Review! Sal Everybody’s Pal: Sal Finds a Forever Home by Diana Alvear

10 May

salpalSal Everybody’s Pal: Sal Finds a Forever Home
By Diana Alvear
Illustrated by Chandler Strange
44 pages – ages 6+
Published by Sal Pals – 2014

Synopsis- Sal is an older cat. He lives at an animal shelter with other cats. He’s been there for a long time. Everyone that comes in wants kittens. Today is visiting day. Will today be the day he finds his forever home?

What I Thought- This is a cute picture book about animal adoption. It points out that kittens get adopted quicker, and that most older pets are there longer. It is put in a simple way so younger kids can understand it well. The book is written more for older kids, but is a great read-aloud for younger kids. The illustrations are a warm watercolor that really makes you feel good inside. I like that this is a book about cat adoption – usually the ones I see are about dogs. The story has a happy ending, and will encourage kids to adopt animals that they will take care of.

I give this 5 out of 5 bookworms!fivebooks

Perfect Picture Book Friday!

8 May

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 really shows the appreciation for what parents do for you and Sunday is Mother’s Day. Plus, I love Pete the Cat. :)

petecatPete the Cat: Rock On Mom and Dad!
By James Dean

4 – 8 years
Grade Level: Preschool – 3
Series: Pete the Cat
  24 pages – ages 4+
Published by HarperFestival on March 10, 2015

Theme/Topic- Appreciation/Mothers’ Day/Fathers’ Day

Genre- Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening“It’s Monday morning, and Pete the Cat is late for school. His alarm didn’t go off.

Synopsis – from the publisher “Mom and Dad do so much for Pete that he wants to thank them with a special surprise. But what can Pete do that will show Mom and Dad how much he loves them? In this groovy story, Pete learns that the best way to say thank you is to mean it. Young readers will love watching Pete surprise Mom and Dad with something totally awesome.”

Why I picked this book- This is a very sweet book about how you can make a great gift  for your parents by just doing what you do best. Pete the Cat is a great role model for young kids. He looks at life with a positive attitude. I like how, while Pete is thinking of what he can do, the picture shows his idea, which is good in thought, but it usually ends in trouble (mowing the grass = accidentally mowing a flowerbed). It made me chuckle! This is a marvelous book! Tho book comes with a poster, little cards for your parents and stickers too!

Activities and Resources- 

Celebrate Mother’s Day! :) Happy early Mother’s Day to all the moms out there! :)

Ask kids what is it that THEY do best? Try to figure out how they can use what they do best to make a present for their parent.

Have your kid do something nice for someone who does things for them all the time – just like Pete the Cat, it is good o realize how much some people do for you. :)

 

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

 Here are some other great Mothers’ Day books! 

stellaStella Brings the Family
By Miriam B. Schiffer
Illustrated by Holly Clifton-Brown

36 pages- ages 5+
Published by Chronicle Books on May 5, 2015

What I Thought- This is a cute book that, in a simple way, explains that Stella had two dads and she wants to celebrate Mothers’ Day. I like how the book mentions that another kid has two moms. It shows how families can be very different, but they are all families that love each other. This is a nice, diverse, children’s book.

~

mothersdayPinkalicious: Mother’s Day Surprise
By Victoria Kann

Series: Pinkalicious
24 pages – ages 4+
Published by HarperFestival on March 10, 2015

What I Thought- I like how Pinkalicious has good intentions, and how a problem always arises. Ms. Kann has written another great book with a great ending. The illustrations are cute, and collagey. :) This is a really great picture book that captures daily life!

Review! The Last Dragon Charmer: Villain Keeper by Laurie McKay

7 May

Hello blogoshpere! How are you tonight?

I just got back from karate. I am really excited because I am going to be testing for my junior black belt next Saturday. That will make two black belts in two different martial arts for me! WOO!

But enough about me – I am here to announce a winner! A winner of what you ask?

