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Perfect Picture Book Friday! The Memory of an Elephant by Sophie Strady

31 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 very cool and somewhat odd book. ;)

thememoryofelephantThe Memory of an Elephant: An Unforgettable Journey
by Sophie Strady

Illustrated by Jean-Francois Martin

38 pages – ages 5+
Published by Chronicle Books on September 9, 2014

Theme/Topic- Elephants/memories

Genre- Fiction

Opening and Synopsis-
Opening –  “Marcel is an elephant – a very old elephant. Like all elephants, his skin is gray and wrinkled, so it is difficult to tell his exact age.

Synopsis – (publisher’s description) Memory and meaning are at the heart of this oversized, content-rich picture book celebrating the life of Marcel, a soulful elephant. From the towering buildings outside his window and his recollected world travels, to the friends, flora, and fauna that flourish around him, Marcel finds significance in his surroundings and, most importantly, in life’s abundant details. Marcel is writing an encyclopedia, after all, and his entries are featured in full-page spreads packed with facts, elegantly situated alongside the story of his day and his life. Part story and part miscellany, this unforgettable book with dream-like illustrations will transfix both parents and children.

Why I liked this book- This book is very unique. I had a hard time thinking of the theme and genre – it’s a pretty odd book (but I like odd ;) ). Even the size of the book is odd – it’s a large 10×14 – but Marcel is a very large elephant so I guess that makes sense. There is a fictional story in the book – the story of Marcel and his memories, but there is also a ton of facts about everything you can think of (Marcel is writing an encyclopedia). Take a look at what I mean:

memoryeleph1The illustrations are incredible. I love the detail in them (check out Marcel’s tattoo ;) ) and the old-fashioned feel.

memoryeleph2The story of Marcel is nice. He thinks about his life and the things in it and what he’s experienced. We get to meet some of his friends. It’s a nice story by itself but when you put it together with the awesome illustrations and all the fact information packed into the book, I think the book is just super cool. The publisher rates the book for kids 5+. Kids that young probably wouldn’t be able to read the book independently, but this book would make an awesome read aloud. It is the kind of picture book I would have loved when I was little. I always loved books with lots of fact boxes and tons of stuff I could look at. This isn’t a “normal” picture book, but if you are looking for something a little unique – I recommend this one!

Activities and Resources-
I didn’t have to go far for activities. There is a bunch right in the back of the book. There are 2 pages of information on Marcel’s friends who happen to be endangered species. You can use the thumbnail pictures as a look and find in the book for all the endangered animals. There is an “encyclopedia” section on Marcel’s favorite foods, and his furniture. There is also a recipe for “La Crèpe Marcelette” (which I need to try)!

The International Fund for Animal Welfare has a bunch of lesson plans, videos and information in a section called “Elephants, Never Forget.” Click HERE to go to it.

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

Review! Lobo Goes to the Galapagos by C.L. Murphy

27 Oct

AAAROOO!

No that’s not my Halloween werewolf imitation!

It’s my “I’m going to tell you about a howlin’ good book” cry!

A book starring my favorite Canis Lupus -

LOVABLE LOBO!

 

lovableloboLobo’s newest adventure takes him to the Galapagos Islands!
Lobo Goes to the GalapagosThe Adventures of Lovable Lobo: Lobo Goes to the Galapagos

Written and Illustrated by C.L. Murphy

32 pages – ages 4+

Published by Peanut Butter Prose on August 22, 2014

Summary - (author’s summary) Lobo returns in this adventure, sweeter and a bit salty this time. This lil’ wolf pup finds that there’s nothing like a little sea air to bring out the best in him and his unlikely tag-alongs. Take a trip to the Galapagos with Lobo and his right-hand raven, Roxy, as they help an injured, new feathered friend return home. Lobo faces some fears and witnesses the joy that comes from helping others in this “birds of a different feather DO flock together” tale.

