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Review! The Summer of Bad Ideas by Kiera Stewart

4 Aug

The Summer of Bad Ideas
By Kiera Stewart
304 pages – ages 9+
Published by HarperCollins on May 2, 2017

Synopsis from Publisher- “In this funny, big-hearted friendship story, perfect for fans of Wendy Mass and Linda Urban, twelve-year-old Edie and her impossibly cool cousin, Rae, set out to complete a mysterious list of “Good Ideas for Summertime” that their eccentric late grandmother wrote back when she was their age.

But good ideas? Most of them seem like bad ideas. Reckless. Foolish. Ridiculous. Still, by accomplishing everything on the list, rule-abiding Edie feels certain that she can become the effortlessly brave adventurer she dreams of being, just like her daring cousin and bold grandmother. For this one summer at least, bad ideas are the best shot she has at becoming who she wants to be.

Bad Idea Number One: It’s time for a new set of rules.

What I Thought- I think this was a neat realistic fiction story. There are so many believable details, it was fun to read about the characters and town life. I like the development of Edie as she becomes a little more adventurous, like her grandmother, as the story goes on. The story was well-written and speaks to a young middle grade audience well. At times I found the story a bit inspiring in the way Edie seeks to become a bit more outgoing. The plot is simple, predictable at times, yet satisfying. This book is a nice bridge for kids going from smaller novels to larger reads. The story flows well and gives the reader enough to remain engaged from start to finish. The characters are realistic, and I could see a lot of them acting like some of my friends. Overall, it was a fun book.

I give this book four out of five bookworms.

Review! The World’s Greatest Detective by Caroline Carlson

28 Jul

The World’s Greatest Detective
By Caroline Carlson
373 pages – ages 9+
Published by on HarperCollins on May 16, 2017

Synopsis from Publisher- “Detectives’ Row is full of talented investigators, but Toby Montrose isn’t one of them. He’s only an assistant at his uncle’s detective agency, and he’s not sure he’s even very good at that. Toby’s friend Ivy is the best sleuth around—or at least she thinks so. They both see their chance to prove themselves when the famed Hugh Abernathy announces a contest to choose the World’s Greatest Detective. But when what was supposed to be a game turns into a real-life murder mystery, can Toby and Ivy crack the case?”

What I Thought- This was a really great novel! It’s written by the author of the Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates series (which I love), and this book is just as great! The world that Carlson creates is reminiscent of the great era of mystery writers, keeping in that older time when automobiles were still new. It is surely a period for interesting detectives, as there is little to no “easy way out” to find the answer (ie, hacking into security cameras, DNA testing, etc.). Carlson creates characters that keep you wanting to read more. They are perfectly imperfect enough that you want to follow them and find out how they get out of troublesome situations. I liked that the story eases kids to the murder mystery genre in a totally acceptable read. I also love that she shows flaws in her main characters – the two kids are both good and bad detectives – making the kids feel alright if their guesses are wrong. Carlson’s writing strengths shine in this book. She can write with a wackiness a subtle type of humor that brightens tense situations. I really hope there is a second book!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!

Review! Lucky Broken Girl by Ruth Behar

26 Jul

Lucky Broken Girl
By Ruth Behar
256 pages – ages 9+
Published by Nancy Paulsen Books on April 11, 2017

Synopsis from Publisher- “Ruthie Mizrahi and her family recently emigrated from Castro’s Cuba to New York City. Just when she’s finally beginning to gain confidence in her mastery of English—and enjoying her reign as her neighborhood’s hopscotch queen—a horrific car accident leaves her in a body cast and confined her to her bed for a long recovery. As Ruthie’s world shrinks because of her inability to move, her powers of observation and her heart grow larger and she comes to understand how fragile life is, how vulnerable we all are as human beings, and how friends, neighbors, and the power of the arts can sweeten even the worst of times.”

