Reviews! Famous Fails! and Martin McMillan and the Sacred Stones

22 Dec

fails1Famous Fails!
By Crispin Boyer
128 pages – ages 7+
Published by National Geographic Children’s Books on October 25, 2016

Synopsis from Publisher- This fun book of quirky failures and famous flops will keep kids laughing while they learn the importance of messing up in order to get it right. Science, architecture, technology, entertainment — there are epic fails and hilarious goof-ups from every important field. Silly side features help to analyze the failures: “Lesson Learned,” “It Could be Worse!,” “Losing Combinations,” and a “Fail Scale” help readers navigate the different kinds and scopes of the mistakes made. Read to learn what went wrong, what went right, and what kids can learn from each failed attempt.

What I Thought- This is a really neat nonfiction book. It talks about famous ways that people have failed, and it talks about what you can learn from it. There are fun pictures in it that kids will like looking at. The book includes advice on carrying on after failing and how to avoid failing. The way the book is written, it points out that the people made a mistake, and how it happened, but in a nice way, instead looking at why they failed. There is a fun combination of text-boxes and real-life photos on each page, and kids will enjoy looking at the pages. The book is split into sections, with the last section full of advice to help with failure. This is another great book from National Geographic Kids!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

martinMartin McMillan and the Sacred Stones
Written by Elaine Russell
Illustrated by Patricia Andrews
228 pages – ages 8+
Published by Createspace on January 31, 2016

Synopsis from Publisher- This is the third installment of the Martin McMillan mystery/adventures for middle grade readers (ages 9-13). A vacation to Scotland finds thirteen-year-old skateboarders Martin McMillan and his friend Isabel drawn into another exciting mystery. Gaelic verses, recently found in the lining of an old trunk, hold the key to Druid secrets on the windswept Isle of Lewis. Clues lead to the ancient Calanais Standing Stones, which rival the wonder of Stonehenge. Martin and Isabel are determined to uncover the truth before other, less scrupulous parties can beat them to it. But dark forces go to great lengths to keep the island’s secrets from the outside world.

What I Thought- This is a cool book. There is a nice level of facts and fiction mixed into the story to get readers interested. The characters are realistic, behaving and sounding like normal kids. I especially like that in the beginning, Isabel isn’t fond of her stepmother…but as the story is from Martin’s point-of-view, he reflects that she seems like a decent person. I like that because that is a completely normal reaction – you may not understand why someone doesn’t like another person, and find the other person okay. As this book is the third book in the series, it is nice that this book explains the previous stories without going into too much detail. There is a good level of action in the story, keeping the reader on the edge of their seat. The setting is neat (I’ve always liked Scotland) and it is a neat touch that the reader learns about it as the story goes on.

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.

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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

Bookish Holiday Gift Picks – Part Deux!

14 Dec

Check out my first round of Holiday book gifts HERE. Now on to some holiday themed picks!

First up – A HANUKKAH WITH MAZEL!

mazel
A Hanukkah with Mazel
Written by Joel Edward Stein

Illustrated by Elisa Vavouri

32 pages – ages 4+
Published by Kar-Ben Publishing on August 1, 2016

Publisher’s Synopsis- Misha, a poor artist, has no one to celebrate Hanukkah with until he discovers a hungry cat in his barn. The lucky little cat, whom Misha names Mazel, inspires Misha to turn each night of Hanukkah into something special. He doesn’t have money for Hanukkah candles, but he can use his artistic skills to bring light to his home – as Mazel brings good luck to his life.

What I Thought- This is a sweet story about selflessness, kindness and friendship. The text in the book is lengthy and is best as a read aloud. I can see families reading the story together for a story time. It shows how selfless Misha is and how he appreciates the very little he has. As the book progresses the reader is introduced to Hanukkah traditions as part of Misha’s story. The illustrations are rich and reflect the feeling of the story.

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The ending is a happy one that reinforces good things happen to those who help others. A great holiday read!

Next up – COZY CLASSICS – THE NUTCRACKER!

nutcracker

Cozy Classics: The Nutcracker
Written and Illustrated by Jack Wang and Holman Wang

Board Book

24 pages – ages 2+
Published by Chronicle Books on September 6, 2016

Publisher’s synopsis- Cuddle up with a classic! In twelve needle-felted scenes and twelve child-friendly words, each book in this ingenious series captures the essence of a literary masterpiece. Simple words, sturdy pages, and a beloved story make these books the perfect vehicle for early learning with an erudite twist. Budding bookworms will delight in this clever retelling of the classics made just for them!

