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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

Wish You Weren’t by Sherrie Petersen

11 Jul

wishyouWish You Weren’t

By Sherrie Petersen

138 pages – ages 8+

Published by Intrepid Publications on March 15, 2014

Marten couldn’t believe it. A wish he made on a star actually came true – and he feels awful about it. He wished that his little brother, Aldrin, wasn’t there. While at a museum, Aldrin just… Faded away. Marten and his best friend, Paul, meet a strange man named Tör, who says that he will help them get Aldrin back. Using watches that can control time, Tör, Marten, and Paul go through time, trying to undo what happened. When Tör’s star he comes from starts to die, and signs of Aldrin start disappearing, it’s up to Marten and Paul to stop Aldrin from disappearing forever.

This was a very good time travel book. Ms. Petersen’s plot has no holes and her description of the story puts the reader right in the middle of it. I like books like this – a little bit of magic, a little bit of time travel, a lot of adventure. It was a great read. I like Ms. Petersen’s writing style. She gets into the mind of an 11 (almost 12!) boy very easily. Marten is a great character and, speaking as a 12 year old boy, he acts very realistically. I understand why he does everything he does. I also like Tör – he is mysterious and I love the idea of him being in charge of making sure the wishes made on his star come true. The book was appropriate for all ages. I think a lot of kids (and adults) will love this story.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Fish Finelli Book 2: Operation Fireball By E.S. Farber

9 Jul

fish2Fish Finelli Book 2: Operation Fireball

By E.S. Farber

Illustrated by Jason Beene

177 pages – ages 7+

Published by Chronicle Books on April 1, 2014

Fish Finelli and his friends have to beat the school bully, Bryce Billings, in a boat race, due to a dare made at the end of book one. There is just one problem – that Bryce has a new boat with a 9.9 horsepower (which is the limit for the race) and Fish and his friends have an old whaler with a 5 horsepower motor. Will they beat Bryce?

This was a fun book. I didn’t read book 1, but Ms. Farber brings the reader right up to speed so I totally understood the back-story (As a note, I love it when an author recaps the previous book(s) in a series really well).  Fish is a great character, and I like how he solves his own problems. He is also devoted to sailing and I enjoyed reading about a kid who likes to sail. Ms. Farber has an enjoyable writing style. I love all of the humor she put in the story. I really enjoyed the little fact boxes and diagrams about things in the book. (like some about oysters, planing on a boat, etc.). That was a nice touch. The illustrations scattered in the book were great too. They had a very cool style. After reading this book, I’m going to go back and read the first one in the series. I like a good story. :)  This book is a great read for young advanced readers, reluctant readers and kids looking for a fun story!

I give “Operation Fireball” four out of five bookworms.fourbooks

Check out Book 1 in the series! I am!

fish1

Eva and Sadie and the Worst Haircut EVER! by Jeff Cohen

30 Jun

evaEva and Sadie and the Worst Haircut EVER!
By Jeff Cohen
Illustrated by Elanna Allen
32 pages – ages 5+
Published by HarperCollins on June 3, 2014

Eva and Sadie are sisters. Eva’s hair is long and curly. Sadie thinks that it is too long, too curly, and too much of a bother. It is practically impossible to tame! Then, Sadie had an idea – why not give Eva a haircut? Awesome idea, right? Maybe not so much…

An NPR radio reporter, Jeff Cohen has 2 little girls, Sadie, 5, and Eva, 3. He interviewed his kids after a disastrous hair cutting incident. Click HERE to go to the original interview (it’s hilarious). Apparently the interview went viral and Mr. Cohen turned the story into a very cute picture book. The story is very well-written, and has a great message. The message that Sadie learns is “It’s okay to make mistakes, as long as we learn from them, and try not to do them again.” Sadie and Eva are great characters, ones you can relate with - after all who hasn’t done something like this when you were little?  Ms. Allen’s illustrations put the finishing touch on the book, like the whipped cream and cherry on the sundae. I think children will love learning from Eva and Sadie’s mistake. :)

I give this book 5 out of 5 bookworms!fivebooks

Check out the trailer!

