Tag Archives: bookworm

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Ninja Baby by David Zeltser

20 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 I liked this different type of jealousy over a new sibling story.

ninjaNinja Baby
Written by David Zeltser
Illustrated by Diane Goode

32 pages – ages 3+
Published by Chronicle Books on November 3, 2015

Theme/Topic- New Sibling/Jealousy

Genre- Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “When Nina was born, the doctor gently thumped her bottom to make sure she was breathing.

Nina karate chopped her right back.

Synopsis: From Goodreads- From the day she was born, Nina was a ninja baby. She obliterated her applesauce. She concealed herself at bath time. And she was training herself in advanced infiltration (of movie night). Nina wants to do everything by herself, until the day her parents bring home a Kung Fu Master (a baby brother). Now with a sibling, Nina will face the one thing she cannot do alone: be part of a family. With verve and humor, David Zeltser and Diane Goode tell the story of an unusually gifted child, and the family that is more than a match for her.

What I Thought- This was a fun book. I really liked how it applied the ninja (and Kung-Fu) activities to real life. Mr. Zeltser has created a great story, and the illustrations are awesome for it! They have little details that make it pretty cool. I really like the feeling of the story and I like how Nina reacts to her new Kung Fu Master baby brother. LOVED the ending of the book. It made me smile, and I like that it leaves the ending open. I can see this book giving a kid who is getting an older sibling a great feeling about the possibilities that he or she can do with their new sibling. Plus the book is just a super fun read. Any kid would like it (and their parents too)! Apparently this is Zeltser’s first picture book. I’d love to see more from him.

Activities and Resources-

Get your ninjas some training by creating your own ninja training studio! There are plenty of ninja themed games and craft activities you can do – HERE is a list of come suggestions.

Try out some martial arts with your kids! I love training in the martial arts and have been since I was 5, but you are never too young (or old) to start. Go to a trial class at a local studio, or if you are a teacher, you can invite an instructor into class to give a demonstration! 

Check out the book’s trailer below. 

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

Ramses Rat and the Great Cat Bastet by Sally Odgers

17 Nov

ramses_ratRamses Rat and the Great Cat Bastet

Written by Sally Odgers

Illustrated by Dushko Zafirovski

62 pages – ages 6+

Published by Prints Charming Books on September 18, 2015

Synopsis- Ramses Rat was a young rat who lived in Ancient Egypt. When he outgrew his nest in a V.I.P. (a Very Important Pyramid), he leaves to find a new home in the city. Ramses sees a temple of the Great Cat Bastet, and decides that it would be a nice, safe place to live. But on his way to try to enter through a rat-sized tunnel, a small group of rats stop him, and threaten him. That only serves to make Ramses want to get into the temple even more!

What I Thought- This was a fun book. I enjoyed reading about Ramses’ adventures. They are unique and will have kids interested. I liked the illustrations. They will remind kids of comics or cartoons. They complete the scenery of the world, and bring you into the story. The book is a nice early reader chapter book. It has 15 chapters, but they are a good lengths for beginning readers. This book is a basic story of anti-bullying (the mean rats won’t let Ramses through, they want to kick out all of the rats, etc) with a cool twist. I think that teachers will like this book for that message, and the fact that they can teach a bit of history into the book, with how they lived in Ancient Egypt. Overall, this is a fun book with a nice message!

I give this book four out of five bookworms.fourbooks

Review! 101 Movies To See Before You Grow Up by Suzette Valle

11 Nov

Before I get to today’s review, I get to tell you that the guy over there wildly waving his hand has won the Voyagers prize pack provided by Disney publishing! If you missed my review of this great new series, check it out HERE.



Who is the guy?

Why it is none other than children’s book author and capybara lover – MIKE ALLEGRA!

Congratulations Mr. Allegra, I will be emailing you to get your mailing address so the publisher can send you the box of cats your prize pack!

Now, on to the review!


101movies101 Movies To See Before You Grow Up

Written by Suzette Valle

144 pages – ages 9+

Published by Walter Foster Jr on October 19th, 2015

Synopsis- Don’t spend your time looking for the latest movie to watch! There is a treasure trove of movies already made that you can feast your eyes on! Don’t know which ones of the thousands and thousands to watch? Are you looking for a good movie with lots of family fun? Or how about adventure? Fantasy? Even romance? This is the guide for you!

