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Perfect Picture Book Friday! My Teacher is a MONSTER! (No, I am not.) by Peter Brown

30 Jan

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 funny book with a great message (and because running into teachers outside of school is awkward – Sorry, but it’s true!).

myteacherisaMy Teacher is a Monster! No, I am not.
Written and Illustrated by Peter Brown

40 pages – ages 4+
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers on July 1, 2014

Theme/Topic- Perspective / school / monsters

Genre- Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening – “Bobby had a big problem at school. Her name was Ms. Kirby.

Synopsis – taken from the inside jacket “Bobby has a problem. You see, his teacher is a monster. But when Bobby runs into his teacher outside of school, he learns there is more to her than meets the eye.

Why I liked this book- This is a funny book about perspectives. Someone sometimes might act “horrible” in some instances, but once you get to know them, they might actually be nice or not what you originally thought. It’s a good lesson for kids and the story is fun, not “preachy.” I really enjoy the illustrations. They’re fun to look at. I like how they gradually show the change in Ms. Kirby (from monster to human). I think all kids have felt at some point that their teacher is a monster (of course if ANY of my current or past teachers are reading this I NEVER thought that about you). And who hasn’t found it awkward when you see your teachers outside of school? They don’t live there?!? Really? ;) Mr. Brown has written a great book!

Activities and Resources-

Mr. Brown has an activity kit that goes along with this book. It has discussion questions, group activities, coloring pages and more! Click HERE to download it.

Barbara Leyne of the awesome blog Grade Onederful, nominated this book as a PPBF book last year. Her review and suggested activities are great – check them out HERE.

With Valentine’s Day coming up here is a MONSTROUS idea for school kids – a monster card box.

Photo Credit to Giggles Galore

Photo Credit to Giggles Galore

Check out the instructions for making this cute craft at the Giggles Galore blog – CLICK HERE to GO THERE!  Josie is going to make one for her school party. :)

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

Multicultural Children’s Book Day! Review – The Call of Distant Drums by William Pisani

26 Jan

Tomorrow is the second annual Multicultural Children’s Book Day and I am a MCCBD reviewer! WOO!


MCCBD was created “to spread the word and raise awareness about the importance of diversity in children’s literature.”  Make sure to read to the end of my review to see how you can participate!


I got to review and AMAZING book for MCCBD! I am very happy to tell you about it.

Ththecalle Call of Distant Drums

By William Pisani

212 pages – ages 8-12+

Published by JoNa Books Publishing Company on September 1, 2005

Synopsis- From the back of the book: “The fierce Blackfoot — Blood. Never defeated in battle by the white man. But how much longer could they continue to roam free in the ancestral lands they had long held sacred.”

What I Liked- This is not a book of action. This is a book of reflection and thoughts. Sure, there is still action, but what makes this book wonderful is that it inspires pondering within you. The main character is an elderly Native American who had become adopted into the Blackfoot tribe when his people were marched to a reservation but he had escaped. Now that his life is almost done, and because his family has passed on, he has decided to migrate back to his homelands, like the spawning salmon. The story reflects his traveling and facing spirits in his way. Along the way, the man thinks back upon his life. I found the book overall just incredible. Mr. Pisani’s writing style draws you into the mind of the main character. The story  is compelling and is very believable and seems to be very well researched. Mr. Pisani captures the feel of the Native American nations and their beliefs. He shares their heart-break over the loss of their tribal lands. The story is very moving. I think that kids 8+ would like the book, but to really appreciate the story, I’d recommend it to kids 12 and older.

This is an example of a book where I wish my rating scale went higher.fivebooks

Here are some ways you can help us celebrate Multicultural Children’s Book Day: 

  • Visit The Multicultural Children’s Book Day website and view the book lists, reading resources and other useful multicultural information.
  • Visit the Multicultural Books for Kids Pinterest Board for more reading ideas.
  • Have children bring in their favorite multicultural book to school on this day and share it with the class.
  • Watch for the #ReadYourWorld hashtag on social media and share. They are hosting a Twitter party! Join them on Jan 27th 9:00pm EST. Use hashtag: #ReadYourWorld to win 10 book packages.
  • Visit the Diversity Book Lists and Resources for Educators and Parents on their website.
  • Visit MCCBD sponsors. You can find them HERE
  • Connect with them on their new Facebook and Twitter  pages.


