Tag Archives: bibliophile

Review! Cheesus Was Here by J.C. Davis

22 May

Cheesus Was Here
By J.C. Davis
272 pages – ages 13+
Published by Sky Pony Press on April 11, 2017

Synopsis– Delaney Delgado isn’t the biggest fan of God. After all, if there was a God, why would he have let her sister die? It’s just easier to think that He doesn’t exist then to think he has a vendetta against her family. When she buys a piece of cheese-a Babybel cheese wheel!-appears at a convenience store, she thinks nothing of it. Until the Baby Jesus is revealed underneath the wrapping. Suddenly her town is full of “miracles” and hopeful tourists. Delaney is sure the miracles are fake, even as more and more keep appearing. Enlisting her best friend, she sets out to prove them wrong. But can she handle the truth?

What I Thought- This was a really good book – I like how Davis has made it so it isn’t really in favor of or against religion – just a town that is receiving “miracles” and a girl trying to disprove it with a friend that hopes to prove it. The book is rather true to teenage life. The dialogue is spot on even with a bit of cuss words but it isn’t overly done. Davis has created a small town that is full of mostly religious citizens and adds the contrast of a character that has given up on God. I was drawn to the quirky story line with the deeper human story behind it. Davis balances heartbreak wonderfully with humor to make the story incredibly emotionally full. The opposing views of the townspeople and Delaney leads for an interesting read. I had an interesting time with this book. When first cracking it open, I thought I was going to love it, but was immediately put off by the atheistic main character. After delving into the book further I found that Delaney’s perspective allowed me to look introspectively at my own beliefs. I grew to appreciate the story more than if I had never disliked the character initially. Weird, I know; but true. This was a very good book, thought provoking book. I would like to read more from Davis in the future.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!

Review! Battle for the Land’s Soul by LRW Lee

8 May

Battle for the Land’s Soul
Series: Andy Smithson Series
Written by LRW Lee
210 pages – ages 9+
Published by Woodgate Publishing on May 8, 2017 (TODAY!)

Synopsis from Publisher- Good vs Evil. Destiny Demands the Battle be Fought. But at What Cost?
It’s clear Abaddon, the evil shape shifting ruler of Hadession, Oomaldee’s northern neighbor, must be dealt with if Oomaldee’s citizens are to ever live in peace. But how? What lengths will Andy have to go to in order to wage war against a being whose power stems from evil itself? Will Abaddon plunge the land into darkness or will light triumph?

What I Thought- For those of you out there unfamiliar with the Andy Smithson series, if the rest of the books weren’t enough to convince you to give LRW Lee a try, than this book should be reason enough. Lee has written a thrilling conclusion to her marvelous series. We finish the saga of Abaddon and his reign of terror, but sadly we have to say goodbye to Andy. Throughout this series I have enjoyed seeing Andygrow and flourish as a character. We see him grow from a self-centered American teenager into the wise, just and tempered monarch of an entire country. Lee fleshes out the rest of the cast as well, and readers learn more about them as they root them on. The character development intimately connects the reader with them and connects them to the story. This book is full of action, described in an enticing way. The text forces the reader into Andy‘s mind. It is written in such a way that Lee encourages the reader to ask the same questions that Andy is facing. The setting is well-described, with a perfect combination of giving details and leaving the imagination some free range. The world of Oomaldee and its neighboring countries are fascinating, and the reader appreciates getting a chance to “see” the lands as the characters travel through them. Lee really writes a gripping story, and I could not put this book down – don’t tell my parents this, but I stayed up incredibly late into the night to finish reading it! I really enjoy reading Lee’s adventures, and discovering the life lessons hidden between the pages. There is also a lot of symbolism in the book, making it good for reading in school as well. Lee writes age-appropriate novels, sometimes with darker themes, but always in a balanced way for kids to handle. This was a marvelous end to a fabulous series, and though I’m sad to see it go, I am happy to say that Lee has ended the book and series in a fulfilling way. I cannot wait to read what Lee comes up with next!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!

May The Fourth Be With You! – Double Review! The Thornton Burgess Library

4 May

Today I welcome back a special guest reviewer that takes over graces my blog once a year!

