Tag Archives: bookworm

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.

 

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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.

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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

Interview with Author/Illustrator Jeff Mack!

11 Nov
A few Fridays ago I nominated DUCK IN THE FRIDGE by Jeff Mack (Published by Two Lions on September 2, 2014) as a perfect picture book (see the review HERE). Mr. Mack has written and illustrated numerous picture and chapter books (see more at JeffMack.com ), some of which I have reviewed on my site. I am quite a fan of Mr. Mack’s work.  Today I am happy to have him as a guest on my blog! Read on to enjoy learning more about Mr. Mack’s writing and illustrating process!
 
duckinthe
 
 
Erik – When I saw the title of your book – Duck in the Fridge, I knew I had to have the book! How did you come up with such an awesome title?
 
Mr. Mack – I took the title from a line in the book.  When I started writing this story seven years ago, the first sentence I thought of was “I don’t know how the duck got in the fridge, but he made a huge mess.” To me, this sounded like a great way to start a story, a real attention grabber that made me wonder what would happen next. The trouble was, it took me a long time to figure out what happened next. After many revised drafts, I added the parts about the father at the beginning and at the end. And I moved that first sentence about the duck in the fridge closer to the middle. But the title stayed exactly the same.
 
 Erik –  You are right about it being an attention grabber! Why a duck and not a squirrel or a bunny?
 
Mr. Mack – Well, if you think about it in a certain way, it’s not so rare to keep a duck in the fridge. Or at least duck leftovers. I like that it sounds as if I’m talking about two different things: either a roast duck or a quacking duck. If I called it “Turkey in the Fridge” or “Tuna Fish in the Fridge”, the joke might be too obvious. But if it was a bunny or a squirrel in the fridge, at least on one level, it would be too creepy.
duckinfridgefinal
 
 
Erik –  Well I for one am glad it was a quacking duck in the fridge not a roasted one! As an author/illustrator, what’s your favorite part – writing or illustrating or do you enjoy both?
 
Mr. Mack – My favorite part is telling a story. With picture books, I think the writing and illustrating are difficult to separate. Drawing pictures in a sequence is one way to write. Each picture represents a whole bunch of words. And the sequence creates the plot. Then the actual words provide extra info that adds meaning to those pictures. The two parts, writing and illustrating, work together to tell the complete story. So, basically, I like both.
 
Erik – Mr. Mack sent along some sketches from his book DUCK IN THE FRIDGE. It’s cool to see how the sketches get turned into the illustrations in the book and how they change from the original idea.
 
Erik – Did your dad tell you wacky stories like this (I know mine does ;) )?
 
Mr. Mack – Yes, all the time. He still does. I’ve heard them all a million times, but he keeps telling them. And they never get old. Well, almost never.
dadfinal
 
Erik –  Ha ha! I know what you mean about “almost never.” What is your favorite fairytale of all?
 
Mr. Mack – I was always partial to Rumplestiltskin. I love the idea of a character who makes something valuable (gold) out of something worthless (straw). Isn’t that what every artist does? Spin precious metals out of horse food?
 
 Erik –  Do you have any upcoming projects you’d like to share with us?
 
Mr. Mack – Sure, I have a new picture book coming out in April called “Look!”. It’s about a gorilla who competes against a television for a little boy’s attention. It’s also about a battle between low-technology vs. high-technology, books vs. screens. So I used both low and high-tech methods to illustrate it: watercolor and digital collage. It’s a fun and interesting story, and there are only two words in the entire book. One of them is “Look.” Can you guess what the other one is?
 
091lookcoverjeffmack 092looksample5jeffmack 063looksample3jeffmack
Erik – That’s a GREAT premise for a story! I will definitely be on the LOOK OUT for this one! Thank you for joining me today on This Kid Reviews Books Mr. Mack!
To learn more, please visit Jeff Mack’s website by clicking HERE!

Double Play! Mutation by Roland Smith & Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan

9 Nov

Get ready for some literary awesomeness in my post today! I have reviews of two books by two  of my favorite authors I waited for months to read!

mutationMutation

By Roland Smith

Series: Cryptid Hunters
352 pages – ages 11+
Published by Scholastic Press on September 30, 2014

Marty, Grace, and Luther are back in the thrilling conclusion to the Cryptid Hunters series! Wolfe, who is Grace’s dad and Marty’s uncle, and scientist specializing in cryptids (animals rumored to exist but were never proven (Ex: giant squid, Bigfoot)), and his strange group of employees have pinpointed where Marty’s parents disappeared in the Brazilian jungle. The cryptid hunters team get to a member’s research base in Brazil, only to keep having team members go missing. It almost seems like they are getting picked off one by one… It seems like an isolated tribe is to blame, but how do they know basic English, and how to disable modern-day electronics? What will happen when the kids are the only ones left to protect the cryptids that Wolfe has rescued?

This was an amazing ending to the Cryptid Hunters series! Mr. Smith has a great series here, and I was sad to see it end, but I was very satisfied with the ending. There is enough action, adventure, and excitement to go around – I couldn’t put it down! Marty and Grace (and you as the reader) learn a lot about Noah Blackwood (the millionaire zoo-chain owner who is diabolically evil) in this book (for example, his name isn’t even Noah Blackwood!). I love how Mr. Smith mixes science and sci-fi together in his story lines. The characters in the series are ones that the reader gets to know well. The good guys are ones you will like and cheer for and the bad guys will make your skin crawl. The ending is great, but I also kind of thought it had to end the way it did (Noah was too popular to just go to jail). I really like how Mr. Smith pulled everything together in the end… now maybe he’ll reconsider and write another Marty and Grace book… pretty please?

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

~~~

bloodThe Blood of Olympus

By Rick Riordan

502 pages – ages 10+
Published by Disney Hyperion on October 7, 2014

Percy. Jason. Annabeth. Piper. Frank. Hazel. Reyna. Leo. Nico. Coach Hedge.  Greek demigods. Roman demigods. (and one satyr) Traditional enemies. (except for the satyr) And the fate of the world rests upon their shoulders. (including the satyr) They must stop the evil earth giant, Gaea, from rising to destroy everything of mankind. She’s kind of in a grouchy mood and has made it hard for those demigods to stop her. Especially since she’s convinced the two Greek and Roman camps to fight each other to the death. With about a week before Gaea rises, and the two camps warring, how will the team stop the end of the world happening?

This was a very thrilling conclusion to the Percy Jackson Saga. It was also sad to see this series go, but I still enjoyed reading it. Mr. Riordan sure knows how to keep you hooked and reading. He adds just the right amount of humor into this book, mixed with plenty of thrills and danger, and a dash of despair. I finished it in about 3-5 days, only reading it in school (except for the last day). I noticed that The Blood of Olympus is darker than the other books. It seems that everyone is at their wit’s end in it,  which makes sense, seeing how they are going to go against extremely powerful giants. Everything gets tied up neatly. It also makes a nice progression in the series. As this is the last official Percy book that Mr. Riordan is doing (he’ll be doing a series on the Norse gods next!) we readers couldn’t have asked for a better end – well maybe that it wouldn’t end! Mr. Riordan has written a rather stunning ending to the Heroes of Olympus series. I can’t wait to read the Magnus Chase books (the Norse god books)!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

 

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