Archive | December, 2012

WOW! Where did 2012 go?

31 Dec

On the Eve of 2013…

2012 has been a good year, but it went to fast (at least I think so). I want to thank everyone who reads my blog and takes the time to offer me advice and help and comment here. I really like doing my blog and I like reading what everyone has to say about what I think about books. Well it’s New Year’s Eve. That means I get to talk about what I did last year, and what my resolutions are for 2013.

English: Father Time and Baby New Year from Fr...

English: Father Time and Baby New Year from Frolic & Fun, 1897 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

First I want to thank the Bodhimoments blog for nominating me for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award! Please check out Bodhimoments !


Dr. Clune of On The Plum Tree nominated me for a 2012 Blog Of The Year award! Dr. Clune’s blog is an awesome place for poetry, stories, books and art. Please check it out if you haven’t (Click HERE).

Blog of the Year Award 1 star jpeg

To accept these awards I am supposed to link back to the blogs that gave them, tell some things about myself and nominate some more blogs for the awards.

I figured I am telling you in this post about my New Year’s goals from 2012 and for 2013, so that’s things about myself. I also can’t pick which AWESOME blog to pass the awards on to so just check out my side bar and see all the great places I like to visit and I, Sir Erik, pass these awards on to thee! 😀

Now on to the New Year!

What I did in 2012!

  1. I worked on my MS-in-progress.
  2. I wrote 4 manuscripts for 12×12. My goal for 12×12 was to write 1 PB and I wrote 4!12x12-large
  3. I enjoyed doing Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Fridays.PPBF
  4. I finished the unabridged version of  “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” by Jules Verne (FINALLY)
  5. I completed PiBoIdMo 2012 and got 30 AWESOME ideas.piboidmo12participant
  6. The world didn’t end on December 21st (I don’t think this was an accomplishment for just me, but it would have really stunk if it did).
  7. I flew on 4 planes.
  8. I met and got support from the nicest people all over the world through my blog! 😀 Thank you to everyone!

Next – What I think I will do (and what might happen).

  1. I will finish my MS.
  2. I will participate in PiBoIdMo 2013.
  3. I will try to finish the unabridged version of “The Three Musketeers” by Alexandre Dumas (maybe next year I will try to read it in the original French).
  4. Someone will say the world will end again. *sigh*
  5. After I got my black belt in TaeKwon-Do and we moved, I started to study Karate and Jujitsu. I hope that in 2013 I will go up in rank in Karate and Jujitsu (I am currently a yellow belt).
  6. I will try to convince my parents to get me a library ladder for my own personal private library. 😉
  7. Read 250 or more books of any kind.
  8. Be nice and kind to everyone I meet.
  9. Beat my school’s Advanced Reader reading record. The current record is 950 points (it ends in May). I had 612 points before we left for Christmas vacation. My goal is to shatter the record with a score of 1500+ points!
  10. Read more Nonfiction.
  11. Stick to my posting schedule when I can.
  12. Do my best at everything I try.

How about you? What is your most important goal in 2013? What was the best goal you reached in 2012?


Happy new year

Happy new year (Photo credit: Amodiovalerio Verde)


25 Dec
English: Merry Christmas.

English: Merry Christmas. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas!

Peace, Happiness, and Goodwill to all People!

I found the perfect Christmas message in a video made by St Paul’s church in Auckland, New Zealand! It is called “An Unexpected Christmas.”  You can see it HERE. Enjoy!

Ten-Year-Old Erik Is No Longer Reviewing Books

24 Dec

I have an announcement that may shock some of you. Ten-year-old Erik will no longer be reviewing books.



Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I wasn’t going to post a review today, but I just read a good book by an author I really like. For my first official review as an eleven year old, I am going to tell you about a Christmas story I just read by Nicola Palmer, the author of the Alice Parker series (which are awesome books you should read).

One Strange ChristmasOne Strange Christmas

By Nicola Palmer

Published by Kallisto on November 8, 2012

Ages 7+

OH NO! There’s blue snow on the ground this Christmas, and Jake blames himself for it. Last night, Jake woke up and saw a beautiful snow globe by his bed. He then wished for snow and an exciting Christmas day. Now look at what’s happened – BLUE snow!!! The very weird thing is, it’s only on their street! That is strange! Jake meets Eric (don’t you love that name 😉 ), the elf, who takes him to Santa’s ship (his modern sleigh) and meets Santa. Most of Jake’s family didn’t believe in Santa but Jake did. Santa explains to Eric how he accomplishes everything he has to do on Christmas Eve. Santa also tells Jake that his future will be changed forever (but in a good way).

