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Perfect Picture Book Friday! They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel

27 Aug

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 unique story on perspective.

They All Saw a CatThey All Saw a Cat
By Brendan Wensel
44 pages – ages 5+

Published by Chronicle Books on August 30, 2016

Theme/Topic- Perspective

Genre- Realistic Fiction? Nonfiction?

Opening and Synopsis- Opening:The cat walked through the world, with its whiskers, ears, and paws…'”

Synopsis from publisher: “In this glorious celebration of observation, curiosity, and imagination, Brendan Wenzel shows us the many lives of one cat, and how perspective shapes what we see. When you see a cat, what do you see?

What I Thought- This is a really neat book. I like that when the others look at the cat, not only does it look different, but the illustrations reflect what is seen is an amazing way. Check out some interior pages –

image004 image005 image003

 

That was pretty cool! The story is a great way to teach kids about perspective and the way things are seen by different people. A great lesson of what you see is not what someone else may see! This is  Wenzel’s debut as both an author and illustrator, and it is great start. I am anxiously awaiting his next creation!

Activities and Resources- There is a great lesson plan about perspectives at Readwritethink.org HERE!

Teachingwithamountainview.com has a fabulous post on teaching point of view HERE!

Check out the book’s trailer –

Chronicle Books has an activity pack that goes with the book that you can download. Click HERE to get it!
To find more Perfect Picture Books please visit Susanna Hill’s blog HERE!

Review! Real or Fake? by Emily Krieger

24 Aug

realorfakeReal or Fake?: Far-Out Fibs, Fishy Facts, and Phony Photos to Test for the Truth

Written by Emily Krieger

Illustrated by Tom Nick Cocotos

208 pages – ages 7+

Published by National Geographic Children’s Books on May 10, 2016

Synopsis from publisher- “Can you tell the truth from a tall tale? Spot a phony photo a mile away? Figure out a fib in five seconds flat? Put your amateur detective skills to work in this fun and wacky book. See if the truth triumphs as you encounter suspicious stories, fishy facts, lying lists, and more. You’ll also learn about history’s greatest hoaxes, secrets behind a good fake, internet urban legends, plus bonus information that will leave you second-guessing everything you’ve ever read. Complete with awesome photos and hilarious collage art, this is one book that you have to read to believe…or not!”

What I Thought- This is an interesting book, encouraging attention to detail and common sense. The book is fun, and kids will like reading about the hoaxes. The book challenges you to use your judgment, and figure out whether it really happened or not. There are several things in it that I didn’t expect, and I enjoyed the challenge immensely. The illustrations are neat, with a collage-y, cut-magazine look. I think that this is a neat nonfiction book that will challenge kids to re-think what they see..

National Geographic Kids has a “Real or Fake” video series kids can view. Click HERE to go to it.

I give this book four out of five bookworms.fourbooks

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Go to Sleep, Monster! by Kevin Cornell

19 Aug

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 fun, unique bedtime story.

gotosleepGo to Sleep, Monster!
By Kevin Cornell
32 pages – ages 5+

Published by Balzer + Bray on April 12, 2016

Theme/Topic- Facing your fears/Bedtime

Genre- Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “‘George,’ said Anna, ‘turn off the light!'”

Synopsis from publisher: “Getting George to sleep is a nightmare. But getting a monster to sleep? That’s an adventure.

This is the first book written and illustrated by the bestselling artist of the Terrible Two series, Kevin Cornell.”

What I Thought- This is a fun bedtime story. The kids go down the line of scary monsters, and try to figure out what is scaring them. It encourages facing fears, and helping others. The book is funny, and kids will love having it read to them. Mr. Cornell’s illustrations go perfectly with the story, and really add another dimension to the book. I think that kids will enjoy poring over the illustrations, looking for extra details.

gotosleep1

The lighting effects in the illustrations are very cool. I even like the font used.

Activities and Resources- If you need help calming your kids down before bedtime, Parenting.com and Modernparentsmessykids.com both have great activities HERE and HERE.

