Tag Archives: this kid reviews books

Review! Leo: A Ghost Story by Mac Barnett

28 Aug

leoLeo: A Ghost Story
Written by Mac Barnett
Illustrations by Christian Robinson
52 pages – ages 5+
Published by Chronicle Books on August 25, 2015

Theme/Topic- Friendships / Imaginary Friends

Genre- Fiction

Synopsis- Leo is a ghost. He’s lived by himself for many years. Not many people can see him. One day, a family moves into the house, and when Leo greets them with tea, they freak out. Leo, feeling unwanted, leaves the house. After wandering the city streets for a bit, Leo meets Jane, a young girl. Jane can see him. They have a lot of fun together. When a robber tries to ruin their fun, Leo learns that being a ghost can be a very good thing.

Why I liked this book- This is a fun book to read. I like how it ends in a unique, marvelous way (read the book to find out!). The book itself is a sweet book about friendship. Mr. Barnett is a great author, and Mr. Robinson is a great illustrator, so it’s no wonder they make an amazing team! The simple illustrations go really well with the story line, as if you see the book from a child’s view. I think all younger kids looking for a good read will enjoy this story!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Stick Dog Dreams of Ice Cream by Tom Watson

25 Aug

stickiceStick Dog Dreams of Ice Cream

Book 4 Stick Dog Series

By Tom Watson

244 pages – ages 7+

Published by HarperCollins on May 19, 2015

Synopsis- It’s a hot summer day, the hottest of the hot, and Stick Dog and his gang are in need of something cool. But nothing they try seems to work. That is, until they find a big, odd-shaped truck that plays an annoying song comes around. The dogs don’t know what is going on, but when it leaves, there are sometimes little puddles of cool, multi-colored, yummy liquid. So, the dogs chase after the truck, always getting those puddles. But it’s not enough! They need MORE!

What I Thought- I LOVE the Stick Dog books (See my review HERE). They genuinely look like they came from a notebook The drawings are funny and capture the feelings of the dogs perfectly. Mr. Watson has a fun writing style that really sounds like it’s a kid telling the story. The only thing I didn’t like was that the book didn’t even re-introduce the characters and if kids were picking the series up with this book, it would have helped with a little more introduction. The books are an awesome read for their intended age. The silly humor is a favorite of mine and I am sure other kids feel the same. Book 4 of the series didn’t disappoint with the wacky humor and even sillier drawings.

I give this book four out of five bookworms.fourbooks

Review! The Gift of Sunderland by Jeanne E. Rogers

24 Aug

sunderlandThe Gift of Sunderland: An Australian Fantasy Adventure #2

Written by Jeanne E. Rogers

Illustrated by Guy Atherfold

213 pages – ages 9+

Published by Acadia Publishing Group, LLC on February 17, 2015

Synopsis- Waylond Ayers, part of the royal Numbat family had accidentally shattered his family to pieces. His older brother Morlund, angry that his weak brother was named successor to be the Guardian of the Forest, decided that he would be rid of Waylond. Father Roland paid the price as he lay, dead, in their burning house. Waylond goes into a self-imposed exile, denying to himself who he truly is. When he finds a lost young girl, he decides to help her. Soon, Waylond is on his way, with a small posse of characters, and a mindset to free an enslaved group. But can he come to terms with his brother, let alone himself?

What I Thought- This was an amazing book! It reminded me of my favorite series (Redwall, by Brian Jacques), but was also a unique story and book within itself too. Ms. Rogers gives a shout-out to endangered, threatened, and other animals (and places) in Australia. That was a nice addition. I liked how the characters were realistic and had distinct personalities. I didn’t really understand the magic-y of the Forest (like their gods), but that was okay. Waylond is someone you can admire. The story shows his growth as a character and a person (or animal in this case)? He really becomes something great. I really like the black-and-white images throughout the book of the characters. It adds a lot to the story. Ms. Rogers also included a Glossary of the animals and real-life places in the book at the back. And, yes, the book deals with hard topics, as there is some killing, slavery, beatings, etc. Nothing graphic or gory. Appropriate for a 4th grade reading level and up. I highly recommend this series!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Review! Frankie Dupont and the Science Fair Sabotage by Julie Anne Grasso

19 Aug

frankie#3Frankie Dupont and the Science Fair Sabotage

Written by Julie Anne Grasso

Illustrated by Alexander Avellino

134 pages – ages 8+

Published by Julie Anne Grasso on May 10, 2015

Synopsis- Frankie Dupont, Junior-Investigator-In-Training, was going to a local science fair, when he learns that a friend’s brothers’ project was sabotaged! Their robot’s robotic chip was stolen! Can Frankie find the thief before the show starts and the two twins get disqualified?

What I Thought- I really like this series. Ms. Grasso writes these mysteries really well. She adds just enough clues so that the reader is solving the mystery along with Frankie. There is a good amount of humor in this book. For example, I was literally laughing out loud when Frankie decided that a person wasn’t lying, because, when people lie, their eyes go up and to the right, but one character was definitely telling the truth because their eyes went up and to the left. There are cool illustrations throughout the book that add a lot to the story. The stories are great for young kids looking for a good mystery. The story flows well and it gets the reader involved. I really like this series and the Frankie Dupont character. I can’t wait to read more!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Review! Top Secret Files: The Cold War by Stephanie Bearce AND A GIVEAWAY!

17 Aug

Be sure to read to the bottom of this post for the link to the Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win a copy of this book!

coldwarTop Secret Files: The Cold War

Written by Stephanie Bearce

128 pages – ages 8+

Published by Prufrock Press on August 1, 2015

 Summary- From the Publisher: “Take a look if you dare, but be careful! Some secrets are meant to stay hidden…

Poison dart umbrellas and cyanide guns were all a part of the arsenal of tools used by spies of the Soviet KGB, American CIA, and the British MI6, but you won’t learn that in your history books! Learn true stories of the Cold War and how spies used listening devices planted in live cats and wristwatch cameras. Discover how East Germans tried to ride zip lines to freedom, while the Cambridge Four infiltrated Britain and master spy catchers like Charles Elwell were celebrated. Then make your own secret codes and practice sending shoe messages. It’s all part of the true stories from Top Secret Files: Cold War.

What I Thought- I love history. I love spies. This book has both. I often am hesitant to review books on subjects I am very fond of because, I find myself being very picky on how things are presented. I was very happy with this book because I learned from it, I think it is written well for the audience it is for (8+) and I think it is very well presented. Ms. Bearce also includes activities related to the book that would be a great resource for teachers. She also includes some really cool facts about what was going on during the cold war. I was fascinated to learn that the really cool, stereotypical spy gear actually existed (well, at least some of them). That was a real eye-opener. There is really cool true stories about some of the real spies. I like how Ms. Bearce doesn’t really bias herself on which side she portraits and offers a fair assessment of both sides. This is an interesting, introduction to the history of the cold war and will lead kids to looking further into the topics covered. Ms. Bearce I think kids in the fourth grade and up would like it, but the book is suited for younger advanced readers too.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Top 3 Cold War Secrets

1)     The Big Dog Escape– Would you believe that one secret agent made his escape disguised as a dog? During the 1970’s, the CIA disguised one of their agents as a St. Bernard to get him out of Europe. The operative wore a fake dog suit and was concealed in a dog kennel. Nobody was suspicious when the dog was taken to the vet for a check-up, and the operative made his escape.

2)     Flying Saucers- In 1956, the U.S. Air Force experimented with building its own flying saucer. The plans called for a disc shaped flying machine that would reach altitudes of 100,000 feet and fly at Mach 4. The machine they built didn’t work quite as well as they hoped. It wobbled uncontrollably if it went higher than 3 feet of the ground and its top speed was 35mph. The project was scrapped.

3)     Moon Bomb– Scientists came up with some wild ideas during the Cold War, but one of the craziest was to bomb the moon. Some U.S. scientists thought that if they exploded an atomic bomb on the moon, then it would scare the Soviet Union. Other scientists argued that a mistake could seriously hurt the earth and ruin the surface of the moon. The plan was scrapped and no bombs were sent to the moon.

About the Author: Stephanie Bearce is a writer, teacher, and history detective. She loves tracking down spies and uncovering secret missions from the comfort of her library in St. Charles, MO. When she isn’t writing or teaching, Stephanie loves to travel the world and go on adventures with her husband, Darrell.

 Website: http://www.stephaniebearce.com/about.html

Buy the Book!:

Amazon- http://ow.ly/PpgP4

Barnes & Noble- http://ow.ly/PphXb

Books A Million- http://ow.ly/Ppiet

!ndigo-  http://ow.ly/Ppina

Indiebound- http://ow.ly/PpixJ

Also Available in this series:

Top Secret Files: American Revolution

Top Secret Files: The Civil War

Top Secret Files: World War I

Top Secret Files: World War II

Top Secret Files: Pirates & Buried Treasure

Enter to win a copy of this book!:
Click HERE

Review! Nanny X Returns by Madelyn Rosenberg

14 Aug

nannyx2Nanny X Returns

By Madelyn Rosenberg

128 pages – ages 8+

Will be Published by Holiday House on September 15, 2015

Synopsis- Ali, Jake, and their baby sister got excited when Nanny X walked through their doorway once more. After all, Nanny X was a secret agent with lots of cool gadgets, and she even let them help her on a case! But, all is normal now. After that case, Nanny X is now acting like… well, like a normal nanny. That is, until they find out about a criminal called the Angler. The Angler has threatened to destroy precious national treasures if a fish stature that was sent isn’t put up at the White House lawn. Will Nanny X and the kids save the day in time?

What I Thought– This was a really great sequel to Nanny X (see my review HERE)! Nanny X (the character) is a fun, slightly wacky, nanny who just so happens to be a secret government agent working for NAP (Nanny Action Patrol).  That’s just the icing on the cake. It was a nice touch to have siblings Ali and Jake get along (well, maybe not 100%, but realistically close :) ). I really like Ms. Rosenberg’s writing style. It captures the essence of being a kid perfectly (it’s told from Jake and Ali’s point-of-view, every other chapter (Jake, then Ali, then Jake, etc.)). I really like this series. It has just enough realism to make you think that it could happen in real life. This is a great book and a good series for young readers!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Double Review! Lawless and Justice by Jeffrey Salane

13 Aug

These both get five bookworms! They are the first two books from a series I was just introduced to. I don’t know how this series flew under my radar for so long (Lawless was originally published in 2013). I am hooked on the story!

fivebooks

lawlessLawless

By Jeffrey Salane

288 pages – ages 9+

Published by Scholastic Press; Reprint edition on February 24, 2015

Synopsis- Publisher’s summary: “Welcome to Lawless, where the head of the class is a dangerous place to be.


M Freeman is the newest student at the prestigious (and mysterious) Lawless School. All she really wants is to fit in, but from the moment she arrives, her unusual skills have the whole academy buzzing. M excels at escape tactics. She’s a whiz at spotting a forgery. But can she tell right from wrong? She’ll have to figure it out fast, because some of her teachers are planning the crime of the century . . . and M and her classmates might be the only people who can stop them.

But, who can M trust?

What I Thought- This was a fun book. I liked the idea of a criminal school. This may sound kind of scary, but I would like to go there. It would be really cool. I am interested in criminology, and also activities like lock picking, pick-pocketing, etc. (Don’t ask why – I don’t know). Putting these skills to a use would be awesome (but for a good cause like counter-espionage or something like that – I digress…). M was a great character. She is everything I look for in a main character and Mr. Salane lets the reader really get into her head. Plus it was cool and mysterious how her name was only “M”. Her personality was well-developed. You feel like you really know M by the end of the book. I liked reading about her adventures in the school (and also outside of it). The book brings up incredibly strong self-provoking philosophical points – what is considered bad? -good? How far would you go on either way? I enjoyed reading this great debut every second. I read it in one day it was that good!

justiceJustice

Book #2 in the Lawless series

By Jeffrey Salane

288 pages – ages 9+

Published by Scholastic Press on March 31, 2015

 

Synopsis- Publisher’s summary: “M Freeman thought she had finally found a place where she belonged: the Lawless School, where the children of master criminals trained to become master criminals themselves. She took her studies seriously, never suspecting she was a pawn in a dangerous game.

Now she knows the truth: The forces of Lawless are after a weapon that threatens all life on earth. M and her crew are determined to stop them – but they can’t do it alone. And that means joining the Fulbright Academy.

But what if the Fulbrights aren’t as “good” as they seem? What is going to happen to M and her friends? And how does her deceased father play a part in this?

What I Thought- This was an amazing sequel. It was extremely well-crafted. You really feel sorry for M when she realizes that she can’t trust anyone, maybe not even her own friends! This one was kind of on the depressing side, but I’m assuming it is like the bridge between the ultimate final “battle” in the series. This is the book where all hope seems gone. The characters that you meet are intriguing and keep you guessing at their motives. Justice brings up more thought-provoking questions such as in Lawless. Mr. Salane has a great writing style. It really draws you in and holds you there. Like Lawless, I couldn’t put this book down! I can’t wait to read more from Mr. Salane!

Review! Brickabrack Hall by David Eveleigh

11 Aug

brickbrackBrickabrack Hall

Written by David Eveleigh

Illustrated by Cheyenne Quimby

7,130 words – ages 6+

Published by Smashwords on October 31, 2014

Synopsis- Brickabrack Hall. A famous hotel for famous people (of nefarious deeds). The ginormous hotel has only three underpaid employees. One is from Transylvania, one has a hunched back, and one is a creepy butler-ish type. They do all the work there. When a ghost starts haunting one of the rooms one day, the three employees are ordered to catch it. How will they ever catch a ghost? And, with all of the employees out ghost-hunting, who will do the work around the hotel? Certainly not their pompous manager!

What I Thought- This was a good book. The characters’ personalities are realistic. I like how the book doesn’t flat out say that the characters are monsters, but hints at it. That was cool. The story rolls along, with lots of humor and twists. The fact that the characters come up with all these elaborate ghost catching schemes only to have the manager befriend the ghost gave me a good chuckle. The short length of the book (about 4 chapters) makes it a good read for a rainy day or for kids wanting a quick story. There are really cool illustrations at the beginning of every chapter. They really add a lot to the story. Kids will love them, and the humor in them. I recommend this book as a perfect read for younger kids’ Halloweens!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Review! The Forget-Me-Not Summer by Leila Howland

10 Aug

forgetsummerThe Forget-Me-Not Summer

By Leila Howland

352 pages (Hardcover) – ages 9+

Published by HarperCollins on May 5, 2015

Synopsis- Marigold, 12, Zinnia, 11, and Lily, 5, are sisters. They have big plans for the summer. Lily is planning on being her very best [mischievous] five-year-old self, Marigold is trying to hook an acting agent and maybe get a boyfriend, and Lily will probably be Marigold’s second shadow. But when their movie script writing father is going to an out-of-the-way location to assist in the filming of a documentary on redwood trees, and their mother might have a job opportunity in Canada for a few weeks, all of their summer plans get shattered.

The girls will be flying cross-country to Massachusetts, to live with their Great-Aunt Sunny for a few weeks. She lives in a small house (with no TV!) in a small town, and they lived in L.A. Not only are they suffering from culture-shock, but they have to share a room! Will they survive this monstrosity?

What I Thought- Overall, this was a good book. I can understand that Marigold is a budding (no pun intended) child actress, but I don’t know if I like how obsessed she was with having a boyfriend. She’s 12 in the book. It was just weird. Zinnia was a great main character. She was funny, and had to cope with being the middle child of an actress big sister, and being what should be a perfect little sister. That was believable and it worked. The story was good, but seemed to take a back seat to the character development. It took a long time to get to know the characters. Still, there was a plot and it was realistic and fit well in the story (Zinnia needs to write a play and find a cast for her play by a deadline for a local talent show, Marigold wants to get in a movie, etc.). That was nice. All in all, my favorite character was Aunt Sunny. She was the awesome aunt living a simple, fun life in a small town. Plus, the book includes a recipe for the brownies she makes. :)

I give this book four out of five bookworms.fourbooks

Review! Digital Filmmaking For Kids by Nick Willoughby

6 Aug

forkidsfordummiesDigital Filmmaking For Kids

By Nick Willoughby

336 pages – Ages 8+

Published by For Dummies on May 4, 2015

Synopsis- Have you ever wondered how to make your own movie, or mini-film? Have you ever tried to get a movie crew started with your friends but didn’t know how? Well, is this the book for you! Mr. Willoughby-filmmaker, teacher, and self-proclaimed film geek-gives you the step-by-step process of making your movie, from trailer to editing, all in one book! Are you up to the task? This book includes areas on learning the basics, making a film trailer, making a documentary, your first short narrative film, and much more!

What I Thought- Mr. Willoughby has written a pretty nifty book. It teaches you how to do all of the cool stuff mentioned in the summary. The book gives good sound advice (literally and figuratively ;) ). Mr. Willoughby put in several fun projects to try out and use as a starting point for your film-making career. There were easy-to-understand diagrams, and well-organized chapters. There was a wide assortment of topics covered so the reader gets a good understanding of the basics. There were a few parts of the book I thought could have been explained a bit more (remember the book is for “Dummies”). For example, Mr. Willoughby used iMovie to edit his film, and he mentioned, amongst others, Microsoft Movie Maker for an alternate program, but it didn’t explain benefits or drawbacks with either program. I would have liked even just a small photo of a Movie Maker screen, with labels for the important objects. The majority of the content was very helpful and interesting to read.  I really liked this book. I would recommend this book to a kid in your life you wants to gt into movie/video making.

I give this book four out of five bookworms.fourbooks

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