Archive | May, 2012

Guest Book Review by Micah! – Calvin and Hobbes

31 May

Today I have another AWESOME guest kid book reviewer – MICAH! Micah is ten years old and he is also a kid blogger! He and his brother, Taylor are “The Story Boys”! You can check out their blog HERE. Micah is also the son of children’s novelist Michelle Isenhoff (a pretty talented family huh? 🙂 )!

I really like the book Micah chose to review because it is also one of my favorite books/characters!

Calvin and Hobbes

by Bill Watterson

Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC 1987

This is a comic book.  There are a bunch of stories in one.  The stories are funny.  The characters are Calvin and Hobbes.  Calvin is a little rotten boy.  Hobbes is a stuffed animal tiger.  He comes to life when he is alone.  They like to play pirates in their tree house. They love to have wagon rides and they always wipe out.  He gets in trouble a lot.


I love how Calvin is so funny and naughty.  I love how Calvin hates baths and he gets out and runs around naked.  He also hates the doctor and he screams his head off.  I don’t like all the snow ball fights and how he thinks he is a super hero.  I recommend this book.


Five out of five bookworms!


Thanks Micah for the great review!!


One more thing – I was invited to do a guest post by Myra Garces-Bacsal over at Gathering Books in the Quill Junior part of the blog! The theme of the blog posts for May and June is “Festival of Asian Literature and the Immigrant Experience.” Please check it out by clicking HERE!

Jake and Lily by Jerry Spinelli

30 May

Jake and Lily
By Jerry Spinelli
352 pages – ages 8+
Published by: Balzer and Bray on May 8, 2012

Jake and Lily are twins and they have this kind of super power connection. Once when Lily was inside coloring, she yelled out loud “I’m stuck!” and it turned out that Jake was stuck under a fence in the yard. Another time Lily was about to run into the street chasing a ball, Jake yelled out “STOP!”, but he was at the dentist five miles away. When they were younger Jake and Lily were best friends and always together. They called their special connection their “goombla.” Their goombla starts to fade as the twins get older. Jake and Lily start to grow apart. Lily wants the goombla to stay, but Jake wants to grow up. Will the twins get their goombla back or will they learn to live their own lives? 

This Jerry Spinelli book is full of humor and good stuff! I liked the idea of the twin “link,” but the story is not really all about the link. It’s more about the kids trying to be their own person rather than a twin and I think it made a good story. I like how the chapters alternate between Lily’s and Jake’s perspective. I really liked both main characters a lot, but I think I liked Lily a little more because of how she acted and her general attitude. The story really kept me interested and I cared about what would happen to Jake and Lily. The book is great for young advanced readers. I think kids and adults of all ages will like this book.

Five out of five bookworms for Jake and Lily!

Jerry Spinelli won a Newberry Award for “Manic Magee” and a Newberry Honor for “Wringer”.  To learn more about Jerry Spinelli and all his other books, please visit his website HERE.

Patalosh: The Time Travelers – By Z. Altug and Tracy Gensler

28 May

Today is Memorial Day in the US. This a day for all Americans to honor or remember soldiers that are fighting, veterans, and especially those who lost their lives.

Happy Memorial Day!

Patalosh: The Time Travelers

By Z. Altug and Tracy Gensler

326 pages – ages 8+

Published by CreateSpace on February 29, 2012

Some Taloshians (beings from the island of Patalosh on the planet Lumina) settled on Earth once they were able to travel through space and time on the airship HMS Exploricus. Orion Spence is a ten-year-old NonTaloshian (a NonTaloshian is a thing (a tree is an example of a “thing” being a NonTaloshian or just a regular human) with no powers) who lives with his parents on Earth in Antarctica. Orion just wakes up after being clobbered on the head. His parents are gone, his home is burned and the HMS Exploricus is crashed (Orion’s Dad is he Captain of the air-ship). Orion knows it was “Red Eyes” that took his parents and he finds out that only he has the key to stopping Red Eyes and rescuing his parents. Together with the crew of the HMS Exploricus and some new (and old) friends, Orion sets off on a journey that takes him across the world and time to try to solve seven riddles that will help him find his parents and stop Red Eyes.

This book had a very cool plot to it. It was very different from any middle grade book I’ve read. Who wouldn’t like to go on a time traveling journey to all seven continents on Earth?!? I really like how the book is about the really great adventure of a boy trying to save his parents, but you also learn about cultures from different times and places on Earth. Orion makes and/or brings a friend along at each continent he goes to. I liked how the crew of the Exploricus ate food that was from the place/time the ship was “sky-docked” over. I thought it was very interesting. I also really like the Taloshian characters. They are in different forms – human-like, cats, even plants! They can fly and cast energy spells. There is some very mild violence and a few scary situations, but noting that a young advanced reader couldn’t read. There is no bad language in the book. The reading level is harder than most MG books (I liked that) but the plot doesn’t drag.  