What I Thought- I like the idea of this book. Who wouldn’t love a list of a bunch of great movies? Of course there is always going to be someone saying so and so movie should be listed in the book (you can’t please everyone). I was happy to see some of my favorite movies listed (and the two greatest movies ever made – The Princess Bride and Star Wars ;) ). I liked that there were little “Fun Fact” boxes about the movies, actors, directors, etc. There is also a spot to put your own rating and notes about each movie. The author included a note cautioning about ratings (some movies are PG or PG-13). I enjoyed the book. I noticed the book was heavy on the recommended Disney movies. In all fairness Disney makes a ton of really great movies and I’ve seen almost every one mentioned in the book – actually the movies deserve to be on the list, but I would have liked to see some movies recommended that laid the groundwork for what movies are today (and ones that kids would enjoy). A Charlie Chaplin movie or Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein? How about a Harold Lloyd or a Buster Keaton Movie? But that is just my opinion. I do like that the book includes documentaries (some of which I still have to see) and it is very well organized. There are definitely movies on the list that I have marked to watch. After reading the book I am thinking maybe I should branch out – This Kid Reviews Movies ;)

I give this book four out of five bookworms. fourbooks

Review! Brain Games by Jennifer Swanson

10 Nov

braingamesBrain Games: The Mind-Blowing Science of Your Amazing Brain

Written by Jennifer Swanson

Forward by Hank Green

112 pages – ages 8+

Published by National Geographic Kids on September 8th 2015

Synopsis- Have you ever wondered what your brain can do – exactly? Why we feel what we feel? What makes us ‘go’? Get ready to take a trip through your brain with this National Geographic Kids book!

What I Thought- This is a really fascinating book! I enjoyed reading it. It presents the information in a fun way and makes you want to keep reading. There are new topics on each page, usually under the topic listed at the beginning of the section. (ex: Emotions). There are good activities throughout the book to tickle your brain and are just plain fun to do. The book has pictures through-out it that make the book reminiscent of a scrapbook-type collage. I sincerely recommend this book to everyone interested in the operations of the brain.

I give this book five out of five bookworms.fivebooks

Perfect Picture Book Friday! The Fox Forest Band by Lisa E. Lindman

6 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 we need good anti-bullying books in our lives and this one has a unique story.

foxforestThe Fox Forest Band
Written by Lisa E. Lindman
Illustrated by Chandra Wheeler

30 pages – ages 5+
Published by Hugo House Publishers on March 20, 2015

Theme- Bullying/Standing up

Genre- Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening Lines: “Once upon a time, there was a wood.

Old and beautiful the forest stood.

The creatures there were kind and wise

and lived out happy animal lives.”

Synopsis from GoodReads:A happy group of forest animals are stopped cold by a wizard’s enchanted fog that whispers their greatest fears. The animals think they have to run away but a brave fox gives them a better idea. He shows them how to stand up for themselves and how to handle the problem at its source.
Join the fox and his friends as they figure out how to defeat a bully wizard—and have fun in the process!

What I Thought- I really liked the message in this book – if you find a way to stand up for yourself, you should do it. The writing is very playful, and has created a fun setting for a great story. The book has awesome watercolor illustrations throughout the story, too. They add an extra dimension to the book. The story has nice rhyme to it. I like how the book is teaching a lesson of standing up for yourself in a sneaky way – it’s wrapped in a fun story. The lesson of the story and the illustrations really make this one a stand out! I enjoyed reading the book.

Activities and Resources-

PACER’S National Bullying Prevention Center’s website is PACKED with resources for home and in the classroom. Visit the site HERE.

KidsAgainstBullying.org and TeensAgainstBullying.org are great websites designed for kids to use.

To learn more about The Fox Forest Band, visit the official website HERE.


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

November UBFP Column – Chelsea Clinton Appears at Children’s Book World

3 Nov

I write for the UBFP Newspaper!I wanted to share the article I wrote for the Upper Bucks Free Press (the newspaper I write for) for the November 2015 issue! The street and online version were just published. To see the online version of the newspaper, click HERE or you can read the whole story below (with some added pictures ;) )!

Hope you enjoy the article!

Chelsea Clinton Appears at Children’s Book World

By Erik Weibel

I was excited to attend a book signing by former fist daughter, Chelsea Clinton. Ms. Clinton recently wrote a children’s book titled “It’s Your World: Get Informed, Get Inspired, & Get Going!” (Philomel Books, September 15, 2015) The book is a well-written guide on many of the issues facing our world today as well as providing motivation to get kids to do something about it.


