Tag Archives: reading

May UBFP Column – The 2014 Lititz Kid and Teen Literature Festival

5 Oct


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

I hope you like it!

 2014lititz

The 2014 Lititz Kid and Teen Literature Festival

Every fall the town of Lititz, PA becomes a destination for children’s book lovers. The

Lititz Kid and Teen Literature Festival is now in its sixth year. Aaron’s Books, a family

owned and operated bookstore in downtown Lititz, is the host of the festival and they

are planning a great line-up of authors this year, including Eric Wight, David Levithan

and Newbery Honor Winner Jennifer Holm! The festival isn’t just about meeting some

of your favorite authors and getting your books signed, there are writing and illustration

classes for kids that are taught by the authors at the festival. There is also story time for

the younger kids and talks about kids literature for kids (and parents) of all ages.

Todd Dickinson of Aaron’s books, answered some questions about the festival for me.

Erik – What made you decide to start the Lititz Teen and Kids Literature Festival?

TD – The goal of the festival has always been the same: to inspire young readers in our

community by bringing them together with great authors. We love meeting authors and

talking with them about writing. And we think giving kids a chance to meet authors gets

them more excited about books and reading.

Erik – The festival is now in its sixth year. How has it changed from when you started?

Also, how many people are you expecting this year?

TD – The festival has grown in every way since we started. Our first year, the festival

was inside our store, and we set out tables on the sidewalk for the author signing

time. Now we take over many rooms, large and small, throughout Linden Hall School

for presentations, workshops, author signings, and storytimes. We expect about 150

people this year, including kids, teens, parents, teachers, and librarians.

phelan&me

Author Illustrator Matt Phelan and me at the 2013 Lititz Kid Lit Festival

Erik – Your festival gets some pretty big names (2014 authors include – Matt Phelan,

A.S. King, Tom Angleberger ) to come and give talks about their books and even teach

workshops. How do you get all these authors to come to the Festival?

TD – We get great authors because we tell them we like their books and we ask them

to come to Lititz. It’s amazing how generous these authors are with their time, and how

willing they are to come and support us. And after they come and enjoy the festival, they

tell their fellow authors about it and encourage them to come the next year.

Erik – I know from experience that all the authors you get are very happy to meet and

talk to their fans at the festival. What’s your favorite festival memory?

TD – My favorite is probably the year we arranged for Darth Vader, Boba Fett, and

several Storm Troopers to escort Tom Angleberger (author of The Strange Case of

Origami Yoda) to the stage for his presentation. That was pretty cool.

Erik – I was there for that! The members of Vader’s 501st

costume. It was great! Where do you see the festival five years from now?

Legion were there in full

TD – We’d like to see the festival grow each year, with more kids and teens from Central

PA and beyond wanting to attend again and again. We’d like to work more closely with

area schools so they can read the books of our festival authors in class or in the library

before the kids come and meet the authors. And we have a few authors on our dream

list that we hope to bring someday, like Rick Riordan (Percy Jackson series) and Neil

Gaiman (The Graveyard Book and Coraline).

Erik – What are some things you’d like to highlight about this year’s festival?

TD – We are so excited about all 11 of this year’s authors. Jennifer Holm writes some

of our favorite middle grade fiction and has won so many awards for her work, and she

also does two incredible graphic novel series for kids called Babymouse and Squish.

Tom Angleberger entertains a crowd of kids better than anyone else we know. David

Levithan writes some of the smartest teen fiction that also covers serious issues, and

we think our older readers will really enjoy hearing from him. We think everyone who

attends will meet someone whose books they already love, and they will also discover

new books to love because of who they meet at the festival.

For more information on the Lititz Kid and Teen Literature Festival, please visit

LititzKidLitFest.com!

For more on books and reading, please visit my blog at ThisKidReviewsBooks.com!

Reporting from The National Book Festival in Washington DC

2 Sep

HELLO BLOGGING WORLD!

Guess what I got to do this past Saturday?

Okay, you probably guessed it from the title of my blog article.

I got to go to the National Book Festival in Washington DC!

2014natlbookfestThe 14th annual Library of Congress National Book Festival was held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Before this, it was held on the Mall. I think I liked it better inside because it was air-conditioned (and there were real bathrooms) but it seemed a lot more crowded than when it was outside.