What I thought - Lobo is a great wolf pup. He is a character that lots of young kids (and older kids!) will love. He is cute and friendly, and will help anyone in need. Lobo is a great friend. Ms. Murphy is a great author who has written a great addition to a marvelous series. I like how this book includes a lesser known species in it – the blue-footed booby. To be more specific, a blue-footed booby named Bobby (HA!). The adventures that Lobo goes on are very fun to read about. I like how this book tells about the Galapagos Islands, even including a map of the islands. The illustrations are cool and kid-friendly. They are realistic, fun to look at and have great detail in them. I like how they kind of look 3D-ish too.

lobo1Lobo is a great character and I always enjoy reading about his adventures. In this book it is nice that Lobo helps a new friend by helping him get back home. There is also a great message of trust in the book.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Check out the trailer for the book!

 

Want to learn more?!? Find Ms. Murphy on  Twitter, Facebook, or her blog HERE (her website is really fun and had activities you can print out to go with her books). :)

Perfect Picture Book Friday! At the Old Haunted House by Helen Ketteman

24 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 great counting book for Halloween!

theoldhauntedAt the Old Haunted House

By Helen Ketteman

Illustrated by Nate Wragg

32 pages – ages 3+
Published by Two Lions on August 12, 2014

Theme/Topic- Halloween/Counting

Genre- Fiction

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-

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Opening and Synopsis-
Opening – “At the old haunted house
In a room with no sun
Lived a warty green witch
And her wee witchy one.”

Synopsis – (publisher’s description) There are all kinds of creatures in the house: a big Ma monster and her wee monsters two, a scrawny black cat and her wee kittens three, a green Pa goblin and his wee goblins four, and more! Count along as the creatures prepare for the Halloween Fright. The text, written in the pattern of the popular poem “Over in the Meadow,” makes reading aloud fun, while the cinematic illustrations set the scene for an unforgettable romp through the old haunted house. Trick or treat!

 

Why I liked this book- This is a fabulous counting book with marvelous illustrations. The rhyming’s, slightly repeating rhythm makes it sing-song in a little. I like that a lot. The illustrations are cartoony and fit the book wonderfully! Look!

theoldhaunted2theoldhaunted3

They have a warm feeling to them, making it Halloweeny, but not specifically scary. I like the little details you can find in the pictures, the picture frames, with the ma monster and her two kids in them. The writing style is awesome and had me chuckling along as I read it. It was fun to pick out all the spooky creatures in the book. I think it is a great Halloween read for little kids – kind of spooky but not scary!

Activities and Resources-
On the back of the book it says there are 2 witches, 3 monsters, 4 black cats, 5 goblins etc. Use the book as a seek and find and find all the spooky creatures (up to 11 spiders!).

The All Kids Network website has a TON of cool Halloween worksheets for parents and teachers  check it out HERE.

Check out this very cute counting candy corn Halloween activity HERE.

candycorn

Want to learn more? Check out Ms. Ketteman’s website HERE and Nate Wragg’s website HERE.

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

Review! GoGo Ninja by Marco Garcia

23 Oct

gogoGoGo Ninja

By Marco Garcia

Illustrated by Manuela Soriani

35 pages – ages 6+
Published by KIKAI SPORTS on July 5, 2014
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.- ebook

SUMMARY – Gogo loves soccer, but he can’t seem to score a goal at all. He misses them all. At his Kendo lesson, he tells his sensei about it. During the Kendo lesson, the master shows his student how to become better. He teaches Gogo about focus and self-control and positive thinking.

WHAT I THOUGHT – I am a bit bias in reviewing this book because I believe in how a martial art can make you better at other things in life. I practice Taekwon-Do, Okinawan Gojo-Ryu Karate, and Jujitsu and I thought this was a very nice story. I like that Gogo is a kid with a problem that many kids deal with – having a tough time at a sport. I like how Mr. Marco incorporates a martial art into the story – Kendo, or the Japanese style of sword-fighting. It is because of Gogo’s sensei’s simple advice – eye contact, posture, and to commit without fear – that Gogo finally succeeds. The illustrations are very cool and it makes the picture books look a lot like a graphic novel. Amazon has the book for ages 6+ but I think some of the words in the book may be hard for younger kids to read (I think 8+ is good for the reading level), although it would make a great read-aloud. There are discussion topics included in the back of the book.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Want to learn more? Check out the Gogo Ninja Facebook page HERE!

