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Perfect Picture Book Friday! I Love Cake! By Tammi Sauer AND WINNER OF DIARY OF A TOKYO TEEN!!!

30 Sep

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 story about friendship.

cakeI Love Cake! Starring Rabbit, Porcupine, and Moose
Written by Tammi Sauer
Illustrated by Angie Rozelaar
40 pages – ages 5+

Published by HarperCollins on May 3, 2016

Theme/Topic- Friendship

Genre-  Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “In the middle of Sweet Valley Woods lived Rabbit, Porcupine, and Moose.

‘I am Rabbit.’

‘I am Porcupine.’

‘I am Frog. Just kidding! I am Moose.'”

Synopsis from Publisher: “Bestselling author Tammi Sauer’s characters are both lovable and mischievous. In I Love Cake!, the first picture book featuring irrepressible Moose, orderly Rabbit, and fun-loving Porcupine, Rabbit plans a fabulous birthday party with fun activities and a delicious cake. Porcupine and Moose come to enjoy Rabbit’s big day, but everything goes south when impulsive Moose loses control of his appetite!

With hilarious bits of dialogue throughout, I Love Cake! is not only a dynamic read-aloud, it works as an inspiration for a short play. Themes of friendship and forgiveness come through on every page—and the birthday theme makes I Love Cake! an excellent choice for a birthday gift!”

What I Thought- This book is fun – it shows all of the joys of friendship, and how friends can get angry, but also forgive each other. Moose realizes that you cannot always just say you are sorry, so he decides to fix the problem (I won’t tell you how!🙂 ). I like that Ms. Sauer describes Moose as “just Moose”, because I think it is good that kids realize you don’t need to be known for something, you can just be yourself. That was a very nice subtle message. There is a gentle humor to the book, which is helped with the sweet illustrations of Ms. Rozelaar. Altogether, this is just a perfect book!

Activities and Resources- For a good resource for friendship activities, visit Momsandmunchkins.com HERE!

To learn more about how kids make and keep friends, visit Verywell.com HERE!

Because Rabbit is throwing her birthday party, HERE are some tips for planning kids’ birthday parties from Parenting.com!

 

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

AND THE WINNER OF THE COPY OF DIARY OF A TOKYO TEEN (Review HERE) IS…

Maemi!!!

I will be emailing you shortly to find out your mailing address, so you can get your copy of the book!

Review! Frazzled by Booki Vivat

29 Sep

frazzledFrazzled: Everyday Disasters and Impending Doom

By Booki Vivat

240 pages – ages 8+

Published by HarperCollins on September 27, 2016

Synopsis- Abbie Wu knows that Middles get the worst of it all. Just take the Middle Ages for example – they were pretty terrible (what with the no electricity and the plague)! It’s also pretty terrible being a Middle Child (Abbie would surely know – she’s one!), and if that’s not enough to convince you, Middle School is the epitome, the middle of middles! This, of course, means that Abbie Wu is most certainly doomed. How will she ever survive, or even get to the middle of, middle school?

What I Thought- This was a pretty funny book! I think the main reason I found it funny is that I have similar classmates that overreacted to everything in sixth grade (some still overreact to things!😉 ). The book is very realistic of school life and the kids who inhabit it. Ms. Vivat’s writing style is very over-the-top in a very good way – including immense exaggerations and other such things. The stroy gets into the head of a 6th grader perfectly, and keeps the readers chuckling throughout the book. There are pretty awesome doodles throughout the book, drawn by Ms. Vivat, which help tell the story – quite literally, as phrases, dialogues, and even entire scenes happen within them. I thought that was a nice way to make the book easier to read for younger kids and they add to the fun feel of the book. The book is hilarious, and kids will enjoy reading about the (mis)adventures of Abbie Wu!

fivebooks

I give this book 5 out of 5 bookworms!

Check out the book’s trailer!

Review and GIVEAWAY! Groovy Joe: Ice Cream and Dinosaurs by Eric Litwin

28 Sep

groovyGroovy Joe: Ice Cream and Dinosaurs
Series: Groovy Joe #1
Written by Eric Litwin
Illustrations by Tom Lichtenheld
40 pages – ages 3+
Published by Orchard Books on August 30, 2016

Synopsis from Publisher-Meet Groovy Joe, a fun-lovin’, guitar-strummin’, doggy-ice-cream-eatin’ pup as he wrangles three hungry dinosaurs and soon has them singing, grooving, and sharing! 