In E. T. A. Hoffmann’s The Nutcracker, marvel at Maria’s favorite gift, cheer as she defeats the Mouse King, and journey to the magical Land of Sweets. It’s a festive first words primer for your literary little one!

What I Thought- I admit I am a fiend for Jack and Holman Wang’s Cozy Classic series. The amazing duo sum up classic books like War and Peace, Moby Dick and Pride and Prejudice in 12 words! These board books are amazing. The Wang brothers wanted to teach words to very young children and use the classics as their vehicle. The felted illustrations are incredible to look at. This time the Wang brothers take on E.T.A. Hoffmann’s The Nutcracker. Each scene in the book tells a story in itself.

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Each of the scenes has a one word description on the opposite side that perfectly describes  what the illustration is telling. The books are beautiful. From a practical standpoint, the board books are sturdy, well-made and will standup to little hands paging through them. A perfect gift for your youngest reader!

Next up – get into the wintry mood with BUNNY SLOPES!

bunnyslope
Bunny Slopes Hardcover
Written and Illustrated by Claudia Rueda

60 pages – ages 3+
Published by Chronicle Books on October 4, 2016

Publisher’s synopsis- Time to tackle the bunny slope! Shake to help Bunny make it snow, tilt to help Bunny ski down the slope, and turn to help Bunny escape a cliff in his path. Is there any obstacle Bunny can’t conquer? Bringing grins and guffaws with each turn of the page, readers will find Claudia Rueda’s innovative bookmaking as entertaining as the twists and turns of a ski slope—and as satisfying as a cozy cup of hot cocoa.

What I Thought- In the spirit of interactive books like Press HERE, Rueda has us tapping, tilting and turning this book as we read along with this adorable story. Bunny can’t get going so why don’t we tilt the book a bit? Then – whoosh – bunny skis away! Not enough snow? SHAKE the book and make it snow!

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The story is so cute and I even found myself doing what the book was asking me to as I read it for review. The illustrations are a perfect fit to the story with nice muted wintry colors and a splash of red to brighten it up. The text is easy enough for beginning readers to read independently. This is a very nice book to get anyone in the mood for wintry fun!

Now how about some kid-friendly Christmas jokes!

lolxmas
Laugh-Out-Loud Christmas Jokes for Kids
Written by Rob Elliott

Illustrated by Gearbox

144 pages – ages 6+
Publisheed by HarperCollins on September 20, 2016

Publisher’s synopsis- A must-have for your little comedian, this Christmas collection from the #1 bestselling author of Laugh-Out-Loud Jokes for Kids has hundreds of holiday- and winter-themed jokes to make the season bright. And with a special foil cover, it’s the perfect gift!

The holiday season just got a whole lot merrier now that Rob Elliott is back with another instant classic full of fresh, frosty fun to bring the whole family together. These pages are bursting with laughter to warm up the fireside, the sledding slopes, and everywhere in between.

Why don’t lobsters give Christmas presents?

Because they’re shellfish!

What I Thought- Who doesn’t like a good joke? This book is packed with kid-friendly humor that will keep them occupied for hours. Teachers could liven up their lessons with a few knock knock jokes from this book. Some of the jokes are pretty corny but what would you expect from a kid’s joke book? The jokes are clean and no “bathroom” humor. Get your kids this book and get ready to be bombarded with silly jokes!

Review! Amanda on the Danube by Darlene Foster

13 Dec

danubeAmanda on the Danube: The Sounds of Music
By Darlene Foster 
128 pages – ages 9+
Published by Central Avenue Publishing on October 1, 2016

Synopsis- Amanda Ross is back on another trip, and this time, she and her friend Leah and their families are going on a river cruise up the Danube River in Germany! All was going well, until Amanda agrees to hold onto a violin for a small boy living on the streets. That’s when it becomes apparent that someone else wants the violin too. But who? And why? Amanda and Leah are back on the case!

What I Thought- I really like this series. Ms. Foster has a neat way of writing that involves the adventure and intrigue of a mystery, but while also including information about real-life places. The book follows Amanda, Leah, and their families as they travel on the Danube River in Germany, and we learn things as they learn them. There is a neat mystery/thriller type plot, and even though I could guess what was going to come for some of the plot twists, it was still a good story that kids will like. This book is a shining example of great, well-written, age-appropriate middle-grade books! Ms. Foster has something great going on with this series, and I cannot wait to read the next book and see where Amanda goes next!