This Christmas story is a great read for kids and adults. I thought the story plot was very unique. I thought the part of the story that tells you that you have to believe to see things (like snowmen are really alive). It is a nice more modern story for the holidays. It has a lot of funny parts to it. I really love Ms. Palmer’s Alice Parker series and this story is written just as well. If you are looking for a fun Christmas story for your kid (or yourself), I recommend “One Strange Christmas”!

Five out of five bookworms for One Strange Christmas! fivebooks

Robot Zombie Frankenstein! by Annette Simon

21 Dec

robotzombieRobot Zombie Frankenstein!

Written and Illustrated by Annette Simon

40 pages – ages 4+

Published by Candlewick on April 24, 2012

Purple Robot and Green Robot are best friends. But then suddenly Green Robot leaves. Where has he gone? What is he doing? What is that over there? It looks like a zombie… a ROBOT ZOMBIE! Green Robot has changed to a Robot Zombie costume! But wait, Purple Robot is jealous, so he changes in to ROBOT ZOMBIE FRANKENSTEIN costume! Then Green Robot Zombie leaves to try to be better than Purple Robot Zombie Frankenstein. Who will turn out to be the best between the two friends or will they ever come to a compromise?

This is a funny hilarious book about a battle of buddies! I like the uniqueness of the book and the repetition of words adding one more to the phrase before (ROBOT ZOMBIE FRANKENSTEIN PIRATE!). It makes it easy to read for young kids AND it’s funny! The story has a nice ending because the friends finally compromise (let’s just say there is pie involved). The illustrations really make the book awesome! They are simple shapes just put together in different ways.


I also like that on the end pages, there are pieces to make the Robots!


I think that would be a fun activity to copy the end pages then you can cut out the shapes and make your own robots (hmm that gives me an idea)! I recommend this book to kids 4+!

I give “Robot Zombie Frankenstein” 5 out of 5 bookworms!fivebooks


To learn more about Ms. Simon and Robot Zombie Frankenstein!, please visit her website HERE.



P.S. I have a surprise for you! Enjoy!



Robot Zombie.



That’s not right…






Robot. robot

Robot Santa Claus!robot santa


Don’t Feed the Boy by Irene Latham

19 Dec

dontfeedboyDon’t Feed the Boy

By  Irene Latham

Illustrated by Stephanie Graegin

289 pages – ages 10+

Published by Roaring Brook Press on October 16, 2012

What 11 year-old kid wouldn’t LOVE to live in a zoo??? Whit Whitaker, that’s who! Whit did not like living in a zoo, but he had no choice. His mom was the zoo director and his dad was the elephant keeper, but  his parents seem more interested in the animals than him. Whit hated living at the zoo. He wasn’t allowed to go out of the zoo at all. He was even home schooled (or is that zoo schooled?) right in the zoo by a tutor. Whit didn’t have any friends and parents that didn’t know he existed most of the time.

Whit notices a girl that comes and draws pictures of the birds at the zoo. He sees her almost every day and decides to talk to her. Whit and Stella (the Bird Girl) start meeting every day at the zoo and become good friends. Whit learns that Stella’s father abuses her family through violence and she comes to the zoo to get away from her home. Whit wants to help his friend, but helping her may get him into a lot of trouble.

This was not the usual action adventure story I love to read. In fact here wasn’t much action and maybe just a little adventure, but I really liked the story. I cared about what happened to Stella. I wanted Whit’s parents to pay attention to him. They were both great characters. Ms. Latham’s writing style really let me get to know the characters. I liked that they both needed each others friendship and they helped each other. The story had a strong message about abusive families (both kids had abusive families, although Stella’s was a violent one and Whit’s parents just didn’t pay attention to him). There was some cool stuff about all the behind the scenes at the zoo in the book when Whit shows Stella around. I really enjoyed reading about that. Although the book talks about abusive families, it is written really well for kids.  I was sad I found some editing errors in the book (misplaced periods, a couple of places Whit’s name wasn’t capitalized), but I liked the story so much I didn’t think about that when I gave the book my rating. I recommend this book to kids 10+ only because it deals with the subject of abuse.

