Review! Cheesus Was Here by J.C. Davis

22 May

Cheesus Was Here
By J.C. Davis
272 pages – ages 13+
Published by Sky Pony Press on April 11, 2017

Synopsis– Delaney Delgado isn’t the biggest fan of God. After all, if there was a God, why would he have let her sister die? It’s just easier to think that He doesn’t exist then to think he has a vendetta against her family. When she buys a piece of cheese-a Babybel cheese wheel!-appears at a convenience store, she thinks nothing of it. Until the Baby Jesus is revealed underneath the wrapping. Suddenly her town is full of “miracles” and hopeful tourists. Delaney is sure the miracles are fake, even as more and more keep appearing. Enlisting her best friend, she sets out to prove them wrong. But can she handle the truth?

What I Thought- This was a really good book – I like how Davis has made it so it isn’t really in favor of or against religion – just a town that is receiving “miracles” and a girl trying to disprove it with a friend that hopes to prove it. The book is rather true to teenage life. The dialogue is spot on even with a bit of cuss words but it isn’t overly done. Davis has created a small town that is full of mostly religious citizens and adds the contrast of a character that has given up on God. I was drawn to the quirky story line with the deeper human story behind it. Davis balances heartbreak wonderfully with humor to make the story incredibly emotionally full. The opposing views of the townspeople and Delaney leads for an interesting read. I had an interesting time with this book. When first cracking it open, I thought I was going to love it, but was immediately put off by the atheistic main character. After delving into the book further I found that Delaney’s perspective allowed me to look introspectively at my own beliefs. I grew to appreciate the story more than if I had never disliked the character initially. Weird, I know; but true. This was a very good book, thought provoking book. I would like to read more from Davis in the future.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!

Review! Battle for the Land’s Soul by LRW Lee

8 May

Battle for the Land’s Soul
Series: Andy Smithson Series
Written by LRW Lee
210 pages – ages 9+
Published by Woodgate Publishing on May 8, 2017 (TODAY!)

Synopsis from Publisher- Good vs Evil. Destiny Demands the Battle be Fought. But at What Cost?
It’s clear Abaddon, the evil shape shifting ruler of Hadession, Oomaldee’s northern neighbor, must be dealt with if Oomaldee’s citizens are to ever live in peace. But how? What lengths will Andy have to go to in order to wage war against a being whose power stems from evil itself? Will Abaddon plunge the land into darkness or will light triumph?

What I Thought- For those of you out there unfamiliar with the Andy Smithson series, if the rest of the books weren’t enough to convince you to give LRW Lee a try, than this book should be reason enough. Lee has written a thrilling conclusion to her marvelous series. We finish the saga of Abaddon and his reign of terror, but sadly we have to say goodbye to Andy. Throughout this series I have enjoyed seeing Andygrow and flourish as a character. We see him grow from a self-centered American teenager into the wise, just and tempered monarch of an entire country. Lee fleshes out the rest of the cast as well, and readers learn more about them as they root them on. The character development intimately connects the reader with them and connects them to the story. This book is full of action, described in an enticing way. The text forces the reader into Andy‘s mind. It is written in such a way that Lee encourages the reader to ask the same questions that Andy is facing. The setting is well-described, with a perfect combination of giving details and leaving the imagination some free range. The world of Oomaldee and its neighboring countries are fascinating, and the reader appreciates getting a chance to “see” the lands as the characters travel through them. Lee really writes a gripping story, and I could not put this book down – don’t tell my parents this, but I stayed up incredibly late into the night to finish reading it! I really enjoy reading Lee’s adventures, and discovering the life lessons hidden between the pages. There is also a lot of symbolism in the book, making it good for reading in school as well. Lee writes age-appropriate novels, sometimes with darker themes, but always in a balanced way for kids to handle. This was a marvelous end to a fabulous series, and though I’m sad to see it go, I am happy to say that Lee has ended the book and series in a fulfilling way. I cannot wait to read what Lee comes up with next!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!

May The Fourth Be With You! – Double Review! The Thornton Burgess Library

4 May

Today I welcome back a special guest reviewer that takes over graces my blog once a year!

Welcome back Darth Vader and May the Fourth Be With You!

shhhhhh skaaaahh shhhhhh skaaaahh shhhhhh skaaaahh

Darth?

shhhhhh skaaaahh shhhhhh skaaaahh shhhhhh skaaaahh

Darth why are you just standing there breathing?

