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Great Back-to-School Picture Books from HarperCollins!

1 Sep

Before I get to tell you about some great back-to-school books, I get to announce that the winner of a signed copy of Jenifer Alvarez’s Guardian Herd: Starfire  (see my review HERE) is 

Rebecca “Franticmommy” Flansburg!

WOO! Congratulations M. Flansburg, I will be emailing you to get the address you want the book sent to! 

guardian

Now to tell you about some GREAT picture books!

 

chuChu’s First Day of School

By Neil Gaiman

Illustrated by Adam Rex

32 pages – ages 4+
Published by HarperCollins on June 24, 2014

 

Summary (from the inside jacket): It is Chu’s first day of school. Chu is nervous. He hopes the other boys and girls will be nice. Will they like him? What will happen at school today? Will Chu do what Chu does best?

What I thought: This was a very cute book. I like that it shows Chu being afraid that the other kids may not like him (not just being afraid to go to school). I think a lot of kids have this fear. On top of the nice story, the illustrations are wonderful and had a slightly realistic feeling to them. I think it made them very unique images.

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Chu is adorable. I love his aviator helmet and goggles. Mr. Gaiman has written a nice picture book about going back to school. I love Chu’s talent, or as his new teacher says, “what he can do.” I think this book will help kids who are nervous about what other kids will think of them at school.

There is a printable activity to go with the book on the publisher’s website – click HERE

To learn more about Chu, please visit Mr. Gaiman’s website HERE

~

littlelolaLittle Lola

by Julie Saab and David Gothard

32 pages – ages 4+

Published by Greenwillow Books on April 22, 2014

Summary (from the inside jacket): Little Lola loves everything! So when she discovers school, you can be sure that she’ll love every minute of it. Yes, she’s a cat. (And when was the last time you saw a cat in school?) But being a cat never stopped Lola!

What I thought: THIS BOOK IS HILARIOUS!!! I thought this was going to be a cute little kitty going to school book, but wow – Lola is one energetic kitty determined to have a great day! The story is great! I love how Lola wakes up and finds a complete school outfit and decides to go to school – not with other animals but with kids. The art is so carefree and humorous that I could spend hours looking at the illustrations. I think it’s a book that could really get kids excited about school.

To learn more about my new favorite kitty, visit the Lola website HERE

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monstersloveMonsters LOVE School

Written and illustrated by Mike Austin

  40 pages – ages 4+
Published by HarperCollins on June 24, 2014

Summary (publisher’s description): Summer is over, and now it’s time for the biggest adventure of all . . . Monster School! Join these colorful monsters as they go to school for the first time. Reading and writing and learning your monster history has never been so much fun! Fans of Monsters Love Colors and others will love this exciting picture book.

What I thought: This is a nice book about making friends and going (back) to school. The monsters are cute and funny. I like how they all got along and helped the new monster. That was nice. The monsters show how fun school can be. The art has a cool style and I really like the patterns in the monsters.

~

 

pinkandnewPinkalicious and the New Teacher

by Victoria Kann

24 pages – ages 4+

Published by HarperFestival on June 24, 2014

Summary (from the back of the book) – Pinkalicious usually likes new experiences, but when she gets a new teacher she’s not sure how she feels.

What I thought: I think that this book covers how some kids view the first day of school (and a new teacher) very well. Ms. Kann captures the feeling of kids getting a new teacher very well. As a kid, I know how it feels to have one of your favorite teachers leave and have to get a new one that you’re not really sure about.  I love how Ms. Kann shows Pinkalicious adapting to the new class. My little sister LOVES Pinkalicious, and I think she is the kind of role model kids need; one who proves that everyone is not perfect, but we should try hard to do the right thing. In addition to the pinkiperfect story there is a poster, bookmarks and stickers in the book. 

Check out the printable activity on HarperCollins website – click HERE

Check out the Pinkalicious website HERE

 

Creative Kid Thursday! Guest Book Reviewer Josie!

28 Aug

Today on Creative Kid Thursday, I have a special guest for you, my little sister Josie! Josie reviewed a book that has to do with frogs being endangered. Jo really cares about this issue. She even made a frog pond at our house this year to help the frogs near us (see her blog post about it HERE).

vanishfrogThe vanishing frogs of Cascade Creek

(Ruthie’s wildlife Book 1) by Emma J. Homes

44 pages – ages 8+
Published by Spark Street Communications Pty Ltd on June 25, 2014

 

Description from Amazon:

The beautiful waterfall frogs of Cascade Creek have suddenly disappeared and Ruthie’s parents have been asked to help solve the mystery. So now it’s all aboard the big green bus, pet wombat and all, for a wildlife adventure in the rainforests of northern Australia.

