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Perfect Picture Book Friday! Simple Machines: Wheels, Levers, and Pulleys by David A. Adler

27 Feb

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 nonfiction, educational book.

simpleSimple Machines: Wheels, Levers, and Pulleys
By David A. Adler
Illustrations by Anna Raff 
32 pages – ages 4+
Published by Holiday House on January 30, 2015

Theme/Topic- Simple Machines

Genre- Nonfiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening – “Machines make work easier.”

Synopsis – From the inside cover- “We use simple machines every day without realizing it. Teeth are wedges and so are knives, forks, and thumbtacks. Many toys are simple machines. Slides are inclined planes, and seesaws are levers. This introduction to levers, wheels, pulleys, inclined planes, and more explains how simple machines simplify our lives.”

Why I liked this book- This is a rather cool nonfiction book. It shows you everyday examples of the simple machines, and how they work. For example, did you know that our teeth are wedges, and that a mountain road can be an inclined plane? There are also really nice illustrations that show what is going on clearly. The book clearly explains simple machines in a kid-friendly way.  This book is a great read-aloud for young kids. I really love this book, and would recommend it for a class project.

Activities and Resources- 

Go on a simple machine scavenger hunt! Try to find each of the six types of simple machines around your house.

The Center of Science and Industry (COSI) has a great webpage devoted to simple machines. Click HERE to go THERE.

There’s a great Simple Machines Unit / Activities at HERE.

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

Review! The Lost Castle Treasure (Sir Kaye the Boy Knight – Book 2) by Don M. Winn

23 Feb

sirkay2Book 2: The Lost Castle Treasure
By Don M. Winn
Series: Sir Kaye the Boy Knight
178 pages – ages 8+
Published by Rising Phoenix Press on December 3, 2014

Synopsis- Sir Kaye, Reggie, and Beau are back in an all-new adventure! Kaye and Reggie (who is telling the story) are on their way to live at Castle Forte with the Queen of Knox. Along the way, Kaye receives a threatening message  – a stick-man dressed like Kaye hanging from a tree -from an anonymous knight. Upon coming into the town, Kaye is tossed about by mean-spirited knights and ridiculed in front of the residents. While at the castle, the other knights aren’t much better. They don’t think that Kaye, a mere boy, deserves to be a knight. When Queen Vianne gets a letter from a neighboring country saying that they need a debt paid off immediately to stop a war between the two countries, Kaye volunteers to find the castle’s lost treasure to pay the debt and prove himself. Kaye was all set to go  on the quest when a vile knight got Kaye so angry that Kaye foolishly agreed that if he doesn’t find the treasure in time, he would lose his knighthood. Now Kaye has everything to lose. Add in a haunted castle, and Kaye and his friends are in for quite an adventure.

What I Thought- This was a great book in the series about a young knight that is coming of age and his relationships with his friends. Reggie (one of Kaye’s friends) is a great character that you really get into his head. Kaye becomes more distant in the book, with all of the pressure of losing his knighthood and finding the treasure. Reggie feels left out and useless, even though he really is doing a lot. There are black and white illustrations that  seem to make all of the characters come to life. I really like the adventure in this book. It lets Kaye and Reggie explore the castle while still doing good for the kingdom, and the stakes are rather high too, creating some tension and a fantastic plot for young readers. The Sir Kaye books are completely appropriate for all ages and are a great pick for parents of young advanced readers looking for exciting adventure stories for their kids.

I give “The Lost Castle Treasure” five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Review! Stick Dog by Tom Watson

23 Feb

stickdogStick Dog … a really GOOD story with kind of BAD drawings
ritten (and [badly] illustrated) by Tom Watson
Series: Stick Dog
189 pages – ages 7+
Published by HarperCollins on January 8, 2013

Synopsis- Stick Dog is a homeless dog, but he’s happy. He’s never known any different, so he has it good. He lives in a dry pipe under a highway with a discarded old mattress to sleep on.And he has tons of lost balls and frisbees from the park he lives by. Stick Dog has good doggy friends – Karen (a dachshund), Mutt (a… mutt), Stripes (a dalmatian. Don’t ask), and Poo-Poo (a poodle. Also don’t ask. ;) )).  And they love one thing (besides being friends), and that is hamburgers. In the summer, they all go to the park on an epic journey and try to find abandoned hamburgers.