Five out of five bookworms!  

To learn more about Patalosh and  Z. Altug and Tracy Gensler, please visit the official Patalosh website by clicking HERE.

Check out the Patalosh trailer!

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Today I Will Fly

25 May

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 the Elephant and Piggie books are favorites in our house and I like Piggie’s attitude in this book.

Today I Will Fly

By Mo Willems

64 pages – ages 4+

Published by Hyperion Books on March 13, 2007


Theme/Topic – Determination / Believe in Yourself

Opening and Synopsis – 

Piggie “Today I will fly!”

Gerald “No. You will not fly today”

Piggie has a GREAT idea! Today, Piggie wants to fly! Gerald tells Piggies she will never fly.Piggie won’t let that stop her. She is still determined to fly today even if she needs a little help!

Why I liked this book – Elephant and Piggie books are FAVORITES in our house.They are such good friends. I really like this particular Elephant and Piggie book because I really love Piggies’s “never quit” attitude. The ending of the book is just great. Gerald changes his mind and announces “Tomorrow I will fly!” Now that’s the spirit Gerald! Elephant and Piggie books are always illustrated wonderfully. I like how Elephant and Piggie’s speech bubbles are different colors.


Activities and Resources –

You can visit Mo Willems website HERE.

I found a teacher’s guide to the Elephant and Piggie books HERE.

I also found an Elephant and Piggie activity book with all sorts of activities (games, coloring pages, story times, topics of discussion etc) HERE.

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

Creative Kids – Jack – From “The Girl Named Jack” Blog!

24 May

For those of you who don’t know Jack, she is a 11-year-old kid blogger. Her blog, “The Girl Named Jack,” has all sorts of fun nullposts about life as a kid, writing and book reviews too. Jack has even written and self-published a book “The War of the Split Hoofed and Winged.” Make sure to check her blog out – click HERE to go to it.

I am so glad that Jack sent me the first chapter from the new book she is working on “Goldpelt”! It is totally AWESOME! Here is an excerpt from it below, and you can read the whole first chapter at the link at the bottom. I hope you like it!


By: Jackson B.


 Goldpelt crouched behind a tree, waiting for her prey to walk by.  With her fiery gold/orange striped pelt she blended in well with the underbrush she was crouching so low in.  She opened her mouth letting all the smells of the forest and its creatures that dwelt in it flood through her mouth.  She caught scent of, leaves, decay, running water somewhere nearby, and…deer!  Yes, this was what her long wait crouched in the middle of a bunch of scratchy bushes was all about.

The deer came walking slowly by, his split hooves stepping daintily over twigs so he wouldn’t alert anything out to eat him.  Wrong, I already know you’re here. Thought Goldpelt feeling very pleased with herself.

The deer was a strong looking male who stood about 5 feet tall with antlers that spread out about 3 feet.  He was plump after a spring of stuffing himself with green grass, acorns, large green leaves, anything he could chew that looked half decent.

Goldpelt readied herself to spring up out of the bushes when it got closer.  The buck took a few more tentative steps in her direction, turned his head around sniffing the air for danger, then settling down by eating the leaves off the bushes that kept her hidden.  Goldpelt pulled a fanged grin at how lucky she was that the wind was blowing towards her to hide her scent.  Gathering her haunches underneath her and bunching her muscles she sprang into the air and let loose.  The buck jerked back its head from the bushes and galloped at top speed away from her outstretched claws.  She landed with a thump and set after him just as fast as it.

It galloped just in front of her; just a claws swipe away from her was the buck, leaping over fallen logs, galloping under low hanging branches careful not to entangle its antlers in them, and skidding over foliage.

Meanwhile Goldpelt’s paws carried her over the slick leaves that littered the ground and gripped in logs to thrust her more closer to the deer.  But suddenly the forest around her dissolved to darkness along with the deer.  Goldpelt blinked her eyes open and stared around her blearily.  It was early morning and she was sleeping in her cave in a nest of moss and leaves.

To read the whole first chapter, click HERE and to visit Jack’s website, click HERE.

Puzzlebook Trilogy: 303 Puzzle Quizzes By the Grabarchuk Family

23 May

Puzzlebook Trilogy: 303 Puzzle Quizzes (color and interactive!)

Published by Grabarchuk Puzzles; 1 edition (February 28, 2012)

Ages 8+

Sold by Amazon Digital Services

Do you know the answer?

