Tag Archives: this kid reviews books

Review! Hissy Fitz by Patrick Jennings

2 Mar

hissyHissy Fitz

By Patrick Jennings

112 pages – ages 7+

Published by EgmontUSA on January 6, 2015

Synopsis- Hissy Fitz is definitely the master of his house. So how come Georgie, the young girl he lives with, can’t seem to tell when he wants to sleep, and talks and pets him nonstop! And the grown male in the house bangs on wood at the worst possible moments – when all Hissy wants to do is sleep and be left alone. And, Zeb, the littlest, is always yelling at and chasing Hissy – well, really anytime, but especially when Hissy wants to sleep! When will this grouchy cat ever get a chance to take a cat-nap in the house of the noisy Fitz family?

What I Thought- This was a cute and funny book. Hissy is the ultimate grumpy cat, not stopping for a second to slice at, growl at, and HISS at the annoying 2 legged creatures that live with him. The story is funny, and brings out the very cat-like personality in Hissy. Hissy is a lazy, fat, grumpy, silver-blue cat. There are some funny illustrations scattered throughout the book. They add humor to the story. This is an excellent choice for young advanced readers who are just becoming independent. Mr. Jennings has written a very well-done story that I enjoyed reading.

I give this book four out of five bookworms.fourbooks

Creative Kid Thursday! Meet Daniel Johnston Author and Magazine Publisher!

26 Feb

Welcome to Creative Kid Thursday!

17-year-old Daniel Johnston is the mastermind behind the blog READERS AND WRITERS PARADISE. He is an excellent writer – I’ve featured some of his stories on my blog before. Now he has ventured into new territory. He has designed and published a kid’s magazine. No – it isn’t a magazine just meant for kids, it is a publication written, laid-out and published by kids! All the written content in the magazine is by kids – but anyone will enjoy reading it!

kidswritersmafg

Daniel has also recently written a children’s book, called “The Wrecking Ball Employee”. Daniel’s description of his novella follows: “It’s a hilarious tale called The Wrecking Ball Employee where a kid attempts to get a job but is more successful in things like getting eaten by a girl who thinks he’s a hot dog and being accused of poisoning by a government agent.”

Here is a BONUS! A preview of the novella!

Chapter 1: The Dare

“I bet you can’t get a job there.”

“I can too!” I protested.

Carol stopped and looked straight at me. “Look, there’s a jobs wanted sign. If you can get a job there I’ll…”

“Let me play with your dog for a day,” I interjected.

“Yes,” she nodded, and then grew an evil grin, “but if you fail to do so within the next three days, you have to go to that scary movie with me. And no putting your hands over your face!”

“No way!” I protested, but she simply shrugged.

“Then do it.”

.

It was a really rotten deal, and in bed that night falling asleep was a hard task amongst all the kicking I was

doing to myself. How could I have been so stupid! I repeated to myself again and again.

Sure, I could’ve still tried to call it off, but then I would’ve been a coward. We’d even done the secret handshake, after she’d called me a wimp if I didn’t take the challenge. That kind of insult from a girl isn’t something you can just take. Worst of all, if I’d have backed off it would’ve been accurate

Oh, you may think that the downside to losing the bet wasn’t really that bad; after all, what kid wouldn’t want to watch a scary movie.

But this wasn’t just any scary movie.

This was the scary movie.

No, I told myself to finally get to sleep, there was no way out, but also nothing to worry about.

I’d just have to get that job.

~

“What’re you guys doing this week?” Mrs. Mecre, our fifth grade teacher, asked us in class the next morning. I don’t know if she always actually wanted an answer to customary questions like that, but she usually got plenty.

“Eddie here’s going to get a job!” Carol announced loudly, prompting everyone to turn and stare at her. Even Mrs. Mecre changed from an exhausted expression to an amused one. I, on the other hand, was not happy. I’d been stupid enough to get suckered into for Carol’s dumb bet, so the least she could do was not blab it to everybody.

But of course that’s exactly what she was doing.