I FEEL A DISTURBANCE IN THE FORCE.

Really? What kind of disturbance? I thought we were here to review the Thornton Burgess books – you know Peter Cotton Tail and Jimmy Skunk?

YES. THE FORCE IS STRONG WITH THIS ONE.

Which one?

shhhhhh skaaaahh shhhhhh skaaaahh shhhhhh skaaaahh

Okay- never mind I will just get on with the reviews. 

 

The Adventures of Peter Cottontail
Series: The Thornton Burgess Library
By Thornton W. Burgess
128 pages – ages 6+
Published by Seagrass Press on March 1, 2017

Synopsis from the Publisher- Introduce a new generation to Thornton Burgess’ Peter Cottontail in The Adventures of Peter Cottontail.
The Adventures of Peter Cottontail recounts the hijinks of one of the most endearing and beloved creatures in children’s literature. Full of mischief (and then remorse), Peter has exploits that are delightfully recognizable to anyone who has children and will surely tickle yet another generation of young readers.
Peter Cottontail’s efforts to outwit the ever-hungry Reddy Fox lead to a number of whisker-thin escapes, and his fascination with the hibernation of some of his neighbors, such as Johnny Chuck, leads to his decision to hibernate . . . with riotous consequences.
This reprint of the classic that was originally published in 1914 presents Burgess’ classic style of telling a terrific tale while imparting information about the environment and its creatures.

The Adventures of Jimmy Skunk
Series: The Thornton Burgess Library
By Thornton W. Burgess
128 pages – ages 6+
Published by Seagrass Press on March 1, 2017

Synopsis from the Publisher- Introduce a new generation to Thornton Burgess’ Jimmy Skunk, the good-natured character who is usually left alone because of his potent “perfume.”
Like all of Thornton Burgess’ characters, Jimmy Skunk’s natural instincts are completely accurate, but his personality is easily relatable!
Jimmy Skunk thinks that the old barrel at the top of the hill will be a perfect place for a restful nap. But mischievous Peter Rabbit thinks up a way to upend this plan, very literally, and even arranges that Reddy Fox will get the blame – and a dose of Jimmy’s “perfume.” But Jimmy figures out the truth and makes sure that Peter gets his comeuppance with the help of a nest of yellow-jackets. Later, when Jimmy gets a hankering for some fresh eggs, he and Unc’ Billy Possum wind up in a pretty pickle in Farmer Brown’s henhouse.
Originally published in 1918, this book will inspire giggles and gasps from another generation as readers and listeners will learn about skunks, opossums, and life in the meadow through the eyes of Jimmy Skunk.

What I Thought About the Series- I really enjoyed reading these; they have a way of transporting you to another time. The storied are timeless, and actually took me a bit to realize they were written early 20th century. As a kid, I knew the stories of Peter Cottontail but never really knew who Thornton Burgess was and that there were more stories of his out there! I am glad to know now. – Burgess wrote stories similar to Beatrice Potter, but also charmingly different. The books are accompanied by what appears to be original illustrations. They tell neat short stories with chapters, good for a beginning reader or installments at bedtime. Burgess’ writing is timeless and will connect with any child today. The stories show good clean fun with tricksters, friendships, consequences, and also forgiveness. The book also talks about nature and creates an appreciation for the animals that live outside. I am extremely excited that Seagrass Press is bringing these classics back into print! I love the updated covers – very eye-catching!

I give these books five out of five bookworms!

Now for Darth Vader’s take on the books –

Darth- what do you think about Peter Cotton Tail?

HE WASN’T ON ANY MERCY MISSION AFTER ALL.

Huh? No Peter Cotton Tail just tries to fool Reddy Fox…

PERHAPS I CAN FIND NEW WAYS TO MOTIVATE THEM.

Umm – okay. Well what about Jimmy Skunk? What do you think about him?

HE IS AS POWERFUL AS THE EMPEROR HAS FORESEEN.

What emperor? There’s only Farmer Brown.

IT IS OF NO CONCERN. SOON THE REBELLION WILL BE CRUSHED,

Darth, I need you to focus. I’ve got a blog to run here and… ahk ahk gasp

Darth that was uncool. You need to stop force chocking me. Every year it’s the same thing. Just tell me how many book worms you’d give the books.

I WILL GIVE THEM 10,000 DEATH STARS.

Nice Darth but my rating scale is in bookworms and it only goes to five

I FIND YOUR LACK OF FAITH DISTURBING.

