Tag Archives: bibliophile

Perfect Picture Book Friday! The Memory of an Elephant by Sophie Strady

31 Oct

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 cool and somewhat odd book. ;)

thememoryofelephantThe Memory of an Elephant: An Unforgettable Journey
by Sophie Strady

Illustrated by Jean-Francois Martin

38 pages – ages 5+
Published by Chronicle Books on September 9, 2014

Theme/Topic- Elephants/memories

Genre- Fiction

Opening and Synopsis-
Opening –  “Marcel is an elephant – a very old elephant. Like all elephants, his skin is gray and wrinkled, so it is difficult to tell his exact age.

Synopsis – (publisher’s description) Memory and meaning are at the heart of this oversized, content-rich picture book celebrating the life of Marcel, a soulful elephant. From the towering buildings outside his window and his recollected world travels, to the friends, flora, and fauna that flourish around him, Marcel finds significance in his surroundings and, most importantly, in life’s abundant details. Marcel is writing an encyclopedia, after all, and his entries are featured in full-page spreads packed with facts, elegantly situated alongside the story of his day and his life. Part story and part miscellany, this unforgettable book with dream-like illustrations will transfix both parents and children.

Why I liked this book- This book is very unique. I had a hard time thinking of the theme and genre – it’s a pretty odd book (but I like odd ;) ). Even the size of the book is odd – it’s a large 10×14 – but Marcel is a very large elephant so I guess that makes sense. There is a fictional story in the book – the story of Marcel and his memories, but there is also a ton of facts about everything you can think of (Marcel is writing an encyclopedia). Take a look at what I mean:

memoryeleph1The illustrations are incredible. I love the detail in them (check out Marcel’s tattoo ;) ) and the old-fashioned feel.

memoryeleph2The story of Marcel is nice. He thinks about his life and the things in it and what he’s experienced. We get to meet some of his friends. It’s a nice story by itself but when you put it together with the awesome illustrations and all the fact information packed into the book, I think the book is just super cool. The publisher rates the book for kids 5+. Kids that young probably wouldn’t be able to read the book independently, but this book would make an awesome read aloud. It is the kind of picture book I would have loved when I was little. I always loved books with lots of fact boxes and tons of stuff I could look at. This isn’t a “normal” picture book, but if you are looking for something a little unique – I recommend this one!

Activities and Resources-
I didn’t have to go far for activities. There is a bunch right in the back of the book. There are 2 pages of information on Marcel’s friends who happen to be endangered species. You can use the thumbnail pictures as a look and find in the book for all the endangered animals. There is an “encyclopedia” section on Marcel’s favorite foods, and his furniture. There is also a recipe for “La Crèpe Marcelette” (which I need to try)!

The International Fund for Animal Welfare has a bunch of lesson plans, videos and information in a section called “Elephants, Never Forget.” Click HERE to go to it.

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

Book Review – SEEING By Joseph Falank

28 Oct

seeingSEEING

By Joseph Falank

214 pages – ages 12+
Published by Winter Goose Publishing on June 27, 2014

Summary – 13 year-old Jake Sheppard has always been mocked in his class. After his father walked out on his mother and him, and his best friend became his tormentor, his life has been even harder. The fact that his grandfather, who has recently lost his wife, has come to live with them helps. His mom dating another guy doesn’t. Not in Jake’s mind.

What I Thought – This book is amazing. First off – the characters; Jake is a great kid. It’s not his fault that his life was turned upside down. Jake seems like a normal kid – nice boy, bullied, but still tries to keep positive. His life is harder than it seems to outsiders. Jake’s grandfather is the backbone of his family, after Jake’s father walked out on them. He props Jake and his mom up (emotionally), while doing the chores around the house, to help out. I like how Mr. Falank’s writing style shows the depth of the bond between Jake and his grandfather. Mr. Falank writes realistically. He seemed to get into Jake’s head well. Even though this isn’t the typical action/adventure book I usually go crazy over, the book really left an impression on me. The story kept me reading. I finished it in one day. The story, even though is one of loss, is also one of hope. It is motivating, in a way. The book is appropriate for all ages, but I think kids 12+ and adults will truly enjoy the message of the story. For anyone who says small press publishers don’t produce good books – check out Seeing. It will change your mind in many ways.

I give “Seeing” five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Want to learn more? Check out Mr. Falank’s website HERE.

Review! Lobo Goes to the Galapagos by C.L. Murphy

27 Oct

AAAROOO!

No that’s not my Halloween werewolf imitation!

