Tag Archives: bookworm

Review! The Kidney Hypothetical by Lisa Yee

22 Apr

kidneyThe Kidney Hypothetical (or how to ruin your life in seven days)
By Lisa Yee
272 pages – ages 12+
Published by Arthur A. Levine Books on March 31, 2015

Synopsis- From GoodReads: “Higgs Boson Bing has seven days left before his perfect high school career is completed. Then it’s on to Harvard to fulfill the fantasy portrait of success that he and his parents have cultivated for the past four years. Four years of academic achievement. Four years of debate championships. Two years of dating the most popular girl in school. It was, literally, everything his parents could have wanted. Everything they wanted for Higgs’s older brother Jeffrey, in fact.

But something’s not right. And when Higgs’s girlfriend presents him with a seemingly innocent hypothetical question about whether or not he’d give her a kidney…the exposed fault lines reach straight down to the foundations of his life…

What I Thought- I dislike teen romance stories. BUT bonus points to the author for having the main character break up with his girlfriend in Chapter Two. :) At first, I wasn’t sure if I’d like this book but I found the story written well and there was enough of a story line to keep me interested. The book is young YA level (reading and content). It is a short read but the story moves along at a good pace and it feels complete when you are done. The characters were well-rounded but parts of the plot seemed a bit unrealistic- Higgs gives up going to Harvard?!? The story overall keeps the reader’s attention and there are some thoughtful moments between Higgs  and Monarch (a girl Higgs befriends after he broke up with his girlfriend). There wasn’t the WOW factor for me in the story to say run to the bookstore to buy it, but it is definitely worth a read.

I give this book 3 out of 5 bookworms.threebooks

Review! Grounded: The Adventures of Rapunzel by Megan Morrison

21 Apr

groundedGrounded: The Adventures of Rapunzel
By Megan Morrison
384 pages (hardcover) – ages 9+
Published by Arthur A. Levine Books on April 28, 2015

Synopsis- Rapunzel lived in a tower, and she had everything she wanted. Witch gave it to her. Witch loved her. And Rapunzel was happy. That is, until a boy climbs her tower and claims that they’ve met. Even weirder, they met… Yesterday. But how is that possible? Rapunzel would have remembered. So, Rapunzel decides he’s lying. Yet somehow, he has her handkerchief. Could what he say be… true? Then, he steals a rose and runs off. What choice does Rapunzel have? She follows him. And thus begins the adventure of a lifetime.

What I Thought- This was a great book. I like how it explains that Rapunzel has no hard feelings towards the Witch – after all, Witch did raise her. I often thought that about the Rapunzel story – she sees the Witch as her mom but then again she’s been her prisoner – very weird situation… I digress. Ms. Morrison has written a wonderful book about so much more than the Rapunzel story. The story is full of adventure, and a slightly wacky world. The story is filled with humor, the right amount of tension and a plot line that keeps the reader interested. I found it funny how all of the countries were named, based on colors – nice detail. Rapunzel is a great character, kind of single-minded and gullible, but that is explainable (she was raised in a tower afterall). The book plays on questions that the original Rapunzel fairytale created like “Why would Rapunzel want to be kidnapped from her home?” or “Why was Rapunzel’s father so idiotic to trade his only daughter for a piece of food?”. Things like that. :) The book very funny, and will have you rolling on the floor! Based on this book, I’d be happy to read more from Ms. Morrison.

I give this book 5 out of 5 bookworms!fivebooks

Perfect Picture Book Friday! A Nest is Noisy by Dianna Hutts Aston and Sylvia Long

17 Apr

Today is Perfect Picture Book Friday! WOO!

Before I get to my PPBF pick, I want to tell you after you are done here, click on over to Felicia and my vlog, The Write Chat, to see out interview with the one, the only, TARA LAZAR! CLICK HERE TO GO THERE (but only after you read PPBF ;) )!

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NOW ON TO PPBF!!!