Welcome back Darth Vader and May the Fourth Be With You!

shhhhhh skaaaahh shhhhhh skaaaahh shhhhhh skaaaahh

Darth?

shhhhhh skaaaahh shhhhhh skaaaahh shhhhhh skaaaahh

Darth why are you just standing there breathing?

I FEEL A DISTURBANCE IN THE FORCE.

Really? What kind of disturbance? I thought we were here to review the Thornton Burgess books – you know Peter Cotton Tail and Jimmy Skunk?

YES. THE FORCE IS STRONG WITH THIS ONE.

Which one?

shhhhhh skaaaahh shhhhhh skaaaahh shhhhhh skaaaahh

Okay- never mind I will just get on with the reviews. 

 

The Adventures of Peter Cottontail
Series: The Thornton Burgess Library
By Thornton W. Burgess
128 pages – ages 6+
Published by Seagrass Press on March 1, 2017

Synopsis from the Publisher- Introduce a new generation to Thornton Burgess’ Peter Cottontail in The Adventures of Peter Cottontail.
The Adventures of Peter Cottontail recounts the hijinks of one of the most endearing and beloved creatures in children’s literature. Full of mischief (and then remorse), Peter has exploits that are delightfully recognizable to anyone who has children and will surely tickle yet another generation of young readers.
Peter Cottontail’s efforts to outwit the ever-hungry Reddy Fox lead to a number of whisker-thin escapes, and his fascination with the hibernation of some of his neighbors, such as Johnny Chuck, leads to his decision to hibernate . . . with riotous consequences.
This reprint of the classic that was originally published in 1914 presents Burgess’ classic style of telling a terrific tale while imparting information about the environment and its creatures.

The Adventures of Jimmy Skunk
Series: The Thornton Burgess Library
By Thornton W. Burgess
128 pages – ages 6+
Published by Seagrass Press on March 1, 2017

Synopsis from the Publisher- Introduce a new generation to Thornton Burgess’ Jimmy Skunk, the good-natured character who is usually left alone because of his potent “perfume.”
Like all of Thornton Burgess’ characters, Jimmy Skunk’s natural instincts are completely accurate, but his personality is easily relatable!
Jimmy Skunk thinks that the old barrel at the top of the hill will be a perfect place for a restful nap. But mischievous Peter Rabbit thinks up a way to upend this plan, very literally, and even arranges that Reddy Fox will get the blame – and a dose of Jimmy’s “perfume.” But Jimmy figures out the truth and makes sure that Peter gets his comeuppance with the help of a nest of yellow-jackets. Later, when Jimmy gets a hankering for some fresh eggs, he and Unc’ Billy Possum wind up in a pretty pickle in Farmer Brown’s henhouse.
Originally published in 1918, this book will inspire giggles and gasps from another generation as readers and listeners will learn about skunks, opossums, and life in the meadow through the eyes of Jimmy Skunk.

What I Thought About the Series- I really enjoyed reading these; they have a way of transporting you to another time. The storied are timeless, and actually took me a bit to realize they were written early 20th century. As a kid, I knew the stories of Peter Cottontail but never really knew who Thornton Burgess was and that there were more stories of his out there! I am glad to know now. – Burgess wrote stories similar to Beatrice Potter, but also charmingly different. The books are accompanied by what appears to be original illustrations. They tell neat short stories with chapters, good for a beginning reader or installments at bedtime. Burgess’ writing is timeless and will connect with any child today. The stories show good clean fun with tricksters, friendships, consequences, and also forgiveness. The book also talks about nature and creates an appreciation for the animals that live outside. I am extremely excited that Seagrass Press is bringing these classics back into print! I love the updated covers – very eye-catching!

I give these books five out of five bookworms!

Now for Darth Vader’s take on the books –

Darth- what do you think about Peter Cotton Tail?

HE WASN’T ON ANY MERCY MISSION AFTER ALL.

Huh? No Peter Cotton Tail just tries to fool Reddy Fox…

PERHAPS I CAN FIND NEW WAYS TO MOTIVATE THEM.

Umm – okay. Well what about Jimmy Skunk? What do you think about him?

HE IS AS POWERFUL AS THE EMPEROR HAS FORESEEN.

What emperor? There’s only Farmer Brown.