*sigh*

Okay you win, 10,000 Death Stars. Any last words Darth?

 

 

Little Fun Club – Monthly Book Club for Kids

3 May

Little Fun Club blog tour. A subscription box for children's books. Great for kids ages 0-12.I would have LOVED to have this book club earlier! This is a cool idea where your child(ren) get a reading packed adventure every month!

First – a little bit about Little Fun Club!

Little Fun Club is a subscription box for children’s books. It’s ideal for kids ages 0-12. When you sign up, your child will receive a box containing three adventurous books every month. The books are tailored to your child’s age, so you can rest assured they will always have quality, age-appropriate reading material. Each book is hand selected for your child, and no two boxes are the same.

How it Works:

  1. Join Little Fun Club and let them know your child’s age so the box can be customized for them. You can include up to three kids per box and they’ll customize it accordingly.
  2. Get three adventurous books every month for as little as $25/month.
  3. Grow with Little Fun Club. As your child gets older, the books change accordingly — so you’ll always receive age-appropriate books for your kids.

Other Features:

  1. You can add a note to your child’s account with reading preferences so the box can be tailored to their interests.
  2. Shipping is FREE on all boxes.
  3. Little Fun Club selects books based on merit. Books go through a rigorous selection process and are read and reviewed by the Little Fun Club team before being considered.
  4. If you receive a book that you already own, just let Little Fun Club know about it. They’ll replace the book in the next box! You don’t have to return anything.
  5. You can cancel or put your subscription hold at any time.
  6. A Little Fun Club subscription makes a wonderful gift for birthdays, holidays, or just because.

The final product is a box filled with education, fun, and opportunities for positive child development. They make sure each box is just right before it is sent out.

What I thought: It is no secret I geek out over books. When the box arrived at my house I have to say I was a bit excited to open it and see what literary wonders were went to me.

I ripped open the box to find a brown paper package tied up with string – one of my favorite things! (heh heh heh 🙂 )

Speaking as a kid, it is always fun to get things in the mail. In the world of email and Skype – I still like to find something for me in the mailbox. This was fun.

I was excited to see what selection of books that were sent.

I was delighted to see two Newbery Honor books and a classic!

All the books were hard cover and in very good condition – there were a couple of bumps on the edges, but that is a little detail that kids won’t mind. I LOVE the Robinson Crusoe book – beautiful binding – beautiful illustrations – unabridged (good for my age)!

If you added up the price of these books it would have come to $58.97. With the club price you would have paid $29.00 (for one month) with free shipping.

I looked around the Little Fun Club website and saw that you can choose to send two or three books in the package. You are asked your child’s age and gender and are able to send a note with the package.

I was very impressed with the quality and selection of the books that were sent to me!

 

On to some more information and a giveaway!

Prices:

1 month – $29/month = $29 total

3 months – $27/month = $81 total

6 months – $25/month = $150 total

You can see what types of books Little Fun Club offers by visiting their website.

$50 Cash Giveaway | batchofbooks.com

 

Giveaway Details:

1 winner will receive $50 in PayPal cash

Open to US and Canada

Ends May 12, 2017

Use the Rafflecopter to enter. Entrants must be 18 or older or have their parent/guardian enter for them. The winner will be chosen randomly. Winner must respond to my email within 48 hours or a new winner will be chosen. No purchase necessary to enter. This contest is void where prohibited by law.

Find the Rafflecopter HERE!

Blog Tour Schedule

April 17 – The Mommy Island

April 18 – Writing My Own Fairy Tale

April 19 – The Kids Did It

April 20 – Feed Your Fiction Addiction

April 21 – Book Review Mama

April 24 – Homebound but Hopeful

April 25 – Looking Glass Review

April 26 – Kristi’s Book Nook

April 27 – Natasha Reads Books

April 28 – Create With Joy

May 1 – That’s What She Read

May 2 – Tee and Penguin

May 3 – Bookworm for Kids, This Kid Reviews Books

May 5 – Word Spelunking

May 8 – Babies to Bookworms

May 9 – The Tangled Yarn

May 10 – Geo Librarian

May 11 – Savings in Seconds

May 12 – Kid Lit Reviews

My May 2017 Upper Bucks Free Press Article is out! Illustrating with the Papps

1 May

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 May 2017 issue! The online version was published. To see the online version of the newspaper, click HERE (see page 17).

Hope you enjoy it!

 

Illustrating with the Papps

 

by Erik Weibel

Robert and Lisa Papp are a husband-and-wife artistic duo! They work as professional book illustrators, but also tend to work on anything that involves painting. Lisa Papp has illustrated several picture books, and written a few as well. “Madeline Finn and the Library Dog”–a book she wrote and illustrated–has been nominated for several awards, including being a 2017 finalist for the Children’s Choice Book Award. Robert Papp always liked drawing, and his love of art flows through into his work. He creates art “for almost everything. And for anyone that needs his services.” He has drawn for cookbooks, advertisements, board games, and his art will even be featured on postage stamps in 2018.  I had the wonderful opportunity to interview these Bucks County artists.

When did the two of you realize that you both wanted to be professional illustrators?

Lisa: Even though Rob and I attended the same art school, we had different paths into illustration. As Rob will tell you, he was enamored with illustration in school. I was in love with fine art, and had no real interest in illustration. If you had told me then that I would be an illustrator, I would have thought you crazy. I adored fine art. I loved painting what I wanted, the way I wanted. And though I had deadlines…art shows to create work for, there was a great sense of freedom. Though Rob was focused on illustration, he also enjoyed fine art. We would paint all week preparing for shows on the weekend. When Saturday morning came, we would pack his Mercury Capri with our homemade art stands and all the framed art we had created that week and spend the afternoon at a beautiful park selling our work. Usually we did pretty well. This was the early 90’s, Rob and I were fresh out of school and it was a good time for fine art. People appreciated original paintings and were willing to buy them. It was great and I assumed that’s what I would be doing forever. But everything changes, and you have to change with it. When fine art took a hit, we had to shift.

 

So my path to illustration was a slow and winding one. When I got my first picture book, “Rudolph Shines Again”, I found a whole new joy in illustration. And today, writing my own stories, which I then get to illustrate, is everything I could dream of.

 

Rob:  I always drew. Ever since I was little. I drew Superman and Batman. Cartoon characters, Snoopy, and always drew pictures to accompany my book reports in school.  So it was no surprise that I wanted to be an “artist”, even though I didn’t know exactly what that meant.

 

In art school, that changed when I discovered exactly what an “illustrator” was.  I learned that someone actually hires you and pays you for your art. No longer did I have to create a piece of art first and then HOPE someone will buy it. 

The two of you paint in very different styles. Do you think that being involved in each other’s work has helped you grow as an artist?

Lisa: Yes, definitely. Just when I think I’ve created something impressive, I will see a piece that Rob is working on and think, “oh, I guess I’ve got to try a little harder.” It’s wonderful that we can give each other a fresh eye, and help when one of us is struggling with a piece. I feel very lucky indeed.

Rob:  In general, being around art is always inspiring, but having someone that inspires me IN THE SAME HOUSE is really neat. It takes a lot of pressure off knowing that when I have a question, the answer can be as close as the next room over. So many times when you are completely involved in a piece, you can be blinded as to what it needs. Lisa always has a great eye for what needs to be done when I can’t see it. I don’t think my art would be as good without Lisa’s help.  

 

Other than your own or each other – who’s art work do you admire and why?

Lisa: I am a big fan of Lisbeth Zwerger, an Austrian illustrator. She has a fantastic imagination and the skills to back it up! Her watercolors are pure magic. Never overworked, and I love her color palettes as well. She’s just one of those people you describe as, “born to be an artist.” I love her whimsy, and I admire her incredible skill. It’s so inspiring to page through her work, I’m always left in awe.

 

Rob: When I stated out being an illustrator for paperback books, I learned from, and was inspired by the golden age of paperback illustrators. Not many people would know their names, but they would have been exposed to their amazing art. James Bama and Robert McGinnis produced 1000’s of covers in the 1970’s and eventually became equally amazing fine artists.  Peter Caras was my illustration instructor and not only an incredible artist, but as a teacher, I can credit him directly for teaching me how to be an illustrator.

 

Of course living here in Pennsylvania, I cannot neglect the brilliance of N.C. and Andrew Wyeth.

 

Ms. Papp, when did you decide to write a book, in addition to illustrating?

Lisa: I think I like writing more than I do illustrating. At least, it comes a bit easier to me. I have always written, though I never read books growing up. Writing seems second nature to me. As I began to illustrate other people’s stories, I realized I had my own stories I wanted to tell. Picture books seemed like a good place to start.