Five out of five bookworms for excellent friendship story “Don’t Feed the Boy.”


To learn more about Ms. Latham and her books, including “Don’t Feed the Boy,” Please visit her website HERE.

Chug The Bug: Chug Makes New Friends By Robert B. Hill and Brent Angie

17 Dec

mza_367884220627570142_320x480-75By Robert B. Hill and Brent Angie

Illustrated by Erin Koehler

28 Pages – Ages 4+

Published by Kid’s Play Books, LLC on July 25, 2012

*3D book app reviewed

Chug the Bug wondered what type of bug he was. He is furry, had lots of legs, and could roll into a ball. On the first day of mza_9093685666183686430_320x480-75school, Chug walks along and meets lots of bugs also walking to school. Chug hopes to make friends. The other bugs know what type of bug they are. Will Chug ever get to know what he is?

mza_6722643151630078941_320x480-75I reviewed the 3D book app version of this story. I wasn’t sure what 3D meant until I got the book. WOW! The illustrations are cool and they are 3D! The story is cute with really nice rhyme. I think pre-school kids will love the story and older kids will love the graphics. I like the noises accompanying the pages. You can tap different interactive things on each page.  The interactive objects are very cool. The graphics are just awesome. I think kids 4+ would enjoy this app!

I give “Chug the Bug”  5 out of 5 bookworms!fivebooks

Chug The Bug: Chug Makes Friends is available as an ebook at AMAZON or iTunes. The interactive app (what I reviewed) is available at iTunes or the Mac APP store.

To learn more about Chug the Bug, please visit the official website (there are also some games and activities on the site)  HERE.

The trailer shows how cute the illustrations are! 😀

My Entry in the Susanna Leonard Hill’s Holiday Writing Contest!

15 Dec

YAHOO!! It is time for Susanna Leonard Hill’s

Holiday Writing Contest!

The rules for the contest are you have to have an opening that starts like the song “Dashing through the snow”  but you can change it, you don’t have to use the exact words. It also had to be under 350 words long and be a children’s story. You can read the complete rules and other great entries HERE.

The subject of my entry is something that I feel very strongly about… I admit it. I, Erik, kid reviewer, Black Belt in TaeKwon-Do am afraid of…


Notice I said “Santa Claus” because there are a lot of imposters out there. The real Santa is a cool guy. We have a great writing relationship. I write letters, he sometimes gets back to me but he always decides if I am naughty or nice (I’ve always been on the nice list) and I get presents for which I am thankful for, but I don’t have to see him (maybe I’d Skype with him, but I don’t even know about that). I am talking about the “Santa Clauses” that are Santa’s “helpers.” I understand Santa is a busy guy. He has a whole world to take care of, so I understand he needs some helpers out there to stand in for him to take pictures and stuff like that. I just don’t want to be near them. To be honest I am also afraid of the Easter Bunny and the people who dress up like giant chocolate candy at Hershey’s Chocolate World. My parents told me it started when I was three and a “Santa” tried to get close to me to give me a present. I didn’t like it. I decided to use my Santaclausiophobia in my entry. I wanted to include an actual picture of me with Santa, but there is only one known Santa and Erik picture and since we moved my mom couldn’t find which box it was packed in. It’s a picture of “Santa” with Josie on his knee and me standing like 5 feet away. He was giving out candy canes and the only way I could get one was to get close enough for a picture. I think I was like 7 at the time. I never did that again!

I hope you like my entry. You can sing along to the tune of “Dashing Through the Snow.”


by Erik (180 words)

baby crying... Santa laughing.. Not so cute.

(Photo credit: daveynin)

Walking through the mall,

In my brand new Christmas Shoes,

Look at that kid bawl,

I have got the blues!

My mom smiles at me,

She wants this photo,

Can’t anybody see,


Scary Santa

Scary Santa (Photo credit: RaGardner4)



His beard is fake,

His eyebrows snake,

His mustache is dark brown,

I feel bad for the lad,

That Santa just put down!


