Archive | January, 2012

Guest Review by Emma “Time Cat”

31 Jan

Today I have a special guest reviewer – Emma (age 8)! This is Emma’s second review on my blog check out her other reviews listed under my guest reviewer category!

Time Cat

By Lloyd Alexander

224 pages – ages 8+

Published by Puffin February 1, 1996

Time cat is about a boy named Jason and his cat Gareth. One day, Jason is sent to his room for punching his little brother. Frustrated and angry, he says “I wish I had nine lives.” And to his surprise, Gareth says “I do too.”

This is the start of nine magical adventures for Jason and Gareth that take them from Ancient Egypt to America just before the Revolution.

What I liked best about this book is that it’s very suspenseful. I couldn’t put it down! I really cared about these characters because the writing made me feel like I was in the book traveling through time with them. At times, the descriptions were so clear I felt like I could reach out and touch Gareth’s glossy black fur!

You should read this book if you like magic, cats and time travel.

I would give this book five (out of five) book worms!

Thanks Emma for the great review! Sounds like a story I would like! If anyone knows of any kids that would like to do a guest review on my site, please let me know – you can contact me at Erik@thiskidreviewsbooks.com !

Fright Flight – Dream Seekers Book 1

30 Jan

Fright Flight – Dream Seekers Book 1

By Lisa Ard

Illustrated by M. K. Nelson

64 pages -ages 7+ (kindle version reviewed)

Published by Puddletown Publishing Group on November 11, 2011

Twelve year-old Patrick is a Dream Seeker. So is his mom, older sister, and younger brother. The only one in the family that isn’t one, is his Dad. Patrick’s Dad is a geneticist trying to find the gene that makes people Dream Seekers so he can reverse it.  What is a Dream Seeker? It is a person whose dreams have after effects in real life. Like if Patrick dreams about being in a desert with no suntan lotion he wakes up with major sunburn. Some Dream Seekers can also enter other people’s dreams. Patrick’s mom can control her dreams, but the kids can’t. Not all their dreams are sweet dreams…even when they are, they don’t all end well. Like when Patrick dreamed of eating a huge sundae, he woke up sick to his stomach. In Fright Flight, Patrick dreams of being a rocket ship pilot that has to get to an official meeting while battling bad guys but Patrick isn’t alone, Patrick’s mom enters his dream as the commander!

The idea of the Dream Seekers is absolutely cool! I like how their dreams can affect their lives and how some Dream Seekers that can control it can move into others’ dreams. The majority of the book is about Patrick’s dream (which is a good story) and not about what Dream Seekers are and how they can control it. I would have liked to know more about the Dream Seekers. Because it is the first book in the series, I really hope more details about Dream Seekers are in the next ones. I think the book was written really well for kids and it is completely clean for younger readers. There are some nice illustrations throughout the book that make it even more enjoyable to read! I am definitely getting the next book in the series and am looking forward to it.

Four out of Five book worms for “Fright Flight – Dream Seekers Book 1″!

For more information about Fright Flight and the Dream Seekers series, please visit Ms. Ard’s website HERE.

Here’s the cool book’s trailer!

No Quote of the Week Today! I LEGO my books for another day!

29 Jan

Sorry I don’t have a quote of the week today. I didn’t have time to make a post up, but I do want to tell you what I did yesterday - I went to another LEGO© competition! BUT this time it was the Penn First Lego League CHAMPIONSHIP! YAYYYYYYYY!!!!!!! I told you a while ago that we competed in a qualifier and made it into the Championship round (see my post HERE). If you don’t know about First Lego League you should check out their website HERE. FLL is meant for 4-8th graders to learn about robotics (building robots, programming them and competing with them). We also had to make a separate project having to do with food safety. We developed a product called “InboxMINT” which is a peppermint flavored container. When mice try to chew through the container, the mouse tastes the peppermint (which mice HATE) and the mouse leaves without contaminating the food.

It was held at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. We got there at 8:30 in the morning – Here’s my team from left to right – Hunter, Colson, Josh, Erik ;) (in the Phillies hat), Thomas, Alex. Thomas is holding The Red Baroness our robot.

