Tag Archives: bookworm

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Do You Have a Hat? by Eileen Spinelli

19 Dec

Before I get to Perfect Picture Book Friday I’d like to tell you that Felicia and I have the latest episode of The Write Chat up! In this episode we hunt track down and interview award-winning author/illustrator MATT PHELAN! CLICK on over to -

~Watch me make a fool of myself Witness the mayhem that occurs when Erik & Felicia forget to book their guest.
~Find out what Mr. Phelan would do with Jeanne Birdsall’s shopping list.
~Find out what the set rules are to make a graphic novel.
~PLUS we have a fun quiz where you can win prizes. :)
phelanchat
Sign up for our newsletter to be informed of when our monthly Vlog goes live and stay up to date on our future guests. On the website you can submit your own questions to ask our upcoming guest. They include; New York Times award-winning author, Chris Grabenstein; Amazon best-selling author, Bart King; Jennifer Lynn Alvarez, author of the awesome new series The Guardian Herd, Tara Lazar author of The Monstore, mastermind and  head honcho of PiBoIdMo; and award-winning author/illustrator (and all around very cool guy) Tom Angleberger ! 
WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!? CLICK HERENO WAIT!!! First read my Perfect Picture Book Friday post – :D

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, as an avid collector of hats, I think this book is awesome!

doyouhaveDo You Have a Hat?
By Eileen Spinelli

Illustrated by Geraldo Valerio

40 pages – ages PreK+

Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on October 1, 2004

Theme/Topic- Famous People

Genre- Historical Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening – “Do YOU have a hat? Something fuzzy, warm, and red, to keep the snowflakes off your head?

Synopsis – From Inside cover:

A fancy hat. A hat that’s plain.
A hat for keeping off the rain.
A glowing hat. A hat with fruit.
A hat for that new dress or suit.
All herein have hats, it’s true –
fantastic, magnificent hats!
Do you?
What do Spanish painter Francisco de Goya, Russian-American composer Igor Stravinsky, South American entertainer Carmen Miranda, African-American cowboy Nat Love, and President Abraham Lincoln have in common?
HATS! Unique, distinctive, wonderful hats! And this bright and cheerful picture book from best-selling author Eileen Spinelli and colorful newcomer Geraldo Valério will have you thinking twice before going outside without yours!

Why I liked this book- I love hats. There. I said it. Happy? I collect hats of all types. So, learning about famous people and their hats, to me, is just plain awesomeness. Mrs. Spinelli has written a fun factual story that makes you want to smile. I loved reading about the famous people and what hats they wore. The illustrations are warm and are full of things in the fore- and background that catches your eye. Plus, this is a good time of year to talk about hats. For those in the Northern Hemisphere – hats that keep you warm. For those in the Southern Hemisphere – hats that keep the sun off! This is a perfect book for young kids (and old kids)! Mrs. Spinelli is a master of picture books!

Activities and Resources-

The Deep Space Sparkle website has a great  art lesson/activity plan to go along with this book – click HERE to go to it.

I think a cool activity would be to learn more about the people with hats shown in Mrs. Spinelli’s book. Just pick one that is mentioned and research more about them.

Another activity would be to gather a bunch of hats and have one kid pick out a hat for another kid and they have to act like the person who would be wearing the hat. Can you guess who I am?

erik2

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

Review! Frostborn by Lou Anders

15 Dec

thronesandbonesFrostborn

By Lou Anders

Series Throne and Bones

336 pages – ages 8+

Published by Crown Books for Young Readers on August 5, 2014

Summary- Karn Korlundsson hates the farming life and the fact that he is to become hauld (head leader) of the traveling farm village he lives him. He wants to see the world. Thianna is half-giant, half-human. She is content to stay in her frost giant village, and she strives to be excepted. It is hard being half the height of every giant around her, you know! When dangers arise for the the two of them, they happen to meet up and band together. Thus begins the journey of a life-time for the small boy and the giant girl. They are chased by draugs (evil undead people) and evil female warriors riding winged reptiles. Will these two misfits survive?