“Uh-huh,” Mrs. Mecre said wryly. “And what job is that?”

“A job at Bordeaux’s,” Carol explained. “They’re hiring.”

There were scattered snickers across the room. Bordeaux’s was the local food market, so most of us had been their plenty of times. But that was a lot different than trying to get gainful employment there.

“Hey,” I defended myself, rising from my seat, “what’s wrong with trying to do a little work? That’s more than I

can say for you losers.” I sat back down, but not before I stared pointedly at Henry, the biggest of those losers. He

predictably returned the favor, sticking his tongue out at me.

“You realize, of course,” our teacher commented, “that Bordeaux’s only hires people eighteen and older,

and only with a high school or even college degree.”

My face flushed, but before I had a chance to respond Carol jumped in. “There are ways around that,” she promised smoothly.

Mrs. Mecre merely chuckled and got on with the lesson, but I took that to heart. For the remainder of the

morning I found it hard to concentrate on The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler or the 2nd Continental

Congress. Already the clock was ticking on the bet, and my brain was stumped.

“What did you mean there are ways of getting around it?” I asked Carol eagerly when lunchtime finally came.

She shrugged. “That’s for you to figure out.”

Watching her walk past me to the food aisle I could only think one thing: Oh, no!

Chapter 2: Hot-Dogging

“Look, Mommy, it’s a hot dog!”

“Where, sweetie?” The mom asked her little girl.

“Right there,” the girl told her, pointing directly at me.

“Oh, my,” the woman said, as a person is apt to do on spotting a walking hot dog.

Seeing through the eyeholes was a little tough, but I managed to maneuver my way over to the meat section, where food in my likeness lined the aisle. I took a deep breath, and began to dance, in full view of all the customers around, which was a couple dozen.

“Get your hot dogs here!” I called, trying to deepen my voice. “Hot dogs!”

Trying to see wasn’t easy given my rapid movements, but I miraculously managed not to hit anything. Anyways, if I fell over maybe people would come over and then I could convince them to purchase a few dogs.

“Come on, get some hot-diggities over here!” I called, starting to get a little hot and tired inside the full body suit.

“Mommy, I want to eat that hot dog!” remarked the little girl.

“Olivia, that’s not a real hot dog,” her mother tried to explain. “It’s just a person dressed up as one.”

Wham! All of a sudden the world turned upside down and I fell to the floor in a heap. Everything went totally out, my vision just a collection of lights. Darn, I knew the hot dog costume would turn out to be a bad idea.

“Thanks, mister,” I said when I felt someone’s hands on me, assuming they were trying to help me up. But a second later I felt myself being attacked!

“Olivia!” the woman cried, and I could feel her footsteps pattering quickly against the hard floor. “Get off that hot dog right now!”

I couldn’t believe it! I was trapped in a hot dog costume, being attacked by a tiny girl. Quickly, I tried to roll over on top of her, but before I had a chance she took a big bite…right on my left arm.

“Ow!” I howled, grabbing my arm in horror. When that girl said she wanted to eat me, she really meant it! Not only that, but she picked a bite!

I stumbled, trying to get away before the girl could try it again, but only succeeded in landing flat on my face. I braced myself, but luckily the unholy terror was already accompanied by her mom once again. “That doesn’t taste like a hot dog,” the girl complained.

“Honey, it’s not!” her mother explained. “Like I said, that’s just a person wearing a costume.”

Painfully, I managed to stand up and get to my feet. I pulled down the top part of my costume and waved to the little girl. “Hi,” I said warily.

“Are you ok?” The mom asked, her voice flooded with concern. “I’m so sorry.”

If being thrown to the floor and bitten like a piece of meat is ok, then I guess so. But out loud I simply said, “Yeah, I’m alright.” Then I looked around and noticed how many people were standing around who had witnessed the incident.

“Maybe y’all should buy some real hot dogs now,” I suggested hopefully.

The attempted cannibal shook her head decisively. “I’m never eating a hot dog again as long as I live.”