THE WINNER OF ROBIN NEWMAN’S FABULOUS CHILDREN”S BOOK – THE CASE OF THE MISSING CARROT CAKE (see my review HERE)!

carrotcake

And the winner is —–

Nancy Viau!

Congratulations Ms. Viau! I will be emailing you to get the address you’d like your book sent to. :o)

Now on to today’s review!

villain

Villain Keeper

By Laurie McKay

Series: Last Musketeer
352 pages – ages 8+

Published by HarperCollins on February 3, 2015

Synopsis- Caden was a son of King Axel, King of the Razzon Winterlands. He was the youngest sibling, and felt like he had to prove himself. And he planned to do it on his Quest Day to slay a dragon. Suddenly, the king, Caden’s father, wakes him up in the middle of the night saying it is Caden’s time for his quest. Where is the ceremony? Where are the people? Caden quickly runs off into the night. And then, a flash of light, and… Where is he? And why is Brynne, the young sorceress whom hates Caden, there with him? Why is there no magic? And why are there no dragons in this land of Carolina of the North (AKA North Carolina)? This is all too strange!

What I thought- This was a cool book. There is a unique mixture of medieval characters, magical objects, and a modern-day setting. The characters are well-thought out and realistic. They make you feel like you are there with them as they traverse throughout North Carolina. Ms. McKay has a great writing style. It engages you and draws you into the story. I would like to read more of Ms. McKay’s writing. The humor in the book kept me laughing throughout it, as Caden tried to adjust to living in our modern-day dimension. The mystery of the teachers at the school really added a great touch to the overall story. It is a solid start to this new series.

I give this book 5 out of 5 bookworms.fivebooks

Disney’s The Isle of The Lost PRIZE PACK GIVEAWAY!!!!!!!!

5 May

Disney Publishing is offering a terrific prize pack to celebrate the release of their awesome new book – The Isle of The Lost (see my review HERE). The book was released today!

Isle of the lost is a prequel to the Disney original movie DESCENDANTS. Check out the Descendants website at movies.disney.com/descendants.

 

 

The prize pack courtesy of Disney Publishing includes:

DescendantsPrizePack

Prizing and samples provided by Disney Publishing.

 

a copy of The Isle of the Lost;

branded tank top, water bottle and temporary tattoos;

and a GadgetGrip smartphone home button sticker.

How cool is that?!?

The giveaway is open to US residents only.

About the Book [From the Publisher]:

Evil tree. Bad Apple?

“Twenty years ago, all the evil villains were banished from the kingdom of Auradon to the Isle of the Lost–a dark and dreary place protected by a force field that makes it impossible for them to leave. Stripped of their magical powers, the villains now live in total isolation, forgotten by the world.

Mal learns from her mother, Maleficent, that the key to true darkness, the Dragon’s Eye, is located inside her scepter in the forbidden fortress on the far side of the island. The eye is cursed, and whoever retrieves it will be knocked into a deep sleep for a thousand years. But Mal has a plan to capture it. She’ll just need a little help from her “friends.” In their quest for the Dragon’s Eye, these four kids begin to realize that just because you come from an evil family tree, being good ain’t so bad.

Isle of the Lost is the spell-binding prequel to Disney Descendants, A Disney Channel Original Movie Event this summer!”

About the Author [From the Publisher]:

MelissadelaCruz

Melissa de la Cruz is the author of many best-selling novels, including all the books in the Blue Bloods series: Blue Bloods, Masquerade, Revelations, The Van Alen Legacy, Keys to the Repository, Misguided Angel, Bloody Valentine, Lost in Time, and Gates of Paradise. She lives in Los Angeles, California with her husband and daughter.

TO ENTER JUST COMMENT BELOW!

I will pick a winner from all the comments by random drawing on 5/11/2015. I will announce the winner on 5/12. Good luck!

You can read an excerpt of the book HERE!