Susanna Leonard Hill has a feature on her blog called Perfect Picture Book Friday. It is a list of “perfect” picture books recommended by all sorts of people. I chose this book because it is a perfect book for Spring!

anestA Nest is Noisy

by Dianna Hutts Aston

Illustrated by Sylvia Long

40 pages – ages 5+
Published by Chronicle Books on April 14, 2015

 

Theme/Topic- Nests / biodiversity

Genre- nonfiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening – “A nest is noisy. It is a nursery of chirp-chirping…

Synopsis – From Chronicle Books: “From the award-winning creators of An Egg Is Quiet, A Seed Is Sleepy, A Butterfly Is Patient, and A Rock Is Lively comes this gorgeous and informative look at the fascinating world of nests. From tiny bee hummingbird nests to orangutan nests high in the rainforest canopy, an incredible variety of nests are showcased here in all their splendor. Poetic in voice and elegant in design, this carefully researched book introduces children to a captivating array of nest facts and will spark the imaginations of children whether in a classroom reading circle or on a parent’s lap.

Why I liked this book- This is a great book for this time of year! First off the illustrations are something you could look at for hours. They are so detailed and informative. I really like that the book doesn’t focus on bird’s nests (which is what I thought it was going to be) but has ALL kinds of nests. Bees, alligators, platypus and more! The book is educational and entertaining. I can see teachers and parents using this book to talk about ecosystems and biodiversity.

Activities and Resources-

Check out one of the many “nest cams” on the internet! There are owl cams (short for camera), hawk cams and eagle cams. Here is an eagle cam in Hanover PA – click HERE. If you check it out you’ll see two eaglets and their parents. My family has been watching them grow. Plus you can see the awesome nest they built and how they use it.

Chronicle Books has a teacher’s guide and activity pack to go with this book. Click HERE to get it.

PBS Kids has a great build your own bird’s nest activity. Click HERE to get it.

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

Jet Lee Dragon Warrior by Pamela K. Witte

16 Apr

jetleeJet Lee Dragon Warrior By Pamela K. Witte Illustrated by Laurie Tisdale 130 pages – ages 8+ Published by Pam Witte on January 17, 2015       Synopsis-jetLeeDragonWarrior What I Thought- This is a fun book! It is based on some ninja/samurai concepts, but set in New York City. I didn’t expect almost everyone that Jet knew to be a Dragon Warrior. That was cool. Jet is a clumsy, small, and weak tween who you can’t help but like and root for. Everyone loves to see an underdog win, right? The story is fast paced and flows well. Ms. Witte is a gifted story teller. At 130 pages it is a quick read, but the story feels complete. There are some neat manga-like illustrations through-out the book. I like how Jet, as a character, messes up simple things (like (not) catching an important vial), building up the fact that he’s clumsy – I like a hero who is more realistic. Ms. Witte has written a great book and is another example of a self-published book done right! I give “Jet Lee Dragon Warrior” 5 out of 5 bookworms!fivebooks

My Grandma is a Ninja by Todd Tarpley

14 Apr

grandmaninjaMy Grandma is a Ninja

By Todd Tarpley

Illustrated by Danny Chatzikonstantinou

40 pages – ages 4+

Published by NorthSouth on March 1, 2015

Synopsis- Ethan’s grandma is a ninja. She can use a zip line like nobody’s business, she can do awesome karate moves, she can even do a backflip… in slow motion! How cool is that?! Ethan and his friends love it. That is, until Ethan’s grandma kicks the team’s soccer ball so hard it deflates and everyone gets upset. Ethan is no longer sure having a ninja grandma that great.

What I Thought- OKAY! What kid wouldn’t love this book?! It has a ninja, who actually happens to be an elderly grandmother – PURE AWESOMENESS! The illustrations are funny, wacky, and they flip out at you – in slow motion! This book will have little kids laughing out loud, and big kids rolling on the floor, laughing their lungs out! Mr. Tarpley has written a great book that has a funny circling ending. It kept me chuckling.

I give this book 5 out of 5 bookworms!fivebooks

Creative Kid Thursday! Matt Nadel – Author, Baseball Historian, Blogger

9 Apr

Have I got a Creative Kid for you! Matt Nadel is a 16-year-old baseball historian who has written his own book about baseball!

 

Meet Matt!