There were a lot of teams! This tournament was very large compared to the one I went to late last year! There was a total of 52 teams! We set up in the Pit Area – Look at part of the bottom floor ! (There were two floors of competitors)-

Told you it was a lot of people

 Once we set up our presentation at our table, my partner Josh and I went to Practice Table #1. Josh was the motor man for the Red Baroness. That means he picked which program we would use and started the Baroness. I was the line-up man. I made sure the attachments were on the Baroness correctly and the robot was lined up right for which ever program Josh put in. See us performing our practice? That’s Mr. Foreman, our coach, in the striped shirt.

We went over to the arena which was in a different building. The hall was HUGE!

We saw some teams that also moved on from our last competition…”Sooooo we meet again NARWHALS”!

We met some new teams… “Sooooo we finally meet you…crabby lobster thing people?? Um…with your brown leader…?”

We all got our chance to compete on the BIG STAGE! Here is the video of my round  (you can see me on the big screen sometimes ;) )-

Sadly, we didn’t win. :( BUT after the second round, we were in 7th place out of 52 teams! We did good on the 3rd round and I think we must have finished in the top 10. I’ll let you know where we placed when we get the final results!

Congratulations to team Green Machine, an all girl team that won FIRST PLACE!!

Perfect Picture Book Friday – The Magic Flute

27 Jan

Susanna Leonard Hill has a feature on her blog called Perfect Picture Book Friday . It is a list of “perfect” picture books recommended by all sorts of people. I chose this book because I like classical music and today is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s birthday!

The Magic Flute – An Opera by Mozart

Adapted by Kyra Teis

32 pages ages 5+

Published by Star Bright Books on April 30, 2008

Theme/Topic – Classical music / opera

Opening and Synopsis – This picture book is a re-telling of the Mozart opera “The Magic Flute”

“Once upon a time, on a day that seemed like any other, Prince Tamino was out hunting in the forest. It was such a lovely day that he didn’t hear a strange sound behind him – a sound that grew louder and louder.”

Prince Tamino is chased by a dragon while hunting in the woods and faints. The dragon is slayed by the servants of the evil Queen of the Night. The evil queen tricks Tamino into saving her daughter, Pamina from Sarastro. The queen tells Tamino he can marry the princess if he brings Pamina back to her.  The queen tells Tamino that Sarastro is really a horrible sorcerer that kidnapped Pamina when really Sarastro is protecting Pamina from the evil queen. Tamino learns the truth when he finds Pamina with the help of his friend Papageno, the goofy bird catcher. Tamino and Pamina fall in love and Sarastro says that they can get married if Tamino can pass three challenges. Tamino passes the tests with the help of Pamina and they get married. The evil queen was banished into eternal darkness and Papageno even passes a test of his own and lives happily ever after too!

Why I liked this book – Well first of all, I like classical music. Second of all I am a fan of Mozart (did you know he wrote the music to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star?). I have heard of the Magic Flute before but I never saw the opera or read the story. A lot of times operas are in other languages (even if it is in English it’s hard to understand sometimes) and it was cool to see the story in a book. After we read the book we went online and saw some clips of the actual opera and I could tell exactly what was going on! The story was written really well for young kids. It is a great fairy tale! The illustrations are made from paper cuttings and it makes them very unique and awesome to look at!

Activities and Resources – In the back of the book, Ms. Teis has a section called “Make your own Mozart Magic” that has activities like how to make your own stage show or do a creative writing project as one of the characters and suggests to do some research online and in the library about Mozart. There is also a link to her website (www.kyrateis.com) where there are even more activities and information about opera and teaching kids about the Magic Flute! I also found the Seattle Operas website where you can see trailers for The Magic Flute and there are interviews about the opera. You can go there by clicking HERE. Of course you can always find cds or dvds of classical music and operas to let you kids listen to!

Check out some pictures of some of the scenes from The Magic Flute opera!

To find more Perfect Picture Books please visit Susanna Hill’s blog  HERE!

