Tag Archives: bibliophile

Review! Dom’s Thanksgiving Catch by Saeeda Ruffin-Daniels

21 Nov

domscatchDom’s Thanksgiving Catch

Written by Saeeda Ruffin-Daniels

Illustrated by Malena Bonilla

26 pages – ages 7+

Published by MISA Publishing on October 8, 2015

Synopsis- When Dom is at school, and his teacher starts asking about what they’re having for Thanksgiving, he gets embarrassed when he blurts out “Fish”. Dom’s father lost his job, so they can’t get a turkey or any other “normal” holiday food. To cover for his “blunder” Dom accidentally invites his teacher over for Thanksgiving dinner, and anyone in his class that wants to come. Now, Dom has a problem on his hands. His family usually doesn’t have enough to feed the three of them. What about their guests?

What I Thought- This was a sweet book. I liked that it deals with real problems that can occur to anybody, such as job loss, embarrassment, homelessness, etc. Dom is a nice kid, and you understand his problems. I found it cool that the fish multiplied, and am assuming it is referencing the Bible story of the fish multiplying but it doesn’t out right say it. It gives a nice message that anyone of any faith can relate to.  The illustrations are nice, and they show a diverse cast of characters. The book is not a picture book but an illustrated short story. I also like the message of service to others and helping in any way you can. I enjoyed this book – it’s a short story about serving others and having faith that all will work out.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Ninja Baby by David Zeltser

20 Nov

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 liked this different type of jealousy over a new sibling story.

ninjaNinja Baby
Written by David Zeltser
Illustrated by Diane Goode

32 pages – ages 3+
Published by Chronicle Books on November 3, 2015

Theme/Topic- New Sibling/Jealousy

Genre- Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “When Nina was born, the doctor gently thumped her bottom to make sure she was breathing.

Nina karate chopped her right back.

Synopsis: From Goodreads- From the day she was born, Nina was a ninja baby. She obliterated her applesauce. She concealed herself at bath time. And she was training herself in advanced infiltration (of movie night). Nina wants to do everything by herself, until the day her parents bring home a Kung Fu Master (a baby brother). Now with a sibling, Nina will face the one thing she cannot do alone: be part of a family. With verve and humor, David Zeltser and Diane Goode tell the story of an unusually gifted child, and the family that is more than a match for her.

What I Thought- This was a fun book. I really liked how it applied the ninja (and Kung-Fu) activities to real life. Mr. Zeltser has created a great story, and the illustrations are awesome for it! They have little details that make it pretty cool. I really like the feeling of the story and I like how Nina reacts to her new Kung Fu Master baby brother. LOVED the ending of the book. It made me smile, and I like that it leaves the ending open. I can see this book giving a kid who is getting an older sibling a great feeling about the possibilities that he or she can do with their new sibling. Plus the book is just a super fun read. Any kid would like it (and their parents too)! Apparently this is Zeltser’s first picture book. I’d love to see more from him.

Activities and Resources-

Get your ninjas some training by creating your own ninja training studio! There are plenty of ninja themed games and craft activities you can do – HERE is a list of come suggestions.

Try out some martial arts with your kids! I love training in the martial arts and have been since I was 5, but you are never too young (or old) to start. Go to a trial class at a local studio, or if you are a teacher, you can invite an instructor into class to give a demonstration! 

Check out the book’s trailer below. 

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

Ramses Rat and the Great Cat Bastet by Sally Odgers

17 Nov

ramses_ratRamses Rat and the Great Cat Bastet

Written by Sally Odgers

Illustrated by Dushko Zafirovski

62 pages – ages 6+

Published by Prints Charming Books on September 18, 2015

Synopsis- Ramses Rat was a young rat who lived in Ancient Egypt. When he outgrew his nest in a V.I.P. (a Very Important Pyramid), he leaves to find a new home in the city. Ramses sees a temple of the Great Cat Bastet, and decides that it would be a nice, safe place to live. But on his way to try to enter through a rat-sized tunnel, a small group of rats stop him, and threaten him. That only serves to make Ramses want to get into the temple even more!

