Bunnies and Spring and Superheros OH MY!

1 Apr

With Spring and Easter right around the corner, I have a line up of books that should be on your TBR list!

bunniesBunnies!!!
By Kevan Atteberry
32 pages – ages 4+
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on January 27 2015

Synopsis- Declan the monster was taking a hike through the woods, being polite by saying hello to everything he meets. And then, he sees… BUNNIES!!! Like any self-respecting monster, he gets a… tad excited. Just a tad. But you know what? Those bunnies run away! Poor Declan. He just wants to be with the BUNNIES!!!

What I Thought- Well, in my book, any book (hee hee) with 3 exclamation points in the title and a group of multi-coloured bunnies and a cute, fluffy monster on the cover is already a winner! Mr. Atteberry has written a great picture book. I saw that Mr. Atteberry has illustrated many picture books but this is his first author/illustrated book. There are cute illustrations, and a fun storyline. The text is very sparse and the story is told mostly through the illustrations. I kept thinking of Declan as a over-sized toddler running after the bunnies. I really enjoyed this story. I have one last thought on this book – BUNNIES!!!

upinthegardenUp in the Garden and Down in the Dirt
by Kate Messner
Illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal
52 pages – ages 5+
Published by Chronicle Books on March 3, 2015

Synopsis- A little girl and her nana start/continue a garden, and the book chronicles how they farm and tend to the garden, while animals and bugs do what they naturally do.

What I Thought- This is a really sweet book that explains how nature helps make a garden, with teamwork. You work above ground, they can work below ground. The illustrations are eye-pleasing, and creative. They whimsically show everything happening in the garden. The story line shows bonding between the girl and her nana, and tells you a little about how bugs and animals help a garden (even skunks help!). I really like this picture book!

findingspringFinding Spring
By Carin Berger
40 pages – ages 4+
Published by Greenwillow Books on January 27, 2015

Synopsis- Maurice is a bear cub, who is excited to experience his first spring! Sadly, he has to take a [long] nap. But, Maurice is so excited, he can’t wait! So, when his mother goes to sleep, Maurice slips out of the cave, and searches for spring! And, then, when a white flake of spring appears, Maurice is over-joyed. He ends up bringing a huge ball of the white flakes home in his scarf, to show his mother. He takes his nap first, though.

What I Thought- Well, with the fact that it is April and that we just got 4 more inches of snow, I want to find spring too! This book is cute. Maurice is impatient, so he sneaks out and discovers “Spring”. What kid wouldn’t do that? His personality really shines through, and I like his scarf ;) . The story is cute but what really grabs you is the illustrations. They are just cool. They are all collages. The random lines of letters are a nice touch too.

bunniesbunniesAll Hallows Eve: Bunnies! Bunnies! Bunnies!
By David Eveleigh
ebook 5300 words – ages 9+
Published by Smashwords on April 3, 2015

Synopsis- All Hallows Eve is back in an all-new adventure! It’s Easter-time, and Eve is helping at an Easter egg hunt for orphans. Then some greasers (you know, from the 1950’s? After all, Eve lives around then!) wearing bunny-ears and toting pistols come and try to rob the orphanage. Eve goes to stop them (they’re ruining the orphans’ Easter!), and suddenly finds herself as a bunny – and powerless! What can she do?

What I Thought- I am a huge fan of Eve and her adventures. The Eve novela books are written in comic style, but are a written story with some illustrations.  Eve’s adventures are clean reads for kids and they always have a great message with out being “preachy.”Mr. Eveleigh has written a great 13th book in this series. His comic images are peppered throughout the book, and add some humor to the story. The book itself combines humor and mystery into a great story – add some Eve superhero powers and you get a book any kids will like! I like how Mr. Eveleigh keeps you on the edge of your seat at all times. I can’t wait for book #14!

I hope you find these great books! :D They all get 5 out of 5 bookworms from me! fivebooks

Review! The Ultimate Treasure Quest I: The Jewel of Peru by Sharon Skretting

30 Mar

jewelperuThe Ultimate Treasure Quest I: The Jewel of Peru

By Sharon Skretting

316 pages – ages 8+

Published by Sharon Skretting on September 20, 2014

Synopsis- From the Publisher: “After his father’s ship is found abandoned at sea, Christopher makes and unexpected discovery on board—The Ultimate Treasure  Chest!  Inside is a message that beckons him to set sail after the treasure and his parents. When a savage pirate and a corrupt businessman join forces to steal the treasure for themselves, the gang gets caught up in pirate chases, time travel, and an underground network of spies. Will Christopher find the Jewel and his parents or will all be lost forever?

