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The Story of #DivaandFlea – Review, Giveaway, Mo Willems and Tony DiTerlizzi!

7 Oct

I am very excited to tell you about this book! In case you are wondering about the title to this post, I am not giving away Mo Willems and Tony DiTerlizzi BUT I am giving away a cool prize pack to celebrate this collaboration of these two titans of children’s literature (read to the bottom to see how to win a prize pack provided by Disney Publishing)!

DivaandFleaCoverThe Story of Diva and Flea
Written by Mo Willems
Illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi
80 pages – ages 6+
Published by Disney-Hyperion on October 13, 2015

About the Book: (from the publisher)

Diva, a small yet brave dog, and Flea, a curious streetwise cat, develop an unexpected friendship in this unforgettable tale of discovery.

For as long as she could remember, Diva lived at 11 avenue Le Play in Paris, France. For as long as he could remember, Flea also lived in Paris, France–but at no fixed address. When Flea flâneurs past Diva’s courtyard one day, their lives are forever changed. Together, Diva and Flea explore and share their very different worlds, as only true friends can do.

What I thought: This was an amazing book! I thought it was really cool how Mr. Willems partnered with Tony DiTerlizzi because he was searching for the perfect illustrations for his story. It is a great transition book for kids moving up from picture books or early readers. There is a nice contrast of words and pictures that make the 80 pages go by in a breeze. There is a lot of humor in the book, like Flea telling Diva to say “Meow”, and Flea’s pronunciation of words. I was also happy to see one Pigeon book reference, on a poster at the subway scene. That made me smile while I was reading it. I think that as a whole, Mr. Willems and Mr. DiTerlizzi make a fantastic team. I would be thrilled to see more of their collaborations! I really enjoyed reading this great story of friendship! I found it pretty neat that Diva and Flea are real animals in France.

About the Author


Mo Willems (, a number one New York Times best-selling author and illustrator, has been awarded a Caldecott Honor on three occasions (for Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!, Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale, and Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity). Dont Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! was also an inaugural inductee into the Indies Choice Picture Book Hall of Fame. The celebrated Elephant & Piggie early-reader series has been awarded the Theodor Seuss Geisel Medal on two occasions (for There Is a Bird on Your Head! and Are You Ready to Play Outside?) as well as garnering four Honors (for We Are in a Book!, I Broke My Trunk!, Let’s Go for a Drive! and A Big Guy Took My Ball!).


About the Illustrator


Tony DiTerlizzi (, a number-one New York Times best-selling author and illustrator, created the middle-grade series The Spiderwick Chronicles with Holly Black, which has sold millions of copies, been translated into more than 30 languages and made into a feature film. He won a Caldecott Honor for illustrating The Spider & The Fly, and in 2014 he teamed up with Lucasfilm to retell the original Star Wars trilogy in a picture book featuring artwork by Academy award-winning concept artist, Ralph McQuarrie. He lives in Amherst, Massachusetts with his wife, daughter and dog, Mimi.

Want to learn more?

Click HERE to be transported over to the Disney Publishing website for Diva and Flea.

Find out more on at

Follow Disney on Twitter and Instagram

Follow Mo Willems on Twitter

Follow Tony DiTerlizzi on Twitter and Instagram

Check out this video where Mo Willems and Tony DiTerlizzi talk about their collaboration!
I personally found the video very cool because it talks about how Mo Willems had a story but he couldn’t draw it correctly so he sought out an illustrator who could draw the story as he envisioned. As it turns out Mr. DiTerlizzi added much more to the story through his illustrations.


One insanely lucky blog commenter will be randomly picked from all people who make a comment on this post to win this prize pack provided by Disney Publishing (US residents only please)!

DivaFriendshipPrizeAll you have to do is comment and tell me why you are excited to experience this book! On October 14th I will announce one winner randomly drawn for all the comments. Good luck and thank you for reading my blog!