 

Monsterrific Tales: Books 5 & 6 by David Lubar

20 Oct

October is the month of Halloween so lets talk monsters! Check out this great series of monsterous stories! The Monsterrific Tales series by David Lubar is a fun series with a ghoulish spin! The books are meant for younger kids and they are a good length for that. I like that Mr. Lubar mixes monsters with a message. Here is the publisher’s description of the series;

Washington Irving Elementary School has a bit of a monster problem. Sebastian and his friends take turns experiencing life as a vampire, a werewolf, a witch, and ghost. Even one of his teachers and a school bully get “monsterized.” Who will be next? Read all six books in this series of scary and funny Monsterrific Tales!

Check out my review of book 4 in the series “The Wavering Werewolf” HERE.

I don’t normally like monster books, but this series is actually pretty cool. The books aren’t really about the horror aspect, but dealing with being a monster (and maybe turning back).  The stories have a monster theme to them, but they have a lot of humor and are just a fun read.

Here are the latest spooktacular books in the series!

 

gloomyThe Gloomy Ghost (Monsterrific Tales #5)

By David Lubar

144 pages – ages 8+

Published by Starscape on July 8, 2014

Series: Monsterrific Tales
Hardcover: 144 pages
Publisher: Starscape; Reprint edition (July 8, 2014)

Summary – [From Amazon]

“First it was Sebastian, then Angie. Now it’s little brother Rory’s turn to be “monsterized!” One minute he’s a normal kid hanging out in his backyard. The next, he finds himself walking through stuff: the back porch, walls, even people! What’s a ghostly kid to do? Rory decides to find some other spirits and ask them how to get “un-ghosted.” So he heads up to the local haunted house to give it a try. What Rory doesn’t know is that if he doesn’t get the answer soon, he’ll only have a ghost of a chance of ever being a kid again…”

What I Thought – This is a fun story. I loved the description of the haunted house – just enough spookiness for the age range. The ghosts in the haunted house were cool characters. I like how Rory solves his problem by using his ghostly powers to get his brother’s attention. Rory is a pretty cute, very smart kindergarten-aged boy. You really end up caring for him and hope that he makes it back to the living. Mr. Lubar has written a great addition to his series! I recommend it to reluctant readers because of its short length, and the fact that the topic draws in lots of kids! It’s a great read for a rainy, or should I say gloomy, day! ;)

I give this book four out of five bookworms!fourbooks

 

 

bullybugThe Bully Bug (Monsterrific Tales #6)

By David Lubar

144 pages – ages 8+

Published by Starscape on September 2, 2014

Summary – [From Amazon]

“Lud Mellon gets bitten by a bevy of bugs in his basement and the next thing he knows, he’s crawling up walls, drooling on his food, and rolling around in garbage. Turning into a giant insect seems fun at first, almost like having superpowers. But when his dad calls in the exterminators, Lud has to figure out how to stop his transformation before he gets squashed like a bug.”

What I thought – This is a wonderful book with a neat perspective. In the other books, Lud and the Mellon family are always considered the bullies (by the other main characters), so this was an interesting take on the monster story, mostly because of the fact that Lud needs the help of one of the kids he accidentally bullied. Apparently, Lud doesn’t mean to be a bully (doesn’t realize he is bullying, but knows he says some somewhat mean things, like “watch where you walk” when a kid runs into him), he just doesn’t like to talk to many people for long amounts of time, and his outward actions look/sound like bullying (laughing because a character looks so scared, etc.). I like how he ends up making a friend or two in the book, but also comes out of his shell (pun not intended). This is a great series that I think a lot of kids could get into!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Want to learn more?!? Visit David Lubar’s author website by clicking HERE.

