Tag Archives: bibliophile

Review! Always, Abigail by Nancy Cavanaugh

26 Nov

alawaysabigailAlways, Abigail
By Nancy Cavanaugh
320 pages – ages 9+
Published by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky on August 5, 2014

Synopsis- Abigail Walters was entering the sixth grade, and, along with her best friends Alli and Cami, can’t wait to become a Pompom Girl. Then everything goes wrong. Alli and Cami get the same homeroom, and have the same teachers. Abigail has the meanest homeroom teacher in the school. When that teacher assigns a project where you write letters to an assigned person in the class, Abigail gets paired with Gabby – an outcast-y, “weird”-type – and Abigail dreads it. But what if she actually starts to like Gabby? And starts to realize that her friends aren’t as nice as she thought they were?

What I liked-This was a great book about choosing what you  should do, over what you want to do. At first, I wasn’t sure about the writing style of the book, it started off as list after list after list, but then I figured out that the book was written like a notebook, and I found myself really liking it. Abigail tells her story though lists and small paragraphs (for example: 3 Reasons I Know I Was Born To Be A PomPom Girl, and What I Wanted To Say, But Didn’t). The style really grew on me. Abigail has always wanted to be one of those popular “PomPom Girls” (I am figuring that is a cheerleader), but first, she doesn’t get any classes with her two best friends, and then, in her Language Arts room, she gets partnered with the biggest “loser” in 6th grade and she pretty much thinks her life is over. I didn’t really like how Abigail blatantly calls Gabby (her partner), a “loser” in her notebook. I really disliked her at first, but I guess that is the point of the story. ;) Abigail goes through a natural, yet significant, character change. As a reader, I really enjoy that in a book.

I give “Always, Abigail” four out of five bookworms!fourbooks

Review! Leap Write In! by Karen Benke

26 Nov

leapwriteLeap Write In!
By Karen Benke
256 pages – ages 11+
Published by Roost Books on April 2, 2013

Synopsis [from the back cover]- In this book you’ll find: On-The-Spot Drops that offer “free-fall” prompts on different themes, such as short-winded poems and seven-line stories. Mini Memoirs to unlock personal narratives to share, or not. Suddenly A Story suggestions to explore feelings and states of being like fear, reluctance, compassion, kindness, anxiety, anger, jealousy, happiness, and more. Surprise Yourself Surveys for those who think they know everything about themselves. Untie-Your-Mind Word Lists to jump start stalled imaginations. Definition Decoders to introduce new ideas and styles of writing.

What I Liked- First off, I was very excited to read this book! Ms. Benke’s other book “Rip The Page!” was great, and really helped me with my writing. I found this book was a great follow-up to “Rip The Page!” because the writing challenges were a bit more complex. The prompts were realistic and slightly challenging to do, especially if you aren’t in your creative mind frame, like the activities “Stop Making Sense” and “Your Moody Monkey Mind” – two of my favorites. Ms. Benke gave several activities for each prompt, giving the reader a choice to do. She also included some examples, from real people, so you get your creative juices flowing, and have some real inspiration. The book covers a wide range of creative writing topics, from dialogue tags to – **ugh** – the necessary step of revision. There are some really fun things to do. Ms. Benke shares some “mini memoirs” of her life, and encourages others to do the same. This is a wonderful writing resource!

I give this book 5 out of 5 bookworms!fivebooks

Check out one of the creative writing things I did! I wrote a pantoum (I never even heard of this poem type before reading this book).

A Pantoum Pantoum

               [   or   ]

An Ode to Pantoums Everywhere

            By Erik

A pantoum is
An interesting poem type
That’s fun to do
With simple steps.

An interesting poem type:
You can master it
With simple steps.
Can you see it take shape?

You can master things
With some effort.
I can see a poem
Forming from mid-thought.

With some effort,
It’s fun to do.
Forming from mid-thought,
Is a pantoum.

