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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!

 

Perfect Picture Book(s) Friday! Frederick Douglass: The Lion Who Wrote History and How to Be a Bigger Bunny

14 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 a motivating story about a man who changed history!

I actually have two book reviews here today! The second book I am going to review is How to Be a Bigger Bunny by By Wendell and Florence Minor. I did have this book scheduled for today but the great Miss Marple beat me to nominating it! I guess that means it really is a perfect picture book if everyone is nominating it! 😉

Frederick Douglass: The Lion Who Wrote History
Written by Walter Dean Myers
Illustrated by Floyd Cooper
40 pages – ages 5+

Published by HarperCollins on January 24, 2017

Theme/Topic- Perseverance / Standing up for your beliefs
Genre- Nonfiction
Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “This is the story of how one man’s careful decisions and many accomplishments not only made his own life better but in many ways changed the history of America”

Synopsis from Publisher: “Frederick Douglass was a self-educated slave in the South who grew up to become an icon. He was a leader of the abolitionist movement, a celebrated writer, an esteemed speaker, and a social reformer, proving that, as he said, “Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.””

What I Thought- Myers has written a great picture book biography. I like that it delves into the evil of slavery, but in a completely age-appropriate manner. The book mentions how it affected Douglass, and how he overcame it. It covers major points in Douglass’ life, and how he always used his words to speak up. Cooper’s illustrations are perfect for the story, making it realistic with a stunning historic quality to them. The book is a bit lengthy, seeing as it is a very informative biography, and would make a good book for an introduction to a topic in school. There is also a page in the back with information on Douglass, going into more depth than the book. Douglass was an inspiring man, and this book definitely captures his spirit!

Activities and Resources- Biography.com has a page about Frederick Douglass – if you want to learn more, you can go HERE.

Allprodad.com has a great list on ways to help your children be able to stand up for what is right HERE.

Read a sample at the publisher’s website HERE.

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

Now on to How to Be A Bigger Bunny!

How to Be a Bigger Bunny
By Wendell and Florence Minor (co-authors)
32 pages – ages 4+
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on January 24, 2017

Synopsis- Tickles was the smallest bunny in her family, and her siblings would always leave her behind when they went on adventures. Tickles always ended up reading in her favorite reading spot. She reads about bunnies that teach her to be brave, courageous, and persistent. So when her bunny family doesn’t come back late at night, Tickles realizes she must find them. But what can a bunny do when they’re trapped in a log with a large rock on the end?

What I thought – First off I love the name of the small bunny – Tickles! It just makes you smile! I also love that Tickles likes to read. She relies on stories to help save the day when her family is in trouble. The story is sweet and there is a lot of fun word play. The illustrations are lush and  pleasing to look at. The pacing of the story is spot on and will keep kids wanting to know what happens next. Tickles may  be the smallest bunny but she certainly leaves a big impression!

Five of five book worms!

Review! Touch the Earth by Julian Lennon and Bart Davis

10 Apr

Just in time for Earth Day!

Touch the Earth
Co-Written by Julian Lennon and Bart Davis
Illustrated by Smiljana Coh
pages – ages 5+
Will be Published by Sky Pony Press on April 11, 2017 (Tomorrow!)

Synopsis From Publisher- From internationally known singer, songwriter, and environmental activist Julian Lennon—along with New York Times bestselling author Bart Davis and beloved Croatian illustrator Smiljana Coh—comes TOUCH THE EARTH, an inspiring and lyrical story about how children can change the word and make it a better place.
In this debut picture book, readers will jump aboard the White Feather Flier, a magical plane that can go wherever you want, just point it up in the air, or down into the water. The White Feather Flier’s mission is to take children to places all over the world, engage them in helping to save the environment, and teach them how to keep it clean for future generations.
A passion project that comes from the heart, this stunningly illustrated book is inspired by the white feather he was given by his father when he was young. TOUCH THE EARTH is the first in a planned trilogy of similarly-themed picture books, and each will be released one year apart on Earth Day. A thrilling interactive experience à la Press Here, readers will participate in the action by pushing buttons within the book to help “fly the plane.”
Lennon has written an original poem to accompany the release of this legacy book, and all proceeds will be donated to the White Feather Foundation.”