Groovy Joe was living the dream.
He had a spoon and tub of doggy ice cream.
And he started to sing:
Love my doggy ice cream! Love my doggy ice cream!

Eric Litwin, author of the bestselling and beloved Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes, and bestselling artist Tom Lichtenheld, illustrator of Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site, have created a captivating new canine character who will groove his way into readers’ hearts and have them grooving and giggling all the while. In his debut adventure, Groovy Joe faces three roaring dinosaurs hungry for his doggy ice cream! Oh no! But Joe knows just what to do and soon enough he has them all sharing while moving and singing along.”

What I Thought- This is a really nice picture book! I really liked Mr. Litwin’s Pete the Cat series, and the positive message it sends, and this new series looks like it will be just as great! The illustrations are very fun, summing up the signature rhyme and rhythm of Mr. Litwin’s writing perfectly. The book has repetitive phrases, so kids will be able to follow along easily, and even read together with their parents. Groovy Joe is a good role model, always showing kindness, and not yelling at the three dinos that kick down his door (that is extreme kindness right there!). This is a great new book, and kids will love the new series, with the next book coming out in Fall 2017! Love the groovy music downloads that go with the book too! I wonder if Groovy Joe will ever meet Pete the Cat!😉

groovy2

Check out the Groovy Joe website HERE for a discussion guide, music and more!

ericlitwin

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Eric Litwin is a #1 New York Times bestselling author who merges music and early literacy together. He is the author of the first four Pete the Cat picture books and the exciting new musical series The Nuts. Eric’s books have sold more than 6.5 million copies and won eighteen state and national awards, including a Theodor Geisel Seuss Honor Award. Eric is a popular performing artist who plays guitar, sings, tells stories, and brings books to life. Visit him at ericlitwin.com.

 tomlichtenheld

ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR: Tom Lichtenheld is the illustrator of the New York Times bestsellers Duck! Rabbit!Exclamation MarkSteam Train, Dream TrainShark vs. Train; and Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site, which has been on the bestseller list for over three years. He has also written and illustrated a number of books, including What Are You So Grumpy AboutCloudette, and E-mergency, a Publishers Weekly and Boston Globe Best Book of 2011. For more information, visit him at tomlichtenheld.com.

Check out the trailer!

WIN A Groovy Starter Pack!!!

groovyprize

One (1) winner receives:

  • a copy of Groovy Joe: Ice Cream and Dinosaurs
  • a “Get Groovy” art-print from the illustrator.

To enter, all you need to do is leave a comment, but, if you want, you can also describe a time when something you did made somebody’s day!

The giveaway will be closed on October 4th, and the winner announced on October 5th!

Giveaway open to US addresses only.

Prizing and samples provided by Scholastic.*

Visit the website HERE to hear the free downloadable musical performance of this rocking story in English and Spanish! While you’re there, check out “The Groovy Dance,” Joe’s very own doggy dance track!”

*Please note that I am partnering with Scholastic for this post.

Review and book birthday! The Ominous Eye by Tracey Hecht

20 Sep

nocturnals2The Ominous Eye

Series: The Nocturnals #2 (#1)

Written by Tracey Hecht

208 pages – ages 7+

Published by Fabled Films Press on September 20, 2016 (TODAY!)

Synopsis- “Join Dawn, Bismark and Tobin as they set out to investigate the source of a violent jolt that fractures the earth! Along their journey, the Nocturnal Brigade meets an unfamiliar reptile—a tuatara named Polyphema—who reveals that a giant beast caused the destruction and will soon strike again. Polyphema with her special insights, is the only one who can help the Nocturnal Brigade stop this fearsome predator… but can she be trusted? With help from an owl, the jerboas, and some kiwis, the animals set a trap since surrender is not an option against this relentless beast.”

