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Review! Kid President’s Guide to Being Awesome by Brad Montague & Robby Novak

27 May

kidprezKid President’s Guide to Being Awesome

By Brad Montague & Robby Novak

240 pages – ages 7+

Published by HarperCollins on February 3, 2015

Synopsis- “Life is too short to not be awesome.” [Kid President A.K.A. Robby Novak] Have you ever wondered how you could make the world better? Kid President brings this AWESOME knowledge! Kid President is a YouTube Star who does incredibly inspiring videos (if you haven’t seen them – you should!), and just makes you feel good with his words of wisdom. This book follows suit. It is packed with 100 ways to change to world for the better and be awesome doing it.

What I Thought- This is a wonderfully uplifting book. This book was a great read. It captures the joy of an excited kid ready to take on life. There are marvelous tips on how to make your life more awesome, and others’ lives more awesome. There are great celebrity interviews throughout the book, with people like Jeff Foxworthy, Beyoncé, Michelle Obama, and various kids who have taken action to make the world more awesome. The format of the book is really cool. There are tons of pictures, fact boxes, illustrations, interviews, and much more. The layout reminds me of a magazine – which, as a kid, I really find interesting and cool  to look at. The book is a life-changer really. No lie. If everyone read this book, the world would definitely be better. Mr. Kid President, I have read the book and I am ready to be AWESOME!

I give this ultimately amazing book 10 out of 5 bookworms!!!fivebooksfivebooks

Now, I’m going to go watch some Kid President videos!

Review! 50 Things You Should Know About The First World War by Jim Eldridge

21 May

WWI50 Things You Should Know About The First World War

Edited by Jim Eldridge

80 pages – ages 8+

Published by QEB Publishing on July 1st 2014

Synopsis- Have you ever wondered what really happened in World War I? I mean, as a kid, I hear and learn more about World War II but a lot of what goes on in WWI sets up what goes on in WWII! Did you know that it was when poison gasses were invented, tanks were made, and it was a turning point in women’s rights? Read this book packed with 50 facts about a war that changed the face of the world.

What I Thought- This was a great nonfictional resource. The reading level, amount of information and writing are all very kid-friendly. It includes real pictures of people, places, and events. The book has fact boxes that are an easy learning tool about what happened. I learned several things that I didn’t know about the war and I am a history buff. I learned about the sinking of the Lusitania, the Christmas Truce, and how Zeppelins were used. The book made me want to look up even more information about WWI. This is a great resource book for history classes or kids interested in history.

I give this 5 out of 5 bookworms! fivebooks

Review! Orangutan Houdini by Laurel Neme

17 May

orangutanOrangutan Houdini

Written by Laurel Neme

Illustrated by Kathie Kelleher

32 pages – ages 5+

Published by Bunker Hill Publishing Inc on October 8, 2014

Synopsis- Fu Manchu is the head orangutan at the Henry Doorly Zoo. And he’s an escape artist! Several times, Fu and his troop mysteriously appear in another area of the zoo, outside of an exhibit. And the people in charge are sure the door was locked… What is going on? How do they keep going out?

What I Thought- This is a cool book based on a real person – ER – Orangutan. Fu Manchu (love the name) was a real ape, who really did escape the enclosure in his zoo. The illustrations compliment the story well and add detail and some humor to the enjoyable text. They capture the feeling of cleverness, good-nature, and humor of the characters perfectly. The story is not necessarily laugh out loud funny, but it definitely has some giggle moments. This book can get kids interested in orangutans, zoos, or locks. I am thoroughly impressed with Fu’s lock-picking skills. There are some words in the text that will be difficult for smaller children to read it independently, but I think it is a wonderful read aloud for kids and adults to share together. This is a really cool book I am sure many kids will enjoy!

I give “Orangutan Houdini” four out of five bookworms!fourbooks

I love the jazzy trailer!

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Yummy Stories by Lil L. Alexander

15 May

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 cute way to get kids to eat healthy!

yummyYummy Stories

By Lil L. Alexander
Illustrations by Anda Cofaru
56 pages – ages 3+
Published by CreateSpace on December 9, 2014

Theme/Topic- Nutrition / Life Lessons

Genre- Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening – “Once upon a time, there was a tiny pea, merry and green, called Peachy Pea.”