IT IS OF NO CONCERN. SOON THE REBELLION WILL BE CRUSHED,

Darth, I need you to focus. I’ve got a blog to run here and… ahk ahk gasp

Darth that was uncool. You need to stop force chocking me. Every year it’s the same thing. Just tell me how many book worms you’d give the books.

I WILL GIVE THEM 10,000 DEATH STARS.

Nice Darth but my rating scale is in bookworms and it only goes to five

I FIND YOUR LACK OF FAITH DISTURBING.

*sigh*

Okay you win, 10,000 Death Stars. Any last words Darth?

 

 

My May 2017 Upper Bucks Free Press Article is out! Illustrating with the Papps

1 May

I write for the UBFP Newspaper!

 

I wanted to share the article I wrote for the Upper Bucks Free Press (the newspaper I write for) for the May 2017 issue! The online version was published. To see the online version of the newspaper, click HERE (see page 17).

Hope you enjoy it!

 

Illustrating with the Papps

 

by Erik Weibel

Robert and Lisa Papp are a husband-and-wife artistic duo! They work as professional book illustrators, but also tend to work on anything that involves painting. Lisa Papp has illustrated several picture books, and written a few as well. “Madeline Finn and the Library Dog”–a book she wrote and illustrated–has been nominated for several awards, including being a 2017 finalist for the Children’s Choice Book Award. Robert Papp always liked drawing, and his love of art flows through into his work. He creates art “for almost everything. And for anyone that needs his services.” He has drawn for cookbooks, advertisements, board games, and his art will even be featured on postage stamps in 2018.  I had the wonderful opportunity to interview these Bucks County artists.

When did the two of you realize that you both wanted to be professional illustrators?

Lisa: Even though Rob and I attended the same art school, we had different paths into illustration. As Rob will tell you, he was enamored with illustration in school. I was in love with fine art, and had no real interest in illustration. If you had told me then that I would be an illustrator, I would have thought you crazy. I adored fine art. I loved painting what I wanted, the way I wanted. And though I had deadlines…art shows to create work for, there was a great sense of freedom. Though Rob was focused on illustration, he also enjoyed fine art. We would paint all week preparing for shows on the weekend. When Saturday morning came, we would pack his Mercury Capri with our homemade art stands and all the framed art we had created that week and spend the afternoon at a beautiful park selling our work. Usually we did pretty well. This was the early 90’s, Rob and I were fresh out of school and it was a good time for fine art. People appreciated original paintings and were willing to buy them. It was great and I assumed that’s what I would be doing forever. But everything changes, and you have to change with it. When fine art took a hit, we had to shift.

 

So my path to illustration was a slow and winding one. When I got my first picture book, “Rudolph Shines Again”, I found a whole new joy in illustration. And today, writing my own stories, which I then get to illustrate, is everything I could dream of.

 

Rob:  I always drew. Ever since I was little. I drew Superman and Batman. Cartoon characters, Snoopy, and always drew pictures to accompany my book reports in school.  So it was no surprise that I wanted to be an “artist”, even though I didn’t know exactly what that meant.

 

In art school, that changed when I discovered exactly what an “illustrator” was.  I learned that someone actually hires you and pays you for your art. No longer did I have to create a piece of art first and then HOPE someone will buy it. 

The two of you paint in very different styles. Do you think that being involved in each other’s work has helped you grow as an artist?

Lisa: Yes, definitely. Just when I think I’ve created something impressive, I will see a piece that Rob is working on and think, “oh, I guess I’ve got to try a little harder.” It’s wonderful that we can give each other a fresh eye, and help when one of us is struggling with a piece. I feel very lucky indeed.

Rob:  In general, being around art is always inspiring, but having someone that inspires me IN THE SAME HOUSE is really neat. It takes a lot of pressure off knowing that when I have a question, the answer can be as close as the next room over. So many times when you are completely involved in a piece, you can be blinded as to what it needs. Lisa always has a great eye for what needs to be done when I can’t see it. I don’t think my art would be as good without Lisa’s help.  

 

Other than your own or each other – who’s art work do you admire and why?

Lisa: I am a big fan of Lisbeth Zwerger, an Austrian illustrator. She has a fantastic imagination and the skills to back it up! Her watercolors are pure magic. Never overworked, and I love her color palettes as well. She’s just one of those people you describe as, “born to be an artist.” I love her whimsy, and I admire her incredible skill. It’s so inspiring to page through her work, I’m always left in awe.

