Archive | April, 2012

Annie and Me by Sandra Hershenson

30 Apr

Annie and Me

By Sandra Hershenson

Illustrated by Barb Dragony

32 pages – ages 4+

Published by Utales

Olivia misses her BFF Annie. Annie moved away 8 months, 2 weeks and 4 days ago. Olivia wonders if Annie will still like her when they go to visit her. She wonders if she should ring the door bell to Annie’s new house. What if Annie isn’t her friend anymore? What if she forgot all the great things they did together? Olivia was very nervous to see Annie again.

This adorable book was published on uTales (an ebook publishing company). I was surprised when I read the book that some of the illustrations move and make sounds when you move the cursor over them! That was pretty cool and I think that young kids will really like that interactive part. I really liked the story because the feelings Olivia was having were very realistic. I think it would be a great book for any kids who had a friend move away and also for teaching kids how to deal with nervous feelings. I also liked the fact that the illustrations show friends who are from different ethnic backgrounds. I would recommend this book because of the great message and also the interactive parts of the book would be good for really young kids to start to learn to use the computer.

Five out of Five bookworms for “Annie and Me”!  

You can find more about Annie and Me at uTales and Ms. Hershenson at her blog “The Write Stuff.”

Quote of the Week by Irene Latham and also “Youth Tube”

29 Apr

I found this week’s quote on Renee LaTulippe’s blog “No Water River.” Ms. La Tulippe has the most awesome blog on picture books and poetry. I really like her features where she has poets reading their poems on video! I saw this quote in an interview with poet and novelist Irene Latham and I thought it was perfect! To see the complete interview and see Ms. Latham tell her poem “Dolphin Learns to Spin” please click HERE.

“Go out and make your own mistakes. Learn. Live a life worth writing about.”

- Irene Latham 

 To learn more about Ms. Latham and her books please visit her website HERE. Ms. Latham is also having a Goodreads give away for her MG book (that I really want to read) “Don’t feed the Boy.” Click HERE to go to the Goodreads giveaway!

Don't Feed the Boy

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 !

I also wanted to tell you about a website Patricia Tilton of the “Children’s Books Heal” blog told me about – “Youth Tube!” Youth Tube was created by Niamh Clune of the “On The Plumb Tree” blog.

 

Here’s what it says about the site on The Plumb Tree Blog – The new Youth Tube site is launched on The plum Tree. We hope to encourage early literacy and children’s creativity”

Right now they are asking for children 12 and under to send art projects in titled “self.” My sister and I are making drawings to send in and I think this is a great way for kids to show and be proud of their work. So all you Creative Kids can also send your work in to be featured on “Youth Tube“!

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Toasting Marshmallows

27 Apr

Susanna Leonard Hill has a feature on her blog called Perfect Picture Book Friday (PPBF). It is a list of “perfect” picture books recommended by all sorts of people. I chose this book because April is National Poetry Month and I really love to go camping!

Toasting Marshmallows: Camping Poems

By: Kristine O’Connell George
Illustrated by: Kate Kiesler
48 pages – ages 4+
Published by Clarion Books in April 2001

Theme/TopicPoetry / Nature

Opening and Synopsis –

Tent

 First,

Smooth dirt.

No rocks or roots.

Next, sharp stakes, poles,

strong nylon rope. Shake, snap.

Billow, whoof, settle. Tug. Pull taut.

Our tent is up! Blooming, bright orange.

 A girl and her family go camping and the story is told in poems. The story is told from the time they set up the tent to the time they pack up and everything in between, including campfires, hiking, sleeping bags, and bait shops!

Why I liked this book – This book was voted the School Library Journal Best Books of the Year in 2001 and I can see why. The illustrations are beautiful and realistic. I like how in the book the text for the poems is always different and takes unique shapes (for example, Tent (above) is shaped like a tent)! I love how the whole story is told in separate poems. It reminds me of our family camping trips. I want to know when we’re going camping again. I think boys (and girls) would really like this book!

Activities and Resources –

The author, Kristine O’Connell George has a ton of suggested activities to go along with her book. You can find them at her website HERE.

