Archive | November, 2012

PPBF! These Bees Count! By Alison Formento

30 Nov

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 has an important message about caring for bees, and because my dad loves bees and how much they help the world.

These Bees Count!

By Alison Formento

Illustrated by Sarah Snow

32 pages – ages 4+

Published by Albert Whitman & Company on February 1, 2012

Theme/Topic – Environment, Bees, Counting, Nature

Opening and Synopsis – “Mr. Tate’s class loves taking field trips. Today their bus went to a farm.”

At first the kids thought it was strange that all there was on the farm were flowers and trees. Then they find out it is a bee farm and bees live there. Then they learn about how bees are so important to plants, flowers and us! They also listen to the buzzing of the bees and hear the bees’ song.

Why I liked this book – This is a great book for young kids to learn about how bees are very important. It also talks about how bees make honey. I like that during the “Bees’ song” the bees count up to ten, which also teaches young kids how to count. This is a great book for ALL ages! I love Ms. Formento’s book! I can’t wait to read her “These Trees Count” book and the newest book in the series, “These Seas Count”!

Activities and Resources -

There is a small section in the back of the book with information about bees. Ms. Formento has an AWESOME website! There is a lot of information about bees there (and her other books). Click HERE to check it out.

Ms. Formento also has a teacher’s resource guide that has a ton of information and activities about bees. Click HERE to get it.

I found some good information about honeybees at the National Geographic website HERE.

You can talk to your kids about how important honey bees are and also tell them about “Colony Collapse Disorder” ( disease that effect honey bees and causes an entire bee colony to disappear – you can read more about that HERE). Make a chart with your kid you can event use picture to do it. Show how you start with a honey bee and show how bees pollinate flowers and the flowers grow into food we eat or other animals eat and how it is all connected.

Here’s is a great video I found that shows how bees make honey. :)

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

Guest Post! Paul Hewlett and Lionel Snodgrass

29 Nov

I am very happy to have two special guests on my blog today! Mr. Paul Hewlett (author) and Lionel Snodgrass (main character). I really enjoyed Mr. Hewlett’s book, Lionel and the Golden Rule (see my review HERE). I like the character of Lionel a lot and I thought the book had a great message about treating others like you want to be treated. I was happy to see that Mr. Hewlett wrote a new adventure for Lionel so I asked Mr. Hewlett and Lionel to be guests on my blog.

My name is Paul R. Hewlett and I am a children’s book author. I am the author of the Lionel’s Grand Adventure series. Some of my favorite books growing up  were great children’s/middle grade books. I loved The Three Investigators and Encyclopedia Brown. Why am I mentioning this? Because they are what set me down this path. I love those books, but I try to create my own brand of books that young readers will enjoy. My goal is to write books that will entertain young readers. Something that will capture their imagination and get them to read. I want them to enjoy reading and be taken away to a world where anything is possible.

Anything may be possible yes, but that means issues that face kids today exist too. Another thing I try to incorporate into my books is a lesson. On top of entertaining readers, I want to demonstrate an important life lesson. I want that lesson to be something that both children and adults can appreciate. I want it to be part of the story, so that it is something both Lionel and the readers realizes along the way. In the end I hope that the reader will follow Lionel in learning a valuable lesson. Speaking of Lionel, he is just dying to get a chance to talk here. So, as long as Erik doesn’t mind…

Hi everybody, Lionel Snodgrass here! Thanks Erik for letting me be here today. I’m so excited, this is such a great blog and Erik reads so many great books, boy, I’m really honored to be here. I just want to take a minute and tell everyone about my new adventure.

Lionel’s Christmas Adventure is out now (in paperback or ebook). I have a lot of great things going on in my life right now. School’s on break, I’ve got a new best friend named Skip, and Christmas is just around the corner! I should be pretty happy, right? Well, have you ever had one of those days…?

You see, I kind of get caught up in how unfair things are (at least I think so) and with the things that I don’t have. I forget to be thankful for all the great things I do have in my life and how good I have it compared to some. So I guess the question is, will I realize how lucky I am and be thankful, or will I let all the things I don’t have get me down and ruin Christmas? Oh, throw in some sledding, ice skating, an adventure in a life-size ginger bread village, and a trip to the North Pole and you have quite and adventure, Lionel’s Christmas Adventure in fact!

Thanks Paul and Erik for letting me talk for a bit, but that’s it for now. I don’t want to give away too much. Happy holidays everyone.

Mr. Hewlett is a Rafflecopter giveaway for a $25.00 Amazon gift card and a 3 pack of Lionel ‘s Grand Adventure ebooks! Just click on the link to enter!