Join ten-year-old Ruthie as she and her wildlife scientist parents, Tom and Kate, track down why the frogs have vanished from their home. Together with Ruthie’s younger brother Liam and sister Bel, and with a little help from the mischievous wombat, Womble, they are soon discovering clues to the puzzle.

What Josie thought: I liked that this was about saving frogs and it was kind of a mystery. I liked reading about how Ruthie and her family live. They travel around in their bus and go from place to place to help animals (and frogs :) ). Ruthie and her brother and sister even do to school at their bus, not a regular school. I like that the story describes the science lab trailer where her parents do experiments to find out what’s wrong with the frogs. I never heard of a waterfall frog before. It is a real frog. I looked it up and learned more about them. I liked reading the book. I like that Ruthie is my age (ten :) ). The book is a good chapter book and I thought the story was exciting! I would read the other stories in this series.

I give this book 5 out of 5 bookworms! fivebooks

Thanks Josie!

You can find out more about Ms. Holmes and her other books by visiting her website HERE.

Review and Giveaway! The Guardian Herd Book 1 – Starfire by Jennifer Lynn Alvarez

25 Aug

 

Mark your calendars for this wonderful book that will be released September 23rd!  Can’t wait?!? Well comment below and enter to win a signed copy (US residents only, please). On September 1st I will… I mean my little sister Josie will  pick a name out of a hat and declare the WINNER of a SIGNED copy of THE GUARDIAN HERD: STARFIRE! WOO! :D

I reviewed Ms. Alvarez’s book “The Pet Washer” a while ago (see my review HERE) and I really enjoyed her writing style. I was very excited to get an ARC of the first book of this new series by Ms. Alvarez and really looked forward to reading the story. I wasn’t disappointed!

guardianThe Guardian Herd Book 1 – Starfire

By Jennifer Lynn Alvarez

272 pages – ages 8+

Published by HarperCollins on September 23, 2014

Anok is a land full of pegasi – winged horses – and no humans.

Star is the “black foal” – a black pegasi that is born once every 100 years. On the black foals’ first birthday (at midnight), the Hundred Year Star gives its power to the black foal of the century. With this power, the black foal can become either the Destroyer or the Healer of the herds. Either way, the foal will become more powerful than any pegasi in Anok. Thunderwing (and most of Sun Herd) thinks that Star will become the Destroyer, if he lives. Star doesn’t blame them – he isn’t so sure himself! Thunderwing, the over-stallion (chief) of Sun Herd now is the head of the Guardian Herd, the herd to which the black foal is born. It is the Guardian Herd’s responsibility to keep track of the black foal and to determine it’s fate when the time came. Thunderwing gave Star until his first birthday to live and then declared that Star must be killed in case he becomes the Destroyer. When the lead-mare of Sun Herd helps get Star to safety by bringing him to a secluded cave, she gets kicked out of Sun Herd. She dares to go back only to warn the Sun Herd about the pegasi army about to attack the Guardian Herd because they lost track of Star. The warning didn’t help. Now Star’s friends’ lives are in danger! What can he do?

This is an amazing book! It reminded me a little bit of the Warrior Cats series by Erin Hunter, with all of the Herds and all – but it was also very different (not just because it’s about pegasi). I liked it. The Guardian Herd series is very unique and I like that it hooks you right in the first paragraph! I could not put it down! ( Seriously. I didn’t really leave my bean-bag chair at all until I was done… ;) )! Ms. Alvarez is a great author with a descriptive writing style that gets the reader involved. Star is a character you really come to care for. He is a great main character, and is a nice guy pegasi. I like how Star’s character developed during the time he spent exiled in the cave. I love how Ms. Alvarez describes the world of Anok. It felt like I was really there, diving through the trees, galloping through the plains! I thought all the interactions between the herds and members of each herd was interesting. You got to learn about their society and chain of command and such. I can’t wait for the other books in this series! Bonus points for an awesome cover too!

I give this book 5 out of 5 bookworms!fivebooks

To learn more about Ms. Alvarez and her books, please visit her website HERE.

Book Review! Jesper Jinx by Marko Kitti

20 Aug

 

Wish me luck! Today is my first day of MIDDLE SCHOOL!!