What I Thought- This was a fun time-travel book.  I specially liked that the characters were not from modern times but from the 18th century and they travel forward to our time. The characters are kid sailors and they transport to modern day Peru.  Ms. Skretting has written an authentic sounding 1700’s story, and then she put them in a modern-day situation, and it was just as believable. The characters are well-developed and you feel a connection to them. Christopher is a great kid and an enjoyable MC. The story is solid, but the story does not keep the same exciting pace  after the first couple challenges the characters face.  Still, the story is good and a great choice for kids. The book had educational parts. You learn about the environment and Peru throughout the story, as the characters are challenged to learn about them to get to the next stage.

I give “The Jewel of Peru” four out of five bookworms.fourbooks

Perfect Picture Book Friday! All About Korea by Ann Martin Bowler

27 Mar

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 book that teaches in a fun way. 

koreaAll About Korea

By Ann Martin Bowler

Illustrations by Soosoonam Barg

64 pages – ages 7+

Published by Tuttle Publishing on April 10, 2011

Opening and Synopsis-

Opening: “What’s the spiciest food you’ve ever eaten? How do you break a board with your bare hand? Why in the world would you send a message off on a kite at the end of the year? Can Blue Dragons protect you?

Synopsis from publisher: “Perfect for educators or parents wishing to teach kids about different Asian cultures, this new book in the Tuttle All About Asia series includes favorite games, foods, special holiday times and after-school activities unique to Korea. All About Korea is a fun-filled journey to a new place. Korean culture and history are featured prominently in this colorful Korean book for kids, allowing an educational as well as entertaining experience.

  • Learn how to play the exciting Korean see-saw game with a friend, how to sing “Happy Birthday” in Korean, and how kids say “hello!”
  • Other activities include making a White Tiger puppet, playing jegi (Korean hacky-sack) and singing “Arirang,” Korea’s most beloved song.
  • Enjoy the traditional Korean stories “Taming a Tiger” and “Two Foolish Green Frogs.”
  • Easy Korean recipes are included for delicious treats like kimbap (roll-your-own wraps) and songpyeon (sweet filled rice cakes).

All About Korea is a book for families to treasure together. It offers not only the most important facts about Korean, but also reflects the spirit that makes Korea one-of-a-kind.

What I Thought- This is a great activity-filled ,information-packed book that teaches you about life as it is and was in Korea (see my review of All About China from the same publisher HERE). It talks about the activities of Korea, daily life in Korea, games and traditions of Korea, and much more! It says a little about the separating of North and South Korea, and that there is now a huge military boarder in between (in the “A Bit of History” section). It says that the book is about life in South Korea, because the two governments have gone different ways. There is a huge diversity in the things to read about. Ms. Bowler has written a wonderful encyclopedia-like resource, with lots of activities to make it more exciting than just reading a textbook. Ms. Barg’s illustrations are a cool format and make the story come to life. They are realistic and captivating. I could see schools or homeschool families using this book to teach a whole unit on Korea.

Activities and Resources –  Tuttle Publishing has a ton of resources to go along with the book – Click HERE to get it.

One of the crafts I really like in the packet from Tuttle is to make a folding fan –

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

 

I am feeling a bit purple today.

26 Mar

I am feeling a bit purple today. If you haven’t noticed, my blog is a bit purple – I am wearing purple heading off to school. Why all the purple?!?

Today is PURPLE DAY!

A day to bring awareness about epilepsy.

purpleday

According to the Purple Day website “Cassidy Megan created the idea of Purple Day in 2008, motivated by her own struggles with epilepsy. Cassidy’s goal is to get people talking about epilepsy in an effort to dispel myths and inform those with seizures that they are not alone.” Click HERE to learn more.

I first became aware of epilepsy through Bethany Telles and reading about her son (Master Jedi) Renn. Renn has gone through some scary things with the condition and I’ve learned a lot about epilepsy through reading about him. I am happy to say that Mrs. Telles reports Renn is doing well and (after a very scary brain surgery), has been seizure free for one year! To read more about Renn CLICK HERE. After learning about Renn and epilepsy, I learned some of the kids at school have it some of my blogger friends (their loved ones) have it – I think it is a subject that kids need to know about it even if you don’t have epilepsy. It will help you understand what is happening to people in your lives who may have it.

In my effort to spread awareness about epilepsy, I have two book recommendations for you.

mommyIfeelfunny

Mommy, I Feel Funny!

