Tag Archives: childrens books

Book Review – SEEING By Joseph Falank

28 Oct

seeingSEEING

By Joseph Falank

214 pages – ages 12+
Published by Winter Goose Publishing on June 27, 2014

Summary – 13 year-old Jake Sheppard has always been mocked in his class. After his father walked out on his mother and him, and his best friend became his tormentor, his life has been even harder. The fact that his grandfather, who has recently lost his wife, has come to live with them helps. His mom dating another guy doesn’t. Not in Jake’s mind.

What I Thought – This book is amazing. First off – the characters; Jake is a great kid. It’s not his fault that his life was turned upside down. Jake seems like a normal kid – nice boy, bullied, but still tries to keep positive. His life is harder than it seems to outsiders. Jake’s grandfather is the backbone of his family, after Jake’s father walked out on them. He props Jake and his mom up (emotionally), while doing the chores around the house, to help out. I like how Mr. Falank’s writing style shows the depth of the bond between Jake and his grandfather. Mr. Falank writes realistically. He seemed to get into Jake’s head well. Even though this isn’t the typical action/adventure book I usually go crazy over, the book really left an impression on me. The story kept me reading. I finished it in one day. The story, even though is one of loss, is also one of hope. It is motivating, in a way. The book is appropriate for all ages, but I think kids 12+ and adults will truly enjoy the message of the story. For anyone who says small press publishers don’t produce good books – check out Seeing. It will change your mind in many ways.

I give “Seeing” five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Want to learn more? Check out Mr. Falank’s website HERE.

Review! Lobo Goes to the Galapagos by C.L. Murphy

27 Oct

AAAROOO!

No that’s not my Halloween werewolf imitation!

It’s my “I’m going to tell you about a howlin’ good book” cry!

A book starring my favorite Canis Lupus -

LOVABLE LOBO!

 

lovableloboLobo’s newest adventure takes him to the Galapagos Islands!
Lobo Goes to the GalapagosThe Adventures of Lovable Lobo: Lobo Goes to the Galapagos

Written and Illustrated by C.L. Murphy

32 pages – ages 4+

Published by Peanut Butter Prose on August 22, 2014

Summary - (author’s summary) Lobo returns in this adventure, sweeter and a bit salty this time. This lil’ wolf pup finds that there’s nothing like a little sea air to bring out the best in him and his unlikely tag-alongs. Take a trip to the Galapagos with Lobo and his right-hand raven, Roxy, as they help an injured, new feathered friend return home. Lobo faces some fears and witnesses the joy that comes from helping others in this “birds of a different feather DO flock together” tale.

What I thought - Lobo is a great wolf pup. He is a character that lots of young kids (and older kids!) will love. He is cute and friendly, and will help anyone in need. Lobo is a great friend. Ms. Murphy is a great author who has written a great addition to a marvelous series. I like how this book includes a lesser known species in it – the blue-footed booby. To be more specific, a blue-footed booby named Bobby (HA!). The adventures that Lobo goes on are very fun to read about. I like how this book tells about the Galapagos Islands, even including a map of the islands. The illustrations are cool and kid-friendly. They are realistic, fun to look at and have great detail in them. I like how they kind of look 3D-ish too.

lobo1Lobo is a great character and I always enjoy reading about his adventures. In this book it is nice that Lobo helps a new friend by helping him get back home. There is also a great message of trust in the book.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Check out the trailer for the book!

 

Want to learn more?!? Find Ms. Murphy on  Twitter, Facebook, or her blog HERE (her website is really fun and had activities you can print out to go with her books). :)

Guest Post by Kid-Character Linc Baker of the Double Vision Series! Plus a 3 Book Giveaway!!!

13 Oct

Top Secret Stamp

IT’S A BLOG TOUR!

F.T. Bradley’s Double Vision: The Alias Men!

Today I have a fun guest on my blog – Linc Baker, kid spy, government agent, and fictional character from F.T. Bradley’s awesome series: Double Vision (see my review of book 2 in the series Code Name 711 HERE). Check back to my blog for the review of book 3 in the series: The Alias Men – coming soon! In the mean-time I have a great guest post from the series main character and a chance to win all THREE books in the series! Just comment below and let me know you’d like to be in the drawing! I will put all the names of people who want to be in the drawing in a hat and my little sister Josie will pick one out. The contest ends on October 19th and the winner will be announced on October 20th!

Now On to Linc!

How to Shake a Tail: Spy Tips from Double Vision’s Linc Baker

Double Vision front cover

 Hey, it’s me, Linc Baker. I’m a regular kid from California, but I happen to look just like this kid spy named Benjamin Green. So when he went missing, this top-secret government organization named Pandora asked me to take his place on this dangerous mission in Paris.

