Tag Archives: book review

Little Dog in the Middle of the Road by Sharon P. Stanley

14 Apr

Happy Monday!

Before my review today, I get to announce the winners of Mo Willems’ newest book, “The Pigeon Needs A Bath!”

PigeonNeedsaBath

The lucky winners were chosen by putting all the names in a hat and my sister Josie picked them out.

The winners are -

DEBBIE AUSTIN (who really, really, really wanted to win)

KIMBERLY (and her hot-dog obsessed toddler),

and,

STACY JENSEN (which is good because apparently Enzo needs a bath too)!!!

Congratulations!!!

I’ll email you guys so you can claim your prize! :)

 

little dog cover finalLittle Dog in the Middle of the Road
by Sharon P. Stanley
Illustrated by Deidre Carr
28 pages – ages 4+
Published by Silver Tongue Press on November 3, 2013

Little dog’s owner is going on a trip and she tells him to stay put. Don’t worry, Mrs. Thistleberry is going to come look after him. But Mrs. Thistleberry doesn’t like Little Dog very much. She doesn’t play games with him. Little Dog decides there is only one thing to do  – go look for his person! Little Dog wiggles out of the yard and sets off to search. After a while, Little Dog decides this wasn’t such a great idea. Will he ever find his person?

Who doesn’t love a good “lost dog” story? :) This is a very good book for young kids to read by themselves and I think it would also make a great read-aloud. I think that Ms. Stanley’s writing style is one that kids will enjoy. The words are simple so younger kids will be able to read it by themselves. The illustrations are very cute and will make you smile. The cover image is a bit “smushed” but I think that was just a publication problem. The interior illustrations don’t have that problem. This book would make an excellent bedtime story.

I give this book 5 out of 5 bookworms!fivebooks

This book was nominated as a perfect picture book by Susanna Leonard Hill! Check out Ms. Hill’s review HERE.

Sue Morris of Kid-Lit Reviews, reviewed the book too – Click HERE!

Check out the book’s trailer!

Creative Kid Thursday! Guest Book Review by Rena Marthaler!

10 Apr

houseofhad

Welcome to Creative Kid Thursday where I like to feature the awesome things kids are doing and also host guest kid book reviewers. Today Rena Marthaler is going to review —

 

The House of Hades
By Rick Riordan
608 pages – ages 10+
Published by Disney-Hyperion on October 8, 2013

Reviewed by 4th grader Rena Marthaler, author of the adventure novel “Magic The Crest” (click HERE to go to Rena’s blog).

The first sentence is my favorite: “During the third attack, Hazel almost ate a boulder.”

This book is perfect for people who like Greek gods and goddesses, sword fighting, giants, titans, and more monsters. It is the fourth book in the series “Heroes of Olympus.” (I recommend reading the “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” series and other three Heroes of Olympus first.) This book is really good.

In the book, Percy Jackson, Annabeth Chase, Jason Grace, Piper McLean, Leo Valdez, Frank Zhang and Hazel Levesque go on a quest following the Prophecy of Seven in a heavily armed warship called the Argo II.

But only five of of the seven are on the ship. In the earlier book, Percy and Annabeth fall into a very dangerous place called Tartarus, and the only way to get out is to through the “Doors of Death.”

Piper, Jason, Leo, Frank, Hazel, and their rescued friend Nico Di Angelo go through many adventures to reach the Doors of Death and rescue their friends.

Meanwhile, Percy and Annabeth struggle through Tartarus, half dead, to reach the same destination.

Stay tuned for the fifth book in the Heroes of Olympus series, “Blood of Olympus,” coming out in Fall, 2014. I assure you it will be awesome!

 

Be sure to check back because I will be interviewing Rena about her book “Magic The Crest” on April 24th!

Remember on Tuesday, the Writing Process Blog Tour and I tagged Rena? Well, Rena has already responded! Click HERE to go THERE!

Faery Swap by Susan Kaye Quinn

9 Apr

faery-swapFaery Swap
by Susan Kaye Quinn
280 pages – ages 8+
Published by CreateSpace on December 16, 2013

Finn didn’t know what had happened. All he knew was that there was a strange kid in front of his sister’s school and the kid wanted Finn to hand him a coin that was laying on the road. Finn picked it up and gave it to him. The next thing Finn knew, his aman (his soul) was sent to a timeless world and the strange kid (a faery named Zaneyr)took over his body, impersonating him. Finn, with help from the faery Liranna, plans to get back to Earth. But all is not as it seems…