What I Thought- This was a fun book. I enjoyed reading about Ramses’ adventures. They are unique and will have kids interested. I liked the illustrations. They will remind kids of comics or cartoons. They complete the scenery of the world, and bring you into the story. The book is a nice early reader chapter book. It has 15 chapters, but they are a good lengths for beginning readers. This book is a basic story of anti-bullying (the mean rats won’t let Ramses through, they want to kick out all of the rats, etc) with a cool twist. I think that teachers will like this book for that message, and the fact that they can teach a bit of history into the book, with how they lived in Ancient Egypt. Overall, this is a fun book with a nice message!

I give this book four out of five bookworms.fourbooks

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Thanksgiving Picks from Eileen Spinelli

13 Nov

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 very sweet book.

Written by Eileen Spinelli
Illustrated by Archie Preston
32 pages – ages 4+
Published by Zonderkidz on September 1st, 2015

Theme/Topic- Being thankful

Genre- Realistic Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “

The waitress is thankful for comfortable shoes.

The local reporter, for interesting news.”

Synopsis: From Goodreads; “Thankful, by bestselling and award-winning children’s author Eileen Spinelli, combines charming rhymes and whimsical illustrations to convey the importance of being thankful for everyday blessings. Like the gardener thankful for every green sprout, and the fireman, for putting the fire out, readers are encouraged to be thankful for the many blessings they find in their lives. Spinelli exhibits her endearing storytelling with this engaging poem, reminding children how blessed and special they are. Meant to be read aloud, this heartwarming picture book will be a treasured keepsake for parents and children alike.

Why I liked this book- Mrs. Spinelli has done it again! This is a fantastic book to start a discussion about the blessings your family has. I really like the simple illustrations. They go perfectly with the story, and have a whimsical feeling to them. I like how the book shows the kids dressing up / interacting with parents for the careers. That was cute. This book would make a nice edition in any home or classroom. The two characters could be any children, and young kids will love that. There is a sweet rhyme throughout the book, making it a perfect read-aloud for young children.

Activities and Resources- For this book, and Thanksgiving at the Tappletons’ [BELOW], talk about the blessings that your family has. That things like a turkey or pie isn’t what Thanksgiving is about.

For younger kids, they can also say what different people would be thankful for

A NASCAR racer is thankful for good gas.

A blogger is thankful for his readers.

A cookie is thankful for his monster (well maybe not).

Check out the sweet trailer!


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

Here is my other Thanksgiving pick!

tappletonsThanksgiving at the Tappletons’
Written by Eileen Spinelli
Illustrated by Maryann Cocca-Leffler
32 pages – ages 5+
Published by HarperTrophy on October 1st 1992

Synopsis- From GoodReads: “Mrs. Tappleton gets up early to prepare the turkey. Mr. Tappleton sets off to buy the pies. Kenny makes the salad, and Jenny mashes the potatoes. Then all the relatives arrive for an enormous Thanksgiving dinner. But this year nothing seems to go right. First the turkey slides down the icy hill and into the pond — “plop! splash!” Then the bakery sells out of pies. It looks like it’s going to be a pretty bleak holiday…until Grandmother reminds everyone that there’s more to Thanksgiving than a turkey and trimmings.

What I Thought- This is a pretty funny book. I like how everyone means well, but still messes up. It makes for a really nice message at the end. The illustrations are nice, and remind me of our family’s Thanksgiving get-togethers. The story really captures the sense of family. Especially the fact that Uncle Fritz and Grandpa Tappleton keep saying that they are getting hungrier (“I could eat four elephants!”). I found that pretty realistic (sorry, Dad! ;) ).

Review! 101 Movies To See Before You Grow Up by Suzette Valle

11 Nov

Before I get to today’s review, I get to tell you that the guy over there wildly waving his hand has won the Voyagers prize pack provided by Disney publishing! If you missed my review of this great new series, check it out HERE.



