Archive | September, 2012

Perfect Picture Book Friday! The Bee Bully by Angela Muse

28 Sep

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 it talks about a very important message – bullying.

The Bee Bully
By Angela Muse
Illustrated by Ewa Podles
32 pages – Ages 4+
Published by  CreateSpace on August 4, 2012

Theme/Topic – Bullying/Being bullied

Opening and Synopsis –  

“In a green meadow inside an old tree

 lived all alone, a very angry little bee.”

A bee is bullying the animals around him when they get in his way. But when a little boy catches the bee in a jar, the angry little bee has time to think about what he has done.

Why I liked this book – Bullying is a very important subject. My school has a whole anti-bullying program. I think this is a good book to talk about bullying to younger kids. I have to admit I loved the book right away because the illustrations are awesome. When I read the words I thought the story and the rhyme it is told in really helped talk about a tough subject (bullying). I like how the bee had to think about how he was treating the other animals and realized he was wrong. This would be a good book for pre-schoolers too.

Activities and Resources –

Did you know that October is National Bullying Prevention Month? Well, IT IS! You can read more about it at the official website by clicking HERE. The official site also has a whole list of activities to do like coloring pages, puppet shows, dancing,  and songs. There are even teacher kits. Click HERE to go to it.

Vivian Kirkfield of the Positive Parental Participation blog just did an interview with a news station where she talked about signs to watch for to see if your kids is getting bullied. I thought the interview was great! Click HERE to go to her post about it.

For more information about Angela Muse and her books, please visit her website by clicking HERE.

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

Of Giants and Ice by Shelby Bach, Author Interview, and GIVE-AWAY!

26 Sep

Of Giants and Ice
By Shelby Bach
352 Pages – Ages 9+
Published by Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers on July 24, 2012

Rory Landon wasn’t sure if she understood the Ever After School (EAS) program. Everything is weird there. Rory didn’t understand why everything there is related to fairy tales. She soon makes friends with Lena (AKA Jacqueline), a girl her age and Lena helps Rory around EAS. Rory is amazed to learn that everyone there is a character from a fairy tale, including herself! Every kids at EAS eventually gets matched up with a “Tale”. When you are matched with a Tale, you have to go and live it out. The Tales can be dangerous,  or really nice. It takes a while, but Rory really starts to enjoy life at EAS. When Lena is matched with her Tale, Jack… err… Jacqueline and the bean stalk (a Tale that can get pretty dangerous), she picks Rory and a boy named Chase to go with her. Rory thinks the Tale may be a GIANT disaster! Will the friends make it through?

This was a really exciting and adventurous book! I loved the uniqueness! The idea of the students all being characters in fairy tales is great! I really enjoyed Ms. Bach’s writing style. She mixes a lot of humor and sarcasm in the story. I think the cover is cool. I like the colors and how it is laid out. Rory was a great main character, she makes a great heroine. I am adding her to The Awesome List of Awesome Heroines! She had a great personality and I think girls will like having an adventure story with a girl hero. Boys will also like her because she’s cool I recommend this book to kids 9+.

I give “Of Giants and Ice” five out of five bookworms!

I interrupt this review to bring you an author interview— Introducing Ms. Shelby Bach!

Thank you for agreeing to do this interview Ms. Bach!

Could you please tell us a little bit about yourself?

I grew up in Charlotte, NC, reading every book I could find and writing stories in battered notebooks. After graduating from college, I worked in publishing for a while, but in 2009, I left New York to follow my dream of becoming a writer. Since then, I’ve lived in Charlotte and Big Sky, MT, and I’ve recently moved to Portland, OR, where I like to explore my new city, discover tasty new restaurants, and take random craft classes (I can now etch my own glass and carve my own rubber stamps!).

 Cool! Making your own stamps must be fun! When did you start writing stories? Did you always think you would write kids books?