Learn more at the DisneyDescendants.com HERE!

Visit Melissa de La Cruz at her Official Site THERE!


#DisneyDescendants

Review! The Isle of the Lost: A Descendants Novel by Melissa de la Cruz

4 May

The Disney Channel is set to show an interesting original movie this summer, Descendants. The movie follows the offspring of some of the most popular (and sometimes most wicked) Disney characters of all time. What does that have to do with books and reading? I just got done reading a fabulous prequel to the Descendants movie that Disney Publishing will release on May 5th. The book is called THE ISLE OF THE LOST.

islelostIsle of the Lost

By Melissa De La Cruz

320 pages – ages 9+

Published by Disney-Hyperion on May 5, 2015

Synopsis- Publisher’s description of the book – “Twenty years ago, all the evil villains were banished from the kingdom of Auradon to the Isle of the Lost–a dark and dreary place protected by a force field that makes it impossible for them to leave. Stripped of their magical powers, the villains now live in total isolation, forgotten by the world.

Mal learns from her mother, Maleficent, that the key to true darkness, the Dragon’s Eye, is located inside her scepter in the forbidden fortress on the far side of the island. The eye is cursed, and whoever retrieves it will be knocked into a deep sleep for a thousand years. But Mal has a plan to capture it. She’ll just need a little help from her “friends.” In their quest for the Dragon’s Eye, these four kids begin to realize that just because you come from an evil family tree, being good ain’t so bad.

What I Thought- The book is written by best-selling author Melissa de la Cruz (Blue Bloods series). I found Ms. de la Cruz’s writing style engaging. The plot line is funny, mysterious, and captivating! The characters’ personalities are spot-on. They have just enough of their Disney qualities to make them believable, but de la Cruz also mixes in some wackiness and surprises. The Disney character’s offspring are cool, younger, versions of their parents, but also have unique attributes. I like how the book describes how much the villains have changed over the years now that their magic has gone. The book has the right mixture of adventure, action, and a touch of evil to really keep it interesting. The story is perfect for middle grade, young adults, or any Disney fan. Both content, reading level and subject matter is appropriate for all ages. As I read the book, I found myself thinking – wishing, there would be more in the series, but alas, the next version of this story will be a movie. Can a movie live up to the wonderful story set up by de la Cruz in this book? With Disney’s touch of magic, I am hopeful it will.

I’d give this book 6 out of 5 bookworms – but my scale only goes to five!fivebooks

You can read an excerpt from the book at movies.disney.com/descendants/the-isle-of-the-lost

Visit Melissa de la Cruz’s website melissa-delacruz.com

Check out the Descendants website at movies.disney.com/descendants

STAY TUNED- TOMORROW I AM GOING TO OFFER A ISLE OF THE LOST PRIZE PACK!!!

Check out the trailer!

Perfect Picture Book Friday! How to Read a Story by Kate Messner

1 May

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 cute story about how to read a story with a buddy.

howtoreadHow To Read A Story
By Kate Messner
Illustrations by Mark Siegal
pages – ages 4+
Published by on

Theme/Topic- Reading

Genre- How-To/Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening

Step 1

Find A Story.

Synopsis – From Goodreads:

Step One: Find a story. (A good one.)
Step Two: Find a reading buddy. (Someone nice.)
Step Three: Find a reading spot. (Couches are cozy.)
Now: Begin.

Accomplished storytellers Kate Messner and Mark Siegel chronicle the process of becoming a reader: from pulling a book off the shelf and finding someone with whom to share a story, to reading aloud, predicting what will happen, and—finally—coming to The End. This picture book playfully and movingly illustrates the idea that the reader who discovers the love of reading finds, at the end, the beginning.”