There was nothing I could do but breath a long, weary sigh.

Want to read more?

HERE is the awesome news!

Daniel has generously agreed to give 30 copies of the full book away to the first ten people who order a copy of the new Kid Writers Magazine (Go HERE to learn about it and buy a copy!), and to the first 20 people to subscribe to the Magazine!

Review! The Lost Castle Treasure (Sir Kaye the Boy Knight – Book 2) by Don M. Winn

23 Feb

sirkay2Book 2: The Lost Castle Treasure
By Don M. Winn
Series: Sir Kaye the Boy Knight
178 pages – ages 8+
Published by Rising Phoenix Press on December 3, 2014

Synopsis- Sir Kaye, Reggie, and Beau are back in an all-new adventure! Kaye and Reggie (who is telling the story) are on their way to live at Castle Forte with the Queen of Knox. Along the way, Kaye receives a threatening message  – a stick-man dressed like Kaye hanging from a tree -from an anonymous knight. Upon coming into the town, Kaye is tossed about by mean-spirited knights and ridiculed in front of the residents. While at the castle, the other knights aren’t much better. They don’t think that Kaye, a mere boy, deserves to be a knight. When Queen Vianne gets a letter from a neighboring country saying that they need a debt paid off immediately to stop a war between the two countries, Kaye volunteers to find the castle’s lost treasure to pay the debt and prove himself. Kaye was all set to go  on the quest when a vile knight got Kaye so angry that Kaye foolishly agreed that if he doesn’t find the treasure in time, he would lose his knighthood. Now Kaye has everything to lose. Add in a haunted castle, and Kaye and his friends are in for quite an adventure.

What I Thought- This was a great book in the series about a young knight that is coming of age and his relationships with his friends. Reggie (one of Kaye’s friends) is a great character that you really get into his head. Kaye becomes more distant in the book, with all of the pressure of losing his knighthood and finding the treasure. Reggie feels left out and useless, even though he really is doing a lot. There are black and white illustrations that  seem to make all of the characters come to life. I really like the adventure in this book. It lets Kaye and Reggie explore the castle while still doing good for the kingdom, and the stakes are rather high too, creating some tension and a fantastic plot for young readers. The Sir Kaye books are completely appropriate for all ages and are a great pick for parents of young advanced readers looking for exciting adventure stories for their kids.

I give “The Lost Castle Treasure” five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Review! Stick Dog by Tom Watson

23 Feb

stickdogStick Dog … a really GOOD story with kind of BAD drawings
ritten (and [badly] illustrated) by Tom Watson
Series: Stick Dog
189 pages – ages 7+
Published by HarperCollins on January 8, 2013

Synopsis- Stick Dog is a homeless dog, but he’s happy. He’s never known any different, so he has it good. He lives in a dry pipe under a highway with a discarded old mattress to sleep on.And he has tons of lost balls and frisbees from the park he lives by. Stick Dog has good doggy friends – Karen (a dachshund), Mutt (a… mutt), Stripes (a dalmatian. Don’t ask), and Poo-Poo (a poodle. Also don’t ask. ;) )).  And they love one thing (besides being friends), and that is hamburgers. In the summer, they all go to the park on an epic journey and try to find abandoned hamburgers.

What I Thought- Why I have never read any of these books before now – I will never know. I now <3 Stick Dog. If anything, above all, this book will make you hungry. It mentions food on a lot of pages – I like food. The book reads a lot like Diary of a Wimpy Kid, but it is geared toward younger kids. The story is of a boy telling the story of Stick Dog for school. The first chapter is titled “I can’t draw, okay?” and the boy explains why the drawings in the book are – well – really not that good. They are nice stick-figures, but that’s not the point. The story is funny and features Stick Dog as the main character, the boy sometimes gets side-tracked in his story-telling, and mentions slightly odd topics, but that just adds to the wackiness of the book. Altogether the story is hysterical (if you like silly, wacky humor), and a fairly short read. The book is sure to get even the most reluctant reader involved in the story. There are 3 Stick Dog books out now and a fourth coming out in May 2015. Young kids will love this book.