It’s my “I’m going to tell you about a howlin’ good book” cry!

A book starring my favorite Canis Lupus -

LOVABLE LOBO!

 

lovableloboLobo’s newest adventure takes him to the Galapagos Islands!
Lobo Goes to the GalapagosThe Adventures of Lovable Lobo: Lobo Goes to the Galapagos

Written and Illustrated by C.L. Murphy

32 pages – ages 4+

Published by Peanut Butter Prose on August 22, 2014

Summary - (author’s summary) Lobo returns in this adventure, sweeter and a bit salty this time. This lil’ wolf pup finds that there’s nothing like a little sea air to bring out the best in him and his unlikely tag-alongs. Take a trip to the Galapagos with Lobo and his right-hand raven, Roxy, as they help an injured, new feathered friend return home. Lobo faces some fears and witnesses the joy that comes from helping others in this “birds of a different feather DO flock together” tale.

What I thought - Lobo is a great wolf pup. He is a character that lots of young kids (and older kids!) will love. He is cute and friendly, and will help anyone in need. Lobo is a great friend. Ms. Murphy is a great author who has written a great addition to a marvelous series. I like how this book includes a lesser known species in it – the blue-footed booby. To be more specific, a blue-footed booby named Bobby (HA!). The adventures that Lobo goes on are very fun to read about. I like how this book tells about the Galapagos Islands, even including a map of the islands. The illustrations are cool and kid-friendly. They are realistic, fun to look at and have great detail in them. I like how they kind of look 3D-ish too.

lobo1Lobo is a great character and I always enjoy reading about his adventures. In this book it is nice that Lobo helps a new friend by helping him get back home. There is also a great message of trust in the book.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Check out the trailer for the book!

 

Want to learn more?!? Find Ms. Murphy on  Twitter, Facebook, or her blog HERE (her website is really fun and had activities you can print out to go with her books). :)

Perfect Picture Book Friday! At the Old Haunted House by Helen Ketteman

24 Oct

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 counting book for Halloween!

theoldhauntedAt the Old Haunted House

By Helen Ketteman

Illustrated by Nate Wragg

32 pages – ages 3+
Published by Two Lions on August 12, 2014

Theme/Topic- Halloween/Counting

Genre- Fiction

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Opening and Synopsis-
Opening – “At the old haunted house
In a room with no sun
Lived a warty green witch
And her wee witchy one.”

Synopsis – (publisher’s description) There are all kinds of creatures in the house: a big Ma monster and her wee monsters two, a scrawny black cat and her wee kittens three, a green Pa goblin and his wee goblins four, and more! Count along as the creatures prepare for the Halloween Fright. The text, written in the pattern of the popular poem “Over in the Meadow,” makes reading aloud fun, while the cinematic illustrations set the scene for an unforgettable romp through the old haunted house. Trick or treat!

 

Why I liked this book- This is a fabulous counting book with marvelous illustrations. The rhyming’s, slightly repeating rhythm makes it sing-song in a little. I like that a lot. The illustrations are cartoony and fit the book wonderfully! Look!

theoldhaunted2theoldhaunted3

They have a warm feeling to them, making it Halloweeny, but not specifically scary. I like the little details you can find in the pictures, the picture frames, with the ma monster and her two kids in them. The writing style is awesome and had me chuckling along as I read it. It was fun to pick out all the spooky creatures in the book. I think it is a great Halloween read for little kids – kind of spooky but not scary!

Activities and Resources-
On the back of the book it says there are 2 witches, 3 monsters, 4 black cats, 5 goblins etc. Use the book as a seek and find and find all the spooky creatures (up to 11 spiders!).

The All Kids Network website has a TON of cool Halloween worksheets for parents and teachers  check it out HERE.

Check out this very cute counting candy corn Halloween activity HERE.

candycorn

Want to learn more? Check out Ms. Ketteman’s website HERE and Nate Wragg’s website HERE.

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

Review! GoGo Ninja by Marco Garcia

23 Oct

gogoGoGo Ninja

By Marco Garcia

Illustrated by Manuela Soriani

35 pages – ages 6+
Published by KIKAI SPORTS on July 5, 2014
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.- ebook

SUMMARY – Gogo loves soccer, but he can’t seem to score a goal at all. He misses them all. At his Kendo lesson, he tells his sensei about it. During the Kendo lesson, the master shows his student how to become better. He teaches Gogo about focus and self-control and positive thinking.