The National Wildlife Federation sponsors the Great American Backyard Campout every year. It encourages kids and adults to get out and have fun by having a campout in your own backyard! This year the Great American Campout is June 23rd. You can find information about it HERE.

You could sit outside and write your own poem about something you see in nature.

I think one of the best activities you can do is have a campfire and roast marshmallows and make smores!

You need marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate bars. You toast the marshmallows until it is warm and soft and then squish the marshmallow between 2 graham crackers that has a piece of chocolate on them. The trick is to get the marshmallow warm enough to melt the chocolate a little.

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

Creative Kids! Spencer Writes a 39 Clues Story!

26 Apr

Today I have another AWESOME Creative Kid to tell you about! – SPENCER!!!

Spencer (11 years old) sent me a 39 Clues story HE wrote and wanted to share it with everyone. BUT first check out what else Spencer did – he made this cool picture for me!

Spencer has tons of talent!

As I was saying, Spencer wrote a 39 Clues short story and I think that it is great he did! Whether you like the 39 Clues series or not (or maybe you never read it at all) I think this is a good example of how books and reading can get kids to want to write and make their own stories!

Here is a small part of Spencer’s story called -

 

PARALYZING

Hamilton Holt was feeling like a CD spinning over and over again.

They were looking for a lost clue said to be previously kept by Katherine Cahill that everyone was too scared to look for. Why?

Because they were scared that they would fall into one of Nikola Tesla’s traps.

“Lets move it team!”said his father Eisenhower Holt.

“But were dizzy…”said his two twin sisters Madison and Reagan at the exact same time. Strange how they looked nothing like each other. Arnold,our Pitt Bull, was being carried by my mother,Marry-Todd. Maybe when we win this competition we could give some of the serum to Arnold. We have all been tired because our Dad got a really old map that was sold about hundreds of years ago.

“And…HERE!”shrieked his dad. Better start getting our shovels I thought. When we were done digging, we found a letter in a bottle.

We immediately knew it had to do with the clue when we saw the symbol:

It said,”

 Nikola TESLA,

SHall And May Exagerate, ON, Fascinating And Karelessnes Elk,

 Careless Lousy Utility Exit.

 Sincerely,Thomas Edison.

 

To read Spencer’s whole story please click HERE!

If you know of any other Creative Kids that want their artwork, stories or any other creative thing they do posted here, just let me know! You can email me at Erik@thiskidreviewsbooks.com    

Book Review – Imagine Travelling To The Most Mysterious & Unusual Places!

25 Apr

Imagine Travelling To The Most Mysterious & Unusual Places!

By Praveeta

Illustrated by Ash

146 pages – ages 8+

Published by Travel Tales of Elves on November 11, 2011

Have you ever day-dreamed? Thought you were a superhero or a pirate on an adventure? What if your day-dreams turned out to be true? Wakey is a day-dreaming elf and was constantly being made fun of because he was always day-dreaming. When Wakey and his elf friends get taken to one of the kingdoms Wakey day-dreamed about, he and his friends realize that Wakey’s day-dreams were real!  Because Wakey has dreamed this place before, he knew exactly where they were, but he had no idea of how they were to get home! Wakey and his friends have to travel through all the kingdoms he has dreamed about. The kingdoms (having names like the Kingdom of Fitness, the Kingdom of Colours, the Kingdom of Learning and the Kingdom of Nature) really turn out to be the most mysterious and unusual places (to the four elves)!

I thought this book was great! I really liked learning about the different kingdoms the elves went through and learning about the elves and other characters that lived there and how they live. It is a good way for kids to learn something about the “subject” of each kingdom (for example colors or nature). I don’t think that the story plot is that involved, but for kids, it’s a fun read!  There is a section of puzzles and activities related to the story at the back of the book and I think it was a nice addition. I think this book would be good for young advanced readers and older kids.

Five out of five bookworms for “Imagine Travelling To The Most Mysterious & Unusual Places!”

To learn more about the book and its author please visit Travel Tales of Elves by clicking HERE.

The book is only available to be ordered online.