I give “Stick Dog” 5 out of 5 bookworms! fivebooks

Want to learn more? Check out the Stick Dog website – HERE.

Review! Duke ‘N’ Matt: Rescue Road Warriors by Rhonda Paglia

18 Feb

dukenmattDuke ‘N’ Matt: Rescue Road Warriors
by Rhonda Paglia
Matt Pi, contributor
40 pages – ages 5+
Published by CreateSpace on August 5, 2014

Summary- Duke, a cute and friendly red beagle, tells the story of how he and his adopted human, Matt, help other animals by driving them all around the United States to be with their new families. Duke and Matt have been together since 2009. They rescue dogs from puppy mills, shelters and dogs that the owners can’t take care of anymore. This story tells kids how Duke and Matt work with many other volunteers to transport dogs to safe places.

What I Thought- This is a wonderful nonfiction story. It really makes you smile – partly because of the cute pictures of dogs in it, but also because of the happy story. It does mention puppy mills, but describes them in a kid-friendly way (the mommy dogs only have puppies, and they can’t leave their crates) – some of the dogs are not cared for correctly etc. Mrs. Paglia wrote a great story that informs you in a simple way about dog rescue, told from the point of view of Duke the beagle. The story covers a part of animal rescue that a lot of kids (and maybe some adults) don’t know about – how dogs are matched with adoptive or foster families, sometimes way across the country, and how the dogs get to their new families. There is a ton of resources in the back of the book that covers everything from what rescues are to definitions of terms to the geography of the United States! This is an uplifting, informative book that both adults and kids can enjoy.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Review! The Inquisitor’s Mark by Dianne K. Salerni

17 Feb

inquisitorThe Inquisitor’s Mark
By Dianne K. Salerni
Series: The Eighth Day (Book 2)
352 pages – ages 8+
Published by HarperCollins on January 27, 2015

Synopsis- Jax Aubrey is unique. He and his guardian Riley Pendare/Pendragon are Transitioners – people who are able to experience a special eighth day (nicknamed “Grunsday”) between Wednesday and Thursday, and have a family magic talent (Jax’s is inquisition, Riley has the voice of command, etc.). They are able to protect (and fight) the Kin – super-powerful magic people, all with different talents. Some Kin, like Evangeline, are good, while some Kin are evil and want the eighth day to be the only day.

All was going well, until Jax (who was in hiding)’s former best friend, Billy, was kidnapped because he knew Jax. Not only that, but he was kidnapped by Jax’s uncle. And Jax’s dad had told Jax that he had no other relatives, besides his mother’s cousin, so what is going on? When Jax is forced to join his family, and the evil Transitioners that they serve, he can’t believe it. They work for the enemy and they want Jax to join them. But, Jax is loyal to Riley and Evangeline.

What I Thought- This was a very thrilling book. It explains a lot about Jax, and Transitioners in general. There is a lot of mystique added to the plot and the characters. Jax, especially in this book, is a character you can care for. His family is working for the enemy, and they want Riley and Evangeline in their clutches. The story draws you in, and gets you asking questions. The story is appropriate for all ages, and the publisher rates it for ages 8+. But there is a lot going on in the plot that may make it a bit hard for younger readers. This is a great series, and I cannot wait for Book 3!

I give “The Inquisitor’s Mark” five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

The Sanctum Series Book 2: Scarlet’s Escape by Katrina Cope

15 Feb

scarletScarlet’s Escape (The Sanctum Series Book 2)

By Katrina Cope

338 pages – ages 10+

Published by CreateSpace on June 26, 2014

Synopsis- Before, Jayden was an orphan who had lived on the streets. Now, he lives in an ultimate school/campus called The Sanctum, run by the kind elderly man, Avando. Jayden has lived there for about a year now. The school, while devoted to education, also helps fight terrorism with advanced technology. Jayden and his friends help with scouting out and fighting the terrorism, from a distance of course (using robot people and remote hacking, etc.). But things start going wacky around The Sanctum, and it looks like the technology that they have is glitching and the school’s super computing AI, Scarlet is acting wonky. What if the technology is being used incorrectly? And who would do that?

