Tag Archives: bibliophile

Review! The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale

25 Feb

squirrelThe Unbeatable Squirrel Girl
Written by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale
Illustrated by Vitale Mangiatordi
336 pages – ages 9+
Published by Marvel Press on February 7, 2017

Synopsis – Doreen Green knows that she’s different. After all, there is literally a perfectly legit reason why she obsesses over squirrels. You see, Doreen Green is a fourteen-year-old with a squirrel tail. But now she’s moved across the country from sunny, brilliant, cheery California to…New Jersey. What if there are no squirrels?!

Luckily, there ARE squirrels! But Doreen’s new town is pretty messed up. There are graffiti “artists” and wild dogs running loose! So, Doreen decides to do what any good citizen should do – clean up her town. And it goes fine, until she finds out that she now has an arch-nemesis. Which stinks. Now it’s up to Squirrel Girl to stop this squirrel-hating psycho from destroying her town!

What I Thought- I knew about Squirrel Girl from reading comics. She had a brief run with her own comic but she really is a minor character so I was interested to see what the Hale’s did with her in this middle grade novel. This book is actually really funny. There is just a lot of details that make for a humorous read. One of the ones I like is that there are footnotes throughout the book from Doreen, because she is reading the book at the same time as you are! There are also text messages between Doreen and some prominent superheroes that are absolutely hilarious. Doreen is a very enjoyable character that seems a bit too naive at times. Mr. and Mrs. Hale are a great writing team, and have the voice of young teenagers down perfectly. They make the characters believable. Along with that, the setting is well-described, and doesn’t really diss New Jersey (which usually is an easy target), just her fictional, messed-up town. There are also black and white squirrel illustrations throughout the book that were a nice touch. This was an altogether enjoyable read, and a nice foray into the Marvel universe from a lesser known superhero!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

 

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

Review! Muhammad Ali by Gene Barretta #BlackHistoryMonth

15 Feb

aliMuhammad Ali: A Champion is Born
Written by Gene Barretta
Illustrated by Frank Morrison
40 pages – ages 4+
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on January 3, 2017

Synopsis from Publisher- In this picture book biography of Muhammad Ali, author Gene Barretta and illustrator Frank Morrison tell the unforgettable childhood story of this legendary boxing champion and how one pivotal moment set him on his path to become the Greatest of All Time.

The Louisville Lip. The Greatest. The People’s Champion. Muhammad Ali had many nicknames. But before he became one of the most recognizable faces in the world, before the nicknames and the championships, before he converted to Islam and changed his name to Muhammad Ali, he was twelve-year-old Cassius Clay riding a brand-new red-and-white bicycle through the streets of Louisville, Kentucky. One fateful day, this proud and bold young boy had that bike stolen, his prized possession, and he wouldn’t let it go. Not without a fight.

This would be the day he discovered boxing. And a champion was born.

What I Thought- Gene Barretta really knows how to write a picture book biography. He’s written books about other historical figures, including Thomas Edison and Benjamin Franklin. He handles this book fabulously, showing how Ali goes from Cassius Clay, a young boy who knows nothing about boxing, into Muhammad Ali, world champion. It was also nice that Barretta didn’t just focus on Ali’s path to boxing – he also showcased Ali’s civil work against segregation. This is a good book that shows someone working hard to achieve a goal, accomplishing that goal, and then helping others – kids will learn a lot from the book. There is a spread in the back talking about the life of Ali in more detail, including why he changed his name, and more about his civil work. The book is illustrated by Frank Morrison, who does a really good job at portraying the time period and capturing the essence of the people in the book. This is a great reading choice for Black History Month, seeing as Ali is a good role model all around and today’s kids should know about this great man. I really enjoy these picture book biographies by Barretta, and can’t wait to see more!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Cover Reveal! The Dream Stealers by Devra Robitaille

6 Feb

Today I get to reveal a cover of an upcoming book called The Dream Stealers from The Hologram Library. I thought the book had an interesting premise with intriguing characters.