What I Thought- This book has a really nice message of helping the Earth, and doing what you can to help out. The reader guides a plane through the story with interactive instructions on which direction the plane will fly. In addition to the book  teaches North, South, East and West directions.  Readers are asked to tilt the book and push buttons.  I love how the wings of the magical plane are feathers. The illustrations are gorgeous, and have a magical quality about them. I like how the book shows environmental troubles in the world (particularly focusing on water), but it also shows solutions. The interactive part of the book is at times a bit clunky, but it doesn’t distract from the story and mostly adds dimension to the adventure. This book would be great for kids to read with an adult. This book is a great way to broach the topic of caring for the Earth, and participating in Earth Day. Lennon’s poem an author’s note in the back of the book are wonderful additions. I think he could have used the text of the poem as a stand alone book – it’s very moving. Overall, the book is a solid collaboration of text and illustration. I am looking forward to the next two books when they come out!

Visit the White Feather Foundation’s website

I give this book four out of five bookworms.

Review! Henry and the Chalk Dragon by Jennifer Trafton

3 Apr

Henry and the Chalk Dragon
Written by Jennifer Trafton
Illustrated by Benjamin Schipper
240 pages – ages 7+
Will be Published by Rabbit Room Press on April 4, 2017 (Tomorrow!)

Synopsis from the Publisher- In the town of Squashbuckle, just about anything can happen, and when eight-year-old Henry Penwhistle draws a mighty Chalk Dragon on his door, the dragon does what Henry least expects—it runs away. Now Henry’s art is out in the world for everyone to see, and it’s causing trouble for him and his schoolmates. To vanquish the beast, Henry must do more than catch his art—he has to let his imagination run wild. And that takes bravery.

What I Thought- This was a really good book! There is a fascinating concept behind the story – what happens when creativity is suppressed until it becomes its own sentient being? I like that the book shows that everyone has dreams and that they are all worthwhile and gives insight to ourselves. The book has a nice inspiring message, along with a really entertaining story. The narration is interesting, with an ingenuous style that leans towards humorous at times.  Trafton has written a marvelous story about not worrying if you fit the mold. Schipper has a great illustration style perfect for the book as well – they add a perfect touch to the story. I think the cover is stunning too. I also want to say that Trafton has a way of making you connect characters to people you know. Many of them seem familiar as if they were people in your home town. The dialogue is believable, adding to the depth of the characters. The setting doesn’t stand out so much, just a normal town with a fairly normal school – but that what makes the story so realistic (besides the art coming to life thing 😉 ) ! All in all, Trafton has written a fabulous story. I really recommend this book!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!

Feel free to check out Jennifer Trafton’s website HERE, where it features a curriculum and coloring sheets, along with more information about the book!

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Bogo, The Fox Who Wanted Everything by Susanna Isern

10 Mar

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 a good story about being yourself!

Bogo, The Fox Who Wanted Everything
Written by Susanna Isern
Illustrated by Sonja Wimmer
40 pages – ages 4+

Published by NubeOcho on October 11, 2016

Theme/Topic- Nature/Being Yourself

Genre- Fiction
Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “Bogo the fox lived in the branches of a great big tree. This is quite unusual for a fox, but he was a very curious fox and from up there he could see everything much better.”

Synopsis from Publisher: “Bogo watched many animals around him. Some of them were so incredible that they made him feel less special. One day he decided to invent amazing things so that he could have everything he wanted.
A pair of wings to fly like a bird. It never worked.
A pair of night glasses to see like an owl. It never worked . . .”

What I Thought- This is a fabulous book celebrating individuality. Bogo is a lovable character who wants to be special and doesn’t give up. Well, he does, but that ends up being the turning point of the book where he realizes how special he is by himself. Isern’s writing has qualities kids will love – there are repeated phrases and everyone feels like they know a Bogo. Wimmer’s illustrations go with the writing marvelously – they create that sense of whimsy. I really like the variety of animals – and the fact that they wear old-style clothing! This is a wonderful story, and I think kids will enjoy having this read to them!

Activities and Resources- There is a great list of ways to encourage creativity from Parents.com HERE!

There is also a post on self-esteem building from Kidsplayandcreate.com HERE!

The book is also available in Spanish!

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

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Are We There Yet? by Nina Laden

24 Feb

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 a great story.

areweAre We There Yet?
Written by Nina Laden
Illustrated by Adam McCauley
36 pages – ages 4+

Published by Chronicle Books on March 1, 2016

Theme/Topic- Using Imagination

Genre- Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “Are you ready?