The event took place at Children’s Book World, in Haverford PA. When asked about a having a figure like Ms. Clinton at the book store, owner Heather Hebert said that an event like this brings the store onto people’s radars. Hebert is appreciative of publishers like Penguin Books (publisher of Clinton’s new book) for continuing to send amazing authors to Children’s Book World. Since some people were coming just because Ms. Clinton was there, Hebert hoped that once in the doors of this gem of a bookstore, the people will become regular patrons. Hebert said, it is “exciting to get people from new places.”


There definitely were a lot of people at the event! By the time it started, the line to get into the store was down the block and around the corner. The estimated attendance was between 450-500 people. As I waited my turn in line, I got a chance to ask a few people how they came to hear about the event. Some were store patrons that received notification from the store’s email list. Heather Bickley, and her children Lily and Noah, were new to the store, and had heard about the event via social media. Some in line were already familiar with Ms. Clinton’s book, liked the message and wanted to show support for it. One woman said that her children were always interested in charity works, and another said that he liked the overall message and ideas in the book. IMG_1162Piper Martz had heard about the event from her political science teacher via email, and had told her friend Anne Clare. They admitted that they were skipping class, but thought that meeting Chelsea Clinton made up for it. Piper pointed out that the “academic value of meeting Chelsea Clinton is incomparable to studying in school”, (I feel I should point out that, if their teachers read this article, they were working on their studies while waiting in line).



Ms. Clinton draws on her experiences as first daughter in the book. As first daughter, she was in a position to see the world in a way not many have the opportunity to and it shaped the story for the book. The book is about inspiring children by teaching them with an overview of the world’s challenges, like poverty, poaching, homelessness, and environmental issues. She gives examples of what other kids were doing to help combat some of these problems. When I got my chance to meet Ms. Clinton, she agreed to talk with me a little about the book. I ask her about the enormity of the problems outlined in the book and said that, as just one kid, it all seemed way too big to even start to do anything. Ms. Clinton told me to “look at big problems as lots of little problems” and work on the little ones. As I was talking to her, she told me about the story of a boy named Alex, who wanted to tackle the problem of homelessness and poverty. Instead of starting with the almost impossible task of completely stopping these problems, he chose to work on one part of it. Alex realized he always had extra pieces in his LEGO sets after he was done building them. He thought of the kids who don’t have any LEGOs at all because of their life situation. He took action and started collecting LEGO sets for these kids. Alex ended up donating thousands of LEGO sets to kids who couldn’t afford them. Clinton says this is just one example of how kids can make a difference.


At the end of each chapter, Ms. Clinton has a page of suggestions that you can do to help with whatever the chapter’s topic is. The suggestions are simple things that you can do to slowly change your life to take action help others. I really liked the entire layout of the book, and recommend it to any kid interested in making the world a better place. The message in the book and the theme at the book signing is something kids can all get behind, “We all can do something” Ms. Clinton said.

To learn more about Children’s Book World, please visit ChildrensBookWorld.net

If you would like to read more about books and reading, please go to Thiskidreviewsbooks.com.

Review! Connect the Stars by Marisa de los Santos and David Teague

2 Nov

connectConnect the Stars

Co-written by Marisa de los Santos and David Teague

352 pages – ages 9+

Published by HarperCollins on September 22, 2015

Synopsis- Aaron Archer is a living encyclopedia – he remembers every single thing he’s read/heard – word for word.

Audrey Alcott is a walking lie detector – she can tell when someone lies – every single time – no matter the lie.

They have no idea who the other is. They live pretty far apart.

But when their parents (who also don’t know each other) decide, for various reasons, that spending six weeks in the total outdoors would do the kids good, they meet. They also meet some other kids (some nice, some not-so), and a crazy guy in charge of the event.

And thus starts the adventure of a lifetime.

What I thought- This was a really well-written book! I enjoyed the uniqueness of the fact that Audrey and Aaron pretty much have super-powers, but the story just makes them out to be interesting people with great talents. It made it seem almost normal – almost. Ms. de los Santos and Mr. Teague set up a wonderful story with these two unique kids thrown into an environment that really challenges them. The setting is a great place for the adventure – the Texas “Desert” Plains. The kids must learn to get along with each other, and also survive the blazing sun and landscape. When a classmate disappears after getting into a fight with the counselor, the kids team together to get to the bottom of it. I like how they learn to work together despite having very different personalities.  I enjoyed every second of it.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Review! The Doldrums by Nicholas Gannon

29 Oct

doldrumThe Doldrums

By Nicholas Gannon

368 pages – ages 9+

Published by Greenwillow on September 29th 2015

Synopsis- Archer B. Helmsley was a dreamer. His father was a lawyer, and his mother was a doer. His grandparents were trapped on an iceberg, presumed dead. His mother, afraid that Archer – who, as a dreamer, tended to fantasize and imagine – would suffer a similar fate, kept him in the house at all times: only allowed out for school.