Well, if it takes a rocket scientist to write a good book, Dr. Quinn fits the bill. ;) Dr. Quinn has a PhD in Engineering and she combined Faeries, adventure, math and science into a fabulous story. Hmm I wonder if she can help me design Tomato and Pea’s rocket ship they need to get back to planet Oarg in my next book… – but that’s not the point! This is a great book! I really like Finn. He’s a good boy, practically being a parent to his younger sister, because after their mom died, their dad became reclusive. Zaneyr is actually pretty cool. You can understand why he does what he does. I really like the ending of the book – it was well done, and no questions are left with answers floating around. The story is well done and encourages math – this book is a winner in my book blog!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Dr. Quinn also has a ton of parent and teacher resources on her website. Teachers can even get free ebook copies or discounted paperbacks. On the official website, you’ll find:

a “9-minute Virtual Author Visit video called “Warrior Faeries and Math Magick” as well as a Teacher’s Guide for Faery Swap. [Dr. Quinn's] hope is that it will help teachers bring the story into the classroom and use it to show students the power of math and equations (in the story and in real life). You can find the video and the teacher’s guide, as well as a card-based Knowledge Seekers game designed for the classroom at [the official website].” CLICK HERE to go THERE!!!

Check out the book’s trailer!

The Pigeon Needs a Bath by Mo Willems Review and GIVEAWAY!!!

7 Apr

Pigeon-BloggerImage

I’ll get right to the point. I’ve got three – YES 3! – copies of Mo Willems new book The Pigeon Needs a Bath to give away! Let me know in the comments if you want to be included in the drawing. On April 14th I will announce the winners. To pick the winners, I will put all the names of the commentors who say they want to win the Pigeon in a hat and my sister Josie will pick 3 names out. You have until Sunday April 13th to enter. I am sorry but the contest is only open to US addresses (no PO boxes). Good luck!

PigeonNeedsaBathThe Pigeon Needs a Bath

By Mo Willems

40 pages – ages 3+
Published by Disney-Hyperion on April 1, 2014

Summary - The Pigeon really needs a bath! Except, the Pigeon‘s not so sure about that. Besides, he took a bath last month! Maybe. It’s going to take some serious convincing to try and get the Pigeon to take the plunge.

What I thought –

Mo Willems + Pigeon = Awesomesauce

I love Mo Willems. His humor and story telling skills are incredible. He didn’t disappoint with his newest Pigeon book. I love how there are “stink” fumes drawn coming off Pigeon and the flies are even grossed out by him… or is Pigeon a her… gee, I never really thought about that… *NOTE* just googled it – Mo Willems purposely doesn’t have Pigeon being a guy or girl, that’s why he likes animals, you don’t have to say (click HERE for the interview I found that answer to in People Magazine) what gender the animal is. Very cool!  I think parents with kids who don’t like to take baths or maybe are scared of the water can read this with their kids and they can have fun with it. Like all other Mo Willems’ books, I found myself reading this a couple of times over already. His books never get old!

Five out of five bookworms – and get that Pigeon a bath!!! fivebooks

To learn more -

Visit the Official Site

Follow @The_Pigeon on Twitter

 

MoWillems

About the Author
Mo Willems, a number one New York Times best-selling author and illustrator, has been awarded a Caldecott Honor on three occasions (for Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!, Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale, and Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity). Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! was also an inaugural inductee into the Indies Choice Picture Book Hall of Fame. And his celebrated Elephant & Piggie early-reader series has been awarded the Theodor Seuss Geisel Medal on two occasions (for There Is a Bird on Your Head! and Are You Ready to Play Outside?) as well as three Honors (for We Are in a Book!, I Broke My Trunk!, and Let’s Go for a Drive!). Other favorites include Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed and City Dog, Country Frog, illustrated by Jon J Muth. Mo lives in Massachusetts with his family.

Don’t forget to comment and tell me if you want in the drawing for a copy of The Pigeon Needs a Bath!!!

Check out the book’s trailer -

Project X-Calibur by Greg Pace

2 Apr

Two things before I get to my review today.

First – today is Autism Awareness Day! I’ve turned my blog blue to bring awareness to Autism and ask that you talk to kids you know about it and help them understand it! Click on the picture below to find out how to help!

autismSecond – Felicia (A.K.A. Neighbor Girl of Stanley and Katrina fame) and I will be interviewing Rick Riordan live tomorrow (April 3rd) at 330 EDT on Huffpost Live’s “Tell Me Why” segment. The Tell Me Why program has kids asking professionals in different fields about their passions. Our passion is reading and writing. I am very excited and honored to be chosen to be on the segment (and, to tell the truth, super nervous). You can click on the graphic to go to the event and you may or may not see me there depending on if I pass-out due to nervousness or not. ;) KIDS – ask your parents first before clicking over to the Huffpost Live site!