Why I liked this book- This book made me smile while reading it. Ms. Messner has written a sweet book that will be perfect for bedtimes and classrooms everywhere. I like how the book has a story within a story within a story (“The Princess, The Dragon, and The Robot” (the story the characters read)). I like that the MCs are a kid and a dog – not 2 kids. The illustrations are amazing. They capture the spirit of the book perfectly.

haow2read2

Activities and Resources- 

 Well, DUH! Read a story with someone! They will enjoy it! :)

This book is a great way for a classroom to start a book club! You can all read the book (this book – or another) and talk about it using the steps in HOW TO READ A STORY.

It would also be fun to video tape someone reading a story and have them go through the “steps” to reading a story.

Hey speaking of that – here’s a video of me reading a story for National Read Aloud Day from, like, three years ago! How did I do?

Visit Kate Messner’s website HERE

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

 

 

 

The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake by Robin Newman GIVEAWAY!!!!!!!

30 Apr

Hey! Do you guys remember when I reviewed the very fun your reader mystery – “The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake” by Robin Newman (click the title for my review)?

carrotcake

Find it on Amazon HERE!

Summary from Goodreads: “When food goes missing on Ed’s farm, Detectives Wilcox and Griswold do what it takes to track down the thieves. In this case, Miss Rabbit’s carrot cake has disappeared. Has it been stolen? Or eaten? Or both? Who dunnit?

Well, guess what! Today is the day it is released!

You can purchase the book on Amazon HERE!

Ms. Newman, the author, has thankfully agreed to let me give away a copy of her book.

The only qualifications that are needed are that you help spread the word about Ms. Newman’s book via social media (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc. or reblog!).

The contest is open to everyone in the US.

Just let me know you shared in the comments below and you are in for the drawing!

I will randomly choose one winner from all the entries on May 6th and the winner will be announced May 7th.

Good Luck!

You can visit Ms. Newman’s website HERE.

Review! 7 Wonders: The Curse of the King by Peter Lerangis

29 Apr

sevenfour7 Wonders: The Curse of the King

by Peter Lerangis

Series: Seven Wonders (Book 4)
Hardcover: 320 pages – ages 8+
Published by HarperCollins on March 3, 2015

Synopsis- Jack McKinley was an ordinary kid. Emphasis on was. Not long ago, it was revealed to him that he has a special gene that gives people “superpowers” based on their natural attributes. Now he and some other kids his age with the gene are supposed to save the world, by traveling throughout the planet going to the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World, of which only one is still standing. They need to complete their mission before a major world-catastrophe happens. And why is Marco, one of their old friends, on the bad guys’ side?

What I Thought- This is the next book in a great series. Mr. Lerangis quickly brings readers up to speed, and then he dives right into the story. The characters are well-thought out. Jack is a great kid who is being hunted by evil monks. And, unlike his friends, he doesn’t really have any “superpowers,” which makes it all the more challenging. He and his two friends need to collect 7 magical orbs for two reasons: One, to save their own lives (they have a genetic mutation that gives them superpowers, but makes them have an early death), and two, to save the world. I like the suspense of their lives being at stake. I love how Mr. Lerangis pulls in history to the story and wraps an awesome adventure around it! Mr. Lerangis perfectly mixes humor, terror, action, and tragedy in this book. I am a fan of this series, and I can’t wait for the next book!

I give this 5 out of 5 bookworms!fivebooks

REVIEWS! Farewell Flopsy and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to School

27 Apr

Benjamin Chaud is a French author/illustrator whose work I admire. I am reviewing two of his latest books.

Both of these books get five out of five bookworms from me!

fivebooks

farewellFarewell Floppy
By Benjamin Chaud
40 pages – ages 3+
Published by Chronicle Books on March 3, 2015

Synopsis- From GoodReads: “It was the perfect plan: abandon pet rabbit Floppy in the woods and take a giant leap toward adulthood. Having a bunny that moonlights as a best friend is for babies, right? It’s better to cut a pet loose, make new human friends, and not be so dependent on a floppy-eared fur ball bent on chewing electrical cords, right? If saying good-bye to Floppy is required to grow up, why does life without Floppy seem so wrong?