WHAT I THOUGHT – I am a bit bias in reviewing this book because I believe in how a martial art can make you better at other things in life. I practice Taekwon-Do, Okinawan Gojo-Ryu Karate, and Jujitsu and I thought this was a very nice story. I like that Gogo is a kid with a problem that many kids deal with – having a tough time at a sport. I like how Mr. Marco incorporates a martial art into the story – Kendo, or the Japanese style of sword-fighting. It is because of Gogo’s sensei’s simple advice – eye contact, posture, and to commit without fear – that Gogo finally succeeds. The illustrations are very cool and it makes the picture books look a lot like a graphic novel. Amazon has the book for ages 6+ but I think some of the words in the book may be hard for younger kids to read (I think 8+ is good for the reading level), although it would make a great read-aloud. There are discussion topics included in the back of the book.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Want to learn more? Check out the Gogo Ninja Facebook page HERE!

 

All Hallows Eve – Comic Novellas by David Eveleigh

20 Oct

 

Helllllooooo blogosphere! First off I get to announce that Kevin Springer author and member of The Middle Grade Mafia won the 3 signed book trilogy Double Vision by F.T. Bradley! WOO HOO! Congratulations Mr. Springer – I will be emailing you to get the address of where you want your books sent! Want to learn more about this series?  Check out the interview I did with Linc Baker – the main character from the series HERE.

Double Vision front coverCode Name 711--cover(1)Double Vision The Alias Men hi-res coverMy favorite Halloween Heroine is back in all new adventures! The All Hallows Eve comic/novella series has comic style action and adventure in it, but they are novellas, not comic books. Each book has a great message in it and Eve is a very cool female super hero. Check them out this Halloween!

All Hevedeadallows Eve: The Land Of The Dead

Series: All Hallows Eve, Book #10

By David Eveleigh

Published by Smashwords on July 20, 2014
Ebook –  11,210 words

SUMMARY - [From Smashwords]

“Join our beloved heroine All Hallows Eve as she journeys into the Afterlife itself to rescue a friend who has lost the will to live.”

WHAT I THOUGHT – This was a great short story. It has the perfect amount of confusion in it. It kept me on the edge of my seat all throughout the book. I like how Eve helps Samantha, her best friend who was driven insane by the evil Fantomas (one of Eve’s greatest villains from an earlier book), out when she needs it. The Tailless Black Sow was an interesting villain. It is a giant pig… that doesn’t have a tail. (Duh.) ;) This is a very creative story set in the 50-6o’s time period, which lends itself to the comic part of the story, and all of the superhero stuff. Mr. Eveleigh has written another great story. I like that at the beginning of the chapters have little cartoon images that sum up what happens in the chapter. The story is fun to read and appropriate for younger kids. All Hallows Eve is a great series for reluctant readers and perfect for this time of year.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

evevillainAll Hallows Eve: I, Villain

Series: All Hallows Eve, Book 11

By David Eveleigh

Published by  Smashwords on Oct. 10, 2014
Ebook –  8,710 words

SUMMARY – [From Smashwords]

“All Hallows Eve faces off against her deadliest enemy yet… You! That’s right, in this tale of madness, suspense and adventure, you are the villain! Equipped with a secret lair, evil powers, an army of robots and a diabolical superweapon, will you succeed in finishing off our beloved heroine once and for all?”

WHAT I THOUGHT – This Eve story is perhaps one of my favorites! Mr. Eveleigh has written this story with a wonderful perspective. In it, YOU are the villain, and YOU are facing All Hallows Eve, who is ruining YOUR evil plan. It is never revealed what your name is, though (a nice point, if I do say so myself). It almost reminds me of a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book – you do this, you did that, etc. – but it isn’t a choose-your-own – it’s a cool story that twists you into a character. The story is fun to read and it’s kind of cool to be the bad guy. The illustrations scattered throughout the book are as good as I always expect in the Eve books. Eve is a great superheroine that both boys and girls will love.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Want to learn more? Check out Mr. Eveleigh’s author page and his other books on Smashwords – click HERE!

Here’s a BONUS Mr. Eveleigh made up for Halloween! Make your own comic-style mask! Happy Hauntings! :D

The Big Giveaway

Monsterrific Tales: Books 5 & 6 by David Lubar

20 Oct

October is the month of Halloween so lets talk monsters! Check out this great series of monsterous stories! The Monsterrific Tales series by David Lubar is a fun series with a ghoulish spin! The books are meant for younger kids and they are a good length for that. I like that Mr. Lubar mixes monsters with a message. Here is the publisher’s description of the series;

Washington Irving Elementary School has a bit of a monster problem. Sebastian and his friends take turns experiencing life as a vampire, a werewolf, a witch, and ghost. Even one of his teachers and a school bully get “monsterized.” Who will be next? Read all six books in this series of scary and funny Monsterrific Tales!

