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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

Blog Tour! Mary Bowser and the Civil War Spy Ring by Enigma Alberti #Spyonhistory

10 Feb

mary-bowser-blog-tour-banner

Welcome to my stop on the #Spyonhistory Blog Tour! I hope you enjoy my post – I really enjoyed this book!!

9780761187394Mary Bowser and the Civil War Spy Ring
Written by Enigma Alberti
Illustrated by Tony Cliff
96 pages – ages 9+
Published by Workman Publishing Company on December 13, 2016

Synopsis from the Publisher- Mary Bowser and the Civil War Spy Ring introduces an exciting interactive series for middle grade readers—Spy on History, where the reader gets to experience history in a whole new way.

Meet Mary Bowser, an African American spy who was able to infiltrate the Confederate leadership at the highest level. Enigma Alberti dramatizes Mary Bowser’s suspenseful story—how she pretended to be illiterate, how she masterfully evaded detection, how she used her photographic memory to “copy” critical documents.

Using spycraft materials included in a sealed envelope inside the book, a canny reader will be able to discover and unravel clues embedded in the text and illustrations, and solve the book’s ultimate mystery: Where did Mary hide her secret diary?

What I Thought- This was a really cool book! It tells the story of Mary Bowser, an amazingly brave and super cunning lady who deserves to have her story told. The book is an excellent choice to highlight during Black History month here in the USA. The book has cool black-and-white (with red accents!) illustrations spread throughout it.

marybower1

I also really like how the words sometimes jump around the page. There is a folder in the front containing a shift cipher, a red plastic screen, a page from a book, and a piece of paper with holes cut into it – all supplied to help the reader solve the mystery. That’s just plain awesome! I really like how you have to find the clues in the text and illustrations. The story itself is wonderfully satisfying, and I really enjoyed learning about the history behind Ms. Bowser. It is really interesting to hear about the Civil War from the Confederate side (even if it was to help the Union) – it gives you another perspective. Enigma Alberti refers to the pen name of a group of authors who are writing this series. They promise to tell the stories of even more spies from history. I can’t wait for the rest of the books in the series to come out!

marybower

 

Want to learn more?

Author: Enigma Alberti is the nom de plume of a secret cadre of authors who are each writing a book in the Spy on History series.

Illustrator: Tony Cliff is the author and artist behind the New York Times bestselling Delilah Dirk graphic novel series. Find more on Tony at www.tonycliff.com and @TangoCharlie on Twitter.

Schedule:
Wednesday, February 1: Middle Grade Mafia
Thursday, February 2: YAYOMG
Friday, February 3: Mundie Kids
Monday, February 6: Miss Print
Tuesday, February 7: Recreational Scholar
Wednesday, February 8: The Roarbots
Thursday, February 9: Randomly Reading
Friday, February 10: A History of Books & This Kid Reviews Books
Monday, February 13: Teen Library Toolbox
Tuesday, February 14: Ex Libris Kate
Wednesday, February 15: Geo Librarian
Thursday, February 16: Kidliterati
Friday, February 17: Kristi’s Book Nook

Book Available at:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
IndieBound
Workman

Social Media:
Twitter – @workmanpub
Facebook – @workmanpublishing
Instagram – @workmanpub
Pinterest – @workmanpub
Tumblr – @workmanpublishing

Review! Last Day on Mars by Kevin Emerson

1 Feb

marslastdayLast Day on Mars
Series: Chronicle of the Dark Star
By Kevin Emerson
336 pages – ages 9+
Will be Published by Walden Pond Press on February 14, 2017

Synopsis- What would you feel like if you had to leave your house, your neighborhood, maybe even your country, and move to a new house? What if you didn’t know if you would be able to find that house, after you’ve moved out and can’t go back? What if you had to move to a new solar system? That’s what’s going on here – it’s the year 2213, and our sun is about to go supernova (aka, explode and burn the entire solar system). Earth is already fried; we’ve set up temporary colonies on Mars, but we know they won’t last – we’re trying to get to another solar system to a possibly hospitable planet. For the scientists and other inhabitants of was-Earth, that’s all fine – they’re finding a new-Earth. But for Liam and his friend Phoebe, all they’ve known was Mars – it’s their home. They were understandably upset about leaving, even though they understand why. As the last of the research to be taken on the last ship to the new planet is still being worked on during their last day, it’s awful when the research plant blows up. Phoebe and Liam are devastated, and even more so when they start to realize that maybe the research plant was sabotaged. But who would do such a thing?