BLOG TOUR, Guest Interview and Giveaway! Monster Needs a Christmas Tree by Paul Czajak

24 Nov

Today I have a very special guest on my blog – Monster of the Monster & Me books. Monster is here to talk about his latest book, Monster Needs a Christmas Tree! Be sure to read down to the bottom because there is information on a Goodreads giveaway where you can win a copy of this fabulous book!

MonsterNeedsAChristmasTree

Monster Needs a Christmas Tree

A Monster & Me book

By  Paul Czajak

Illustrated by Wendy Grieb

32 pages – ages 4+
Published by Scarletta Kids on October 1, 2014

Publisher’s Summary – It’s almost Christmastime, and Monster needs a tree. But the holidays are filled with joy and so many fun things to do! After snowballs, sleds, and Santa Claus, will he find a tree in time? In this festive, rhyming story, Monster shows young readers that with a little creativity, a tree can be perfect any way you look at it.

 

Now for the interview.

ERIK – Hi Monster, thank you for being here today. Monster, you seem to like Christmas a lot in your book MONSTER NEEDS A CHRISTMAS TREE and you certainly had a lot of fun at Halloween time in MONSTER NEEDS A COSTUME. What is your favorite holiday? Mine is Thanksgiving because it involves a lot of eating.

 

monster1

MONSTER – Hi Erik! Thanks for having me. I think I have to go with Halloween as my favorite holiday. It’s like it was invented specifically for monsters! But then again I really love getting presents for Christmas…wait I got it! What if we combined the two?! We could call it Hallowmas or Christmaseen. We could make ice jack-o-lanterns and dress up in costume when we open presents. That would be the coolest holiday ever!

ERIK – NICE! We could bob for snowballs and trick-or-cookie. :) Santa may look a little weird on a broom though. :) Speaking of Santa, I really like how your quick thinking saved Christmas! Are all monsters that fast-thinking?

MONSTER – Well Bigfoot hasn’t been found yet and neither has my cousin Nessy in Scottland so they must be pretty smart too. But when it comes to me I don’t know where I would be without my best bud Boy. He is the one that taught me that it can be good to sometimes think a little differently when trying to solve a problem.

monster2

ERIK – Boy does seem like he is a great friend. What did you name the puppy you got in MONSTER NEEDS A CHRISTMAS TREE?

MONSTER  – We named her Zoey! She likes to curl up in my lap on cold days, probably because I have more fur. But she needs to stop chewing on my toys, those are my chew toys.

 ERIK – Well, you are going to have to be a good big bro- ERR I mean good big MONSTER to Zoey and share your chew toys. I am sure Zoey will take care of them. :) I’ve been studying my monster language converter and have been dying to ask you this question; “GROWL pthhhhht snort snort rrrrowlf buuurp pffft AAARRGH?”

MONSTER – Hmmm…I’ll be honest I have no idea why a chicken would cross the road. But if she does I hope she looks both ways before crossing, roads can be very busy.

ERIK – Drat! I was hoping you would know. Now for an important question; Oscar or Cookie?

MONSTER – Cookie! He reads a lot! I love that. Plus I really like his fur, I wonder if he goes to the barber to get it cut? I need a haircut but don’t tell Boy, he’ll take me to the Barber and I don’t like the Barber.

ERIK – I need a haircut too. Maybe we can find a new barber and go together! What adventure do you think Mr. Czajak will take you and boy on next?

MONSTER – My birthday will be in April and I need to have a party! Also I’m not sure if you knew this but the next big election is in 2016 and I’m thinking about running for President. Though I’m keeping my options open. But If I do run I’m going to need your vote.

 ERIK – Monster, you will definitely have my vote!

 If you would like a chance to win a copy of MONSTER NEEDS A CHRISTMAS TREE, please visit the Goodreads page for the book (CLICK HERE). There is a giveaway currently going on!