 

You can find it at –  

Barnes&Noble – www.bit.ly/imaginebn
Amazon US – www.bit.ly/imagineus
 

The Nutt Family : An Acorny Adventure by Angela Muse

24 Apr

The Nutt Family – An Acorny Adventure

By Angela Muse

Illustrated by Ewa Podles

34 pages – ages 4+

Published by CreateSpace on February 25, 2012

The Nutt children, Chess and Praline, loved to have pretend adventures. They wished and wished they would have an adventure of their own. When Chess falls out of their tree home and Praline jumps out to save him, the Nutt children get raked up and their real life adventure begins! Will the Nutt kids survive their nutty adventure?!?

This is a hilarious picture book! I love the names of the Nutt family, Filbert, Hazel, Chess and Praline (come on, that’s FUNNY). The adventure the Nutt kids go on is exciting but not too scary for younger kids. The illustrations are really cool too. The last page of the book has some acorn facts like “Acorns are a food source for pigs, deer, woodpeckers, bears, squirrels and mice, but they are toxic to horses.” 

I think everyone will enjoy this fun read!

Five out of five bookworms!  

I reviewed another great book by Ms. Muse, “Lil’ Glimmer” you can see that review HERE.

Instant Preplay by Karl Fields

23 Apr

Instant Preplay

by Karl Fields

Published by Amazon Digital services

172 pages (ebook reviewed) – ages 9+

What would you do if you could watch a show on TV a day before it actually went on TV? What would you do if you could watch the news a day before it happens? Logan’s TV recorder does just that.

Logan had to move to a new school even though he really didn’t want to. He hated being the “new kid”.  When Logan discovers his TV recorder’s “power” he becomes popular because he can predict all sorts of things like sports and weather. But Logan soon realizes that he can start watching the TV news channels and tries to stop the bad things that are reported from ever happening. For example, he stopped a 3-year old from falling off a balcony and being killed. Logan finds that he is watching the news more and more, trying to stop bad things from happening.  But when Logan sees that his friend may die, can he save her in time?

I thought this book was good. Logan was a great main character and I liked Patrick a lot. There was a lot of excitement in the story that kept it moving. The book had a very interesting idea for a plot, but I wish Mr. Fields would have explained Logan’s thoughts about the recorder and why he kept using it a little more. Even though I thought the plot could have been explained a bit better, the story kept me reading and wanting to find out what happens to Logan.

I’d recommend the book to kids 9+ (there is some mild rude language but no cursing and no graphic violence).

I give three out of five bookworms to “Instant Preplay”.

You can read an excerpt from “Instant Preplay” HERE.

To learn more about Mr. Fields and his other books, please visit his website HERE.  

Quote of the Week and Boys Book Club

22 Apr

First of all…HAPPY EARTH DAY! :o

Todays quote of the week is from the front of my Harleysville Books t-shirt!

“EAT

  SLEEP

    READ”

And that’s pretty much how I feel ;)

Talking about Harleysville Books, my boy’s book club met there last Thursday and the book we talked about is Dan Gutman’s “The Genius Files” book 1 – “Mission Unstoppable.”

What happened at the Boys Book Club? Well, here goes:

First, we did this really cool activity packet! It had codes, license plates we could write in, and guess-what-goes-with-what stuff (Pepsi

Pete the Awesome

was good at deciphering codes, and on their cross-country trip they passed tons of license plates on cars, and heard lots of random facts about places they were going to)! Pete our adult coordinator always has the best activities!

 Next, we… we… oh yeah! We played a game of Travel Tell-Tale (Tell-Tale is a game where you make a progressive story and Pete said we has to go to a different place everytime it was our turn (like the McDonald twins did on their cross-country trip). It was really fun!

Then, we played a game of Pete Says because everyone loves Pete Says. Well…maybe Pete doesn’t love Pete Says, but we boys do ;)

Last, we left and went home and did stuff. This stuff had nothing to do with Coke and Pepsi. :o

I CAN’T WAIT UNTIL NEXT MONTH! Our book is “Mr. Chickee’s Messy Mission” by Christopher Paul Curtis!