What I Thought- This is a really neat premise. I like how it portrayed the future, with advancements, but still realistic ones (they had progressed in basic areas, but were still unable to figure out how to really get out of the solar system on a normal basis). It was also really cool to hear the “history” of how humans got to the point they had got to. The story is really good, and it takes place in the time period of roughly a day and a half or so, with the exception of the pro- and epilogues. Emerson captures the pain that Liam and Phoebe would feel as they are the last humans on their home. The setting is really rather well-described, and makes it feel like it could be truly what it is like.  Emerson’s narrative is a bonus, as it is quite matter-of-fact in an almost humorous way. The characters are realistic, and you really root for them as they try to succeed and obstacles keep popping up. Emerson ends the story with a tantalizing cliffhanger but leaves the reader satisfied with the book’s plot line. There are alien characters (they’re part of the problem!) in the book, but they are mostly only present in the pro- and epilogue, so I hope they will be expanded on in the next book. With America’s planned mission to Mars in full swing, this book is bound to catch some kids’ interest. Sci-fi fans will also seriously enjoy this!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Blog Tour! Misfortune Annie and the Locomotive Reaper by “Gusto” Dave Jackson & Janet “The Kid” Fogg

23 Jan

misfortune-annie-and-the-locomotive-reaper-1mf-annie-hi-resMisfortune Annie and the Locomotive Reaper
Co-Written by “Gusto” Dave Jackson & Janet “The Kid” Fogg
154 Pages – ages 8+
Published by FA LLC on October 22, 2016

Synopsis from Publisher- “Annabelle Fortune, the fastest gunslinger in the wild west, inadvertently stops a stranger from attacking a train — and he wears a suit that enables him to fly! — the government believes she’s the only one to have witnessed the Locomotive Reaper and survived to tell the tale.

Promising to find out what he can about her missing father, the Director of the Secret Service persuades Annie to swear in. Too soon, her detested nickname re-stakes its claim.

Partnered with Beau Slokam, whose penchant for gambling leads them straight to the Doom Gang, Misfortune Annie guides the smooth-talking Southerner in a chase through the Rockies, with her Cheyenne friend, Wontoa, rounding out their unlikely trio.

When Annie again meets the Locomotive Reaper, his gadgetry proves far more advanced — and deadly — than even top scientists could have imagined.”

What I Thought- This was a nice story that added a slight steampunk view on the Wild West, with a man who has a suit that lets him fly, and Annie slinging guns and lassoing hooligans. It works in a good way The setting is well-described and makes it feel true. The details in the story makes the entire setting picture come into focus. The characters are well fleshed out, and realistic. The dialogue is spot on for the time period (just about 15 years after the American Civil War), and makes you feel like you are actually there with Annie. The book has a lot of action and kids will like reading about Annie beating up bad guys and going on adventures. It’s a nice story, and I would like to read the second book.

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Q&A with Janet Fogg & Dave Jackson, Courtesy of the Publisher

Your protagonist was inspired by spitfire Annie Oakley, but what’s the full story behind your exciting middle grade adventure Misfortune Annie and the Locomotive Reaper?

Dave: To properly tell Misfortune Annie’s origin, we must first go back to the spark from a great machine. I make no bones about my awe of George Lucas and the Indiana Jones series. It’s widely known by most Lucas fans that the rugged archaeologist first showed up in spirit in old matinee serials until George tweaked him a little for a new generation of movie lovers. Indy’s trusty whip came from Zorro cliffhangers. So, hoping to scare up just anything that could give Indy a run for his money, I poked around in the same cinema of yesteryear and dug the cowboy genre. Roy Rogers, the Lone Ranger, Gene Autry—they were huge! So like Indy, my new star had to have a catchy name and signature duds. He was going to have a 10-gallon hat and Levi jacket.
I never got to name him though because fate threw in a wildcard that made me so grateful and stoked, I could never go back to the dude. On Christmas vacation one year, nearly sleeping behind the wheel through flat old Kansas, I passed a sign that boasted, “Annie Oakley Museum.” Jolted awake, I had my new hero. It would be a young lady known by a slick nickname.
Janet: We were chatting about his concept for Annie and what he wanted to accomplish with the book/series, and asked if I’d join him on that journey. Annie appealed to me for many reasons. First, because she was a young cowgirl struggling to excel in the man’s world of the wild, Wild West. I really liked that. Second, because I thought we could weave subtle “lessons- learned” into the books, so that young readers, especially teen girls, would have a role model with strength, courage, determination, and strong morals.