Perfect Picture Book Friday! The Peace Tree from Hiroshima by Sandra Moore

2 Oct

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 is a touching nonfiction story.

peacetreeThe Peace Tree from Hiroshima: The Little Bonsai with a Big Story
Written by Sandra Moore
Illustrations by Kazumi Wilds
32 pages – ages 6+
Published by Tuttle Publishing on July 14th, 2015

Theme/Topic- Bonsai/Peace/Caring

Genre- Nonfiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “I was born nearly four hundred years ago on the island of Miyajima.

Synopsis: From Goodreads; “This true children’s story is told by a little bonsai tree that lived with the same family in the Japanese city of Hiroshima for more than 300 years before being donated to the National Arboretum in Washington DC in 1976 as a gesture of friendship between America and Japan to celebrate the American Bicentennial.
The tree is called Miyajima after the island on which it first grew, before being gently uprooted and brought to the home of the Yamaki family, where it was lovingly pruned and trimmed by generations of fathers and sons.
At the end of the Second World War, an atomic bomb destroys Hiroshima. Many people die, but the Yamaki family and Miyajima survive. One day, a truck comes to take Miyajima away. The little tree is on its way to the National Arboretum in Washington as a gift of friendship from Japan to America. Miyajima is very proud, but also sad to leave the Yamaki family. At the end of the book, Masaru, the elderly grandfather of the family, and his ten-year-old grandson Akira, make a surprise visit to Washington to visit their much missed and beloved family member.

Why I liked this book- This is a great book. It tells the (true!) story of one of the 50 bonsai trees (one for each US state) sent to America as a gesture of friendship. It starts in around 1625, when the tree is plucked as a seedling. The book is compelling. It tells you enough about Miyajima (the tree) and other bonsai to keep you reading, but peaks your interest enough to make you look up more about them! The illustrations are perfect too. They really bring you into the story. I really recommend this book to anyone interested in history, botany, or a good read.

Activities and Resources- You can research Bonsai trees. For a kid-friendly explanation, go HERE!

You can also look up the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum (where Miyajima currently resides) at the National Arboretum HERE!

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

Review! Young-hee and the Pullocho by Mark James Russell

1 Oct

young-heeYoung-hee and the Pullocho

Written by Mark James Russell

256 pages – ages 8+

Published by Tuttle Publishing on May 12th 2015

Synopsis- Young-hee hated that her family was back in Korea. They had traveled abroad, but now they were back. Her dad was away and they lived in a run-down apartment. Add her annoying toddler-brother, Young-beom, into the mess, and Young-hee is miserable. But when she finds a doorway into a magical world, her life starts to turn around. When she brings Young-beom there, however, he gets tricked into being held captive by a goblin. To save him, Young-hee must go and travel to find a mysterious magical root called a pullocho. The only problem is that a pullocho hasn’t been seen in centuries…

What I Thought- This was a good book. Young-hee is a marvelous main character. You can really see how her character changes throughout the book, but it is subtle until the end then you realize the growth of the character. The book is a nice solid story with an interesting plot. I found some editing errors in the text throughout the story that are slightly distracting and a few instances where I thought some of the words in the story could be cut. I enjoyed the realistic writing style of Mr. Russell. I liked that he threw in a few Korean words into the story as it is based on Korean folklore. The story was compelling and the world created by Mr. Russell was exciting and described vividly. This was a cool multi-cultural story that many kids would enjoy. This is a debut MG story for Mr. Russell, I’d be quick to pick up his next.

I give this book four out of five bookworms.fourbooks

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Swan by Laurel Snyder

25 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 is a beautiful nonfiction story.

Swan_jkt_Bologna.inddSwan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova
Written by Laurel Snyder
Illustrations by Julie Morstad
52 pages – ages 6+
Published by Chronicle Books on August 18, 2015

Theme/Topic- Perseverance / Kindness

Genre- Nonfiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening: 

“The city is big.
Anna is small.
The snow is
and all around.”

Synopsis: From Goodreads; “One night, her [Anna’s] mother takes her to the ballet, and everything is changed. Anna finds a beauty inside herself that she cannot contain.

So begins the journey of a girl who will one day grow up to be the most famous prima ballerina of all time, inspiring legions of dancers after her: the brave, the generous, the transcendently gifted Anna Pavlova.