** Now the book review!

The Genius Files Book 1 Mission Unstoppable

By Dan Gutman

Ages 8+ – 304 pages

Published by HarperCollins on January 25, 2011

The brother and sister McDonald twins, Coke and Pepsi, just wanted to walk home from school in peace. Well, you don’t always get what you want! They didn’t want to be followed by two guys in suit and bowler hats, driving a golf cart with poison-dart loaded blow guns.What makes matters worse, is that they have NO IDEA why the golf-cart bowler dudes are trying to get them! Little did they know that they have been labeled as “Geniuses” by a secret government program. When the McDonald family takes off on a cross-country RV trip to their aunts wedding, Coke and Pepsi think they can escape the bad guys after them. They better think again… 

I LOVED this book and was happy it was picked as our book of the month for Boys Book Club! It was super fun to read and I really liked Coke (the brother) and Pepsi (the sister) McDonald! You can tell Mr. Gutman has a great sense of humor by the way he writes the book.

Five out of five bookworms for “Mission Unstoppable”!

You can learn more about Mr. Gutman and his other books at his website HERE.

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Good Night Gorilla

20 Apr

Susanna Leonard Hill has a feature on her blog called Perfect Picture Book Friday (PPBF). It is a list of “perfect” picture books recommended by all sorts of people. I chose this book…well actually I asked my sister Josie what book I should do this week and she chose this book because it is her favorite book! I reviewed it before on my site (click HERE), but she wants to nominate it for a PPB!

 Good Night Gorilla

By Peggy Rathmann

34 pages – Ages 1+ 

Published by Putnam Juvenile February 21, 1996

Theme/Topic –  Going to bed / humor / imagination

Opening and Synopsis – The first page of the book -

The zoo keeper is taking his nightly walk through the zoo saying good night to all the animals. The sneaky little gorilla snatches the zoo keeper’s keys and escapes from his cage! The little gorilla then decides he’d (and all the other zoo animals) would rather go home with the zoo keeper than stay in the zoo!

Why I liked this book –

This book is awesome for kids who can’t read or have trouble reading. I think the book is hysterical too. There aren’t many words on each page which makes it easier for young children to follow the story. The illustrations are really detailed so it’s fun to add to the story by saying what you think is happening in the pictures. It’s so fun to add-on to the story using your imagination that anyone, even grown-ups, will love doing it. I think it is a great story especially for kids having trouble reading. BUT this is really my sister’s PPBF pick so I’ll let her tell you why she likes it…

Josie – The gorilla is naughty and funny. I like the animals in the zoo. I like when the zoo keeper’s wife looks surprised!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Activities and Resources – You can learn more about the author Peggy Rathmann at her website HERE. I found a great “sequencing” activity made for the book HERE. It helps kids think about the story and put things into order of what happens. There is a whole lesson plan for the book for pre-school kids from Bright Hub Education HERE.

You can read about what zoo keepers do in real life HERE.

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

The Mystery at Marlatt Manor by Anne Loader McGee

18 Apr

The Mystery at Marlatt Manor 

by Anne Loader McGee

176 pages – ages 8+

Published by Vendera Publishing on March 10, 2011

Mallory Gilmartin did NOT want to move to Cedar Creek. She had to because of her parents divorce. She is now living in the Marlatt cottage and weird things are happening at the Marlatt Manor (mansion). Mallory starts having dreams about a girl, Violet, who disappeared at the Manor and other creepy and weird things start to happen. Mallory, her grandmother (who already lives in Cedar Creek) and Mallory’s new friend, Kyle try to figure out the mystery behind the strange things going on and the mystery behind Violet Marlatt. What happens in the Manor? The truth is beyond reality!

I have to say first that I am not a huge fan of scary stories that are just scary to be scary. The Mystery at Marlatt Manor was not just a scary book, it had a great mystery in it also (and I do like mysteries), so I thought this book was a good book. There were some parts that really creeped me out but only because it was spooky, not because it was violent or anything bad. I really liked Kyle in the book. Mallory was a good main character too. I would have liked the dreams Mallory had to be explained a bit more, but I guess that adds to the whole mystery. The plot of the book was very good and it kept you guessing what would happen next. I would really recommend the book to kids who are fans of mysteries. I think it is good for all ages because it was a clean read (other than creepy parts if kids get scared easy).

Check out the trailer – it shows how spooky the book is!

Four out of five bookworms for The Mystery at Marlatt Manor!

You can learn more about Ms. Loader McGee and her other stories by visiting her website HERE!

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