Synopsis – From Goodreads: 

Why I liked this book- It’s awesome how this book multitasks – it teaches about eating veggies and fruits (they take place in the stories, and they’re in the background – often part of the scenery), but it also teaches life lessons on being kind, friendly, honest, etc. The illustrations are really cute and make you feel great inside. The mini-stories it has are told like old-time fairy tale, or are played off of one. There are six stories in all. Ms. Alexander’s style is a cute, warm story.  Not many Self-Published Books get on my Perfect Picture Book Friday posts, but I really liked it promotes healthy eating. This is a great book for bedtimes, as it can be read in several nights.

Activities and Resources- 

Get kids to be interested in healthy food by creating food art! You can make an image out of veggies and fruits! Be creative – then you get to eat it! (Images have a Creative Commons public license).

kiwi-583162_640 banana-342575_640

Make your own story involving healthy foods! Who would be in it?

I wrote mine by fracturing/retelling a fairy tale / poem (I think Mother Goose):

Jack Horn could eat no corn,

His wife could eat no bean,

So between the two of them,

They ate the garden clean.

To learn more about Yummy Stories, food art, and organic gardening, please visit Ms. Alexander’s website HERE.




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


Frankie Dupont and the Lemon Festival Fiasco by Julie Anne Grasso

14 May

frankie2Frankie Dupont and the Lemon Festival Fiasco

By Julie Anne Grasso

Illustrated by Alexander Avellino

100 pages – ages 8+

Published by  Julie Anne Grasso on March 29, 2015

Synopsis- Frankie Dupont, kid Private Investigator, is back in an all new adventure! When a teacher gives the head teacher at school a lemon meringue pie and he gets sick from it, Frankie Dupont gets suspicious! It all leads back to the mysterious Enderby Manor which is having a lemon festival but the lemon trees are dying! Frankie is on the case!

What I Thought- Frankie Dupont is a great series! (Read my review of book 1 HERE!)It really draws you into the book. Ms. Grasso has a whimsical writing style that makes the book fun to read. I like how she puts clues out in the story but makes the reader work to get them. The story makes a perfect mystery for young readers. It has just the right amount of twists, turns and suspense. Frankie is a great character that seems resourceful and like a good kid. This Early Chapter Book has several black-and-white illustrations scattered throughout the book. I thought they were nice, but wasn’t fond of them making Frankie look older than he is – but that was a minor thing. All in all, this book is marvelous! It is well-edited, well-written, and well-done – well, well, well! :) Looking forward to book three!

I give Frankie Dupont and the Lemon Festival Fiasco 5 out of 5 bookworms!fivebooks

Disney WINNER & Review! Cindercast: A Tale of Tides by Michael Blackbourn

12 May

Well, today is the day! The day that I announce the winner of the Disney Descendents: Isle of the Lost Prize Pack Giveaway!

See my review of Isle of the Lost HERE!

The prize pack, courtesy of Disney Publishing, includes:

Prizing and samples provided by Disney Publishing.

Prizing and samples provided by Disney Publishing.


a copy of The Isle of the Lost;

branded tank top, water bottle and temporary tattoos;

and a GadgetGrip smartphone home button sticker.

And the lucky winner is…

Jazmyn Franklin!!!!

[ Ms. Franklin, you forgot to leave your email! If I don’t hear from you in three days, I will pick another winner. ]

Now, onto the review!

cinderCindercast: A Tale of Tides

By Michael Blackbourn

162 pages – ages 8+

Published by CreateSpace  on February 6, 2015

Synopsis- Ollie is a Seelie. They are like humans (AKA UnSeelies), but really really small. They could fit on your pinkie fingernail. When Ollie got sucked in by a sea storm, she gets tossed, turned, and lost. She finds herself on an unknown beach, with only her best friend Snarz (a small crab) to help her. With spiders, seagulls, and angry crabs, including mysterious cubes called Cindercubes, will she ever make it home?