First let me tell you what the story is about!

The Dream Stealers
By Devra Robitaille
172 pages – ages 8+
Will be published by The Hologram Library on February 19, 2017

Synopsis from the Publisher- Devin’s story of courage in the face of ruthless greed and skulduggery begins on Earth. Devin is a young girl who lives with her scientist father who has invented a laser spaceship, the Traveler, and when he goes for a test run the machine returns without him. She bravely sets off to find him, learns how to fly the Traveler and encounters many odd and magical characters en route. She ends up on a breathtakingly beautiful planet called Vega which is the headquarters of the Dream Council, where she meets her guides, Ryan and Olam and finds her father again. To her amazement she discovers that she is not an earthling, but an alien with incredible talents. She also discovers that the universe is threatened by underhanded and dastardly bandits called the Dream Stealers who lurk in the border regions between dreaming and waking, attacking dreamers and stealing their dreams. They sell the dreams on the black market leaving their victims trapped in an agonizing wasteland, mere shadows of themselves. The Dream Council is organizing a resistance movement to vanquish the Dream Stealers and recapture the dreams and return them to the dreamers. Devin enrolls in the flying academy on Vega to learn to become a fighter pilot in the reconnaissance squadron and begins her journey of defiance and victory.

 

Now for the reveal!

 

Drum roll, please!

 

*bahda bahda bahda bahda – ting!*

 

dream-stealers

 

The cover is a cool modern art/cubism type painting. There are more watercolor illustrations throughout the book that help tie the story together.

Intrigued by the synopsis? You can pre-order the book HERE!
Want to hear what others think about the book? Find the full blog tour list HERE!

Learn more about Hologram Library on –

Want to know more about the author?
devra-robitaille
Find out more about Devra Robitaille at her Amazon author’s page click HERE!

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Plant the Tiny Seed by Christie Matheson

3 Feb

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 interactive story!

seedPlant the Tiny Seed
Written by Christie Matheson
40 pages – ages 4+

Published by Greenwillow Books on January 24, 2017

Theme/Topic- Nature/Interactive

Genre- Non-fiction
Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “There’s magic in this tiny seed.

Press it down
and count to three.”

Synopsis from Publisher: “How do you make a garden grow? In this playful companion to the popular Tap the Magic Tree and Touch the Brightest Star, you will see how tiny seeds bloom into beautiful flowers. And by tapping, clapping, waving, and more, young readers can join in the action! Christie Matheson masterfully combines the wonder of the natural world with the interactivity of reading.”

What I Thought- This is a really cool book, and you could pair reading it with a book like Let’s Play by Hervé Tullet (see my review HERE). The book is written in rhyme, and done in such a way that doesn’t force the rhymes. Kids will love having this book read to them while they follow along, following the instructions. There is a nice reference page at the end of this book, filled with information about planting your own seeds, and with a more information about what was in the story. The illustrations are a neat combination of what looks like paper collage and paint. They give the book a warm feeling to it. I really like how this book takes you through the process of caring for a plant in a fun interactive way! It’s a nice way to start thinking about Spring!

Activities and Resources- The book itself is a good resource, where you can follow the steps in the back of the book to plant your own seeds.

If you want more things to do, Kidsgardening.org has a great list of activities, plus lots of information for teachers HERE!

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!

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

Perfect Picture Book Friday! I Am A Story by Dan Yaccarino

22 Jan

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’s a really profound story.

storyI Am A Story
By Dan Yaccarino
40 pages – ages 4+

Published by HarperCollins on Sept. 6 2016

Theme/Topic- The history of storytelling? It’s a bit hard to narrow down.

Genre- Fiction? Nonfiction?

Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “I am a story. I was told along a campfire, then painted on cave walls.

Synopsis from Publisher: “Internationally acclaimed author-illustrator Dan Yaccarino presents a powerful picture book that celebrates storytelling—from the past to the present and beyond.