HuffPostLiveSqueeCollage

Graphic courtesy of Cool Mom

NOW ON TO TODAY’S REVIEW!!!!

 

caliburProject X-Calibur

by Greg Pace

256 pages – ages 9+
Published by Putnam Juvenile on October 31, 2013

Synopsis - It took some convincing to get Ben Stone to believe that this odd little kid in front of him was Merlin, THE  Merlin. It turns out that the 1000-year-old wizard really was in the form of an 8-year-old boy. If that’s not weird enough, Merlin tells Ben that aliens are about to attack and conquer Earth, and that Merlin is here to recruit Ben to be part of the super secret group – The Round Table Reboot. Merlin needs Ben to fly X-Calibur (X-Calibur being a high-tech space ship not the sword, but the sword DOES exist) to fight off the aliens. X-Calibur runs best in the hands of kids. Merlin and Percival Pellinore (who is immortal because he drank from the Holy Grail back in King Arthur’s day) are forming a new group of knights (who happen to be kids) to face an even bigger danger!

What I thought - Think of King Arthur meets Science Fiction and ends up in your back yard. WOW. I am a fan of the King Arthur legends and I thought this modern story idea was cool. I get nervous when people rewrite stories I love, but Mr. Pace put an awesome slant on this story! I love how there is no magic in the book – it’s all done with electronics and technology. Ben is a great main character. He’s a typical kid who has a kind of rough life so you end up rooting for him and liking him. The other kid characters that get recruited are also enjoyable to read about. They all have very different personalities. Mr. Pace writes incredible action scenes that kept me turning the pages. I’d love to see another book in this series.

Five out of five bookworms for Project X-Calibur. fivebooks

Sword of Damocles by Brian Bern

31 Mar

swordofdemSword of Damocles: A Cade Knight Spy Novel
By Brian Bern
210 pages – ages 12+
Published by Brian Bern on September 10, 2013

Twin teens Cade and Brooke Knight are very familiar with spies. After all, they were born into a family of spies. Their parents are elite government agents with secrets even Cade and Brooke don’t know about. Cade enjoys helping his dad on some projects, like developing the J-phone. The phone designed for the President that will take the place of the nuclear football. The phone that could launch a nuclear war and still play angry birds. Cade really liked helping his dad but all that changes when the J-phone goes missing along with the twin’s parents. Cade and Brooke are suddenly thrown into a sinister international plot that threatens the world’s safety. The twins have limited time to find their family and find the J -phone.

The action and adventure in this book is marvelous! It really keeps the reader hooked. This is a very well-written and carefully edited story. The spy parts are very believable and realistic. I really enjoyed the story. Mr. Bern kept me on the  edge of my seat! I think that he wrote a story as good as the 39 Clues series, just for a bit older readers The book is rated as a YA but, the action and violence is totally appropriate for MG readers. The reading level is more YA and that made it more enjoyable for me. There is some cussing, but not much, and it is fine, looking at the age the book is meant for. There is a bit of humor too mixed in too. The book takes place in and around Washington DC, one of my favorite cities. I really enjoyed the images Mr. Bern created around the city. I believe that 39 Clues fans will enjoy this book a lot. Cade is a great character. You understand why he feels the way he feels. His mother was kidnapped, for Pete’s sake! Brooke is also an enjoyable character as is the whole Knight family.I really hope for a book 2!

I give “Sword of Damocles” five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

To learn more about the book and Mr. Bern, please visit his blog by clicking HERE.

JetDogs – A New Breed Of Heroes by Carter Crocker, J. Henrique Caldas and Marcel Nilo

28 Mar

jetdogsJetDogs – A New Breed Of Heroes
Created by J. Henrique Caldas
Written by Carter Crocker
Illustrated by Marcel Nilo
Collaboration by Chris Henderson
75 pages – ages 7+
Published by Mistika eBooks on December 15, 2013

Synopsis: Johnny Hart loves things that fly. When he finds his late dad’s prototype invention for a personal flying machine called the JetWing, Johnny and his Grandpa decide to finish it. With the help of Johnny’s dogs, they perfect the invention, making it possible for the dogs to fly them. But, sadly, a local bully sees the dogs while they fly through the air with the JetWings that Johnny and his Grandpa built for the dogs, and the bully alerts them to his greedy uncle who is in need of money for his business.