What I Thought- This was a nice book. Although the publisher says it’s Middle Grade, it could fit into Early Middle Grade/Late Early Chapter Book. A lot of obstacles pop up in the book, but there wasn’t as much plot development that I would have liked in a middle-grade book. The book doesn’t resolve the main problem – Ollie knows of a place to go, but doesn’t go there, but the story feels complete and leaves room for the second book. The book was well-written and Mr. Blackbourn has a fun writing style that is enjoyable to read. You really immerse yourself into the world of a traveling Seelie. I would be happy to read book 2.

I give this 4 out of 5 bookworms.fourbooks

Review! Sal Everybody’s Pal: Sal Finds a Forever Home by Diana Alvear

10 May

salpalSal Everybody’s Pal: Sal Finds a Forever Home
By Diana Alvear
Illustrated by Chandler Strange
44 pages – ages 6+
Published by Sal Pals – 2014

Synopsis- Sal is an older cat. He lives at an animal shelter with other cats. He’s been there for a long time. Everyone that comes in wants kittens. Today is visiting day. Will today be the day he finds his forever home?

What I Thought- This is a cute picture book about animal adoption. It points out that kittens get adopted quicker, and that most older pets are there longer. It is put in a simple way so younger kids can understand it well. The book is written more for older kids, but is a great read-aloud for younger kids. The illustrations are a warm watercolor that really makes you feel good inside. I like that this is a book about cat adoption – usually the ones I see are about dogs. The story has a happy ending, and will encourage kids to adopt animals that they will take care of.

I give this 5 out of 5 bookworms!fivebooks

Perfect Picture Book Friday!

8 May

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 really shows the appreciation for what parents do for you and Sunday is Mother’s Day. Plus, I love Pete the Cat. :)

petecatPete the Cat: Rock On Mom and Dad!
By James Dean

4 – 8 years
Grade Level: Preschool – 3
Series: Pete the Cat
  24 pages – ages 4+
Published by HarperFestival on March 10, 2015

Theme/Topic- Appreciation/Mothers’ Day/Fathers’ Day

Genre- Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening“It’s Monday morning, and Pete the Cat is late for school. His alarm didn’t go off.

Synopsis – from the publisher “Mom and Dad do so much for Pete that he wants to thank them with a special surprise. But what can Pete do that will show Mom and Dad how much he loves them? In this groovy story, Pete learns that the best way to say thank you is to mean it. Young readers will love watching Pete surprise Mom and Dad with something totally awesome.”

Why I picked this book- This is a very sweet book about how you can make a great gift  for your parents by just doing what you do best. Pete the Cat is a great role model for young kids. He looks at life with a positive attitude. I like how, while Pete is thinking of what he can do, the picture shows his idea, which is good in thought, but it usually ends in trouble (mowing the grass = accidentally mowing a flowerbed). It made me chuckle! This is a marvelous book! Tho book comes with a poster, little cards for your parents and stickers too!

Activities and Resources- 

Celebrate Mother’s Day! :) Happy early Mother’s Day to all the moms out there! :)

Ask kids what is it that THEY do best? Try to figure out how they can use what they do best to make a present for their parent.

Have your kid do something nice for someone who does things for them all the time – just like Pete the Cat, it is good o realize how much some people do for you. :)


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

 Here are some other great Mothers’ Day books! 

stellaStella Brings the Family
By Miriam B. Schiffer
Illustrated by Holly Clifton-Brown

36 pages- ages 5+
Published by Chronicle Books on May 5, 2015

What I Thought- This is a cute book that, in a simple way, explains that Stella had two dads and she wants to celebrate Mothers’ Day. I like how the book mentions that another kid has two moms. It shows how families can be very different, but they are all families that love each other. This is a nice, diverse, children’s book.


mothersdayPinkalicious: Mother’s Day Surprise
By Victoria Kann

Series: Pinkalicious
24 pages – ages 4+
Published by HarperFestival on March 10, 2015

What I Thought- I like how Pinkalicious has good intentions, and how a problem always arises. Ms. Kann has written another great book with a great ending. The illustrations are cute, and collagey. :) This is a really great picture book that captures daily life!