 REMEMBER -

Monster Needs A Party to be released April 14, 2015

Monster Needs Your Vote slated for Fall of 2015

Sisters by Raina Telgemeier

23 Nov

sistersSisters

By Raina Telgemeier

208 pages – ages 8+

Published by GRAPHIX on August 26, 2014

Synopsis- Raina and her family are going to Colorado for a family reunion. She, her sister, brother, and mom are going by car, and their dad will fly in later. Along the way, a lot of things go wrong for Raina and her family. Raina and her sister never get along, even though Raina wanted a sister for years. The arguing made the car trip even longer. After pretty much everything goes wrong, especially her parents hinting that they don’t get along anymore, Raina starts to wonder if anything will get better.

What I liked- This is a really cool graphic novel. It’s pretty interesting how, along with the story-line, there are also “flashbacks” that Raina has. That was fun. Raina (the character, reflects Ms. Telgemeier, because another one of Ms. Telgemeier’s books, Smile (also a great bookand Sisters are memoirs) is an average 14-year-old, with an average, slightly angry younger sister. They have a normal, argumentative, at times humorous, relationship. It was a nice touch that Raina and her sister were kind of brought together by the fact that their parents might get divorced, and that they were scared of what would happen. The story is full of humor, and seems very realistically done. It is a nice story, and the illustrations are top-notch. I hope that there will be another book!

I give this book 5 out of 5 bookworms!fivebooks

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Pinkalicious: Thanksgiving Helper by Victoria Kann

21 Nov

 

Happy Friday! Before I get to my Perfect Picture Book Pick, I wanted to ask that, after you are done here, click on over to The Write Chat, the Vlog that Felicia (kid author and creator of the Stanley and Katrina blog) and I started. We are interviewing – Author Julie Anne Grasso!

While you are there, please sign up for our newsletter to be notified when we post a new Vlog (we only post once a month). You can also check out the AWESOME line-up of authors we will be interviewing.  CLICK HERE TO GO THERE !

pinkaliciousthanksPinkalicious: Thanksgiving Helper

By Victoria Kann

24 pages – ages 4+
Published by HarperFestival on August 26, 2014

Theme/Topic- Thanksgiving /  helping

Genre- Fiction

Opening and Synopsis-
Opening – “It was Thanksgiving Day! I could hear Mommy baking in the kitchen and could smell the turkey cooking in the oven. Outside, Daddy was raking a big pile of leaves.

Synopsis- This year, Pinkalicious and Peter decide to be Thanksgiving helpers! They try to make everything pinkaperfect but all doesn’t go as planned.

Why I liked this book- This is a cute Thanksgiving book. I like how Pinkalicious and Peter do their best to help out with setting up for Thanksgiving, but it doesn’t always work out for them. The illustrations are fabulous. The detail that they have in them is cool (like there are music notes in the hill side when they go outside to play). Pinkalicious is a great, realistic young girl, and she just wants to help out, but she sometimes doesn’t think things through completely – sounds like a lot of kids. ;) This is a very nice book for Thanksgiving because it talks about being Thankful and also shows that even though you make mistakes, it’s trying to help that matters.

Activities and Resources-

There is a pull out poster right in the book! It is one that you can fill out. There are word boxes to fill out with prompts like “Thanksgiving is…” and “On Thanksgiving I like to…: and even a spot to draw your Thanksgiving dinner!

There are also Thanksgiving stickers and dinner place cards that you can fill out and tell each person something you are thankful for.

I found this cute craft on iVillage.com (CLICK HERE TO GO TO IT). It is a turkey craft and you write on each feather something you are thankful for.

turkey

You can read a sample of the book at HarperCollins website HERE.

There is always a TON of things to do at the Pinkalicious website click HERE.

