Tag Archives: bibliophile

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.


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)?


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!


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. ;)


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!

Review! The Kidney Hypothetical by Lisa Yee

22 Apr

kidneyThe Kidney Hypothetical (or how to ruin your life in seven days)
By Lisa Yee
272 pages – ages 12+
Published by Arthur A. Levine Books on March 31, 2015

Synopsis- From GoodReads: “Higgs Boson Bing has seven days left before his perfect high school career is completed. Then it’s on to Harvard to fulfill the fantasy portrait of success that he and his parents have cultivated for the past four years. Four years of academic achievement. Four years of debate championships. Two years of dating the most popular girl in school. It was, literally, everything his parents could have wanted. Everything they wanted for Higgs’s older brother Jeffrey, in fact.

But something’s not right. And when Higgs’s girlfriend presents him with a seemingly innocent hypothetical question about whether or not he’d give her a kidney…the exposed fault lines reach straight down to the foundations of his life…

What I Thought- I dislike teen romance stories. BUT bonus points to the author for having the main character break up with his girlfriend in Chapter Two. :) At first, I wasn’t sure if I’d like this book but I found the story written well and there was enough of a story line to keep me interested. The book is young YA level (reading and content). It is a short read but the story moves along at a good pace and it feels complete when you are done. The characters were well-rounded but parts of the plot seemed a bit unrealistic- Higgs gives up going to Harvard?!? The story overall keeps the reader’s attention and there are some thoughtful moments between Higgs  and Monarch (a girl Higgs befriends after he broke up with his girlfriend). There wasn’t the WOW factor for me in the story to say run to the bookstore to buy it, but it is definitely worth a read.

I give this book 3 out of 5 bookworms.threebooks

Review! Grounded: The Adventures of Rapunzel by Megan Morrison

21 Apr

groundedGrounded: The Adventures of Rapunzel
By Megan Morrison
384 pages (hardcover) – ages 9+
Published by Arthur A. Levine Books on April 28, 2015

Synopsis- Rapunzel lived in a tower, and she had everything she wanted. Witch gave it to her. Witch loved her. And Rapunzel was happy. That is, until a boy climbs her tower and claims that they’ve met. Even weirder, they met… Yesterday. But how is that possible? Rapunzel would have remembered. So, Rapunzel decides he’s lying. Yet somehow, he has her handkerchief. Could what he say be… true? Then, he steals a rose and runs off. What choice does Rapunzel have? She follows him. And thus begins the adventure of a lifetime.

What I Thought- This was a great book. I like how it explains that Rapunzel has no hard feelings towards the Witch – after all, Witch did raise her. I often thought that about the Rapunzel story – she sees the Witch as her mom but then again she’s been her prisoner – very weird situation… I digress. Ms. Morrison has written a wonderful book about so much more than the Rapunzel story. The story is full of adventure, and a slightly wacky world. The story is filled with humor, the right amount of tension and a plot line that keeps the reader interested. I found it funny how all of the countries were named, based on colors – nice detail. Rapunzel is a great character, kind of single-minded and gullible, but that is explainable (she was raised in a tower afterall). The book plays on questions that the original Rapunzel fairytale created like “Why would Rapunzel want to be kidnapped from her home?” or “Why was Rapunzel’s father so idiotic to trade his only daughter for a piece of food?”. Things like that. :) The book very funny, and will have you rolling on the floor! Based on this book, I’d be happy to read more from Ms. Morrison.

I give this book 5 out of 5 bookworms!fivebooks

Perfect Picture Book Friday! A Nest is Noisy by Dianna Hutts Aston and Sylvia Long

17 Apr

Today is Perfect Picture Book Friday! WOO!

Before I get to my PPBF pick, I want to tell you after you are done here, click on over to Felicia and my vlog, The Write Chat, to see out interview with the one, the only, TARA LAZAR! CLICK HERE TO GO THERE (but only after you read PPBF ;) )!