Synopsis from Publisher: “We’ve all been there. Or more accurately, we’ve all been with kids in the backseat clamoring (over and over!) “Are we there yet?” In this genius of a picture book, bestselling author Nina Laden combines forces with dynamic illustrator Adam McCauley to turn that dilemma on its head. Fun for kids and adults, the book is filled with details that readers will want to hunt for (over and over!). Buckle up and enjoy the ride!

What I Thought- I think that this book is a great tribute to the imagination. The book never goes out and states that the kid is imagining the things outside the car, but it can lead into a great conversation between parent and child! A great concept story, the book has minimal text, consisting mostly of the child asking the question “Are we there yet?” (and what parent hasn’t experienced this!) and his mother answering “No” – along with a few other word bubbles. The main focus is definitely the illustrations. The illustrations are a feast for the eyes. They are whimsical, having the essence of reality intertwined with the marvel of imagination.

arewe2 arewe3 The book is a fabulous collaboration between two very creative individuals, and I hope to see them working together again!

Activities and Resources- I found a great post about the importance of imagination, along with activities to spark it HERE at Parenting.com!

There is also a fabulous list of imaginative games you can play from Familyeducation.com HERE!

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

Creative Kid Thursday! Guest Review by Josie: Red-Tail Recovery by Emma J Homes

16 Feb

Happy Thursday!

Today my sister Josie is reviewing a book that she really enjoyed!

What is more awesome is that you can pick up a FREE copy of the kindle book on Amazon TODAY – click HERE!

redtailRed-Tail Recovery

series: Ruthie’s wildlife (Book 3)
by Emma J Homes

55 pages – ages 6+
Published by Spark Street Communications Pty Ltd on December 14, 2016

Publishers summary: Ruthie’s wildlife scientist parents are taking on a new challenge – saving the endangered red-tailed black-cockatoo. For Ruthie this means a lot of exciting firsts: living in a house, and not a bus, starting at a ‘real’ school, and the chance to make some friends. As always, Ruthie will be helping her parents with their work, but will it be enough to make a difference for these rare and beautiful birds? And what will Ruthie and her family find themselves up against this time?

What Josie Thought: I really like this book. I liked the other book in this series I read (The Vanishing Frogs of Cascade Creek) and I want to get the first book too. Ruthie is a nice character. Her parents are scientists they travel around Australia in a bus and study wildlife and figure out how to help them. Ruthie and her brother and sister get to go too. That sounds like a pretty cool life. I like science and nature and this book teaches you about the Red-Tail Cockatoo and their habitat. There is a link in the back of the book for a website where there are people actually doing the work of saving the Red-Tail talked about in the book. This is what a Red-Tail looks like –

redtail2

The chapters in the book aren’t very long so it is a great book for kids who have trouble reading or are starting out. The story is fun to read and I like Ruthie’s smart solution to help the birds when their environment is being destroyed.

I give this book five bookwormsfivebooks

Thank you Josie!

Don’t forget to grab a FREE kindle copy of this book CLICK HERE!

To learn more about Emma J Homes, go to her website – click HERE

Review! Muhammad Ali by Gene Barretta #BlackHistoryMonth

15 Feb

aliMuhammad Ali: A Champion is Born
Written by Gene Barretta
Illustrated by Frank Morrison
40 pages – ages 4+
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on January 3, 2017

Synopsis from Publisher- In this picture book biography of Muhammad Ali, author Gene Barretta and illustrator Frank Morrison tell the unforgettable childhood story of this legendary boxing champion and how one pivotal moment set him on his path to become the Greatest of All Time.

The Louisville Lip. The Greatest. The People’s Champion. Muhammad Ali had many nicknames. But before he became one of the most recognizable faces in the world, before the nicknames and the championships, before he converted to Islam and changed his name to Muhammad Ali, he was twelve-year-old Cassius Clay riding a brand-new red-and-white bicycle through the streets of Louisville, Kentucky. One fateful day, this proud and bold young boy had that bike stolen, his prized possession, and he wouldn’t let it go. Not without a fight.

This would be the day he discovered boxing. And a champion was born.