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

 

Review! The Scavengers By Michael Perry

19 Nov

thescavengersScavengers

By Michael Perry

336 pages – ages 8+
Published by HarperCollins on September 2, 2014

 

SUMMARY – Maggie was an OutBubbler. She and her family live outside the “Bubble-cities” that most people choose live under. The bubble-cities were cities that are under bubble-like domes that “protect” the inhabitants from danger. The OutBubblers live out of the cities and fend for themselves, with no electricity, guns, or other things like it.  When Maggie’s family disappears and her house is ransacked, she and her little brother find refuge with their neighbors, Arlinda and Toad Hopper. Maggie soon finds out that her father had things he was doing with the government, and that he had deserted, and the government wanted him back. What will Maggie do?

WHAT I THOUGHT – This was a really cool book. The dystopian factor was cool, but also slightly creepy. I would like to know more about the back-story about the bubble-cities and how they came to be. Toad Hopper, Maggie’s neighbor, is a cool guy. He is sometimes hard to understand, because he uses tons of word-play and pig latin in what he says (for example: Nule Rumber Half A Dancing Skirt) – but it is also kind of fun to decode what he’s trying to say. Maggie is a great female character that you come to care for. She is brave and spunky at the same time. The setting is important to the story. Fortunately for the reader, Mr. Perry is a great story-teller and he vividly described the world. The world really makes it hard for the OutBubblers to live, but it makes it more worthwhile when they succeed. The way the land is described makes me think of a barren wasteland outside of the bubble-cities (besides huge government-run fields of genetically-modified corn). The story-telling in the book is really, really good.

I give this book 5 out of 5 bookworms.fivebooks

Review! Rude Dude’s Book of Food by Rude Dude AKA Tim J. Myers

17 Nov

rudedudeRude Dude’s Book of Food: Stories Behind Some of the Crazy-Cool Stuff We Eat Paperback
By Tim J. Myers

Illustrated by Jess Smart Smiley

144 pages – ages 9+
Published by Familius on September 5, 2014

SUMMARY – Have you ever wondered where modern pizza came from? Did you know that those “Chinese Fortune Cookies” are originally Japanese? You will learn this and more in this non-fiction book about why food is great. It is filled with miscellaneous information, under different categories, like a chapter about pizza also talks about tomatoes (an ingredient). The book shows food from around the world, to show kids that we are all different, but we all eat FOOD.

WHAT I THOUGHT – I think that this is a great non-fiction book. I like all of the little tidbits and fun facts about food it has. Did you know that tomatoes were called Golden Apples (after the yellow tomatoes) and thought poisonous for a bit? Did you know that scientists have found 4,000-year-old noodles in China? Oh, and by the way, Rude Dude, the author’s pseudonym, isn’t really rude, he just speaks his mind. And he advises healthy eating, which is another plus. The book is formatted very well, and made it fun to read – there are little fact boxes and poems scattered throughout the book, plus cool pencil/pen illustrations by Jess Smart Smiley that mix well with the text. Mr. Myers has written a fun mini-history of the diversity of food for kids. It would be perfect for reluctant readers, or kids who don’t usually like nonfiction books… or kids like me, who just like to eat. ;) Which reminds me, there is a warning at the front of the book – “This book will probably make you very, very hungry! Good luck with that.”

Erik the Great Eater gives this book 5 out of 5 bookworms!fivebooks

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Ava’s Adventure by Laura Pedersen

14 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 seems to realistically capture how a young child thinks when it comes to being disappointed.

avasAva’s Adventure

by Laura Pedersen

Illustrated by Penny Weber

32 pages – ages 5+
Published by Tilbury House Publishers on September 3, 2014

Theme/Topic- Disappointment / imagination

Genre- Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening – “Bye, Ava! Bye, Lucas!

Synopsis (publisher’s description) – “Disappointed that she can’t go on a snowboarding trip with her friend, Ava escapes to her room, where she finds that the power of imagination and her own creativity take her farther than any snowboard could. At the same time, she learns that life’s tradeoffs aren’t all bad.

