Tag Archives: childrens books

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Last Stop on Market Street by Matt De La Pena

20 Feb

HELLLLOOOO Blogosphere! Happy Friday! What could be better than Perfect Picture Book Friday you ask? (well maybe you didn’t but let’s just pretend you did)

Well, I’ll tell you! How about Perfect Picture Book Friday and I get a TWO hour delay from school!

WOO HOO!!!

What?

Not so excited about that?  Well I am pretty ding-dang-dong excited about that.

OKAY how about this -

After you get done reading about my pick for this week’s Perfect Picture Book Friday you click on over the Felicia and my vlog – The Write Chat where we have an all new episode for your viewing pleasure! This month we interview the amazingly talented BIG BOOK author – BART KING!

BartKingTWC7Collage

What is Mr. King’s Dream job?

Why are we interviewing an egg?

Are girls allowed to read the BIG BOOK OF BOY STUFF and are boys allowed to read the BIG BOOK OF GIRL STUFF?

How does Bart King (who is NOT a girl) write a BIG BOOK OF GIRL STUFF anyway?

All these and many more questions will be answered in this exciting episode of THE WRITE CHAT!

Click HERE to go THERE (but only after you read my PPBF post ;) ).

 

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 was illustrated by Christian Robinson, and I like his works. That’s what caught my eye, but there is a lot more to the book.

laststopLast Stop on Market Street

By Matt De La Peña

Illustrated by Christian Robinson

32 pages – ages 3+
Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers on January 8, 2015

Theme/Topic- Appreciation

Genre- Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening – “CJ pushed through the church doors, skipped down the steps.”

Synopsis (from publisher) – “Every Sunday after church, CJ and his grandma ride the bus across town. But today, CJ wonders why they don’t own a car like his friend Colby. Why doesn’t he have an iPod like the boys on the bus? How come they always have to get off in the dirty part of town? Each question is met with an encouraging answer from grandma, who helps him see the beauty—and fun—in their routine and the world around them.”

Why I liked this book- This is a very inspiring book. It helps you see the wonders of the world, even in places you wouldn’t expect. Mr. Robinson’s art really compliments Mr. De La Peña’s story. It has that warm feeling and points to all the things that matter. I like how the twist at the end of the story reveals that CJ and his Nana go to help others. I noticed that CJ’s Nana never really shushes CJ for asking questions, like about a blind man – “How come that man can’t see?” and his Nana replies “…Some people watch the world with their ears.” That line made me smile. Mr. De La Peña has written a great picture book which makes me want to see the awesomeness in everything around me.

Activities and Resources-

A great activity is to volunteer to help other people like CJ and his Nana did. There are a lot of places you can go to help – just with your family or maybe your whole class room.

I found this list of activities called “Gratitude Games.” They are ways of having kids remember all they have to be thankful for. Click HERE to get it.

Of course the Bucket Fillers activities are a great way to have and show appreciation. Click HERE.

 

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

Review! Iggy Loomis: A Hagfish called Shirley By Jennifer Allison

1 Feb

hagfishIggy Loomis: A Hagfish called Shirley
By Jennifer Allison
Illustrated by  Michael Moran
Hardcover: 202 pages – ages 7+
Published by Dial on October 9, 2014

Synopsis: My favorite preschooler-superhero, Iggy Loomis, is back! Along with his older, more responsible brother Daniel, and Daniel’s alien friend Alistair. Daniel is often looking after Iggy and his twin sister Dottie. When Iggy accidently flushes Alistair’s pet hagfish down the toilet, they need to get it back, or else Alistair will be sent back to Planet Blaron. But after the fiasco that happened in Book 1, Alistair’s parents took away his super-cool watch that can do almost anything. Will Daniel (and Iggy) be able to help Alistair before it’s too late? And now Dottie knows about Iggy’s bug superpowers! Can she keep it a secret?

What I Liked: This is a fun series. And who doesn’t love that title -“A Hagfish Called Shirley”?? Iggy was turned into a buggy “superhero” after eating some science experiments. Now he turns into some bug-mutant (random bug parts pop out of his body (wings from his back, antennae from his head, stinger from his bottom)) whenever he gets angry or excited – kind of like the Hulk, but only in preschool form ;) . The bad news is that, for a preschooler, those are the majority of his emotions. Daniel and Alistair really have their hands full with Iggy. The plot, while seemingly simple, really takes a twist for the worst in the book, in a funny way, of course. There are comic-like illustrations that pop around the story, with speech bubbles, and descriptive boxes. Those are pretty cool. Ms. Allison has written a wonderful book! I love this series!

I give “A Hagfish Called Shirley” five out of five bookworms !fivebooks

Perfect Picture Book Friday! My Teacher is a MONSTER! (No, I am not.) by Peter Brown

30 Jan

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 funny book with a great message (and because running into teachers outside of school is awkward – Sorry, but it’s true!).

myteacherisaMy Teacher is a Monster! No, I am not.
Written and Illustrated by Peter Brown

40 pages – ages 4+
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers on July 1, 2014

Theme/Topic- Perspective / school / monsters

Genre- Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening – “Bobby had a big problem at school. Her name was Ms. Kirby.

Synopsis – taken from the inside jacket “Bobby has a problem. You see, his teacher is a monster. But when Bobby runs into his teacher outside of school, he learns there is more to her than meets the eye.