He has a belt,

It’s made of felt,

That just makes me pause,

Santa Cry

(Photo credit: Glenn E. Malone)

His suit’s off-red, like I said,


(Second Verse)

I don’t have a choice,

Four more kids to go,

I hear Santa’s voice,

He says “Hoo Ha Ho”?

The girl on Santa’s knee,

Looks as scared as she can be,

Kalilah crying as Santa holding her

(Photo credit: daveynin)

The camera makes a flash,

The girl makes a dash!



His beard is fake,

His eyebrows snake,

His boots are made of plastic,

What is wrong with Asbury Park, New Jersey?

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m ahead and my mom said,

“This will be fantastic”!


He has no belly,

That shakes like jelly,

I am feeling sick,

On his lap is when I yap,


Ta-Da! Thank you. That’s all for today. HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Mall Santa Has Returned To North Pole

(Photo credit: Beige Alert)

PPBF! The Schmutzy Family by Madelyn Rosenberg

14 Dec
I write for the UBFP Newspaper!

I write for the UBFP Newspaper!

I have some exciting news! Marni Jarman of the “Words to Dreams” blog read my December Upper Bucks Free Press newspaper article and liked it so much that she wanted to put it on her blog. 🙂 I didn’t post my December article on my blog (I had things way over scheduled) but you can read it at Mrs. Jarman’s blog HERE. It is about book-related gift ideas for kids! I hope you like it!

Now onto PPBF!

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 teaches about another culture and the mom in the book let the kids be MESSY!

theschmutzyfamilyThe Schmutzy Family

by Madelyn Rosenberg

32 Pages – Ages 4+

Published by Holiday House on August 1, 2012

Theme/Topic – I don’t know how to say what the topic is in a couple of words but it’s about letting kids be kids (maybe somebody can help me) and the other topic would be Jewish Traditions

Opening and Synopsis – From the inside jacket –

“Sunday through Friday, the Schmutzy children are encouraged to explore, experiment, and create. It’s messy work involving mud pies, tomato sauce, worms, and frogs!

But on Friday morning, Mama exclaims, “Look at this dirt… And It’s nearly SHABBOS. We can’t bring in the Sabbath smelling like COWS!”

Mama Schmutzy lets her kids explore and create even if it is MESSY (and it does get very messy). She encourages her kids to create and learn but on Friday, she expects all the Schmutzys to help clean up and get ready for the Sabbath.

Why I liked this book –This is a funny book with great illustrations. I like the ending (not telling 😉 ) a lot. It tells an important message – have fun and get messy, but you still have a responsibility to clean up. My Mom let’s us play messy. I like that. It also teaches about some Jewish traditions. I am not Jewish and I liked learning about the Shabbos. I think it is important to learn about other cultures and religions. I think this book will make a great read-aloud! I recommend this book to kids 4+!

Activities and Resources – 

Let your kids get MESSY!! Let them jump in mud puddles and roll around in the dirt. 😀

Get a can of shaving cream and spray it on a table or in a bin and let your kid swirl his or her hands through it and make sculptures or draw pictures in it.

Use water-color paints and clean brushes and let your kids paint each other (Crayola makes non toxic water-color paints). Some places even have bath paints that are meant to be used on your body.

After all the messes are made, have your kids help clean up (which you can maybe make fun)!

I found a great blog with a whole section of sensory play activities (some messy) good for teachers and their students called Rubber Boots and Elf Shoes (this blog will also be important at the end of my post 😉 ). Click HERE to go to it.

I also want to mention that I won my signed copy of  “The Schmutzy Family” on Jama Rattigan’s “Jama’s Alphabet Soup” blog. Thanks Ms. Rattigan! If you’ve never visited Ms. Rattigan’s blog you should!It is a lot of fun. She posts about books, food and writing! Click HERE to go to her blog.

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


NOW for the winner of the signed copy of “A Bad Kitty Christmas”. Josie picked a name out of a hat containing all the entries. The winner is –

Sandi Purdell-Lewis of the Rubber Boots and Elf Shoes Blog!! Congratulations! I will email you to get your mailing address!

It’s A 12×12 in 2012 Blog Party!!