 

Rob: When I stated out being an illustrator for paperback books, I learned from, and was inspired by the golden age of paperback illustrators. Not many people would know their names, but they would have been exposed to their amazing art. James Bama and Robert McGinnis produced 1000’s of covers in the 1970’s and eventually became equally amazing fine artists.  Peter Caras was my illustration instructor and not only an incredible artist, but as a teacher, I can credit him directly for teaching me how to be an illustrator.

 

Of course living here in Pennsylvania, I cannot neglect the brilliance of N.C. and Andrew Wyeth.

 

Ms. Papp, when did you decide to write a book, in addition to illustrating?

Lisa: I think I like writing more than I do illustrating. At least, it comes a bit easier to me. I have always written, though I never read books growing up. Writing seems second nature to me. As I began to illustrate other people’s stories, I realized I had my own stories I wanted to tell. Picture books seemed like a good place to start.

To learn more go to  Lisapapp.com and Robertpapp.com. For more on books and reading, visit my blog at ThisKidReviewsBooks.com

 

Blog Tour! Posted by John David Anderson

30 Apr

I have ANOTHER great book to tell you about today!

From John David Anderson, author of the acclaimed Ms. Bixby’s Last Day, comes a humorous, poignant, and original contemporary story about bullying, broken friendships, and the failures of communication between kids. In middle school, words aren’t just words. They can be weapons. They can be gifts. The right words can win you friends or make you enemies. They can come back to haunt you. Sometimes they can change things forever.

Posted
By John David Anderson
384 pages – ages 9+
Will Be Published by Walden Pond Press May 2, 2017 (Tuesday!)

Synopsis From Publisher- When cell phones are banned at Branton Middle School, Frost and his friends Deedee, Wolf, and Bench come up with a new way to communicate: leaving sticky notes for each other all around the school. It catches on, and soon all the kids in school are leaving notes—though for every kind and friendly one, there is a cutting and cruel one as well.
In the middle of this, a new girl named Rose arrives at school and sits at Frost’s lunch table. Rose is not like anyone else at Branton Middle School, and it’s clear that the close circle of friends Frost has made for himself won’t easily hold another. As the sticky-note war escalates, and the pressure to choose sides mounts, Frost soon realizes that after this year, nothing will ever be the same.

What I Thought- John David Anderson really knows how to hook your attention. He also knows how to capture the facets of teenagers in middle school and spin them into wonderful characters. The plot makes for a compelling story. The book is full of realistic bits and pieces of life that is so true you don’t even stop to think about it – it flows so easily. Anderson has a way of writing backstory in a reasonable and comprehensive way. The characters are so realistic, and I could relate to several of them. It was neat seeing how the presence of another person can alter the unspoken “system” of a group of people. Anderson is a master at making things believable, and I enjoy reading his work. It was a pleasant surprise to see that he is equally able to write realistic fiction as well as superhero and fantasy books. I cannot wait to see what else Anderson comes up with!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!

CRITICAL PRAISE
“Written with understated humor and fine-tuned perception, Frost’s first-person narrative offers a riveting story as well as an uncomfortably realistic picture of middle school social dynamics.” — Booklist (starred review)
“Anderson dives into the world of middle school with a clear sense of how it works and what it needs. Kids, and the rest of the world, need more books like this one.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Anderson captures the tumultuous joys and pains of middle school with honesty, creating characters with whom readers will find common ground and insight. Words have lingering and persistent power, Anderson makes clear, but so does standing up for others and making one’s voice heard.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Acute observations about social media and school life and a smart, engaging narrator make this a journey well worth taking. Readers might even want some Post-it notes to mark the good parts.” — The Horn Book

 

WHO IS THIS JOHN DAVID ANDERSON?!?!

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
John David Anderson is the author of Ms. Bixby’s Last Day, Sidekicked, Minion, and The Dungeoneers. A dedicated root beer connoisseur and chocolate fiend, he lives with his wife, two kids, and perpetually whiny cat in Indianapolis, Indiana. You can visit him online at www.johndavidanderson.org

Check out the other dates on this tour!

April 17 Librarian’s Quest
Walden Media Tumblr
April 18 Nerdy Book Club
April 19 For Those About to Mock
April 20 Teach Mentor Texts
April 21 Unleashing Readers
April 22 Next Best Book
April 23 Bluestocking Thinking
April 24 Litcoach Lou
Book Monsters
April 25 Kirsti Call
April 26 Educate-Empower-Inspire-Teach
April 27 The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia
Ms Yingling Reads
April 28 Maria’s Melange
Novel Novice
April 29 The Hiding Spot
April 30 This Kid Reviews Books

Review! Double Cross: Deception Techniques in War by Paul B. Janeczko

26 Apr

Double Cross: Deception Techniques in War
by Paul B. Janeczko
256 pages – ages 9+
Published by Candlewick Press on April 25th, 2017 (TODAY!)

Synopsis From Publisher- “The biblical account of Gideon. The ancient story of the Trojan horse. Deceptive techniques have been used in war through the ages. But while the principles have changed very little, the technology behind fooling the enemy has evolved dramatically. Paul B. Janeczko’s fascinating chronology focuses on the American Civil War, World Wars I and II, and the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Gulf Wars to reveal evolving attitudes toward the use and effectiveness of deceptive operations. Find out the secret plan behind the invasion of Normandy and the details of General Schwarzkopf’s “Hail Mary play” during the Gulf War, among many other strategies and maneuvers designed to pull the wool over enemies’ eyes. Back matter includes source notes, a bibliography, and an index.”

What I Thought- This is a fabulous nonfiction book. Janeczko analyzes major techniques of deception throughout history, featuring medieval strategies and deceptions all the way up to the Gulf War. I learned a lot about military strategy, and the different types of deception. It was fascinating to learn about the deceptions pulled off during WWII, because those were some grand-scale deceptions! This was a very informative nonfiction novel, with real pictures and maps, and more information in the back as well. It is neat how the book takes in depth looks at major strategies, but still keeps the reading level and content for younger kids. He will spend a chapter or two on a war and major deceptions within them, making sure to explain the topics well. There are also pages of extra information scattered throughout the book that explains miscellaneous ideas about deception. Janeczko really knows how to make nonfiction intriguing, and I cannot wait to read more of his work!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!

Review! The Case of the Poached Egg by Robin Newman

24 Apr

Wilcox and Griswold: The Case of the Poached Egg
Written by Robin Newman
Illustrated by Deborah Zemke
48 pages – ages 6+
Published by Creston Books on April 2, 2017

Synopsis from Publisher- When Penny goes missing from the nest, Wilcox and Griswold are called in to track her down. Was the egg stolen by a rival for The Most Round in the Spring Egg-stravaganza? Was she used in a carrot cake or scrambled by a hungry porker? Or was she held for a hefty corn ransom? Who took Penny and can the detectives find her before trouble hatches?

What I Thought- Newman has written a nice sequel to her original book “The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake” (see my review HERE!). This early reader series is more challenging than a picture book and easier than a small novel, making it a great transition book. I like that the books introduce kids to detective processes, such as analyzing clues and using deductive reasoning, and also to mystery novels. The book has a slightly more serious mood to it compared to the first book, but does include some puns and silly situations as well. I like the feel of the story, it is more of a mystery/crime solving book for little kids. The Wilcox and Griswold characters are wonderful and will quickly become a reader’s favorite. This would be a fun read-aloud, with parents and kids trying to figure out who look Henrietta’s egg. Zemke’s illustrations have a really neat Roald Dahl-esque feel to them, with an ink-and-watercolor style, and wacky circumstances. I feel that Zemke and Newman have a rather good collaboration together. I can’t wait to see what else they can come up with!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!

Check out the book’s trailer!

 

Blog Tour! Prisoner of Ice and Snow by Ruth Lauren with Interview and GIVEAWAY!!!

11 Apr

Prisoner of Ice and Snow
By Ruth Lauren
288 pages – ages 9+
Published by on April 4, 2017

Synopsis from Publisher-She’ll do anything to break her sister out of prison–even get arrested on purpose.

When thirteen-year-old Valor is sent to jail, she couldn’t be happier. Demidova’s prison for criminal children is exactly where she wants to be. Valor’s twin sister, Sasha, is serving a life sentence for stealing from the royal family, and Valor is going to help her escape . . . from the inside.

