Tag Archives: childrens books

Review! Alistair Grim’s Odditorium by Gregory Funaro AND GIVEAWAY WINNER!!!

29 Jun

The winner of the Vanishing Island Giveaway is:

ELI PACHECO!!!

VanishingIslandHC

Congratulations! I will be emailing you to get your info to send you the book!

odditoriumAlistair Grim’s Odditorium
By Gregory Funaro
432 pages – ages 9+
Published by Disney-Hyperion on January 6, 2015

Synopsis- Grubb (spelled like the insect, but with an extra ‘B’, and no last name) is an orphan. He was taken in as a babe by the kindly but elderly Mrs. Smears. Sadly, Mrs. Smears dies when he was just six. Mr. Smears, angry and in grief, turns out to be a not-so-nice man. When Grubb runs away to get rid of bullies (and Mr. Smears), he accidentally hitches a ride with a mysterious “Mr. G”. It turns out that Alistair Grim (Mr. G) is a collector of magical items (he collects them in the Odditorium), and he needs help that Grubb can give. Grubb becomes Mr. G’s apprentice and soon finds himself in a life and death battle to keep the magic out of evil hands.

What I Thought- This was a really good book! Grubb is a great character! You really feel for him, and hope that his life turns out for the better. Alistair Grim is also a cool character. He seems like that interesting, distant uncle that everyone likes. The Odditorium is a fascinating building that I would love to check out. The Odditoria of the Odditorium is also awesome. If you don’t know what I mean, read the book! You’ll love it! I really like Mr. Funaro’s writing style. There is a ton of description, without it ever bogging the story down. It really made me feel like I was in London during the 1800’s. At 432 pages it is a story that a reader can really sink into and enjoy. The non-stop action will keep readers interested in the story and the characters keep you wanting to learn more.

I give this book 5 out of 5 bookworms!fivebooks

Review and Giveaway! The Princess and the Pony by Kate Beaton #PonyTime

25 Jun

 

Princess and the Pony FINAL TEXT.pdfThe Princess and the Pony

By Kate Beaton

40 pages – ages 4+

Will be published by Arthur A. Levine Books on June 30, 2015

Synopsis- From the Publisher: “Princess Pinecone knows exactly what she wants for her birthday this year. A BIG horse. A STRONG horse. A horse fit for a WARRIOR PRINCESS! But when the day arrives, she doesn’t quite get the horse of her dreams…

princess-and-the-pony-1

From the artist behind the comic phenomenon Hark! A Vagrant, The Princess and the Pony is a laugh-out-loud story of brave warriors, big surprises, and falling in love with one unforgettable little pony.

What I Thought- This was a cute picture book set in viking times. Princess Pinecone is a young princess whose parents don’t seem to understand that she’s a warrior princess. They give her cozy sweaters instead of armor and warrior stuff.

PrincessandPony2

I like how this book is about being yourself, and not what society says you are. It also shows that you can make the best out of any situation… and it has farting ponies ha ha ha. The illustrations have just the right amount of detail and they add to the humor in the story. The story isn’t about girls not being able to be warriors – there are plenty pictures in the illustrations. It’s just that Princess Pinecone’s seems to have been labeled more princess than warrior. The twist in the story (at the battle scene) was unexpected, and made me laugh. The book reminds me of one of those fractured fairy tale cartoons. Overall very cute story with a nice message.

princess-pinecone-pony3

I give this book five out of five bookworms.fivebooks

About the Author

Photo credit: Notker Mahr.

Photo credit: Notker Mahr.

Kate Beaton is the author of Hark! A Vagrant, her #1 New York Times bestselling collection of comics which began as a webcomic in 2007. The Princess and the Pony is her first picture book. She is the recipient of multiple Harvey awards, andher work has been featured in the New Yorker, Harper’s, and The Best American Comics Anthology. Kate lives in Toronto,and you can find her online at www.beatontown.com and on Twitter as @beatonna.

LEARN MORE

Learn more at Scholastic.com

Visit the author at BeatonTown.com

Follow Kate Beaton on Twitter

NOT YOUR AVERAGE PRINCESS prize pack!!!!!!! Thanks to the great people at Scholastic, I get to give away TWO copies of THE PRINCESS AND THE PONY !!!