For more information about author Paul R. Hewlett click here. He co-authors a Middle Grade/YA blog at SherAHart: My Written Art. You can also keep up with what’s new on Lionel’s Grand Adventure FB page.

Clueless McGee by Jeff Mack

28 Nov

Clueless McGee

Written and illustrated by Jeff Mack

256 pages – ages 8+

Published by Philomel on August 16, 2012

PJ McGee thinks he’s a detective, ninja and a spy just like his dad…only he’s not. In fact, PJ is kind of a disaster, but that doesn’t stop him from trying to solve the mystery of the stolen Mac’n’Cheese! The school’s most favorite lunch is missing and PJ decides he (along with his friend Dante) is the guy to find out who did it! After searching for clues, and making a few mistakes… OK, not a few, he pretty much messed everything up. PJ is sure he knows who stole the Mac’n’Cheese,  but then that person hired him to clear his name. Is PJ wrong? Probably. After annoying the entire school and getting into all sorts of trouble, PJ is still clueless!

This was a VERY funny book. It was a quick read but it was enjoyable. There wasn’t any message or lesson to the story, it was just fun. The illustrations that Mr. Mack created really made the story. PJ was a very funny character I liked how he was so…clueless. I thought that how the story was told was very unique. PJ tells the story through letters he writes to his dad. PJ thinks his dad is on some super secret spy mission only the reader doesn’t know where he really is.I wonder if we will find out in the next book.  Fans of Big Nate and the Wimpy Kid series will really like this book. I also think kids 8+ would like this book!

Four out of Five bookworms for Clueless McGee!

Clueless McGee Book 2 (Clueless McGee and the Inflatable Pants) comes out in June next year! Click HERE to check it out!

To learn more about Mr. Mack and his books, click HERE.

Sir Nathan and the Troublesome Task by Mark Simon Smith

27 Nov

Sir Nathan and the Troublesome Task: Another Somewhat Silly Story

by Mark Simon Smith

Illustrated by Derek K. Gebler

302 Pages – Ages 8+

Published by CreateSpace on August 24, 2012

Sir Nathan is back in an all new somewhat silly adventure! When the Royal Twins go missing, Sir Nathan and his trusty steed Tupolev are called upon by Queen Gobbledeegook to rescue them! As they set off on their journey, they meet up with “Amazing” Grace, the castle cleaner’s daughter who wants to be a knight. Sir Nathan does not think that is a good idea. Grace hasn’t even taken any classes to learn how to be a knight and her costume is all wrong AND her “horse” (Flopsy) is a MOP – literally, the girl rides a mop!  Grace is determined to go on the quest and prove herself as a knight. The unlikely trio (I guess it would be a quartet if you count Flopsy the mop), encounter a tribe of not-so-smart, clumsy ogres that dine on the blood of their enemies  tea and scones, three witches that share one eye, one ear and one nose between them, a dragon who is afraid to fly and other various silly characters on their way to find the twins. Will Sir Nathan yet again save the day and rescue the twins?!?

I LOVED THIS BOOK! It was so…SILLY! I loved the first somewhat silly adventure Sir Nathan went on (Sir Nathan and the Quest for Queen Gobbledeegook, see my review HERE) and this one is just as silly! Sir Nathan was his usual awesome silly self and in this story, I also really liked Grace. She was really funny (especially because of Flopsy). I also really like the illustrations in the book. They let me see who the characters were and some actually made me laugh! Both of Mr. Smith’s books in this series are very appropriate for younger kids and they are just fun to read!

I give “Sir Nathan and the Troublesome Task” 5 out of 5 bookworms!

To learn more about Mr. Smith and the Somewhat Silly Stories, please visit the Somewhat Silly Stories website HERE or visit Mr. Smith’s facebook page HERE.

Christmas Book Reviews!

26 Nov

The Very Fairy Princess – A Fairy Merry Christmas

By Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton

Illustrated by Christine Davenier

32 pages – ages 4+

Published by LB Kids on October 16, 2012

Gerry (the fairy princess) doesn’t have money to buy gifts for Christmas so she thinks about what each person in her family would like. She then makes a handmade gift for each of them. Her thoughtful gifts really makes Christmas SPARKLE this year!

This was a (very) cute book but I am letting Josie (my little sister) say what she likes about it and rate it because it is her book :)

Josie – I like fairy princesses. I like Gerry. She made gifts for her family and that was nice. I read the book by myself.  Gerry is pretty.