I wrote my first book inside my desk during fifth grade. I was ten. I really should have been paying attention to my teacher, but I felt epically sneaky and rebellious (more than one time, that same teacher took away our recess and forced us to march up and down stairs for a half an hour instead).

And kids books are definitely my first love. When I first decided I wanted to be a writer, all the books I was reading were kids books. I just naturally assumed that I would write the same kind of book, and even when I grew older and I was expected to read books for adults, kids books were still my absolute favorite.

I get into trouble for reading in school, so I know what you mean! The idea of the “Ever After” school is really cool. I like how you have references to fairy tales we all know in “Of Giants and Ice” but they are altered a little, like Puss-in-Dress and Sarah Thumb. How did you get the idea for your book?

Thanks! I’m so glad you like it!

I’ve always loved fairy tales. I loved it so much that I actually took a fairy tale class in college, where we read hundreds of stories from Hans Christian Anderson, the Brothers Grimm, and Andrew Lang. Our professor encouraged us to do writing projects to make the fairy tales our own, and I actually wrote a short piece about “Puss-in-Dress” for the class.

Then, one day, years later, I found myself thinking about how when I was a kid, I didn’t want to meet a fairy tale Character – I wanted to be one. I thought about how cool it would be if a bunch of kids were waiting to grow up to be fairy tale characters in the same place, like maybe an after school program, where they could talk about it together, and bam! The idea for Ever After School exploded in my head. It was like all the stories I read in that college fairy tale class were just waiting to get used for the series.

Which character can you relate to the most? Do you base your characters on real people?

The only real person I’ve ever based a character on is myself. Which means that a lot of the Characters in the book have a piece of me in them – I can’t narrow it down to one. So, I relate the most to Rory, Chase, and Lena. Like Rory, I’m sometimes very aware of what other people are feeling, and since I don’t want to hurt anyone or cause trouble, I often don’t know what to say. Of course, when I was in sixth grade, I was just as show-offy and loud as Chase among my friends, and if I was having a hard time, sometimes I acted even more show-offy to hide what I was feeling, just like Chase does. I was also focused on following my dream, like Lena is focused on following hers – the same way she always has an invention in the works, I was always writing a story in one of my notebooks.

What is your favorite fairy tale?

“East of the Sun, West of the Moon!” It’s a Norwegian fairy tale like “Beauty and the Beast,” except when the heroine makes a mistake and loses her prince, she goes on a quest to get him back. In my favorite version, she visits each of the four winds to ask them for directions.

I actually couldn’t resist mentioning this fairy tale in Of Giants and Ice. Rory’s mom says that “East of the Sun, West of the Moon” is her favorite fairy tale on page 126.

I’ll have to read “East of the Sun, West of the Moon”! I read that “Of Giants and Ice” is the first book of the “Ever Afters” series. Are you working on a sequel? If so, can you give us a preview?

I am working on a sequel! The Ever Afters 2: Of Witches and Wind comes out on July 23, 2013. Unfortunately, I don’t think I can give you much of a preview yet.

Let’s just say – it’s spring break of Rory’s seventh grade year (about a year after Of Giants and Ice), and Rory’s excited to spend it at EAS with her best friends Lena and Chase. Then the Snow Queen sets a new plot in motion, endangering the whole Ever After School. Rory and Chase must go on another quest, this time to Atlantis, a Hidden continent filled with cranky magical creatures and other terrors. They’ll have to face witches, trolls, long lost villains, and even the Unseelie Fey Court if they ever want to get home safely.

Thanks Ms. Bach! I really enjoyed learning more about you!

I interrupt this interrupted review to bring you a give-away!—

I have a great deal for YOU, you awesome readers! I am giving away ONE SIGNED COPY of “Of Giants and Ice” to a lucky commenter! All you have to do is comment to enter! The contest ends on October 2nd and I will announce the winner on my Wednesday post (Oct. 3rd)! Good luck!

To learn more about Ms. Bach and her books, please click HERE.