What was especially cool about my visit this year was I was official -

 img314That’s right, the AWESOME owner of the The Upper Buck Free Press (click HERE to go to their Facebook page), supplied me with an official press pass (for those of you who don’t know, I write a monthly book review column for The Upper Bucks Free Press called This Kid Reviews Books :) ).

I wanted to tell you about some of the highlights of the trip and to encourage you to go next year, especially if you’ve never been to it! Since I am a kid and I am interested in Kid Lit, I am reporting on kid – friendly things at the festival. Don’t get the wrong idea, there were PLENTY of adult and young adults authors and events at the festival too, I just didn’t go to them.

The first thing I did when we got there was to hear Kate DiCamillo (National Ambassador of Young People’s Literature and uber-author extraordinaire) speak. I was so anxious to hear her. I am a huge fan of her books. Ms. DiCamillo came out and announced she didn’t really like speeches and wanted to just do a question and answer with the audience – very cool. So kids mostly (why adults were afraid to ask questions, I don’t know) lined up to ask her all sorts of things. She was super funny and gave a ton of great advice and information. I asked her what it was like being the “National Ambassador of Young People’s Literature” and she said it sounded kind of scary when I said it like that and that I sounded like I should be a news reporter. :)

The best advice I think she gave was to aspiring authors. She said “read as much as you can.”  The best story she had was how Mercy Watson came to love toast with a lot of butter on it – you’ll have to ask her yourself when you go hear her speak. ;)

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Ms. DiCamillo signed books after her talk. She was supposed to be there for an hour, but she had somewhere close to 400 people in her line (me included) to get a book signed. Ms. DiCamillo stayed until the last book was signed! Nice lady. :)

I have to give a shout-out to the Junior League of Washington DC. They are a volunteer organization and their volunteers kept all the book signing lines orderly and moving. And they were all super nice! There were TONS of people waiting to get books signed and the JLW made sure everyone got to where they needed to be. A super shout out to Deidra from the JLW who answered some questions for me!

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After I got my book signed by Ms. DiCamillo – I hopped over to Jeffrey Brown and Peter Brown’s lines and got my copies of Jedi Academy #1 and My Teacher’s A Monster! (No, I am not.) signed

IMAG0558???????????????????????????????Both Mr. Browns’ were very nice and took time to say “Hi” to everyone even though they had a ton of books to sign. :)

Then I took a look around to see the other things at the festival.

Scholastic had a cool pavilion area where they had a bunch of bean bag chairs set up for reading and had read aloud sessions. They had coloring and craft activities and had cool swag they were giving away including Goosebumps books and Grimmtastic Girls books. Dav Pilkey was at the festival and Scholastic had a giant Captain Underpants you could get your picture taken with. I tried to get one with him, but I couldn’t get close to C.U.

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???????????????????????????????PBS Kids had a cool pavilion too. They had all sorts of activities for kids and characters from PBS shows/ I saw The Cat in the Hat at the PBS pavilion too.

???????????????????????????????There was a 50 States pavilion where all the states and US territories were represented. You got a little map that you took around and when you visited the states, you got a stamp on your map. If you visited them all, you got a squishy LEGO stress block (of course I had to get one). Each state had a book that represented the state and there was information about each state at each booth.

???????????????????????????????It was in the 50 State pavilion I had my first sighting of author/illustrator Raina Telgemeier. She wrote SMILE (loved it), a bunch of Baby Sitters Club books (Josie loves them) and her newest book is SISTERS (I just got a review copy of it – check out all her books at her website HERE). I love Ms. Telgemeier’s illustration style and, as many of you know, I am a huge graphic novel fan so I was geeking out when I saw Ms. Telgemeier just hanging out in the States pavilion. I tried to say “hi” because I wouldn’t be able to get to her signing (we had to leave before it) but missed my opportunity because she had to get shuffled off to go somewhere by whoever was in charge of those things. *sigh*

Moving along…

I signed the Declaration for the Right to Libraries presented by the American Library Association. :)

???????????????????????????????And met up with the Washington Post’s newspaper dog reporter, Ned The Newshound.

???????????????????????????????Then I hopped into line to get my copy of Frank Einstein signed by illustrator (and one of my favorite people) Brian Biggs. Mr. Biggs illustrated Jon Scieszka’s book “Frank Einstein and the Antimatter Motor.” I met Mr. Biggs a couple of times before and he is always super nice (and a GREAT illustrator AND author).