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I give this book five out of five bookworms!

If you are looking for a great holiday gift for a middle-grade reader who likes learning about different parts of the world while getting a good mystery, I recommend the Amanda series! There are five books in all. I really like how they take place all over the world.

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Bookish Holiday Gift Picks – Part one!

12 Dec

Hello Blogosphere!

Well, it’s that time again! The snow is falling on my blog and people are wondering what gift to get that book-loving kids in their life. Well, I am here to help!

I have some great gift suggestions for you!

First up – THE 2017 GUINNESS BOOK OF WORLD RECORDS!

guinness2017

By Guinness World Records

With an introduction by Chris Hadfield and forward by Buzz Aldrin

256 pages – ages 7 – 12
Series: Guinness World Records
Published by Guinness World Records on August 30, 2016

Publisher’s synopsis: The ultimate annual book of records is back and crammed with more than ever before! Guinness World Records 2017 is bursting with all-new records on topics as diverse as black holes, domes, owls, and killer plants. Want to know the highest anyone has travelled on a skateboard, or the largest loop-the-loop completed in a car? Dying to know just how many tricks a cat can do in one minute? The answers to these questions and so much more are right inside.

New in this year’s edition are exciting infographic features exploring the fascinating details on topics such as animals, the human body, sports, and explorations. And of course all your favorite record categories are updated for 2017, such as the world’s new tallest dog! And as ever, our team of world-class photographers have traveled the globe to capture amazing images of the year’s most impressive record holders. Let us know your favorite!

WHAT I THOUGHT: The Guinness Book of World Records has been on my Christmas wish-list for as long as I can remember. Each year I look forward to cracking open the giant book and spending hours reading about cool, unusual and sometimes mind-blowing records. I help out out Toys for Tots each year and kids have this book on their wish-lists so I know lots of kids look forward to this!

The Guinness Book of World Records is an excellent way to get kids reading non-fiction without them realizing they are doing it! I love the layout of the books – lots of pictures and fact boxes. The book is perfect for reluctant readers and kids who can’t get enough of facts!

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This year’s book is packed with cool records. I really enjoyed the extra content by astronauts Chris Hadfield and Buzz Aldrin.  With America’s push to go to Mars, this material is especially interesting to me at this time. The book is indexed very well and organized so you can browse for specific records or just enjoy going page by page. They colorful pictures tat are splashed across the pages make it even more enjoyable. You can’t go wrong with this book!

Next up – PETE THE CAT!

petedraw

Pete the Cat: My First I Can Draw

Written and Illustrated by James Dean

160 pages – ages 4-8
Series: Pete the Cat
Published by HarperFestival on October 4, 2016

Publisher’s synopsis: For the first time, New York Times bestselling author and artist James Dean brings us a fun drawing guide for young artists to enjoy.

Kids will enjoy following the easy step-by-step diagrams to re-create Pete and their favorite stories. The diagrams become appropriately a little more challenging as the pages go on. This 160-page activity book is packed with everything from the world of Pete the Cat that aspiring artists will want to draw, from Pete, his rockin’ band of friends, dinosaurs, trains, surfboards, and even Pete’s famous shoes!

With this fun paperback activity book, young fans and budding artists will master how to draw the grooviest cat around!

WHAT I THOUGHT: What could be more groovy than a Pete the Cat story? A book in which James Dean, Pete the Cat’s author/illustrator, teaches kids how to draw Pete and his friends! The colorful book teaches kids step-by-step how to draw Pete, his friends and different objects like truck, trees and flowers. The book is easy to use and kids will be drawing in no time! The drawings are very simple lines young kids can follow. The pages have graph-paper grids on them to help in drawing. There are also scene pages so kids can draw different scenes and make up a story. Kids will love to draw along with Pete!

Next up – BATHROOM SCIENCE!

toilet1
Bathroom Science: 70 Fun and Wacky Science Experiments
by Christine Taylor-Butler

144 pages – ages 8+
Published by Portable Press on September 13, 2016

Publisher’s synopsis: Create exploding toilet volcanoes, oozing sink slime, and bubbling bathtub cauldrons…all in the name of science! Each step-by-step experiment uses household and other easy-to-find materials so the young scientist’s lab can be equipped quickly, inexpensively, and—for those who might worry—safely. Bathroom Science highlights the materials, the method, and the scientific “why” behind every experiment. It’s spiral bound to stay open while young scientists-in-training measure and mix. And, best of all, Bathroom Science makes science as simple (and occasionally explosive) as going to the bathroom.