By Danielle M. Rocheford

Illustrated by Chris Herrick 

40 pages – ages 8+
Published by Green Swing, A Wyatt-MacKenzie Imprint on March 1, 2009

GoodReads SummaryBased on a true story, Mommy, I Feel Funny! introduces the reader to Nel, a little girl who is diagnosed with epilepsy. The story takes you through the days following Nels first seizure. Suddenly, Nel and her family are faced with thoughts, fears and emotions that come with the discovery, understanding and acceptance of epilepsy. 

katethegreatThe Great Katie Kate Explains Epilepsy

by M. Maitland DeLand

Illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin

32 pages – ages 5+
Published by Greenleaf Book Group Press on January 7, 2014

GoodReads Summary – Jimmy and the other young patients in the neurologist’s office get a visit from the Great Katie Kate, a spunky redheaded superhero who appears when kids get worried. Katie Kate takes the children on a medical adventure to learn about the various forms of epileptic seizures and treatments. Along the way, they meet the Worry Wombat, a creature that appears when worries loom large. As Jimmy and his new friends to ask questions about their condition and its triggers, they make the Worry Wombat disappear!

This superhero saga provides an entertaining and indispensable tool for parents and medical professionals who are seeking a positive way to help young epilepsy patients understand their condition and deal with their fears. As a well-respected physician who specializes in the treatment of women and children, the author presents challenging medical concepts in clear, accurate, and understandable prose.

Do you have any book recommendations that teach about epilepsy?

Now go wear some purple!

IMG_0063

 

Review! The Island of Dr. Libris by Chris Grabenstein

24 Mar

Before I get to my review, I get to announce that Mr. Laj won the James Patterson Prize Pack o’ Books I am giving away on my blog!!! CONGRATULATIONS! I will be emailing you to see where you’d like the books sent.

prizepack

So the FABULOUS James Patterson series- I Funny, Treasure Hunters and House of Robots have a SUPER FANTABULOUS co-author CHRIS GRABENSTEIN! Felicia and I just interviewed Mr. Grabentein on the Write Chat – Click HERE to see the vlog! AND Mr. Grabenstein just happens to be the author of the book I am reviewing today! (I feel like I am playing the Kevin Bacon game) .

Now today is not only the day I review Chris Grabenstein’s new book, it is the day it is released! HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY!!! WOO! Mr. Lemoncello’s Library fans will NOT be disappointed in Chris Grabenstein’s latest fantastic story!

drlibThe Island of Dr. Libris

By Chris Grabenstein

256 pages – ages 9+

Published by Random House Books for Young Readers on March 24, 2015

Synopsis- Billy Gillfoyle’s parents may be getting separated. This may explain why his mom is spending the summer at a rented lake house owned by one of her colleagues, Dr. Xiang Libris, and Billy is to spend the summer with her while she works on a very important paper for work. The house is on the shore of a lake overlooking an island in the middle of the lake – Dr. Libris’ Island. Dr. Libris owns it all. The lake house has no TV or video game system, and shortly after coming, Billy accidentally breaks his iPhone (and simultaneously made a friend and some enemies). Desperate for entertainment, Billy decides to turn to the library room, which has a bookcase full of amazing books, with one drawback – the bookcase is locked. After an intensive search, Billy finds the key, and when he opens the books and reads them, he seems to hear the swords clashing, the voices yelling, the feet trampling. And it all seems to come from Dr. Libris’ island in the middle of the lake…

What I Thought- This was an amazing book. It really creates a world one would love to join. Characters coming to life by reading – in my mind, that is PARADISE! The story is cool and very suspenseful. I like how everything ties together in the end. Mr. Grabenstein has written a fun action-adventure book that, I bet, almost every reader will hope were true! Billy still likes his parents and believes that they will stay together. Billy, thinks they have the perfect marriage and they seem like a nice family. His mom is more serious, but still fun, in a way, while his dad is more laid back and thrill-seeking. It was good that his parents didn’t hate each other, and that they seemed to have a nice relationship with each other. All that added to the depth of the story. I REALLY loved this book! The characters in the book feel so realistic that you believe that this could happen. It was cool that Dr. Libris himself was kind of a background character in the story – kind of remaining mysterious.

I give “The Island of Dr. Libris” five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

WANT TO LEARN MORE?!? You can read sample chapters and get an educator’s guide to go with the book at Chris Grabentein’s website – CLICK HERE!

The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake by Robin Newman

23 Mar

carrotcakeThe Case of the Missing Carrot Cake

By Robin Newman

Illustrated by Deborah Zemke

40 pages – ages 5+

Published by Creston Books  on May 12, 2015

Synopsis- 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?