 

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Matt Nadel, age 16, is MLB.com’s youngest baseball history Pro Blogger. He was appointed a Pro Blogger in 2012 by MLB’s official historian, John Thorn. Matt blogs mainly about baseball history and his favorite era is the 40s and 50s.  His favorite team today is the Yankees.  Matt started blogging about baseball history back in April 2012, because he was finding that many of his friends knew very little about it, and he thought that a blog would be a fun way to teach kids and even some adults about it. He knows a lot about baseball history including every World Series winner (going back to 1903) by heart.

Matt’s has written almost 350 posts, in addition to a book, Amazing Aaron to Zero Zippers: An Introduction To Baseball History. He has appeared in TV and in many newspapers. He hopes to one day be a baseball historian, journalist and broadcaster.

Matt has agreed to an interview with me about him, his book, and baseball. Enjoy!

Erik: There is a TON of baseball information you put forward in this book. As a book reviewer I am impressed at how clearly and well-presented it all is. Do you keep all this stuff in your head or do you have to reference your own book in remembering some of these stats?

Matt: I do know a lot of what’s in my book, but I do reference it from time to time if I’m not too sure about a specific moment, player, or team.

Erik: Makes sense – the book is a great reference! What do you feel your biggest accomplishment is – outside and unrelated to baseball?

Matt: My biggest accomplishment outside of baseball is assisting at the special needs karate class at the karate studio I used to go to for lessons, Hwang Martial Arts in Springfield, New Jersey. It really warms my heart to see those kids punch a bag or do a form. It’s really inspirational. 

Erik: That is rewarding! I help teach a younger kids class at my Dojo too. I enjoy it very much. It is awesome that you are donating your profits from the book to The Jackie Robinson Foundation, the ALS Association, the National Baseball Hall of Fame Foundation, and the Turn 2 Foundation. What was your motivation for writing the book?

Matt: I had been doing the blog for about a year when the idea for the book came to me. Basically, I wanted to put every single thing that is important to baseball’s history into one little children’s book. I wanted the book to teach kids about baseball history and I think it accomplishes this. 

Erik: It is a great book for kids to learn about and appreciate the great players in baseball history. I am a Philly guy and the Phillies are my hometown team.  In my opinion, there is nothing better than to go to an afternoon game. I’ve found that when I can’t physically be at the ballpark, I prefer to listen to the game over the internet/radio rather than watch on TV. Maybe it’s because of the announcers (Scott Franzke, Larry Anderson and Jim Jackson) and how they describe the action. Who do you think are some the best play-by-play broadcasters?

Matt: Right now in the MLB, Eric Nadel (no relation) for the Rangers and Greg Brown for the Pirates are probably at the top of my list. Of course, I have to include the legends, like Vin Scully, Bob Uecker, Mel Allen, Ernie Harwell, Red Barber, and Harry Caray.

Erik: Lets not forget Harry Kalas. ;) Do you play organized baseball?

Matt: I play for my school’s varsity team, the Golda Och Academy Roadrunners. Last year, I was placed in the outfield due to injuries, so I’ll probably be in the outfield again this year. 

Erik: I am a baseball fan and I learned a lot from your book. The text is written very well and even someone who is only a casual fan will appreciate the history in it. Name the most surprising thing you learned from doing the research for your book.

Matt: Some of the stuff on extra innings jumped out at me, like the minor league game that featured future Hall of Famers Wade Boggs and Cal Ripken Jr., but probably the most surprising thing a learned was the backstories of all the greats and how they progressed through their careers. Pure statistics don’t tell the whole story. It doesn’t talk about the lives of the legends before they entered the game and to me, that stuff is so intriguing.

Erik: Thanks for taking time to answer my questions Matt!

 

Now I’d like to tell you a bit about Matt’s book.

aaronAmazing Aaron to Zero Zippers

By Matt Nadel

112 pages – ages 10+

Published by Summer Game Books on March 23, 2015

Goodreads Summary

Matt Nadel is a 15-year-old baseball historian whose blog and media appearances are fast-propelling him to national prominence. Matt has written a thorough and accessible book on the biggest stars, greatest games, and most amazing feats in baseball history. Richly illustrated, the text includes bios of Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Jackie Robinson, and many others; descriptions of classic ballparks like Fenway and Wrigley and great franchises like Brooklyn and the Yankees; a section on the Negro Leagues and other professional leagues; and the expert lowdown on stolen bases, perfect games, triple crowns, and even the baseball uniforms!
Amazing Aaron to Zero Zippers is the go-to resource for anyone looking to learn everything important about the history of America’s greatest game, and learn it in a fast, fun way. Filled with incredible, classic photos from the official Baseball Hall of Fame Archives, it is a primer for baseball beginners, a resource for developing fans, and a treat for long-time devotees who will love having so much essential baseball knowledge in one convenient place.

