle school books and I think this will be interesting.   So, what do you think?  Have you heard of a Wonderbook? 

Here are a few links if you want further information: https://playaway.com/wonderbook/ https://www.facebook.com/playawayproducts

So what is a Playaway?

We bought a house on a lake this past January and we’ve been doing a lot of driving back and forth each week cleaning and fixing up our new house.  This new lake house will be a place that we plan to use on the weekends and since my husband plans to retire next year, a place that we can escape to more, when he retires.  I could go on about this lake house which I will in future posts (boy, do I have the stories!) but today, I thought I would talk about Playaways.  If you don’t know what a Playaway is, I hope thatt by the time you finish reading my post, you will.  Playaways are amazing!

Playaway unit

I get my Playaways from my library.  I check them out, just like a library book.  They sound and work just like an audio book actually except they are more versatile and easier to use, I think.  The issue I have with Playaways though, is that the library doesn’t carry a wide assortment of books on Playaways.  They are getting better about buying them for the library which is great so we shall see.  I do notice that more patrons of the library are checking them out so that is a plus. The more that people check them out, the more the library will buy.  I guess I could buy Playaways on the web, but they’re expensive.  So what is a Playaway?

Playaway case & unit
Playaway case & unit ( shows how to use the device inside the case)

A Playaway is an audiobook.  Instead of having CD’s to listen to or having to have access to the internet/Wi-Fi to listen to a book, you’re supplied with a small rectangluar device that has your book on it.  You’ll need to have some headphones and one (1) AAA battery to work the device but once you have that, you’re ready.   

The Playaway has volume controls, speed controls, a pause button and off and on controls.  There’s an equalizer button that helps with the sound quality.  The device tells you how far you are in the chapter and it remembers your spot in the book when you shut off the device. 


Volume controls

I’ve been listening to Playaways on our drives betwee the two houses but I’ve also been listening to them while I’ve been working around the house.  I like to stick the device in my pocket and go about my day.  I’ve caught myself talking to myself as I listen to the book, either responding to what is happening in the book or stopping and letting off a few comments about what is transpiring in the book.  I currently have paint on my headphones as I was painting listening to my latest Playaway and the cord kept getting in the way BUT there was no way I was going to stop listening.  I’ve also learned that I need to keep a few spare batteries in my glovebox.  

Here’s a couple links if you want to learn more or if you want to pass some information onto your library.  Our library also have the the Wonderbooks and Launchpads.  I read my first Wonderbooks and I was amazed!


The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz

4 stars Fiction

I actually am in awe with this book.  I liked how the author made me think about different stories and how they’re all kinda the same, yet somewhat different.  I believe it was in the middle of the book, that Jacob talks about how some plots are all the same but it depends on how the author tries to make them unique.  I realize this but what would happen if authors can’t piggyback on one another’s plots?  Would we lose great authors or pieces of great fiction? 

As I listened to this novel on audio, Jacob claimed he wasn’t stealing Evan’s story because he hadn’t read the whole book, but had he?  I contemplated this thought as I read further into the novel.  There were lots of little facts that kept popping up that I enjoyed but were scaring Jacob.  I loved how Jacob stated he was enjoying the stardom of being a successful writer yet he actually wasn’t, as it seemed that he was constantly looking over his shoulder.  His investigation into Evan Parker sure was extensive and I was impressed at how far Jacob’s pursuit went.  He could become an investigator if being a writer doesn’t work out for him. 

I thought there was a big lull in the middle of the book.  Jacob’s investigation was getting boring for me.  His love life was getting interesting, almost too cozy but he doesn’t seem to give her too much attention, as all his thoughts are focused on Jacob.  I’m glad that I stuck it out to the end of the book as it was really good.  The audio was good on this book and I highly recommend it.   4 stars (middle is so-so)

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

4.5 stars Fiction

I got lost inside this book, in a good way.  I found myself caught up with all the drama that happened within this family.  I could see why everyone wanted to be around the famous Rivas, as their lives were full.  Each of the family members were a little bit different and they each brought something to the family when they all got together.  The annual Riva Party was the event, the social event that you didn’t want to miss but this year was going to be epic.