Not that I know anything about being a spy. I’d rather be playing Racing Mania on my Xbox, or riding my skateboard. But I got into some trouble on a field trip (it involved chickens—you’ll just have to read Double Vision to find out more), and Pandora promised to get me off the hook if I went to Paris. That was my first mission.

Code Name 711--cover(1)

My second mission took me to Washington, D.C., where I had to save President Griffin and her daughter—you’ll have to read about that in Double Vision: Code Name 711. It was a pretty crazy adventure, let me tell you…

Double Vision The Alias Men hi-res cover

 

Anyway, I just finished my third mission in Double Vision: The Alias Men. I was on this blockbuster Hollywood movie set, where I had to catch a bad guy. Can you believe Pandora made me come back, to be a temporary kid spy again? I still can’t. I’m kind of a trouble maker, to be honest.

But now I know a thing or two about being a kid spy. Well, I know the basics anyway. Like how to shake a tail—that’s when someone is following you, and you want them to go away.

 

Here are some spy tips:

Think you’re being followed? First off: trust your gut—that’s what agents do. Or at least that’s what I do, and my gut is usually right (unless I just ate a bunch of French fries, then maybe my gut is a little off). If someone seems suspicious to you, you might be right. But you don’t want to get too paranoid. It happens to even the best of agents, so confirm your suspicions first.

Try turning right, and then stop and pretend to tie your shoe. Your follower will be forced to stop, or pass you by.

If you’re sure you’re being followed, try making a quick exit, like going into a store. I find that a book store works best for some reason. You can buy a little reading for the road—and take your time. That way, your tail will get tired of waiting.3d small people - detective

If you have a stubborn follower (it happens, unfortunately), try using a disguise, like a baseball cap, to change your appearance. Turning your coat inside out works too, if you don’t have a disguise handy.

When all else fails, you can always yell really loud. That usually scares bad dudes off—though I have to warn you: moms and dads don’t like this kind of behavior, and neither do teachers or librarians. So leave the yelling as a last resort. Especially if you’re in the library.

If you want more spy tips, or if you want links to kid-friendly spy games from the CIA and FBI (cool, huh?), check out www.doublevisionbooks.com. If you want to meet F.T. Bradley (she wrote down my crazy spy stories) or have her visit your school in person or via Skype, check out www.ftbradley.com

F.T. Bradley--photo

And I hope you’ll read all about my spy missions in the Double Vision trilogy! In case you want to read them in one go, you can enter to win signed hardcovers of all three books: Double Vision, Code Name 711, and The Alias Men—right here on Erik’s cool blog.

Spy on, everyone!

Hi everyone -Erik here. I just wanted to tell you to check out the other stops on the Double Vision: The Alias Men book tour -

Follow along with the Double Vision: The Alias Men blog tour:

Oct. 6-10: The Secret Files of Fairday Morrow features Double Vision: The Alias Men with a review, author interview, plus a GIVEAWAY..!

Oct. 13: Linc hangs out at the great Erik’s blog, This Kid Reviews Books. Linc talks about spy techniques he picked up on his Pandora missions. And there’s another GIVEAWAY…

Oct. 14: Double Vision: The Alias Men is released! Have a virtual party at the YA Sleuth blog…! And follow F.T. on Twitter @FTBradleyAuthor for more kid spy fun.

Oct. 16: F.T. Bradley gives you Five Ways to Bring MG into The Classroom at the Unleashing Readers blog, plus a GIVEAWAY.

Oct. 17: Linc is interviewed by Lizzy, Fairday and Marcus over at The Secret Files of Fairday Morrow blog. A fun post!

Oct. 20: Buried in Books lets F.T. Bradley talk about the Double Vision trilogy…

Oct. 20: Also this day, the fabulous Ms. Yingling reviews Double Vision: The Alias Men on her blog for Marvelous MG Monday…

Oct. 21: Another favorite blog, YA Book Nerd, hosts F.T. Bradley and the Double Vision trilogy, plus a GIVEAWAY

Oct. 21: F.T. Bradley hangs out at Sleuths, Spies and Alibis

Oct. 24: F.T. gives tips for parents of reluctant readers, Seven Ways to Get Your Kid to Read, at Pragmatic Mom’s blog, plus a GIVEAWAY!

