beTWEEN the Bookends is the first monthly book and lifestyle box created for kids by a teen herself! Boxes follow a monthly theme and contain age-appropriate books and lifestyle items that have been read and hand tested by Jillian, the 14-year-old creator. Full size boxes contain 2-3 books and 6-8 lifestyle items, while mini boxes include 1 book and 3-5 lifestyle items. The new gender-neutral boxes will contain the same 2-3 books in the full boxes but will have only 3-5 gender neutral lifestyle items.
The Cost: $50.00 per month for the full-size box + free US shipping. Save with longer subscriptions.
This review is of the beTWEEN the Bookends Early Reader Full Size box.
These boxes were sent to us at no cost to review. (Check out our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we review boxes.)
Perfectly fitting for the December "beTWEEN the Bookends" theme, I'm writing this review on a snow day! Typically in Northern Minnesota, we trudge to school in most weather conditions: be it -40 below, windy, or snowy. Today, however, we are in a blizzard warning estimating snow totals up to 20 inches! While it looks like an out-of-control snow globe outside, the boys and I are cuddled up in fleece jammies with cocoa cups in hand - slowing down and enjoying this month's new books. Read below to see what we discovered in the December box.
As the full-size box is curated with girls in mind, this version comes wrapped in bright pink tissue paper featuring a pigtail-donning cartoon sticker. Sweet!
Here's What's Inside
Each box arrives with a welcome note that includes the theme title and all of the included contents. This month's theme is "Snow Many Books" and includes two books. Also included are nine lifestyle items, two from small shops, and three made exclusively for this box. Along with the month's contents, also listed is the theme for the following month, and the beTWEEN the Bookends social media info.
Basil and the Lost Colony by Eve Titus - Retail Value $16.99
Basil of Baker Street—mouse detective genius—is off on a perilous expedition leading thirty-two mice up a towering mountain. Their objective: to locate and rescue a famous colony of mice that have been missing for six centuries! A clue in the form of an arrow with strange markings has sent Basil scurrying off to Switzerland in search of the lost colony.But the path is not smooth for our Sherlock Holmes of the Mouse World. Before he can solve this baffling mystery, he must confront the mysterious snow mouse and the sinister plots of evil Professor Ratigan, ruler of the mouse underworld!
Strangely enough, I had no idea that the Great Mouse Detective started out as a book series! I am very familiar with the Disney movie, (and found it utterly terrifying as a kid!) But had no clue that Eve Titus first wrote the tale in 1958! With a Sherlock Holmes feel, Charlie loved this book from start to finish. Perfectly suited for 6-9 year olds, there were some words he needed help reading, but overall did a great job. Also, if your school is part of the Accelerated Reading program, the quiz for this book is worth 2 points! I am always a fan of receiving hard cover books, and especially love discovering great books when they are part of a series. This book is number 5 in Basil's adventures, so you can bet our bookshelf library will be growing by four very soon.
Penguin Pandemonium by Jeanne Willis - Retail Value $6.99
An unforgettably funny, animal adventure story about a little bird with big dreams from award-winning author Jeanne Willis. One of the fantastic titles in the brand new AWESOME ANIMALS series - the funniest fiction, starring the wildest wildlife, from prize winning authors. Rory the rockhopper penguin loves showing off, but with few visitors to the zoo, life has become a little dull. If things don't improve the zoo might have to close. So when the keepers install PENGUINCAM Rory grabs his chance with both flippers, organising a dazzling penguin talent show to pull in the crowds! An unforgettably funny story about a little bird with big dreams.
Charlie loves all things animals, so he was really excited to check out this Penguin Pandemonium book. Easy to read, and hilariously funny, Charlie blew through this book quite quickly, and earned another 3 AR points! With a few illustrations, and large font, this was perfectly suited to a second grade reading level, and Charlie already has "Raccoon Rampage", "Meerkat Madness", and "Panda Panic" on his book wish list!
Washi Tape Trio
Thanks to this subscription, we have quite a few rolls of washi tape floating around, and though I personally use it in journalling, we are accumulating so much I had to do a bit of Pinterest research to see what else we could create with this rice paper material. Finding a zillion ideas, our plan for today is to create a couple cards using this book themed tape to send to my book-loving mom. We are definitely open for more craft ideas though! Send them our way through the comments!