???????????????????????????????Then I got my copy of “Dead End in Norvelt” signed by one of my new favorite people – Jack Gantos. Mr. Gantos was busy taking “selfies” with some young fans when I got up to him. As a HUGE book fan, it is so cool when you get to meet someone who’s books you really love and they turn out to be AWESOME people. Mr. Gantos is one of them. :) I am looking forward to reading his new book THE KEY THAT SWALLOWED JOEY PIGZA (Book 5 in the series – Macmillan).

???????????????????????????????Then there was that awkward moment I realized my hair looked just like my shirt…

???????????????????????????????Hey! There goes Raina Telgemeier again! Over by the food court!

 

???????????????????????????????At this point I decided not to try to catch up to her because A) I didn’t want to be a pest and B) if it really wasn’t her, well, that’d just be awkward.

So on to one of the HIGHLIGHTS of my visit – Molly Idle!

I went to hear Ms. Idle give a talk. I LOVE Ms. Idle’s books (and I just got Flora and the Penguin (Chronicle Books) to review so I was hoping she’d be talking about it). Ms. Idle have an AWESOME talk. She went through her new book Flora and the Penguin with us and talked about creating it. She showed us all how to draw penguins and flamingos.

BwT6Q8uCQAA8CYO.jpg largeAND she let us in on her next project – Flora and the Peacocks (Chronicle Books)! Can’t WAIT! When Ms. Idle said we could ask questions, I asked her if she listened to music or had music in her head when she does the Flora books. She said yes, and that the books were based on waltzes – even the flaps in the books are meant to keep waltz time. How cool! No wonder everything flows so well! PLUS Ms. Idle let me keep the penguin picture she drew for the talk! ;)

So, after the talk, my mom and I were standing outside the room where the talk was, looking at the schedule, when who comes around the corner? Molly Idle! I said “hi” and she asked what we were up to. My mom told her we were about to go stand in line to get books signed by her. :) Ms. Idle offered to walk over with us! She was super nice and we got to talk about all kinds of stuff.

???????????????????????????????After getting all my books and penguin picture signed by Ms. Idle, I hopped over to Anne Ursu’s book signing line. I loved The Real Boy and Breadcrumbs (Walden Pond Press) and was very excited to meet Ms. Ursu! She was very nice and even though her line was super long, she took time to say “hi” to everyone. She seemed genuinely happy to meet everyone. I love to meet authors I admire!

BwT15bZCQAAhE58.jpg large

 My last stop was to meet the AWESOME team of author Patrick Henry Bass and illustrator Jerry Craft! Mr. Bass’ and Mr. Craft’s new book  that just came out August 26th is called “The Zero Degree Zombie Zone.” After reading the description of it on Scholastic’s website (click HERE), I knew I had to get it and get it signed (it is total geekdom to get a book signed by both author AND illustrator). While standing in line I noticed Charisse Meloto from Scholastic (back story – when I started blogging when I was nine years old, Ms. Meloto was the very first person from any publisher to talk to me and give me encouragement for what I am doing – I haven’t seen her since I met her almost 3 years ago). I was worried Ms. Meloto wouldn’t remember me, but she did. :)

???????????????????????????????When we got up to Mr. Bass and Mr. Craft, Ms. Meloto told them my mom and I drove 5 hours to be at the event and that I review books. Mr. Bass said, with a smile, “Did he trash us?” ;) No Mr. Bass, your book is right up my alley! Both Mr. Craft and Mr. Bass were very nice and I am hoping that THE ZERO DEGREE ZOMBIE ZONE is just the first of many!

???????????????????????????????So that  was the end of my day. We had a 5 hour drive back home so I couldn’t stay for the graphic novel session :( BUT – I had a great time!