What I Thought- This was a nice sequel to the first Nocturnals book. It still has the same feel, but it also shows the characters changed just a bit, and become more mature. The book gives enough background so that the reader doesn’t have to have read the first book (but do because it was good!). I like that it has a friendship message that kids can follow, while still being an enjoyable book and not preachy. The friends that make up the Nocturnal Brigade are fun and a but zany. The characters are funny and personable, and their personalities develop throughout the story. There are nice watercolor illustrations throughout the book that really add to the overall feeling of the book. Hecht’s writing really sets the readers imagination on fire! I think that this is a great series, and I hope the next books are as great as the first two!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Reviews – Non-fiction Monday!

19 Sep

I’ve been trying to find and read a larger variety of children’s non-fiction books. I was sent some non-fiction books from Rourke Educational Media (visit the publisher’s website HERE) and I really like the variety of subjects the publisher carries. I also like how the topics are broken down into bite-sized chunks making complex topics easy for kids to digest. Below are some of the books that really caught my eye.

tesla

Vroom! Hot Cars: Tesla Model S
By Julio Diaz
32 pages – ages 5+
Published by Rourke Educational Media

Synopsis from Publisher- “The ground-breaking Tesla is featured in this title with information on how it is changing the automobile world.”

What I Thought- In a world of limited fuel, it is important for kids to know that they do not need to buy a gas-powered car. It not only explains that there is a 100% electric car, but it also explains how it works. It includes diagrams, photos, and clear descriptions on how the car works, is made, and the good it does for the environment. The book is very informative.

hotelYIKES! It’s Haunted: Haunted Hotels
By Grace Ramsey
32 pages – ages 5+
Published by Rourke Educational Media

Synopsis from Publisher- “This title looks at haunted hotels around the world with paranormal activity that has happened there.”

What I Thought- This was an interesting book. It talks of the ghosts, without making it too scary. It is nice that it mentions haunted places all over the world, so kids get a bit of a geography lesson too. This is a great read, with Halloween coming up, and there will be a lot of interest in the subject. Kids will love learning about these spooky attractions.

phtogSTEAM Jobs In: Photography (Steam Jobs You’ll Love)

By Ray Reyes
48 pages – ages 5+
Published by Rourke Educational Media

Synopsis from Publisher- “Photography is the focus of this STEAM driven title in the world of photography. Focusing on the improvements of equipment.”

What I Thought- This was a great introduction to jobs involving photography and STEAM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math). It discusses how photographers need to know angles and lighting and other things, such as how they use technology to edit the photos, engineering to design/innovate cameras, scientists using cameras to photograph space, and other such things. It is a neat book, and kids interested in cameras would like to learn how they can make a living with one.

Perfect Picture Book Friday! There’s a Giraffe in My Soup by Ross Burach

16 Sep

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 story.

giraffesoupThere’s a Giraffe in My Soup
By Ross Burach
32 pages – ages 4+

Published by HarperCollins on February 23, 2016

Theme/Topic- Humor/Table manners

Genre-  Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “‘Excuse me, Waiter?

There’s a giraffe in my soup!'”

Synopsis from Publisher: “What if you found a giraffe in your soup, an alligator in your entreé, an elephant on the table, or even an ostrich in your dish?

In this debut picture book from author-illustrator Ross Burach, an assortment of hairy, scary animals pop out from under the lid at a restaurant!”

What I Thought- This is a good, classic, everything-goes-wrong-but-in-a-good-way book. It is a hilarious spin off of the “There’s a fly in my soup!” jokes, starting big, and getting zanier as the book progresses. Kids will beg to have the book reread to them, if the fact that I just read the book five times in a row it is that good! The illustrations are perfect for the story. They are zany and fit in with the mixed-up story.  The book is a perfect read-aloud, particularly for two people (or a teacher and their class) to read the boy’s and the waiter’s lines. Funny voices would be perfect too! I can’t wait to read more from this debut author!

Activities and Resources- Because the book takes place in a “fine-restaurant,” you can talk about table manners with your kids, with topic ideas to discuss at Emilypost.com HERE!