What I Liked- As a fan of Norse mythology, I am a huge fan of this book, and its Nordic-like setting and lore. The frost-giants are just plain cool. Literally. I like the fact that there is a tough (7′) female protagonist, along with a short boy who can’t even swing a sword. They were great opposites in characters. The Nordic legends are a wonderful touch, and I can’t help but want more. Mr. Anders has written a fine book. His style is a spot-on epic fantasy for middle-graders, with tons of humor, friendship, and adventure. I can’t wait for the next book, especially after that dang-blasted awesome cliffhanger that makes me both happy and angry! (happy that there will be another book, angry (or maybe sad) that I will have to wait)

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Review and Interview! All About China by Allison “Aixin” Branscombe

13 Dec

chinaAll About China: Stories, Songs, Crafts, and More for Kids

By Allison “Aixin” Branscombe

Illustrations by Lin Wang

64 pages (hardcover) – ages 7+

Published by Tuttle Publishing on November 11, 2014

Synopsis- From Amazon: “Take the whole family on a whirlwind tour of Chinese history and culture with this delightfully illustrated book that is packed with stories, activities and games. Travel from the stone age through the dynasties to the present day with songs and crafts for kids that will teach them about Chinese language and the Chinese way of life.”

What I liked- This is a great activity-filled ,information PACKED book that teaches you about life as it  is and was in China. It talks about the dynasties of China, daily life in China, games and traditions of China, and much more! There is a huge diversity in the things to read about. Ms. Branscombe has written a wonderful encyclopedia-like resource. Lin Wang’s illustrations bring the book to life. They are realistic and captivating. I could see schools or homeschool families using this book to teach a whole unit on China.

I give this book 5 out of 5 bookworms!fivebooks

 

Now for an interview with the author, Allison “Aixin” Branscombe!

Erik: All About China is packed with all sorts of information about the country. How did you go about researching the book and how long did it take you to do it?

Ms. Branscombe: This book is the result of about 15 years of research!  At first, I did not know I was going to write a book, I just wanted to learn about China after I adopted my daughters.  It happened over time, as I wrote about China for the Families with Children from China Newsletter and other articles I wrote, help set up and run playgroups and crafts fairs.  I am a curious person, and  I made friends with people in the Chinese American community through my kids’ school, the local Chinese Culture Foundation, the Organization of Chinese Americans and other groups.  I also bought lots of books on Chinese culture for all ages of readers!

Erik: I was amazed at the amount of information you put into 62 pages and how well-organized it is. What part of the book was the most difficult to write?

Ms. Branscombe: Thank you!  Part of the “big picture” organization came from the publisher, Tuttle, which  has published other books in the series (All About Korea, Japan and Indonesia). However, I added some of my own categories, and made the organization work for what I wanted readers to know.   The part that was the most difficult to write was the information on the dynasties and inventions, because I had “word budgets” of about 100 to 200 words on each dynasty (and I only had room for a few dynasties).  It was tough to choose what was most important to include, to boil it  down and make it interesting for the reader.

Erik: What surprised you most when you did your research?

Ms. Branscombe: Great question!  Because of all the people who have researched China before, and written about it in English, there have been some inaccurate translations from the original Chinese words.  Sorting out which version was most authentic was sometimes difficult.  Having Chinese experts to consult was very helpful to me.

Erik: You are the adoptive mother of two children from China (just so you know, I am adopted too ;) ), and it says in the author description in the book that you wrote this book to help your children know about their heritage. Do you have any tips for other adoptive parents on how to connect their children with their heritage?