Spartacus and the Circus of Shadows

26 Jan

Spartacus and the Circus of Shadows

By  Molly E. Johnson

352 pages – ages 10+ (**with a warning)

Published by RainTown Press on October 26, 2011

Spartacus Ryan Zander’s mom (Athena) was a little kooky…OK she was downright strange. She was always trying to do circus tricks like leaping off the roof onto a trampoline and she was obsessed with being a circus performer.  Spartacus’ Dad was always taking Will’s (Spartacus’ older brother) side in arguments and pretty much didn’t believe anything Spartacus said. Will treated Spartacus poorly (but a lot of older brothers will do that). The day Spartacus started seventh grade Athena turned up missing and the house was a mess! The sink was overflowing, the TV was broken and there were knives stuck in the cabinet doors! Will thought maybe she left them and Spartacus’ dad didn’t say much. Spartacus and his best friend Eli had evidence that Athena was kidnapped by  the evil Bartholomew’s Circus. Spartacus runs away to try to find her and Eli helps by guiding him along using his internet skills. Along his road trip, Spartacus has amazing adventures and meets up with zany allies. When Spartacus finally finds his mom, it isn’t the reunion he was expecting…

I REALLY got into reading this book (no, really, I got in trouble at least three times for not listening because I was reading this book). I really liked this book because of the humor, action and adventure in it. Spartacus was a good main character and likeable. He has cool talents like fire-breathing, escaping from ropes and knife throwing (all circus talents). The character I liked the most was a scary biker guy named Lloyd Loeke, a guy that Spartacus got a ride from and it turned out that even though he looked scary he was a pretty nice guy. The whole plot of the story was strange but in a good way. You never knew where Spartacus’ adventure would turn next. The book had some sad parts to the plot (mostly about Athena not being a very good mother) but it didn’t make the book overly sad, it was really more wacky than anything. When I got the request to review this book, I asked my usual “Is there any bad language, graphic violence, or any other inappropriate content for a 10 year-old” question to Ms. Johnson. She replied “There is a swear word on page 40. But that’s it–I promise.”  My mom edited the curse word out of my copy and inserted “bad word”. “Bad word” appeared 3 times on page 40 but my mom OK’d the rest of the book (thanks Ms. Johnson for the warning!). If I were to change anything about the book I would have it be completely clean so younger advanced readers could read the book. Come on Ms. Johnson! Us younger kids want good stories too!! :) :) **I recommend the book to kids 10+ with the warning to parents about page 40!

I give the totally wacky adventure story “Spartacus and the Circus of Shadows” five out of five book worms!

To learn more about “Spartacus and the Circus of Shadows” and Ms. Johnson please visit her website HERE.

My Clearest Me

25 Jan

My Clearest Me

By Gueh Yanting, Claudine  and Quek Rui Zhen, Sarah

24 pages – ages 5+ (kindle edition reviewed)

Published by Carry Us Off Books on October 20, 2011

Wynn hears his teacher telling his mother that he is too quiet. She says she worries that he won’t make friends and he won’t be able to live his dreams. Wynn wonders if he should be loud and rowdy like the other kids. His mother tells him to be anyway he wants to be. Wynn still wonders if he should try to “fit in” and be more like the other kids. After wandering around and talking to the moon and the stars, Wynn decides he likes himself the way he is. He knows he will make friends and he will be who he wants to be.

I really enjoyed this book. I like Wynn because he’s not shy but he’s a quiet boy and he decides that he just likes who he is. He decides he shouldn’t be what others think he should.  Sometimes I feel like I am quiet (like I like to read A LOT and that’s a quiet thing to do). I know how Wynn feels. The illustrations have a great amount of color and beauty and they go with the story well. I think it would make a great read aloud book.

I like what Claudine Gueh Yanting said about Wynn on the book’s website -

“Like Wynn, I tried fitting in with the crowd I was in, I tried raising a ruckus wreck, and I felt really tired afterwards. Worn out, lost, and still, darn it, rather small. Wynn is much cleverer. He accepts who he is and enjoys what he likes. “

Five out of five book worms for “My Clearest Me”!

The trailer for the book is really nice (great music too)!

My Clearest Me is available in ebook form. To learn more about “My Clearest Me” and the other books offered by Carry Us Off Books, please visit their website HERE

Guest Review by Ethan – How to Eat Fried Worms

24 Jan

Today I have a special guest reviewer – Ethan (age 8)! This is Ethan’s third review on my blog check out his other reviews listed under my guest reviewer category!