Do you like to challenge your brain? If so, this book is right for you! With a wide variety of puzzles in a fun-to-use format, you’ll spend hours trying to figure all these out! The ebook format is easy to use and understand (and I think it’s pretty neat they could do this on my Kindle). Just move the cursor to click on the right answer. Here’s an example puzzle above – In the “Puzzlebook Trilogy” you get 303 puzzles all together (3 separate books all in one). Pretty cool!

This is the second Grabarchuk puzzle book I reviewed. I reviewed a 20 puzzle, Easter puzzle book (click HERE to read the review) and I liked it so much that I wanted to try more. 🙂 I found that the puzzles in the trilogy ranged from the really easy, to ones I just couldn’t figure out. There is a good mix of difficulty levels in the book. The puzzle book is in color, but my Kindle doesn’t have color and I don’t think that it really made a difference as far as solving the puzzles. I did think a couple of the puzzles had more han one answer and a couple had a bit confusing directions, but it was only a couple out of 303. Overall I thought it was really well done!

Five out of five bookworms!

The Grabarchuk Family had been designing and making puzzles for many years. To learn more about them and their puzzlebooks please visit their website by clicking HERE.

Sir Nathan and the Quest for Queen Gobbledeegook by Mark Simon Smith

21 May

Sir Nathan and the Quest for Queen Gobbledeegook (a Somewhat Silly Story Volume 1)

by Mark Simon Smith

240 pages – ages 7+

Published by CreateSpace on March 9, 2012

Queen Gobbledeegook is missing from the kingdom of Mariskatania! The hero of the land, Sir Nathan, and his trusty steed are sent to find her and bring her back. With the help of many strange and unique people (and things), our hero and his horse go through a long and difficult quest to find the queen. Will they succeed and not meet a horrible fate? Will they survive the giant-sized toddlers that want to eat them? Will our hero EVER get to finally smite someone (or thing)? Read the book to find out!!

This not somewhat silly, but VERY silly adventure has it all! I think the story is a great adventure story and there is so much silly humor in the book I was laughing out loud at a bunch of places! Sir Nathan is an AWESOME character and Tupolev, Sir Nathan’s talking horse, is another character I really liked. There are some simple illustrations throughout the book which were a nice addition. I really liked how each “evil” character Sir Nathan ran into actually turned out to be pretty nice! The book is completely clean of and bad language but packed full of silly humor! I recommend the book to advanced young readers and anyone who likes a good laugh!

Five out of five bookworms for Sir Nathan and the Quest for Queen Gobbledeegook!

To learn more about Mr. Smith and the Somewhat Silly Stories, please visit the Somewhat Silly Stories website HERE or visit Mr. Smith’s facebook page HERE.

You can get the book as an ebook or paperback. Click HERE for ordering information for the book!

Book 2 in the series, Sir Nathan and the Troublesome Task, is supposed to come out this month!

Birthday Writing Contest and Some New Blog Stuff!

20 May

Susanna Leonard Hill has a Birthday Story Contest going on at her blog (click HERE to see the post) and I wrote a story for the contest. I have the story at the end of this post but first I wanted to let you know about a couple of changes I made at my blog. I made the changes because I am trying to make it more organized and easier. Let me know what you think about the changes 🙂 

First I made a FAQ page (this was one of my New Years Resolutions anyway). You can click on the tab at the top of my home page to see or (or click HERE). Let me know what you think or if there are any other FAQs I should add.

Secondly I made an official section saying how to send me a book to review. You can see it at the tab at the top of my home page or by clicking HERE.

Thirdly I made a blog schedule. I saw that on a lot of your blogs and I think it’s a good idea! Click on the tab at the top of my page or HERE. To go to it.

Let me know what you think of my changes and if you have any other suggestions! 

Now for something fun!

The Birthday Contest hosted by Susanna Leonard Hill!

The rules are “The contest is to write a children’s story about a very creative and/or unique birthday celebration in 300 words or less. Poetry or prose, your choice.”

Here’s my entry!

Not Another Birthday!

By Erik

Billy hated his birthdays, every single one of them. The day was always a complete disaster. One time, on Billy’s seventh birthday, most of his party guests ended up in the emergency room! In fact, none of Billy’s friends will come to his parties anymore. Only Billy’s relatives show up because they have to. 

Things usually start off pretty well. The guests arrive with smiles on their faces, carrying presents in colorful paper. There’s lots of ”Hi’s”, hugs and  “How are you’s?” Everyone puts their party hats on. There’s pizza for dinner, and games like guess the wizard, and pin the drawbridge on the castle.