13 Dec

Last year at this time I signed up for Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 Challenge. It was a challenge to write 12 picture book drafts in 12 months in 2012. You may have noticed the cool badge on my side bar all year long –

I started out with my ideas from doing Tara Lazar’s PiBoIdMo last year in November (I did it this year too – it’s VERY fun and if you haven’t done it, try it next year 🙂 ). My goal was to write one picture book manuscript. I never wrote a whole picture book before and didn’t really know where to start (other than having my ideas from PiBoIdMo) and I didn’t know how much I’d be able to do. I am happy to say I wrote 3 whole manuscripts and I have a bunch of ones that I have started that I’d like to get back to. I’ve learned a lot this year and I thought I would come up with my top ten things I learned. Here it goes –

10. Be organized. Having a work area and a notebook (only ONE notebook in my case because I tend to lose things) that holds your ideas helps.

9. Set deadlines for yourself. Even if you don’t make them, it gives you a goal.

8. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice.

7. Don’t be afraid to write down a draft that isn’t particularly good the first time. Get it down and then go back later and fix it (I have a lot of unfinished ideas like this).

6. The idea you think is the best isn’t always the one that you can write a whole book about.

5. Listen to people who want to help you. There are a lot of great people who have helped and encouraged me.

4. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t meet a goal. Keep trying!

3. Don’t get discouraged if you find out someone has already wrote the book you are thinking of! That just means you like that idea too!

2. Do try to have fun while writing. If it is making you frustrated, stop for a while.

and the number one thing I’ve learned from 12×12 in 2012 is…

WRITING PICTURE BOOKS IS HARD AND RHYMING IS EVEN HARDER!!! Those people out there who think it is so easy should give it a try (like that turtle-neck guy 😉 [Debbie Ohi’s PiBoIdMo Post])!

Thank you to everyone in 12×12 in 2012 and ESPECIALLY to Julie Hedlund for hosting it! If you haven’t seen Ms. Hedlund’s awesome dance party video, you HAVE to hop over to her blog and check it out. Her air guitar is AMAZING! Click HERE to go there!

Sir Kaye the Boy Knight (Book 1) The Knighting of Sir Kaye by Don M. Winn

12 Dec

sirkayebook1Sir Kaye the Boy Knight (Book 1) The knighting of Sir Kaye

By Don M. Winn

168 Pages – Ages 8+

Published by Cardboard Box Adventures on September 21, 2012

Reggie Stork was angry with his father for sending him to work in the fields as an “unjust” punishment. Reggie got mad and decided to wander off, following a river. Soon he got lost and fell into quicksand. Kaye Balfour happens to find Reggie and rescues him and the two become friends. Reggie finds out Kaye wants to be a knight like his father Sir Henry, the last good knight in Knox. Sir Henry was training Kaye, but the old king sent him to keep peace between Knox (their land) and Eldridge. He has been there for two years. The Queen of Knox is having a terrible time trying to keep her kingdom together. The King has died, Sir Henry is away and all of the knights won’t listen to her. The Queen is desperate for a hero and then she hears of twelve-year-old Kaye and his friend Reggie who just rescued another person, well, not just any person but the Queen’s own nephew, from a bunch of bandits. The Queen has an idea, but is Kaye up to the challenge?

This was an AWESOME story!It had EVERYTHING! Action, adventure, knights, a kid hero. I love how it was set in medieval times. I like reading about knights. Mr. Winn writes in a great style that makes a very exciting story that is totally appropriate for kids. Kaye was everything I like in a main character. He was brave, smart, kind and had a lot of perseverance.  There are black and white illustrations in the book. I thought they were a nice addition to the story. With great characters,


a clean story and a great message of perseverance and believing in yourself, this book would make a terrific holiday PRESENT ! The ending of the book also sets up the next book in the series (which isn’t out yet).

It is called “Sir Kaye and the Lost Castle Treasure”. I am looking forward to reading it!

Five out of five bookworms for “The Knighting of Sir Kaye”!fivebooks

The trailer for book 1 is exciting!

To read an excerpt from The Knighting of Sir Kaye click HERE.

To learn more about Mr. Winn, please visit his website by clicking HERE.

You can find The Knighting of Sir Kay at Amazon, Barnes and Noble or iTunes.

**NOTE – Please check back tomorrow when I post my 12×12 party post! There’s a party going on and you can join in the fun! Check it out at Julie Hedlund’s blog HERE! **

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