What I Thought- First off, I love the fact that the detectives are mice, and that they are MFI’s (Missing Food Investigators). That is just plain awesomeness there! The story is everything a kid would want – the writing is kid-friendly, there are cute main characters, a mystery to solve, humor, and great illustrations. The mystery keeps the main characters wrapped up in it and guessing. As more and more carrot cake goes missing, more and more suspects are added! The MFI’s have a big problem on their hands! The illustrations are great, with some funny details (the cop-car has a wind-up key on the side of it), and remind me of Roald Dahl’s illustrations. They compliment the story very well. Kids are going to love this one!

WANT TO WIN A COPY?!?

There is a GoodReads giveaway going on right now! CLICK HERE!

I give “The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake” five out of five bookworms!fivebooks


WANT TO KNOW MORE?!?

You can download a copy of the teacher’s guide that goes along with THE CASE OF THE MISSING CARROT CAKE – click HERE!

Check out Ms. Newman’s website by clicking HERE!

Check out Ms. Zemke’s site HERE!

Review! Bayard Rustin: The Invisible Activist By Jacqueline Houtman, Walter Naegle, and Michael G. Long

22 Mar

 

Babayardyard Rustin: The Invisible Activist

By Jacqueline Houtman, Walter Naegle, and Michael G. Long

166 pages – ages 10+
Published by QuakerPress of FGC on November 13, 2014

Summary – (from GoodReads) “We need, in every community, a group of angelic troublemakers” -Bayard Rustin Bayard Rustin: The Invisible Activist is a new biography for ages 10 and up. . . To many, the civil rights movement brings to mind protests, marches, boycotts, and freedom rides. They often think of people like Martin Luther King, Jr. or Rosa Parks. They seldom think of Bayard Rustin. Raised by his Quaker grandmother to believe in the value of every human being, Bayard made trouble wherever he saw injustice. As a teenager, he was arrested for sitting in the whites only section of a theater. More arrests followed, for protesting against segregation, discrimination, and war. His belief in nonviolent action as a means for social change gave him a guiding vision for the civil rights movement, which he used to mentor the young Martin Luther King, Jr. When A. Philip Randolph needed the best organizer on the planet, he turned to Bayard Rustin to bring 250,000 people to the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Illustrated with over sixty photos, this book is the product of a unique collaboration between three authors: Bayard’s partner of ten years, a professor of religious studies, and a children’s book author. Though he is largely ignored in history books, Bayard’s ideas and actions will inspire today’s young (and not-so-young) readers to be angelic troublemakers.

What I Thought – There is obviously a great need for this book because Bayard Rustin is a name I have never heard. I’ve studied the Civil Rights movement in school and it is sad I have never heard of Mr. Rustin. I was interested that Mr. Rustin grew up as a Quaker (his grandmother was a Quaker and she raised him). He grew up near where I used to live. His upbringing gave Mr. Rustin a desire to bring change through peaceful means or passive resistance. I also found it very interesting that Mr. Rustin was himself discriminated against by some of the very people he was trying to help during the Civil Rights movement, because of him being gay. The book is not just a good resource on Mr. Rustin, but also a good resource for information on the Civil Rights movement, segregation and pacifism. There is a ton of references in the back for further reading or to see where the information in the book comes from. There are little fact boxes spread through the book that gives details on some of the subjects touched upon in the book. Photographs of historical and events in Mr. Rustin’s life are sprinkled in the book. They add a level of interest to the story. The one issue I had with the book is that it reads more like a text book than a book kids will pick up to read. Having said that, I think the book would be an excellent resource for teachers when they are covering the Civil Rights movement in their class.

Four out of five book worms for Bayard Rustin: The Invisible Activist. fourbooks

The Missing Alchemist by Caldric Blackwell

21 Mar

alchemisThe Missing Alchemist

By Caldric Blackwell

128 pages – ages 8+

Published by Icasm Press January 13, 2015

 

Synopsis- From the back cover: “Having grown up in an orphanage, Craig Pike appreciates his comfortable life as a student of Cornelius, a famous alchemist. But when Cornelius is kidnapped, Craig leaves comfort behind to search for him. Craig teams up with Audrey Clife, a clever archer, and together they travel across mysterious lands and battle otherworldly creatures. Their journey reveals that Cornelius’s kidnapping is only a small part of an evil alchemist’s elaborate grab for power, and the only people standing in his way are Craig and Audrey…

What I Thought- This was a really cool fantasy story. It explains how magic is incorporated into the world (and how it is used) very effectively. Craig is a good kid, whom you instantly want to cheer on. Audrey is a good character and she’s also a girl, which is awesome. She saves Craig multiple times, due to her creativity, and skill with a bow and swords. The land that the story takes place in is described well. Mr. Blackwell has written a good fantasy story (plot-wise and reading level) for young middle-grade readers or elementary kids just getting into fantasy. The story has the potential of being a great fantasy novel for older MG readers if the plot and characters were a bit more involved and expanded on.