To learn more go to  Lisapapp.com and Robertpapp.com. For more on books and reading, visit my blog at ThisKidReviewsBooks.com

 

Poetry Month Wrap up!

1 May

As we say good-bye to April and poetry month – I have some great title suggestions that you may want to pick up and keep the poetry going!

Poetry for Kids: Carl Sandburg
Written by Carl Sandburg
Edited by Kathryn Benzel, PhD
Illustrated by Robert Crawford
48 pages – ages 8+
Published by MoonDance Press on April 3, 2017

Synopsis from Publisher- Professor and scholar Kate Benzel has carefully chosen 35 poems of interest to children and their families. Carl Sandburg divides the poems into poems about people, and poems about people. You’ll find classics including “Young Bullfrogs,” “Shenandoah”, “Jazz Fantasia”, “Fog”, and 31 more of Sandburg’s favorite and most accessible works. Each poem is beautifully illustrated by the award-winning Robert Crawford. This gentle introduction includes commentary, definitions of key words, and an introduction to the poet’s life, plus a final synopsis of the author’s interpretation of the pieces.

What I Thought- I really liked how this book was laid out. I was introduced to Sandburg and his poems, which is a plus, as I appreciate learning more about his works. The illustrations are also gorgeous, full of so much life and emotion.

I also like that the book includes definitions for some words that younger readers may not know, such as “shrewd” and “cornsilk”. This is a fabulous idea, and kids will have a nice way to learn about a great person in poetry’s history. There is also so extra information at the beginning and end of the book about Sandburg. This is a fine introduction to Sandburg’s poetry.

Poetry for Kids: Walt Whitman
Written by Walt Whitman
Edited by Karen Karbiener, PhD
Illustrated by Kate Evans
48 pages – ages 8+
Will be Published by MoonDance Press on May 1, 2017 (TODAY!)

Synopsis from the Publisher- Carefully chosen for kids, 35 illustrated poems are presented and explained by New York University professor Karen Karbenier, PhD, a Whitman expert. Walt Whitman includes enlightening commentary for each poem, definitions of key words, and a foreword by the expert. Vibrant illustrations invigorate the poetry.

Starting off with “I Hear America Singing,” the collection includes excerpts from “Song of Myself,” “O Captain! My Captain!”, poems from Leaves of Grass, and many more thought-provoking, descriptive, and kid-friendly selections.

What I Thought- This book is very cool. The illustrations evoke a lot of emotion to go along with the poems. I think it is great to pair illustrations with poems especially for younger kids who may not get the meaning of the words but the illustrations really help convey the message.

 

I really like how Karbiener goes into depth about what each poem means in the section “What Walt Was Thinking.” This section is a great addition for older kids (or even adults) who are curious about the meaning of the poems or what  may have been going on in Whitman’s head as he wrote them. This is an excellent introductory book for kids to a legendary American Poet.

The Poet’s Dog

by Patricia MacLachlan 

96 pages – ages 6+
Published by Katherine Tegen on September 13, 2016

Synopsis for the Publisher:

From Newbery Medal winner Patricia MacLachlan comes a poignant story about two children, a poet, and a dog and how they help one another survive loss and recapture love. “Just what I needed,” raves Brightly.com. “It’s a heart-warming story of loss and love that filled me with hope for a better future and renewed my belief in good.”

Teddy is a gifted dog. Raised in a cabin by a poet named Sylvan, he grew up listening to sonnets read aloud and the comforting clicking of a keyboard. Although Teddy understands words, Sylvan always told him there are only two kinds of people in the world who can hear Teddy speak: poets and children.

Then one day Teddy learns that Sylvan was right. When Teddy finds Nickel and Flora trapped in a snowstorm, he tells them that he will bring them home—and they understand him. The children are afraid of the howling wind, but not of Teddy’s words. They follow him to a cabin in the woods, where the dog used to live with Sylvan . . . only now his owner is gone.

As they hole up in the cabin for shelter, Teddy is flooded with memories of Sylvan. What will Teddy do when his new friends go home? Can they help one another find what they have lost?

What I thought: Wow. I have to say I am a sucker for a well written prose book and also books told from a dog’s point of view  as long as it is told well. MacLachlan nailed this one. There are so many emotions pulled out of you in this book – from the dog loosing it’s owner to the lost children to the uncertainty of what will happen when the kids leave. There is a sweetness about the story too. The book is only 96 pages and the words are easy to read. This is a perfect book for young children who may be seeking more meaning out of stories. I think it would make a wonderful read aloud for a class or family. MacLachlan has crafted  an incredibly moving story that is completely accessible for younger kids. A book like this can spark an interest in children to seek out more meaty stories.