Oh and I got to crash Kate DiCamillo’s podium before she got there. ;)

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mdbloghoop

Fiona Thorn and the Carapacem Spell by Jen Barton

22 Jul

fiona thornFiona Thorn and the Carapacem Spell

By Jen Barton

201 pages – ages 9+

Published by Flickerfawn on September 3, 2012

It wasn’t Jaydin the fairy prince’s fault. He was framed. Fiona Thorn, his best friend, knew that. She was going to break him out – ER rather BLOW him out of jail. After all, she IS an explosive worker. Taught by the Demolitions master McClane, Fiona knows just about everything about explosives. She’ll use that knowledge to bust Jaydin out. Riding her trusty Bright Eye horse (Bright Eyes are extremely smart animals, as in that they can talk to humans), Manzanita Rose (or Manzy, for short), Fiona knows that nothing can stop her. What she didn’t expect was 3 princesses to get in her way. 3 spoiled princesses, at that. Soon Fiona finds herself (and the royal pains) on the run from the King because of a misread letter, which made it seem like Fiona kidnapped the princesses. It doesn’t help that there is a murder plot against the king, his brother, and Jaydin. What will Fiona do?

This was a fun book. I think that Ms. Barton did a great job of creating this fantasy world. I really felt like I was there. I loved the sense of adventure and the fact that Fiona is a demolition expert. The magic in it was pretty cool. I loved the “gifts” that the 4 girls got. Fiona is a great female heroine for this book. I loved that she always kept her cool (despite her being hotheaded) and knew what to do. Manzy is a great supporting character. The book is a good reading level for middle grade readers or young advanced readers. At 201 pages, the book was a quick read for me but the story felt very complete. I would really like to read another book by Ms. Barton.

I give this book 5 out of 5 bookworms!fivebooks

Book Review! The Starburst Juju by Monica Strang AND GIVEAWAY!!!

25 Jun

juju

Ms. Strang has offered to give away a copy of her book to one lucky person (USA addresses only)! Read to the bottom to find out how to enter!

The Starburst Juju

By Monica Strang

278 pages – ages 12+

Published by Pants on Fire Press on January 3, 2014

15-year-old Pepper Jones was shocked. The Maddocks, aliens that are kidnapping the best of the best humans on Earth (the best architect, the best artist, the best scientist, etc.), just kidnapped her parents. Two ordinary, run-of-the-mill school teachers. So, what were they the best at? Pepper and her best friend Parker wondered that, until they were met by a human-like cat-looking man. He says his name is Ando and that he is a Popoki (not a cat!) and that he was a friend of her parents – brilliant inventors from an academy on a different planet! Pepper and Parker go to the academy and hatch a plan. They plan on how to save her parents by finding the Starburst Juju, a powerful alien stone that can help free her parents.  But Pepper and Parker are only two humans and they are up against an entire race of aliens.

This was a great story. I loved all of the cool gadgets, especially the Orico. I really want one – they are bracelets that can do a bunch of things at a command. I love that the book made me think about some things. For example the story says all planets that can support life are about the same size, same distance from their sun, same temperature range, etc. compared to Earth – I never thought about it like that. But I guess that only goes for life-forms like us but what if there are other types of life… okay getting off topic… Back to my point – I like books that make me think! :) The characters in the book were developed well. The aliens were fun to read about. I like Ando. He is really interesting, and I would love to spend a day with him. Pepper is a great character – smart, realistic, and nice. I also liked Parker. He’s a great friend to Pepper, and an immature normal teenage boy. ;) I think that this book is awesome, but I am slightly sad that this is a stand-alone novel. It ended well though. I think Ms. Strang closed it very nicely. Ms. Strang has a great writing style. I think this is another cross over type book – one that advanced MG readers will love as well as younger YA readers.

I give “The Starburst Juju” five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Watch the awesome book trailer!

Now, for the GIVEAWAY!!!

To enter in the contest, all you need to do is comment and say that you want to win a copy of this great book (USA addresses only please)!

If you want to make it fun, name your favorite alien from any novel, TV Show, comic, movie, etc. For example, I would say “Superman” or “General Grievous”.

Next week my sister Josie will pick the winner from all of the names put in a hat! :)

Good luck and thanks for reading my blog!

Double Review of the Novellas The Greenest Valley AND Orisow by Ross Rosenfeld!

17 Jun

I reviewed Ross Rosenfeld’s The Stolen Kingdom  a while ago (see my review HERE). I thought it was a great “cross-over” book that is kind of YA and kind of MG. It is a great action-adventure story and I enjoyed it very much.

Mr. Rosenfeld has written 2 companion stories (novellas) to go along with The Stolen Kingdom.