Why I liked this book- This is an amazing book! The illustrations are top-notch, and really bring you into the story. They are incredibly beautiful and awe-inspiring. The ratio of detail to blank-space is very compelling. The story line itself is a great blend of the biography of Anna Pavlova and emotion-tugging heart-strings. Ms. Snyder puts it in a marvelous free-verse poetry style, with repetition and a rhythmic feeling. This is an amazing book, and one I would definitely recommend to anyone! There is a great balance between learning, and a great story!

Activities and Resources- Learn more about Anna Pavlova HERE.

The author includes a little bit of info in the back for an older reader, if they are interested.

Here is a video of Anna Pavlova in her “Dying Swan” role:

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

National Geographic Nonfiction Review! Untamed: The Wild Life of Jane Goodall by Anita Silvey

31 Aug

janegoodUntamed: The Wild Life of Jane Goodall

Written by Anita Silvey

Foreword by Jane Goodall

96 pages (hardcover) – ages 8+

Published by National Geographic Children’s Books on June 9, 2015

Synopsis- Jane Goodall always loved animals, ever since her childhood. When given an opportunity to visit Africa, Jane pounces on the idea – imagine the wildlife there! When in Africa, she realized she needs a job. That leads her to animal and historical enthusiast, Louis Leakey. Working as his secretary Jane soon steps up to a job that Louis has been looking for a person to do. That job? Visit the nearby, unmapped Gombe forest and study the chimpanzees living there. It was something no trained field expert had ever done, and Jane had no field experience. Was this the opportunity of a life time or huge mistake?

What I Thought- This is a wonderful resource about the life of Jane Goodall. It starts from her young childhood and goes to current-day. The book even includes a foreword by Ms. Goodall. I like how, while the book is meant for kids, it puts the parts of the book in a cool, easy-to-read, but was also informational and succinct. I actually prefer these to what NatGeo puts out for adults (but maybe that is because I am a  kid ;) ). This has fun facts, easy-to-read pages, and much more! Besides learning about Ms. Goodall’s work with chimpanzees, did you know that Ms. Goodall was a great waitress, and could carry around 12 plates without a tray? I learned a lot, and the book really brought Ms. Goodall to life for me. The real life photographs added so much to the story. All I have to say is WOW! I enjoyed every bit of this. I highly recommend the book!

I give this five out of five bookworms!fivebooks



My sister Josie  just read a National Geographic Kids book she was very excited about. She wanted to review it also.

dirtDirtmeister’s Nitty Gritty Planet Earth: All About Rocks, Minerals, Fossils, Earthquakes, Volcanoes, & Even Dirt!

by Steve Tomecek

Illustrated by Fred Harper

128 pages – ages 8+
Published by National Geographic Children’s Books on June 9, 2015

Summary – (from the publisher) – Come and explore the world under your feet with the Dirtmeister and friends! Part graphic novel, part fun guidebook, this very cool, rocky journey introduces both eager and reluctant readers to the basic geologic processes that shape our Earth. Clear and concise explanations of the various geologic processes reveal the comprehensive science behind each fascinating topic. Fun facts and simple DIY experiments reinforce the concepts while short biographies of important scientists inspire future geo-scientists.

What Josie thought – This was one of the coolest books I ever read. I collect rocks and love to play in the dirt and dig in the dirt. This book was awesome. It told me about rocks and how they form and different types. It told me about earthquakes and the Earth and volcanoes too. It was interesting to read how mountains are made. I like all the pictures in the book. Some were real pictures and some were cartoons. I liked that the words are spread all over (not like in a story). I think all kids will like this book!