Who is the guy?

Why it is none other than children’s book author and capybara lover – MIKE ALLEGRA!

Congratulations Mr. Allegra, I will be emailing you to get your mailing address so the publisher can send you the box of cats your prize pack!

Now, on to the review!


101movies101 Movies To See Before You Grow Up

Written by Suzette Valle

144 pages – ages 9+

Published by Walter Foster Jr on October 19th, 2015

Synopsis- Don’t spend your time looking for the latest movie to watch! There is a treasure trove of movies already made that you can feast your eyes on! Don’t know which ones of the thousands and thousands to watch? Are you looking for a good movie with lots of family fun? Or how about adventure? Fantasy? Even romance? This is the guide for you!

What I Thought- I like the idea of this book. Who wouldn’t love a list of a bunch of great movies? Of course there is always going to be someone saying so and so movie should be listed in the book (you can’t please everyone). I was happy to see some of my favorite movies listed (and the two greatest movies ever made – The Princess Bride and Star Wars ;) ). I liked that there were little “Fun Fact” boxes about the movies, actors, directors, etc. There is also a spot to put your own rating and notes about each movie. The author included a note cautioning about ratings (some movies are PG or PG-13). I enjoyed the book. I noticed the book was heavy on the recommended Disney movies. In all fairness Disney makes a ton of really great movies and I’ve seen almost every one mentioned in the book – actually the movies deserve to be on the list, but I would have liked to see some movies recommended that laid the groundwork for what movies are today (and ones that kids would enjoy). A Charlie Chaplin movie or Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein? How about a Harold Lloyd or a Buster Keaton Movie? But that is just my opinion. I do like that the book includes documentaries (some of which I still have to see) and it is very well organized. There are definitely movies on the list that I have marked to watch. After reading the book I am thinking maybe I should branch out – This Kid Reviews Movies ;)

I give this book four out of five bookworms. fourbooks

Review! Brain Games by Jennifer Swanson

10 Nov

braingamesBrain Games: The Mind-Blowing Science of Your Amazing Brain

Written by Jennifer Swanson

Forward by Hank Green

112 pages – ages 8+

Published by National Geographic Kids on September 8th 2015

Synopsis- Have you ever wondered what your brain can do – exactly? Why we feel what we feel? What makes us ‘go’? Get ready to take a trip through your brain with this National Geographic Kids book!

What I Thought- This is a really fascinating book! I enjoyed reading it. It presents the information in a fun way and makes you want to keep reading. There are new topics on each page, usually under the topic listed at the beginning of the section. (ex: Emotions). There are good activities throughout the book to tickle your brain and are just plain fun to do. The book has pictures through-out it that make the book reminiscent of a scrapbook-type collage. I sincerely recommend this book to everyone interested in the operations of the brain.

I give this book five out of five bookworms.fivebooks

Perfect Picture Book Friday! The Fox Forest Band by Lisa E. Lindman

6 Nov

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 we need good anti-bullying books in our lives and this one has a unique story.

foxforestThe Fox Forest Band
Written by Lisa E. Lindman
Illustrated by Chandra Wheeler

30 pages – ages 5+
Published by Hugo House Publishers on March 20, 2015

Theme- Bullying/Standing up

Genre- Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening Lines: “Once upon a time, there was a wood.

Old and beautiful the forest stood.

The creatures there were kind and wise

and lived out happy animal lives.”

Synopsis from GoodReads:A happy group of forest animals are stopped cold by a wizard’s enchanted fog that whispers their greatest fears. The animals think they have to run away but a brave fox gives them a better idea. He shows them how to stand up for themselves and how to handle the problem at its source.
Join the fox and his friends as they figure out how to defeat a bully wizard—and have fun in the process!