These short, companion stories to The Stolen Kingdom tells the stories of Winkle, the Pooglie-Wooglie who was high-elder of the Pooglians when The Stolen Kingdom took place. (The Pooglie-Wooglie people (or Pooglians) are a group of ugly, disfigured, scarred, handicapped, etc., people whose ancestors had been banished from the face of the Earth because they were so ugly and the people didn’t want them to have children, so they lived below ground) These books tell of Winkle’s adventures as a young man.

greenestThe Greenest Valley

By Ross Rosenfeld

Illustrated by Erick Romero and Christine Choe

50 pages – ages 10+
Published by Fun Books on April 16, 2014

The Pooglie-Wooglie village was running low on food, and the land above them was covered in frost (for a few miles). An expedition of 8 Pooglians (love that name!) went to find food. Winkle had volunteered to go, thinking that it would have been a normal hunting trip. Boy, was he wrong! The Pooglians only came back with 3 of them alive…

*

orisowOrisow

By Ross Rosenfeld

Illustrated by Erick Romero and Christine Choe

51 pages – ages 10+
Published by Fun Books on May 15, 2014

Winkle is back with another one of his stories. This time, on a hunting expedition, above ground, getting veggies from a field, a human above ground spots one of the Pooglians. They call the Pooglians “demons” and rush to tell the nearby village. The Pooglians flee. The elders decide that the Pooglians have to move out of the area, in case the locals above do an intense search of the area around them. On the way, the Pooglians, gathering food above ground, spot a castle with slaves coming into it. They watch the evil lord of the castle whip a woman for doing nothing. The Pooglians are moved, and want to help. But how can they?

*

This is a good series. I loved “The Stolen Kingdom”, and these books are marvelous follow-up short stories/novellas. The stories are imaginative and original and fun to read. The settings are creative and you feel like you are there with Winkle. There is some violence, but nothing graphic (just fighting). In “The Greenest Valley”, there is a monster that eats the Pooglians. In “Orisow”, the Pooglians raid the castle. Winkle is a cool character, and he is a great soldier. I think that you can really connect with him. I love Mr. Rosenfeld’s writing style in these books. I like how they are told in first person, because Winkle is writing them as if he were telling the young Pooglie-Wooglie children the stories, which was really cool. The illustrations in the book are very nice, colorful, and they add to the story. The books, at 50-ish pages, are perfect for reluctant readers or kids just looking for a good story. While it would probably be better to read The Stolen Kingdom first, it isn’t needed because enough back-story is included in these novellas. I am looking forward to other books in this series!

4 out of 5 bookworms for these novellas!fourbooks

Rrrrrrggggle! (The Wesley Series) by Monsieur J and Mister F

30 Jan

wesley Rrrrrrggggle! (The Wesley Series)

By Monsieur J and Mister F

Illustrated by Papaya

139 pages – ages 9+

Available as an ebook

Published by Monsieur J & Mister F on November 10, 2013

Wesley is a 5th grader who just happens to be a zombie. He and his family have just moved to Stuff Falls, and he will go to Stuff Falls Middle School, which is a regular human school. Everyone knows that he’s a zombie, so he makes a friend with a half-zombie (whose mom is human, and dad is zombie), who shrinks every year because of him being half-zombie (I don’t really understand that, so please don’t ask detailed questions ;) ), and is obsessed with acting. He also becomes friends with a young yeti girl. The school bully, a human, is not one of Wesley’s friends, and has challenged him to a hard, deadly game, which will decide if  he will be left alone (or tormented) by the bully for the rest of the school year.

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I usually do not accept books about zombies or monsters. It usually isn’t my thing, but I try one every now and again. This is a book that I thoroughly enjoyed. I loved this because it didn’t focus on the scary “zombie brain-eater apocalypse” part of zombies. True, the zombies eat organs, but Wesley’s parents eat animal organs, and Wesley is a vegetarian. I love how in the story, zombie is passed via genes (like the half-zombie kid). I like that the story is about a young zombie trying to make friends and fit in. That was pretty funny. I like how Wesley’s dog is allergic to humans. :) The illustrations are cute and cartoon like. They are fun to look at and add to the story. You can see examples above this paragraph, and below it too. The story isn’t really about monsters, it’s about having a good family and good friends. I like how the authors puts a zombie in as the “new kid.” This book is a quick, humorous read, great for reluctant readers, especially boys. I can’t wait for book two!

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I give this book 5 out of 5 bookworms! fivebooks

Visit the Wesley the Zombie website HERE.