Platinum Sponsors: Wisdom Tales Press, Daybreak Press Global Bookshop

Gold SponsorsSatya House,,   Author Stephen Hodges and the Magic Poof

Silver Sponsors: Junior Library GuildCapstone Publishing, Lee and Low Books,  The Omnibus Publishing

Bronze Sponsors:Double Dutch Dolls, Bliss Group Books, Snuggle with Picture Books Publishing,  Rainbow Books,   Author FeliciaCapers,   Chronicle Books,   Muslim Writers Publishing,   East West Discovery Press

Platinum Sponsor Wisdom Tales Press is hosting a book giveaway on their website that anyone can enter! The winner will receive 6 Wisdom Tales Books of their choice!

Visit the Multicultural Books for Kids Pinterest Board!

You can subscribe to a newsletter about Multicultural Children’s Book Day, too!

Don’t forget to check out the Multicultural Children’s Book Day blog (click HERE to go THERE)!

MAKE SURE TO JOIN THE TWITTER PARTY ! Join the party and win book packages! Join us for Multicultural Children’s Book Day Twitter Party on Jan 27th 9:00pm EST. Use hashtag: #ReadYourWorld to win 10 book packages! This Twitter Party is hosted by Co-Founders Mia Wenjen (@Pragmaticmom) and Valarie Budayr (@JumpIntoaBook1). You can review the Twitter Party Prizes on the MCCBD blog here.

Perfect Picture Book Friday! How to Behave at a Tea Party by Madelyn Rosenberg

23 Jan

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 fun story about two things I like (tea and partying), and how they can go incredibly wrong!

teapartyHow to Behave at a Tea Party
By Madelyn Rosenberg

Illustrated by Heather Ross
32 pages – ages 4+
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on September 9, 2014

Theme/Topic- Being flexible /

Genre- Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening – First, you open the invitation.

Synopsis – All Julia wants is to have a fancy tea party. What’s so hard about that? Just add in a playful little brother, a hungry dog, an unlucky frog, and two young rough-housing neighbors. Easy tea party, right?

Why I liked this book- Ms. Rosenberg has written a marvelous picture book about a young girl who wants to throw a “fancy” tea party but all she has is not so fancy guests. :)  The book has a subtle, but great, message – be flexible – improvise! Live life to the fullest! The book is told in the form of Julia telling rules about a tea party. She says things like “You must NOT slurp like a moose. Or burp like Uncle Victor.” I love how the book shows that things may not go the way you plan, but you can still have fun. The illustrations are really funny, and have little details in them that are fun to look at!

Activities and Resources- 

HarperCollins has an awesome make your own fancy hat activity to go with the book! You can click HERE to go to it.

Fancy Hat Activity from HarperCollins

Fancy Hat Activity from HarperCollins

How about throwing your own “fancy” or even silly tea party! Who will you invite? What rules will you have?

I will have a silly tea party where you must

1. Hang upside down from a tree

2. Serve only donuts

3. You have to talk in a Downton Abbey accent


Fotolia License © Alena Kozlova

Fotolia License © Alena Kozlova

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

Review! The Story Catcher by Donna L. Martin

20 Jan


By Donna L. Martin

34 pages – ages 6+

Published by Anaiah Press, LLC on January 20, 2015 (HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY! ;) )

Synopsis: Addie loves when her family members read to her. They are experts at catching stories! But for Addie, it has always been hard to catch her own story! The words always wriggle out of reach, squish out of sight, nettle out of the net! Will Addie ever become a story catcher?

What I Liked: First of all, I love that illustrations of the grandma has her in a type of aviator outfit – that is a great detail! The illustrations are gorgeous and really draw one in. They have a rather whimsical feel that makes you keep reading. Ms. Martin has written a wonderful story about learning to read, or “catch” stories, while just writing a good story. I like how Addie learns that with a little faith, you can do anything! Its amazing message is a really inspiring one. Ms. Martin’s debut picture book is extremely well written and fun.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Want to know more? Visit Ms. Martin’s blog  – Click HERE

Perfect Picture Book Friday! The Stick by Clay Rice AND New Write Chat Episode!

16 Jan

Happy Friday!

Before I get to my Perfect Picture Book Pick, I wanted to ask that, after you are done here, click on over to The Write Chat, the Vlog that Felicia (kid author and creator of the Stanley and Katrina blog) and I started. We are interviewing – the Uber-Author CHRIS GRABENSTEIN!!!








Now back to your regularly scheduled review.