What I Liked- This was a fun, adventure-filled book – as good as the first one in the series (see my review HERE)! While you don’t need to read the books in order, it would make a little more sense to do it. Jayden and his friends are wonderful characters, and everything that they do is realistic, and they are all strong characters. The terrorism fighting is an intriguing plot line. There is implied violence in the book, nothing gory (the kids fail to save a hijacked passenger plane from crashing into the ground, but save it from crashing into a crowded building, just into a field, and the newsfeed they watch afterwords implies that people died). It’s nothing that a tween couldn’t handle. The book also uses d*** (or d***mit) here and there – no other cussing. The story itself is a good one with a solid plot. The title of the book threw me. Scarlet is the super-computer running The Sanctum, with amazing Artificial Intelligence, and I thought she would be rebelling in this book, but that’s not the case. This is a highly enjoyable action series and another example of a well-done self-published series.

I give this book five out of five bookworms.fivebooks

Review! X: A Novel by Kekla Magoon and Ilyasah Shabazz

12 Feb

xX: A Novel

By Kekla Magoon and Ilyasah Shabazz (the daughter of Malcolm X)

384 pages – ages 15+
Published by Candlewick on January 6, 2015

Synopsis- Malcolm Little was 6 when his father “fell” onto the tracks and died. He was 12 when he was separated from his mother and siblings, and forced to live in a foster home. His family who always told him he could be anything he wants is gone. At 15, he left for Boston to find a new life, and he does. He gets going with the neighborhood kids, and becomes known as Red. He starts in on “reefer”. Then he catches a train to Harlem, and becomes known as Detroit Red (he was from Michigan). Now Malcolm is learning how to run the “numbers” as a hustler. He was doing pretty good, but soon enough, everything spins out of control.

What I Though- Wow. Just wow. This was an amazing fictionalized novel. I really didn’t know about Malcolm X before reading this book. This book covers his life from early childhood up to his early 20s. The writing is compelling. It really captures the feeling of the time period. I like how it shows the way the Malcolm saw things and how he handled them. While the book is definitely a young adult (cussing, and Malcolm drinks and does drugs (smokes marijuana), etc.), it is still a very well-done story, and is appropriate for a mature 13-14 year old, or just 15+ for reading level. I like the parts where it shows how Malcolm Little “turned into” Malcolm X. It was a very inspiring story about a person overcoming adversity. It was pretty cool that Ms. Shabazz is Malcolm X’s daughter, and she got information about the book by asking her father’s relatives and friends from the time “before the X”. Realizing the book is a work of fiction, it made me want to find out more about Mr. X and his life so I read some books suggested by my history and English teachers. While I found many of his adult teachings and views are controversial, I think any book like this one, that gets a kid to read more about the subject is great. The overall story in this book is one of a young man trying and failing over and over, but still pulling himself together in the end. Ms. Shabazz captures the story of a young Malcolm X in a riveting story. Bonus points for the cover art too!

I give “X: A Novel” five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Some fun picture books for Valentine’s Day!

11 Feb

 

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, I thought I’d tell you about a couple of very cute picture books that celebrate love! :)

clarkheart

Clark the Shark Takes Heart

Series: Clark the Shark

By Bruce Hale

Illustrated by Guy Francis

4 – 8 years
32 pages – ages 6+

Published by HarperCollins on December 30, 2014

Synopsis- (From publisher) “It’s Anna Angelfish’s birthday, and Clark wants to find the perfect present for her to show her how he feels. But when he tries to make a big impression with his usual zip, bang, and BOOM, things don’t go quite as planned. With help from his best friend, Joey Mackerel, our favorite boisterous shark learns that when it comes to showing that you care, something thoughtful and small could be the best of all.”