What I Thought- Reading this book was an emotional experience. Behar tackles the subjects of immigration, racism and the frustration of being isolated due to an accident in a compelling story. I loved the concept of this book and the fact the main character  was an immigrant. I really enjoy stories that inject flavors of other cultures in the text. We do get glimpses of Irish, Mexican, Cuban and Indian characters, all whom help Ruthie navigate her struggles in the story. Although there are moments of hope and redemption, I found the story was rather gloomy. The constant pessimism from Ruthie wore me down. I found myself not really understanding what Ruthie was thinking and who she is but rather reacting to her actions in the story. I really think this book could be amazing with a bit more understanding of the character’s feelings. Still, I think kids in situations similar to Ruthie’s – hospitalized kids or those isolated because of cultural differences, will connect with the story. The book would best be described as a fictionalized memoir, because Behar explains that the story is based on her real life experience, but that she changed some of the facts to things she wished had happened. All of that was explained in her Author’s Note at the end of the book. When I realized that it was based on the author’s own trauma, I appreciated the story even more, as it added realism to the story for me. I wish the note was at the beginning of the story, I think I would have connected to it even more.  Having said this, I wouldn’t hesitate to try another book from Behar. I recommend this book to fans of recovery stories that contain a great life lesson within the pages!

I give this book four out of five bookworms.

Muffy Turns One: The Mini Tour – COVER REVEAL!

20 Jul
Today I get to kick off blog tour celebrating the one year birthday of a great story about a little dog and her great adventure. Since I am the first stop on this mini tour, I get to reveal the cover!
Muffy and the Dog Catcher (The Muffy Series Book 1)
Written and illustrated by Devra Robitaille
 66 pages – ages 7+
Published by The Hologram Library, July 20, 2016
 

Synopsis (from the publisher) – Muffy is a happy and curious Goldendoodle puppy who lives on a farm. One day she chases a silly grasshopper and gets lost. She finds herself alone and hungry, on the point of collapse, but luck is on her side and she is adopted by a wonderful family, the Gabriels, who have a very orderly and devoted pack of dogs. Muffy becomes part of her new family, and is accepted by Radar and Oliver and the gang, but she still pines for her sister, Riff, and misses the farm. One of her new friends, Wise Dog, introduces her to a very unusual Dog Catcher who has a special talent.

Muffy’s courageous journey is full of laughter and adventure as she tries to unite her two families.

 
 The cover is in the same style as the other illustrations in the book. The whimsical illustration style adds depth to the story. I found Robitalle’s story-telling to be thoughtful and entertaining. The story is so much more than a lost puppy story. There are shades of lessons on the struggles of growing up, what family truly is and also diversity. It is a rich and well crafted book that packs a lot in the 65 pages of text! 
Want to learn more?

Muffy turns one!…the mini-tour

Be sure to check out all the stops!

Cover reveal for Muffy’s new artwork

July 20th 2017

This Kid Reviews Books

Character Interview with Pete, the Dog Catcher

July 21st 2017

​Something to Chew On

Interview with Devra Robitaille

​July 27th 2017

Reading With Your Kids

Visit the Hologram Library Website by clicking HERE!

Check out the book’s trailer –

 

Blog Tour! The Door in the Alley by Adrienne Kress

23 Jun


The Door in the Alley
Series: The Explorers
Written by Adrienne Kress
Illustrated by Matthew C. Rockefeller
320 pages – ages 9+
Published by Delacorte Press on April 25, 2017

Synopsis- Sebastian was a brilliant kid, going to a school for math and science. He always planned everything out, and disliked change and trying new things. Then he met a pig in a teeny hat. And everything changed. Now he’s helping a girl find her presumed dead (but apparently still living) grandfather. That’s not so bad, except that two creepy thugs are trying to find him too. Things are starting to look interesting…

What I Thought- This book is pretty funny – the narration is very tongue-in-cheek, with humorous chapter names, and the story is full of wacky events that are somehow believable.  Sebastian and Evie are two very different characters, but they both make the book complete. Sebastian wants to stay out of trouble, but he also wants to do what’s right. Evie doesn’t want to be alone in this world, and will do anything to be get her family back. This is a really great combo! Kress’ writing style is very light-hearted, having written a book where having a character ride a llama across a zoo and having a tree grow in the middle of a building seem like completely natural things. Kress uses all the creative room in her plot line, and keeps the reader wondering what will happen next. There are neat black-and-white illustrations from Rockefeller throughout the book that really bring all of the aspects together. Kids will love to read this book! Kress has written a wonderful beginning to a new series, and I cannot wait to read the next book! I also think I will definitely check out some of the other books by Kress, considering how much I enjoyed this one.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!

Adrienne Kress is a writer and an actress born and raised in Toronto. She is the daughter of two high school English teachers and credits them with her love of both writing and performing. She also has a cat named Atticus, who unfortunately despises teeny hats. Look for her online at AdrienneKress.com, and follow her on Twitter at @AdrienneKress.