Check out my review of book 4 in the series “The Wavering Werewolf” HERE.

I don’t normally like monster books, but this series is actually pretty cool. The books aren’t really about the horror aspect, but dealing with being a monster (and maybe turning back).  The stories have a monster theme to them, but they have a lot of humor and are just a fun read.

Here are the latest spooktacular books in the series!

 

gloomyThe Gloomy Ghost (Monsterrific Tales #5)

By David Lubar

144 pages – ages 8+

Published by Starscape on July 8, 2014

Series: Monsterrific Tales
Hardcover: 144 pages
Publisher: Starscape; Reprint edition (July 8, 2014)

Summary – [From Amazon]

“First it was Sebastian, then Angie. Now it’s little brother Rory’s turn to be “monsterized!” One minute he’s a normal kid hanging out in his backyard. The next, he finds himself walking through stuff: the back porch, walls, even people! What’s a ghostly kid to do? Rory decides to find some other spirits and ask them how to get “un-ghosted.” So he heads up to the local haunted house to give it a try. What Rory doesn’t know is that if he doesn’t get the answer soon, he’ll only have a ghost of a chance of ever being a kid again…”

What I Thought – This is a fun story. I loved the description of the haunted house – just enough spookiness for the age range. The ghosts in the haunted house were cool characters. I like how Rory solves his problem by using his ghostly powers to get his brother’s attention. Rory is a pretty cute, very smart kindergarten-aged boy. You really end up caring for him and hope that he makes it back to the living. Mr. Lubar has written a great addition to his series! I recommend it to reluctant readers because of its short length, and the fact that the topic draws in lots of kids! It’s a great read for a rainy, or should I say gloomy, day! ;)

I give this book four out of five bookworms!fourbooks

 

 

bullybugThe Bully Bug (Monsterrific Tales #6)

By David Lubar

144 pages – ages 8+

Published by Starscape on September 2, 2014

Summary – [From Amazon]

“Lud Mellon gets bitten by a bevy of bugs in his basement and the next thing he knows, he’s crawling up walls, drooling on his food, and rolling around in garbage. Turning into a giant insect seems fun at first, almost like having superpowers. But when his dad calls in the exterminators, Lud has to figure out how to stop his transformation before he gets squashed like a bug.”

What I thought – This is a wonderful book with a neat perspective. In the other books, Lud and the Mellon family are always considered the bullies (by the other main characters), so this was an interesting take on the monster story, mostly because of the fact that Lud needs the help of one of the kids he accidentally bullied. Apparently, Lud doesn’t mean to be a bully (doesn’t realize he is bullying, but knows he says some somewhat mean things, like “watch where you walk” when a kid runs into him), he just doesn’t like to talk to many people for long amounts of time, and his outward actions look/sound like bullying (laughing because a character looks so scared, etc.). I like how he ends up making a friend or two in the book, but also comes out of his shell (pun not intended). This is a great series that I think a lot of kids could get into!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Want to learn more?!? Visit David Lubar’s author website by clicking HERE.

 

Perfect Picture Book Friday! How Martha Saved Her Parents From Green Beans by David LaRochelle

17 Oct

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 hosting our first guest – Author Michelle Isenhoff!

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 !

Now on to Perfect Picture Book Friday!

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 love the story idea (and there are evil green beans involved).

marthaHow Martha Saved Her Parents From Green Beans

By David LaRochelle

Illustrated by Mark Fearing

32 pages – ages 5+
Published by Dial on April 18, 2013

Theme/Topic- Picky eaters

Genre- Fiction/Humor

Opening and Synopsis-
Opening – “Every Tuesday evening Martha’s family had green beans for dinner.”

Synopsis (Taken from inside jacket) Green beans are good for you. Green beans will make you big and strong.” Martha doesn’t believe what her parents tell her. And nothing will ever–EVER–make her eat them.
But when some beady-eyed, boot stomping beans bust into town and start causing trouble, Martha knows she has to take action against this gang of outlaws, cutthroats and desperadoes. She can think of only one was to stop the villainous veggies, and it’s not pretty…or tasty.