 

Perfect Picture Book Friday! How Martha Saved Her Parents From Green Beans by David LaRochelle

17 Oct

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 hosting our first guest – Author Michelle Isenhoff!

While you are there, please sign up for our newsletter to be notified when we post a new Vlog (we only post once a month). You can also check out the AWESOME line-up of authors we will be interviewing.  CLICK HERE TO GO THERE !

Now on to Perfect Picture Book Friday!

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 love the story idea (and there are evil green beans involved).

marthaHow Martha Saved Her Parents From Green Beans

By David LaRochelle

Illustrated by Mark Fearing

32 pages – ages 5+
Published by Dial on April 18, 2013

Theme/Topic- Picky eaters

Genre- Fiction/Humor

Opening and Synopsis-
Opening – “Every Tuesday evening Martha’s family had green beans for dinner.”

Synopsis (Taken from inside jacket) Green beans are good for you. Green beans will make you big and strong.” Martha doesn’t believe what her parents tell her. And nothing will ever–EVER–make her eat them.
But when some beady-eyed, boot stomping beans bust into town and start causing trouble, Martha knows she has to take action against this gang of outlaws, cutthroats and desperadoes. She can think of only one was to stop the villainous veggies, and it’s not pretty…or tasty.

Why I liked this book- Once again the title of this book hooked me! I for one have always liked vegetables, but there is something about the idea of desperado green beans facing down a little girl who can’t stand the sight of vegetables that is very funny to me. Mark Fearing’s illustrations go with David LaRochelle’s story very well. I love the image of the green bean bad guys! I think it is a great story that may be able to get a picky eater to fight off some evil vegetables by eating them. It is also a cute story with a girl heroine who has to save her parents and does so very creatively!

Activities and Resources-
Stacey Jensen already nominated How Martha Saved her Parents from Green Beans last year (see her review HERE), but I liked the book so much, I thought it was worth another mention.

You can check out some of the artwork at Mark Fearing’s website HERE.

David La Rochelle has some Martha coloring pages on his site HERE.

ChooseMyPlate.gov has some great ideas and activities to help your picky eater get over being picky (click HERE). The site suggests letting your child help out in the kitchen, which I think is a great idea!

You can do what Susanna Leonard Hill suggests and cover everything in chocolate (okay, she didn’t actually state that, but I don’t think she’ll disagree). ;)

PBS.org has some great ideas for helping your toddlers not be picky eaters (click HERE).

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

Review! The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm

7 Oct

FourteenthGoldfish_CoverThe Fourteenth Goldfish
By Jennifer Holm

210 pages – ages 8+
Published by Random House Books for Young Readers on August 26, 2014

 

Summary – Ellie’s parents keep telling her she needs to find her passion in life, but lately Ellie is only feeling numb. The start of sixth grade is not going well. Her best friend, Brianna, is more interested in the volleyball team than being with Ellie, middle school seems like an alien world, and she just found out that her parents have been replacing her beloved pet goldfish “Goldie” with a new fish for the past seven years every time a “Goldie” died! Things get a lot more interesting complicated when her mom brings home an ornery, pushy, oddly dressed teenage boy who just happens to be Ellie’s scientist grandfather (Melvin) who found a cure for old age, but has been locked out of his lab by its new owners. Will Ellie ever find her passion or at least survive middle school now that her grandfather is enrolled as a student?