All Mixed Up! A Motley Horde of Funny Poems by Shane D. Williams

24 Sep

All Mixed Up! A Motley Horde of Funny Poems
By Shane D. Williams
64 Pages – Ages 7+
Published by Brio Bound Books on April 20, 2012

This is a very mixed up poetry book, so in honor of it, I am writing a mixed up review.

Here it goes…

“I fell into the mixer, and met a Gorillagator, found out I am you, got squished by my bed, and wrote about nothing!”

PHEW!

This book has a huge variety of poems, but all are really funny!

I literally laughed out loud when I read this! It is SO funny! The poems are all so different from each other! I like how the illustrations are drawn. They are really simple, but add a lot to the book. I think boys would really like this book. I recommend this book to kids 7+! It is a good way to get kids interested in poetry.

I give this book 5 out of 5 bookworms!

To learn more about Mr. Williams and his poems, click HERE to go to his website!

To hear an adult’s opinion on this book, click HERE to go to Sue Morris’ Kid Lit Reviews!

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Tap-Dance Fever by Pat Brisson

21 Sep

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 felt like dancing when I was reading it!

Tap-Dance Fever

By Pat Brisson

Illustrated by Nancy Cote

32 Pages – Ages 5+

Published by Boyds Mills Press on March 1, 2005

Theme/Topic – Being yourself / Dancing / Being happy

Opening and Synopsis – 

“Annabelle Applegate was the tap-dancingest girl in Fiddler’s Creek. She danced so much she wore out the linoleum in her ma’s kitchen. She made ridges along Creek Road on her way to school. She even danced a hole clear through the rickety old schoolhouse floor. Folks asked her to stop, but it did no good. Annabelle only heard the song in her head that made her feet want to move.”

Annabelle danced so much that it is causing trouble in her town. The townspeople try everything they can think of to get her to stop. They try blocking the path with junk, and taking her dance shoes, but nothing they do works! Will the town learn to appreciate Anabelle’s talent?

Why I liked this book – This was a very cute story. I really love the illustrations – especially how Anabelle’s dresses are drawn! The story has a funny and happy ending to it. Kids will hopefully learn from Annabelle. She’s always happy and doing what she likes best no matter what the problem. That’s being a good role model. I recommend this book to kids 5+!

Activities and Resources –

Make your own tap shoes! Get a pair of old shoes and glue pennies to the bottom of them and you are ready to dance! I found this idea at the Real Simple website (click HERE).

Once you have your tap shoes ready you can get some dance move ideas from the videos below!

For more information about Pat Brisson and her books, please visit her website by clicking HERE.

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

Mikey the Vampire Monkey 1: The Beginning of Mikey By Mike Gasaway

19 Sep

Mikey the Vampire Monkey 1: The Beginning of Mikey

By Mike Gasaway

53 pages – ages 8+

Published on Mar 15, 2012 by Amazon Digital Services

Mikey didn’t want to go to school. He would have rather stayed in bed and finished his dream about clobbering some huge evil snakes, but his mom got him up and told him it was time for his first day of school. Mikey was always homeschooled… until now. His mom got a job and Mikey is forced to go to school with all the other kids… ER, monkeys. Did I mention Mikey is a monkey and he lives in a world where all the monkeys act pretty much like humans? Mikey also is a vampire. Can Mikey survive his first day at school surrounded by kids who think he’s weird?

I kind of laughed when I got this book…vampire monkey, that’s pretty funny. After I read the book (which has some very funny parts), I thought, “Is that it?” I think the plot idea of the book and the Mikey character are really good but I was totally confused by this book. The story starts off with Mikey having a dream and then waking up having to go to school. There weren’t any details about the monkey world Mikey lives in or any mention that he is a vampire except he doesn’t like sunlight and garlic and he eats blood fruit. The story ends before Mikey’s first day of school is over. It kind of felt like I jumped into a story that I missed the beginning to. Even though there are other books in the series, I think there should have been more of an ending. I do think this book would make a great comic or a really good book (because I do like the plot idea) if it had more parts to it to really tell about who Mikey is.