 

All of these book get a five out of five on my scale!

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Animal Ark by Kwame Alexander and by Joel Sartore

30 Apr

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 an awesome story about caring for animals in the wild.

Animal Ark
Written by Kwame Alexander
Photography by Joel Sartore
48 pages – ages 4+

Published by National Geographic Children’s Books on February 14, 2017

Theme/Topic- Animals/Endangered Animals
Genre- Nonfiction
Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “chorus of creatures/singing our names/see what we can save-together

Synopsis from Publisher: “A howling wolf, a stalking tiger, a playful panda, a dancing bird – pairing the stunning photography of National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore with the delicate poetry of Newbery award-winning author Kwame Alexander, this lush picture book celebrates the beauty, diversity, and fragility of the animal world.
Featuring more than 40 unique animal portraits, the pages invite kids to explore each creature’s markings, textures, and attributes in stunning detail, while calling on all of us to help protect each and every one. Three picture-packed gatefolds inside showcase even more familiar and exotic species. These images are part of Sartore’s lifelong project to photograph every animal in the world, with special attention given to disappearing and endangered species.”

What I Thought- This is a fascinating book. There is a poem that Alexander wrote that is throughout the book, that weaves together with the stunning photographs Sartore took of animals around the world. The reader easily gets lost in this wonderful visual spectacular and moving poetry! The poetry is all in haiku which (I think) makes it especially fun to read. There are a couple fold out pages where the photography spills out in an even larger visual display. The book will most certainly spark discussions about animal species and endangered species.There are author and illustrator notes in the back of the book which add to the meaning of the whole package  – also a section that lists the endangered species in the book as a summary. The book is a must read!

Activities and Resources- There is a good lesson plan for teachers on endangered species at Kidworldcitizen.org HERE!

There is also a good lesson plan for teachers on endangered species at Educationworld.com HERE!

Check out this video!

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

Blog Tour! Posted by John David Anderson

30 Apr

I have ANOTHER great book to tell you about today!

From John David Anderson, author of the acclaimed Ms. Bixby’s Last Day, comes a humorous, poignant, and original contemporary story about bullying, broken friendships, and the failures of communication between kids. In middle school, words aren’t just words. They can be weapons. They can be gifts. The right words can win you friends or make you enemies. They can come back to haunt you. Sometimes they can change things forever.

Posted
By John David Anderson
384 pages – ages 9+
Will Be Published by Walden Pond Press May 2, 2017 (Tuesday!)

Synopsis From Publisher- When cell phones are banned at Branton Middle School, Frost and his friends Deedee, Wolf, and Bench come up with a new way to communicate: leaving sticky notes for each other all around the school. It catches on, and soon all the kids in school are leaving notes—though for every kind and friendly one, there is a cutting and cruel one as well.
In the middle of this, a new girl named Rose arrives at school and sits at Frost’s lunch table. Rose is not like anyone else at Branton Middle School, and it’s clear that the close circle of friends Frost has made for himself won’t easily hold another. As the sticky-note war escalates, and the pressure to choose sides mounts, Frost soon realizes that after this year, nothing will ever be the same.

What I Thought- John David Anderson really knows how to hook your attention. He also knows how to capture the facets of teenagers in middle school and spin them into wonderful characters. The plot makes for a compelling story. The book is full of realistic bits and pieces of life that is so true you don’t even stop to think about it – it flows so easily. Anderson has a way of writing backstory in a reasonable and comprehensive way. The characters are so realistic, and I could relate to several of them. It was neat seeing how the presence of another person can alter the unspoken “system” of a group of people. Anderson is a master at making things believable, and I enjoy reading his work. It was a pleasant surprise to see that he is equally able to write realistic fiction as well as superhero and fantasy books. I cannot wait to see what else Anderson comes up with!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!

CRITICAL PRAISE
“Written with understated humor and fine-tuned perception, Frost’s first-person narrative offers a riveting story as well as an uncomfortably realistic picture of middle school social dynamics.” — Booklist (starred review)
“Anderson dives into the world of middle school with a clear sense of how it works and what it needs. Kids, and the rest of the world, need more books like this one.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Anderson captures the tumultuous joys and pains of middle school with honesty, creating characters with whom readers will find common ground and insight. Words have lingering and persistent power, Anderson makes clear, but so does standing up for others and making one’s voice heard.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Acute observations about social media and school life and a smart, engaging narrator make this a journey well worth taking. Readers might even want some Post-it notes to mark the good parts.” — The Horn Book

 

WHO IS THIS JOHN DAVID ANDERSON?!?!