Josie gives “The Very Fairy Princess – A Fairy Merry Christmas” 5 out of 5 bookworms!

One Little Christmas Tree

By The Curto Family and Rusty Fischer

24 pages – ages 4+

Published by Good Times At Home LLC on August 6, 2012

Alfred the Christmas tree was small. Families pass him by every year when they come to “Carl’s Christmas Tree Farm”  looking for the perfect Christmas tree. All the tall trees around him get picked one by one. Alfred wonders if he will ever be chosen and be able to make a family’s Christmas special.

This is a good story that teaches patience to young kids.  The illustrations are cute, especially Alfred. I think the book is good for young kids, older kids might want a bit more to the story (like why the boy who picked Alfred was sad). I think the story would make a nice bedtime read-aloud especially for Christmas.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!

To learn more about One Little Christmas Tree, please visit the official website HERE.

The Story of Everdream – Book 1: The Christmas Witch

By Robert L. Welsh

Illustrated by Kalpart

46 pages – ages 7+

Published by Strategic Book Publishing on October 17, 2011

In this fairytale story, Santa Claus comes from a land called Everdream. Everdream is the home to fairies, elves and other magical creatures. Did you know Santa Claus has a sister named Jellis Claus? Well, Jellis is JEALOUS! She doesn’t like children, presents, or Christmas at all. She can’t stand her job helping the elves at Santa’s workshop. Jellis hatches a plan to ruin Christmas but Holly, a little girl from our human world helps the elves and fairies of Everdream save Christmas!

This was a fun picture book! I really like that it tells you about this place called Everdream and Santa’s sister, Jellis. That was an interesting idea about the life of Santa that I never heard before. I liked Holly (the human girl) a lot. She was pretty clever. The story reads like a fairy tale and the illustrations go along with it very nicely.

I give “The Story of Everdream – Book 1: The Christmas Witch” 5 out of 5 bookworms!

Scrooge

Classics Illustrated Deluxe #9: A Christmas Carol and A Remembrance of Mugby

By Charles Dickens

Adapted by Rodolphe

Illustrated by Estelle Meyrand

96 pages – ages 8+

Published by Papercutz (Unabridged edition) on September 18, 2012

Two great Classic Charles Dickens Christmas stories in one AWESOME graphic novel!

You probably have read or saw a movie version of “A Christmas Carol” and Scrooge changes from a…scrooge to a caring, giving person, but have you ever read “Mugby’s Junction”? “A Remembrance of Mugby” is a version of “Mugby’s Junction”. It is a tale about a man searching for a true home. He finds himself in Mugby, a town with railroad tracks going out in all directions. He tries each of the tracks, going to wherever it takes him. Each time he returns to Mugby, vowing to try another track. Both of these Dickens tales are told in this graphic novel.

I must say, I really like “A Christmas Carol” and this graphic novel was really great! I liked the expressions on the faces in the illustrations. In fact, the illustrations added so much more to what was written!

I had not heard of “Mugby’s Junction” before, and was intrigued by what happened in the story. Very, very nice story. I know a lot of parents would want their kids to read the “real” book, but now that I read “A Remembrance of Mugby” in graphic novel form, I want to read the full version!

I give this book 5 out of 5 bookworms!

Check out the whole line of Papercutz Classics Illustrated graphic novels HERE.

Perfect Picture Book Friday – 1 Zany Zoo by Lori Degman

23 Nov

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 this is a great book that makes learning to count fun!

1 Zany Zoo

By Lori Degman

Illustrated by  Colin Jack

32 pages – ages 3+

Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on July 20, 2010

Theme/Topic – Animals/Counting

Opening and Synopsis – “While YOU stood here waiting, with nothing to do,
I snuck through the gate and into the zoo.
You’ll never believe what I saw – what I heard. I swear it’s the truth – every last word.”

A little boy waiting in line for the zoo to open, sneaks into the zoo through a hidden gate. What he see is that the zoo isn’t quite ready to open yet. The fox has escaped, the zebras are swimming with the walruses and the beavers are cooking chilli! All the animals are going ZANY while the zookeeper tries to get them to behave.

Why I liked this book – What kid wouldn’t want to get into the zoo before it opens and see what is going on?!? This is a hilarious book! The rhyme is perfect and it is very fun to read out loud. The illustrations are great! They are as funny as the story and go with it well.

Along with the great story and illustrations, kids will learn how to count to ten. I think that the animals and their wacky behavior will help kids remember their numbers!

Activities and Resources -

I found a cool game on Scribd.com. This LINK takes you to a printable sheet that has different animal patterns (zebra, tiger, giraffe and cheetah) and then  you have your kids match the pattern to the animal.