From cave drawings to the invention of the printing press to our digital age, discover how a story has been told in many different ways from the past to today. It’s always been around, making us happy, sad, excited, or scared and bringing people together. With simple text and delightful illustrations, Dan Yaccarino reminds us of the power of story.”

What I Thought- I really like how this book recaps the history of storytelling in a simplified manner, taking you all the way from oral storytelling, through writing, printing, electronically, and then back to oral storytelling in a nice circular ending. The book has minimal text, making it a nice read-aloud for younger kids. Mr. Yaccarino’s illustrations are both detailed and simple, and kids will like looking at them. I mean, just take a look for your self!:

story2

Isn’t that great? I like how there is a detail that is shared with all of the pictures as they go throughout the timeline. This book is a nice transition into a topic on writing stories, or printing books as well. I really like how Mr. Yaccarino has found a way of writing a great book that takes your breath away as you read it and look at the illustrations.

Activities and Resources- Storyarts.org has a great list of activities for school kids that involve speaking/storytelling HERE.

Mensaforkids.org has tips on storytelling (good for kids and adults!) HERE!

Check out the trailer!

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

Creative Kid Thursday! Tanner Walling

19 Jan

Hi everyone! Today on Creative Kid Thursday, I am spotlighting kid author Tanner Walling, author of Fury of the Storm.

Tanner was nice enough to write a guest post, so I’m going to stop talking/typing and hand the mic/blog-space over to Tanner. Take it away, Tanner!

Hey everyone! My name is Tanner Walling and I am a teen author and science writer. Erik asked me to do a guest post about myself, my books, and what I want to do in the future and I gladly accepted. So, here’s the post!

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Here’s a little about myself. Outside of writing, publishing, and that kind of stuff, I maintain my science website, Science All Around, where I create articles and videos explaining science in an easy-to- understand way, since most science websites don’t do that. I’ve been writing for Science All Around for over three years. I also row for my school’s crew team, am a member of my school’s Model UN team, and enjoy traveling with my family.

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Now, to the meat of the post: BOOKS! I write action adventure novels for middle-school (ages 10-14) and young adult readers. The general theme in my books is action adventure that often has a survival element to it. Think Roland Smith and Gary Paulsen with a bit of James Dashner thrown in the mix. My books are also very-action packed, which my readers seem to really enjoy. The current series I’m writing is my Fury of the Storm series, which is a disaster survival series featuring Isaac Tohver, a fourteen year old who, in each book, fights to survive the largest disasters nature can throw at him. Here’s the description of the first book in the series, Fury of the Storm:

A Category 6 hurricane of massive proportions.
One private jet carrying two teens and their pilot.
They weather the plane crash.
But now they must survive.

After Isaac’s plane is torn to shreds in a grisly crash that he’ll never forget, he’s faced with the disastrous realization that his plane has crashed over a mile from the shore and the only link from them to the mainland is a string of small islands so small the waves threaten to spill over and drown them beneath their dark crests.

Faced with either death or attempting to make it to the mainland, they set off on a grueling journey to make it to the mainland and be rescued in the largest and most furious hurricane the world has ever seen.

Fury of the Storm was the first book I ever wrote. I started it back when I was eleven, but really didn’t write it until I was twelve. Then, it went through editing and was published about a year later, in February 2016. The second book, tentatively titled Foreshock, is being edited, the third book is currently being written, and the fourth book is in the planning stages. For the future outside of writing, I plan to go into a science or technology field for a career.

If you have questions about writing, publishing, or anything like that, I’d be glad to answer them. You can find me online through the links below. Thanks to all of you for reading! I especially want to thank Erik for offering me the guest post!

Thank you Tanner for stopping by and writing this post!

Check out Tanner’s links below!