Like Wesley on Facebook HERE.

Follow Wesley on Twitter HERE.

Taylor Davis and the Clash of Kingdoms by Michelle Isenhoff

6 Jan

Let me start the New Year off right with a review of a great book!  :D

taylordavisbook2_cover_600x900Taylor Davis and the Clash of Kingdoms

By Michelle Isenhoff

244 pages – ages 9+ (ebook reviewed)

Published by CreateSpace on January 1, 2014

Taylor Davis is back, along with Elena Camila Velasquez Cartahena, and their guardian angels/agents, Mike (short for Amikim) and Ranofur! They need to save the world from chaos and destruction, before a third World War erupts! The team is sure that Bartholomew Swain (a horrible pirate who ate a rotten piece of fruit from the Tree of Life who they thought they got rid of in the first book – Taylor Davis and the Flame of Findul  – see my review HERE) is behind several hypnotized students, friends of Taylor, who have tried to beat him up, but they have no proof. The trouble isn’t just at Taylor’s school though. The whole world is going wonky. When the European Union, British Parliament, and the United Nations erupt in violence, Taylor knows something very bad is up. How will he and his team stop it – whatever it is?

This was a great second book in the Taylor Davis trilogy. I love how Mrs. Isenhoff writes an exciting adventure appropriate for middle grade kids.  The action kept me on the edge of my seat and the story kept me wanting to read more. Taylor and Elena are great characters that I enjoy reading about. I love the mix of angels/villains/humans in the series. Taylor seemed to have changed at the end of the book, more mature, I think, but in a good way. I guess saving the world will do that to a character! I like the sounds (but not the looks) of Simgali the Trickster – very interesting character.   Mrs. Isenhoff writing style gave me a great picture of the story without being dragged down with too many details. It made the book enjoyable to read. I could have done without the tad bit of romance (Elena has a boyfriend, and a thing at the end of the book), but that’s just me. ;)

I give this book five out of five bookworms! fivebooks

To learn more about Mrs. Isenhoff and her other books, please click HERE.

To find where to buy Taylor Davis 2 – click HERE.

Granpa Guff and the Pasta Wars by G. Guff

27 Nov

gguffGranpa Guff and the Pasta Wars
Book 2 in the Unbelievable Adventures of Granpa Guff
By G. Guff
67 pages – ages 6+
Published by Fort Guff Press on October 7, 2013

Granpa Guff is a master story-teller. In Book 2 of this series, Granpa Guff’s grandkids are visiting him for the weekend. He tells them a story about how Italians came to America and started to make Italian food products. Well, it turns out that those Italians really take food and business seriously. They take them SO seriously, they team up to sabotage the Italian whose product is doing the best at that moment! It gets so bad that they do everything – from tossing cats and dogs with parachutes off a skyscraper (that’s where the phrase “It’s raining cats and dogs” comes from. :) ) during a grand opening of a restaurant to putting snakes in cans of pasta sauce! What will happen? How will these wars end?

This is the second book in the Granpa Guff series. I enjoyed the story because it had a bunch of things in it that I like. The plot idea is cute (a grandpa telling his grandkids these outrageously strange stories – that turn out to be real-ish). The story is the type I like, fun to read and just plain silly. I like the illustrations throughout the book  a lot (although I thought the cover seemed a bit dark and scary and didn’t match the story). They are whimsical and sometimes hilarious. G. Guff’s writing style is fun and appropriate for all ages. The reading level is good for advanced young readers and older kids. I think it would be a fun read aloud too. I couldn’t figure out who the narrator (one of the 2 grandchildren) is. Other than the narrator thing, there are a few editing mistakes and places where the conversation between characters is a bit confusing. An editor would have picked these things up. With the edits, this book could turn into a favorite bed-time story for a lot of kids.

I think Granpa Guff and the Pasta Wars is a good book and gets 3 out of 5 bookworms from me.threebooks

Check out Granpa Guff’s website HERE.