Parents.com has a nice article about how to deal with fears in little kids HERE.

Read a sample of this book at the publisher’s website HERE.

Learn more about the art and concept art behind this book at Mr. Cornell’s website HERE.

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

AAARROOO!!! Its the The Full Moon of the Were-Hyena Blog Tour and Giveaway!

18 Aug

Full Moon of the Were-Hyena banner
Welcome! Today, I am taking a part in the blog tour for Bruce Hale’s “Curse of the Were Hyena!”

TCURSE OF THE WERE-HYENA hi reshe Curse of the Were-Hyena

Written by Bruce Hale

224 pages – ages 8+

Published by Disney-Hperion on July 5, 2016

Synopsis from Publisher- “Two likable fourth graders–Carlos and Benny–are a little freaked out since their favorite teacher, Mr. Chu, has started acting strangely, like sniffing people’s homework, laughing hysterically, and chasing chickens. When they decide to find out what’s happening to him, they get caught up in some moonlight madness. And that’s just the beginning . . . .”

 

When I got the information for the blog tour, I was asked if I wanted anything”special” from Mr. Hale. Well, I couldn’t resist asking for his best photo of himself as a were-hyena and a description of his night as a were-hyena. Thinking Mr. Hale would politely pass on my request, I was surprised to  get this back –

BruceHale_werewolfSnapshot-1 (2)

Who knew? Bruce Hale was a were-wolf in his earlier days! The picture was accompanied with a great story about his night as a were-hyena wolf.

Born to howl

By Bruce Hale

   I’ve always had a thing for werewolves. Maybe it’s innate in me. Or maybe it dates back to when, at nine years old, my buddies and I were watching The Wolf-man on TV, and my dad burst into the room wearing monster hands and my mom’s fur hat, howling away.

You don’t forget something like that.

Whatever the cause, this werewolf love has led me to watch lots of spooky movies and to write monster stories like my newest, THE CURSE OF THE WERE-HYENA. And once, it led me to get wolfy myself.

Back when I was living in Hawaii, a friend passed me a free ticket to the Honolulu Theatre for Youth’s costume ball fundraiser. As this was right before Halloween, my favorite time of year, I immediately agreed to go.

For days, I agonized over a costume. A professional children’s theater could generate some pretty cool outfits for the other attendees. What could I wear to keep up with them?

And then it hit me. Time to go full wolf-man.

With the help of a friend, I rounded up some fake hair and spirit gum, and shredded some old clothes. I put on some spooky makeup, and she painstakingly applied the hair to my clean-shaven face.

It looked great. With a wild howl, I hopped onto a borrowed motorbike and set out for the party. It wasn’t a long ride through that October night, but it was a memorable one.

I got so many double-takes from other drivers that I couldn’t help cracking up. What, they’d never seen a werewolf biker before?

Soon I reached the party, which was held in an old-timey mansion that could’ve doubled as a haunted house. I didn’t know anybody, which normally would’ve been a cause of concern.

But not this time.

I played the werewolf role to the hilt—howling, dancing like a wild man, and savaging the trays of appetizers. I even tried to sniff the people I met, not all of whom cared for this.

In short, I had a terrific time.

Other partiers tried to guess who I was under all that makeup and hair, but since they’d never met me before, all their guesses were wrong. I preserved my werewolf identity, never revealing my real name.

And when at last I mounted my motorbike and rode off under a gibbous moon, I rode with a smile. Many sons don’t want to end up just like their fathers, but when you’ve got a dad who’s a wolf-man, it’s just too much fun to resist.

 

BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!!

The Full Moon of the Were-Hyena Howling Good Giveaway!