What made you decide to co-write as a team on this series – and how is it collaborating on a book?

Dave: We didn’t collaborate. Like spoiled rich kids we fought, I tell ya. Nah, actually, the writer’s journey is very lonely and I highly recommend brewing with another author, especially someone as tenacious, gracious, and creative as Janet.
Janet: Or as funny, talented, and kind as Dave. (Can you say mutual admiration society? It’s been a blast!)

Can you tell us more about the “Fun Facts” readers will find at the very back of the book?

Janet: We decided to incorporate some historic facts in each book, and the “Fun Facts” helps define certain facts versus fiction. One example is the waist overalls made by Levi Strauss that Annie wears. These were the original blue jeans, and in our Fun Facts a reader will learn that when they were first created by German-born businessman Levi Strauss and Latvian-born tailor Jacob Davis, blue jeans were actually called “waist overalls.” The duo received a patent for them on May 20, 1873, with a product that had one back pocket, a watch pocket, a cinch, and brace buttons. When a young reader reads this Fun Fact, we hope it inspires them to pause and consider the origins of other everyday items. Perhaps there are many young inventors out there, in need of inspiration and a nudge!

What is your favorite part of being an author / or the process of writing?

Dave: Hands down, it’s when I daydream of people reading our stories. After which, my imagination blossoms more to fans tossing me the keys to their Ferrari—and not to park it for them—then they offer to buy me and Janet fried chicken dinners.
Janet: What Dave said. Plus, bending my imagination 90 degrees to somewhere. Inspiring a reader. Preserving history.

What does a typical work day of writing look like for you?

Dave: There is no typical. My days are maxed with tutoring my son in algebra, playing music gigs, performing stand up, an auditing occupation, planning a convention, exercise, my lovely girlfriend, and having a good time. I truly write due to my love for it because there’s no time otherwise. Because of odd predicaments, I’ve borrowed other folks’ computers and even typewriters to get something on the page. I’ve scrawled on napkins.
Janet: I’ve never been a good sleeper, so I sneak out of bed when the Great Horned Owls are still conversing. First, I check email. (Who doesn’t?) While I used to work on manuscript drafts during those wee hours, now I work on my 359th FG posts or answer questions about the Fighter Group. After breakfast I write new words. Then I’ll edit (I can edit all day, but my brain begins to protest after writing three or four or pages of new words). That’s another reason I love collaborating on stories!

Have you ever had a mentor, or someone who sparked your passion for writing?

Dave: Yoda, but Janet wound up being better.
Janet: After I stop blushing, I’m going to work on growing long pointy ears. Really though – reading, reading and more reading.

Annie is such a trailblazer and great role model for young readers. What do you hope fans of the book will take away from the story?

Janet: That girls rock!
Dave: Misfortune Annie and the Locomotive Reaper is the really good book you’ve been looking for. Also – I do want everyone to know that I learned to crack a whip just because of the Indiana Jones movies (which influenced Misfortune Annie’s creation).

What do you feel makes your book unique from other middle grade fiction out there?

Dave: The characters are peculiar, funny, and cool.
Janet: Especially Annie.
Dave: Yes, you won’t be able to wait for Book Two.

Ah! So speaking of book two, what’s next for Misfortune Annie?

Throughout the series, we will see more problems that Annie doesn’t get credit for because she’s a girl in a ‘tough guy’ world.

A long cast of colorful crooks (think James Bond’s bullies) is waiting to take on the fastest draw in the west. Book Two leads Annie to New Orleans and face-to-face with a wicked Voodoo priest. In another episode, the Dragon Warrior shall render her six shooters useless. A sinister magician will perform the ultimate trick on her and the Secret Service. Beware pirates! Look out for creatures in the woods, Annie! Not to mention cameos by historical figures like Wyatt Earp, Baby Doe Tabor, and Teddy Roosevelt—perfect walk-ons to spark curiosity about US History.