Website: http://tannerwalling.weebly.com
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Tanner-Walling/e/B0136W8STI
Twitter: https://twitter.com/tannerwauthor
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/tannerwauthor/

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Madeline Finn and the Library Dog by Lisa Papp

8 Jan

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 super sweet story about trying your best and overcoming your fears with a little help from your friends.

madelineMadeline Finn and the Library Dog
By Lisa Papp
32 pages – ages 4+

Published by Peachtree Publishers on October 1, 2016

Theme/Topic-Reading/Trying Your Best

Genre- Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “I do NOT like to read!

Synopsis from Publisher: “Madeline Finn DOES NOT like to read.
Not books.
Not magazines.
Not even the menu on the ice cream truck.
But Madeline Finn DOES want a gold star from her teacher.
Stars are for good readers.
Stars are for understanding words.
And saying them out loud.
Fortunately, Madeline Finn meets Bonnie, a library dog. Reading out loud to Bonnie isn’t so bad. When Madeline Finn gets stuck, Bonnie doesn’t mind. Madeline Finn can pet her until she figures the word out.
As it turns out, it’s fun to read when you’re not afraid of making mistakes. Bonnie teaches Madeline Finn that it s okay to go slow. And to keep trying. Just like the sticker says.

What I Thought- I really like how this book doesn’t attribute Madeline’s reading troubles to anything, such as dyslexia, so it can relate to any kid, whether they have dyslexia or just trouble reading. Ms. Papp has written a good story about how if you keep trying at something, and take your time, you can ultimately succeed at your goal. It’s also nice that the story teaches this all without making it obvious that you are learning. That’s skill. Ms. Papp’s soft watercolors make the story feel intimate and cheery.madeline2  The book is perfect to read with children, as it is a problem they may empathize with. Madeline Finn will remind you of that one spunky person in your life who is insistent that it is their way or the highway. She wants to read, but is certain she cannot. She realizes that with gentle, quiet support (dogs don’t judge you for making mistakes) she can keep going, and ultimately succeed.madeline3 It’s a nice story with a positive ending, and an even happier twist. Kids will like this story that encourages them to keep trying and work it out.

Activities and Resources- I found a great article that has tips to encourage reading from Readingrockets.org HERE!

There is a good article on teaching perseverance with young kids at Momentsaday.com HERE!

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

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Planet Kindergarten: 100 Days In Orbit by Sue Ganz-Schmitt

6 Jan

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.

planetkindergarten100Planet Kindergarten: 100 Days In Orbit
Written by Sue Ganz-Schmitt
Illustrated by Shane Prigmore
36 pages – ages 5+

Published by Chronicle Books on October 4, 2016

Theme/Topic- Teamwork/Helping others

Genre- Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening:

Star Log: Day 100
Base camp is lively. I greet my crewmates and admire their work.

Synopsis from Publisher: “Star Log: Day 100. Base camp is lively. I greet my crewmates and admire their work. We have mastered many skills on our journey, but today brings a new milestone. There have been: 100 roll calls. 100 songs. 100 pledges. 100 challenging days full of exploration and triumph! Little ones will be over the moon as they celebrate school’s 100th Day with this clever, dynamically illustrated book, and eager to suit up for another daring adventure exploring and conquering Planet Kindergarten.”

What I Thought- This is a neat sequel to Planet Kindergarten (see my review HERE). I like how the way the kids are drawn creates mild confusion for the kids about whether they are human or alien.  One of the reasons I like this book is that while the text makes it seem like it is very much in outer space, but then the illustrations show plastic building bricks, a dodge ball, and other such Earthly things. The illustrations are fun to look at and have tons of details that add to the story.

pk100

It is a really nice combination that kids will like a lot. Ms. Ganz-Schmitt is onto a really good idea, as this series teaches about friendship and other great ideas for kids. This one teaches about teamwork, and helping others.

Activities and Resources- Care.com has a great list of activities for toddlers-elementary school kids that build teamwork HERE! This list is good for teachers or parties.

Brighthorizons.com has a nice post about teaching your kids to help others by showing them an example HERE! This post is better suited towards parents.

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

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