I will give this book eighteen bookworms out of five ha ha ha Erik won’t let me do that so I give it five bookworms fivebooks

Review! Leo: A Ghost Story by Mac Barnett

28 Aug

leoLeo: A Ghost Story
Written by Mac Barnett
Illustrations by Christian Robinson
52 pages – ages 5+
Published by Chronicle Books on August 25, 2015

Theme/Topic- Friendships / Imaginary Friends

Genre- Fiction

Synopsis- Leo is a ghost. He’s lived by himself for many years. Not many people can see him. One day, a family moves into the house, and when Leo greets them with tea, they freak out. Leo, feeling unwanted, leaves the house. After wandering the city streets for a bit, Leo meets Jane, a young girl. Jane can see him. They have a lot of fun together. When a robber tries to ruin their fun, Leo learns that being a ghost can be a very good thing.

Why I liked this book- This is a fun book to read. I like how it ends in a unique, marvelous way (read the book to find out!). The book itself is a sweet book about friendship. Mr. Barnett is a great author, and Mr. Robinson is a great illustrator, so it’s no wonder they make an amazing team! The simple illustrations go really well with the story line, as if you see the book from a child’s view. I think all younger kids looking for a good read will enjoy this story!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Stick Dog Dreams of Ice Cream by Tom Watson

25 Aug

stickiceStick Dog Dreams of Ice Cream

Book 4 Stick Dog Series

By Tom Watson

244 pages – ages 7+

Published by HarperCollins on May 19, 2015

Synopsis- It’s a hot summer day, the hottest of the hot, and Stick Dog and his gang are in need of something cool. But nothing they try seems to work. That is, until they find a big, odd-shaped truck that plays an annoying song comes around. The dogs don’t know what is going on, but when it leaves, there are sometimes little puddles of cool, multi-colored, yummy liquid. So, the dogs chase after the truck, always getting those puddles. But it’s not enough! They need MORE!

What I Thought- I LOVE the Stick Dog books (See my review HERE). They genuinely look like they came from a notebook The drawings are funny and capture the feelings of the dogs perfectly. Mr. Watson has a fun writing style that really sounds like it’s a kid telling the story. The only thing I didn’t like was that the book didn’t even re-introduce the characters and if kids were picking the series up with this book, it would have helped with a little more introduction. The books are an awesome read for their intended age. The silly humor is a favorite of mine and I am sure other kids feel the same. Book 4 of the series didn’t disappoint with the wacky humor and even sillier drawings.

I give this book four out of five bookworms.fourbooks

Review! Frankie Dupont and the Science Fair Sabotage by Julie Anne Grasso

19 Aug

frankie#3Frankie Dupont and the Science Fair Sabotage

Written by Julie Anne Grasso

Illustrated by Alexander Avellino

134 pages – ages 8+

Published by Julie Anne Grasso on May 10, 2015

Synopsis- Frankie Dupont, Junior-Investigator-In-Training, was going to a local science fair, when he learns that a friend’s brothers’ project was sabotaged! Their robot’s robotic chip was stolen! Can Frankie find the thief before the show starts and the two twins get disqualified?

What I Thought- I really like this series. Ms. Grasso writes these mysteries really well. She adds just enough clues so that the reader is solving the mystery along with Frankie. There is a good amount of humor in this book. For example, I was literally laughing out loud when Frankie decided that a person wasn’t lying, because, when people lie, their eyes go up and to the right, but one character was definitely telling the truth because their eyes went up and to the left. There are cool illustrations throughout the book that add a lot to the story. The stories are great for young kids looking for a good mystery. The story flows well and it gets the reader involved. I really like this series and the Frankie Dupont character. I can’t wait to read more!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Review! Top Secret Files: The Cold War by Stephanie Bearce AND A GIVEAWAY!

17 Aug

Be sure to read to the bottom of this post for the link to the Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win a copy of this book!

coldwarTop Secret Files: The Cold War

Written by Stephanie Bearce

128 pages – ages 8+

Published by Prufrock Press on August 1, 2015

 Summary- From the Publisher: “Take a look if you dare, but be careful! Some secrets are meant to stay hidden…

Poison dart umbrellas and cyanide guns were all a part of the arsenal of tools used by spies of the Soviet KGB, American CIA, and the British MI6, but you won’t learn that in your history books! Learn true stories of the Cold War and how spies used listening devices planted in live cats and wristwatch cameras. Discover how East Germans tried to ride zip lines to freedom, while the Cambridge Four infiltrated Britain and master spy catchers like Charles Elwell were celebrated. Then make your own secret codes and practice sending shoe messages. It’s all part of the true stories from Top Secret Files: Cold War.