What I Thought- Why I have never read any of these books before now – I will never know. I now <3 Stick Dog. If anything, above all, this book will make you hungry. It mentions food on a lot of pages – I like food. The book reads a lot like Diary of a Wimpy Kid, but it is geared toward younger kids. The story is of a boy telling the story of Stick Dog for school. The first chapter is titled “I can’t draw, okay?” and the boy explains why the drawings in the book are – well – really not that good. They are nice stick-figures, but that’s not the point. The story is funny and features Stick Dog as the main character, the boy sometimes gets side-tracked in his story-telling, and mentions slightly odd topics, but that just adds to the wackiness of the book. Altogether the story is hysterical (if you like silly, wacky humor), and a fairly short read. The book is sure to get even the most reluctant reader involved in the story. There are 3 Stick Dog books out now and a fourth coming out in May 2015. Young kids will love this book.

I give “Stick Dog” 5 out of 5 bookworms! fivebooks

Want to learn more? Check out the Stick Dog website – HERE.

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Last Stop on Market Street by Matt De La Pena

20 Feb

HELLLLOOOO Blogosphere! Happy Friday! What could be better than Perfect Picture Book Friday you ask? (well maybe you didn’t but let’s just pretend you did)

Well, I’ll tell you! How about Perfect Picture Book Friday and I get a TWO hour delay from school!



Not so excited about that?  Well I am pretty ding-dang-dong excited about that.

OKAY how about this -

After you get done reading about my pick for this week’s Perfect Picture Book Friday you click on over the Felicia and my vlog – The Write Chat where we have an all new episode for your viewing pleasure! This month we interview the amazingly talented BIG BOOK author – BART KING!


What is Mr. King’s Dream job?

Why are we interviewing an egg?

Are girls allowed to read the BIG BOOK OF BOY STUFF and are boys allowed to read the BIG BOOK OF GIRL STUFF?

How does Bart King (who is NOT a girl) write a BIG BOOK OF GIRL STUFF anyway?

All these and many more questions will be answered in this exciting episode of THE WRITE CHAT!

Click HERE to go THERE (but only after you read my PPBF post ;) ).


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 was illustrated by Christian Robinson, and I like his works. That’s what caught my eye, but there is a lot more to the book.

laststopLast Stop on Market Street

By Matt De La Peña

Illustrated by Christian Robinson

32 pages – ages 3+
Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers on January 8, 2015

Theme/Topic- Appreciation

Genre- Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening – “CJ pushed through the church doors, skipped down the steps.”

Synopsis (from publisher) – “Every Sunday after church, CJ and his grandma ride the bus across town. But today, CJ wonders why they don’t own a car like his friend Colby. Why doesn’t he have an iPod like the boys on the bus? How come they always have to get off in the dirty part of town? Each question is met with an encouraging answer from grandma, who helps him see the beauty—and fun—in their routine and the world around them.”

Why I liked this book- This is a very inspiring book. It helps you see the wonders of the world, even in places you wouldn’t expect. Mr. Robinson’s art really compliments Mr. De La Peña’s story. It has that warm feeling and points to all the things that matter. I like how the twist at the end of the story reveals that CJ and his Nana go to help others. I noticed that CJ’s Nana never really shushes CJ for asking questions, like about a blind man – “How come that man can’t see?” and his Nana replies “…Some people watch the world with their ears.” That line made me smile. Mr. De La Peña has written a great picture book which makes me want to see the awesomeness in everything around me.

Activities and Resources-

A great activity is to volunteer to help other people like CJ and his Nana did. There are a lot of places you can go to help – just with your family or maybe your whole class room.

I found this list of activities called “Gratitude Games.” They are ways of having kids remember all they have to be thankful for. Click HERE to get it.

Of course the Bucket Fillers activities are a great way to have and show appreciation. Click HERE.


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

Creative Kid Thursday! Brother – Sister Book Reviews!

19 Feb

Today Josie and I will be reviewing some cool graphic novels that caught our eyes and we rate as 5 out of 5 Bookworm books!


First up – Erik!