I listened to this book on audio and I highly recommend that you go this route.  I feel that the narration brings an additional element to this book.  Although I enjoy adding my own emotions and attitudes to characters in books that I read, I enjoyed these characters immensely.  I didn’t care for all the characters in this book, oh no!  But I thought that their voices and attitudes were spot on.  I like to listen to books while I do other busy work and I found myself paying more attention to this book than anything else.  The anticipation of a few of the scenes made me stop what I was doing until I could breathe again.  Although this book consisted of only one day, flashing back into their lives, the story covered a lot of ground.  I thought about not reading this book but I’m so glad that I did as I really enjoyed it.  4.5 stars

Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

5 stars Fiction

I highly recommend you listen to this audio as its wonderful.  Words can’t express how I felt as I listened to Gifty walk through her days.  The burden that she carried on her shoulder was heavy and at times, I wondered how she was going to make it through her day.  I felt as if she was just waiting for something miraculous to happen, for something to rip the baggage from her shoulders and set her free!   

Every day, Gifty works with her mice, trying to understand their behavior.  This is her constant, the thing that keeps her moving.  Nana, her talented, gifted brother, is partly responsible for Gifty’s desire to become a neuroscientist. Their mother is the other reason Gifty is going to school.  It all started when her star-athlete brother got injured while at practice.  The pain killers that he took, eventually led to his death.  Now, with her favorite child gone, their mother slips into depression and Gifty is left trying to pick up the pieces. 

It was a difficult move and the family struggles as they tried to adjust to life in Alabama.  Mother wanted the Chin Chin Man to come and when he finally did, I don’t think he really wanted to live in Alabama. I think he struggled to fit in and when he returned to Ghana to visit, I knew he wasn’t planning on returning to the States. Mother’s grief had consumed her after Nana’s death and it was now consuming Gifty as well. Gifty didn’t know what to do, so she went to work, watching her mice.  I liked the honesty that Gifty showed, her frustration felt real.  A great emotional read. 5 stars

Mirrorland by Carole Johnstone

4 stars Mystery

This book really wasn’t a thriller to me. I would classify it as a dramatic mystery.  I picked it up based on the thriller genre and that the fantastic cover and although, the genre didn’t fit for me, I really enjoyed the book.  I listened it on audio and it kept me engaged and I couldn’t wait to get back to it when I had to shut it off.  The relationships, a few unknowns, and a few twists, had me talking to myself, as I went about my day.

The story centers around identical twins, El and Cat, who grew up in an older house in Scotland with their mother and their grandfather.  It is now 10+ years later and Cat has moved to California and El is now married to Ross, residing in the girl’s childhood home. I thought at first that the idea of them buying this house was sweet but the more that I read, I quickly changed my mind.  El has now vanished and they feel that she has died but Cat thinks otherwise.  Although, it has been years since the girls have talked, they are twins and Cat returns to Scotland to help find her.   

There is a lot of time shifting as you read this book, from when the girls were younger to the current time period, especially in the beginning of this book.  I found at times it was confusing at the beginning of the book and I didn’t understand where it would come into play or if it really mattered but in the second half of the book, I was consumed by the book. I really enjoyed the twists and the breakthrough moments that the author spread throughout the book. When they were children, the girls had created a world in the house called Mirrorland.  This fantasy world consisted of bizarre and absurd things that children could envision and it is in this world, that El tries to find her sister. 

There were times as I read this book that I didn’t know what was the truth and what wasn’t. I liked the idea of Mirrorland and how the girls used it to escape their current life when they were children.  Cat was so certain that she knew her sister even though, they hadn’t spoken to each other in years.  Coming back to Scotland was hard for Cat.  She had left her childhood behind and now, she has to face it again and also see what El’s life has been like.  Although it was confusing at times for me, I thought it was a great book.  


I’ve been listening to Playaways lately. I like them as they’re small and I can use my own headphones. My library has been getting more titles lately so that helps too.

Many individuals don’t know what a Playaway is, so I’m going to explain them. Our library carries them like they carry books on CD. Most of the time, a battery comes in the box, if not you’ll need a battery to put inside the unit. I usually just leave the battery rolling around in the case or in the clip for the next person.

Opening the box, you get a little rectangle box which is the book. You’ll need to put the battery in it. Plug in your headphones and you’re ready. You can also plug this into your cars audio system with a $10 cord, I found at Target.

This little system has volume control, speed control for the voice, fast forward, reverse, pause, a lock button and other timers to show you were you are in the book. I like how small they are. You can slip them into a coat pocket while taking a walk, into a shorts pocket, into jeans pockets, etc. they’re very versatile.



Inside – with battery
Inside the box with Playaway at the bottom
Backside of the Playaway. Control buttons
Where you plug in headphones and box info about your car
What the device screens tell you
All the Playaways I have checked out, my headphones and a Playaway