Ten winners will receive a copy of Bruce Hale’s The Curse of the Were-Hyena. Four Grand Prize winners will receive The Curse of the Were-Hyena plus an advance reading copy of the second book in the series, Mutant Mantis Lunch Ladies! And as a bonus, Grand Prize winners will also get a signed photo of Bruce Hale disguised as a were-wolf! Click here to enter.
Photo Credit Jose Carpizo

Photo Credit Jose Carpizo

Author Bio: Edgar-nominated author Bruce Hale is passionate about inspiring reluctant readers to read. He has written or illustrated more than 35 seriously funny books for children, including the popular School for S.P.I.E.S. and Chet Gecko Mysteries series; as well as picture books such as Clark the Shark, Snoring Beauty, and Big Bad Baby. An actor and a Fulbright Scholar in Storytelling, Bruce is in demand as a speaker, having presented at conferences, universities, and schools around the world. Bruce’s book The Malted Falcon was an Edgar Award Finalist and Murder, My Tweet won the Little D Award for Humor Writing. He lives in Santa Barbara, California with his wife and dog.

Connect with him on Twitter and Facebook!
BUT WAIT! EVEN MORE!
What is a post about a book without me telling you what I thought about it?CURSE OF THE WERE-HYENA hi res

What I Thought- I really am not into monster stories but I really liked Hale’s writing in his School for S.P.I.E.S. series and figured I’d give it a try. I am happy I did. Although the story is about a fictional monster, Hale made his characters realistic. The characters in the book are fourth-graders and the dialogue is spot on. The illustrations throughout the book are a good addition and are great for the story’s intended audience. While I do not normally read monster books, this one is less on the horror, and has a decent amount of humor tossed in it. It is good for kids who want a scary story that isn’t too scary. There are still stakes (as in plot stakes, not vampire stakes), but the book is completely appropriate for an 8-year-old+ audience.  This is a great start to a new series!

Visit Mr. Hale’s website to get the discussion guide and activities!

Review! 101 Things to Do Outside

17 Aug

101outside101 Things to Do Outside

by Susan Hayes

Illustrated by  Shahid Mahmood

Editors Fay Evans, Lydia Halliday

144 pages – ages 8-12

Published by  Walter Foster Jr, (Division of Quatro) on March 1, 2016 (Published by Weldon Owen in  Great Britain 2015)

Synopsis from Publisher- “From animal tracking and survival skills to using a compass and growing vegetables, 101 Things to Do Outside is the perfect guide for young explorers and aspiring adventurers longing for a taste of the great outdoors. Right outside your front door, there’s a world bursting with adventures just waiting to be explored. This pocket-sized book is overflowing with things to try, do, learn, and remember (plus it has a handy checklist!). Includes helpful step-by-step illustrations and plenty of activities and lessons. Actvities include: Outdoor games such as beach basketball and giant chess; Outdoor art projects such as build a hammock and making bark rubbings; Outdoor nature activities such as bug hunting and fossil hunting; Outdoor gardening activities such as planting a boot garden and creating an herb window box; Outdoor exploring activities such as cooking on a campfire and sending message with a flashlight. The fourth installment of the 101 Things series encourages children to step away from the computer screen and experience nature firsthand from their very own backyards.”

What I Thought- This is a decent guide to doing things outside. The instructions are thorough and easy to understand. I really liked the format of the book – it’s spiral bound like a notebook. Each page has a description of an activity along with illustrations to help and a list of materials.  There is also a little check box at the bottom of each activity so you can mark that you’ve done it – nice feature.

101outside1

The pages are colored and have an “outdoorsy” feel about them.  The instructions also point out good times to ask an adult for help. There are games, crafts and some science based activities. Most of the activities are probably good for third graders and younger, with a few things for older kids. I took the book camping with us last week and read it. It gave us some ideas of things to do! I can see parents handing the book to kids who say “I’m bored” or using it as a way to get their kids outside more.  Overall a fun book that is a great boredom buster!

For a full preview of the book, visit the publisher’s website by clicking HERE.