Ms. Branscombe: Just what you and I are doing:  read, read, and read some more!  And make friends with people of your children’s heritage because they have lived it and can be a fantastic bridge to understanding.  Besides getting to know Chinese and other Asian American adults, I made opportunities to get to know some adult adoptees of all different backgrounds. The adult adoptees can be great guides to understanding and discussing some of the cultural, adoptive and racial issues faced by our children.  Helping their kids connect with something special in their birth heritage is really helpful also, whether it is through language learning, sports (such as the Asian sports leagues, tai chi, gong fu), dance, music, cooking, art/painting, or similar efforts helps the child get more personal insights into their heritage.  Plus, it is fun!  Who does not want their horizons broadened?

Erik: Do you have any upcoming projects you’d like to tell my blog readers about?

Ms. Branscombe: I don’t have anything concrete in the works.  I am pondering a specific Chinese crafts-only workbook for kids. On a completely different subject, I am thinking about a book for kids on how to stand up for themselves and educate other kids when they get both friendly and mean questions about differences, such being adopted, having a physical, health or learning challenge, and other things kids must deal with.

Thank for you reviewing my book and sharing your thoughts and my experiences with your readers.

Thank you, Ms. Branscombe! I really appreciate you doing this interview with me!

Review! Chik Chak Shabbat by Mara Rocklif

13 Dec

The elves at my blog seem to have stolen the post from yesterday (okay, I got really busy and I completely forgot to post this review). So – better late than never!

This is a great picture book I picked up at the Litiz Kid and Teen Literature Festival I went to last month. I met the author, Mara Rockliff there and I am happy I got her book Chik Chak Shabbat!

chickchakChik Chak Shabbat
By Mara Rockliff
Illustrations by Kristen Brooker
32 pages – ages PreK+
Published by Candlewick on September 3, 2014

Theme/Topic- Shabbat/diversity/friends

Genre- Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening – “Every Saturday, a wonderful smell wafted from apartment 5-A.

Synopsis – Amazon’s Description: “When Goldie Simcha doesn’t joyfully throw open her door to welcome everyone in to her apartment for a meal of her famous cholent, her neighbors wonder what could be wrong. Little Lali Omar knocks on the door to 5-A, only to learn that Goldie was feeling too sick on Friday to cook, and everyone knows you can’t make cholent in a hurry, right away, chik chak! But it just isn’t Shabbat without cholent. What can her neighbors do to save the day?”

Why I liked this book- Ms. Rockliff has written a wonderful story about a lady celebrating the Jewish Sabbath. The story doesn’t focus on religion but rather tradition, making friends and sharing a meal. It is a beautiful story, one that gives you a nice feeling inside. The illustrations are gorgeous, and really lend to the story. They portray the feelings of all of the characters realistically. This story is one of friendship, and of a caring community. I really like it. The book explains what cholent is and there even is a recipe in the back of the book to make it. This is a great choice for Hanukkah or just a wonderful book about tradition and community.

Five bookworms!fivebooks

This book was nominated as a Perfect Picture Book (if it wasn’t already, I’d be doing it again ;) ) over at Sally’s Bookshelf – click HERE to read it. To find more Perfect Picture Books please visit Susanna Hill’s blog HERE!

 

 

 

Review! Gifts from the Enemy by Trudy Ludwig

11 Dec

giftsfromGifts from the Enemy

By Trudy Ludwig

Illustrated by Craig Orback

32 pages – ages 8+

Published by White Cloud Press on June 17, 2014

Opening – “There are those who say that what I’ve lived through never happened. But I’m here to tell you that it did. My name is Alter Wiener and I am an ordinary person with an extraordinary past.

Synopsis- from the inside jacket – “In this true and moving story, Alter Wiener, a teen survivor of five Nazi prison camps during WW II, transports young readers back in time when an unexpected person demonstrated moral courage in repeated acts of kindness toward him.

What I Liked- This was a very well-written, important book. It deals with a very harsh topic in an amazing way. The story is enough for younger  kids to understand the horror of the Holocost and the suggested activities, glossary, discussion questions and information included in the back of the book is a great addition for older kids.  The fact that a female German helps Alter is very dangerous, and the fact that she didn’t have to do it and risked her life doing it, makes Alter (and the reader) all the more grateful for the act. This story is written from Alter Weiner’s point of view as a holocaust survivor and is incredibly moving. The illustrations are stunning. The story is kind of sweet, in a very sad way. It shows how terrible people can be, and yet how wonderful too.