VoltronVoltron: From Days Of Long Ago (A Thirtieth Anniversary Celebration)

Edited by Traci N. Todd

Includes: Jeremy Corray, Marc Morrell, Joshua Bernard, Brian Smith, Jacob Chabot

152 pages – ages 10+
Published by Perfect Square on October 28, 2014

Synopsis- From the publisher “Thirty years ago, America was introduced to Voltron: Defender of the Universe. This is a detailed look at the Voltron universe, including the story of how Voltron took the U.S. by storm and continues to be culturally relevant today.”

What I Thought- For those of you who do not know what VOLTRON is, it was a cartoon (a cartoon my parents grew up with and loved) about a team of 5 space defenders that rode around in mechanical lions but then the lions combined to make VOLTRON the awesome evil fighting robot. I actually have a VOLTRON toy. :)


This book explains the awesomeness of VOLTRON well and would be pretty interesting for anyone interested in anime. This amazing collection of all things Voltron – TV shows, the beginning, toys, comics, etc. The book is in 2 parts – the first one about Voltron’s behind the scenes creation, and the toys, and the second part about the TV Show history of Voltron (what goes on in the TV Show). I believe that any fan of Voltron really needs to get the book. It is attractively bound and would make a great collectible. There is even a bonus comic at the end of the book!

Now Josie will tell you about some comics she likes.

Hi, it is Josie. I like Hello Kitty a lot. I found Hello Kitty books I wanted to read and review. 

I have 2 books I will tell you about.
hellokitty1Hello Kitty: It’s About Time
By Jacob Chabot, Ian McGinty , Jorge Monlongo,  and Giovanni Castro

Series: Hello Kitty (Book 6)
64 pages – ages 6+
Published by Perfect Square on February 3, 2015

Summary – from the publisher “It’s time for beach parties, dance contests, last-minute birthday gifts and time machines! Plus, journey inside a cuckoo clock and much, much more! Past, present or future, Hello Kitty and her friends are having a blast!”

What I Thought – Hello Kitty is my FAVORITE. Isn’t she cute? I’ve read other books in this series and I like this one just as much. This book has a bunch of stories in it. The stories don’t really have words (there are a few) but the pictures tell the story. I like that Hello Kitty goes to some cool places in the book. I especially like the one with the monster who comes out and yells at Hello Kitty but then they have a party together. I like how Hello Kitty is drawn in the book.

Now my next Hello Kitty book.

This one is very cool.

hellokitty2Hello Kitty: Hello 40

A Celebration in 40 Stories (plus one for good luck)

Foreword by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm, creators of Babymouse

144 pages – ages 6+
Published by Perfect Square on October 7, 2014

Summary – from the publisher “In 1974, Hello Kitty stepped on the scene, and she’s had the world wrapped around her little red bow ever since. Here, some of her biggest fans—from comic artists to muralists to toy creators—pay tribute in story and art.”

What I Thought – Isn’t Hello Kitty so  cute on the cover? I didn’t know it was her forty year birthday! This book is so cool. It has stories 40 Hello Kitty stories from all different people! What is really neat is all the people drew Hello Kitty how they would draw her. So they all look kind of different but they are all Hello Kitty. The stories are pretty much with no words (like the regular Hello Kitty stories).  The foreword part is by Jennifer Holm and Matthew Holm. They make Babymouse. I love Babymouse too. I met Ms. Holm in Lititz at the book festival. She was nice. There are other parts in the book where all the artists say what they like about Hello Kitty. That was nice. My favorite story in the book is Hello Kitty in The Maze of the Minotaur by Gene Luen Yang. It is SO funny. I LOVED seeing all the different artwork. I like art a lot and it was cool to see how all the different Hello Kitty stories are drawn.

Review! Duke ‘N’ Matt: Rescue Road Warriors by Rhonda Paglia

18 Feb

dukenmattDuke ‘N’ Matt: Rescue Road Warriors
by Rhonda Paglia
Matt Pi, contributor
40 pages – ages 5+
Published by CreateSpace on August 5, 2014

Summary- Duke, a cute and friendly red beagle, tells the story of how he and his adopted human, Matt, help other animals by driving them all around the United States to be with their new families. Duke and Matt have been together since 2009. They rescue dogs from puppy mills, shelters and dogs that the owners can’t take care of anymore. This story tells kids how Duke and Matt work with many other volunteers to transport dogs to safe places.