What I thought – This was a well-written resource for anyone interested in baseball or history in general. It is organized and flows well which is  quite a feat considering the amount of information packed into the book. The text is easy to follow and is referenced well. The reader can tell there was a lot of careful research done for the book. I liked how Matt not only included baseball stats but also glimpses into the lives and personalities of the players. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone will be writing a book about Matt in a few years! 

Five out of five bookworms! fivebooks

Want to learn more?

Check out Matt’s book on Summer Game Books website – click HERE.

Follow Matt –

Baseball with Matt – Blog

Twitter- @BaseballwMatt

Everyday Bento by Wendy Thorpe Copley

8 Apr

bentoEveryday Bento: 50 Cute and Yummy Lunches To Go

By Wendy Thorpe Copley

120 pages – ages 12+

Published by Tuttle Publishing on March 4, 2014

Synopsis- Do you know the way to make a quick, healthy, and fun lunch that looks nice? Well, if not, have you ever tried bento? You don’t know what bento means? Bento is a Japanese style meal that is packed into a box and able to be taken along with you. This book gives you simple recipes on how to make bento box meals with American items and a lot of fun!

What I Thought- This was a nice recipe book. Ms. Copley has written a comprehensive guide to making bento boxes for the beginners.  The recipes are simple and really easy to understand. This isn’t really a kids book but I bet any kid would love to get packed lunches like this!

bento2 bento3

Plus it makes a great parent kids activity – making great lunches! The book covers the basics and the tools you might want to get to make the fun shapes and molds. Some of the recipes are more complicated than others, and would take more time to make, but you can get some great ideas from it. There are easy-to-follow instructions and pictures. All in all, this is a really nice book! We (meaning mom and me) used some of the things we had around the house and the pictures and guides from the book and created a bento box lunch! How did we do?

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I give “Everyday Bento” four out of five bookworms!fourbooks

Check out the Every Day Bento website for ideas and video tutorials! Click HERE

Review! The Zodiac Legacy: The Convergence by Stan Lee and Stuart Moore

7 Apr

zodiacThe Zodiac Legacy: The Convergence (Book 1)
Written by Stan Lee and Stuart Moore
Illustrated by Andie Tong
480 pages – ages 8+
Published by Disney Press on January 27, 2015

Synopsis- Steven Lee had no idea what he was getting into when he stumbled upon a huge underground warehouse-thingy where some strange ceremony is taking place. He somehow gets involved in a hidden battle to stop a power-hungry man who is now one of the most powerful men on Earth. The powers of the Zodiac animals were released into the world to find their “perfect host”, and the Tiger has settled in Steven’s body. Several of the receivers of the power are agents of the evil man – a man who holds the most powerful power – the Dragon. Steven needs to think fast, harness his new powers and stop the madman’s plot.

zodiac2

What I Thought- HOLY GUACAMOLE! This was a great book! I am a HUGE fan of Stan Lee so I was all over this book when it came out. I am happy to say, this book did not disappoint! Mr. Lee and Mr. Moore have crafted a riveting story packed with comic book action, fighting, mystery and super powers.  There is just the right amount of realism in the book to keep the reader thinking this really could be happening. Mr. Tong’s red, black, and white illustrations pop-up throughout the book. They look cool, and get the story into your head more. They give the story even more depth. The characters are well-developed, and were fun to read about and get to know. There are three planned books in the series. The ending of this book is quite a cliff hanger, but there is enough wrapped up in the story that the reader is not disappointed.  A lot of kids and adults will read this just because Stan Lee wrote a middle grade book. For a kid-comic book fan like me, it was just what I would have wanted.

I give this book 5 out of 5 bookworms!fivebooks

WANT TO KNOW MORE?!?

You can read about the creators of the series HERE.

Check out the website HERE.

Disney has a teacher’s guide to go with the book. Click HERE to get it.