 

Perfect Picture Book Friday Turns 100! Planet Kindergarten by Sue Ganz-Schmitt

13 Jun

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 the idea is totally fun and I think a lot of kids are scared about starting kindergarten.

planetkindergartenPlanet Kindergarten by Sue Ganz-Schmitt
Illustrated by Shane Prigmore
40 pages – ages 3+
Published by Chronicle Books on May 20, 2014

Theme/Topic- Starting School / Confidence

Genre- Non-fiction

-

Opening and Synopsis- (Taken from the inside jacket)

“Today is Liftoff.

‘You are well prepared.’ says Dad.

Mom Counts down.

Into the rocket ship…

The boosters fire, and we launch.

I’m off to

PLANET KINDERGARTEN!

“Publisher’s Summary – This clever picture book will prepare young explorers to boldly go where they have never gone before: Planet Kindergarten. Suit up for a daring adventure as our hero navigates the unknown reaches and alien inhabitants of this strange new world. Hilarious and confidence-boosting, this exciting story will have new kindergarteners ready for liftoff!”

 

Why I liked this book-
I LOVED this book! It’s all about a kid pretending to go on a space mission to a strange new world – Planet Kindergarten! This is an awesome book to add to your back-to-school list. If you are a kindergarten or pre-school teacher or if you have kids that are going to start kindergarten, I recommend this book. Starting school or going somewhere different can be pretty scary. I love how Ms. Ganz-Schmitt uses imagination and pretend play to help her character overcome his fears. It is great how Ms. Ganz-Schmitt relates everything that happens (or could happen) on the first day of kindergarten to a space adventure. For example when the boy meets the “Commander” she tells everyone how gravity works different on Planet Kindergarten and everyone must work really hard to stay in their seats – funny! :) The book shows that starting kindergarten can be scary but it is a fabulous and fun adventure too. Shane Prigmore’s illustrations are perfect for the story. Just look at one -

planet2The colors and shapes add so much to the outer-space theme of the book. I love how some of the kids are drawn to look alien-ish. The book is just awesome!

Activities and Resources-

I think pretend play is a great idea to get a kid over fears of doing something new like going to kindergarten. A great activity to get a kid ready for school is just what the author did in this book. Pretend play kindergarten with your kids to help them know what to expect.

Visit the classroom early (teachers are there before school starts). I know my sister got scared about school and her teacher let my mom take her to visit the school to show her around and see everything before school started.

The I Can Teach My Child blog has a great resource on how to prepare your kid for Kindergarten. Click HERE to get it.

Like Planet Kindergarten on Facebook HERE.

To learn more about Ms. Ganz-Schmitt, please visit her website HERE.

Follow Planet Kindergarten on Twitter HERE.

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

Check out these fun picture books!

11 Jun

 Today I have a three fun picture books I want to tell you about that will make great summer reading for your kids!
latelylilyLately Lily: The Adventures of a Travelling Girl Hardcover
by Micah Player
Series: Lately Lily
32 pages – ages 4+
Published by Chronicle Books on March 25, 2014

Opening and Synopsis -

“Bonjour! Ciao! Hola! Hello!

I’m Lily the Travelling Girl.”

Lily and her best friend, Zeborah travel all over the world and explore new and exciting places! Go travel with Lily as she rides on boat, trains, planes and even camels. The world is a beautiful place with lots to discover and friends to be made.

What I thought- The story is cute. It shows Lily all over the world doing all sorts of things. The story shows Lily’s excitement for all she is doing.  I like that Lily writes all of her adventures down in her notebook. What I REALLY like about the book is the artwork. It really shows Lily’s excitement for all she is doing. Take a look at an interior page -

lily2

All the illustrations are this great. Micah Player is the Creative Director of the children’s clothing company – Lately Lily.

The book is perfect for summer time travel! :)

I give this book 4 out of 5 bookworms.fourbooks

Check out the book’s trailer!