How to Eat Fried Worms

By Thomas Rockwell

128 pages – ages 7 and up

Published by Yearling on June 1, 1953

Billy makes a bet for $50 if he eats 15 worms. He eats them with ketchup, mustard and other things on his worms. His Mom and dad doesn’t  know that he is eating them until he’s sick. I like this book because he puts ketchup and mustard on his worms.  I also like when he cooks them fried or boiled.  I learned that your actions should not hurt other people.  I learned this from what happened after the baseball game.  I also learned that you should tell parents what you’re doing. There are some yummy recipes at the end.

I give “How to Eat Fried Worms” four out of Five (fried) Book Worms!

Thanks Ethan for the great review! I hope those recipes are not for making fried worms!! If anyone knows of any kids that would like to do a guest review on my site, please let me know – you can contact me at Erik@thiskidreviewsbooks.com !

Boys Book Club January Selection – Attack of the Vampire Weenies

23 Jan

For this month’s meeting of the Harleysville Books Boys Book Club, we read “Attack of the Vampire Weenies: And Other Warped and Creepy Tales” by David Lubar. Although I really wasn’t fond of the book (see my review below), I was really happy to be back at book club (we didn’t have one last month because of Christmas).  Pete (the AWESOME Harleysville Books employee that is our group leader) asked all of us what our favorite story was from the book (the book is a collection of sort stories). My favorite is “Family Time.” Pete then said we were going to make up our own stories using a game called “Tell Tale”. In the game you get a card with a subject or event on it and each person has to take what ever is on the card and build onto te story. It was pretty fun and we played that a while. It was cool to see how different people would change the story in ways I wouldn’t think of. Next we drew our own vampires in honor of the book. Here’s Gavin, Kevin, and my Vampires…

and this is Pete’s (that he drew after we all “convinced” him to) -

I don’t think he took it seriously ;)

Then Pete handed out a fun activity sheet that goes along with the book. You can get a copy of it at Mr. Lubar’s website HERE. We didn’t have time to do a lot on the sheet but I finished it when I got home. All us boys didn’t want the meeting to end (But they were closing the book store :( ). We’ll get to meet again next month when we talk about The Mega Mash-Up Series!

Now for my review of “Attack of the Vampire Weenies: And Other Warped and Creepy Tales”!

Attack of the Vampire Weenies: And Other Warped and Creepy Tales

By David Lubar

224 pages – ages 10+

Published by Starscape on May 24, 2011

What would you do if you were at a “vampire” party and actual vampires showed up?!? Well, you can read about it because it happens to a bunch of unlucky kids in “Attack of the Vampire Weenies”! The book is a collection of weird and scary-ish short stories. One of my favorite stories from the book is “Family Time”. It’s about a kid named Stephen who is trapped playing a game that his whole family understands except him. He’s been playing and playing and playing but he just doesn’t get it. The rest of his family thinks the game is great. Stephen doesn’t get all the strange rules. When his mom announces they can play even longer Stephen wonders how much more he can take!

I am not a huge fan of horror or scary stories so I may not be the best person to review this book. I do like scary stories that have a good mystery in them (like Patrick Carman’s Skeleton Creek). I wasn’t really fond of this book. I do like Mr. Lubar’s writing style, in fact he really creeped me out with some of his stories so he writes descriptions really well. I think kids who do like horror stories would really like the book. I also really liked the short story format, but I just didn’t like the stories. I think the book would be good for kids 10+ but there is some rude language (no cursing or anything) and there is a bunch of violence (nothing graphic but there was more than I am used to reading in a book- again I don’t like horror books).

 

I got interviewed!

22 Jan

**NEWS FLASH**

I usually don’t post twice in one day but I just saw that Miss Diane  (The Patient Dreamer) posted an interview she was so nice to ask me to do! If you have a chance please go to her blog HERE and read the article.

Quote of the day and a message from Josie!

22 Jan

First I have a message from Josie for all the people who wished her a Happy Birthday yesterday -

Today’s quote I have seen in/on a bunch of places, even on t-shirts! I had to look it up to see who said it and found out it was from J.W. Eagan who is an author but I can’t find much information on him or her. If anyone knows PLEASE let me know!  I like the quote because I really think it is true, there’s a lot of movies that aren’t as good as the book!

 

“Never judge a book by its movie.”  —J. W. Eagan

If you have a great quote about books or reading for my quote of the week please email it to me at Erik@thiskidreviewsbooks.com !

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