If you want to lead into a discussion about manners with activities, at Childfun.com HERE!
Check out the book’s trailer –

You can read a sample of the book at the publisher’s website HERE

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

Blog Tour! Bjorn’s Gift by Sandy Brehl

14 Sep

bjornBjorn’s Gift

Sequel to Odin’s Promise

By Sandy Brehl

272 pages – ages 8+

Will be published by Crispin Books on October 5th, 2016

Synopsis from Publisher-Set in Norway during World War II, Bjorn’s Gift continues the adventures of Mari, a young Norwegian girl who faces growing hardships and dangers in her small village in a western fjord.
German occupation troops and local Nazi supporters move closer to her family’s daily life, and her classmate Leif becomes active in the Norwegian Nazi youth party. Mari struggles to live up to her brother Bjorn’s faith in her, as she becomes more involved in risky resistance activities, trusting only her family and a few close friends.
Across Norway, oppressive laws are imposed in the months from Fall 1941 to early 1943, with dire local consequences. Difficult decisions force Mari to admit that many things in life are not easily sorted into good or bad, and she begins to wonder if Hitler will ever be defeated and . . . whether the occupation of Norway will ever end.

What I Thought- Odin’s Promise was a wonderful historical fiction novel that I thoroughly enjoyed. I was excited to see a sequel and was equally impressed with Brehl’s writing in this novel. Ms. Brehl’s way of writing down the events makes it very personal, and you can really feel the turmoil that Mari, the main character, is going through. The book is set during WWII in Norway. I really enjoy this because the Norwegian occupation is something glossed over in the history classes I have had so far. It is a part of history that I want to know more about. The imagery Brehl uses is amazing. She paints vivid images in sentences that really makes the reading experience enjoyable. The beautiful descriptions of Norway set against the ugliness of the political time is a striking contrast. This is a riveting historical fiction novel, and I think it really brings to light a different side of the German invasion of Norway. The book is completely appropriate for younger readers.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

author-brehl-copy-1 Sandy Brehl is a retired educator and active member of SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators). When she’s not reading and writing, she enjoys gardening. She lives in the Milwaukee area and invites you to visit her website (www.SandyBrehl.com) to learn more about ODIN’S PROMISE and BJORN’S GIFT. Sign up for quarterly newsletters to stay informed about future releases (including MARI’S HOPE), and special events and offers.

Contacts:

Crispin Books, an imprint of Crickhollow

sandybrehl.com
Twitter: @SandyBrehl
Facebook.com
Email: Sandy@sandybrehl.com
Sandy shares a blog about middle grade historical novels with three other authors: TheStoriedPast.org
Also blogs about picture books at UnpackingPictureBookPower.com and @PBWorkshop on Twitter

Blog tour schedule:

September 1– Interview with Todd Burleson at GROG blog:

Groggorg.com

September 7- Review: Stephanie Lowden at golowd, a blog about teaching and books:

Golowd.com

September 11- Guest post Unleashing Readers

Unleashingreaders.com

September 14- (TODAY!!!)- Review by Erik at This Kid Reviews Books,

Thiskidreviewsbooks.com

September 19- Review, Suzanne Warr, at Tales from the Raven, for MMGM:

Suzannewarr.com

September 20- Olivia and Oscar- review of ODIN’S PROMISE at Kid Book Reviewer:

Kidbookreviewer.com

September 27- Olivia and Oscar- review of BJORN’S GIFT at Kid Book Reviewer:

Kidbookreviewer.com 

September 29- Alex Baugh review at The Children’s War

Thechildrenswar.blogspot.com

October 3- Jenni Enzor MMGM with review and interview:

Jennienzor.com

October 5- MomReadIt- Review by Rosemary

Momreadit.com

October 7- Trisha P at Mindjacked

Trishap00.com

October 11- Guest post Rochelle Melander

Writenowcoach.com

Perfect Picture Book Friday! How to Put Your Parents to Bed by Mylisa Larsen

9 Sep

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 I love a good bedtime book!

putparentstobedHow to Put Your Parents to Bed
Written by Mylisa Larsen
Illustrated by Babette Cole
32 pages – ages 5+

Published by Katherine Tegen Books on February 2, 2016

Theme/Topic- Making your own food/Eating healthy

Genre- Realistic Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “I know. You are not tired.

You could scale a tall tower.
You could sail savage seas.
You could paint a masterpiece.”