Check out the Lately Lily website HERE.

Lately Lily on Facebook HERE.

Follow Lately Lily on Twitter HERE.

 
jumping-jack_9781452131528_largeJumping Jack
by Germano Zullo

Illustrated by Albertine

Ages 5 +- 40 pages
Published by Chronicle Books on May 13, 2014

Synopsis (taken from the inside jacket)

“Jumping Jack is a winner! At least, he used to be. Now this superstar show-jumping champion is stumbling and tumbling all over the course like a colt just learning how his legs work. How could this happen? What could possibly be wrong? Jumping Jack’s best friend and rider, Rodger Trotter, is determined to find out.”

What I thought-  Here is another picture book with fabulous illustrations! I love  Albertine’s style! JumpingJack_INT_Mechs.inddThe story in the book is very cute too. I love how Jack’s best friend Rodger just won’t give up on him and sticks by him until they figure out what is wrong. It’s a nice tale of friendship, persevering  and not giving up. I think it would be good for kids who play sports and get into a “slump”  and have to work through it.

I give this book 5 out of 5 bookworms!fivebooks

Okay this one isn’t exactly a picture book, but it is a book about drawing pictures. I think it is very cool and it will keep kids busy for hours!

doodledesignPhotoplay: Doodle. Design. Draw.

by M. J. Bronstein

ages 5+ – 128 pages
Published by Chronicle Books on March 4, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

Opening (from first page) -

“WHAT MIGHT YOU DO WITH THIS BOOK?

Draw right on top of the Photographs? Yes!

Design something that seems goofy or impossible? Yes!

Color outside of the lines? Yes!

Laugh out loud at my photographs? Yes!”

Laugh out loud at your own drawings? Why not?!”

What I thought- Give me a pencil! Ms. Bronstein is a professional photographer and an art educator at the Center for Maine Contemporary Art. She packed this book with photographs or parts of photographs she has taken from around the world. The reader is supposed to complete the photographs!

photoplay2

That’s completely cool! There is 128 pages of doodling fun in the book. I think it’d be great for car rides or rainy days. It is very creative and lets your imagination run wild. Kids of any age kid will love this! I like that Ms. Bronstein mixes up the photographs -  animals – buildings – landscape – people – objects – pretty much anything you can think of. There are blurbs on each page meant as a prompt as what to draw (or at least get your imagination going).  photoplay3

Get ready for hours of fun!

I give Photoplay five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

To learn more about Ms. Bronstein and Photoplay, please visit her website HERE!

Check out the trailer!

Check out this video showing some completed Photoplay called “No Life Without Water” – a project to bring a water well to Sudan.

How to Stick a Dart in Your Head By Eric J. Hill

9 Jun

dartHow to Stick a Dart in Your Head
By Eric J. Hill
182 pages – ages 11+
Published by Create Space on April 5, 2014

It’s easier than you think to stick a dart in your head. All you need is 1960’s-style soft, acoustical ceiling tiles, a pool table, a hockey stick, an Indoor-Outdoor carpet, and, – oh, yeah – a dart! Then you toss the dart up, watch it get stuck in the ceiling, climb onto a pool table with said hockey stick in hand to get it down, and then the dart falls on your head. If you are wondering who on Earth would do such a thing, well – Eric Hill – that’s who! He also *accidentally* set a field on fire (and, when he tried to confess, he got congratulated for alerting the authorities), saved an infant girl from drowning in a pool, and he got sent to a summer camp at which he and the other Counselors-In-Training had an all-out war with the Head Riding Instructor. This is his memoir of his “disastrous” early years (12-16). This is the story that Eric Hill has to tell.