Archer decided that he would search for his grandparents (who had been gone for two years) in Antarctica. To do that, he would need help. So, he’s got Adélaïde L. Belmont – who only has one leg, maybe because of her world wide adventures – and Oliver Glub – who will figure out the details of the trip realistically.

It seems like it will work out. They have a plan. They have a location.

Now, if only things were what they seemed.

What I Thought- This was an amazing book. I loved every single second of it. Archer is such a great character that you want him to succeed, to blossom into a wonderful story-driven character, as he does. There are illustrations placed throughout the book, most in color, that were drawn by the author himself. They are fascinating, as you see the characters as they were imagined by the author himself. On the other hand, Mr. Gannon’s writing style is creative and has a unique way of drawing you into the story with a touch of humor and wit. I really enjoyed the book, and wish for a sequel.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Review! Welcome to Mars by Buzz Aldrin

27 Oct

marsWelcome to Mars: Making a Home on the Red Planet

Written by Buzz Aldrin with Marianne J. Dyson

90 pages – ages 8+

Published by National Geographic Children’s Books on September 1st, 2015

Synopsis- Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live on Mars? If you have, you probably dismissed it as impossible. How would you like to hear that it may be possible to live on Mars? Within a few years, it may very well be imaginable to be setting up a colony on Mars. It is something that must be thought of, and will be a necessity for our survival as a species.

What I Thought- When I think of Mars habitation, I normally end up thinking of space-age technology bordering on Sci-Fi. When I read this book, I realized that the technology is closer than you might think. Much like the advanced technology that Jules Verne predicted and wrote about in the 1800s that is reality today, Buzz Aldrin bring future possibilities to us in this book. Aldrin theorizes about the time it will take for us to get to Mars and start a permanent colony. The text also tell the reader a lot about the red planet. In an easy to understand way, Mr. Aldrin helps explain how we would get to Mars, and tells us about Mars now, and what we would do while colonizing. Reading the book was very thought-provoking – it’s an interesting thought, moving to Mars. There are fun activities for kids reading the book to help teach them about the relationship between Earth and Mars such as Earth’s rotation vs. Mars’. There are cool illustrations, plus pictures of the planned living quarters on Mars. I think that this would be a fun class topic/project. You can discuss it with your students and even have them do activities about Mars exploration. Maybe I’ll do a school project on Mars-living!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Review! Frankie Dupont and The High Seas Heist by Julie Anne Grasso

26 Oct

frankie4Frankie Dupont and The High Seas Heist

Series: Frankie Dupont: Book #4

Written by Julie Anne Grasso

Illustrated by Alexander Avellino

131 pages – ages 7+

Published by Julie Anne Grasso on September 16th, 2015

Synopsis- Frankie Dupont is back in another adventure! When Frankie’s detective dad gets an invitation to go on a sea cruise to Antarctica for a case, he gets three other tickets to go on the cruise. Because Mrs. Dupont already had plans to visit a relative, that means that Frankie and his friends can come along! On the cruise, they learn that the famous chocolate-maker hosting the cruise is planning on unveiling her new recipe for a special chocolate. It turns out that she is scared of her recipe being stolen by famous chocolate thieves that have stolen secret recipes from other companies and mysteriously been making a fortune on their small store. The only thing is, is that they have never been caught in the act. Add in the fact that one of the thieves might be the chocolate-maker’s daughter, and you have an adventure at your fingertips!

What I Thought- Ms. Grasso knows how to write a good mystery for kids. Her Frankie Dupont stories are appropriate for all ages and are skillfully written to give an older reader a compelling mystery. Frankie is a great character that has a knack for getting to the bottom of things! Kat and Amy are realistic friends for Frankie, too. In book 4, Inspector Cluesome’s character seems to have developed from a bungling detective into one with some skills. I like when series develop characters over time. The black-and-white illustrations are nice addition to the story and connect very well with the text. Ms. Grasso has done a great job continuing the Frankie series! My only complaint is now I am hungry after reading about all that chocolate…

I give “Frankie Dupont and The High Seas Heist” five out of five bookworms!fivebooks


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