Publisher’s Synopsis: “No one likes going to bed. And you’re not even tired. You want to stay up and have all sorts of fun adventures! But take a look at your parents. They’re really tired. They’re exhausted. But they just won’t go to bed! Help them put down the cell phones, turn off the TV, stop cleaning the dishes, and go to bed! You might be small, but you can handle this task. Follow the instructions in this book and you’ll have them snoring in no time.”

What I Thought- This is a funny look at bedtimes, with a surprisingly accurate look at what parents would do. The book is a good bedtime story, and kids will love trying to put their parents to bed.

putparents2

The book makes it sound as if a kid (or  maybe the cat?) is really talking to you. The illustrations have a way of being realistic and really fun to look at. There are a lot of details, so I’m sure there are things you can find in the illustrations. Ms. Larsen has written a nice bedtime story that will make kids and parents giggle!

Activities and Resources- If you have trouble getting your kids to go to bed, Amomwithalessonplan.com has a nice article over HERE!

Here is a list of things you can do right before bedtime from Naturalparentsnetwork.com right HERE!

Check out the video trailer!

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

Review! Legend of the Forest Beast by Don M. Winn

3 Sep

sirkayeLegend of the Forest Beast

Series: Sir Kaye the Boy Knight #3 (#1, #2)

Written by Don M. Winn

Illustrated by Dave Allred

178 pages – ages 7+

Published by Progressive Rising Phoenix Press, LLC on July 8, 2016

Synopsis- Sir Kaye, the boy knight, is back on another adventure! He and his two friends, Reggie and Beau, were at the castle when it is found out that the royal tutor has gone missing! And recently a man was just escaped from prison who was put in there because of the tutor. Can this be foul play? But anyway, this is Kaye’s first adventure not involving the castle! It’s his chance to earn his knight name – like Sir Griswald the Patient or Sir Harry the Just! This is his big opportunity to prove that he’s a great knight!

What I Thought- This was a nice installation in the Sir Kaye series. Winn’s writing style is perfect for his young audience. Winn shows that Medieval times were harsh and not always as wonderful as we sometimes imagine. I like that the books have a way of not hiding the fact that death happens, but also keeping it appropriate for the younger readers. I like the character development in this book. Kaye and Reggie both grow as people in very different aspects. They mature as the story goes on and we learn more about who they are as a people. The book is a nice look into medieval life, while also teaching good morals such as honesty, trustworthiness, and many more. There are also really neat black-and-white illustrations throughout the book. I really enjoy this series!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Let’s Play! by Herve Tullet

2 Sep

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 interactive book.

letsplayLet’s Play!
By Hervé Tullet
68 pages – ages 3+

Published by Chronicle Books on March 29, 2016

Theme/Topic- Interactive book

Genre- Nonfiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “Hey there! I’m getting a little bored in here. Wanna play?”

Synopsis from publisher: “It’s only a yellow dot…but what a dot it is! Readers won’t be able to resist this jaunty, adventurous dot, nor its invitation to play along. Thus begins a spectacular ride of color, motion, shape, and imagination, filled with the artistry and delight that we know and love so well from Press Here and Mix It Up! But on this journey, prepare to leap headlong into a completely new dimension: emotion. Connecting not only to the mind but also to the heart, this dot expresses an extraordinary sense of humor, fear, joy, and more as it pushes, lurches, wiggles, and slides its way through—and even off!—the pages of this glorious companion to Press Here and Mix It Up!

What I Thought- I really like the creativity of Tullet. His imagination shows in this book! I think it is extremely fascinating how he orchestrates the story line. Tullet guides the reader – anticipating what he will do. The wording of the instructions for the “game” and the illustrations completely immerse the reader in the book. Which brings me to another point – the illustrations, although simple, are brilliantly done! They tactfully bring all the attention onto the yellow dot – even though there is more going on in them. Kids and parents will love interacting with and reading this book!

Activities and Resources- One thing I would suggest is creating an interactive book of your own! Think of what you can have your reader and character do together!

Check out this video where Tullet introduces us to Let’s play!

Down load an activity kit and a Common Core aligned teachers guise at Chronicle’s website HERE
To find more Perfect Picture Books please visit Susanna Hill’s blog HERE!

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