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Janet Fogg

Janet Fogg’s focus on writing began when she was CFO and Managing Principal of OZ Architecture, one of Colorado’s largest architectural firms. Fifteen writing awards later, she resigned from the firm to follow the yellow brick road. Ten months after that, she signed a contract with The Wild Rose Press for her historical romance Soliloquy a HOLT Medallion Award of Merit winner.

With husband Richard, Janet co-wrote Fogg in the Cockpit (Casemate), one of five books nominated in 2012 by the Air Force Historical Foundation for best World War II book reviewed in Air Power History.

Keeping her historical knowledge sharp, Janet manages the 359th Fighter Group’s Facebook page, sharing WWII stories and photos about the Fighter Group. She is also a proud member and 2015/16 Vice President of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. She previously served as Published Author Liaison in 2010.

gusto-and-the-kid

The authors sure know how to Kid around with Gusto!

Dave Jackson

Not your typical author, Dave Jackson started writing in his constant pursuit to become a renaissance man, but later fell in love with the art form. He performs stand-up and skits regularly, as Comedy remains one of his many passions and he writes and performs skits, as well as stand-up. Also a songwriter and guitarist, Dave has composed over 300 musical titles.

A country boy, Dave was raised in Oklahoma and taught 6th grade English for two years. He enjoys sharing the tale about when he climbed high into a towering black jack tree and grabbed a dead branch. Snap! He hurtled toward his death, but he held tight to the branch and it slowed his fall, saving his life.

In 2013, Dave enjoyed the release of Tattoo Rampage by Curiosity Quills Press. The novel follows Evangelina Marquez-James, a strong female heroine, who gets her first tattoo as a symbol of courage to carry on after her police officer husband dies in the line of duty.

Author Links below:

Review! Super Gear by Jennifer Swanson

16 Jan

supergearSuper Gear: Nanotechnology and Sports Team Up
By Jennifer Swanson
80 pages – ages 8+
Published by Charlesbridge on June 7, 2016

Synopsis from Publisher- How are the sports played by Michael Phelps, Serena Williams, Michelle Wie, and Usain Bolt related? Nanotechnology!

Take a close-up look at sports and nanotechnology, the cutting-edge science that manipulates objects at the atomic level. Nanotechnology is used to create high-tech swimsuits, tennis rackets, golf clubs, running shoes, and more. It is changing the face of sports as we know it.

What I Thought- You don’t have to be a sprots fan to enjoy this cool book. It is neat how  Swanson combines a topic most kids like (sports) with a topic most know little about (nanotechnology). Swanson explains the details about what makes nanotechnology work in an easy-to-understand way. She also includes science principles explained, such as drag and turbulence, as well as things such as graphene and carbon nanotubes. There is a great index and resource list at the end of the book as well. There are good illustrations throughout the book – they include real pictures of sports and athletes, and also artists’ interpretations of the theoretical molecular structures. All of this is easy to understand. Kids will also like doing the experiments in the book that help explain concepts. The book is organized into easy grouping with the chapters. Ms. Swanson does a good job of relating the two subjects. I recommend this book to science buffs and sports buffs and everyone in between!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Series Review! The Atlantis Saga by TA Barron

4 Jan

I am so jazzed about this awesome series! Check out my review below!

atlantisrising1Atlantis Rising
Series: Atlantis Saga #1
By TA Barron
384 pages – ages 9+
Published by Philomel Books on September 26, 2013

Synopsis from Publisher- In a magical land called Ellegandia, a young boy named Promi scrapes by, stealing pies, cakes and sweets to survive. But little does he know that his country is a pawn in an ages-old war between good and evil, battled both in the spirit realm and in the human world. Harboring secrets of his own, Promi teams up with a courageous girl named Atlanta and the two vow to save their land—and each other—no matter the cost. But their vow has greater repercussions than they ever could imagine—in fact, it may just bring about the creation of Atlantis, an island cut off from the rest of the world, where magic reigns supreme.