 

scream

Creative Commons License


Now on to my review!

jesperJesper Jinx

Written and Illustrated by Marko Kitti

150 pages – ages 8+

Published by CreateSpace on April 28, 2014

Jesper Jinx may be one of the unluckiest (or maybe the luckiest?) kids in Puffington Hill, England. Everything he does somehow comes out hilariously messed up. When Jesper accidentally (and literally) bumps into a children’s books author who had rented a nearby house, Jesper makes the author promise to write his real-life stories, as long as he doesn’t share it with anybody else. The author was not true to his word, well, as long as the reader promises not to tell Jesper! He shares 3 short stories – each with a prank that Jesper does. This includes staining the white cat red, and swapping his sister’s favorite drink out for a concoction that is undeniably foul.

This book, all in all, is hilarious. I love that the author is a character that interacts with the reader through notes. That provides a bit of humor right there. Then you add in all of Jesper’s kooky actions and you get a ton of laughs. I like the fact that the reader can be involved in the story, it feels like the author is talking to you. The illustrations remind me of the kind in most of Roald Dahl’s books. I like that touch. It provides a nice feeling that draws you into the story. Jesper is a nice kid who likes to do pranks and practical jokes. It’s not his fault that they normally backfire on him. He’s just a normal kid trying to “break the boredom”. The book was a quick read for me at 150 pages with illustrations, but it is meant for younger kids so the reading level is just right for 8+ or young advanced readers. I am looking forward to reading more of Mr. Kitti’s work.

I give this book 5 out of 5 bookworms!fivebooks

For more information on Mr. Kitti and Jesper Jinx, please visit the Jesper Jinx website HERE.

The Platypus Police Squad Book 1: The Frog Who Croaked by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

15 Aug

ppsfrog

 

The Platypus Police Squad Book 1: The Frog Who Croaked

by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

240 pages – ages 8+
Published by Walden Pond Press on May 7, 2013

 

Rick Zengo was excited. It was his first day for his new job. Zengo was going to be joining Kalamazoo City’s police force, the Platypus Police Squad (PPS for short). He spilled some hot chocolate on his partner in the first hour. On the second hour, they get a case about an illegal fish exchange gone wrong. But, that’s not important. Nope, not at all. We’re talking about Zengo’s first hour at work. So… He spilled some hot chocolate on his grumpy (but kindly) partner, Corey O’Malley, and they both got made fun of by two over-confident platypi detectives (can someone lend a helping mouse? ;) Platypi or platypuses?). It was a perfectly normal hour. Nothing out of the ordinary. No wondering if the local billionaire panda is behind the fish exchange. No fretting over where the school professor was who apparently disappeared at the fish exchange. Not a minute spent over worrying that a night club owned by the billionaire panda is behind the illegal fish market. No pondering how many hot dogs Corey O’Malley can eat at a time. Nope. None of that. Now, on the other hand, about that second hour…

THIS WAS HILARIOUS!!! The title is a wonderfully done pun and a marvelous hooker! The book was well done and was fun to read. I read it in one day. Mr. Krosoczkais a great author who has a way of creating a wacky world that pulls you in and only lets you out when the mystery has been solved. Detective Rick Zengo is a great guy, er… platypus… who tries to do the best he can, even if he messes up sometimes. I love all the goofy characters in the book. This is a fun book! I already read Book 2 (see my review HERE) which prompted me to go back and read book 1. I am glad I did (and obviously you don’t have to read the books in order to enjoy them!)! I am already waiting for the third book…

yup still waiting…

…someone please tell Mr. Krosoczka I’m waiting…

okay, okay I’ll get on with it -

I give this book 5 out of 5 bookworms!fivebooks

 

Review! Frankie Dupont and the Mystery of Enderby Manor by Julie Ann Grasso

30 Jul

frankieFrankie Dupont and the Mystery of Enderby Manor

By Julie Ann Grasso

Illustrated by David Blackwell and Samantha Yallope

136 pages – age 8+

Published by Julie Ann Grasso on July 11, 2014

Summary: Frankie Dupont’s family is traumatized because a family member went missing. When Frankie’s uncle, aunt, and cousin were staying in a nearby hotel while their house was getting fixed, Kat, Frankie’s cousin, went missing. Because Frankie’s dad, a private eye, is away on a case, Frankie goes himself to check it out. The hotel, Enderby Manor, has very strange employees, and Frankie is very curious about the hotel and why he’s never heard of it. With the help of a teenage boy named Lachy who just started working there, Frankie is going to unravel the mystery of Enderby Manor.

What I liked about it: This was a fun, kid-friendly, exciting mystery. Ms. Grasso is a great author. I love the paranormal aspect of this book. Frankie is a great kid. He is very devoted to being a detective, which I am glad of. He is a great role-model for other kids. I think that Ms. Grasso has written a wonderful story that kids will love. It is a quick and easy read, very appropriate for 7 year olds. The characters are quirky and funny. The hotel seems like a very nice and fun place. If it wouldn’t… Oh, I probably shouldn’t tell you that. Spoilers and all, y’know? Well, if the hotel didn’t do a major setback, I would like to go there. :) I can’t wait for book 2!