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 perfect book for Spring!

anestA Nest is Noisy

by Dianna Hutts Aston

Illustrated by Sylvia Long

40 pages – ages 5+
Published by Chronicle Books on April 14, 2015


Theme/Topic- Nests / biodiversity

Genre- nonfiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening – “A nest is noisy. It is a nursery of chirp-chirping…

Synopsis – From Chronicle Books: “From the award-winning creators of An Egg Is Quiet, A Seed Is Sleepy, A Butterfly Is Patient, and A Rock Is Lively comes this gorgeous and informative look at the fascinating world of nests. From tiny bee hummingbird nests to orangutan nests high in the rainforest canopy, an incredible variety of nests are showcased here in all their splendor. Poetic in voice and elegant in design, this carefully researched book introduces children to a captivating array of nest facts and will spark the imaginations of children whether in a classroom reading circle or on a parent’s lap.

Why I liked this book- This is a great book for this time of year! First off the illustrations are something you could look at for hours. They are so detailed and informative. I really like that the book doesn’t focus on bird’s nests (which is what I thought it was going to be) but has ALL kinds of nests. Bees, alligators, platypus and more! The book is educational and entertaining. I can see teachers and parents using this book to talk about ecosystems and biodiversity.

Activities and Resources-

Check out one of the many “nest cams” on the internet! There are owl cams (short for camera), hawk cams and eagle cams. Here is an eagle cam in Hanover PA – click HERE. If you check it out you’ll see two eaglets and their parents. My family has been watching them grow. Plus you can see the awesome nest they built and how they use it.

Chronicle Books has a teacher’s guide and activity pack to go with this book. Click HERE to get it.

PBS Kids has a great build your own bird’s nest activity. Click HERE to get it.

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

Jet Lee Dragon Warrior by Pamela K. Witte

16 Apr

jetleeJet Lee Dragon Warrior By Pamela K. Witte Illustrated by Laurie Tisdale 130 pages – ages 8+ Published by Pam Witte on January 17, 2015       Synopsis-jetLeeDragonWarrior What I Thought- This is a fun book! It is based on some ninja/samurai concepts, but set in New York City. I didn’t expect almost everyone that Jet knew to be a Dragon Warrior. That was cool. Jet is a clumsy, small, and weak tween who you can’t help but like and root for. Everyone loves to see an underdog win, right? The story is fast paced and flows well. Ms. Witte is a gifted story teller. At 130 pages it is a quick read, but the story feels complete. There are some neat manga-like illustrations through-out the book. I like how Jet, as a character, messes up simple things (like (not) catching an important vial), building up the fact that he’s clumsy – I like a hero who is more realistic. Ms. Witte has written a great book and is another example of a self-published book done right! I give “Jet Lee Dragon Warrior” 5 out of 5 bookworms!fivebooks

My Grandma is a Ninja by Todd Tarpley

14 Apr

grandmaninjaMy Grandma is a Ninja

By Todd Tarpley

Illustrated by Danny Chatzikonstantinou

40 pages – ages 4+

Published by NorthSouth on March 1, 2015

Synopsis- Ethan’s grandma is a ninja. She can use a zip line like nobody’s business, she can do awesome karate moves, she can even do a backflip… in slow motion! How cool is that?! Ethan and his friends love it. That is, until Ethan’s grandma kicks the team’s soccer ball so hard it deflates and everyone gets upset. Ethan is no longer sure having a ninja grandma that great.

What I Thought- OKAY! What kid wouldn’t love this book?! It has a ninja, who actually happens to be an elderly grandmother – PURE AWESOMENESS! The illustrations are funny, wacky, and they flip out at you – in slow motion! This book will have little kids laughing out loud, and big kids rolling on the floor, laughing their lungs out! Mr. Tarpley has written a great book that has a funny circling ending. It kept me chuckling.

I give this book 5 out of 5 bookworms!fivebooks


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,009 other followers

%d bloggers like this: