Archive | April, 2011

Jacob Two-Two’s First Spy Case

28 Apr

Jacob Two-Two’s First Spy Case

By Mordecai Richler

Illustrated by Norman Eyolfson

137 Pages + Ages 6-10

Published in 1995 By McCelland & Stewart Inc.

Jacob is called Jacob Two-Two because people don’t always hear what he says -so he says it twice! The story takes place in Montreal Canada. When Jacob’s headmaster from Privilege House (his school) retires, mean Mr I.M. Greedyguts takes over. Now the kids must suffer by eating really awful and terrible meals while Mr. I.M. Greedyguts gets tasty, wonderful, simply sweet food. After awhile Jacob Two-Two couldn’t take it any more he went to Mr. Dinglebat, Master Spy, for help. Then X. Barnaby Dinglebat tells Jacob how to do the work of a spy. Pretty soon Jacob Two-Two goes undercover to spy on Mr. I.M. Greedyguts and figure out why the food is so bad without having his cover blown! Can Jacob and his friends save the students from having to eat bad food? Read the book to find out!

This is a great, comedy book. It has a whole chapter that is a mirror code message (it’s backwards, so if you don’t have a mirror at your house, go somewhere you can get one). Someone gave this book to me and I’m happy I read it! I would read others in the series. I found that the book was pretty easy to read and it was nice that there was no bad language or violence in it -so it is a good choice for young advanced readers. I really liked the illustrations, especially Jacobs hair.

  This is just one book in a series of three Jacob Two-Two books written by Mordecai Richler. The other books are “Jacob Two-Two and the Dinosaur” and “Jacob Two-Two meets the Hooded Fang”. There is another book “Jacob Two-Two on the high seas” that was written by Cary Fagan in 2009.

I give it four out of five book worms!

Pirate Penguin vs Ninja Chicken -Why are they mad at each other?

27 Apr


(To learn the answer to this question you are going to have to visit Ray Friesen’s website (! )


In my last post I told you why I think kids and parent should read comic books. In COMIC BOOKS ROCK part 2 you get a guest interview with comic creator RAY FRIESEN!!!!

Mr Friesen has created many funny characters and written and illustrated a bunch of comic books. For example –

A Cheese Related Mishap          Yarg!     Cupcakes of Doom!

Mr. Friesen was kind to answer some questions from me about comic books in the interview below –

What did you read when you were younger and when did you become interested in comics?


Probably when I was six or seven, my mom had some Calvin & Hobbes and Far Side collections, lying around the house. Also some older strip collections, of Pogo and Popeye (those books had been dropped in bathtubs too many times and were falling apart.) Those were my first exposure to the cartooning medium. Comic Strips are different from Comic Books though, you can tell longer and more complex stories. I vaguely recall being on a train, and my mom bought me some Simpsons and Star Wars comics. Then I discovered Mad Magazine, Asterix, Tintin, Uncle Scrooge… Any comic that was funny, or adventurey. I’ve never been a very big super hero person (probably Spiderman is my favorite superhero, since he’s funnier.)

  How do you think comics benefit kids as far as reading and learning to read?

Extremely beneficial! I know several kids who didn’t read books at all, but got introduced to comics somehow, and were captivated. The pictures draw them in, and the stories keep them around. Hopefully they will then move onto novels and encyclopedias and things (If you’re just reading for fun, there are probably enough comics in the world to keep you going for the rest of your life!) I was in a bookshop the other day, and saw a mom and her teenage daughter. The daughter very much did not want to be in that bookstore, and cried ‘I hate books, they’re so boring!” and I felt very sad, that girl’s opinion was very obviously wrong, but she’ll probably never change it.

 I know that some comics are meant for adults but there are a lot written for kids too. Your comics are great for kids (and adults). What do you think about when you make a comic to make them good for kids?

I seem to have the sort of brain that just does that naturally, my comics are intended for all ages, both old and young, I’m not trying to write comics specifically for anyone besides myself, and I’m only really secretly pretending to be an adult. I tried to write something with adult themes once (paying mortgages, driving around wearing ties, etc) and it felt very forced. As I understand my comics history, for the longest time comics were always marketed directly at kids (even the ones with lots of murderblood and ladies-with-not-enough-clothes-on) –but then in the 70’s and 80’s, comics claimed to have ‘Grown Up” and they suddenly weren’t for kids at all any more. It waffles back and forth like that, too far in one direction, then too far in the other. I like it where there are so many different types of comics, that anyone can easily find one that they really really enjoy.

I see that you draw AND write your comic books.  Which is more important ? The words or the pictures?

This question’s a toughie. For comics, words and pictures really tie together. However, well written comics can be badly drawn and still work, but equally some comics don’t have much story, but the art is amazing. The pictures are what really catch your eye when you first glance at a comic, and some comics can work just fine without any words at all (although don’t be fooled, they’re still telling a story, they’re just not using words to do it.) Sometimes, a person who can only write, and a person who can only draw team up and make comics together, something neither of them would be able to do apart.

I write and draw, and they are both separate, but intermixed processes. I usually write first, I want to know the whole story before I start drawing. Sometimes when I have a really tight deadline, I HAVE to draw before I’ve written the ending, and these stories are never quite as good. Also sometimes, I’ll draw a character in such a way I realize they’re more interesting, and I go back and change the writing so they can have a bigger role in the story – so that I can draw them more. I also come up with a lot of the background gags while I’m drawing rather than writing.

If I had to pick, I’d say I’m slightly more of a writer than an artist. I’m always writing things I don’t want to draw. (“HELICOPTERS? AGAIN? I hate drawing technology! Why did I write this? SHEESH!) Also if I were collaborating with another creator, I would rather write something that they draw, rather than draw something somebody else wrote. I would start changing their script too much, and we’d get in big arguments.

This one is for just me, on #16 of your FAQs  page – why no Vikings? After all, I’m named after Erik the Red

Not everything I do is supposed to make sense. I’m a cartoonist.

Also, at the time I wrote that FAQ, I had just finished Cupcakes of Doom, in which Vikings are the EvilBadGuysTM.


Ray Friesen’s website is packed with lots of cool stuff. There are downloads, comics, instructions on how to draw some characters, and a lot more! You can even read some of the chapters of his books AND of course you can purchase his books there too!

Mr. Friesen’s latest book is called “Piranha Pancakes”

His next book (which I have already pre-ordered) comes out in July and it’s called “Pirate Penguin vs Ninja Chicken”

To learn more about Mr. Friesen and his comics please visit his website

Comic Books ROCK !!

25 Apr









I have an important announcement to make:

Comic books are books, too!

I’ve been reviewing a lot of books of all kinds but not COMIC BOOKS!!! I am making the mistake a lot of people make in ignoring comic books! I started reading comic books when I was 4 years old. I had a subscription to “Spider-Man” from Marvel Kids. Comics are really what got me into reading and even though I read a lot of chapter books -I still read comic books! So in this 2-part post I am going to convince you -kids and parents– you should read comic books! In this first part of the post I am going to tell you about why comic books are good to read. In the second part of the post (I’ll publish it Wednesday April 27th) I will have a SPECIAL INTERVIEW with a comic book creator (RAY FRIESEN)!!!!!!!

Some people like picture stories more than word stories. Some comics can have a lot of words to go with the pictures. It may be easier to get kids to read if there are a lot of pictures. Your kids may be reading comic books -but at least they are READING!!

So -Don’t tell your kid to read a book when they’re reading a comic book because COMICS ARE BOOKS TOO!


Comic books are actually books in disguise! There are many comics out there that are right for kids (be careful when shopping because some can be violent or not appropriate for kids) but there are a lot of kids comics to choose from.

Here are some tips for you when book shopping!

1. Want your child to read a chapter book but they like comic books? Comic books can be thicker and can have chapters in them.

2. Look to see the rating on the comics to see if they are good for kids.

3. If your child doesn’t like superheroes or Star Wars -don’t worry! You can find comics they like! There are all sorts of comics out there.

4. Some comics books are collections of comic strips. For example you can get books filled with Peanuts, Calvin and Hobbes, Get Fuzzy etc.

5. Some comic books are “Graphic Novels” . Graphic Novels are longer and have more of a story to them.

 6. Some books are actually being published that you may not think of as being comic books, but they are! For example “Smile” (See my review) and “Bone”.

7. You can now get a subscription for digital comic books online instead of getting the books in the mail (but I think it’s really cool to get the books every month in the mail).

IT’S EARTH DAY!! Take A Break From Reading A Book And Plant A Tree!

22 Apr


Take a break from reading a book and plant a tree!

After All – trees become books!!!


AND in some strange cases books become trees!!


Here are some suggestions for Earth Day!

1.Clean up your world so you’ll always have a nice place to read.

2.Reuse your books by giving them to a friend or donate them to a library or school.

3. You can recycle your books too!



When you are all done taking care of the environment, go outside and read!!!

What I’m Reading Now…….

21 Apr

               I’m reading:

The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood(by Howard Pyle).

Wolf Brother(by Michelle Paver).


Jacob Two-Two’s First Spy Case(by Mordecai Richler).






19 Apr

NERDS Book 1

By Michael Buckley

306 pages – Ages 9+

Published in 2009 by Amulet

How would you feel if you were the most popular kid in your whole entire school? Great, right? But what would happen if you had to get braces? Down goes the popularity. Up goes the nerd in you. Or at least that’s what happened to Jackson Jones in this book. When that happened to him, he was literally invisible to the whole entire school. But as it turns out, it’s actually a good thing because he found the secret passage to the N.E.R.D.S. ( National Espionage, Rescue, and Defense Society) secret base and joined. Now being a nerd has never been so cool!

This book is Hilarious, Adventurous, Very funny, and Exciting (H.A.V.E.!). You must have a H.A.V.E. book! You/Your child will love this book. The 2nd book is called “M is for Mama’s Boy” and you will see a review about it soon!

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

The Wind In The Willows

17 Apr

The Wind in The Willows

By Kenneth Grahame illustrated by Tasha Tudor

Pages 255    Ages  9+

Published in by 1960 by The World Publishing Company

This story is about a mole and a water-rat living together by the river. They meet a toad and a badger when they were living there. The toad mostly got into a lot of trouble from crashing his wagon to stealing motor cars. The badger was friendly, but didn’t really like society too much. Over time the badger, water-rat, and mole tried to tell the toad to stop wasting his money because he was buying motor cars and kept crashing them so he’d have to pay the hospital fees. The other animals tried to keep an eye on Toad but when he escaped unnoticed, he got into a whole lot of trouble. When Toad returned he found out that there was even more trouble at his house, Toad Hall.

This book is excellent, exciting, and adventurous. The book shows how great it is to have good friends. The book has older language (it was originally written in 1908!) so if you are a young kid who is advanced in reading the book is challenging because of the language  and there is no real scary parts.

Now I see why so many people recommended this book to me!

I give this book 5 out of 5 book worms!

The Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan is released May 3rd!

15 Apr


Carter and Sadie’s adventures continue in the 2nd book of The Kane Chronicles series! The first book “The Red Pyramid” was awesome so I bet this one will be great too!

If you remember from The Red Pyramid (or if you didn’t read it I reviewed it as my first post on my blog!) Carter and Sadie’s Dad is an Egyptologist and they find out that the Egyptian myths aren’t myths at all!! They end up having to rescue their dad from an evil egyptian god and along the way fight Egyptian gods, goddesses and creatures from Egyptian mythology to save the world!

Now in The Throne of Fire – It all starts with 4 kids and a baboon, dressed like ninjas, breaking into a museum…… In this book the evil giant snake Apophis is gaining strength and Carter and Sadie must find a way to contact Ra, the sun-god, to help them defeat Apophis. WHAT”S BEST OF ALL is you can read the first chapter NOW by clicking on the book below!!

I can’t wait to read the whole book and meet Rick Riordan!! 🙂

A great evening with two 39 Clues Authors!

13 Apr

How lucky I was to meet these guys!! Jude Watson and Peter Lerangis came to our local book store to sign their new book the 11th in the 39 Clues series “Vespers Rising” (I reviewed the book below). They each read a part of the chapter they wrote to us. It’s so cool to hear an author read from their own book!

Jude Watson read to us where Amy and Dan were trapped on a cable car 100s of feet in the air hanging from only 1 cable and a helicopter was going to chop the last cable off…… And she stopped!!! Want to know what happens??? READ THE BOOK (I won’t tell you 🙂 Ms. Watson told us that in each book that she wrote that she tried to bring out the feelings of Dan and Amy and how they dealt with their grandmother’s and parent’s deaths. She also said that she was nervous that she was the only girl author in the Series. But I think she writes great books (FYI I read some of the Star Wars books she wrote and she can really write great adventure stories!)


Peter Lerangis read about Luke Cahill and his son Master Winthrop Cahill and did a great impression of King Henry the 8th!!! You should have heard him! Mr. Lerangis told us that the whole 39 Clues series is about adventure, family and travel. It was neat that he told us that all the authors had no idea what the others were going to write about until they read it! He also told us that in book 6 “In Too Deep” Ms. Watson left Dan and Amy on a deserted island in Indonesia in their pajamas with their uncle and no money or food…. OH yeah and  a volcano exploding and he had to figure out how to get them to South Africa! Want to know how he did it? Read “The Vipers Nest” book 7!

Jude Watson and Peter Lerangis told us some excellent news: They teamed up with some other authors and are going to make a new 39 Clues 6 book series called Cahills vs Vespers with the first book coming out on August 30th.  The first book is called “The Medusa Plot” and is written by Gordon Korman! What I think is really cool is that you can read the first chapter of the book right here (click on the book)!!!

The 39 Clues Book 11: Vespers Rising

12 Apr

Vespers Rising

By Rick Riordan, Peter Lerangis, Gordon Korman and Jude Watson

Pages 238 Ages 9+

Published in 2011 by Scholastic Press

What would you do if your ancestors had to take care of a ring. A special ring. A very special ring. A ring that has great power. A ring that no one knew how to use. One that was passed down for centuries……………                                                          

And YOU were told to take care of it and hide it from the people who were trying to take it for centuries.                                           

 Sounds dangerous, right? Read each of these 4 stories in this book (4 books-in-1!!!). Each story is by a different author. In each story you will find a similarity: each one has the ring in it. Learn about Gideon Cahill with the ring, Madeleine Cahill with the ring, Grace Cahill with the ring and Amy, Dan and Fiske with the ring!

You’ll learn a lot about the clue hunt that wasn’t told to you in the first 10 books!

This book is very interesting, Cool and Exciting(I.C.E.!)!!!!!!! I can’t wait to read the next book in the series!! I like how the book was written in different time periods. You’ll like it too!

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

Bonus: Can you crack the code below? Use the riddle as a hint!


The boldness is what you seek.

Take your time, do not be meek.

You can do it, come on now.

If you have no clue, I have just told you how.

How did you like my, hint? Do you want me to type another?No? Alright. I won’t do one. What do you want me to do? Just, stay here typing? OK. I will!(stomp of foot) Type. Type. Type. Type…….

Okay, the message is over ;). Post what you think the answer is in the comment section. Bye and Good luck!!!!!!!!

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