Momo by Michael Ende

14 Aug

Before I get to a review of one of the best books I read this year…

At 4pm today (EST), you can join me today for a TWITTER PARTY for Bruce’s Hale’s book, Playing With Fire (School for Spies Book 1 – my review of this fun and exciting adventure story will be coming soon)!!! The chat is moderated by @DisneyHyperion (Mr. Hale’s twitter name is @storyguy1 and my twitter name is  @ThisKid_Erik). Mr. Hale will be answering questions about being an author and writing and publishing. Disney Hyperion will also ask Mr. Hale to summarize his book in one tweet! I’m looking forward to that! :)  Look for hashtag #PlayingWithFire!  Hope to see TWEET you there!

 playingwithfire

Now to the review!

momo

Momo
By Michael Ende
240 pages – ages 12+
Published by McSweeney’s McMullens Anniversary Edition edition on August 13, 2013

Momo is a young orphan girl living by herself in an abandoned amphitheater who has many friends from town because Momo listens. Momo is so good at listening that people from town come to tell her their troubles and Momo makes them feel good again. Momo also helps kids imagine. But it all changes when the “gray men” come to town and start to convince the townspeople to “save” time by doing things very quickly. In reality, everyone who agrees loses time and becomes super grumpy! No one visits Momo anymore except for the kids, who have no where else to go. Momo realizes she must save everyone from the gray men.

This edition of Momo is a 40th anniversary edition (just released yesterday!) and it is a MUST READ book. The plot of this book is very unlike anything I’ve read. It is unique and fun to read. I love Master Hora, the guy in charge of keeping time going. He’s cool. I like the idea of the gray men as bad guys. They are really creepy. Momo is a great character. I like her “power!” I wish I had a power like that. I love the adventure in this book! I really like Cassiopeia, Master Hora’s turtle, which can see exactly 30 minutes into the future and she can also “talk” by having letters appear on her shell to spell out sentences. I find that very cool. The illustrations scattered through the book are awesome. I like the last picture – Cassiopeia showing two words that appear only to the readers – The End!

I give this book 5 out of 5 book worms!fivebooks

PS – My parents were surprised I never heard of or read “The Never Ending Story,” Mr. Ende’s most popular book (he wrote Momo six years earlier than The Never Ending Story). Guess what I will be checking out of the library next? ;)

neverending

Doom & Gloom (Book 1) by M.J. Shaughnessy

7 Aug

doomandgloomDoom & Gloom (Book 1)

By M.J. Shaughnessy

135 pages – ages 9+

Published by Jumping Jackalope Press on June 13, 2013

Available as an ebook sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

Dane Winter, the 6th, was rich. He had everything he could want… well maybe not everything. Dane’s parents give him everything he could want but they really pay no attention to him. His parents travel to Outer Cambria a lot to help poor/sick kids, which is pretty ironic because their own kid feels so alone. Plus there’s the “little” matter that Dane has a rare disease where he’s super allergic to the sun and he can’t go outside except at night (that’s why his nickname is Gloom).

When his parents buy him a super-special suit that protects him from the UV (Ultra-Violet) rays from the sun, Dane gains his “freedom”. The suit is great and all that, but it means that he has to go to Outer Cambria, by order of his parents, which Dane doesn’t want to do because a) he has friends here in Winterville, where he lives and b) he’s pretty angry at his parents. The suit projects holographic images of Dane, so that anyone looking at him sees the real Dane, and not a weird suit. With his new suit, and his best friend, Jinx Bellamy (her nickname is Doom), Dane decides to take on the Mad Dogs, an evil group of terrorizing citizens of Winterville who are trying to take over the town (they burned down a doughnut store and a library! Can you believe that?!?), which Dane heard about from Jinx. Even though Dane and Jinx have no actual superpowers (although, the suit CAN turn into different costumes, or just plain invisible), Jinx is a black belt in TaeKwon-Do and Dane knows how to use a sword. But is that enough to stop the Mad Dogs?

I loved this book. The characters in this story are awesome. I like how Dane is rich, but is neglected (ex: his parents come from Outer Cambria to be with him on Christmas, but they do NOTHING together!), and how he seems to have it all but he has a horrible sun allergy. I think it gives more depth to the plot. Dane (the 6th) is a great character. I like him a lot. He’s got guts, a lot of money, and a nice home, but he has problems he has to overcome. This all makes Dane more “likeable” I like the idea of a normal person (especially a kid) becoming like a superhero even though they have no superpowers. I think it’s very cool. I hope that there is a Book 2 (there should be because this is a book 1 ;) ), even though this ended at a place where the book has a great ending and I felt like this part of the story was complete.

I give this book 5 out of 5 book worms!fivebooks

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