Never mind that no one has escaped the prison in centuries. Valor has a master plan and resources most people could only dream about. But she didn’t count on having to outsmart both the guards and her fellow prisoners. If Valor’s plan is to succeed, she’ll need to make some unlikely allies. And if the plan fails, she and Sasha could end up with fates worse than prison.”

What I Thought- This is probably one of the best debuts I’ve read in a while! The world is beautifully crafted, and there is a fascinating culture created. I am a fan of how the country appears as a nod to ancient Russian culture, and how the characters adapt to that. Which is another thing I loved – the characters are clever and they can think their way out of a problem. The ever present love for Sasha keeping Valor going is a nice touch as well – you would think it’d get annoying sometimes, but it never does. Lauren knows how to spin words in a way that keeps you on the edge of your seat – I read this entire book in one day. It’s not often that a debut author can do that. I cannot wait to see more books from Lauren!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!

Now for an exclusive interview with author Ruth Lauren!

1. Congratulations on your debut novel! I really enjoyed the action in it! How long have you been writing? Is this your first book ever written?

Thank you so much! I’m thrilled you enjoyed it. I’ve been writing for just about seven years now. PRISONER OF ICE AND SNOW wasn’t the first book I’ve ever written, or even the second, or third. But it was my first fantasy book and the first with action/adventure in it. I had more fun and did less worrying (and actually less planning) than I’d done before.

2. How did you get the unique plan to have the main character be very talented, but who wants to go to a prison no one has escaped from?

I was actually watching the TV show Prison Break (which starts with a man robbing a bank in order to get arrested) with my son and I wondered what that sort of story would be like if it was about two young sisters instead. The Russia inspired fantasy land part of the idea came soon after as I thought about where I could place the sisters to make their escape even more challenging.

3. As I was reading the book, I kept thinking of Russian traditions and aspects – or at least that is the imagery that popped into my head – even though I know the world you created is not that. I am wondering if you did any research for the fabulous world building you did in this book?  If you did,  how did you decide to differentiate between fact-based and artistic liberty when creating your setting: place, culture, etc.?

There is definitely a Russian feel to the book, although I did take a huge amount of artistic liberty. I never intended any of the aspects to be fact-based, but I did look at maps as inspiration for the made up place names I used. I also used mainly Russian names for characters—although I took liberties with changing their use of patronymics to matronymics (surnames based on the character’s mother’s name) to match with the matriarchal world where power is handed down from mother to daughter.

I imagined a very cold and unforgiving climate and terrain for the setting and when I looked at images on Pinterest, a lot of Russian landscape came up. I make boards for every idea that I have and I find it really helps me to visualize the world and individual scenes if can link them to a picture. For this book, I wanted a very cold, snowy, frozen world where the elements themselves could cause problems for the characters and bleed through into every part of the planning Valor has to do to try to break her sister out of prison.

4. One of the things I liked was that there is no magic prevalent in the story. I often think magic is an easy fall-back for authors when they get stuck. Instead you create quick thinking and daring characters that move the plot along. Did you enjoy the challenge of creating a world where magic is not a deus ex machina?

I enjoyed writing this book and figuring out a fast moving plot immensely, but I actually think including magic might have made it more difficult to write rather than easier. I find the idea of inventing a magic system that makes sense quite daunting!

5. Your heroine, Valor, is a wonderful character that I think both boys and girls will relate to.  How did you come up with Valor? Is she based on anyone?

Thank you! And I do hope so.

Valor was the first character I really thought about within the story, with her apprenticeship to her huntswoman mother as the reason she’s so adept with her bow and with so many other physical challenges. Her character built from her skills and her interest in being outdoors, reacting quickly to situations and therefore maybe not always thinking first—especially when it comes to saying the right thing. She’s fiercely loyal and determined but that sometimes prevents her from understanding other people’s points of view when she’s launching headlong into action. She’s not really based on anyone, but there are aspects of me in her (not the brave parts) and aspects of me in Sasha too.

6. Was there something I should have asked you but didn’t?

I don’t think so. But I would like to say thank you very much for having me!