Review! Blaze of Embers by Cam Baity and Benny Zelkowicz

14 Jun

Blaze of Embers
Series: The Third Book of Ore #3 (1, 2)
Cowritten by Cam Baity and Benny Zelkowicz
313 pages – ages 9+
Published by Disney Hyperion on April 11, 2017

Synopsis- Phoebe Plumm, our young hero, is dead. That is an obvious fact. The Foundry, the company that profits off of seemingly original products (but with a sinister origin), is losing all hold on Mehk, the world of living metal. The country of Meridian is facing an inevitable war. And now the Mehkan deity has returned, prepared to unleash her fury on the Foundry and raze the human world to right the injustices to her people. Micah Tanner, Phoebe’s companion and peer, feels a bit over his head. It is up to him alone to figure out how to stop all of this from occurring, and to try to mesh these worlds seamlessly back together. And he thought school was stressful.

What I Thought- This was very good. Baity and Zelkowicz really know how to create suspense and throw the odds against their characters. The descriptions of the scenery, of the actions of the personas both Mehkan and human, of the prevailing thoughts of the main characters; they are all top-notch excellence – you really feel as if all of this is possible. As the conclusion to the Books of Ore, this book ties up all the loose ends that came through in the story. There is a great deal of action and several mini-stories going on, as several of the characters are scattered, and all of this provides for a fascinating read. There are subtle aspects to the story about doing the right thing, good versus evil, and how people can change, or how they aren’t who you thought they were. It is a thought-provoking story, especially because these themes are present but not really spotlighted. The world Baity and Zelkowicz created is one I gladly got lost in. The imagery created in their words, took me to Mehk and I enjoyed every minute of it. At the base of all of this is a truly well-written story that draws readers in and makes them think. I really enjoyed this conclusion-and, in fact, the entire series-and I wish to read more from this creative duo.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!

Review! The Door in the Alley by Adrienne Kress

6 Jun


Illustrated by Matthew C. Rockefeller
320 pages – ages 9+
Published by Delacorte Press on April 25, 2017

Synopsis- Sebastian was a brilliant kid, going to a school for math and science. He always planned everything out, and disliked change and trying new things. Then he met a pig in a teeny hat. And everything changed. Now he’s helping a girl find her presumed dead (but apparently still living) grandfather. That’s not so bad, except that two creepy thugs are trying to find him too. Things are starting to look interesting…

What I Thought- This book is pretty funny – the narration is very tongue-in-cheek, with humorous chapter names, and the story is full of wacky events that are somehow believable.  Sebastian and Evie are two very different characters, but they both make the book complete. Sebastian wants to stay out of trouble, but he also wants to do what’s right. Evie doesn’t want to be alone in this world, and will do anything to be get her family back. This is a really great combo! Kress’ writing style is very light-hearted, having written a book where having a character ride a llama across a zoo and having a tree grow in the middle of a building seem like completely natural things. Kress uses all the creative room in her plot line, and keeps the reader wondering what will happen next. There are neat black-and-white illustrations from Rockefeller throughout the book that really bring all of the aspects together. Kids will love to read this book! Kress has written a wonderful beginning to a new series, and I cannot wait to read the next book! I also think I will definitely check out some of the other books by Kress, considering how much I enjoyed this one.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!

Review! The Eldridge Conspiracy by Don M. Winn

1 Jun

The Eldridge Conspiracy
Series: Sir Kaye the Boy Knight 4 (1, 2, 3)
Written by Don M. Winn
Illustrated by Dave Allred
167 pages – ages 8+
Will be Published by Progressive Rising Phoenix Press, LLC on June 16, 2017

Synopsis- There is a plot of treasonous measures being taken against the neighboring kingdom of Eldridge, and Sir Kaye the Boy Knight has uncovered the horrid conspiracy! It could lead to the invasion of his country of Knox, and even more – to the death of Eldridge’s king and Kaye’s father, Sir Henry! Kaye and his friends, Reggie and Beau, set out to do what they can to prevent it. But time is of the essence, and with an evil baron trying to get them all out of the picture, it isn’t certain they even have a chance!

What I Thought- I really enjoyed this fabulous conclusion to the Sir Kaye series. Winn knows how to bring the tension up in the series, raising the stakes in the book to keep the reader on the edge of their seat. It is interesting to see Kaye unfold as a character; he fluctuates, learning and then forgetting as he lets pride or guilt or some other emotion take control of his actions. Altogether, this makes for a maximum learning experience for both Kaye and the reader. Winn writes a good story for younger kids who have progressed from early chapter books, but aren’t quite ready for another step up – the chapters are short, with a mildly challenging age-appropriate vocabulary, and neat black-and-white illustrations throughout the story. The series is good for kids who like knights and medieval times, and show that sometimes it is hard to do what is right, but having honor is a good thing to strive for. Morals are taught in the books, as well as just plain old essential character traits. Winn has written a good series about a kid who strives to do his best even when times are hard, and a lot of things can be learned from that. I am sad to see this series come to a finish, but I look forward to seeing more come from Mr. Winn!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!

WOO! I’m giving away a #CaptainUnderpants prize pack thanks to @Scholastic!

30 May

Captain Underpants – (the name elicits giggles – doesn’t it?) is the very first series I read when I was a kid. I begged my mom to pick them up for me when I saw the first three books in the series at a yard sale – The Adventures of Captain Underpants – Captain Underpants and the Attack of the Talking Toilets – Captain Underpants and the Invasion of the Incredibly Naughty Cafeteria Ladies from Outer Space (and the Subsequent Assault of the Equally Evil Lunchroom Zombie Nerds) – Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants. Although Mom kind of looked at me a little funny with the Professor Poopypants one, she knows fine literature and got it for me anyway.  I read and re-read these books until they literally fell apart.  I then sought out new additions to the series and loved every one of them. I still am a strong advocate for Captain Underpants. It is a great series to get kids to start reading independently. It is a fun series that will engage all kinds of readers.

I was THRILLED to see that DreamWorks is making a Captain Underpants movie!!! The movie hits theaters on June 2nd. It is my hope that kids will see the movie and want to start reading about Captain Underpants other adventures! To celebrate this Earth shattering event, Scholastic sent me new Captain Underpants books, AND is offering a prize pack for one of you!

One randomly picked commenter from this post will receive:

The Adventures of Captain Underpants (Book 1, now in full color!)

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Official Handbook

Captain Underpants: Wacky Word Wedgies and Flushable Fill-Ins

That’s right – just comment below to be entered to win! Winner will be selected randomly and announced one week from today.

One of the giveaways is the original Captain Underpants book (with some additional content) but in full color!

The illustrations are the same but the color really makes them come alive!

The other two books are complimentary to the movie. These books feature the CGI images of Captain Underpants, Harold and George.

 

I know you all are saying”ERIK, WE NEED TO KNOW MORE!”

So check this out – Visit PilkeyPower.Scholastic.com

Follow Scholastic on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Check out the movie’s trailer!

Review! Motor Girls by Sue Macy

30 May

Motor Girls: How Women Took the Wheel and Drove Boldly Into the Twentieth Century
Written by Sue Macy, Foreword by Danica Patrick
96 pages – ages 9+
Published by National Geographic Children’s Books on February 7, 2017

Synopsis from Publisher- Come along for a joy ride in this enthralling tribute to the daring women – Motor Girls, as they were called at the turn of the century – who got behind the wheel of the first cars and paved the way for change. The automobile has always symbolized freedom, and in this book we meet the first generation of female motorists who drove cars for fun, profit, and to make a statement about the evolving role of women. From the advent of the auto in the 1890s to the 1920s when the breaking down of barriers for women was in full swing, readers will be delighted to see historical photos, art, and artifacts and to discover the many ways these progressive females influenced fashion, the economy, politics, and the world around them.

What I Thought- This was a fun nonfiction story about how the motor car evolved, and how women have played a part in its history. It was neat to see how women got involved, and how the industry reacted to that. There are plenty of real images from the time periods represented, and little news clippings from the time. It features girls and women who improved or changed the view on motor cars and women in general. The information in the book is given in an entertaining way that keeps the reader engaged.  The book gives the reader a great perspective that shows many of the things history books leave out. The book is well-organized, and takes you through the years of automobiles. The foreword by Danica Patrick is a great touch of a modern “Motor Girl.” I really enjoyed reading this nonfiction piece from National Geographic.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!

 

I especially appreciated this book because my little sister is a Motor Girl 😉 She races go karts and is very impressive at it! I gave the book to her after I read it. She enjoyed it also.

Josie out in front

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