You know, this book has inspired me. It has inspired me to a) make Viking Toast (read the book to find out  ;) ), b) not put rubber cement in burning grills, and c) don’t make fun of Head Riding Instructors’ misfortunes (no matter how funny they are). After reading this book, I am now a smarter boy. I think this is a great memoir – it is very entertaining – and enlightening. It is a great story, totally appropriate for kids of all ages (just don’t try the stuff in the book ;) ). I think boys will especially like to read about Mr. Hill’s disastrous adventures. Mr. Hill’s writing style is playful, and fun to read. I love his writing voice. As a kid myself, I could totally relate to the stuff Mr. Hill did when he was a boy. Um – I mean I would never do anything like the stuff he did. ;)

I give “How to Stick a Dart in Your Head” five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Perfect Picture Book Friday! ABC, Adoption & Me by Gayle H. Swift

6 Jun

WOO HOO! Today is not only my last day of sixth grade, it is also the 100th posting of PERFECT PICTURE BOOK FRIDAY! YAY! (although, technically, we aren’t celebrating until next week, because Ms. Hill (the creator) is giving a talk on writing and is extremely busy. :) )

Let’s celebrate – I brought donuts!

donut

Photo credit wikipedia

 

PLUS! I get to announce the MARVELOUS MS. MORRIS of Kid Lit Reviews won my  giveaway copy of Chengdu! WOO!

chengdu

Congratulations Ms. Morris! I will email you for your mailing address!

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 think this is a great book on adoption that is very easy for kids to understand.

abcABC, Adoption & Me — a Multi-cultural Picture Book for Adoptive Families
By Gayle H. Swift with Casey Anne Swift
Illustrated by Paul Griffin
36 pages - ages 4+
Published by WRB Publishing on July 1, 2013

Theme/Topic- Adoption

Genre- Non-fiction

Opening and Synopsis-

A is for adoption. Some families come together through adoption, mine did.”

Summary taken from amazon description – “ABC, Adoption & Me, explores adoption from the child’s point of view. It celebrates the blessing of family and addresses the difficult issues as well. With exuberant illustrations and a diverse representation of families, ABC, Adoption & Me deepens the understanding of what it means to be an adoptive family. It provides talking points that bring families closer, and presents adoption as a safe topic. Kids report that ABC, Adoption & Me expresses their complicated feelings in a way that makes them feel normal and which makes it easy for them to discuss with their families. “Most adoption books only talk about the good part of adoption. ABC shows adoption from the kid’s side.”

Why I liked this book- First of all (for those who don’t know) I am adopted and so I like it when I see an adoption book done really well. I really like that the book shows the huge diversity in adoptive families. It also covers all kinds of questions, issues and happy things too. Being adopted myself, some of the issues I could relate to (like “R is for real. My birth parents and my adoptive parents are all real.” I personally don’t like it when someone asks who my “real” parents are. Last time I got grounded my parents really felt real to me. ;) ) while others I haven’t had experience with, but I am sure other kids/families have. The book also gives respect to birth parents which is a nice addition. The book is written in a way that makes it easy for kids to understand. I think it is a great book for families to read together.

Activities and Resources-

I didn’t have to go far for a resource, there is a parent guide right in the front of the book. It gives helpful advice for parents about how to talk to their kids about being adopted.

ChildWelfare.gov  has a huge list of teacher resources listed HERE for having lesson plans when you have adopted kids in class.

You can follow Gayle Swift on Twitter HERE.

Like the ABC Adoption & Me Facebook page HERE.

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

Book Review! Time Square: The Shift by S.W. Lothian

4 Jun

Happy Wednesday! Guess what I get to do today? I get to tell you that Lacey522 won the Disney prize pack for her daughter!

MinnieBooksPrize

 

Congratulations! I will be emailing you for your mailing address! Thank you to Disney Press for supplying the prize!

Now on to today’s review!