I give this book 5 out of 5 bookworms!fivebooks

To check out an adult’s review of this book, click HERE to go to the Kid Lit Reviews site!
Check out the book’s trailer!

 

Where to find Ms. Grasso!

Website:  www.julieannegrassobooks.com

Blog: http://www.whenigrowupiwannawriteakidsbook.blogspot.com.au/

Creative Kids Tales: http://www.creativekidstales.com.au/book-reviewers/book-reviewers.html

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Julie-Anne-Grasso-books/287496411357122

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Jujuberry37

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/jujuberry37/

YouTube: http://youtu.be/NGlsriYtqHw

REVIEW REVIEW REVIEW! Picture Book Triple Play!!!

28 Jul

Have I got a great deal for you! Three great picture books! :D

planesgoPlanes Go

By Steve Light

16 pages – ages pre-K +

Published by Chronicle Books on August 12, 2014

About: Publisher’s description – “The helicopter goes, “PITTATATATA PITTATATATA PITTATATATA.” The jumbo jet goes “Wheeeeeeeee VRRRRRRRRRRUUUHHHHHHHHHMMM.” The propeller plane goes “HUK HUK HUK WHIRRRRRRR WHIRRRRRR.” Prepare for liftoff with 8 exciting aircraft and the noises they make in this irresistible board book! The long oversized format lends itself to the shape of the vehicles and stands out on the shelf and the boisterous text begs to be read aloud.  “

What I like about it: This book is simply amazing! The size of the book is perfect for young kids’ attention spans, and perfect for a bedtime story. Although the size of the book makes it difficult to fit on a book self – it’s 12 inches x 6 inches – the size and shape is kind of cool when it’s showing airplanes. The art is big, bright and wonderful! The text is easy do young kids can read along. I love the sound effects of the planes (and the one helicopter). Kids will love saying them out loud – I know I did! Mr. Light has other transportation themed picture books (Trains Go, Diggers Go) which I want to GO check out now. ;)

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

To learn more about Mr. Light, please go to his website HERE.

Check out Sue Morris’ review of this book HERE.

Check out Chronicle Book’s page for this book HERE!

bearsseaThe Bear’s Sea Escape

By Benjamin Chaud

32 pages – ages 3-6

Published by Chronicle Books on August 5, 2014

About: From Inside Cover: “Papa Bear and Little Bear were trying to sleep… Suddenly, a case of mistaken identity results in a big adventure for Little Bear, with Papa Bear in pursuit!”

What I like about it: This is a wonderful Look&Find book. In the pages, you can search for Papa Bear and Little Bear in the crowded scenes. It is a very cute book, and Mr. Chaud’s art style adds lots of humor to it. Mr. Chaud is the guy who illustrated “I Didn’t Do My Homework Because…” (see my review HERE). I admire his art, and now I admire his writing skills. I love this book. I hope to be able to check out the first book in this series (The Bear’s Song). Take a look at an interior page!

BearsSeaEscape_INT_1G.indd

I give this book 5 out of 5 bookworms!fivebooks

Check out Chronicle Book’s page for this book HERE!

mixit

 

Mix It Up!

By Hervé Tullet

56 pages – ages pre-K +

Published by Chronicle Books on September 14, 2014

About: Publisher’s description “Accept Hervé Tullet’s irresistible invitation to mix it up in a dazzling adventure of whimsy and wonder. Follow the artist’s simple instructions, and suddenly colors appear, mix, splatter, and vanish in a world powered only by the reader’s imagination. Tullet—who joins such greats as Eric Carle and Leo Lionni as a master of his craft—sets readers on an extraordinary interactive journey all within the printed page. Tullet prompts plenty of giggles in addition to a profound understanding of colors, and once again displays his unique genius and vision in a work that is a glorious and richly satisfying companion to Press Here.  “

What I like about it: This is an amazing sequel to Press Here. M. Tullet is a great author, and he has a whimsical style for his books. :) I think that tons of kids would enjoy this. Mix It Up has lots of interactiveness in it – all without flaps or apps! I have fun doing the instructions. This book introduces the mixing of colors (blue + yellow = green, add white to lighten, etc.), in simple instructions, as in below. It is quite fun to do and it is super educational. Make sure to get this one for your pre-schooler or kindergartener!

mixitint

I give this book 5 out of 5 bookworms!fivebooks

To learn more about M. Tullet, click HERE to go to his website.