Oct. 25: At the Nerdy Book Club, find F.T. Bradley’s top 10 books for reluctant readers…

Review! The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm

7 Oct

FourteenthGoldfish_CoverThe Fourteenth Goldfish
By Jennifer Holm

210 pages – ages 8+
Published by Random House Books for Young Readers on August 26, 2014

 

Summary – Ellie’s parents keep telling her she needs to find her passion in life, but lately Ellie is only feeling numb. The start of sixth grade is not going well. Her best friend, Brianna, is more interested in the volleyball team than being with Ellie, middle school seems like an alien world, and she just found out that her parents have been replacing her beloved pet goldfish “Goldie” with a new fish for the past seven years every time a “Goldie” died! Things get a lot more interesting complicated when her mom brings home an ornery, pushy, oddly dressed teenage boy who just happens to be Ellie’s scientist grandfather (Melvin) who found a cure for old age, but has been locked out of his lab by its new owners. Will Ellie ever find her passion or at least survive middle school now that her grandfather is enrolled as a student?

What I thought – I. LOVED. THIS. BOOK.  I loved everything about it. I loved it so much I told my mom to read it (she is a scientist) and she loved it too. I really like that the book isn’t focused on the wacky science experiment that turned Ellie’s grandfather, Melvin, into a teenager, but rather it is focused on Ellie’s struggle to find her “passion,” dealing with growing apart from a friend, and getting closer to her grandfather. The wacky science stuff happens all around all these big topics. Of course I love Melvin. He is so cranky and nerdy it’s awesome! That part of the story is hilarious! I also like that there is real science facts in the book not just the wacky reversing age thing. It also teaches an important lesson about the power of science and how it has to be used wisely (I sound like Uncle Ben in Spiderman “With great power comes great responsibility” ;) ). One of my favorite character interactions is how Ellie and her grandfather get to know each other better and they both seem to help each other. The book is just an awesome read. The chapters are very short and you just want to read the whole thing right away. One thing I noticed is that on each chapter heading, there are that many goldfish (like one goldfish on chapter 1 and two goldfish on chapter 2 and so on) up until chapters 14, 15 and 16 – they all have 14 goldfish. Then chapter 17 has 13 goldfish, 18 has 12 and so on until the last chapter has just one goldfish again. Okay that’s pretty nerdy of me to notice that, but I still think it’s cool. ;)

This is one of those books where I wish my rating scale went higher. Five out of five bookworms – fivebooks

Review! The Zero Degree Zombie Zone by Patrik Henry Bass

6 Oct

Happy Monday! I am sure you all know that October 6th is National Noodle Day right? Well, after my review of the great new book, THE ZERO DEGREE ZOMBIE ZONE, read on for my review of the noodle recipe I made from the picture book Mei-Mei’s Lucky Birthday Noodles AND find out who wins a copy of Mei-Mei’s Lucky Birthday Noodles!

zerodegree

The Zero Degree Zombie Zone

By Patrik Henry Bass

Illustrated by Jerry Craft 

  144 pages – ages 8+
Published by Scholastic Inc. on August 26, 2014

Summary – Bakari Katari Johnson is feeling like his life is out of control. Not only did his best friend Wardell sign him up to run in the election for hall monitor before he said it was okay to do, he keeps butting heads with his fourth grade nemesis, Keisha whose cousin, the ever popular Tariq, is also running for hall-monitor. Oh yeah, there’s also this magical ring that ice zombies from another world want and they think Bakari has and they want it back – or else!

What I thought –  The combination of this fun and unusual zombie story along with the great illustrations make this book a winner! The story is an interesting take on zombies (like they don’t infect anyone and they are ice zombies – actually that’s kind of cool) and it is completely appropriate for younger kids. I think a lot of kids will get into the story because it is a fun and easy read but it is packed with action. Bakari is a great character who is very believable as a fourth-grader. I like how he handles everything even with the threat of a full-scale zombie invasion looming (and also dealing with a bully). I like how Mr. Bass mixes a bit of magic and fantasy in a realistic setting. Mr. Craft’s illustrations go with the story very well and make it all the more enjoyable. The characters in the book are all African-American so people looking for diverse characters – check it out – even if you are not – check it out – it’s a good book! I think kids who like NERDS and Diary of a Wimpy Kid-type books will enjoy this book. I hope there will be a sequel. 

 I give this book 5 out of 5 bookworms!fivebooks

NOW ON TO MY NOODLE REVIEW!

Mei Mei Lucky Noodles

On Friday, I reviewed MEI-MEI’S LUCKY BIRTHDAY NOODLES (click HERE to read it) and I announced that I get to give away a copy of the book. Well I put all the names of the people who commented on my blog and my sister Josie picked on out! The winner is:

Joanne Roberts!