One of the exclusive items we received in this month's box was this lovely handkerchief with the quote "Snow days are the best days". While I personally enjoy collecting handkerchiefs, Charlie wasn't quite sure what to make of this inclusion. I did try to fold the 15" polyester hanky to fit into his suit coat pocket for our Christmas Eve church service, but it was a little too big and looked too bulky on a 7-year-old. We did find some fancy hanky folding tricks on Pinterest, and created this funny cradle with 2 rolled up "babies", but Charlie still wasn't all that impressed. Any other suggestions for this pretty little square?
Lucky Cat Water Bottle – Retail Value $15
Back a few months ago, Hank received a T-Rex water bottle, and Charlie was super jealous, so this month was his turn to get a water bottle. Shaped (sort of) like a flask, this flat, rectangular water bottle fits in a variety of spaces, and is just plain eccentric. A little hard to clean, it does require a bottle brush and some patience to really get in there, but Charlie really liked this inclusion.
Like I've mentioned before, Charlie is obsessed with keychains, and is loving the collection he is accumulating. Because he couldn't possibly add all of these fun pom-pom creatures to his backpack at once, he has a little box and changes them out every other week. Honestly, I think this penguin is my favorite because of his cute little wings and beak, but it is really hard to choose!
Monthly Sticker Pack
Another one of Charlie's favorite things to receive is stickers. Perfectly fitting to this month's theme, we received three vinyl stickers featuring a fox, penguin, and snow globe. Charlie added the penguin to his take-home folder, and let me have the fox for my laptop. Cute!
Christmas Tree Soap - Emma Jean's Creations
With "Snow Many Books", a peppermint scented tree soap was a perfect choice for this month's box! Created by a small shop, this soap literally smells like candy canes and contains shea butter and Vitamin E oil. Charlie loves bath type items, so this was one of his highlights, but he is secretly hoping for more bath bombs in the future!
Power Up Pen Pouch – Retail Value $10
Because this particular box is geared towards girls, they do include some obviously quite girly items. Because of the large pixelated heart on this package, he instantly sent this item my way, and honestly, I love it. If you can't tell by the picture, this is a pen pouch. It has an elastic band on that back, and it slides over the cover of a notebook. As an educator, I bounce from classroom to classroom with my notebook and am ALWAYS losing my pen and pencil from the inside of the book. Because of its smaller size, it doesn't fit an 8.5" X 11" notebook that great, but it fit my smaller one perfectly. I have used this everyday this week and haven't lost a single writing utensil - plus, a lot of my students have asked where I got it and want one for themselves! Thanks Charlie!
Arctic Note Pals
More penguins!! This arctic animal sticky tab note pal set is so cute! I use these tabs all the time in organizing, but Charlie loved these for book markers. He has a terrible habit of dog earring pages and loses his bookmarks all the time, so these sticky tabs work perfect for re-use. And just look how adorable they are! I am loving that baby Emperor penguin!!
Holiday Themed Air Dough Kit
We love all things craft, but just haven't found a lot of time lately to get creative. This Snowman Air Dough kit was the perfect kit for a snowy day, and contained all of the needed supplies for a cute doughy ornament. With easy step-by-step instructions the little guy was made quickly, and really added a homemade feel to our little lighted pine tree!
The last inclusion was one that was supposed to be sent last month, but was missed, so they sent it this month instead. Charlie loves scratch and sniff books and stickers, so he was excited for this little notebook. He is always writing down little notes, so to have a pen included (with a little handy holder) was perfect! Featuring a chocolate chip muscle cookie with a bite mark, it really smells like cookies, all while having a perfect Charlie quote!
With the snowfall in full effect, our leisurely snow day has been nothing but relaxing. The December beTWEEN the Bookends Early Reader box has done a fantastic job of keeping us busy and we loved the curation this month. Because we live over 30 miles from the library, and the bookmobile comes on the day we are at school, I personally find it easiest to purchase books for my boys, especially because at least 2 kids will be reading them. This box is always a surprise, and while it is aimed towards girls, Charlie gives me the girly stuff he doesn't want, which is a bonus for me. Through this subscription, we have discovered new favorite authors, and small shop items we otherwise would have never heard about. If you have a kid that either loves reading, or is struggling to find books they enjoy, we suggest this box, because it really makes reading fun.
The beTWEEN the Bookends Early Reader Full-Sized box costs $50.00 per month, including shipping. Because most items were small shop created specifically for this box, I wasn't able to calculate an accurate value estimate, but dividing it by the items we received equals to about $4.16 a piece. Because of the thoughtful curation, fun theme, and enjoyable products, I feel the $50.00 price range is definitely fair for the quality of this box and the number of items.
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Other Things You Should Know
Can I still get this box if I sign up today? beTWEEN the Bookends tends to ship the first week of each month. Order now to receive the January box.
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