I give this wonderful book five out of five bookworms.fivebooks

Patricia Tilton reviewed and nominated this book as a perfect picture book. Check her review out HERE

Want to learn more? Check out Ms. Ludwig’s website HERE.

Perfect Picture Book Friday! You Are NOT Small by Anna Kang

5 Dec

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 am a giant very tall (5’9″) and a classmate of mine is around 4 feet tall, and this book gets the debate about who is big and who is NOT small right!

yournotsmallYou Are NOT Small
By Anna Kang
Illustrations by Christopher Weyant
32 pages – ages 2+
Published by Two Lions on August 5, 2014

Theme/Topic- Differences/Perspective

Genre- Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening – “You are small

Synopsis – From Goodreads: Two fuzzy creatures can’t agree on who is small and who is big, until a couple of surprise guests show up, settling it once and for all!

Why I liked this book- This book not only has a great lesson about perspective and debate, is also hilarious! The story shows the reader there are many ways of looking at something. Just because something is small to you doesn’t mean it is small. It isn’t preachy at – all just fun! The story is completely dialogue, but still gives a full feeling, even with only around 90 words in the whole book! The illustrations are simple, but are great to look at (and the fuzzy bear-like creatures are really cute).

yournotsmall2

 

The story points out that we really have to think about how we see things (or people (or fuzzy bear things)). The ending is awesome because it involves getting a snack after settling an argument. :) This is a great book!

Activities and Resources- 

I think a good activity for this book is to take a story and change the perspective. For example re-tell the 3 Little Pigs from the perspective of the pig building his house out of sticks. Maybe he had a bad back and couldn’t lift bricks, or he just couldn’t afford the bricks. ;)

Have your kids or students draw a picture of a tree (or whatever else in nature – it doesn’t really matter) as they see it and then how an ant would see it. Then ask how are the pictures different and how are they the same.

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

 

 

 

Creative Kid Thursday: Guest Review by Josie! Ben 10 Omniverse: Ghost Ship #1

4 Dec

Welcome to another edition of Creative Kid Thursday!

Today my guest kid reviewer is my sister Josie! :D

Before I get to her review, I wanted to say congratulations to her because she achieved an awesome goal. Josie came in third place in points for the year in her class at the go-kart track she races at!!! This is very cool considering this is her first full year of racing. YAY!

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Notice who sponsors her kart – right underneath the #100 ;)

I am very proud of her. She has some awesome racing skills (something I want no part of – it looks terrifying – I am happy being part of the pit crew. ;) ).

Josie7_16_14

The karts go up to 50mph!

 

NOW ON TO CREATIVE KID THURSDAY!

 

bentenBen 10 Omniverse: Ghost Ship #1

By Cory Levine

Art by Alan Brown

64 pages – ages 8+

Published by Viz Media first printing 2013

Summary (from Amazon) BEN 10 is one of the best-selling boy’s action franchises of all time! OMNIVERSE brings together the best of all Ben 10 series with new adventures in both the past and present, new villains and all new mysteries!

For more than five years, Ben Tennyson has been saving the universe with his Omnitrix, which allows him to use the DNA of aliens to take on heroic new forms. But he’s never encountered a challenge quite like this! Teamed up with a new partner, Rook, who seriously needs to relax, Ben investigates the mysteries of a hidden underground alien city and has to battle a new enemy, Khyber, who has only one thing on his mind: hunting down Ben 10!

Ben and Rook investigate a distress call that lands them on a stranded space ship with a secret…and puts them right where Khyber wants them, trapped with no way out while he and his shape-shifting dog hunt them down. Now Ben’s got to get off a ship that’s falling out of space, save himself and his partner from Khyber’s dog, and figure out the mystery of the “Ghost Ship!”