I give this book 4 out of 5 bookworms!fourbooks

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Cat & Bunny By Mary Lundquist

20 Mar

Before I get to another fabulous Perfect Picture Book Friday pick – when you are done here, click on over the Felicia and my vlog The Write Chat where we are interviewing JENNIFER LYNN ALVAREZ today! CLICK HERE!

alvarez

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 has a really cute story.

catandbunnyCat & Bunny

Written and Illustrated By Mary Lundquist

4 – 8 years
32 pages – ages 4+

Published by Balzer + Bray on January 27, 2015

Genre: Fiction

Theme/Topic: Friendship/Making New Friends/Keeping Old Friends

Opening and Synopsis:Cat and Bunny were born on the same day of the same month in the same year. Right from the start, they did everything together. Just the two of them.

What I Thought- This is a marvelous picture book! It really makes you feel good inside. Congratulations to Ms. Lundquist because this is her debut picture book! Judging from this one, we are in for more great stories! The illustrations are very sweet and cute. I like how they look like kids in animal footie pajamas. :)  The story is a great way to teach kids that you can have more than one friend. It also gives the message that you can play with more than one friend and still have a BFF. This is a wonderful picture book!

You can check out interior illustrations at Ms. Lundquist’s website – click HERE.

Activities and Resources-

Teacher Planet has a ton of suggested lesson plans for making friends in school. Click HERE to go THERE.

In the book, Cat made up a new game (called the “Made-Up Game). It would be a fun activity for kids to make up their own game and have others play it. My sister and I used to do this all the time. :)

 

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

Review! Banneker Bones and the Giant Robot Bees by Robert Kent

18 Mar

WATCH OUT – A NINJA HAS INVADED MY BLOG!!!

Middle Grade NinjaOh **PHEW** it’s Robert Kent! The MIDDLE GRADE NINJA! Not one of those Ra’s al Ghul going-to-get-rid-of-Batman kind of ninjas.

Mr. Kent runs a blog called –

robotbeesBanneker Bones and the Giant Robot Bees

by Robert Kent

Illustrated by Adam Smith

Series The And Then Story

354 pages – ages 8+
Published by CreateSpace on September 18, 2014

Summary (from GoodReads) – “Fifth grader Ellicott Skullworth has always felt out of place at public school and now he’s tested into the Archimedes Program at Latimer University. While in Latimer City, he’ll be living with his world famous and insane(ly) brilliant cousin, Banneker Bones, the eleven-year-old inventor of robots. The only problem: Banneker doesn’t want to share his room. And he’s got an army of robots to make Ellicott miserable until he goes home.

When the boys are ambushed by robot bees as big as cars, Ellicott’s only friend is carried off and held for ransom. To rescue him, Ellicott has no choice but to partner with his maniacal cousin. Ellicott doesn’t know what’s worse: facing a hive of giant robot bees or spending more time with Banneker Bones.

BANNEKER BONES AND THE GIANT ROBOT BEES features original illustrations by Adam Smith. It’s a humorous, science fiction adventure for readers of all ages written in the spirit of a comic book.

What I Thought – This is a really cool book. Mr. Kent has written a unique story where the government’s fear is that robots will be taking over everyone’s jobs. And Banneker’s family are the ones making the robots. I like the fact that Banneker Bones isn’t the main character, and that he’s a jerk. It provided a lot of humor in the story. Ellicott is a great kid that you really feel for. It’s not his fault that his cousin wrongly hates him – like I said Banneker is a jerk!  The robots described in the book are really amazing. They are state-of-the-art technology, and the world still hates them! There is a ton of character development in the book. Reggie and Ellicott (sort of) bond, while Banneker just gets grumpier, but in a way you kind of like him. The black and white illustrations really do the story justice (there are a few scattered throughout the book). They picture the characters and setting just like what is described in the book, giving the story another dimension. The story is at a great reading level for MG readers. This new s is a really fun book to read!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

WAIT! HERE’S SOME AWESOME NEWS!

Click HERE to get a free Kindle copy of BANNEKER BONES AND THE GIANT ROBOT BEES ! This great story is FREE today and tomorrow! Hurry on over!

Want to know more? Click on over to MIDDLE GRADE NINJA (click HERE) and read excerpts from Mr. Kent’s books. You can also read more about Mr. Kent and his writings.

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