What I Thought- This is a wonderful nonfiction story. It really makes you smile – partly because of the cute pictures of dogs in it, but also because of the happy story. It does mention puppy mills, but describes them in a kid-friendly way (the mommy dogs only have puppies, and they can’t leave their crates) – some of the dogs are not cared for correctly etc. Mrs. Paglia wrote a great story that informs you in a simple way about dog rescue, told from the point of view of Duke the beagle. The story covers a part of animal rescue that a lot of kids (and maybe some adults) don’t know about – how dogs are matched with adoptive or foster families, sometimes way across the country, and how the dogs get to their new families. There is a ton of resources in the back of the book that covers everything from what rescues are to definitions of terms to the geography of the United States! This is an uplifting, informative book that both adults and kids can enjoy.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Some fun picture books for Valentine’s Day!

11 Feb


With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, I thought I’d tell you about a couple of very cute picture books that celebrate love! :)


Clark the Shark Takes Heart

Series: Clark the Shark

By Bruce Hale

Illustrated by Guy Francis

4 – 8 years
32 pages – ages 6+

Published by HarperCollins on December 30, 2014

Synopsis- (From publisher) “It’s Anna Angelfish’s birthday, and Clark wants to find the perfect present for her to show her how he feels. But when he tries to make a big impression with his usual zip, bang, and BOOM, things don’t go quite as planned. With help from his best friend, Joey Mackerel, our favorite boisterous shark learns that when it comes to showing that you care, something thoughtful and small could be the best of all.”

What I Thought- This was a nice picture book. It isn’t really a Valentine’s story, but can be read as one. Clark wants to show a classmate he likes (Anna Angelfish) how he feels for her birthday. With a little help from his friends, Clark finally figures out that it’s the little things mean the most. That’s a nice message. The illustrations are fun and cartoony. They make you want to laugh out loud. Clark is a shark, but he isn’t mean. At all. He may be accident-prone, but he’s actually pretty nice.

lovebugThe Berenstain Bears’ Valentine Love Bug

By Mike Berenstain

4 – 8 years
Grade Level: Preschool – 3
Series: Berenstain Bears
24 pages – ages 6+

Published by HarperFestival on November 25, 2014

Synopsis- (From publisher) “When Sister Bear is asked to be the flower girl at a Valentine’s Day wedding, she is over the moon with joy. But when she gets carried away with the dresses, flowers, and cake, things begin to go awry. Young readers will feel the excitement—and the love—with this brand new storybook complete with a special poster, fun stickers, and Valentine’s Day cards.”

What I Thought- This is a great addition to the Berenstain Bears series! I like how it covers a wedding and Valentine’s Day in one shot. The series is a nice familiar one that parents can read with their kids. This story provides a good lesson for young kids. The art in this story is, like all of the books in the series, well-done and have that warm feel to them. All of the details in the illustrations are fun to look at and pick out.

didyouknowDid You Know That I Love You?

By Christa Pierce

4 – 8 years
32 pages – ages 2+

Published by HarperCollins on December 23, 2014

Synopsis- (From publisher) “Did you know that I love you? Could you feel it in my hugs? From her soft kisses and soothing hugs to her tasty tea and warming mug, Bird sweetly expresses her love to Fox so he knows that no matter how big he gets or where he goes, her love is always with him.”

What I Thought- This is a very sweet picture book about loving one another – not necessarily about Valentine’s Day but it is a great book about feeling loved.  The art in the book is very nicely done and makes you just want to smile, just like the book will. I like how there is the detail of how Fox has “freckles” on his face, making him look youthful. The book is marvelous and would make a great bedtime story.

Review! Night Buddies Go Sky High by Sands Hetherington

9 Feb

nightbud3Night Buddies Go Sky High

By Sands Hetherington

145 pages – ages 7+

Published by Dune Buggy Press on

Synopsis- John Degraffenreidt and his Night Buddy, Crosley (of Night Buddies Amalgamated) are back from their last adventure! After getting almost-attacked by the escaped Iguana Gang member from book 2, John and Crosley are hungry. Hungry for some pineapple cheesecakes. But when they get to the pineapple cheesecake factory, they find Big Foot Mae (the owner and runner of the factory) lying on the floor looking up at her star-puzzle (it shows all of the stars and their current positions) on the ceiling. There is a strange white dot in the sky, and it’s moving from the Corkscrew Constellation to the Houndog Stars. The Night Buddies team need to investigate it, and pronto. After all, what if the mysterious dot is hostile? They go get into a borrowed racing blimp and go high – sky high!