What Josie Thought - I really like Ben 10 cartoons. I think he is a good character. The book is pretty great. This book is about a cartoon of Ben 10 I saw. It was the same, but I liked reading the cartoon in the book. I actually like the pictures in this book better than in the cartoon. I think I like the whole book better. I like the story too. It is pretty exciting. I think other kids my age will like this book (I am ten). I don’t like that they say Ben 10 is for boys in the thing on Amazon. I am a girl and I love  Ben 10. I think other girls do too.

I will give this book five bookworms. fivebooks

I have another book that I want to tell you about too. It is very cool so I want to tell you about it. It is this one.

catbugBravest Warriors: The Search for Catbug
Edited by Joel Enos
Art by Alan McGinty, Ian Howell, Corin Lau, Fawn Hunt, Rachel Warburton, Mr. Turner, Zack Ciurczak, Dan Hillburn, Becca Monlongo, Jorge Lovett, Nate Smith, Brian Ferguson, Lee Smart, Jamie Campidelli, Maurizio Ry-Spirit, C Samantha Cummings, Matt Kuhn, Jeremy Leong, Sonia Fukuda Trant, Inori Chao, Jon Rupert, Mao Stanton, Domo Brown
64 pages – ages 7+
Published by Perfect Square on August 19, 2014

Summary from Goodreads:

Four teenage travelers traverse the universe saving those in need…though not always in the way you’d expect…in fact…never! Along the way they meet aliens, phantoms and other interdimensionals’ including everyone’s favorite, Catbug. Sometimes…they even meet themselves!

Featuring more than 25 artists, this is a new one-of-a-kind art book in the style of a classic seek & find from Perfect Square featuring the Bravest Warriors.

Catbug ate some weird new cubes of food that caused him to lose what little control he already had over his jump abilities! Now he’s careening through dimensions, unable to stop! Help the Bravest Warriors travel the galaxy and find Catbug. Just don’t eat any of those cube snacks or you might end up lost too!

What Josie Thought – I like comic books a lot. I like the pictures in them and this is a whole book of big cool pictures where you get to find Catbug. Catbug is cute. I like how all the pictures look different. There is a part in the back of the book that shows who made which picture. I like that. I like to find things in books like this. Sometimes Catbug was hard to find but I like that it was hard to do. The pictures show the adventure Catbug goes on.

I give this book five bookworms too. fivebooks

Now I am done :)

Thank you Josie for those great reviews!

Review! Wanderville: On Track For Treasure (Book 2) by Wendy McClure

1 Dec

wander2Wanderville: On Track For Treasure
By Wendy McClure
Series: Wanderville – Book 2
224 pages – ages  8+
Published by Razorbill on October 16, 2014

Synopsis- Set in the early 1900’s, Wanderville is a traveling “town” that was created by orphans in the first Wanderville book. The town is set up so that, wherever they are, it can come with them (see my review HERE), they are kind of like gypsies. The town now has 10 new residents but they all must leave immediately. The evil sheriff had found them and he is determined to round the kids up and send them to the work farms they escaped from. They hop a train, and find a home with a reverend and his wife. But the kids soon find out it may all be too good to be true.

What I Liked- Ms. McClure has written another great historical fiction story! The characters in the book are very real. They act and talk like kids – kids who are on the run and who are trying to find a home. The story is really interesting. I was very intrigued because there really were orphan trains and I found the 1900’s setting very fun to read about. The interesting plot twist is *DON’T READ IF YOU DON’T WANT A SPOILER* The reverend and his wife do good, but they aren’t necessarily good. *OKAY YOU CAN READ AGAIN* The plot kept me reading and lost in the story. The length and language in the book makes it great for kids 8+ but older kids will enjoy the story a lot too. I love the covers in this series. I am looking forward to the next book in the series!