YAAAAAY!!! *waving arms Kermit the Frog style*

Congratulations Ms. Roberts! I will email you to get the address you’d like your book sent to.

But what about those noodles?!?

I wanted to make the noodle recipe in the back of the book. I started off by making sure we had everything we needed (thanks mom for food shopping!). The recipe needed carrots, bok choy, bean sprouts, green onions, shiitake mushrooms, and steak (but you can use chicken or shrimp too) oh and noodles – we used lo mein egg noodles. ;)

???????????????????????????????Ingredients – CHECK!

My cousin came over and he helped me with the recipe. We had to chop everything up and marinade the steak. The steak got cooked first. The recipe said to use a wok. We don’t have a wok so we used a big cast iron pan.

???????????????????????????????

My dad and Josie decided we needed dessert to go with our noodles so they decided to make cupcakes (with cream cheese frosting) – YUM!

???????????????????????????????After everything was chopped up and the noodles were made, it was time to cook the veggies and mix them in with the noodles.

???????????????????????????????Then it was time to eat!

???????????????????????????????Everyone agreed Mei-Mei’s Lucky Birthday Noodles were FANTASTIC!!! (and the cupcakes were very good too ;) )

5 STARS – ERR -NOODLES!

Review! WhipEye by Geoffrey Saign

1 Oct

whipeyeWhipEye

WhipEye Chronicles (Volume 1)

by Geoffrey Saign

312 pages – ages 9+
Published by KiraKu Press on June 19, 2014

Summary- Samantha knew nothing good would come of her stealing the Congo African Gray Parrot named Charlie from the Endless Pet Store. But the parrot ordered her to do it. Apparently, Charlie is a magical powered animal called a methuselah animal – an animal born every 1,000 years, lives for a thousand years, and it will then give its energy to the Earth when it dies – and Charlie’s 1,000th birthday is coming up. Magnar, an evil man who has found a way to trap the methuselahs’ energy and has been using it for nefarious reasons, has been holding Charlie captive for almost Charlie’s entire life. When Sam, and her neighbor, Jake, rescue Charlie from his prison at the Endless Pet Store, Magnar is fast on their tail! Will two kids, one ancient parrot, and one even ancient-er ;) magic staff be able to stop Magnar from being the most powerful man on Earth?

What I thought- This was amazing. When I started the book, I wasn’t sure if I  was going to like this story, but then it really sucked me in. I couldn’t put it down. I thought that Sam was a little stand-offish and hard to like, but her character develops through the story and she becomes a great character. She plays a great female hero! Magnar is an awesome villain! You despise him! Because he is at least 10,000 years old, Magnar is like Moriarty, just add a magical touch and evil shadow monsters (the trapped methuseleh energy). Charlie is very likeable, fun character. It was cool to have an animal character in a story that is a bird. :)  He is a great friend to Sam. I like how Mr. Saign describes the setting. It is very realistic. I felt like I was actually there. This was a wonderful story for middle grade kids! Bonus points for a cool cover too! I am looking forward to the second book in this series.

Five out of five bookworms! fivebooks

Review! No More Slooping, Sara Sue! by Ali Pfautz

30 Sep

sloopingNo More Slooping, Sara Sue!
by Ali Pfautz
Illustrated by  Carolyn Schallmo
36 pages – ages 4+
Published by Artistic Endeavors, LLC on April 9, 2014

SUMMARY - Sara Sue loves soup, no matter what kind. She has it every day. There’s just one tiny, little, slight problem – whenever she takes a sip, it turns into a humongous “SssLLuuuoooorrrrrPPPP”! When her parents get annoyed by the slooping, they make her a deal. Over five days, Sara Sue must figure out how to stop her slooping, or her mom will never make soup again!

WHAT I THOUGHT - This was a cute book. The illustrations are really nice, and portray the characters’ personalities well. Ms. Pfautz uses a nice amount of onomatopoeia to make kids laugh and enjoy reading the book. I think it would make a great read aloud. Sara Sue is a likeable character, and you understand how she feels. I like how the dog makes a comical appearance every once in a while. Ms. Pfautz has written a nice story about manners, and meeting your goals!

I give this book four out of five bookworms!fourbooks

To learn more about Ms. Pfautz and her books, please visit here website HERE.