WHAT I THOUGHT: I know what you are thinking, “Erik why would you encourage my children to explode our toilet?”

BECAUSE IT’S SCIENCE! Mwah ha ha ha haaaa!

Despite the name the experiments outlined in the book do not have to be done in a bathroom. Early on in the book it is explained that the bathroom is a good place to do the experiments because you can make the room hot or cold by running the shower – there’s water near by (for experiments and cleaning up) and the bathtub is a great place for doing messy things.

I like the experiments because they use things that you have laying around the house so they can be done inexpensively. The experiments I tried out worked really well (I tried glowing goo, bathroom tornado, zero-g H2O, and “Now Watch This Clip”). The directions are clearly written out:

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There are plenty of experiments kids can do on their own but the book tell kids when to ask for help from parents. There are diagrams to help understand directions. The book will provide hours of fun!

Next up – NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC ENCYCLOPEDIA OF SCIENCE!

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Science Encyclopedia: Atom Smashing, Food Chemistry, Animals, Space, and More!
by National Geographic Kids

304 pages – ages 8+
Published by National Geographic Children’s Books on October 11, 2016

Publisher’s synopsis: Food chemistry, atom crashing, wave power, food chemistry, and robots! These are just a few of the topics covered in this fantastic new science encyclopedia, which presents a comprehensive overview of physical and life sciences from A to Z. Super smart and kid-friendly, it’s packed with full-color photographs, weird but true facts, amazing statistics, do-it-yourself experiments, plus profiles of scientists and National Geographic’s explorers who rock the world of science. Keep up with the changes happening all around us with this stellar science reference book.

WHAT I THOUGHT: THIS BOOK IS AWESOME! First the book is as large as all the stuff packed into it. The book itself measures about 9.5 by 12 inches so it is impressive when you hold it. The inside is packed with science! It gives an easy to understand description of  matter, energy, the universe, electronics, the human body and much more. It not only gives a basic understanding of these topics but then also dives further into each subject to give a better understanding. The book uses real-life situations to teach – like car tires to teach about friction. The pages are laid out with bright colorful pictures and fact boxes.

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I really like that there are time line pages – to give kids an idea about the history of the science topic being talked about. There are some experiments suggested throughout the book in “Try This” boxes. The back matter includes a handy glossary, suggested websites for additional information and an easy to use index.

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Fannie Never Flinched by Mary Cronk Farrell

9 Dec

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 neat tale of a lady most people don’t know about, but should.

fannieFannie Never Flinched: One Woman’s Courage in the Struggle for American Labor Union Rights
By Mary Cronk Farrell
56 pages – ages 8+

Published by Harry N. Abrams on November 1, 2016

Theme/Topic- Social Work/Justice

Genre- Noniction/Biography

Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “Near suppertime, gunshots echoed among the small frame houses of Natrona, Pennsylvania. People ran out to see what was happening.

Synopsis from Publisher: “Fannie Sellins (1872–1919) lived during the Gilded Age of American Industrialization, when the Carnegies and Morgans wore jewels while their laborers wore rags. Fannie dreamed that America could achieve its ideals of equality and justice for all, and she sacrificed her life to help that dream come true. Fannie became a union activist, helping to create St. Louis, Missouri, Local 67 of the United Garment Workers of America. She traveled the nation and eventually gave her life, calling for fair wages and decent working and living conditions for workers in both the garment and mining industries. Her accomplishments live on today. This book includes an index, glossary, a timeline of unions in the United States, and end notes.

What I Thought- This is a really neat nonfiction biography of a lady who fought for equality for all. It is a great resource for children and teachers looking for an introduction on working for social justice. The book is written in a kid-friendly way that explains the horrible conditions the workers faced during this period in history. It is such an excellent read – making it easy to digest and understand. The story is set up in the sections of Ms. Sellins’ life, and has real pictures/posters from the era the book is about. This is a well-organized biography that kids will enjoy reading.

Activities and Resources- The book is a resource itself, with end notes and other information included.

Explorepahistory.com has a nice biography of Ms. Sellins HERE if you want more information.