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atlantis2Atlantis In Peril
Series: Atlantis Saga #2
By TA Barron
272 pages – ages 9+
Published by Philomel Books on May 5, 2015

Synopsis from Publisher- In Atlantis Rising, Promi and Atlanta saved their homeland by transforming it into the magical island of Atlantis. They had hoped that would keep it out of the clutches of the evil spirit warlord Narkazan. But Narkazan has returned, more determined than ever to conquer the spirit realm and Atlantis as well. Will the destiny of the mystical isle lie in the boat of Greek sailors who wash up on shore? The powers of the ethereal oceanglass? Or will the growing bond between Promi and Atlanta cause the strongest magic?

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9780399168055_AtlantisLost_HC_CvLib.inddAtlantis Lost
Series: Atlantis Saga #3
By TA Barron
224 pages – ages 9+
Published by Philomel Books on November 8, 2016

Synopsis from Publisher- The veil between the Spirit Realm and the mortal world has fallen, and the evil lord Narkazan is primed to claim the magical Starstone for himself once and for all. But when tragedy befalls Promi’s newly reunited family, he knows that he can’t let Narkazan ruin everything his parents held dear. With his friends beside him, Promi battles Narkazan in the Spirit Realm, to ensure that the Starstone remains safe from Narkazan’s mortal followers. But how far will Promi have to go to keep the world and the people he loves safe?

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What I Thought About the Series- Wow. Mr. Barron is a fabulous writer – I couldn’t put any of these books down. I read all of these in two days. They were that good. The worst part of the series was that you got incredibly attached to all of the characters…but you knew what was going to happen in the last book (Guess what? Atlantis sinks!). And that made it hard to read on…but you couldn’t stop. I tried and I failed. Mr. Barron has a writing style that gets the reader involved, and keeps you on your toes. Mr. Barron has done a marvelous job of taking mythology, magic, and realism and tossing them all together in a big melting pot. He created a culture where every type of person and animal lived. He created a religion for that culture, with spirits for them to pray to. He created a government for that culture. Only to destroy it all in the end.

Promi is a character you can empathize with, seeing as he is a sort of honor-bound/Robin Hood-like thief. He only steals from those that deserve it, and in the book, there are quite a few people that deserve it. After all, the religious government is almost completely corrupt. They make for a good villain, where everyone reading despises them. Atlanta is a great supporting character who is the moral backbone for Promi, as he goes from a selfish thief only looking out for himself to a truly caring hero. It is a marvelous transformation.

The series is written in a satisfying way. I found it heartbreaking, however, what was happening to Atlantis in Book 2, with foreigners industrializing it, and also polluting it. Those scenes were written to engage your emotions, and are most likely a stance against the wickedness of humans ruining our planet. If so, then we need it. Atlantis was on the way of having its magic ruined forever. Why let Earth’s natural magic be put to waste?

To sum it all up, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this series. Mr. Barron has made a fan out of me, and I will continue to look for more of Mr. Barron’s work, particularly his Merlin series.

I give this series five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Review! The Warden’s Daughter by Jerry Spinelli

3 Jan

wardensdaughterThe Warden’s Daughter
By Jerry Spinelli
352 pages – ages 9+
Will be published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on January 3rd, 2017

Synopsis- Cammie O’Reilly is in prison. But not serving a crime. You see, her father is the warden of the jail, and she lives in an apartment above it. It’s a good life, though. The one thing that she really doesn’t have is a mother. Yeah, her dad is a good father, but he just doesn’t have that motherly vibe. So that’s why Cammie decides to make Eloda, one of the trustees (prisoners with privileges) in charge of housekeeping, her mother. Cammie sets about trying to win her over. Except that Eloda wants nothing to do with her. After all, inmates should keep their distance from the warden’s daughter. But Cammie can be very persistent. It’s going to be an interesting summer.