Giveaway open to US addresses only. Prizing provided by Scholastic.

All you have to do is comment and next week on July second, I will pick two winners out of all the comments – pretty easy peasy huh? :) Good Luck!

BLOG TOUR AND GIVEAWAY! Vanishing Island by Barry Wolverton

22 Jun

vanishing island preview tour banner updated

I am very excited to share this book with you. It is the beginning to a very promising series and even better – one of you will get to win a signed ARC of the book! Details of the giveaway are at the bottom of the post. :)

VanishingIslandHC

Vanishing Island
By Barry Wolverton
Book 1 of the Chronicles of the Black Tulip
352 pages – ages 8+
Will be published by Walden Pond Press on September 1, 2015

 

Publisher’s Summary- Does  the Vanishing Island really exist? And if so, what treasure—or terrible secret—was hidden by its disappearance?

It’s 1599, the Age of Discovery in Europe. But for Bren Owen, growing up in the small town of Map on the coast of Britannia has meant anything but adventure. Enticed by the tales sailors have brought through Map’s port, and inspired by the arcane maps his father creates as a cartographer for the cruel and charismatic map mogul named Rand McNally, Bren is convinced that fame and fortune await him elsewhere. That is, until his repeated attempts to run away land him a punishment worse than death—cleaning up the town vomitorium.

It is there that Bren meets a dying sailor, who gives him a strange gift that hides a hidden message. Cracking the code could lead Bren to a fabled lost treasure that could change his life forever, and that of his widowed father. But to get there he will have to tie his fate to a mysterious Dutch admiral obsessed with a Chinese legend about an island that long ago disappeared from any map.

Before long, Bren is in greater danger than he ever imagined, and will need the help of an unusual friend named Mouse to survive. Barry Wolverton’s thrilling adventure spans oceans and cultures, brings together the folklore of East and West, and proves that fortune is always a double-edged sword.

What I Thought- This was an amazing book! It had adventure, comedy, excitement, mystery – pretty much anything you could want in a book! Bren is a character you would like to meet in real life. He has dreams, and he’s clever in how he gets them achieved. Mouse is a cool character too. I really like how Mr. Wolverton doesn’t hide that sea isn’t always exciting – at times Bren is just sitting around at sea. There is death throughout the story, but it is not graphic/gory. There are some illustrations that will be put in the final version of the book, but not in the ARC that I read (they weren’t in yet), and they play a role in the story, so that was sad for me. Guess I’ll have to get the completed version! This is a solid start to a new series. :)

WHO IS THIS BARRY WOLVERTON?!?

Barry Wolverton Author Photo

Barry Wolverton is the author of Neversink. He has more than fifteen years’ experience creating books, documentary television scripts, and website content for international networks and publishers, including National Geographic, Scholastic.com, the Library of Congress, and the Discovery Networks. He lives in Memphis, Tennessee. You can visit him online at www.barrywolverton.com.

Links for Barry Wolverton: 

Website: http://www.barrywolverton.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/wolvertonhill

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bwolverton

Instagram: https://instagram.com/wolvertonhill/

Check out all the stops on this awesome tour!

Blog Tour Schedule: 

6/15 Blue Stocking Thinking:  bluestockingthinking.blogspot.com
6/16 The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia:  hauntedorchid.blogspot.com
6/17 Small Review:  smallreview.blogspot.com
6/18 Maria’s Melange:  www.mariaselke.com/
6/19 Unleashing Readers:  unleashingreaders.com
6/19 The Hiding Spot:  thehidingspot.blogspot.com
6/22 This Kid Reviews Books:  thiskidreviewsbooks.com
6/23 Mundie Kids:  http://mundiekids.blogspot.com/
6/24 Page in Training:  https://pageintraining.wordpress.com
6/25 Novel Novice:  novelnovice.com

BLOG TOUR PAGE HERE!

Connect to Walden Pond –
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ WaldenPondPress
Facebook: https://www. facebook.com/WaldenPondPress

Website/Blog: http://www. walden.com/books/

Pinterest: https://www. pinterest.com/waldenpondpress/

NOW FOR THE GIVEAWAY!