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
John David Anderson is the author of Ms. Bixby’s Last Day, Sidekicked, Minion, and The Dungeoneers. A dedicated root beer connoisseur and chocolate fiend, he lives with his wife, two kids, and perpetually whiny cat in Indianapolis, Indiana. You can visit him online at www.johndavidanderson.org

Check out the other dates on this tour!

April 17 Librarian’s Quest
Walden Media Tumblr
April 18 Nerdy Book Club
April 19 For Those About to Mock
April 20 Teach Mentor Texts
April 21 Unleashing Readers
April 22 Next Best Book
April 23 Bluestocking Thinking
April 24 Litcoach Lou
Book Monsters
April 25 Kirsti Call
April 26 Educate-Empower-Inspire-Teach
April 27 The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia
Ms Yingling Reads
April 28 Maria’s Melange
Novel Novice
April 29 The Hiding Spot
April 30 This Kid Reviews Books

Review! Double Cross: Deception Techniques in War by Paul B. Janeczko

26 Apr

Double Cross: Deception Techniques in War
by Paul B. Janeczko
256 pages – ages 9+
Published by Candlewick Press on April 25th, 2017 (TODAY!)

Synopsis From Publisher- “The biblical account of Gideon. The ancient story of the Trojan horse. Deceptive techniques have been used in war through the ages. But while the principles have changed very little, the technology behind fooling the enemy has evolved dramatically. Paul B. Janeczko’s fascinating chronology focuses on the American Civil War, World Wars I and II, and the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Gulf Wars to reveal evolving attitudes toward the use and effectiveness of deceptive operations. Find out the secret plan behind the invasion of Normandy and the details of General Schwarzkopf’s “Hail Mary play” during the Gulf War, among many other strategies and maneuvers designed to pull the wool over enemies’ eyes. Back matter includes source notes, a bibliography, and an index.”

What I Thought- This is a fabulous nonfiction book. Janeczko analyzes major techniques of deception throughout history, featuring medieval strategies and deceptions all the way up to the Gulf War. I learned a lot about military strategy, and the different types of deception. It was fascinating to learn about the deceptions pulled off during WWII, because those were some grand-scale deceptions! This was a very informative nonfiction novel, with real pictures and maps, and more information in the back as well. It is neat how the book takes in depth looks at major strategies, but still keeps the reading level and content for younger kids. He will spend a chapter or two on a war and major deceptions within them, making sure to explain the topics well. There are also pages of extra information scattered throughout the book that explains miscellaneous ideas about deception. Janeczko really knows how to make nonfiction intriguing, and I cannot wait to read more of his work!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!

Review! The Case of the Poached Egg by Robin Newman

24 Apr

Wilcox and Griswold: The Case of the Poached Egg
Written by Robin Newman
Illustrated by Deborah Zemke
48 pages – ages 6+
Published by Creston Books on April 2, 2017

Synopsis from Publisher- When Penny goes missing from the nest, Wilcox and Griswold are called in to track her down. Was the egg stolen by a rival for The Most Round in the Spring Egg-stravaganza? Was she used in a carrot cake or scrambled by a hungry porker? Or was she held for a hefty corn ransom? Who took Penny and can the detectives find her before trouble hatches?

What I Thought- Newman has written a nice sequel to her original book “The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake” (see my review HERE!). This early reader series is more challenging than a picture book and easier than a small novel, making it a great transition book. I like that the books introduce kids to detective processes, such as analyzing clues and using deductive reasoning, and also to mystery novels. The book has a slightly more serious mood to it compared to the first book, but does include some puns and silly situations as well. I like the feel of the story, it is more of a mystery/crime solving book for little kids. The Wilcox and Griswold characters are wonderful and will quickly become a reader’s favorite. This would be a fun read-aloud, with parents and kids trying to figure out who look Henrietta’s egg. Zemke’s illustrations have a really neat Roald Dahl-esque feel to them, with an ink-and-watercolor style, and wacky circumstances. I feel that Zemke and Newman have a rather good collaboration together. I can’t wait to see what else they can come up with!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!

Check out the book’s trailer!

 

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