What I Like: This is a great story for reluctant readers! The story was written well, and I like the format of the pages a lot. The background for the pages is extremely cool. They have a faint blueprint-like diagram for some machine. I love the illustration style, very cool graphic. I like them so much, I wish there were more illustrations in the book. There are only a few scattered throughout the story. The story is full of adventure and action, plus evil cats. The evil cats are cool. I like that the dogs in the book are very smart, and that they work together well.  There are a few typos (only 2 or 3) in the book, but they are pretty much unnoticeable. One thing that bothered me is that I think Johnny is too old for the story – he’s 12, but reading the story it seemed like he should have been 8 or 9. Overall, this is a very fun story and well worth picking up. This is a great choice for parents to read to their kids for a bedtime story too.

I give JetDogs 4 out of 5 bookworms!fourbooks

Almost Super by Marion Jensen

26 Mar

I’m feeling a little purple today!

I’ve turned my blog purple too. Why? Today it epilepsy awareness day!

elilepsyPurple Day was founded by 8-year-old Cassidy Megan (she’s now 15). Epilepsy is a serious disease that affects about 50 millions people. Please show your support and help make people more aware of this disease. Please visit purpleday.org or the Purple Day  Facebook page HERE. Follow Purple Day on Twitter @PurpleDay

Now on to my review!

almostsuperAlmost Super

by Marion Jensen

256 pages – ages 8+

Published by HarperCollins on January 21, 2014

Every February 29th, members of the Bailey family (if you are legally part of the family (adopted, marriage, etc.), it counts too!) 12-years-old and older go through an amazing transformation. This year, at exactly 4:23PM (as always) on February 29th 13-year-old Rafter Bailey and his little brother, 12-year-old Benny Bailey will get their SUPER POWERS! You see the Baileys are a family of superheros. Rafter and Benny are excited to see what super powers they get. Will they fly like their dad? Be super-strong like grandpa? Have fire powers?!? When the time finally comes they receive AWESOME super powers! Well… not awesome… more like… umm, well, the powers are lame and pretty much useless.  Rafter can light matches on polyester and Benny can turn his innie belly button to an outie. How are Rafter and Benny supposed to help their family save the world from the evil family of supervillains,  the Johnsons, with these pathetic powers?!? When things look the worst, the boys find an unlikely ally and realize that together they really are heroes.

Books like this make me think I should change my rating system from number of bookworms to rating it as the number of times I get in trouble for reading the book when I’m supposed to be doing something else. I got yelled at, well, at least 6 times because I couldn’t put this book down. :) I actually ended up hiding under the covers in my bed (when I was supposed to be asleep) using my alarm clock for light (my parents confiscated all my flashlights a while ago because of me reading way past my bedtime) to finish reading the book. It was that awesome.

Mr. Jensen has written a fun superhero story that has a different twist. The book is packed with lots of humor and written in a style that all ages can enjoy, especially fans of comics and superheroes. It is a great choice for young advanced readers who are looking for something more than a chapter book. Rafter is a great guy. You really understand how he feels. He’s surrounded by totally super family – his great-aunt (whose power is way less than it was when she was younger) has a stronger power than he does! Benny is a character you just hope succeeds. He’s the really nice guy and he keeps trying and trying. I ended up cheering for Benny. :) The story also has a good message – Don’t draw conclusions based on rumors/gossip or what other people are telling you. People aren’t always what other people tell you they are. I really hope there is a book two, even though the story ended well. But, it’s sort of a cliff-hanger. Sort of.

 

Five out of five bookworms for this most certainly super book! fivebooks

Grimmtastic Girls by Joan Holub & Suzanne Williams! Plus a giveaway!

25 Mar

About the Books: The Grimmtastic Girls

I know, I know, you’re saying “Erik, this is a series for girls. Isn’t it?” Well I am here to admit, I love Ms. Holub’s and Ms. William’s Series The “Goddess Girls” and when I saw the chance to get to review their newest series “The Grimmtastic Girls” I jumped at it. Plus,  I think a lot of boys enjoy reading “girly” books and I say there’s nothing wrong with that! HUZZAH!

Here’s what I thought of the first two books in this new series:

These are a great series, and I love the concept of fractured fairy tales in an early MG book. ;) I love that the teachers come from many fairy-tales – Mrs. Jabberwocky, Mr. Hump-Dumpty, etc. Kids will love to recognize the names and fairy tales they come from. I like that Mother Goose is the librarian at Grimm Academy. :) Ms. Holub and Ms. William’s have a playful writing style that is fun to read. Grimm Academy is a very cool place that I think a lot of kids will love to read about. The books are a quick read for me but very enjoyable. These books (much like the Goddess Girls series) are great for young advanced readers and MG kids looking for a fun story.

Keep reading on for your chance to win a $50.00 Amazon gift certificate!