Visit the Chronicle Books page for this book HERE.

Rayne Shines by Bonnie Ferrante

26 Jul

rayneshinesRayne Shines

By Bonnie Ferrante

30 pages – ages 4-7

Published by Single Drop Publishing on March 3, 2014

The Grays don’t have that much fun. They don’t enjoy anything they do. Rayne Gray, the youngest, was bored with her toys, grossed out by the food at the restaurant, and acted just like her parents who found something wrong with EVERYTHING! Most of all, Rayne couldn’t understand why the new neighbors were so HAPPY. When Sunny, the new frogs’ daughter, invites Rayne to play, Rayne is taught to see life in a new way.

This is a wonderful book with a marvelous message. It tells you that, if you look at life positively, you can enjoy it more or appreciate little things. I like that the Gray family are green frogs, while Sunny’s family are poison dart frogs – extremely colorful! The illustrations were cute, but not my favorite style. The message of the story is so great, I think a lot of kids and adult will love it.  The book is perfect for kindergarteners. It helps them understand the message in a subtle way.

I give this four out of five bookworms!fourbooks

Book Review – Kat McGee Saves America! by Kristin Riddick

25 Jul

katmcgeeKat McGee Saves America!

By Kristin Riddick

104 pages – ages 7+

Published by In This Together Media on June 2, 2014 (ebook)

After her adventures at the North Pole and Treatsville, Kat McGee was ready to just sit back and relax for the 4th of July. But that doesn’t go as planned. When her Gram asks the McGee kids what they know about the 4th of July, the kids don’t really answer, Gram takes them to Philadelphia to learn about what happened there to help make the 4th of July so important. When Kat goes through a door and pops up in a place called Libertyland, she is shocked. Kat meets a giant lady in a greenish dress called Liberty. She is the governor of Libertyland, and she needs Kat’s help. The Declaration of Independence has gone missing, along with Thomas Jefferson, two days before he was supposed to present it to the Continental Congress! Kat must go back in time and find Jefferson and the Declaration before the fate of the United States is changed forever!

YAY – Historical fiction for younger kids! This was a great book. Ms. Riddick writes stories that are easy and fun to read. I like how she incorporated the time travel, and historical facts into this book. I really enjoyed Kat McGee and the School of Christmas Spirit (see my review HERE).  I didn’t know that there was a second in the series (this is book 3) and I saw on the publisher’s website a book 4 is planned (click HERE). Good news for parents looking for a great Magic School Bus type series for their kids! I like the character of Kat McGee a lot. She is a great girl who perseveres. I also like that she meets John Quincy Adams in the book (just because I am a super American history buff).  The story is packed with American history facts and kids will learn without knowing it! The cover art is pretty cool too. I am looking forward to reading the other books in this series.

I give Kat McGee Saves America five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Fiona Thorn and the Carapacem Spell by Jen Barton

22 Jul

fiona thornFiona Thorn and the Carapacem Spell

By Jen Barton

201 pages – ages 9+

Published by Flickerfawn on September 3, 2012

It wasn’t Jaydin the fairy prince’s fault. He was framed. Fiona Thorn, his best friend, knew that. She was going to break him out – ER rather BLOW him out of jail. After all, she IS an explosive worker. Taught by the Demolitions master McClane, Fiona knows just about everything about explosives. She’ll use that knowledge to bust Jaydin out. Riding her trusty Bright Eye horse (Bright Eyes are extremely smart animals, as in that they can talk to humans), Manzanita Rose (or Manzy, for short), Fiona knows that nothing can stop her. What she didn’t expect was 3 princesses to get in her way. 3 spoiled princesses, at that. Soon Fiona finds herself (and the royal pains) on the run from the King because of a misread letter, which made it seem like Fiona kidnapped the princesses. It doesn’t help that there is a murder plot against the king, his brother, and Jaydin. What will Fiona do?

This was a fun book. I think that Ms. Barton did a great job of creating this fantasy world. I really felt like I was there. I loved the sense of adventure and the fact that Fiona is a demolition expert. The magic in it was pretty cool. I loved the “gifts” that the 4 girls got. Fiona is a great female heroine for this book. I loved that she always kept her cool (despite her being hotheaded) and knew what to do. Manzy is a great supporting character. The book is a good reading level for middle grade readers or young advanced readers. At 201 pages, the book was a quick read for me but the story felt very complete. I would really like to read another book by Ms. Barton.

I give this book 5 out of 5 bookworms!fivebooks

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