 

Review! The XYZs of Being Wicked by Lara Chapman

29 Sep

xyzsThe XYZs of Being Wicked

by Lara Chapman

272 pages – ages 9+
Published by Aladdin on July 22, 2014

Kid witch Hallie Simon was very excited when she got accepted into the Dowling Academy School of Witchcraft. After all, her great-grandmother was a very famous hedge-witch! Hallie is determined to be as friendly as possible to the other students at the academy (Hallie didn’t have much luck being friends with “normal” kids). Hallie’s excitement gets ruined when she gets her roommate – Kendall Scott. Kendall used to be Hallie’s best friend, until Kendall turned on a sour note, and started tormenting Hallie. Now Hallie is roommates with her! Between Kendall and some weird things going on with Hailey’s powers, can life at Dowling get any worse? Um… Well, yeah they can.

This was a great book. The cover really drew me in. Hallie is such a great main character. I like how she perseveres through it all, and even makes a wonderful friend in the process. The use of magic is very cool, although I’m not sure if I like or don’t like the fact that in the story, magic doesn’t exhaust you (take all your strength to use it). I think I’d like a little more about the magic and history of the witches in the story, but that’s just my taste. You may think this book is like Harry Potter plot, but it’s not. First off, Dowling is a school for girls (they have a brother school for boys), and there is no monster fighting, evil ghosts/spirits, etc. It’s actually pretty cool plot idea and very different from other magic type stories I’ve been reading lately. There is a lot of “girl drama” in the story – being popular – the “in” crowd etc, but the characters are middle-school-aged and (trust me) the stuff goes on so I think it makes the characters more real (if witches can be real ;) ). Overall it is a very fun read.

Four out of five bookworms.fourbooks

Review! The Bloody Book Bag Ordeal by C. Maguire

25 Sep

bloodyThe Bloody Book Bag Ordeal
by C. Maguire
194 pages – ages 9+
Published by CreateSpace on April 22, 2013

SUMMARY –  3rd grader Mary Fountain has bad luck. When her mom has finally gotten her to pronounce “pen” right (she pronounced it “pin”), pens keep causing her to get in trouble! Pens start leaking left and right! Worst of all, Mary gets accused of having something horrible in her backpack! And it’s not her fault that her sister put her dress on Mary’s bed and then ink got on it… Will the inky imperil ever stop?

WHAT I THOUGHT - I wasn’t sure if I would like this book – the title really threw me off (in reality, the book bag wasn’t bloody – it was ink from a red pen). The book is good, and actually quite funny. The plot shows how one disaster after another follows Mary. Mary is likeable character. She acts like someone her age would, and I like her creativeness. I like how she tries to be good, but whatever she does gets messed up. Ms. Maguire made all of her characters realistic and believable and that makes all the wacky stuff that happens even more funny. Ms. Maguire’s writing style is fun to read and kept me reading/interested in the book. The story is appropriate for all ages. I am glad I read this book!

I give this book 4 out of 5 bookworms!fourbooks

Review! Fantasy League by Mike Lupica

18 Sep

fantasyleagueFantasy League
by Mike Lupica
304 pages – ages 10+
Published by Philomel on September 16, 2014

SUMMARY- Seventh-grader Charlie Gaines was an everyday kid who loved football. Charlie also happened to be a whiz at fantasy football. Charlie’s best friend, Anna happens to be the granddaughter of the owner of a local  NFL Football team (a team that isn’t doing really well and is pretty much a laughing-stock). Charlie makes a draft suggestion to Anna’s granddad and Charlie is surprised when her granddad takes him seriously. Soon, the football team starts doing better with Charlie’s suggestions but Charlie isn’t very comfortable with his  new-found fame after the media gets wind of what’s been going on. As Charlie learns to cope with the good (and the bad!) of being locally famous, he soon learns things don’t always go the way you plan. Now Charlie is being targeted by the media and it also doesn’t help that his best friend is getting slightly peeved with him…

WHAT I THOUGHT- I will be the first to admit, I am not a huge football fan (give me ice hockey and baseball!) and I wasn’t real excited about reviewing this book. After reading the book, I will admit Mr. Lupica  has written a football story that I thoroughly enjoyed. I hung on every word, the story was that good. The book had a ton of football facts and strategies but I really enjoyed reading all of it because it was mixed into such a great story line. The book isn’t just about football.  It is more a story about being true to yourself, and making the most of the moment. It was about making new friends, and having fun with the old ones. It was very realistic and felt like a story that could happen to anyone. All the characters were excellent and each one had their own story behind them. I also liked the fact that Charlie’s best friend is a girl, but he doesn’t see her in any romantic ways – just someone who loves football the same amount that he does. Anna is a great character and it shows that she is as much an expert on football as Charlie. Mr. Lupica has written a wonderful story about so much more than football.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

To learn more about Mr. Lupica and his other books, please visit his website by clicking HERE

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