Why I liked this book- Once again the title of this book hooked me! I for one have always liked vegetables, but there is something about the idea of desperado green beans facing down a little girl who can’t stand the sight of vegetables that is very funny to me. Mark Fearing’s illustrations go with David LaRochelle’s story very well. I love the image of the green bean bad guys! I think it is a great story that may be able to get a picky eater to fight off some evil vegetables by eating them. It is also a cute story with a girl heroine who has to save her parents and does so very creatively!

Activities and Resources-
Stacey Jensen already nominated How Martha Saved her Parents from Green Beans last year (see her review HERE), but I liked the book so much, I thought it was worth another mention.

You can check out some of the artwork at Mark Fearing’s website HERE.

David La Rochelle has some Martha coloring pages on his site HERE.

ChooseMyPlate.gov has some great ideas and activities to help your picky eater get over being picky (click HERE). The site suggests letting your child help out in the kitchen, which I think is a great idea!

You can do what Susanna Leonard Hill suggests and cover everything in chocolate (okay, she didn’t actually state that, but I don’t think she’ll disagree). ;)

PBS.org has some great ideas for helping your toddlers not be picky eaters (click HERE).

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

Cover Reveal for Book 2 in the Guardian Herd Series: STORMBOUND by Jennifer Alvarez!

16 Oct

Jennifer Lynn Alvarez is coming out with another book in her Guardian Herd Series, called Stormbound.

I reviewed the first book in the series, Starfire, on my blog here, and it was very awesome, so I can’t wait to read the new one!

guardian

Book 1

 

Ready for the reveal?!?

Drum roll please!

*badah badah badah badah*

Here it is!

stormbound

*add heavenly music*

 

Love the mystical look to the sky!

Here is the summary of the soon-to-be book (its release date is April 21, 2015 – HarperCollins Publishers)!

“When Star received his powers on his first birthday, he became the most powerful pegasus in Anok. However, many were afraid to follow the yearling colt, and they felt safer remaining with their over-stallions. The rest unified with Star and formed River Herd. But this new herd is homeless and menaced by predators, causing Star to question his ability to keep them safe. 

And then the horrible Blue Tongue plague appears, quickly sweeping through Anok and leaving terrible death and destruction in its wake. It has nearly eliminated Snow Herd and is already starting to spread into River Herd, causing panic among the pegasi. On top of this, Mountain Herd’s over-stallion, Rockwing, has plans to kidnap Morningleaf to control Star and take back Sky Meadow, a place Star has vowed never to return. But with all this happening, a greater threat has shaken Star to his core, for he does not know how to stop it.

Nightwing the Destroyer is alive and his rise to power threatens all of Anok. As much as Star wants to rely on his friends again for support, he’s afraid of the starfire he’s inherited. Star can heal, but he can also destroy, and he can’t help but question his purpose: Is he truly a healer and the one to unite the herds? Or will his dark powers overcome him?”

Isn’t that awesome?

If you want to learn more about Ms. Alvarez, check out her blog, HERE!

Jennifer Alvarez_001

Book Launch Tour! Andy Smithson: Disgrace of the Unicorn’s Honor by L.R.W. Lee

15 Oct

 

andysmith

unicornAndy Smithson Book 3: Disgrace of the Unicorn’s Honor

by L.R.W. Lee

252 pages – ages 9+
Published by CreateSpace  on September 23, 2014

Summary- Author’s summary]

Andy returns to Oomaldee and learns the next ingredient to collect is the horn of a unicorn. Not unexpectedly, as he and his company embark upon their quest, they face stiff opposition from the evil King Abaddon, a foreign enemy who seeks to conquer that world. The physical battle, while intense, pales in comparison, however, to his conflicted heart, when a seductive voice calls to Andy, tempting him to surrender the unicorn horn in exchange for a promise to preserve his mom when he breaks the curse. Desperate to save her, he falls for the lie and puts in jeopardy his ability to end the curse.

What I liked- Mrs. Lee has written another great book in the Andy Smithson series. In the newest book, Andy Smithson: Disgrace of the Unicorn’s Honor, Andy really grows as a person. It made me like his character even more. In addition to the vivid description of the land of Oomaldee, the action and twists that Mrs. Lee packs into this story makes it a totally enjoyable read. The plot of the story captures the reader’s attention and Mrs. Lee’s writing style keeps you reading until the very last word. I especially like the unusual animal inhabitants of Oolmaldee (like dragons, unicorns and “herewolves”). They add a lot to this fantastic world. Mrs. Lee has written a long-lasting story that is part of one of my favorite series.

I give this book 5 out of 5 bookworms! fivebooks

 

Want to learn more? Visit Mrs. Lee’s website HERE

 

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