Perfect Picture Book Friday! How to Read a Story by Kate Messner

1 May

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 cute story about how to read a story with a buddy.

howtoreadHow To Read A Story
By Kate Messner
Illustrations by Mark Siegal
pages – ages 4+
Published by on

Theme/Topic- Reading

Genre- How-To/Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening

Step 1

Find A Story.

Synopsis – From Goodreads:

Step One: Find a story. (A good one.)
Step Two: Find a reading buddy. (Someone nice.)
Step Three: Find a reading spot. (Couches are cozy.)
Now: Begin.

Accomplished storytellers Kate Messner and Mark Siegel chronicle the process of becoming a reader: from pulling a book off the shelf and finding someone with whom to share a story, to reading aloud, predicting what will happen, and—finally—coming to The End. This picture book playfully and movingly illustrates the idea that the reader who discovers the love of reading finds, at the end, the beginning.”

Why I liked this book- This book made me smile while reading it. Ms. Messner has written a sweet book that will be perfect for bedtimes and classrooms everywhere. I like how the book has a story within a story within a story (“The Princess, The Dragon, and The Robot” (the story the characters read)). I like that the MCs are a kid and a dog – not 2 kids. The illustrations are amazing. They capture the spirit of the book perfectly.


Activities and Resources- 

 Well, DUH! Read a story with someone! They will enjoy it! :)

This book is a great way for a classroom to start a book club! You can all read the book (this book – or another) and talk about it using the steps in HOW TO READ A STORY.

It would also be fun to video tape someone reading a story and have them go through the “steps” to reading a story.

Hey speaking of that – here’s a video of me reading a story for National Read Aloud Day from, like, three years ago! How did I do?

Visit Kate Messner’s website HERE

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




REVIEWS! Farewell Flopsy and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to School

27 Apr

Benjamin Chaud is a French author/illustrator whose work I admire. I am reviewing two of his latest books.

Both of these books get five out of five bookworms from me!


farewellFarewell Floppy
By Benjamin Chaud
40 pages – ages 3+
Published by Chronicle Books on March 3, 2015

Synopsis- From GoodReads: “It was the perfect plan: abandon pet rabbit Floppy in the woods and take a giant leap toward adulthood. Having a bunny that moonlights as a best friend is for babies, right? It’s better to cut a pet loose, make new human friends, and not be so dependent on a floppy-eared fur ball bent on chewing electrical cords, right? If saying good-bye to Floppy is required to grow up, why does life without Floppy seem so wrong?

What I Thought- After reading this book, I have decided that lop bunnies (what Floppy is) are the rabbit equivalent to Basset Hounds (which I have one). They both seem very lazy. ;)


My dog Clyde’s “excited” look.

Mr. Chaud is a fabulous artist with an eye for detail. It really shows through in his work. This book is sweet, and teaches a valuable lesson. A story about deciding to abandon your pet in the woods may seem a bit harsh, but in reality, the story is about the boy choosing his pet and seeing how much he cares for him and the value in the pet. I like how the kid goes through a major character change by the end of the story. It made me smile.

afunnythingA Funny Thing Happened On The Way To School…
By Davide Cali
Illustrated by Benjamin Chaud
44 pages – ages 6+
Published by Chronicle Books on March 3, 2015

Synopsis- From GoodReads: “First, some giant ants steal breakfast.

Then there are the evil ninjas, massive ape, mysterious mole people, giant blob, and countless other daunting (and astonishing) detours along the way to school. Are these excuses really why this student is late? Or is there another explanation that is even more outrageous than the rest?

What I Thought- This is a follow-up to “I Didn’t Do My Homework Because…” (see my review HERE), and it didn’t disappoint! Kids will love this book! As someone who is almost always just in time to school, this book is a necessity for me! Mr. Cali and Mr. Chaud are a wonderful team who work very well together. The book is funny, and outrageous, and totally unbelievable…or is it? You’ll never know… Mr. Chaud did a great job illustrating. He has a realistic, yet whimsical approach to his art. I find it funny (and cool) how the ninjas’ legs can bend backwards. Cali’s zany story captures the mind of a kid perfectly. This is a great book!


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