What I Thought This was a really neat historical fiction novel. It’s set in 1959, with an introduction and epilogue set in 2017 from Cammie’s point-of-view. Mr. Spinelli has a way of writing that makes it seem like a close friend telling a story, with a whole lot of little details that remind you of life in its fullest. Things like getting how people would act in a situation to a point where the reader thinks, even sometimes reluctantly, “Yeah, I’d do that.” I think it’s really cool that in Mr. Spinelli’s Acknowledgements he points out that he actually knows a lady who was an actual warden’s daughter, and that gave Mr. Spinelli the idea to write this book. Cammie is a great character that you really route for as she is figuring out her problems and coming to terms with her mom’s death. The characters and relationships between them are fully developed.The reader really gets to know them. I especially liked the unusual prison setting and the twist that a warden’s daughter was seeking something she needed on an emotional level from an inmate. It’s a great hook for the story. Mr. Spinelli breathed life into both Cammie and Eloda and made the readers care for them. This is a really beautiful coming-of-age story.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

14 Year Old Erik This Kid Reviews Books Will No Longer Be Reviewing Books

24 Dec

Yes, you read that right. 14-year old Erik will no longer be reviewing books.

Why?

Because today I am fifteen!

prismatic-happy-birthday-typography-800px

What better way to celebrate than with a review of a REALLY great book I recently picked up at the Lititz Kid Lit Festival in Lititz PA. If you’ve never been, you should check it out (it’s held every fall) – click HERE for details.

The festival is organized by a great family owned bookstore – Aaron’s books – visit their website HERE

I interviewed the author of AbrakaPOW, Isaiah Campbell for Scholastic News at the festival. We talked about the challenges of writing books for middle grade readers.

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To read that interview, click HERE to go to the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps site.

Now on to the review!

abrakapowAbrakaPOW
Written by Isaiah Campbell
Illustrated by Dave Perillo
400 pages – ages 8+
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on November 8, 2016

Synopsis- It’s WWII and Max’s father is in charge of a Prisoner-Of-War camp in Texas that is harboring several Nazis. Max doesn’t like living there, having just moved from Brooklyn and dealing with culture shock, but when her father asks her if she wants to put on a magic show for the prisoners, she is thrilled. Until the prisoners escape during her show. That kind of puts a damper on excitement. The escaped Nazis plan on making it across the border into Mexico and catching a ride back to Germany, and Max and her friends are the only ones able to stop them. Will they get the prisoners back before they get away for good?

What I Thought- I really like this historical fiction novel – taking an actual event that happened near the end of World War II, and reasoning that the only way it possibly could have happened was with the help of magic. They say truth is stranger than fiction and knowing that there were actually Nazi prisoners of war in Texas during WWII is a part of history I knew nothing about! It is a rather neat story – even though the real-life facts are almost unbelievable – and the characters are portrayed in convincing ways. Because of the time period, there is some prejudice (slight sexism at time, where the boys in the group of friends would insist on doing something, with the girls groaning about the boys acting like that; along with some racial prejudice, such as a Japanese boy being teased for how he speaks, along with the fact that Max and her family are Jewish). These details speak to the truth of what was going on at the time but in a kid-friendly way. There are illustrated diagrams of how to do magic tricks at the end of some of the chapters, mostly of magic tricks mentioned in the book. I really enjoyed reading the book, and I couldn’t put it down!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Bookish Holiday Gifts – Part Three!

19 Dec

Still looking for that perfect gift?

Check out my holiday gift picks for this year – part 1part 2!

and now the third installment of my gift picks!

paperJapanese Paper Toys Kit

By Andrew Dewar

(Kit) – ages 7+

Published by Tuttle Publishing on September 27, 2016

Synopsis from Publisher- Origami Paper Toys Kit is a unique paper craft kit that brings together the of art paper folding and the fun of moveable toys. Amaze your friends as you watch your origami paper creations wiggle, walk, tumble, shuffle and spin right before your eyes! Renowned origami artist and teacher, Andrew Dewar has designed these origami for kids projects to be simple enough to be completed quickly and easily. No need to learn origami folding, painting or cutting—just punch fold and enjoy!

What I Thought- This is definitely a neat book! It goes beyond traditional origami/kirigami (the Japanese art of paper folding/…and with cutting too), including moving parts and a little bit of physics.

The instructions are described very well and laid out in an easy to understand manner.

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The creations can be made with the kit contents as well as common items from around the house.

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The toys are unique, based off of toys the author had as a young boy. I decided to make one of the easier ones for the purpose of reviewing.

I chose to make the frog and picked the green paper – because frogs are mostly green. Don’t mind my phone, I just used it as a paper weight.