What I Thought- After reading this book, I have decided that lop bunnies (what Floppy is) are the rabbit equivalent to Basset Hounds (which I have one). They both seem very lazy. ;)

photo-8

My dog Clyde’s “excited” look.

Mr. Chaud is a fabulous artist with an eye for detail. It really shows through in his work. This book is sweet, and teaches a valuable lesson. A story about deciding to abandon your pet in the woods may seem a bit harsh, but in reality, the story is about the boy choosing his pet and seeing how much he cares for him and the value in the pet. I like how the kid goes through a major character change by the end of the story. It made me smile.

afunnythingA Funny Thing Happened On The Way To School…
By Davide Cali
Illustrated by Benjamin Chaud
44 pages – ages 6+
Published by Chronicle Books on March 3, 2015

Synopsis- From GoodReads: “First, some giant ants steal breakfast.

Then there are the evil ninjas, massive ape, mysterious mole people, giant blob, and countless other daunting (and astonishing) detours along the way to school. Are these excuses really why this student is late? Or is there another explanation that is even more outrageous than the rest?

What I Thought- This is a follow-up to “I Didn’t Do My Homework Because…” (see my review HERE), and it didn’t disappoint! Kids will love this book! As someone who is almost always just in time to school, this book is a necessity for me! Mr. Cali and Mr. Chaud are a wonderful team who work very well together. The book is funny, and outrageous, and totally unbelievable…or is it? You’ll never know… Mr. Chaud did a great job illustrating. He has a realistic, yet whimsical approach to his art. I find it funny (and cool) how the ninjas’ legs can bend backwards. Cali’s zany story captures the mind of a kid perfectly. This is a great book!

Perfect Picture Book Friday! My Name is Truth by Ann Turner

24 Apr

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 motivational book that really inspires you to speak up for what you believe in.

truthMy Name is Truth: The Life of Sojourner Truth
By Ann Turner
Illustrations by James Ransome 
 40 pages – ages 6+
Published by HarperCollins on January 20, 2015

Theme/Topic- Slavery/Speaking Up

Genre- Nonfiction/Historical Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening – “My mama was a slave woman called Mau-Mau with sweet arms and eyes like a hawk I had a daddy, too, Bomefree, they loved all twelve of us and had to see us sold off one by one like horses for work their hearts most broke.”

Synopsis – From Goodreads: “Here is the remarkable true story of how former slave Isabella Baumfree transformed herself into the preacher and orator Sojourner Truth, as told by acclaimed author Ann Turner and award-winning illustrator James Ransome. An iconic figure of the abolitionist and women’s rights movements, Sojourner Truth famously spoke out for equal rights roughly one hundred years before the civil rights movement.

This beautifully illustrated and impeccably researched picture book biography underwent expert review by two historians of the period. My Name Is Truth includes a detailed historical note, an archival photo, and a list of suggested supplemental reading materials. Written in the fiery and eloquent voice of Sojourner Truth herself, this moving story will captivate readers just as Sojourner’s passionate words enthralled her listeners.

Why I liked this book- Ms. Turner has written a powerful book. It illustrates Ms. Truth’s life in a kid-friendly way. It references the fact that slaves were beaten, but emphasizes how families were torn apart and how very very hard slaves worked in bad conditions. It explains that Ms. Truth had a hard life, but she refused to let it beat her. It is an incredible story of courage and the difference one person can make if they speak up.  The illustrations are very well done and compliment the text nicely.

Activities and Resources- 

The book supports Common Core state standards.

The back end pages has a very interesting author’s note that reveals even more about Ms. Truth. There is also a list of suggested reading if you want to know more.

I found a lesson plan at the Sojourner Truth Memorial website – click HERE to get it.

HERE is a Sojourner Truth worksheet and HERE is a coloring page from Education.com

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

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,069 other followers

%d bloggers like this: