Tag Archives: this kid reviews books

Jet Lee Dragon Warrior by Pamela K. Witte

16 Apr

jetleeJet Lee Dragon Warrior

By Pamela K. Witte

Illustrated by Laurie Tisdale

130 pages – ages 8+

Published by Pam Witte on January 17, 2015

 

 

 

Synopsis-jetLeeDragonWarrior

What I Thought- This is a fun book! It is based on some ninja/samurai concepts, but set in New York City. I didn’t expect almost everyone that Jet knew to be a Dragon Warrior. That was cool. Jet is a clumsy, small, and weak tween who you can’t help but like and route for. Everyone loves to see an underdog win, right? The story is fast paced and flows well. Ms. Witte is a gifted story teller. At 130 pages it is a quick read, but the story feels complete. There are some neat manga-like illustrations through-out the book. I like how Jet, as a character, messes up simple things (like (not) catching an important vial), building up the fact that he’s clumsy – I like a hero who is more realistic. Ms. Witte has written a great book and is another example of a self-published book done right!

I give “Jet Lee Dragon Warrior” 5 out of 5 bookworms!fivebooks

My Grandma is a Ninja by Todd Tarpley

14 Apr

grandmaninjaMy Grandma is a Ninja

By Todd Tarpley

Illustrated by Danny Chatzikonstantinou

40 pages – ages 4+

Published by NorthSouth on March 1, 2015

Synopsis- Ethan’s grandma is a ninja. She can use a zip line like nobody’s business, she can do awesome karate moves, she can even do a backflip… in slow motion! How cool is that?! Ethan and his friends love it. That is, until Ethan’s grandma kicks the team’s soccer ball so hard it deflates and everyone gets upset. Ethan is no longer sure having a ninja grandma that great.

What I Thought- OKAY! What kid wouldn’t love this book?! It has a ninja, who actually happens to be an elderly grandmother – PURE AWESOMENESS! The illustrations are funny, wacky, and they flip out at you – in slow motion! This book will have little kids laughing out loud, and big kids rolling on the floor, laughing their lungs out! Mr. Tarpley has written a great book that has a funny circling ending. It kept me chuckling.

I give this book 5 out of 5 bookworms!fivebooks

Creative Kid Thursday! Matt Nadel – Author, Baseball Historian, Blogger

9 Apr

Have I got a Creative Kid for you! Matt Nadel is a 16-year-old baseball historian who has written his own book about baseball!

 

Meet Matt!

 

matt_nadel

Matt Nadel, age 16, is MLB.com’s youngest baseball history Pro Blogger. He was appointed a Pro Blogger in 2012 by MLB’s official historian, John Thorn. Matt blogs mainly about baseball history and his favorite era is the 40s and 50s.  His favorite team today is the Yankees.  Matt started blogging about baseball history back in April 2012, because he was finding that many of his friends knew very little about it, and he thought that a blog would be a fun way to teach kids and even some adults about it. He knows a lot about baseball history including every World Series winner (going back to 1903) by heart.

Matt’s has written almost 350 posts, in addition to a book, Amazing Aaron to Zero Zippers: An Introduction To Baseball History. He has appeared in TV and in many newspapers. He hopes to one day be a baseball historian, journalist and broadcaster.

Matt has agreed to an interview with me about him, his book, and baseball. Enjoy!

Erik: There is a TON of baseball information you put forward in this book. As a book reviewer I am impressed at how clearly and well-presented it all is. Do you keep all this stuff in your head or do you have to reference your own book in remembering some of these stats?

Matt: I do know a lot of what’s in my book, but I do reference it from time to time if I’m not too sure about a specific moment, player, or team.

Erik: Makes sense – the book is a great reference! What do you feel your biggest accomplishment is – outside and unrelated to baseball?

Matt: My biggest accomplishment outside of baseball is assisting at the special needs karate class at the karate studio I used to go to for lessons, Hwang Martial Arts in Springfield, New Jersey. It really warms my heart to see those kids punch a bag or do a form. It’s really inspirational. 

Erik: That is rewarding! I help teach a younger kids class at my Dojo too. I enjoy it very much. It is awesome that you are donating your profits from the book to The Jackie Robinson Foundation, the ALS Association, the National Baseball Hall of Fame Foundation, and the Turn 2 Foundation. What was your motivation for writing the book?

Matt: I had been doing the blog for about a year when the idea for the book came to me. Basically, I wanted to put every single thing that is important to baseball’s history into one little children’s book. I wanted the book to teach kids about baseball history and I think it accomplishes this. 

Erik: It is a great book for kids to learn about and appreciate the great players in baseball history. I am a Philly guy and the Phillies are my hometown team.  In my opinion, there is nothing better than to go to an afternoon game. I’ve found that when I can’t physically be at the ballpark, I prefer to listen to the game over the internet/radio rather than watch on TV. Maybe it’s because of the announcers (Scott Franzke, Larry Anderson and Jim Jackson) and how they describe the action. Who do you think are some the best play-by-play broadcasters?

Matt: Right now in the MLB, Eric Nadel (no relation) for the Rangers and Greg Brown for the Pirates are probably at the top of my list. Of course, I have to include the legends, like Vin Scully, Bob Uecker, Mel Allen, Ernie Harwell, Red Barber, and Harry Caray.

Erik: Lets not forget Harry Kalas. ;) Do you play organized baseball?

Matt: I play for my school’s varsity team, the Golda Och Academy Roadrunners. Last year, I was placed in the outfield due to injuries, so I’ll probably be in the outfield again this year. 

Erik: I am a baseball fan and I learned a lot from your book. The text is written very well and even someone who is only a casual fan will appreciate the history in it. Name the most surprising thing you learned from doing the research for your book.

Matt: Some of the stuff on extra innings jumped out at me, like the minor league game that featured future Hall of Famers Wade Boggs and Cal Ripken Jr., but probably the most surprising thing a learned was the backstories of all the greats and how they progressed through their careers. Pure statistics don’t tell the whole story. It doesn’t talk about the lives of the legends before they entered the game and to me, that stuff is so intriguing.

Erik: Thanks for taking time to answer my questions Matt!

 

Now I’d like to tell you a bit about Matt’s book.

aaronAmazing Aaron to Zero Zippers

By Matt Nadel

112 pages – ages 10+

Published by Summer Game Books on March 23, 2015

Goodreads Summary

Matt Nadel is a 15-year-old baseball historian whose blog and media appearances are fast-propelling him to national prominence. Matt has written a thorough and accessible book on the biggest stars, greatest games, and most amazing feats in baseball history. Richly illustrated, the text includes bios of Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Jackie Robinson, and many others; descriptions of classic ballparks like Fenway and Wrigley and great franchises like Brooklyn and the Yankees; a section on the Negro Leagues and other professional leagues; and the expert lowdown on stolen bases, perfect games, triple crowns, and even the baseball uniforms!
Amazing Aaron to Zero Zippers is the go-to resource for anyone looking to learn everything important about the history of America’s greatest game, and learn it in a fast, fun way. Filled with incredible, classic photos from the official Baseball Hall of Fame Archives, it is a primer for baseball beginners, a resource for developing fans, and a treat for long-time devotees who will love having so much essential baseball knowledge in one convenient place.

What I thought – This was a well-written resource for anyone interested in baseball or history in general. It is organized and flows well which is  quite a feat considering the amount of information packed into the book. The text is easy to follow and is referenced well. The reader can tell there was a lot of careful research done for the book. I liked how Matt not only included baseball stats but also glimpses into the lives and personalities of the players. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone will be writing a book about Matt in a few years! 

Five out of five bookworms! fivebooks

Want to learn more?

Check out Matt’s book on Summer Game Books website – click HERE.

Follow Matt –

Baseball with Matt – Blog

Twitter- @BaseballwMatt

Everyday Bento by Wendy Thorpe Copley

8 Apr

bentoEveryday Bento: 50 Cute and Yummy Lunches To Go

By Wendy Thorpe Copley

120 pages – ages 12+

Published by Tuttle Publishing on March 4, 2014

Synopsis- Do you know the way to make a quick, healthy, and fun lunch that looks nice? Well, if not, have you ever tried bento? You don’t know what bento means? Bento is a Japanese style meal that is packed into a box and able to be taken along with you. This book gives you simple recipes on how to make bento box meals with American items and a lot of fun!

What I Thought- This was a nice recipe book. Ms. Copley has written a comprehensive guide to making bento boxes for the beginners.  The recipes are simple and really easy to understand. This isn’t really a kids book but I bet any kid would love to get packed lunches like this!

bento2 bento3

Plus it makes a great parent kids activity – making great lunches! The book covers the basics and the tools you might want to get to make the fun shapes and molds. Some of the recipes are more complicated than others, and would take more time to make, but you can get some great ideas from it. There are easy-to-follow instructions and pictures. All in all, this is a really nice book! We (meaning mom and me) used some of the things we had around the house and the pictures and guides from the book and created a bento box lunch! How did we do?

IMG_0026

I give “Everyday Bento” four out of five bookworms!fourbooks

Check out the Every Day Bento website for ideas and video tutorials! Click HERE

Review! The Zodiac Legacy: The Convergence by Stan Lee and Stuart Moore

7 Apr

zodiacThe Zodiac Legacy: The Convergence (Book 1)
Written by Stan Lee and Stuart Moore
Illustrated by Andie Tong
480 pages – ages 8+
Published by Disney Press on January 27, 2015

Synopsis- Steven Lee had no idea what he was getting into when he stumbled upon a huge underground warehouse-thingy where some strange ceremony is taking place. He somehow gets involved in a hidden battle to stop a power-hungry man who is now one of the most powerful men on Earth. The powers of the Zodiac animals were released into the world to find their “perfect host”, and the Tiger has settled in Steven’s body. Several of the receivers of the power are agents of the evil man – a man who holds the most powerful power – the Dragon. Steven needs to think fast, harness his new powers and stop the madman’s plot.

zodiac2

What I Thought- HOLY GUACAMOLE! This was a great book! I am a HUGE fan of Stan Lee so I was all over this book when it came out. I am happy to say, this book did not disappoint! Mr. Lee and Mr. Moore have crafted a riveting story packed with comic book action, fighting, mystery and super powers.  There is just the right amount of realism in the book to keep the reader thinking this really could be happening. Mr. Tong’s red, black, and white illustrations pop-up throughout the book. They look cool, and get the story into your head more. They give the story even more depth. The characters are well-developed, and were fun to read about and get to know. There are three planned books in the series. The ending of this book is quite a cliff hanger, but there is enough wrapped up in the story that the reader is not disappointed.  A lot of kids and adults will read this just because Stan Lee wrote a middle grade book. For a kid-comic book fan like me, it was just what I would have wanted.

I give this book 5 out of 5 bookworms!fivebooks

WANT TO KNOW MORE?!?

You can read about the creators of the series HERE.

Check out the website HERE.

Disney has a teacher’s guide to go with the book. Click HERE to get it.

Review! The Ultimate Treasure Quest I: The Jewel of Peru by Sharon Skretting

30 Mar

jewelperuThe Ultimate Treasure Quest I: The Jewel of Peru

By Sharon Skretting

316 pages – ages 8+

Published by Sharon Skretting on September 20, 2014

Synopsis- From the Publisher: “After his father’s ship is found abandoned at sea, Christopher makes and unexpected discovery on board—The Ultimate Treasure  Chest!  Inside is a message that beckons him to set sail after the treasure and his parents. When a savage pirate and a corrupt businessman join forces to steal the treasure for themselves, the gang gets caught up in pirate chases, time travel, and an underground network of spies. Will Christopher find the Jewel and his parents or will all be lost forever?

What I Thought- This was a fun time-travel book.  I specially liked that the characters were not from modern times but from the 18th century and they travel forward to our time. The characters are kid sailors and they transport to modern day Peru.  Ms. Skretting has written an authentic sounding 1700’s story, and then she put them in a modern-day situation, and it was just as believable. The characters are well-developed and you feel a connection to them. Christopher is a great kid and an enjoyable MC. The story is solid, but the story does not keep the same exciting pace  after the first couple challenges the characters face.  Still, the story is good and a great choice for kids. The book had educational parts. You learn about the environment and Peru throughout the story, as the characters are challenged to learn about them to get to the next stage.

I give “The Jewel of Peru” four out of five bookworms.fourbooks

Perfect Picture Book Friday! All About Korea by Ann Martin Bowler

27 Mar

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 great nonfiction book that teaches in a fun way. 

koreaAll About Korea

By Ann Martin Bowler

Illustrations by Soosoonam Barg

64 pages – ages 7+

Published by Tuttle Publishing on April 10, 2011

Opening and Synopsis-

Opening: “What’s the spiciest food you’ve ever eaten? How do you break a board with your bare hand? Why in the world would you send a message off on a kite at the end of the year? Can Blue Dragons protect you?

Synopsis from publisher: “Perfect for educators or parents wishing to teach kids about different Asian cultures, this new book in the Tuttle All About Asia series includes favorite games, foods, special holiday times and after-school activities unique to Korea. All About Korea is a fun-filled journey to a new place. Korean culture and history are featured prominently in this colorful Korean book for kids, allowing an educational as well as entertaining experience.

  • Learn how to play the exciting Korean see-saw game with a friend, how to sing “Happy Birthday” in Korean, and how kids say “hello!”
  • Other activities include making a White Tiger puppet, playing jegi (Korean hacky-sack) and singing “Arirang,” Korea’s most beloved song.
  • Enjoy the traditional Korean stories “Taming a Tiger” and “Two Foolish Green Frogs.”
  • Easy Korean recipes are included for delicious treats like kimbap (roll-your-own wraps) and songpyeon (sweet filled rice cakes).

All About Korea is a book for families to treasure together. It offers not only the most important facts about Korean, but also reflects the spirit that makes Korea one-of-a-kind.

What I Thought- This is a great activity-filled ,information-packed book that teaches you about life as it is and was in Korea (see my review of All About China from the same publisher HERE). It talks about the activities of Korea, daily life in Korea, games and traditions of Korea, and much more! It says a little about the separating of North and South Korea, and that there is now a huge military boarder in between (in the “A Bit of History” section). It says that the book is about life in South Korea, because the two governments have gone different ways. There is a huge diversity in the things to read about. Ms. Bowler has written a wonderful encyclopedia-like resource, with lots of activities to make it more exciting than just reading a textbook. Ms. Barg’s illustrations are a cool format and make the story come to life. They are realistic and captivating. I could see schools or homeschool families using this book to teach a whole unit on Korea.

Activities and Resources –  Tuttle Publishing has a ton of resources to go along with the book – Click HERE to get it.

One of the crafts I really like in the packet from Tuttle is to make a folding fan –

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

 

Review! The Island of Dr. Libris by Chris Grabenstein

24 Mar

Before I get to my review, I get to announce that Mr. Laj won the James Patterson Prize Pack o’ Books I am giving away on my blog!!! CONGRATULATIONS! I will be emailing you to see where you’d like the books sent.

prizepack

So the FABULOUS James Patterson series- I Funny, Treasure Hunters and House of Robots have a SUPER FANTABULOUS co-author CHRIS GRABENSTEIN! Felicia and I just interviewed Mr. Grabentein on the Write Chat – Click HERE to see the vlog! AND Mr. Grabenstein just happens to be the author of the book I am reviewing today! (I feel like I am playing the Kevin Bacon game) .

Now today is not only the day I review Chris Grabenstein’s new book, it is the day it is released! HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY!!! WOO! Mr. Lemoncello’s Library fans will NOT be disappointed in Chris Grabenstein’s latest fantastic story!

drlibThe Island of Dr. Libris

By Chris Grabenstein

256 pages – ages 9+

Published by Random House Books for Young Readers on March 24, 2015

Synopsis- Billy Gillfoyle’s parents may be getting separated. This may explain why his mom is spending the summer at a rented lake house owned by one of her colleagues, Dr. Xiang Libris, and Billy is to spend the summer with her while she works on a very important paper for work. The house is on the shore of a lake overlooking an island in the middle of the lake – Dr. Libris’ Island. Dr. Libris owns it all. The lake house has no TV or video game system, and shortly after coming, Billy accidentally breaks his iPhone (and simultaneously made a friend and some enemies). Desperate for entertainment, Billy decides to turn to the library room, which has a bookcase full of amazing books, with one drawback – the bookcase is locked. After an intensive search, Billy finds the key, and when he opens the books and reads them, he seems to hear the swords clashing, the voices yelling, the feet trampling. And it all seems to come from Dr. Libris’ island in the middle of the lake…

What I Thought- This was an amazing book. It really creates a world one would love to join. Characters coming to life by reading – in my mind, that is PARADISE! The story is cool and very suspenseful. I like how everything ties together in the end. Mr. Grabenstein has written a fun action-adventure book that, I bet, almost every reader will hope were true! Billy still likes his parents and believes that they will stay together. Billy, thinks they have the perfect marriage and they seem like a nice family. His mom is more serious, but still fun, in a way, while his dad is more laid back and thrill-seeking. It was good that his parents didn’t hate each other, and that they seemed to have a nice relationship with each other. All that added to the depth of the story. I REALLY loved this book! The characters in the book feel so realistic that you believe that this could happen. It was cool that Dr. Libris himself was kind of a background character in the story – kind of remaining mysterious.

I give “The Island of Dr. Libris” five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

WANT TO LEARN MORE?!? You can read sample chapters and get an educator’s guide to go with the book at Chris Grabentein’s website – CLICK HERE!

The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake by Robin Newman

23 Mar

carrotcakeThe Case of the Missing Carrot Cake

By Robin Newman

Illustrated by Deborah Zemke

40 pages – ages 5+

Published by Creston Books  on May 12, 2015

Synopsis- From GoodReads: “When food goes missing on Ed’s farm, Detectives Wilcox and Griswold do what it takes to track down the thieves. In this case, Miss Rabbit’s carrot cake has disappeared. Has it been stolen? Or eaten? Or both? Who dunnit?

What I Thought- First off, I love the fact that the detectives are mice, and that they are MFI’s (Missing Food Investigators). That is just plain awesomeness there! The story is everything a kid would want – the writing is kid-friendly, there are cute main characters, a mystery to solve, humor, and great illustrations. The mystery keeps the main characters wrapped up in it and guessing. As more and more carrot cake goes missing, more and more suspects are added! The MFI’s have a big problem on their hands! The illustrations are great, with some funny details (the cop-car has a wind-up key on the side of it), and remind me of Roald Dahl’s illustrations. They compliment the story very well. Kids are going to love this one!

WANT TO WIN A COPY?!?

There is a GoodReads giveaway going on right now! CLICK HERE!

I give “The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake” five out of five bookworms!fivebooks


WANT TO KNOW MORE?!?

You can download a copy of the teacher’s guide that goes along with THE CASE OF THE MISSING CARROT CAKE – click HERE!

Check out Ms. Newman’s website by clicking HERE!

Check out Ms. Zemke’s site HERE!

The Missing Alchemist by Caldric Blackwell

21 Mar

alchemisThe Missing Alchemist

By Caldric Blackwell

128 pages – ages 8+

Published by Icasm Press January 13, 2015

 

Synopsis- From the back cover: “Having grown up in an orphanage, Craig Pike appreciates his comfortable life as a student of Cornelius, a famous alchemist. But when Cornelius is kidnapped, Craig leaves comfort behind to search for him. Craig teams up with Audrey Clife, a clever archer, and together they travel across mysterious lands and battle otherworldly creatures. Their journey reveals that Cornelius’s kidnapping is only a small part of an evil alchemist’s elaborate grab for power, and the only people standing in his way are Craig and Audrey…

What I Thought- This was a really cool fantasy story. It explains how magic is incorporated into the world (and how it is used) very effectively. Craig is a good kid, whom you instantly want to cheer on. Audrey is a good character and she’s also a girl, which is awesome. She saves Craig multiple times, due to her creativity, and skill with a bow and swords. The land that the story takes place in is described well. Mr. Blackwell has written a good fantasy story (plot-wise and reading level) for young middle-grade readers or elementary kids just getting into fantasy. The story has the potential of being a great fantasy novel for older MG readers if the plot and characters were a bit more involved and expanded on.

I give this book 4 out of 5 bookworms!fourbooks

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