All you have to do is comment in the comment section below telling me you want to WIN! (well you can comment somewhere else, but I won’t see it) and on June 29th I will pick one name out of a hat of all the entrants. US residents only please. Good Luck!

VanishingIslandHC

 

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 ;) )!

tara

 

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!

Review! Bayard Rustin: The Invisible Activist By Jacqueline Houtman, Walter Naegle, and Michael G. Long

22 Mar

 

Babayardyard Rustin: The Invisible Activist

By Jacqueline Houtman, Walter Naegle, and Michael G. Long

166 pages – ages 10+
Published by QuakerPress of FGC on November 13, 2014

Summary – (from GoodReads) “We need, in every community, a group of angelic troublemakers” -Bayard Rustin Bayard Rustin: The Invisible Activist is a new biography for ages 10 and up. . . To many, the civil rights movement brings to mind protests, marches, boycotts, and freedom rides. They often think of people like Martin Luther King, Jr. or Rosa Parks. They seldom think of Bayard Rustin. Raised by his Quaker grandmother to believe in the value of every human being, Bayard made trouble wherever he saw injustice. As a teenager, he was arrested for sitting in the whites only section of a theater. More arrests followed, for protesting against segregation, discrimination, and war. His belief in nonviolent action as a means for social change gave him a guiding vision for the civil rights movement, which he used to mentor the young Martin Luther King, Jr. When A. Philip Randolph needed the best organizer on the planet, he turned to Bayard Rustin to bring 250,000 people to the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Illustrated with over sixty photos, this book is the product of a unique collaboration between three authors: Bayard’s partner of ten years, a professor of religious studies, and a children’s book author. Though he is largely ignored in history books, Bayard’s ideas and actions will inspire today’s young (and not-so-young) readers to be angelic troublemakers.

What I Thought – There is obviously a great need for this book because Bayard Rustin is a name I have never heard. I’ve studied the Civil Rights movement in school and it is sad I have never heard of Mr. Rustin. I was interested that Mr. Rustin grew up as a Quaker (his grandmother was a Quaker and she raised him). He grew up near where I used to live. His upbringing gave Mr. Rustin a desire to bring change through peaceful means or passive resistance. I also found it very interesting that Mr. Rustin was himself discriminated against by some of the very people he was trying to help during the Civil Rights movement, because of him being gay. The book is not just a good resource on Mr. Rustin, but also a good resource for information on the Civil Rights movement, segregation and pacifism. There is a ton of references in the back for further reading or to see where the information in the book comes from. There are little fact boxes spread through the book that gives details on some of the subjects touched upon in the book. Photographs of historical and events in Mr. Rustin’s life are sprinkled in the book. They add a level of interest to the story. The one issue I had with the book is that it reads more like a text book than a book kids will pick up to read. Having said that, I think the book would be an excellent resource for teachers when they are covering the Civil Rights movement in their class.

Four out of five book worms for Bayard Rustin: The Invisible Activist. fourbooks

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Cat & Bunny By Mary Lundquist

20 Mar

Before I get to another fabulous Perfect Picture Book Friday pick – when you are done here, click on over the Felicia and my vlog The Write Chat where we are interviewing JENNIFER LYNN ALVAREZ today! CLICK HERE!

alvarez

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 has a really cute story.

catandbunnyCat & Bunny

Written and Illustrated By Mary Lundquist

4 – 8 years
32 pages – ages 4+

Published by Balzer + Bray on January 27, 2015

Genre: Fiction

Theme/Topic: Friendship/Making New Friends/Keeping Old Friends

Opening and Synopsis:Cat and Bunny were born on the same day of the same month in the same year. Right from the start, they did everything together. Just the two of them.

What I Thought- This is a marvelous picture book! It really makes you feel good inside. Congratulations to Ms. Lundquist because this is her debut picture book! Judging from this one, we are in for more great stories! The illustrations are very sweet and cute. I like how they look like kids in animal footie pajamas. :)  The story is a great way to teach kids that you can have more than one friend. It also gives the message that you can play with more than one friend and still have a BFF. This is a wonderful picture book!

You can check out interior illustrations at Ms. Lundquist’s website – click HERE.

Activities and Resources-

Teacher Planet has a ton of suggested lesson plans for making friends in school. Click HERE to go THERE.