Why I liked this book- This is a funny book about perspectives. Someone sometimes might act “horrible” in some instances, but once you get to know them, they might actually be nice or not what you originally thought. It’s a good lesson for kids and the story is fun, not “preachy.” I really enjoy the illustrations. They’re fun to look at. I like how they gradually show the change in Ms. Kirby (from monster to human). I think all kids have felt at some point that their teacher is a monster (of course if ANY of my current or past teachers are reading this I NEVER thought that about you). And who hasn’t found it awkward when you see your teachers outside of school? They don’t live there?!? Really? ;) Mr. Brown has written a great book!

Activities and Resources-

Mr. Brown has an activity kit that goes along with this book. It has discussion questions, group activities, coloring pages and more! Click HERE to download it.

Barbara Leyne of the awesome blog Grade Onederful, nominated this book as a PPBF book last year. Her review and suggested activities are great – check them out HERE.

With Valentine’s Day coming up here is a MONSTROUS idea for school kids – a monster card box.

Photo Credit to Giggles Galore

Photo Credit to Giggles Galore

Check out the instructions for making this cute craft at the Giggles Galore blog – CLICK HERE to GO THERE!  Josie is going to make one for her school party. :)

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

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!

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.

 

monster1

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.

monster2

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

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!

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

 

Review! Madison Lane and the Wand of Rasputin by Elle Carter Neal

6 Nov

madisonMadison Lane and the Wand of Rasputin

By Elle Carter Neal

287 pages – ages 8+

Published by Elle Carter Neal on September 9, 2014

SUMMARY – Madison Lane was feeling exhilarated. Her aunt Ruby was coming to visit, and that meant more magical items! You see, the Lane family is involved in magical items, and they try to stay under the radar of an agency that is supposed to keep track of the magical items. This time, Madison receives a magical wand that apparently gives the user 2 wishes, and then must be passed to another person. Apparently, Ruby got it from Anastasia Romanov and Maria Rasputin. When a kid grabs the wand and wishes them to a different world, they are taken to Ground, a world that is billions of light-years away from Earth, yet linked through a wormhole. And both worlds, Earth and Ground,  may be destroyed if Madison doesn’t help them even out the magical Sources that keep the worlds in balance!

WHAT I THOUGHT – This was an amazing book. It kept me on the edge of my seat. It was edited well, and Ms. Neal’s writing style was fun and realistic.  I like the idea of Ground. It sounds like a fun place (besides the banshees!), and I love the play on words with Ground/Earth. :) I got lost in the story as I read it. There is just enough fantasy elements in it, mixed with the realistic elements, to make you wonder if such a world could exist. Madison is a strong female character. I think she acts reasonably at all times, and isn’t afraid to help anyone out, even if they are on the other side of the universe. I love the fact that her family collects magical items and the historical character references. At 287 pages, it is  a nice size for an MG reading fan. The content in the book is appropriate for all ages (unless you object to magic). Even though I enjoyed the ending of this book – everything tied up nicely, I am hoping there is a follow up book. There are two bonus short stories at the end of the book which are a nice addition.

I give this book 5 out of 5 bookworms! fivebooks

November UBFP Column – Author Spotlight: Roland Smith

4 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 2014 issue! The online version was just published. To see the online version of the newspaper, click HERE.

I hope you like it!

Author Spotlight: Roland Smith

One of my favorite authors is Roland Smith. Mr. Smith writes middle grade fiction and nonfiction stories and he co-authors picture books with his wife, Marie. The biography on his website (RolandSmith.com) shows an interesting path for him becoming a writer. Mr. Smith says he was always in love with writing and wanted to be a writer when he grew up so he became an English major at Portland State University. One day, while he was looking for part-time work while he was in school, he saw an ad for help wanted at the children’s zoo in Portland. One thing lead to another and Mr. Smith ended up working with animals for over twenty years. The good thing for us readers is that his experiences with animals gave him great ideas to write about.

Why do I like Roland Smith’s books so much? Let me tell you. First of all, his novels are packed with on-the-edge of your seat excitement. He writes great action/adventure stories that are completely appropriate for middle grade readers and his writing style will keep you reading. Mr. Smith knows how to mix the right amount of humor into his books. I really like how he will diffuse very intense scenes with a bit of humor. It really adds to the enjoyment of the books.

iqzachs

The characters in his books are very realistic. Most of his characters are early teenage – aged and I think they act and talk like kids do in real life. He has great male and female characters and I think both boys and girls would think his books are a great read. I also like how Mr. Smith has characters from his different series show up in each others’ books. It’s a cool detail and all the more reason to try out different Roland Smith books.

storm

The topics of his books are wide, ranging from searching for cryptids (creatures in folklore or mythology rumored to exist) across the world to learning to living with huge secrets to taking down terrorist ghost cells. Then there is all of Mr. Smith’s nonfiction works on animals. Mr. Smith write exciting action packed books that are appropriate for middle grade readers and young advance readers. He has books with airplane hijackers, people in the witness protection program, countries in war, terrorism, and tying to survive natural disasters. Mr. Smith’s writing style keeps a reader hooked until that last page.

mutation

Mr. Smith’s Cryptid Hunters series is one of my favorites from him. The fourth and final book in the series, MUTATION, was just published at the end of September and it was a book I’ve been waiting for. The Crypid Hunter series follows teen-cousins Marty and Grace and their friend Luther all around the world as they try to track down mythical creatures and locate Marty’s missing parents. Although I am sad to see the series come to an end, I was not disappointed with the finish. MUTATION is the kind of on the edge of my seat exciting adventure I am always looking for as a young reader. I highly recommend the whole Cryptid Hunter series or any of Mr. Smith’s works.

Want to know more? Visit Roland Smith’s website at RolandSmith.com

For more on books and reading, visit my website at ThisKidReviewsBooks.com

 

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