I also found a Zoo animal counting sheet at the same website. You have to count the animals on the sheet and circle the right answer. The sheet can be downloaded HERE.

The best activity I can think of is to take your kids to the zoo and count the animals yourselves! You can get a notebook and pencils and have your child record the animals he/she sees, how many and maybe draw a picture of them. EVEN BETTER – I know the Philadelphia Zoo has sleep over events where you actually get to sleep in the zoo! You also get to see some of the behind the scenes things that go on in the zoo. You can read about the Philadelphia Zoo’s program HERE, or you can check to see if your local zoo has a similar program…OK OK you won’t be sleeping out in Philly at this time of year, but maybe you live where it is warm  and you can go to your zoo or you can remember about it for when the weather is nice again. :)

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

**Note – I won a copy of this book for Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 Challenge and decided to review it  :)

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

A Day To Be Thankful

21 Nov

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. A day to be thankful. A day for giving. A day for family and friends. A day for eating turkey and mashed potatoes and thinking about all the things you should be Thankful for.

I am Thankful for my mom and dad and my sister Josie, all the rest of my family, my friends, my home and my life. I am Thankful for all the people who visit my blog and take the time to read it and comment. I am Thankful I get to go to school and learn.

What are you Thankful for?

One more thing I am Thankful for at this time of year – COLD WEATHER…okay maybe not the cold weather, but that means it brings SNOW!! I LOVE SNOW! I am Thankful that we live in a place that gets a bunch of snow in the winter. :D

I hope we get snow.

Speaking of snow, I have two great winter picture books with snow in them to tell you about today! They both get a rating of 5 bookworms from me!

Snow Games

By Joanna Marple

Illustrated by Maja Sereda

31 pages – ages 3+

eBook Published by uTales,  2012

Bear, Owl, Squirrel, and Mouse are going out to play in the snow. They go sled racing, but Mouse came in last. When they have a snowball fight, Mouse’s snowballs fall too short. Will Mouse find a snow game he can shine at?

The story in this book is very nice. I love books about believing in yourself and realizing you don’t have to be the best at everything. The illustrations are cute and the rhyme of the story is excellent! Mouse was a very nice character who wanted to prove that he wasn’t horrible at all the snow games. I think kids 3+ will like this book!

To learn more about Joanna Marple, please visit her website HERE. Click on the book to go to uTales to find her book.

Next up is -

Cold Snap

By Eileen Spinelli

Illustrated by Marjorie Priceman

40 pages – ages 5+

Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on October 9, 2012

It’s really cold in the town of Toby Mills. At first the kids enjoyed playing in the snow, but the temperature keeps dropping and the townspeople are freezing. The icicle on the statue of the town’s founder (General Toby)’s nose keeps growing each day and the temperature keeps dropping! The townsfolk are having problems, Mr. Moffat was stuck on the train for 2 hours because the doors froze shut. People are slipping on the ice. The chilly wind blew kids off the playground swings!  As it gets colder and colder, the townspeople (and their pets) do everything they can to stay warm. The townspeople complain to the mayor, but what can he do? Then the mayor’s wife hatches a plan to thaw everyone out.

BRRR – I got chills just reading this book! I love the story about all the townspeople and how they deal with the COLD. The mayor’s wife’s solution was an awesome ending to the story. I won’t give it away, but I will say that it was a great way to lift the townsfolk’s spirits (and warm them up).  The story makes you feel happy. :) The illustrations are amazing, you can feel the cold in them too! The picture I have of the cover of the book doesn’t show how frosty it is. It is actually all sparkly and it gives it a very pretty effect. There is also a great recipe at the end of the book that you use snow to make…all I need now is snow for it – LET IT SNOW! I think kids 5+ would like this book!

To learn more about Mrs. Spinelli and her other AWESOME books, please visit her website HERE. Cold snap can be found in all bookstores!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!

My Daddy Loves Me How Do I Know by James Zachary

20 Nov

My Daddy Loves Me How Do I Know

By James Zachary

Book App reviewed

Published on Jun 11, 2012 by James Zachary

Print Length: 33 Pages – Ages 4+

A little girls tells all the ways her daddy shows he loves her. From kissing her when she gets hurt to helping her brush her hair to making forts out of pillows on rainy days, daddy shows his love for his daughter.