Then comes the cake. Billy’s dad carries it in. This year it has twelve candles on it, brightly lit with flames dancing in the air. Billy notices it is an ice cream cake, “UGH!” He says to himself. “Even WORSE!”

The cake is placed on the table in front of Billy; all the guests cower behind their chairs and under the table as they nervously sing “Happy Birthday to You” in hushed voices. As Billy listened to the song, getting ready to blow out the candles, he thought to himself, “This makes no sense for a fire-breathing dragon.”




Perfect Picture Book Friday – OH NO! (or How My Science Project Destroyed the World)

18 May

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 EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS BOOK IS AWESOME!

OH NO! (or How My Science Project Destroyed the World)

By Mac Barnett

Illustrated by Dan Santat

Published by Disney Hyperion Books on June 1, 2010

40 pages  – ages 3+ 

Theme/Topic – Books for Boys / Girl Power / Humor


Opening and Synopsis – From the inside cover “It’s a terrible thing when a giant robot starts destroying your city. It’s even worse when it’s your fault.”

A girl genius builds an award-winning giant robot for her school science fair. The robot malfunctions and starts to attack the city. The girl is unable to stop it so she (of course) creates a giant toad to battle the giant robot. This turns out to not be a good idea.

Why I liked this book –  First I have to say I am a huge fan of old Japanese monster shows (Godzilla and Ultraman are my favorites).





This book reminded me of them. I love the comic book style of the story. There aren’t many words in the book  because the pictures are very important to telling the story. I read the book a couple of times and each time I saw and thought of something new. Here’s a page…

The story was funny and it was cool to see a picture book with a great action / adventure story. I think boys will really love this book. I like the idea that the main character is a girl. I think girls will like it because it has a girl hero. I think it is a great book for reluctant readers too.

The end pages are even cool. They have blue print diagrams of the science projects. There’s a lot to read in the end covers. There is a lot to discover in this book!


The dust cover opens up into a poster.

Even the hard cover is cool. It looks like a scientist’s notebook.

Activities and Resources – I found a great craft activity at the Critters and Crayons website. The activity is to make your own robot out of cardboard boxes. Click HERE to go to it.

I also found a list of do at home science experiments at Science Bob’s website. Click HERE to go to it.

The trailer for the book is cool too (it reminds me of Godzilla 😉 ).

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

Youth Tube – A Place for Creative Kids!

17 May

Today I am part of a blog hop for Youth Tube! Youth Tube is a site for kids to “share their art, videos, stories, reviews, songs, feature books and a whole lot more.” Youth Tube’s goal is to encourage “early literacy and children’s creativity.” Dr. Niamh Clune and the team at On the Plum Tree created Youth Tube as a safe place for kids to show their creative work and I think creative kids are AWESOME 😉

As part of this blog hop I have to write about the theme of the hop. Here’s what it says about it at On the Plum Tree – “The theme of the Blog-Hop is, Self as Child. What did you think of yourself as a child? Write something on any theme related to this. Perhaps you would like to express something on the subject of the inner child, or a relationship with a child that makes you reflect on your own childhood.”

I know, I know, you’re all saying “Erik you ARE a kid! How do you write about your inner child?!?” OK maybe you didn’t say that, but I did. I had an idea to write about my “inner adult,” but I’m really not sure what that means. Then I had an idea to write about what I think about growing up and what I will be like.

Here is the poem I wrote –

Who will I be?

By Erik


Every day, I wonder

Who I will be in a decade or two,

From a little ten-year old,

To a… something. What? Who?


An inventor?

If so, will I make a big difference or small changes?

How about an author?

If so, will I write children’s books or about politics?


I see myself as a father,

Taking care of two.

Will this small dream be real one day?

Or will I take a different route?


Now I think of Ninjas and Super Heroes,

But will I still think the same as an adult?

Or will I be so serious,

I will have no time for jokes and fun? – NAH!


There is one way to find an answer,

To all of these important questions and dreams,

And that simple solution is to…

Wait and see.


Please check out the Youth Tube site and tell every kid you know about it! My sister and I sent in drawings showing how we see ourselves for the site’s first project called “Self.” The pictures are up on the site now. I like how Josie sees herself as a garden fairy princess 🙂

Here are the next dates and places for the hop!

Friday: May 18th April Thomas

Sat. 19th – Jonty-Babe

Sun: 20th: Darlene Foster

Mon 21st – Georgia Saunders

Wed: 23rd May: Tom Harris

Finally, I’d like to say “Thank you” to Patricia Tilton of Children’s Books Heal for telling me about Dr. Clune and Youth tube and Dr. Clune and everyone at Youth Tube for letting me be part of this!

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