I give this book four out of five bookworms!fourbooks

Review! 20,000 Nerds Under the Sea by Jeff Miller

3 Aug

2000020,000 Nerds Under the Sea

Series: The Nerdy Dozen #3 (#2)

By Jeff Miller

208 pages – ages 8+

Published by HarperCollins on December 8, 2015

Synopsis from the publisher- “Can the nerds handle the high seas? It’s anchors away for this motley crew of middle grade, video-gaming heroes. In the exciting third book of the Nerdy Dozen series, Neil Andertol and his friends are in for their toughest mission yet!

Neil and his crew have reunited at Reboot Robiski’s video-game convention in order to try the brand-new underwater game, Captain Jolly’s Shark Hunt. Except that their win only leads to trouble.

Neil, Sam, and Biggs are captured by the real Captain Jolly, who needs their video-game skills so she can destroy the world. As they embark on an underwater adventure, can the Nerdy Dozen save the day before everything is KO’d?”

What I Thought-I really like this series. Mr. Miller has a fun writing style that really gets into the minds of young tweens, making the story pretty believable. And this has nothing to do with the fact that I am a nerd.🙂 The story is at the same time possible, yet completely wacky. It is neat how the characters are changing from book to book. They slowly become more mature and developed as characters. I like that there is a subtle message of forgiving your enemies, because in all the books, the characters make friends with the “villain” – in a completely plausible way. I really enjoyed how it makes video games into a pretty important thing, seeing as they have helped save the world several times. The action is realistic, spot on for Miller’s audience and makes a great story.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Review! 100 Things to Know Before You Grow Up by Lisa M. Gerry

2 Aug

100things100 Things to Know Before You Grow Up

By Lisa M. Gerry

256 pages – ages 7+

Published by National Geographic Children’s Books on March 8, 2016

Synopsis from publisher – “It’s fun to be a kid, but are you ready for what comes next? Challenge yourself with these 100 things and you will be! Jam-packed with tips, tricks, and skills that every kid should master before turning 18, this is the ultimate guide to becoming a fun-loving, well-rounded, totally competent and confident young person. Complete with expert advice from real life explorers, adventurers, and masters of their craft, it’s perfect for jump-starting an amazing life!”

What I Thought- This is a good nonfiction book. It has several neat things to know. The tips are good, there are inspirational interviews, and practical advice. There is a nice mix of things to know, with things just for fun, such as balancing a spoon on your nose, and practical things to know, such as how to load the dishwasher. The only thing I didn’t really like is that it didn’t tell you how to do everything. For example, #30 (Page 78-79) is “How To Edit A Video” – but it just says it is a nice thing to learn. The pictures are a nice addition that jazzed up some of the sections. Overall, a nice summer read!

I give this book four out of five bookworms.fourbooks

Guest Review by Josie – Piper Green and the Fairy Tree: The Sea Pony by Ellen Potter

31 Jul

Today my little sister Josie is here with a review on a book she really enjoyed! Take it away Josie!

seaponyThe Sea Pony

Series: Piper Green and the Fairy Tree

by Ellen Potter

Illustrated by Qin Leng

128 pages – ages 7 – 9
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young People

Will be published on August 16, 2016

Publishers summary: Piper Green is in for another adventure when she finds an unusual whistle hidden inside the Fairy Tree in her front yard. But Piper doesn’t want a whistle… she wants a pony! On a trip with her dad to check the family’s lobster traps, the whistle attracts the attention of an unexpected friend. Could the fairy whistle working its magic after all?

What Josie Thought: The story in the book was very cute. I liked that the chapters were small but I got a good story out of them. I think books like that are good for kids who like to read but sometimes have trouble reading. Piper’s big brother’s name is Erik – I thought that was funny because my big brother’s name is Erik.🙂 There was a lot of funny lines in the book. I really like Piper and want to read more about her. I liked that Piper was wishing for something and didn’t get exactly what she thought she would but it turned out even better. I liked the other characters in the book too and the town (or the island) Piper lives in. I really like the idea of the fairy tree. I want to read more about that too. The pictures in each chapter were nice. I liked seeing the pictures that go with the story.

