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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

Review! Miss Fatty Cat’s Revenge by Meg Welch Dendler

15 Sep

fattycatMiss Fatty Cat’s Revenge

By Meg Welch Dendler

234 pages – ages 8+

Published by Createspace on May 15, 2014

Summary- In our world, all is not what it seems, especially when it comes to kitties! Did you know cats are actually space aliens living among us? Some realize their origin, while others just want ears scratched and tuna treats. Little do we humans realize there is a kitty command ship orbiting Earth watching some of the inhabitants…

Miss Fatty Cat is fed up with the kittens, Kimba and Hiro. They are spoiled, pampered, and attention-grabbing! Miss Fatty Cat gets no attention from Mama and Daddy (their humans). To make matters worse, Kimba and Hiro just found out they are royal daughters of the High Commander! And Miss Fatty Cat has had enough of it all. So, she agrees to help the evil rebel cats kidnap Hiro and Kimba, just so that she could get more attention from Mama and Daddy. And then it all goes downhill. Kimba goes missing during a transfer (teleporting)!

What I like about it- This is a really well done book. I think that it is pretty cool, in the sense of space-traveling cats with technology that surpasses ours. Plus, the title made me laugh out loud. The series is good, and consistent. I like that the characters’ have just the right amount of “maturing” throughout each book. Kimba and Hiro are nice characters that you care for, and you even understand how Miss Fatty Cat feels. Ms. Dendler really helps you get into the head of the characters! She has written a good, unique book!

I give “Miss Fatty Cat’s Revenge” four out of five bookworms.

fourbooks

-catmirror

Back to School with Dan Gutman’s My Weird School Books!

4 Sep

Hot DIGGITY –  Two new books from Dan Gutman’s My Weird School series!

mskluteMy Weirder School #11: Miss Klute is a Hoot!

By Dan Gutman

Illustrated by Jim Paillot

112 pages – ages 6+
Published by HarperCollins  on June 24, 2014

When Mr. Macky, the school reading specialist, comes in to AJ and his friends’ class with a giant labradoodle reading therapy dog named Miss Klute, the kids aren’t sure about what to think of her. But, it turns out that reading to Miss Klute is actually pretty cool! Until she starts acting strangly. She seems… Depressed. What’s going on with Miss Klute?

This book is hilarious!!! I’ll never get tired of this series. It’s just too much fun! I love that the school gets a reading therapy dog, (a lot like the excellent Rhythm the therapy dog, from the ReadingWithRhythm blog), and how the kids actually like reading now, because of Miss Klute. Mr. Gutman has written another great book! And, as always, the illustrations by Mr. Paillot are humorous and fun – perfect for this wacky book!

~

backtoshoolweirdBack to School, Weird Kids Rule! – A My Weird School Special

By Dan Gutman

Illustrated by Jim Paillot

144 pages – ages 6+

AJ is away on vacation, not to come back for another week, right before school starts. Well, would you know? AJ is back early! Apparently, there was a hurricane near where they were vacationing. And now AJ and his family are staying in Andrea’s house. For a week. It’s the best thing that’s ever happened to Andrea!

This is a great back-to-school book! I love that it is told from Andrea’s point of view (instead of the normal point of view, AJ). It was a very revealing perspective. Mr. Gutman knows how to write stories that gets kids reading! Like before, the illustrations are magnificent!Love the “Weird Extras” in the back of the book (games, trivia and facts).

~

I give both of these books 5 out of 5 bookworms!fivebooks

Great Back-to-School Picture Books from HarperCollins!

1 Sep

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

Rebecca “Franticmommy” Flansburg!

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

guardian

Now to tell you about some GREAT picture books!

 

chuChu’s First Day of School

By Neil Gaiman

Illustrated by Adam Rex

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

 

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

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

chu2

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

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

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

~

littlelolaLittle Lola

by Julie Saab and David Gothard

32 pages – ages 4+

Published by Greenwillow Books on April 22, 2014

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

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

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

~

monstersloveMonsters LOVE School

Written and illustrated by Mike Austin

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

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

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

~

 

pinkandnewPinkalicious and the New Teacher

by Victoria Kann

24 pages – ages 4+

Published by HarperFestival on June 24, 2014

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

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

Check out the printable activity on HarperCollins website – click HERE

Check out the Pinkalicious website HERE

 

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