What I Thought- I really liked the message in this book – if you find a way to stand up for yourself, you should do it. The writing is very playful, and has created a fun setting for a great story. The book has awesome watercolor illustrations throughout the story, too. They add an extra dimension to the book. The story has nice rhyme to it. I like how the book is teaching a lesson of standing up for yourself in a sneaky way – it’s wrapped in a fun story. The lesson of the story and the illustrations really make this one a stand out! I enjoyed reading the book.

Activities and Resources-

PACER’S National Bullying Prevention Center’s website is PACKED with resources for home and in the classroom. Visit the site HERE.

KidsAgainstBullying.org and TeensAgainstBullying.org are great websites designed for kids to use.

To learn more about The Fox Forest Band, visit the official website HERE.


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

Blog Tour and Giveaway for the new series Voyagers! #VoyagersHQ

4 Nov

Today I am blogging about a new interactive multi-platform series from Random House. I was pleasantly surprised to learn this series is set in space and has a sci-fi feel to it. I am a fan of the multi-platform format for kids books because I think it hooks more kids into reading. I also love the idea of different authors carrying on the story from book to book and adding their own personality to the story as it grows. The new series from Random House is called Voyagers.


ABOUT THE SERIES (From the publisher)

The action is on the page, on your device, and out of this world! This multiplatform middle-grade series is fully locked and loaded and ready for launch, blasting off in Fall 2015.

Part sci-fi, part eco-mystery, all action-adventure!


As the young heroes in VOYAGERS journey into outer space to save planet Earth, readers are invited to become part of the story by joining the crew through the multi-platform, VOYAGERS HQ. The HQ extends the adventure beyond the page, unlocking games and activities on their devices.

Each book has clues and codes that lead to world extensions to be explored, played, and shared. Your online profile tracks your progress through the VOYAGERS universe, and gives you rewards, ranking and virtually currency for each product code redeemed.

Readers become part of the VOYAGERS world, which extends beyond the books to a digital interactive experience, and downloadable pay-for-play mobile apps games.

Readers can create their own custom VOYAGERS character, follow the team and experience this space adventure through the eyes of their own virtual droid.



by DJ MacHale

In Stores Now

Synopsis [from the Publisher]:

Earth is in danger! Without a renewable source of clean energy, our planet will be toast in less than a year. There are 6 essential elements that, when properly combined, create a new power source. But the elements are scattered throughout the galaxy. And only a spaceship piloted by children can reach it and return to Earth safely. First the ideal team of four 12-year-olds must be chosen, and then the first element must be retrieved. There is not a mistake to be made, or a moment to lose. The source is out there. Voyagers is blasting off in 3, 2, 1…

What I Thought [from me]- D.J. McHale sets the pace for this series in the first book. This was an engaging story. I really got hooked into the story and the characters were fun to read about. I like how the book has an environmental theme, and found the current Earth in the book (which is at an unspecified time period) a good reminder about where we will end up after a period of time. Not only that, but the fact that space exploration is a very near, very possible event. The book is really well-written, the story is set up nicely and it made this reader very anxious to get his hands on the next boo (fortunately I already have it ;) – see below ). I read the book in a day, and couldn’t put it down at all. The plot is realistic, and made me think of ways that the characters could get out of the situations.

About the Author [from the Publisher]:


*Credit: Gayle Goodrich*

D.J. MacHale is the author of the bestselling book series Pendragon, Morpheus Road, the SYLO Chronicles. He has written, directed and produced numerous award-winning television series and movies for young people including Are You Afraid of the Dark?; Flight 29 Down and Tower of Terror. D.J. lives with his family in Southern California.