What I Thought- I love history. I love spies. This book has both. I often am hesitant to review books on subjects I am very fond of because, I find myself being very picky on how things are presented. I was very happy with this book because I learned from it, I think it is written well for the audience it is for (8+) and I think it is very well presented. Ms. Bearce also includes activities related to the book that would be a great resource for teachers. She also includes some really cool facts about what was going on during the cold war. I was fascinated to learn that the really cool, stereotypical spy gear actually existed (well, at least some of them). That was a real eye-opener. There is really cool true stories about some of the real spies. I like how Ms. Bearce doesn’t really bias herself on which side she portraits and offers a fair assessment of both sides. This is an interesting, introduction to the history of the cold war and will lead kids to looking further into the topics covered. Ms. Bearce I think kids in the fourth grade and up would like it, but the book is suited for younger advanced readers too.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Top 3 Cold War Secrets

1)     The Big Dog Escape– Would you believe that one secret agent made his escape disguised as a dog? During the 1970’s, the CIA disguised one of their agents as a St. Bernard to get him out of Europe. The operative wore a fake dog suit and was concealed in a dog kennel. Nobody was suspicious when the dog was taken to the vet for a check-up, and the operative made his escape.

2)     Flying Saucers- In 1956, the U.S. Air Force experimented with building its own flying saucer. The plans called for a disc shaped flying machine that would reach altitudes of 100,000 feet and fly at Mach 4. The machine they built didn’t work quite as well as they hoped. It wobbled uncontrollably if it went higher than 3 feet of the ground and its top speed was 35mph. The project was scrapped.

3)     Moon Bomb– Scientists came up with some wild ideas during the Cold War, but one of the craziest was to bomb the moon. Some U.S. scientists thought that if they exploded an atomic bomb on the moon, then it would scare the Soviet Union. Other scientists argued that a mistake could seriously hurt the earth and ruin the surface of the moon. The plan was scrapped and no bombs were sent to the moon.

About the Author: Stephanie Bearce is a writer, teacher, and history detective. She loves tracking down spies and uncovering secret missions from the comfort of her library in St. Charles, MO. When she isn’t writing or teaching, Stephanie loves to travel the world and go on adventures with her husband, Darrell.


Buy the Book!:


Barnes & Noble-

Books A Million-



Also Available in this series:

Top Secret Files: American Revolution

Top Secret Files: The Civil War

Top Secret Files: World War I

Top Secret Files: World War II

Top Secret Files: Pirates & Buried Treasure

Enter to win a copy of this book!:
Click HERE

Review! Nanny X Returns by Madelyn Rosenberg

14 Aug

nannyx2Nanny X Returns

By Madelyn Rosenberg

128 pages – ages 8+

Will be Published by Holiday House on September 15, 2015

Synopsis- Ali, Jake, and their baby sister got excited when Nanny X walked through their doorway once more. After all, Nanny X was a secret agent with lots of cool gadgets, and she even let them help her on a case! But, all is normal now. After that case, Nanny X is now acting like… well, like a normal nanny. That is, until they find out about a criminal called the Angler. The Angler has threatened to destroy precious national treasures if a fish stature that was sent isn’t put up at the White House lawn. Will Nanny X and the kids save the day in time?

What I Thought– This was a really great sequel to Nanny X (see my review HERE)! Nanny X (the character) is a fun, slightly wacky, nanny who just so happens to be a secret government agent working for NAP (Nanny Action Patrol).  That’s just the icing on the cake. It was a nice touch to have siblings Ali and Jake get along (well, maybe not 100%, but realistically close :) ). I really like Ms. Rosenberg’s writing style. It captures the essence of being a kid perfectly (it’s told from Jake and Ali’s point-of-view, every other chapter (Jake, then Ali, then Jake, etc.)). I really like this series. It has just enough realism to make you think that it could happen in real life. This is a great book and a good series for young readers!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks


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