Book #1

Title: Grimmtastic Girls #1: Cinderella Stays Late | Authors: Joan Holub & Suzanne Williams | Publication Date: March 25, 2014 | Publisher: Scholastic Inc. | Pages: 192 | Recommended Ages: 8 to 12

Grimmtastic Girls: Cinderella Stays LateSummary: The authors of the hit Goddess Girls series put a fun and girly twist on another super-popular theme: fairy tales!

Once upon a time, in faraway Grimmlandia…

A Grimmtastic girl named Cinderella is starting her first week at Grimm Academy on the wrong foot. Cinda’s totally evil step-sisters are out to make her life miserable. The Steps tease Cinda, give her terrible advice about life at the academy, and even make her look bad in front of her new friends, Red, Snow, and Rapunzel! But when Cinda overhears the Steps plotting a villainous deed that could ruin Prince Awesome’s ball, Cinda, her new friends, and a pair of magical glass slippers have to stop them–before the last stroke of midnight!
AmazonGoodreads

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Book #2

Title: Grimmtastic Girls #2: Red Riding Hood Gets Lost | Authors: Joan Holub & Suzanne Williams | Publication Date: March 25, 2014 | Publisher: Scholastic Inc. | Pages: 192 | Recommended Ages: 8 to 12

Red Riding Hood Gets LostSummary: Red Riding Hood might have a terrible sense of direction, but her grimmtastic friends are always there to help!

Once upon a time, in faraway Grimmlandia…

Red Riding Hood is thrilled to try out for the school play. Acting is her dream, and she’s great at it–too bad she has stage fright! After a grimmiserable audition, Red decides to focus on helping her friends Cinda, Snow, and Rapunzel save Grimm Academy from the E.V.I.L. Society. But when Red gets lost in Neverwood forest and runs into Wolfgang, who might be part of E.V.I.L., she needs her magic basket and a grimmazingly dramatic performance to figure out what’s going on!
AmazonGoodreads

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About the Authors: Joan Holub & Suzanne Williams

Joan Holub

Joan Holub has authored and/or illustrated more than 130 children’s books, including Little Red Writing (illustrated by Caldecott Honoree Melissa Sweet) and Zero the Hero. She lives in NC and is online at www.joanholub.com

Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads

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Suzanne Williams

Suzanne Williams is the author of nearly 50 books for children, including the award-winning picture book Library Lil (illustrated by Steven Kellogg). She lives near Seattle, WA and is online at www.suzanne-williams.com

Author Blog | Goodreads

Co-authors Joan and Suzanne have written the Goddess Girls, Heroes in Training, and Grimmtastic Girls series. Though they live in different states and hardly ever get to see each other, they spend lots of time together in Grimmlandia.

Facebook (Grimmtastic Girls) | Facebook (Goddess Girls Books)

Online Author Visits

WOO HOO! A $50 Book Blast Giveaway!

Amazon $50 Gift Card

Prize: $50 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal cash (winner’s choice)

Contest ends: April 23, 11:59 pm, 2014

Open: Internationally

How to enter: Please enter by clicking on the Rafflecopter link below.

Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the authors, Joan Holub & Suzanne Williams and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.

a Rafflecopter giveaway Click ME -Win $50!

 

MDBR Book Promotion Services

Hank of Twin Rivers: Journey of Change M. C. Arvanitis

24 Mar

hankHank of Twin Rivers Book 1: Journey of Change

By M. C. Arvanitis

214 pages – ages 8+

Published by Agate Beach Press on July 15, 2013

Hank Heaton lives in Buck Creek, Iowa in the 1860s. Sadly, his mother and sister died of cholera and Hank  was left with a limp after suffering from the disease. Soon after his mom’s funeral, Pa decides that it’s best for them to head out West. Hank, Pa and Uncle Mac (his mom’s brother) pack up and head to Nebraska in hopes of starting a new life. The trail they follow is full of dangers, like floods, claim jumpers, and rattle snakes. The Oregon Trail is harsh but Hank manages to meet some good friends along he way to his new home.

Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres. I also think it’s one of the hardest to write because you have to make the setting, plot and characters accurate and believable and be entertaining all at the same time. Ms. Arvanitis does this very  well. I was drawn into the story right away. Hank is a very believable character, especially for the time period in the story. Hank’s dad is very strict but that is balanced with Hank’s jolly Uncle Mac. I really got a good picture of what the Pioneers dealt with on their journey.  My only problem with the story is that it ends rather abruptly. I would have liked a bit more, but there is a second book in the works. The adventure and story in the book is enough to keep a kid entertained while learning about the Oregon Trail and life of a Pioneer. This book definitely earns a spot on my book shelf.

I give this book 4 out of 5 bookworms.fourbooks

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