The story is cute and it is good to have a story about a dad’s love for his kid. The story is told in rhyme which makes it fun to read. What I really liked about the book was the illustrations! They are a combination of black and white photos and colorful drawings. It was a really cool mix -

I really like how the colored drawings look when put with the black and white pictures. The book worked well as an app. The app didn’t have any additional features, but I didn’t think it needed it. This would be a great story for dad’s and their kids. :) The book is available as an app or as an ebook.

I give “My Daddy Loves Me How Do I Know?” five out of five bookworms!

You can find the Apple iBook HERE amd the amazon eBook HERE.

The King’s Ransom (Young Knights of the Round Table) by Cheryl Carpinello

19 Nov

The King’s Ransom (Young Knights of the Round Table)

By Cheryl Carpinello

84 pages – ages 9+

Published by MuseItUp Publishing on May 26, 2012

Gavin, the 12-year-old prince, Philip, a 15-year-old who lived at the church and was an orphan, and Brian, a 16-year-old blacksmith’s apprentice, were best of friends despite their age differences and social status. The boys befriended a man they called the “Wild Man” who lived in the forest by himself. The Wild Man is accused of murder and theft of the famous “King’s Ransom”, and unless the King’s Ransom is found, the Wild Man will be executed in front of the legendary King Arthur. The boys promise to do anything they possibly can to save the Wild Man. This starts an adventure Gavin, Philip, and Brian know will be dangerous but they made a vow to do it, and they are determined to help their friend. Can they clear the Wild Man’s name before it is too late?

This was a great book! I liked all of the action and excitement in it. Ms. Carpinello wrote this book really well and it was very appropriate for kids even though it deals with fighting and a wrongfully accused person. Ms. Carpinello described the time period really well, I felt like I was a knight in medieval times! I really love that the story features a bit of King Arthur legends in it! The ending had a couple fo great twists that had me totally surprised! The only thing I’d change about the story is I would have liked to know how the boys became friends. It did not tell you that and I think it would have been nice. I like the things that the boys did to try to save the Wild Man. Those were pretty good parts to read about. I like all of the three boys. They were all great characters, each special in his own ways. I think kids ages 9+ will really enjoy this book.

I give “The King’s Ransom” 5 out of 5 bookworms!

For more information on Ms. Carpinello and the Young Knights of the Round Table, please visit her website HERE or her publisher’s site HERE.

**Note I got a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review**

PPBF! Miss Fox’s Class Gets It Wrong by Eileen Spinelli

16 Nov

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 didn’t see any books on the PPBF list that talked about gossiping. I think it is important to teach kids not to gossip and this book does it really well!

Miss Fox’s Class Gets it Wrong

By Eileen Spinelli

Illustrated by Anne Kennedy

32 pages – ages 5+

Published by Albert Whitman & Company on June 1, 2012

Theme/Topic – Gossip, Rumors

Opening and Synopsis – 

“One morning, Officer Blue Fox came to Miss Fox’s classroom. He spoke to the students about safety.”

Ever since Officer Blue Fox came to visit Miss Fox’s class, rumors have started! Bear saw Officer Blue Fox stop Miss Fox on her bike; she must have done something wrong! The students start to see Miss Fox around town doing strange things like getting a disguise of a big hat and sunglasses. When they find evidence that she is leaving town they all conclude she is going to jail and needs to escape! Do the children have it right or are they guilty of spreading too much gossip?

Why I liked this book – I love the message of this book and it is a good one to teach. It is so important not to start rumors and not to gossip about people. Gossip is a kind of bullying and I think that maybe some kids don’t understand that. I also love the way Mrs. Spinelli tells stories. She has a very important message in this book, but it is mixed with a lot of humor and it is told in a very kid-friendly way. I also like the funny illustrations (especially all the shocked looks on Miss Fox’s student’s faces! I think teachers could use this book in their classrooms to teach their students about how gossip can be harmful. I think kids 5+ will enjoy like LOVE this book!

Activities and Resources -

You can play a kind of game to show how gossip can spread lies around. You can start with a gossip phrase like  “I saw Bob get into a police car.” Ask your kids what they think that means. They will probably say it means Bob is in trouble. You can say other reasons Bob might get into the police car, like his dad is an officer or the police found the bike Bob lost yesterday. Then explain that if someone started telling all kinds of people that Bob was in trouble with the police, it’s wrong and it can really hurt Bob’s feelings.

Teach your kids that gossip can actually hurt people and it is a kind of bullying. HERE is an article about teaching your kids that gossip is hurtful at Livestrong.com.

I found a teacher’s guide on how to stop gossip in their classrooms at Orca Books (Click HERE).

To learn more about Mrs. Spinelli and her other AWESOME books, please visit her website HERE.

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

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