Review! The Ultimate Treasure Quest I: The Jewel of Peru by Sharon Skretting

30 Mar

jewelperuThe Ultimate Treasure Quest I: The Jewel of Peru

By Sharon Skretting

316 pages – ages 8+

Published by Sharon Skretting on September 20, 2014

Synopsis- From the Publisher: “After his father’s ship is found abandoned at sea, Christopher makes and unexpected discovery on board—The Ultimate Treasure  Chest!  Inside is a message that beckons him to set sail after the treasure and his parents. When a savage pirate and a corrupt businessman join forces to steal the treasure for themselves, the gang gets caught up in pirate chases, time travel, and an underground network of spies. Will Christopher find the Jewel and his parents or will all be lost forever?

What I Thought- This was a fun time-travel book.  I specially liked that the characters were not from modern times but from the 18th century and they travel forward to our time. The characters are kid sailors and they transport to modern day Peru.  Ms. Skretting has written an authentic sounding 1700’s story, and then she put them in a modern-day situation, and it was just as believable. The characters are well-developed and you feel a connection to them. Christopher is a great kid and an enjoyable MC. The story is solid, but the story does not keep the same exciting pace  after the first couple challenges the characters face.  Still, the story is good and a great choice for kids. The book had educational parts. You learn about the environment and Peru throughout the story, as the characters are challenged to learn about them to get to the next stage.

I give “The Jewel of Peru” four out of five bookworms.fourbooks

I am feeling a bit purple today.

26 Mar

I am feeling a bit purple today. If you haven’t noticed, my blog is a bit purple – I am wearing purple heading off to school. Why all the purple?!?

Today is PURPLE DAY!

A day to bring awareness about epilepsy.

purpleday

According to the Purple Day website “Cassidy Megan created the idea of Purple Day in 2008, motivated by her own struggles with epilepsy. Cassidy’s goal is to get people talking about epilepsy in an effort to dispel myths and inform those with seizures that they are not alone.” Click HERE to learn more.

I first became aware of epilepsy through Bethany Telles and reading about her son (Master Jedi) Renn. Renn has gone through some scary things with the condition and I’ve learned a lot about epilepsy through reading about him. I am happy to say that Mrs. Telles reports Renn is doing well and (after a very scary brain surgery), has been seizure free for one year! To read more about Renn CLICK HERE. After learning about Renn and epilepsy, I learned some of the kids at school have it some of my blogger friends (their loved ones) have it – I think it is a subject that kids need to know about it even if you don’t have epilepsy. It will help you understand what is happening to people in your lives who may have it.

In my effort to spread awareness about epilepsy, I have two book recommendations for you.

mommyIfeelfunny

Mommy, I Feel Funny!

By Danielle M. Rocheford

Illustrated by Chris Herrick 

40 pages – ages 8+
Published by Green Swing, A Wyatt-MacKenzie Imprint on March 1, 2009

GoodReads SummaryBased on a true story, Mommy, I Feel Funny! introduces the reader to Nel, a little girl who is diagnosed with epilepsy. The story takes you through the days following Nels first seizure. Suddenly, Nel and her family are faced with thoughts, fears and emotions that come with the discovery, understanding and acceptance of epilepsy. 

katethegreatThe Great Katie Kate Explains Epilepsy

by M. Maitland DeLand

Illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin

32 pages – ages 5+
Published by Greenleaf Book Group Press on January 7, 2014

GoodReads Summary – Jimmy and the other young patients in the neurologist’s office get a visit from the Great Katie Kate, a spunky redheaded superhero who appears when kids get worried. Katie Kate takes the children on a medical adventure to learn about the various forms of epileptic seizures and treatments. Along the way, they meet the Worry Wombat, a creature that appears when worries loom large. As Jimmy and his new friends to ask questions about their condition and its triggers, they make the Worry Wombat disappear!

This superhero saga provides an entertaining and indispensable tool for parents and medical professionals who are seeking a positive way to help young epilepsy patients understand their condition and deal with their fears. As a well-respected physician who specializes in the treatment of women and children, the author presents challenging medical concepts in clear, accurate, and understandable prose.

Do you have any book recommendations that teach about epilepsy?

Now go wear some purple!

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