 

Time-Square-The-ShiftTime Square: The Shift
by S.W. Lothian
ebook Published March 29, 12014
estimated 152 pages – ages 8+
Available on Amazon – click HERE

Summary- In 1930, Dr. Rex Hudson made the archaeological discovery of the century! He has found an obelisk that, according to Hiram Bingham (an earlier archaeologist), holds the “secret of time”. While examining the obelisk with his twin children Eva and Lewis (13-years-old), they get sucked inside of it. They are inside Time Square – the center of all time. The Hudson’s soon find out that the obelisk is Time Square, and that they now need to bring it back to Machu Picchu – the place that Dr. Hudson found it. They need to teleport back to where the obelisk is, bring it back to the Incan Temple, and go back home, or else time will be ripped apart! Sounds simple, right? But add in the fact that someone stole the obelisk, and that 100′s of time travelers now stuck in places they never intended to be, and things get even more complicated.

 

What I thought- When I found out Mr. Lothian was writing another series, I was very happy. I am a fan of his first series – The Quest books – to learn more about them, visit Mr. Lothian’s website HERE).

3-books

The first book in his new series didn’t disappoint! First of all – bonus points for a very cool cover!

This was a great book. I think it explains how Time Square works (an idea from one of his QUEST books) very well. I like how it shows a scene from a QUEST book (the characters meeting another character). That was a nice touch. Much like Mr. Lothian’s Quest series, this book is packed with action and humor. I really enjoy his writing style. I think he writes for middle-grade kids very well but all ages will enjoy the story. The plot was fun and it makes the reader want to read more. I did get hung up in a few spots thinking – “well why didn’t they just transport back to such and such a time and fix everything,” but overall I think the plot hung together very well. I like the characters of Eva and Lewis. The other characters in the book are great too and many add a lot of humor to the story. I  am already adding Book 2 (which isn’t out yet) to my TBR list!

I give this book 4 out of 5 bookworms.fourbooks

Another Day as Emily by Eileen Spinelli

3 Jun

Happy Tuesday! Guess what I get to do today?!? I get to announce that Bluerose (of the Bluerose’s Heart blog) won the giveaway copy of “The Hero’s Guide to Being an Outlaw” by Christopher Healy (Read my review HERE). Congratulations – Josie picked your name out of the hat!!! I will be emailing you to get your mailing address!

HG3 - Final Cover

 

anotheremilyAnother Day as Emily

by Eileen Spinelli

Illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff

240 pages – ages 8+

Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on May 13, 2014

Summary- Suzy Quinn has had enough. Ever since her younger brother, Parker, got called a “hero” in the news (for calling 911 when a neighbor had “a spell”), Suzy has felt unimportant. She and her best friend, Allison, have totally different personalities. Things get even worse when Allison gets a party in a play that they both try out for, but Suzy doesn’t. Suzy feels like she is “nothing.” While taking summer classes with a theme of “The 1800s” at the local library, Suzy chooses Emily Dickinson for a report. After reading about Emily, Suzy thinks that she and Emily have a lot in common. So, she decides to live her life as Emily Dickinson did – to the exact. She changes her name to Emily Dickinson, changes her goldfish’s name from Ottilie to Carlo (Emily Dickinson’s dog), cooks, sews, and writes poems. Suzy Emily even becomes a recluse, not seeing anyone – not even her friends. But does she really want to spend another day as Emily or face all the things bothering her in her life?

What I Thought- This was another great novel-in-verse from Eileen Spinelli. The verse is in a style that I think makes the story read like a diary or journal.  I like how Mrs. Spinelli writes the story so you can really understand how Suzy/Emily feels about the stuff going on in her life. I think Suzy/Emily went a bit over-the-top in handling her problems, but at least it was inventive! ;) The problems Suzy is having is pretty much what a lot of middle school aged kids have and I think it makes the characters more realistic. I thought it was cool to learn a bit about Emily Dickinson too from the story. I’ve heard of her and read some of her poetry, but this story taught me about Emily Dickinson as a person. It was a quick read for me, but the story felt complete when I was done. I think this book is terrific for young advanced readers and middle-grade readers will enjoy reading about characters that are a lot like them.  There are random black and white, small illustrations scattered in the book by Ms. Lew-Vriethoff. They are a nice addition to  the story.

Five out of five bookworms for “Another Day As Emily”!fivebooks

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