Want to know more? Visit djmachalebooks.com or track him down on Twitter at @DJMacHale

VoyagersGameofFlamesBOOK 2: GAME OF FLAMES

by Robin Wasserman

In Stores Now

Synopsis [from the Publisher]:

The Alpha team has been chosen and they’ve already snagged the first element on planet J-16. The second is hidden on Meta-Prime, a planet filled with metal mazes, catapults of fire, and warring alien robots. But what our Voyagers don’t know is that there is another ship, the Omega team, following hot on their trail…

What I Thought [from me]: WOW! I liked the second book even more than the first. I don’t know if it’s just the fact that the world is an amazing steampunk fantasy, or if it’s because its characters are developed further. Maybe it’s both. In this book, the characters learn several lessons of being on a team, but also about each other. It’s interesting to see how they are adapting to their tasks. Ms. Wasserman’s writing style is fun, yet still serious – it’s a good mix. I would continue reading the series in a heartbeat – it’s that good! Not so patiently waiting for the next book by PATRICK CARMAN (one of my favorite authors find him at @PatrickCarman) due out on January 5, 2015! 

Author Bio [from the Publisher]:


*Credit: Sonya Sones*

Robin Wasserman is the author of several acclaimed books for children and young adults, including The Waking Dark, The Book of Blood and Shadow, Hacking Harvard, the Cold Awakening Trilogy, and the Chasing Yesterday Trilogy. A former children’s book editor, she lives and writes (and frequently procrastinates) in Brooklyn, New York.

Want to learn more? Visit robinwasserman.com or track her down on Twitter @RobinWasserman


BOOK 1: PROJECT ALPHA BY D.J. MacHale [out now]
BOOK 2: GAME OF FLAMES BY Robin Wasserman [out now]
BOOK 3: OMEGA RISING BY Patrick Carman [01/05/16]
BOOK 4: INFINITY RIDERS BY Kekla Magoon [03/01/16]
BOOK 5: ESCAPE THE VORTEX BY Jeanne DuPrau [03/01/16]
BOOK 6: THE SEVENTH ELEMENT BY Wendy Mass [05/03/16]


The other cool thing is that this book also has an interactive, online game (called Voyagers HQ) as a part of the multi-platform program of the series. At the online portion of the series, you can make your own profile, unlock bonus content by cracking codes, and I especially like how you can investigate the planets in the series. You can design your own ZRK Commander robot (I like how the robot in the series is calles STEAM – a common acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math). It looks like they will be adding more features as the series continues. I am curios to see how that develops. Check it out HERE!


Giveaway open to US addresses only.

Prizing and samples provided by Random House Children’s Books.


Get the full Voyagers experience! One winner in the US receives:

  • The first two books in the series;
  • Branded iPhone6 case and home GadgetGrip button to deck out your device while experiencing the Voyagers app.
  • TO WIN JUST COMMENT BELOW AND YOU WILL BE ENTERED! I will pick a winner randomly from all eligible entries on November 10th and announce the winner on November 11.

Learn more at Voyagers HQ!

November UBFP Column – Chelsea Clinton Appears at Children’s Book World

3 Nov

I write for the UBFP Newspaper!I wanted to share the article I wrote for the Upper Bucks Free Press (the newspaper I write for) for the November 2015 issue! The street and online version were just published. To see the online version of the newspaper, click HERE or you can read the whole story below (with some added pictures ;) )!

Hope you enjoy the article!

Chelsea Clinton Appears at Children’s Book World

By Erik Weibel

I was excited to attend a book signing by former fist daughter, Chelsea Clinton. Ms. Clinton recently wrote a children’s book titled “It’s Your World: Get Informed, Get Inspired, & Get Going!” (Philomel Books, September 15, 2015) The book is a well-written guide on many of the issues facing our world today as well as providing motivation to get kids to do something about it.


The event took place at Children’s Book World, in Haverford PA. When asked about a having a figure like Ms. Clinton at the book store, owner Heather Hebert said that an event like this brings the store onto people’s radars. Hebert is appreciative of publishers like Penguin Books (publisher of Clinton’s new book) for continuing to send amazing authors to Children’s Book World. Since some people were coming just because Ms. Clinton was there, Hebert hoped that once in the doors of this gem of a bookstore, the people will become regular patrons. Hebert said, it is “exciting to get people from new places.”