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 uniquely encourages imagination and creation!

thestickThe Stick

By Clay Rice

32 pages – ages 4+

Published by Familius on September 20, 2014


Genre- Fiction / Imagination

Opening and Synopsis- Opening – “Once there was a boy who had no toys to play with. The other children had lots of toys. Every afternoon, the boy would go to the park, sit under a big tree, and watch the other children play. Sometimes they let the boy play with their toys. Sometimes not.”

Synopsis – From the inside jacket: When a young boy finds a stick on the ground, and reads the inspiring words carved into it, his life begins to change as he fulfills lifelong dreams and discovers the truth about giving.

Why I liked this book- This is the ultimate book about imagination. The book is totally narrated (no dialogue) and it add to the fable feeling of the story. It makes you feel nice inside. I like how there is a cycle, which explains how the boy got the stick, but not how the stick came to be (I like the mysteriousness of it). The boy is an underprivileged kid, who gets the ultimate toy – a stick – but not really -it is his imagination. The silhouette illustrations are amazing. They really add a neat perspective to this marvelous book!

Activities and Resources- 

Imagination play is very cool. After reading the books, give kids their own stick (or another object) and ask them to pretend it is something or pretend they are someone else.  How many different things can their stick be?

There is a cool activity over at PBS Kids that shows kids how to make their own silhouettes. Click HERE to go THERE!

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




Review! Ghosts of Belle Isle by Steven K. Smith

12 Jan

snithGhosts of Belle Isle – The Virginian Mysteries Book 3

By Steven K. Smith

228 pages – ages 7+
Published by MyBoys3 Press on October 9, 2014

Synopsis- Derek and Sam are back, along with Sam’s friend Caitlin. Derek and Sam’s parents are going to Paris on a honeymoon (in the last book, they redid their marriage vows), and they left a college-aged cousin in charge of them for the time-being. The cousin turns out to be a terrible chaperone (she’s more interested in her boyfriend). But she lets them do whatever (that’s part of the ‘only caring about her boyfriend’ thing). After hearing a ghost story from an older neighbor, Derek and Sam go to Belle Isle. They see a ghost drawn on the wall of a run-down factory, and hear strange voices. Altogether, very creepy. Add in a biker gang led by Mad Dog DeWitt that has a secret hideout in the factory. Will the kids figure out what’s going on with the biker gang and the ghosts?

What I Liked- This is a great addition to The Virginia Mysteries series. Mr. Smith really knows how to write a fun mystery. He puts in some thrilling parts, but still keeps it age-appropriate for his readers. Derek and Sam have a “normal” sibling relationship, which led to some humor in the book. The writing style is very good. I like how they go throughout Richmond, Virginia and see the historical sites. The reader thus learns some things about the Civil War in a fun way. This series is a perfect example of how small publisher/indie authors can turn out great books. I really hope that there is another book in this fun series!

I give this book 5 out of 5 bookworms!fivebooks

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Mister Cool by Birdy Jones

9 Jan

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 a really good message with a different take on the anti-bullying story.

mistercoolMister Cool
By Birdy Jones
Illustrated by Tara D Lynch
32 pages – ages 6+
Published by POW! on January 6, 2015

Theme/Topic- Anti-bullying

Genre- Self help

Opening and Synopsis- Opening “Don’t know if you heard… but I’m Mister Cool.”

Synopsis (publisher’s description) “The clever tactics of Mister Cool, who faces down the mean kids at school with confidence, show elementary-school age kids how to deflect bullying with humor and create friendships through kindness.”

Why I liked this book- I think that this book is a marvelous story about how to be yourself, and how to use your talents to take away a bullies’ power. It’s great how Mister Cool seems like he’s perfect at whatever he does, and while that may be true, he still gets bullied. It shows that anyone can get bullied. And using what they can do, and a witty (but kind) comeback, they can make new friends or maybe show a bully that he/she is wrong. The illustrations are funky and have a slightly abstract, notebooky kind of feel. It is very imaginative. This is a really well done book.

Activities and Resources-

Education World has a list of anti-bullying lesson plans – click HERE.

Bullying No Way! has a list of anti-bullying activities – click HERE.

You could role play with your kids and act out some of the bullying things Mr. Cool goes through (like getting tripped) and try to figure out another way to handle it (Mr. Cool breaks out into cool dance moves ;) ).

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

All Hallows Eve and the Menace of Mutantula by David Eveleigh AND GIVEAWAY!!!