In the book, Cat made up a new game (called the “Made-Up Game). It would be a fun activity for kids to make up their own game and have others play it. My sister and I used to do this all the time. :)

 

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

Think Outside the Circle with Seaver the Weaver by Paul Czajak

16 Mar

Okay, HOLD IT! Before you read about this awesome book, check this out! Stanley and Katrina (from stanleyandkatrina.com) kindly invited the Write Chat co-hosts (Felicia and me) to be a guest on their Word of The Week video thingy! ;) Why don’t you go PERUSE it?

peruse

Now on to the review!

Get ready to think outside the circle (or orb as the case may be) with Seaver the Weaver! Seaver is a little orb spider who likes to spin all sorts of shapes – not the orbs the rest of his family spins. Seaver the Weaver will be published tomorrow! Read down to the bottom to see how to enter a GoodReads giveaway for a copy of this wonderful book!

Seaver-Cover

Seaver the Weaver

By Paul Czajak

Illustrated by The Brothers Hilts

32 pages – ages 6+
Published by Mighty Media Kids on March 17, 2015

Summary from GoodReads : “Seaver is an orb spider with a sky full of inspiration. His siblings prefer tradition and aren’t afraid to let him know. But Seaver doesn’t mind! He loves his new shapes and isn’t afraid to stand out. Told with quiet charm, this picture book tangles readers in a web of delight.

 

What I Thought- This is a marvelous picture book on being yourself and succeeding. I like how Seaver keeps building a geometric web, and saying he’ll make an orb, right after he takes care of his guest (a trapped insect). The orb spiders’ webs are perfect orbs, but they are still untouched by their “guests”. Mr. Czajak has written a beautiful book that makes you feel good about being you. Seaver ultimately shows that being unique instead of perfect is a better option. The story is great for young kids. I love Mr. Czajak’s books!

If you hurry on over to GoodReads, you can still enter to win a copy of Seaver the Weaver! The giveaway ends on March 17th. Click HERE to go THERE!

Mighty Media Press has put together a great activity packet to go along with this book. Click HERE to get it!

seavercolorWant to learn more?

Author and Illustrator Websites:

Stay Calm and Glitter On! Creative Kid Thursday Guest Review!

12 Mar

Before I get to today’s Creative Kid – I want to tell you to click on over to author Mike Allegra’s blog where he is giving away a customized one of a kind DOODLE! Click HERE to go THERE! Make sure you ask for cat doodles! Mr. Allegra LOVES cats! :D

Now, on to Creative Kid Thursday!

Hi! It’s me – Josie, Erik’s sister. :)

Erik is very busy at play practice. He got a part in the High School Musical. They are doing Tarzan. Erik gets to be the ship’s captain and a monkey in the jungle (which I think is a good part for him – ha ha ha).

I have a new storybook character I wanted to tell you about so I am today’s Creative Kid Guest. :)

gltterb

The new character is called Glitterbelle. The reason why I like Glitterbelle so much is because I like princesses and she is pretty and she has good best friends (Angel and Dazzlina). I also like her dog, Bob. :)

I also REALLY like the illustrations in the book. They are like cut outs all put together. Here is a video about it.

Purple is also my favorite color and all the books are purpleish.

The books I got to look at were a story book, a journal book and 2 activity books.

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I especially liked the journal book called “Glitterbelle Me and You: It’s All About What Makes us US!” I like that it is kind of like a diary.

I really liked the storybook too especially because of the pictures. I like that Glitterbelle likes to climb trees. I like to climb trees. I think Glitterbelle is a good character.

The activity books were fun and there was a lot to do. I think girls will like them.

I would give these books five book worms. :) fivebooks

That is all I have to say. :)

Thank you Josie!

The storybook GLITTERBELLE THE SPARKLIEST PRINCESS EVER! summarizes Glitterbelle this way: “Glitterbelle is not your usual fairy-tale kind of princess. She’s the more sparkly, adventurous, totally caring, tree-climbing kind of princess!

The series is written by Rachael Duckett and Illustrated by Harriet Munchester

Want to learn more?

The publisher of Glitterbelle is Paragon Books. You can learn more about Glitterbelle on their website HERE!

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

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