Why I liked this book- This is a marvelous picture book. I like that it shows that life isn’t all unicorns and rainbows (and donuts). Ava is a realistic girl, and teaches a nice lesson without being preachy. In the book, even though her parents say ‘No’, and Ava can’t go, besides being upset that she can’t go, Ava is still nice to her parents (after throwing a minor fit). Ava comes to realize not getting what she wants isn’t the end of the world. The illustrations are very well-done water color, and really portray the characters’ emotions. Ms. Pedersen has written a great book!

Activities and Resources- I think it is a good idea to read this story BEFORE a disappointment happens then you can talk about what Ava did and how, even though she was disappointed, she had a really great time.

As part of the story, you could ask, “If you were Ava, what kinds of things would you find to do in your room?”

The Mrs. Picasso’s Art Room blog has TONS of great Winter-themed craft and art ideas – I really like the Popsicle stick snowflakes. Check it out – click HERE!

Want to know more? Check out Ms. Pedersen’s website HERE!

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

Review! Amanda in Alberta: The Writing on the Stone by Darlene Foster

13 Nov

perf5.0625x7.8125.inddAmanda in Alberta: The Writing on the Stone

By Darlene Foster

156 pages – ages 8+
Published by Central Avenue Publishing on July 11, 2014

Amanda is back in an all-new adventure, but this time, it’s on her turf! Leah (Amanda’s friend) has come all the way from England to visit Amanda in her province of Alberta, Canada. Everything goes well, until a rodeo clown drops a strange stone. Amanda picks it up, and tries to return it to the clown, but she was too late – he was gone. The stone was round and had a marking on it. Suddenly, people seem to be wanting the stone urgently, although their purposes may be unclear – and maybe even dangerous!

This is a marvelous book, one that made me feel like I was there with Amanda and Leah. Ms. Foster really has a way of taking you through the landmarks of Alberta. I found it funny that Alberta has both the World’s Biggest Dinosaur, and the World’s Largest Tipi – Alberta must be a big province! ;) Amanda is a great middle-grade character. She is a friendly person, and a wonderful role model. Leah is a pretty cool Brit. ;) The plot is fun and engaging as are all of the Amanda books. I love how Ms. Foster puts the reader right in the action and kids get to learn about the exciting places Amanda goes. The action and mystery in the book makes it a fun read for kids!

I give “The Writing on the Stone” five out of five bookworms! fivebooks

Want to learn more? Visit Darlene Foster’s website by clicking HERE!

Check out my reviews of AMANDA IN ARABIAAMANDA IN ENGLAND  – AMANDA IN SPAIN!

Review! Jayden and the Mysterious Mountain by Katrina Cope

11 Nov

jayden

Jayden and the Mysterious Mountain

by Katrina Cope

Book 1 of The Sanctum Series
262 pages – ages 11+
Published by CreateSpace on September 2, 2013

Jayden was a homeless child, one who ran away from home to get away from his father. When he is picked up by a rich, mysterious man, he gets the craziest offer of a lifetime – he can get a home, a fantastic college, and a loving community – all in one. The man, Avando, was picking up homeless tweens and teens and bringing him to his school, The Sanctum, to live at. There was one condition though – that they must try. They must try to get good grades, and try to be plain good. Oh – and there is the part where he has to learn all sorts of technology to help the man combat terrorism. Is it all too good to be true?

This was a good read. My interest was piqued from start to finish. The story started off a bit sluggish, but it picked up towards the end.  The academy Jayden goes to sounds amazing and the school was described well. There wasn’t a whole lot of conflict or action in the story while he is there, except at the end. I liked the technology use in the story instead of magic (love Harry Potter, but really like different story ideas!). As a note to parents, there was some mild cursing in the book – nothing over the top. The characters were likable, Jayden is good as the main character, one that you can connect with. The plot of the book had just enough mystery for me to wonder what was really going on.

Four out of five bookworms.fourbooks

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