What I thought – I. LOVED. THIS. BOOK.  I loved everything about it. I loved it so much I told my mom to read it (she is a scientist) and she loved it too. I really like that the book isn’t focused on the wacky science experiment that turned Ellie’s grandfather, Melvin, into a teenager, but rather it is focused on Ellie’s struggle to find her “passion,” dealing with growing apart from a friend, and getting closer to her grandfather. The wacky science stuff happens all around all these big topics. Of course I love Melvin. He is so cranky and nerdy it’s awesome! That part of the story is hilarious! I also like that there is real science facts in the book not just the wacky reversing age thing. It also teaches an important lesson about the power of science and how it has to be used wisely (I sound like Uncle Ben in Spiderman “With great power comes great responsibility” ;) ). One of my favorite character interactions is how Ellie and her grandfather get to know each other better and they both seem to help each other. The book is just an awesome read. The chapters are very short and you just want to read the whole thing right away. One thing I noticed is that on each chapter heading, there are that many goldfish (like one goldfish on chapter 1 and two goldfish on chapter 2 and so on) up until chapters 14, 15 and 16 – they all have 14 goldfish. Then chapter 17 has 13 goldfish, 18 has 12 and so on until the last chapter has just one goldfish again. Okay that’s pretty nerdy of me to notice that, but I still think it’s cool. ;)

This is one of those books where I wish my rating scale went higher. Five out of five bookworms – fivebooks

Review! The Zero Degree Zombie Zone by Patrik Henry Bass

6 Oct

Happy Monday! I am sure you all know that October 6th is National Noodle Day right? Well, after my review of the great new book, THE ZERO DEGREE ZOMBIE ZONE, read on for my review of the noodle recipe I made from the picture book Mei-Mei’s Lucky Birthday Noodles AND find out who wins a copy of Mei-Mei’s Lucky Birthday Noodles!

zerodegree

The Zero Degree Zombie Zone

By Patrik Henry Bass

Illustrated by Jerry Craft 

  144 pages – ages 8+
Published by Scholastic Inc. on August 26, 2014

Summary – Bakari Katari Johnson is feeling like his life is out of control. Not only did his best friend Wardell sign him up to run in the election for hall monitor before he said it was okay to do, he keeps butting heads with his fourth grade nemesis, Keisha whose cousin, the ever popular Tariq, is also running for hall-monitor. Oh yeah, there’s also this magical ring that ice zombies from another world want and they think Bakari has and they want it back – or else!

What I thought –  The combination of this fun and unusual zombie story along with the great illustrations make this book a winner! The story is an interesting take on zombies (like they don’t infect anyone and they are ice zombies – actually that’s kind of cool) and it is completely appropriate for younger kids. I think a lot of kids will get into the story because it is a fun and easy read but it is packed with action. Bakari is a great character who is very believable as a fourth-grader. I like how he handles everything even with the threat of a full-scale zombie invasion looming (and also dealing with a bully). I like how Mr. Bass mixes a bit of magic and fantasy in a realistic setting. Mr. Craft’s illustrations go with the story very well and make it all the more enjoyable. The characters in the book are all African-American so people looking for diverse characters – check it out – even if you are not – check it out – it’s a good book! I think kids who like NERDS and Diary of a Wimpy Kid-type books will enjoy this book. I hope there will be a sequel. 

 I give this book 5 out of 5 bookworms!fivebooks

NOW ON TO MY NOODLE REVIEW!

Mei Mei Lucky Noodles

On Friday, I reviewed MEI-MEI’S LUCKY BIRTHDAY NOODLES (click HERE to read it) and I announced that I get to give away a copy of the book. Well I put all the names of the people who commented on my blog and my sister Josie picked on out! The winner is:

Joanne Roberts!

YAAAAAY!!! *waving arms Kermit the Frog style*

Congratulations Ms. Roberts! I will email you to get the address you’d like your book sent to.

But what about those noodles?!?

I wanted to make the noodle recipe in the back of the book. I started off by making sure we had everything we needed (thanks mom for food shopping!). The recipe needed carrots, bok choy, bean sprouts, green onions, shiitake mushrooms, and steak (but you can use chicken or shrimp too) oh and noodles – we used lo mein egg noodles. ;)

???????????????????????????????Ingredients – CHECK!

My cousin came over and he helped me with the recipe. We had to chop everything up and marinade the steak. The steak got cooked first. The recipe said to use a wok. We don’t have a wok so we used a big cast iron pan.

???????????????????????????????

My dad and Josie decided we needed dessert to go with our noodles so they decided to make cupcakes (with cream cheese frosting) – YUM!

???????????????????????????????After everything was chopped up and the noodles were made, it was time to cook the veggies and mix them in with the noodles.

???????????????????????????????Then it was time to eat!

???????????????????????????????Everyone agreed Mei-Mei’s Lucky Birthday Noodles were FANTASTIC!!! (and the cupcakes were very good too ;) )

5 STARS – ERR -NOODLES!

Book Review! The Everglades by Catherine Johnson

2 Oct

Today is National Poetry Day in the UK! Let’s celebrate with some poetry!

everglades

The Everglades

Written and illustrated by Catherine Johnson

30 pages – ages 5+
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (February 27, 2014)

Summary (from Amazon) “The Everglades is a poetry book for kids with half of the poems serene and half of the poems snorty. Follow the silly antics of warthogs and alligators at home in The Everglades.

What I thought- Ms. Johnson is a wonderful poet, especially for kids. Her poems are spunky and fun to read. The book is divided into “serene” and “snorty” poems, and they are just that! The serene poems gives the reader visions of the environment and wildlife of the Everglades. I have never been to the Everglades and it is cool to learn a bit about the place from Ms. Johnson’s poetry. The snorty poems will make kids giggle and snort (and maybe guffaw). The poems are put together with original artwork from Ms. Johnson and I think the artwork adds nicely to the poems and gives the reader a great read! Take a peek at an interior page!

everglades1

Image from Ms. Johnson’s blog catherinemjohnson.wordpress.com

Five bookworms for The Everglades! fivebooks

To learn more about Ms. Johnson and her other books, please visit her blog HERE.

Follow Ms. Johnson on Twitter HERE.

Like Ms. Johnson on Facebook HERE.

Want more somewhat snorty poetry? Check out Ms. Johnson’s latest collection!

zompoem

Review! Nanny X by Madelyn Rosenberg

17 Sep

nannyxNanny X
By Madelyn Rosenberg
112 pages – ages 7+
Published by Holiday House on September 15th, 2014

Summary- It’s never a good thing when an older woman with a baby bag, a gardening hat, reflective sunglasses, and a leather biker’s jacket shows up at your front doorstep, and your mother introduces her as your new nanny. At the very least, it’s not normal. And when you see her talking into diapers (which reply back?!?!?…) and when she gives you anchovy-and-peanut-butter sandwiches for lunch, you know something’s up (I mean, seriously? Who gives you peanut butter and anchovy sandwiches for lunch? That’s just not right. Not right at all…). That’s what Alison and Jake were thinking when Nanny X came into their lives. And pretty soon, Nanny X is saving their lives! Crazy! The woman serves them anchovies, and then… *grumbles something about how anchovies taste horrible* Well, nothing is as it seems (except those anchovies – they are what they seem – bad for your taste buds! ;) ) around here…

What I thought of it- Horrible. It was terrible. I can’t stand it.

-Wait. You want me to review the book, not the anchovy peanut butter sandwich? Ah. Well, in that case: The book was  awesome!

What I thought about the book- I love the idea of the whole book – spy nanny. Nanny X (besides her love of anchovies) is a marvelous character! Her baby bag of spy gadgets is pure awesomeness. I like how she handles situations. The story-line is great and the story will keep readers involved in it until the very end. There isn’t any major violence (a guy gets hit accidentally, Jake and Nanny X get kidnapped, etc.) so it is appropriate for all ages. It is perfect for young advanced readers. Alison and Jake are great main characters, and the chapters alternate between their POVs. The setting and the actions of the characters is realistic, and was described so well that I felt like I was there. Ms. Rosenberg has created a compelling spy story!

I give “Nanny X” five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

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