I would read the other books in this series!

I give this book 5 out of 5 bookworms. fivebooks

Review! Who Wins? by Clay Swartz

31 Jul

whowinsWho Wins?: 100 Historical Figures Go Head-to-Head and You Decide the Winner!

Written by Clay Swartz

Illustrated by Tom Booth

104 pages – ages 7+

Published by Workman Publishing Company on July 12, 2016

Synopsis from the Publisher- “Let’s say Charles Dickens challenges Mother Teresa to a lightsaber duel—they’re both equally fit, so will his superior artistry overcome her advantage in bravery and leadership? Or who wins karaoke—Nelson Mandela or Jane Austen? They certainly both have a way with words, but Mandela’s over-the-top courage might take the day.

whowin2

Mixing and matching 100 historical figures in 50 competitive categories, from Ping-Pong to climbing Mount Everest, Who Wins? turns history into a compelling game, which means kids learn while having fun in the process. Each of the famous people is given a short bio and ranked in six categories—bravery, leadership, artistry, wealth, wisdom, and fitness.

And because there are no right answers, the reader decides, and in the very act of deciding and justifying the answer, real learning has taken place.”

What I Thought- This was a really neat nonfiction book! There are three columns of flip-able papers, with the outer two being the historical figures, and the middle one being the event they are competing in. Kids will love flipping through the pages and matching up the real-life figures. Here is a picture of the book I have –

whowins3

I like that there is a short biographical paragraph for each figure, along with fun facts. Swartz notes that the categories (such as wealth, leadership and intelligence) that each historical figure is ranked on a scale of 1-10 are his take on the people he chose to put in the book. He points out that the reader can feel free to argue about his rankings and they are meant as a reference point. I definitely found some that I would argue on – Abraham Lincoln only getting a 6 for intelligence – Sacagawea only gets an 8 for leadership – seriously? Seeing as how the rankings are meant for fun I won’t file a formal complaint. ;)  I think that I disagree with some of the rankings makes the point of the book – it gets a person thinking about who these people were and brings them to life. Each informational section on the historical figures is meant to give a brief overview of the person. While I found some prime information a bit glossed over in some instances (Josephine Baker being a spy for the French revolution), the majority of the bio’s were enough to give the reader an understanding on who the people are. I found quite a few people I have never heard of and found it enjoyable to learn about them.  Booth’s illustrations gave the book an extra kick. They really make the people come to life, giving a glimpse of the personality of these people.  The “Who Wins” game itself was fun and as I said before it really makes the reader think about who these people are. I love the uniqueness of this book!

I give this book five out of five bookworms! fivebooks

Review! Herobrine’s Message by Sean Fay Wolfe

30 Jul

minecraft3Herobrine’s Message

Series: The Elementia Chronicles (see reviews for #1, #2)

By Sean Fay Wolfe

784 pages – ages 8+

Published by HarperCollins on January 26, 2016

Synopsis- President Stan is still missing, Councilman Charlie and Commander Crunch are still captured, and the war between the Republic of Elementia and the Noctem Alliance is not looking bright for the Republic. Add into the fact that they do not know the extent of the mysterious evil Lord Tenebris’ powers, and that there is an even more mysterious unknown player that nobody has ever seen before. The war is reaching the final battle, but the scales could tip either way.

What I Thought- This is a thrilling conclusion to the Elementia Chronicles. I loved the first two books, which honestly really surprised me – I don’t really like Minecraft.  I think that that goes to show that the series is not just for the Minecraft player. Wolfe’s story telling is excellent. The book is well written – there is the right amount of detail, and you really begin to care for the characters. Wolfe is a master at tying up loose plot ends that occurred during the trilogy. I really enjoyed the conclusion of the series. I often get disappointed in the last book of a series but Wolfe keeps up the same level of writing throughout the series. As a reader I can see this, and I appreciate that effort. I will be looking for more novels from Wolfe!

I give this book five out of five bookworms! fivebooks

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