What I Thought- This is the third book in the Night Buddies series (see my reviews of book 1 HERE and book 2 THERE). John and Crosley are a great team and it shows that nice relationship in the book. The idea of the Night Buddies and the “programs” (A.K.A. adventures) they go on is cool and very kid-friendly. The black-and-white pencil-sketch illustrations spread throughout the book are a nice touch. The story line was good. I like how John and Crosley solve their problems. Like all the Night Buddies books, the different fonts of the typed words leap off of the page adding to the fun of the story. The plot moves along and will keep kids interested in the story. This story takes place directly after book 2, but at first I didn’t realize that, until a bit later in the book. I didn’t really care for how the story ended because it left a few too many loose ends hanging (I know a book should leave something for the next book, but I like to have a bit more ending than what was here).  Mr. Hetherington has written a good story that carries on this very enjoyable series.

I give this book four out of five bookworms.fourbooks

Review! The Lunch Witch by Deb Lucke

8 Feb

lunchwitchThe Lunch Witch #1

By Deb Lucke

Series: The Lunch Witch (Book 1)

180 pages – ages 7+

Will be published by Papercutz on March 17, 2015

Synopsis- Grunhilda the Black Heart is a witch. She is a mean witch, too. But no one really believes in magic anymore, so she needs to find a job. After her job as a fake witch failed (she turned the boss into poop), she needed to find a new job. Grunhilda finds an ad looking for a school lunch lady and decided to try it out. And she loves it. The kids hate it. All was well. Well, until a girl who was going to fail the grade figures out that she’s a witch and tries to blackmail Grunhilda into using her witchcraft make her smart. Grunhilda says no. A couple of days later Grunhilda is serving lunch and sees the girl who’s been held back, standing in line. When the girl says that she’ll always be stupid, something resonates within Grunhilda from when she was in witch training. Can a witch have a change of heart?

What I Liked- The overall tone of the story is very serious (language and pictures), but there is some great humor in this one. The humor and illustrations have an edge to them. The story is packed with “dry” humor (like the school lunch lady ad says “Good cooks need not apply”). The illustrations have a dark-creepy feel to them. I like how the book shows the gradual change in Grunhilda from a mean witch to a nice(ish) lady. The pages had an interesting look to them, like a kind of old-time wearing. I like how Grunhilda and the girl change each other over the course of the story. I also like how the ending has you wondering if Grunhilda really did have a change of  heart. At 180 pages, this graphic novel has enough room to pack a great story into its pages. It looks like this will be an interesting series.

I give this book four out of five bookworms.fourbooks

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Me and My Big Mouse by Ethan Long

6 Feb

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.

meandmyMe and My Big Mouse
By Ethan Long
32 pages – ages 3+
Published by Two Lions on June 17, 2014

Theme/Topic- Friendship / Relationships

Genre- Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening – “This is me, Michael. And this is my big mouse.

Synopsis – Michael likes his big mouse, Bo, but sometimes, Bo is a big problem. He hates to be left alone, so Bo follows Michael around. Everywhere. So, how can Michael get some free time without hurting his big mouse’s feelings?

Why I liked this book- Michael is a great kid, and he doesn’t want to hurt his friend’s feelings. Bo (the mouse) while nice, can get annoying sometimes and Michael needs a little time without Bo. I like that Bo means well, but he sometimes comes out as over-loving. This book teaches that while you can be friends with someone, sometimes you just need some alone time, too. And even though friends need some alone time, they can still be friends. The illustrations are eye-pleasing and make you laugh out loud. The book is a fun one that I think that kids will really like! I like how Bo is gigantic, not simply “big”.

Activities and Resources-

When I was researching activities for this book I found a bunch of articles saying how important it was for kids to learn its okay to play alone or to be able to play with different groups of friends.

HERE is an article from about teaching toddlers to play alone.

I think a good activity would be to have kids try to have play dates with different kids and if one friend is a little too clingy try to have the friend over while other friends are there so the clingy friend can make more friends.

It’s nice in school when teachers pair up different kids to be partners. I know I got to talk to and get to know some kids in my class that way.

Want to learn more? Check out Ethan Long’s website HERE!

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





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