I give “On Track For Treasure” 5 out of 5 bookworms!fivebooks

REVIEW! Time Square: UFO by S.W. Lothian

30 Nov

timeufoTime Square: UFO
Time Square Series – Book 2
By S.W. Lothian
214 pages – ages 8+
Published by CreateSpace on October 12, 2014

 

Synopsis- When Eva and Lewis’ dad put time itself in mortal danger (accidentally, of course – he’s really a nice guy), 163 time travelers were scattered throughout time. Rescue teams were sent out to save the travelers from whatever time they landed in. Eva and Lewis, along with their new friends, Max Wells and Razer Sharpe, become a team, and are sent to 1947 Roswell, the time of the supposed UFO crash-landing. Will the rescue team be able to find and help the lost time traveler in time (no pun intended – well, maybe a little ;) )?

What I Liked- This book was AWESOME! I’ve read a lot of Mr. Lothian’s books and this one is my favorite. I loved the adventure in it and the writing was top-notch.  Even though this book is technically the second book in the series, it is really Eva and Lewis’ first adventure through time with their new friends. This is a really action-packed book. There is a race against time to stop a mad scientist from trying to hurt a lost time traveler that is mistaken for an alien. The book is appropriate for all ages. The mad scientist (the bad guy) is quite funny and I enjoyed his character very much. The whole story was enjoyable and the time travel parts were done really well. The story takes place at Roswell, at the time of their famed alien sighting, so that makes it even more dangerous for the main characters (and fun for the reader), whose time traveling portal closes with a bright flash!

I give “The UFO” five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Crankee Doodle by Tom Angleberger

28 Nov

HAPPY YOU’RE WELCOMEING! (the day that follows Thanksgiving ;) )

I am sitting here trying to recover from “I shouldn’t have had that second piece of pumpkin pie” syndrome. I was going to pass on Perfect Picture Book Friday this week because I was feeling super lazy for some reason (it had nothing to do with, say, eating too much, right? ;) ), but then I was sitting here reading a really great picture book I picked up at the Lititz Kid and Teen Literature Festival called Crankee Doodle and I really wanted to tell you about it.

SOOOOOoooo…

IT’S TIME FOR 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 always wondered why Mr. Doodle was mistaking feathers for dried pasta.

crankeeCrankee Doodle

by Tom Angleberger

Illustrated by Cece Bell

32 pages – ages 4+
Published by Clarion Books on June 4, 2013

Theme/Topic- Humor / folk song

Genre- Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening – “I’m bored.”

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crankee2

Synopsis – from the inside jacket – “Ever wonder what the song “Yankee Doodle Dandy” means, exactly? And what’s with the macaroni? Turns out it didn’t make any sense to Mr. Doodle, either. In fact, it made him pretty, um, cranky. This unapologetically silly picture book reveals that the legendary ride to town (and the whole macaroni thing) was all suggested by Mr. Doodle’s overeager pony.”

Why I liked this book- Well, I am not the only one who likes this book, because as I decided it was Perfect Picture Book Friday worthy, I found that Carrie Finison thought the same thing because she nominated it last year – see her review HERE! :) I loved the humor in the book! I have to admit the Yankee Doodle song never really made sense to me and I love how Mr. Angleberger and Ms. Bell combine forces to poke fun at the silly song. Mr. Angleberger wrote the super popular and very funny Origami Yoda books, and you can see his sense of humor pulling through in this book. Pony is an awesome character, never saying more than a sentence or two (well, except for that one paragraph after Mr. Doodle insults him), while Mr. Doodle mostly speaks in long paragraphs. This is an AWESOME read-aloud! Ms. Bell’s illustrations are funny, and to the awesomeness of the book!

Activities and Resources- There is a note at the end of the book, written by Crankee Doodle’s pony, that tells a little bit about the origins of the song. Ms. Finison linked to some great song related activities on her blog (CLICK HERE) so I found some other type of activities.

Education.com has a cool craft to make a Yankee Doodle tri-cornered hat – Click HERE
You have to check out Sesame Street’s Don Music writing Yankee Doodle and getting upset about how silly the song is. :D

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

 

 

 

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