There definitely were a lot of people at the event! By the time it started, the line to get into the store was down the block and around the corner. The estimated attendance was between 450-500 people. As I waited my turn in line, I got a chance to ask a few people how they came to hear about the event. Some were store patrons that received notification from the store’s email list. Heather Bickley, and her children Lily and Noah, were new to the store, and had heard about the event via social media. Some in line were already familiar with Ms. Clinton’s book, liked the message and wanted to show support for it. One woman said that her children were always interested in charity works, and another said that he liked the overall message and ideas in the book. IMG_1162Piper Martz had heard about the event from her political science teacher via email, and had told her friend Anne Clare. They admitted that they were skipping class, but thought that meeting Chelsea Clinton made up for it. Piper pointed out that the “academic value of meeting Chelsea Clinton is incomparable to studying in school”, (I feel I should point out that, if their teachers read this article, they were working on their studies while waiting in line).



Ms. Clinton draws on her experiences as first daughter in the book. As first daughter, she was in a position to see the world in a way not many have the opportunity to and it shaped the story for the book. The book is about inspiring children by teaching them with an overview of the world’s challenges, like poverty, poaching, homelessness, and environmental issues. She gives examples of what other kids were doing to help combat some of these problems. When I got my chance to meet Ms. Clinton, she agreed to talk with me a little about the book. I ask her about the enormity of the problems outlined in the book and said that, as just one kid, it all seemed way too big to even start to do anything. Ms. Clinton told me to “look at big problems as lots of little problems” and work on the little ones. As I was talking to her, she told me about the story of a boy named Alex, who wanted to tackle the problem of homelessness and poverty. Instead of starting with the almost impossible task of completely stopping these problems, he chose to work on one part of it. Alex realized he always had extra pieces in his LEGO sets after he was done building them. He thought of the kids who don’t have any LEGOs at all because of their life situation. He took action and started collecting LEGO sets for these kids. Alex ended up donating thousands of LEGO sets to kids who couldn’t afford them. Clinton says this is just one example of how kids can make a difference.


At the end of each chapter, Ms. Clinton has a page of suggestions that you can do to help with whatever the chapter’s topic is. The suggestions are simple things that you can do to slowly change your life to take action help others. I really liked the entire layout of the book, and recommend it to any kid interested in making the world a better place. The message in the book and the theme at the book signing is something kids can all get behind, “We all can do something” Ms. Clinton said.

To learn more about Children’s Book World, please visit ChildrensBookWorld.net

If you would like to read more about books and reading, please go to Thiskidreviewsbooks.com.

Review! Connect the Stars by Marisa de los Santos and David Teague

2 Nov

connectConnect the Stars

Co-written by Marisa de los Santos and David Teague

352 pages – ages 9+

Published by HarperCollins on September 22, 2015

Synopsis- Aaron Archer is a living encyclopedia – he remembers every single thing he’s read/heard – word for word.

Audrey Alcott is a walking lie detector – she can tell when someone lies – every single time – no matter the lie.

They have no idea who the other is. They live pretty far apart.

But when their parents (who also don’t know each other) decide, for various reasons, that spending six weeks in the total outdoors would do the kids good, they meet. They also meet some other kids (some nice, some not-so), and a crazy guy in charge of the event.

And thus starts the adventure of a lifetime.

What I thought- This was a really well-written book! I enjoyed the uniqueness of the fact that Audrey and Aaron pretty much have super-powers, but the story just makes them out to be interesting people with great talents. It made it seem almost normal – almost. Ms. de los Santos and Mr. Teague set up a wonderful story with these two unique kids thrown into an environment that really challenges them. The setting is a great place for the adventure – the Texas “Desert” Plains. The kids must learn to get along with each other, and also survive the blazing sun and landscape. When a classmate disappears after getting into a fight with the counselor, the kids team together to get to the bottom of it. I like how they learn to work together despite having very different personalities.  I enjoyed every second of it.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks


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