What I Thought- Gene Barretta really knows how to write a picture book biography. He’s written books about other historical figures, including Thomas Edison and Benjamin Franklin. He handles this book fabulously, showing how Ali goes from Cassius Clay, a young boy who knows nothing about boxing, into Muhammad Ali, world champion. It was also nice that Barretta didn’t just focus on Ali’s path to boxing – he also showcased Ali’s civil work against segregation. This is a good book that shows someone working hard to achieve a goal, accomplishing that goal, and then helping others – kids will learn a lot from the book. There is a spread in the back talking about the life of Ali in more detail, including why he changed his name, and more about his civil work. The book is illustrated by Frank Morrison, who does a really good job at portraying the time period and capturing the essence of the people in the book. This is a great reading choice for Black History Month, seeing as Ali is a good role model all around and today’s kids should know about this great man. I really enjoy these picture book biographies by Barretta, and can’t wait to see more!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Mighty, Mighty Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker

10 Feb

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 a sweet story about teamwork and who doesn’t like construction trucks?!

mightyMighty, Mighty Construction Site
Written by Sherri Duskey Rinker
Illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
40 pages – ages 5+

Will be Published by Chronicle Books on February 14, 2017

Theme/Topic- Teamwork
Genre- Fiction
Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “Down in the big construction site,

five trucks wake to morning light,
It’s time to S-T-R-E-T-C-H, roll out of bed,
and gear up for the day ahead!”

Synopsis from Publisher: “At last—here from the team behind the beloved international bestseller comes a companion to Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site. All of our favorite trucks are back on the construction site—this time with a focus on team-building, friendship, and working together to make a big task seem small! Down in the big construction site, the crew faces their biggest job yet, and will need the help of new construction friends to get it done. Working as a team, there’s nothing they can’t do! The millions of fans of Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site are in for a mighty good time!”

What I Thought- Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site was fabulous and this sequel was no disappointment! Mighty, Mighty Construction Site is told in a rhyme that is gentle and playful. Lichtenheld’s illustrations pair perfectly with the rhyming, reflecting the warmth conveyed. The story shows the importance of working together, because then you get the job done. The story is especially sweet because it doesn’t have the negative aspect, just the original group knows when to ask for help, and they do so. The illustrations are all pleasant, and give you a very warm feeling inside when you look at them.

mighty2

Not only that, but Lichtenheld elaborates on the text with his illustrations, and adds in his own personal touch. It is truly a great collaboration.

Activities and Resources- There is a great list of things to build teamwork skills with kids from Online.Brescia.edu HERE.

KidsSoup.Com has a whole slew of construction crafts, games and activities – click HERE!

Check out the book’s trailer!

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

Review! Soldier Song by Debbie Levy

7 Feb

image001Soldier Song: A True Story of the Civil War
Written by Debbie Levy
Illustrated by Gilbert Ford
80 pages – ages 8+
Published by Disney-Hyperion on February 7, 2017 (Today!)

Synopsis from the Publisher- Amid the fearsome battles of the Civil War, both Union and Confederate soldiers were urged onward by song.

There were songs to wake them up and songs to call them to bed,
Songs to ready them for battle and to signal their retreat,
Songs to tell them that their side was right, and the other wrong . . .

And there was one song that reminded them all of what they hoped to return to after the war.

Defeated in the battle of Fredericksburg, Virginia, the Union soldiers retreated across the river. There, a new battle emerged as both armies volleyed competing songs back and forth. With the Christmas season upon them, however, Federals and Confederates longed for the same thing. As the notes of “Home, Sweet Home” rose up from both sides, they found common ground for one night.

Interwoven with soldiers’ letters and journal entries, this is a true story of duty and heartbreak, of loyalty and enemies, and of the uniting power of music. Debbie Levy’s moving text and Gilbert Ford’s vibrant, layered illustrations come together to create an unforgettable tale of American history.

What I Thought- I think that this is a fantabulous book! It captures both the feelings of horror in the American Civil War, but also the softer side of it as well. Levy has a great writing style, writing things in a way that younger kids can understand; putting in enough details for a well-rounded story. It is an amazing glimpse into a true story from the American Civil War. Ford’s illustrations are a marvelous pair to the text, including detail, but keeping it whimsical enough to have kids want to keep looking at it. The illustration evoke emotions, tying the reader to the story.

solier2

This book is a perfect parallel between the good and bad in life. The story itself is great, and is about one of those moments that you love to take part in; where everyone is on the same side. The fact that they played together was a marvelous feat, and makes for a great story. I also really like that there is additional information in the back of the book with historical info, the song “Home, Sweet Home”, and other details! I love this book!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

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