7. Is there anything in the works you would like to tell the readers about?

I’m excited to say that there is! There’ll be a sequel to PRISONER OF ICE AND SNOW. It’s called SEEKER OF THE CROWN, coming from Bloomsbury in April 2018. No spoilers, but I can’t wait to go back to Demidova with Valor and Sasha for more adventures. I’m also currently outlining a middle grade sci-fi standalone set on another planet, which I hope you’ll get to read one day.

You can have a chance at winning a copy of this book!

Just click HERE for the Rafflecopter. (Only open to US/CAN addresses)

Only available for four more days!!

Review! The Great Sugar War by Benjamin Ellefson

11 Apr

The Great Sugar War
Written by Benjamin Ellefson
Illustrated by Kevin Cannon
168 pages – ages 9+
Published by Beaver’s Pond Press on December 28, 2016

Synopsis- We return to the Land of Color to follow the tale of Otto, who is the grandfather of Alvin, the main character of The Land Without Color (see my review HERE)! Otto was sailing on a new boat he got for a present, but went off course and ended up rescuing up a soldier whose ship had sank. The Land of Color is at war with the Land of Shapes, and Otto has got himself into the middle of it all. Using his ingenuity, Otto and the soldier work together to stop a new menace – the evil sugar soldiers. Now that the Lands of Color and Shapes have a common enemy, can they put aside their differences to stop them from taking over?

What I Thought- This is a nice prequel to The Land Without Color, andEllefson keeps the spirit of the first true to this book as well. I like that there is a message about eating good healthy foods, but it isn’t forced upon the readers – just subtly stated as the better option. That is good, so kids won’t be turned away from eating veggies as much. Ellefson has a great writing style, where you really connect with the characters. I also like that the character of Otto inspires ingenuity, because even if a problem arises he will look around and find a creative way out of the problem. This is a really neat series; I like how there are things that occur in it that have blatant disregard for the laws of reality – that makes it more fun! I cannot wait for the last book in this series!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!

Review! Touch the Earth by Julian Lennon and Bart Davis

10 Apr

Just in time for Earth Day!

Touch the Earth
Co-Written by Julian Lennon and Bart Davis
Illustrated by Smiljana Coh
pages – ages 5+
Will be Published by Sky Pony Press on April 11, 2017 (Tomorrow!)

Synopsis From Publisher- From internationally known singer, songwriter, and environmental activist Julian Lennon—along with New York Times bestselling author Bart Davis and beloved Croatian illustrator Smiljana Coh—comes TOUCH THE EARTH, an inspiring and lyrical story about how children can change the word and make it a better place.
In this debut picture book, readers will jump aboard the White Feather Flier, a magical plane that can go wherever you want, just point it up in the air, or down into the water. The White Feather Flier’s mission is to take children to places all over the world, engage them in helping to save the environment, and teach them how to keep it clean for future generations.
A passion project that comes from the heart, this stunningly illustrated book is inspired by the white feather he was given by his father when he was young. TOUCH THE EARTH is the first in a planned trilogy of similarly-themed picture books, and each will be released one year apart on Earth Day. A thrilling interactive experience à la Press Here, readers will participate in the action by pushing buttons within the book to help “fly the plane.”
Lennon has written an original poem to accompany the release of this legacy book, and all proceeds will be donated to the White Feather Foundation.”

What I Thought- This book has a really nice message of helping the Earth, and doing what you can to help out. The reader guides a plane through the story with interactive instructions on which direction the plane will fly. In addition to the book  teaches North, South, East and West directions.  Readers are asked to tilt the book and push buttons.  I love how the wings of the magical plane are feathers. The illustrations are gorgeous, and have a magical quality about them. I like how the book shows environmental troubles in the world (particularly focusing on water), but it also shows solutions. The interactive part of the book is at times a bit clunky, but it doesn’t distract from the story and mostly adds dimension to the adventure. This book would be great for kids to read with an adult. This book is a great way to broach the topic of caring for the Earth, and participating in Earth Day. Lennon’s poem an author’s note in the back of the book are wonderful additions. I think he could have used the text of the poem as a stand alone book – it’s very moving. Overall, the book is a solid collaboration of text and illustration. I am looking forward to the next two books when they come out!

Visit the White Feather Foundation’s website

I give this book four out of five bookworms.

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