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

Review! Wisdom of the Centaur’s Reason by LRW Lee

5 Dec

centaurWisdom of the Centaur’s Reason

Series: Andy Smithson #6 (#1, #2, #3, #4, #5)

By LRW Lee

212 pages – ages 9+

Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform on November 19, 2016

Synopsis- Andy Smithson wants to get back to Oomaldee. But he can’t. Whatever brings him there (he’s still unsure) isn’t bringing him! Thankfully, he is then given a task – find the Heart of Oomaldee, hidden in our world, in America! He finds the heart, and restarts it inside Oomaldee, finally getting back to his people. But now, with that quest done, it is time that he returns to his main quest – breaking the curse. And if he breaks the curse, it means that he must come to terms with what happens after doing so – mostly the death of his mother, the King, and Mermin, beloved wizard. Can he do it?

What I thought- Wow! This installment of the Andy Smithson series really pulls at your heartstrings! There is a lot of tension in the story as everything draws towards the final showdown between Andy and Abaddon. Lee plays on the reader’s emotions as she leads them through this exciting story. The reader is totally connected with the characters and you empathize with the pains and troubles that plague them. The characters get more realistic and personable as the series goes on, so by now, you feel as if you know each of them rather well. The progression of Andy, as the main character, throughout the series is especially satisfying. He is coming to terms with a friend dying, and also with the fact that if he breaks the curse, his mom will die, along with the King and another close friend. WOW! That’s a lot for a kid. I appreciate that Lee has a fine sense of where to draw the line at the story being too dark, because it could easily fold into a depressing story. But it doesn’t. Lee keeps the characters’ hope up, and they will not give up even if things are looking down. She definitely has her target audience in mind. Lee’s vivid description of the setting and characters play like a movie in your mind, and make it so that you don’t want to put the story down. Very much looking forward to the next book.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Perfect Picture Book Friday! That’s Not Normal by Mar Pavón

2 Dec

Susanna Leonard Hill has a feature on her blog called Perfect Picture Book Friday. It is a list of “perfect” picture books recommended by all sorts of people. I chose this book because it is a good anti-bullying story.

normalThat’s Not Normal
Written by Mar Pavón
Illustrated by Laure du Faÿ
44 pages – ages 6+

Published by NubeOcho on Sept. 13 2016

Theme/Topic- Being bullied/Helping others

Genre- Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “Elephant had a very, very long trunk… Incredibly long!

THAT’S NOT NORMAL!

Synopsis from Publisher: “The elephant has a very long trunk. With it he helps all his friends, but the hippopotamus always mocks him and says: “that’s not normal!’

But what is “normal”?”

What I Thought- I love that this book has Hippopotamus being nasty, but still the animals help him. It shows that you should always try to help others. There is, of course, an anti-bullying statement, ending with Hippopotamus and Elephant collaborating. It is a nice story line. The illustrations are simple, and they remind me of some comic strips. Kids will like that. Ms. Pavón has a nice, basic, easy-to-read type of writing style, and the words are formatted to accent words in a fun way. An all-around great book! 😀

Activities and Resources- I found an article from Nymetroparents.com on showing acceptance of others as a parental figure HERE.

There is a nice lesson plan for teachers/homeschoolers from Edutopia.org about teaching acceptance HERE.

What’s nice about this publisher is that NubeOcho publishes this and many other titles in Spanish too!

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

Review! In the Land of Broken Time by Max and Maria Evans

30 Nov

brokentimeIn The Land of Broken Time: The Incredible Journey
Co-written by Max and Maria Evans
Translated by Helen Hagon
Illustrated by Maria Evans
54 pages – ages 6+
Published by Max and Maria Evans on August 2, 2016

Synopsis- Christopher was excited – the circus was in town! He sneaks out of his house and goes to the big top. There, he meets a girl named Sophie who also wanted to see the circus. They sneak in and are happy to be there. But all is not well. A creepy woman is trying to get them to leave, and they hide in a basket. It wasn’t their fault the basket is a hot air balloon, and that they float away, taken to a world where time is pretty weird. They meet a scientist who specializes in time, and he teaches them a little about science. The kids, and a circus dog who was sleeping in the basket, go to stop an evil man from taking over the country they have come to. Will they stop him in time?

What I Thought- This is a nice kids’ story, with a lot of innocent adventure. Kids will like reading about the travels and marvels in the fictitious landscape, and will learn without realizing it. There are a few illustrations scattered throughout the story, and they help make the story more engaging. The cover is gorgeous, and really sums the book up. Mr and Mrs Evans are a good team, and their writing style is a reflection of the wonder usually seen in the sciences. The book is simple, but good for a younger audience. It is a neat book, and I hope to see more from these authors!

I give the book four out of five bookworms.fourbooks

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