7 Jan

Read to the bottom for the GIVEAWAY!!!

eve12All Hallows Eve and the Menace of Mutantula
By David Eveleigh
pages – ages 8+
Published by on

Synopsis- All Hallows Eve is back again! When a tarantula in a laboratory escapes, all is (somewhat) normal. Add in the fact that a growth liquid is the experiment that is currently undergoing there. Then, you get a big spider. A REALLY big spider. As in, hundreds of feet tall. Hundreds. And Eve is a mere human (well… with superpowers). Will the Halloween Heroine be able to stop this monstrous beast? It’s Harvest Time!

What I Liked- To start off, I have to tell you that I am a Godzilla and Ultraman fan at heart. I am a comic giant-monster geek.







This book brought back great memories of two of my favorite comics. :)

If you aren’t familiar with the All Hallows Eve series, the books are novellas. They aren’t comics but the stories and action in them are very much comic bookish. The heroine of the series, Eve, is a great role model for kids. She is also a great superhero too.  It’s cool to see another really good female superhero. The stories Mr. Eveleigh writes are action packed but also kid-friendly. In this book, Mr. Eveleigh really does a great job at creating the Cold War era that the books take place in. I felt like I was really there with Eve! Mr. Eveleigh has really cool little comic illustrations that begin each chapter. They were a marvelous detail for the book! The story-line is fun and realistic (or as realistic as a superhero and giant monsters can get). This is a wonderful addition to the All Hallows Eve series!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks


Now, for the giveaway!

Mr. Eveleigh has generously donated 3 e-copies (.Mobi file) to be given away!
And all you have to do is comment! Comment with a guess of how many books I read last year! [not including picture books]
The giveaway will end on Tuesday, January 13th (2015), 11:59PM EST, and the winners will be announced on the 14th. The closest 3 guesses will win!

Good luck!

The Missing Lunch (The Young Mystery Series) by B.K. Maxwell

5 Jan

youngmystThe Missing Lunch (The Young Mystery Series: Book 1)
By B.K. Maxwell
160 pages – ages 8+
Published by Amazon Digital Services, Inc. on June 17, 2014

Synopsis- When a friend’s amazing PB&J sandwiches go missing, siblings Kia and Marcus Young are called in to help solve the case! And thus, the Young Detective Agency is born! But which suspect at Rydell Elementary did it? No case is too small for the Young detective agency!

What I Thought - This book has a good plot idea. It is a fun story that kids who are into mysteries will like. The content is totally appropriate for all ages and is a good choice for young readers. I really liked how the dialogue was realistic and kid-like. I thought the school setting and the  characters were believable. The twists in the plot were a nice addition to keep the reader guessing. The ending of the story seemed a bit rushed to me and the mystery could have used a bit more at the end. Kia is a very self-assured character that thinks quickly. Marcus is a strong character who seems to accuse people a bit too fast during the search for the culprit, at times seeming a little mean. The team work and relationship between Kia and Marcus seems like a typical brother/sister relationship and it works well in the story. There are editing errors in the book that made the reading sluggish at times, bringing the pace of this fun mystery down. Overall, it has a good story line and worth a read for kids who enjoy a Cam Jansen type mystery.

I give “The Missing Lunch” three out of five bookworms.threebooks

Fearless Joe Dearborne by Lisa Whitney Mitchell

27 Dec

fearlessjoeFearless Joe Dearborne

By Lisa Whitney Mitchell

198 pages – ages 8+

Published by CreateSpace on July 11, 2014

Synopsis- Joe Dearborne enjoyed being fearless. But when he gets bitten by a deadly snake and loses his legendary fearlessness (and almost his life), his world changes forever. Because his mother died a bit ago (just around two years), and because of the snake incident, his father hires a woman by the name of Mrs. Chill to look out for him. All goes well – until his father leaves on a business trip. Then Joe’s life gets horribly miserable. Mrs. Chill starts ruining his life! When Joe learns of a horrid conspiracy plot against his wealthy (but naive) great-aunt, he knows he must do something! But who will believe him?

What I Liked- This was a very good book. I couldn’t put it down! Joe is a character who you can’t help but feel sorry for and end up wanting him to succeed. His life, while (somewhat) normal, is turned upside down, when he looses his legendary fearlessness. No one can see the evil in the woman who is housekeeping for his family, except for Joe (and the reader) and no one will listen to him about it! The book has adventure, and also excitement. Ms. Mitchell really keeps you captivated! There is some humor (usually resulting from a very naive great-aunt) that ties into the story very nicely. The plot is tight and the writing entertaining. This is a fun book, and one I would gladly recommend.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks


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