What I Thought- This was a nice picture book. It isn’t really a Valentine’s story, but can be read as one. Clark wants to show a classmate he likes (Anna Angelfish) how he feels for her birthday. With a little help from his friends, Clark finally figures out that it’s the little things mean the most. That’s a nice message. The illustrations are fun and cartoony. They make you want to laugh out loud. Clark is a shark, but he isn’t mean. At all. He may be accident-prone, but he’s actually pretty nice.

lovebugThe Berenstain Bears’ Valentine Love Bug

By Mike Berenstain

4 – 8 years
Grade Level: Preschool – 3
Series: Berenstain Bears
24 pages – ages 6+

Published by HarperFestival on November 25, 2014

Synopsis- (From publisher) “When Sister Bear is asked to be the flower girl at a Valentine’s Day wedding, she is over the moon with joy. But when she gets carried away with the dresses, flowers, and cake, things begin to go awry. Young readers will feel the excitement—and the love—with this brand new storybook complete with a special poster, fun stickers, and Valentine’s Day cards.”

What I Thought- This is a great addition to the Berenstain Bears series! I like how it covers a wedding and Valentine’s Day in one shot. The series is a nice familiar one that parents can read with their kids. This story provides a good lesson for young kids. The art in this story is, like all of the books in the series, well-done and have that warm feel to them. All of the details in the illustrations are fun to look at and pick out.

didyouknowDid You Know That I Love You?

By Christa Pierce

4 – 8 years
32 pages – ages 2+

Published by HarperCollins on December 23, 2014

Synopsis- (From publisher) “Did you know that I love you? Could you feel it in my hugs? From her soft kisses and soothing hugs to her tasty tea and warming mug, Bird sweetly expresses her love to Fox so he knows that no matter how big he gets or where he goes, her love is always with him.”

What I Thought- This is a very sweet picture book about loving one another – not necessarily about Valentine’s Day but it is a great book about feeling loved.  The art in the book is very nicely done and makes you just want to smile, just like the book will. I like how there is the detail of how Fox has “freckles” on his face, making him look youthful. The book is marvelous and would make a great bedtime story.

Review! Night Buddies Go Sky High by Sands Hetherington

9 Feb

nightbud3Night Buddies Go Sky High

By Sands Hetherington

145 pages – ages 7+

Published by Dune Buggy Press on

Synopsis- John Degraffenreidt and his Night Buddy, Crosley (of Night Buddies Amalgamated) are back from their last adventure! After getting almost-attacked by the escaped Iguana Gang member from book 2, John and Crosley are hungry. Hungry for some pineapple cheesecakes. But when they get to the pineapple cheesecake factory, they find Big Foot Mae (the owner and runner of the factory) lying on the floor looking up at her star-puzzle (it shows all of the stars and their current positions) on the ceiling. There is a strange white dot in the sky, and it’s moving from the Corkscrew Constellation to the Houndog Stars. The Night Buddies team need to investigate it, and pronto. After all, what if the mysterious dot is hostile? They go get into a borrowed racing blimp and go high – sky high!

What I Thought- This is the third book in the Night Buddies series (see my reviews of book 1 HERE and book 2 THERE). John and Crosley are a great team and it shows that nice relationship in the book. The idea of the Night Buddies and the “programs” (A.K.A. adventures) they go on is cool and very kid-friendly. The black-and-white pencil-sketch illustrations spread throughout the book are a nice touch. The story line was good. I like how John and Crosley solve their problems. Like all the Night Buddies books, the different fonts of the typed words leap off of the page adding to the fun of the story. The plot moves along and will keep kids interested in the story. This story takes place directly after book 2, but at first I didn’t realize that, until a bit later in the book. I didn’t really care for how the story ended because it left a few too many loose ends hanging (I know a book should leave something for the next book, but I like to have a bit more ending than what was here).  Mr. Hetherington has written a good story that carries on this very enjoyable series.

I give this book four out of five bookworms.fourbooks

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