I give “Mikey The Vampire Monkey 1 :The Beginning of Mikey” two out of five bookworms.

To learn more about Mikey the Vampire please visit the website by clicking HERE.

Tyler in Trouble – The Last Place You Look by Ella Kennen

17 Sep

Tyler in Trouble – The Last Place You Look
By Ella Kennen
45 pages – Ages 7+ (ebook reviewed)
Published by Perfect Sense Productions on July 26, 2012

Tyler’s mom told him not to lose their only house key while he and his sister, Casey, are at Karate. When it is almost time to leave, Tyler realizes that he doesn’t have the key! He looked everywhere, but couldn’t find it. Not in the dojo, not in Casey’s class, not in the hallway, not at the front desk! Not anywhere in the building! Will Tyler get in trouble? Will his mom find out? Will they be locked out forever?

This was a pretty funny book. It was written well for younger kids. The story was a quick read for me and I think it would be a good choice for advanced readers because it is a clean read. I found the fact that they only had oner key to their house a bit unrealistic. But, I also think the plot is very simple because the book was written for younger kids. I like the cover and the little pictures that are in the book here and there. Overall, I thought it was a good book worth reading! I recommend this to kids 7+.

I give “Tyler in Trouble” three out of five bookworms.

To learn more about the author, Ms. Kennen, and Tyler, visit Ms. Kennen’s blog HERE.

*I received this as a free ebook in exchange for an honest review*

Song of Sahel Charity Event Hosted by Niamh Clune of On the Plum Tree

15 Sep

I follow Niamh Clune’s blog “On the Plum Tree.” When she started blogging about the problems in Sahel Africa, I didn’t comment on the posts. She blogged about people being hungry and not being able to grow food because of a drought. I didn’t comment on any of the posts because I really didn’t know what to say. The problem is so big.

Dr. Clune then announced that she was  having a charity event to help raise money for a foundation called SOS Sahel and she asked that artists, writers and poets to send in work for a book that she was putting together to sell to raise money to help the people of Sahel. Dr. Clune asked me if I would think about sending something in. I didn’t think that I could really do anything. I kept thinking that the problem is so big. I decided to write how I feel about it. My sister wanted to send a painting in. She said she wanted to tie hope and love to a balloon and send it to Africa to help the people there. I wanted to post it on my blog but she wanted to post it on hers so please click HERE to go see it :)

Dr. Clune put together a whole book of art, music and poetry and is hosting a charity event today and an art auction tomorrow. Click on the book cover to find out more. My poem and Josie’s painting are in the book along with great works from people all over the world!

This is the poem I wrote -

One Kid

By Erik W., Age 10

 

One kid.

That’s what I am.

What can I do?

The problem is so BIG,

And I feel so small.

 

WELL…

 

I could write a poem.

That poem will be read by at least

Seven people, who now know.

Those seven people will tell their friends.

Doctors, Lawyers, Politicians.

 

Ordinary people who care.

 

They tell their friends.

Soon the news is spreading.

Help comes really soon to the people,

A world away from me.

Crops are planted, water is fresh.

 

There is time for school.

 

A child may be able to have the things

Every child should have.

I begin to realize, there is a chance

I can help, at least,

One kid.

International Dot Day!

15 Sep

In celebration of International Dot Day (September 15th-ish) I am making a special second blog post today! I learned about Dot Day through Patricia Tilton’s awesome blog “Children’s Books Heal.” Dot Day is celebrated around the world. The goal of Dot Day is to help kids (and grown-ups) express themselves and be creative. The day is based on Peter H. Reynolds great picture book “The Dot.”

For a summary and review of “The Dot” please visit Ms. Tilton’s website HERE.  To learn more about International Dot Day, please visit the official website HERE! My sister and I decided to make our own dots. Please visit Josie’s blog to see her dot by clicking HERE.