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First off, the directions were very clear. That is always, always a plus. To top things off, the paper – which has funky designs – has faint lines that indicate where you fold and when.

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I started folding the papers, following the instructions. I saw the paper go from a rectangle into a more froggy-shape.img_2472

 

The steps were mildly difficult at times, but they are explained well, and anyone can do it.

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As I put the finishing touches on, this creates the “jumper” of the frog.

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The finished product!

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Here’s a video of it working!

If you can’t tell already, I really liked this book, and think it a great holiday gift for the crafty folks in your life!

 

Next up –

 

vincentVincent’s Starry Night and Other Stories: A Children’s History of Art

Written by Michael Bird

Illustrated by Kate Evans

336 pages – ages 8+

Published by Laurence King Publishing on August 23, 2016

Synopsis from Publisher- An enthralling journey through the story of world art, from early cave paintings right up to the present day. Discover artists and their art around the world, in 68 exciting and imaginative tales about artists and the way they created their work.

Written by educator and art historian Michael Bird, and beautifully illustrated by Kate Evans, the book also features reproductions of the famous artworks discussed, a comprehensive timeline of events, and extra feature spreads on places connected with art.

What I Thought- This is a gorgeous book! The entire book is visually stunning.

vincent2

The book is not just about van Gogh. It is a kid-friendly study in art history! There are little mini chapters that tell the story behind a certain piece of art that was important in making art where it is today. It includes some of the very first art from 40,000BC to more modern art from 2014 and everything in between.

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The book shows a picture of the actual art, but then includes pictures by Kate Evans to help the reader learn about it. All in all, the book is informative, and teaches you about the art in an easy-to-learn way. This is an amazing resource for parents and teachers!

And last but not least –

brambly

Adventures in Brambly Hedge

By Jill Barklem

128 pages – ages 6+

Published by HarperCollins on November 6, 2014

Synopis from Publisher- Step into the miniature world of Brambly Hedge in this exquisite slipcase containing four classic picture books!

The mice of Brambly Hedge have many adventures but they always have time for fun too. All through the year, they mark the seasons with feasts and festivities and, of course, the mice never miss an opportunity to meet and celebrate.

This beautifully designed slipcase contains four classic stories following their adventures throughout the year.

What I Thought- My very first thought was that of Beatrix Potter. My second was of Redwall (Brian Jacques). It combines the nice spirits of both. In the stories, the mice are good-role models, working together. The stories are short, and this boxed set takes four of the classic tales.

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There are gorgeous illustrations on almost every page, and some that are full page spreads – those ones really take your breath away! The books are all hardcover and a nice size to fit in small hands. This is a nice short story collection, and the books are a nice small size for younger hands. A great gift set for the holidays!

Review! Snow Fright by Amie and Bethanie Borst

15 Dec

snowfrightSnow Fright
Series: Scarily Ever Laughter #3 (#1, #2)
Written by Amie & Bethanie Borst
325 pages – ages 9+
Published by Jolly Fish Press on October 4, 2016

Synopsis- Sarah White knows she’s gorgeous. And she won’t let you forget it either. So you can imagine what it’s like when she gets teleported into the Underworld, finds out she has worms in her brain, and ends up turning into a zombie. So uncool. Eventually she gets out, but by then, her friends have gone down to rescue her, and they get captured by a horrible evil. Will Sarah, in all her undeadness, be able to rescue them? And what’s with her sudden craving for brains?

What I Thought- The Scarily ever After series is an interesting concept. It’s not that scary, really. It has monsters as characters, but it’s more a mesh of monster/human worlds. It provides an interesting twist. The stories are also takes on fairy tale characters – the typical princess characters take on a monster persona. It isn’t really a horror story, just a little bit of creepy. They are more about the adventure and friendship. The Snow Fright story is a thrilling conclusion to this very enjoyable series.  The Borsts are a good writing team, and their writing style is well-developed, and shows great collaboration between mother and daughter. The characters and their actions are believable, acting how normal tweens would act in such situations (even though they are monsters). I like how Sarah reflects the vanity of many teens (boys and girls) and also the turmoil teens go through. It’s a nice modern fractured fairy tale, with a pinch (okay, a scoop) of undead.

I give this book five out of five bookworms.fivebooks

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