This is the dot I made!

“Dot” by Erik 2012

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Meg The Egg by Rita Antoinette Borg

14 Sep

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 think it is a great book for parents to talk to kids about being afraid and shy. I won a copy of “Meg the Egg” from Ms. Hill when she had her self-published author feature. When Josie and I read it, we really liked it! ;-)

Meg The Egg

By Rita Antoinette Borg

32 Pages – Ages 4+

Published by CreateSpace on June 1, 2012

Theme/Topic – Being Afraid

Opening and Synopsis –

One morning, Mother Hen was sitting on her nest when two of her eggs hatched. Out popped two little chicks. “Cheep, cheep!” they said. Mum named them, Peg, and Keg. But the third egg didn’t hatch.”

Meg doesn’t want to come out of her egg. She’s too scared. But when her mother gets kid-(or is it “hen”?)-napped by a hungry fox, and when none of Meg’s sisters went after the fox to save her mom, Meg goes herself, rolling after the fox. She conjures up a plan to get out of her egg and save her mother at the same time!

Why I liked this book – This was an awesome book. The large pictures are really beautiful. The story has a good message about being afraid of the world and being brave when you have to even though you are scared. It also teaches that being brave doesn’t mean you aren’t afraid. I think the book makes a great read-a-loud for parents and kids. Meg is a great character. To me, she represents a five-year-old kid who is afraid of the world. I think it would be a great story for parents to read to their kids if they are afraid to go to school or somewhere different.

Activities and Resources –

MAKE A PUPPET SHOW – Draw a chicks, an egg,  a hen, and a fox (or any other animal you want to). Cut them out. Add popsicle sticks to the drawings. You can have your own Meg the Egg adventures! Your child can be Meg and he/she can say what she is afraid of to mother (or father) hen. I think that would be a good role-playing game and a way for kids to talk about what they are afraid of.

I found chick and hen coloring pages HERE and an egg coloring pages HERE.

To learn more about Ms. Borg, please visit her website by clicking HERE.

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

Madison Morgan: When Dogs Blog – Volume 1 By Pam Torres

12 Sep

Madison Morgan: When Dogs Blog – Volume 1

By Pam Torres

166 pages – ages 9+ (kindle edition reviewed)

Published by Legacy Media Press on July 21, 2012

Madison Morgan wants a dog. When her step-dad, Henry, brought home a little dog named Lilly for them to foster, Madison wasn’t exactly happy. Lilly wasn’t the kind of dog she would have picked and Madison is angry with her step-dad for not talking to her about it. Madison soon starts to like their little foster dog. One of Madison’s middle-school projects is to make a blog and, she and her partner, Cooper (Madison’s friend), decide to do it on dogs. Madison learns a lot about dogs and fostering, and soon she and Cooper discover a puppy mill (a horrible place for puppies that is illegal) in their neighborhood!

This book has a strong message about abusing dogs. It also has a good story about a middle-school kid.  Madison was one of those characters who I’d like as a friend. She wasn’t set on how she looked, but was just a nice person. She had to deal with just starting middle school in the book. She gets bullied a bit and feels kind of awkward.  Cooper also has a secret he is hiding and Madison is a good friend to him and helps him deal with it. I like the major plot of the book, about Lily and Madison growing to love each other. The story really kept me reading and interested. I liked Henry, Madison’s step-dad. The book said he came into her life when she was three and had become her guardian when her mom died. I wasn’t sure if  her mom was a single mom or did she get a divorce or her husband died. The cover is kind of creepy-cool. I like the colors. I recommend it to kids 9+.

I give “When Dogs Blog” four out of five bookworms.

Ms. Torres donates part of the sales of each book to animal charities. To learn more about Ms. Torres and Madison Morgan, please visit the official Madison Morgan Website by clicking HERE.

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