Tag Archives: bibliophile

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Morris Mole by Dan Yaccarino

17 Nov

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 very nice little story about finding your courage.

Morris Mole
By Dan Yaccarino
40 pages – ages 4+

Published by HarperCollins on May 2, 2017

Theme/Topic- Finding Courage
Genre- Fiction
Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “There was a mole who lived with his big brothers. Together they dug. They ate. And they slept. The littlest mole was Morris. And he was just a bit different from the rest.

Synopsis from Publisher: “Meet Morris Mole—he has always been a little bit different. When the moles are running low on food, it’s up to clever Morris to save the day. With a little help from an unexpected friend and a lot of digging, Morris learns that even the smallest creatures can do big things.”

What I Thought- This was such a joyous book to find. Dan Yaccarino has created such a simple story with such a huge meaning. I really like how the illustrations intertwine so well with the story, with the above-ground scenes having whimsical details, while the underground scenes have very few details – making it feel a bit dreary.

The subtlety is supreme. Morris is a great character; sweet, and willing to help others no matter what. I really enjoyed the story line, and how it encourages speaking up. This picture book is a sweet look at the good that can come from finding the courage to do what you can do.

Activities and Resources- Livestrong.com has a nice article about teaching kids courage HERE!

To learn more about moles, visit Livescience.com for their article about these little critters HERE!

Check out the Book’s trailer!

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

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Confiscated! by Suzanne Kaufman

15 Oct

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 fun book about sharing.

Confiscated!
By Suzanne Kaufman
32 pages – ages 4+

Published by Balzer + Bray on August 1, 2017

Theme/Topic- Sharing
Genre- Fiction
Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “Brooks and Mikey fought over EVERYTHING and ANYTHING. And whenever they did, their mama would take it away.

In other words, it got CONFISCATED!

Synopsis from Publisher: “When Mama hears Brooks and Mikey fighting over yet another toy, it gets CONFISCATED!

(In other words, taken away.)

It’s only when ALL the toys are confiscated that Brooks and Mikey finally learn how to work—and play—together nicely.

(But not before creating a whole heap of trouble . . . )”

What I Thought- Ms. Kaufman has created a wonderful book that showcases the case for sharing. The dinosaurs are impartial to their fighting, fighting over everything. Eventually, when all the toys are gone, they start talking to each other. And learning how they actually like each other. It’s awesome. There are also great illustrations that fit the story well – I really like how you don’t see Mama’s face until the end. I also really like the wide variety of confiscated items – a bike, Mexican wrestling mask, tuba, and even the dog (which, granted, was a little odd). The only thing I didn’t like was that the tuba was actually a sousaphone – the marching band counterpart to the tuba. But that’s just me being a band geek. 😉 This is an excellent picture book about sharing!

Activities and Resources- There is a good list of sharing activities from Care.com HERE.

There is also some more sharing activities from Powerfulmothering.com HERE.

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

Review! Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder

24 Aug

Orphan Island
By Laurel Snyder
288 pages – ages 9+
Published by Walden Pond Press on May 30, 2017

Synopsis From Publisher- “On the island, everything is perfect. The sun rises in a sky filled with dancing shapes; the wind, water, and trees shelter and protect those who live there; when the nine children go to sleep in their cabins, it is with full stomachs and joy in their hearts. And only one thing ever changes: on that day, each year, when a boat appears from the mist upon the ocean carrying one young child to join them—and taking the eldest one away, never to be seen again.

Today’s Changing is no different. The boat arrives, taking away Jinny’s best friend, Deen, replacing him with a new little girl named Ess, and leaving Jinny as the new Elder. Jinny knows her responsibility now—to teach Ess everything she needs to know about the island, to keep things as they’ve always been. But will she be ready for the inevitable day when the boat will come back—and take her away forever from the only home she’s known?”

What I Thought- I have mixed feelings about this book. It’s not quite about responsibility, or growing up, but it is not not about them either. It’s odd. While the writing was good, it just didn’t resonate with me. I thought the plot dragged a bit, but I also loved the specific details about life on the island. As a reader, it was an odd relationship. There were times when I felt I was about to get totally immersed in the story but never got fully engaged. The story is very whimsical, and has a basic almost-utopia feel to it, and you really do begin to feel raw emotion as things twist about, but then it would get lost. I just couldn’t get into it. I think there was too much left unresolved. Overall, this is a well-written book with interesting characters, just not one I was head-over-heels for. That certainly doesn’t mean others won’t be.

I give this book three out of five bookworms.

Review! Guys Read: Heroes & Villains; edited by Jon Scieszka

21 Aug

Guys Read: Heroes & Villains
Written by Various Authors
Edited by Jon Scieszka
Illustrated by Jeff Stokely
288 pages – ages 9+
Published by Walden Pond Press on April 4, 2017

Synopsis From Publisher-Heroes and Villains, the seventh volume in Jon Scieszka’s Guys Read Library of Great Reading, is chock-full of adventure featuring an array of characters—with and without capes.

Featuring ten all-new, original stories that run the gamut from fantasy to comics to contemporary adventure to nonfiction, and featuring eleven of the most acclaimed, exciting writers for kids working today, this collection is the perfect book for you, whether you use your powers for good—or evil.

Authors include Laurie Halse Anderson, Cathy Camper and Raúl Gonzalez, Sharon Creech, Jack Gantos, Christopher Healy, Deborah Hopkinson, Ingrid Law, Pam Muñoz Ryan, Lemony Snicket, and Eugene Yelchin, with illustrations by Jeff Stokely.”

What I Thought- I love the Guys Read books. Originally started off as one book of short stories to get boys reading, there is now a series of topics, such as comedy and thriller. This is a nice addition, with various authors contributing to the idea of what makes someone a hero or a villain. There is a lot of things to ponder and reflect on within these 288 pages. The authors wrote stories that challenge our precepts and concepts of what it means to be a hero or a villain. I really enjoyed Lemony Snicket’s story for that, along with Jack Gantos’, although I was a fan of all of the stories. Guys Read is a wonderful idea, and I am eternally grateful for Mr. Scieszka’s mission to get guys into reading. This book carries on that tradition with excellent stories guaranteed to excite guys (or even girls, for that matter)!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!

Review! The World’s Greatest Detective by Caroline Carlson

28 Jul

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

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

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

I give this book five out of five bookworms!

Review! Lucky Broken Girl by Ruth Behar

26 Jul

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

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

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

I give this book four out of five bookworms.

Muffy Turns One: The Mini Tour – COVER REVEAL!

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

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

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

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

Muffy turns one!…the mini-tour

Be sure to check out all the stops!

Cover reveal for Muffy’s new artwork

July 20th 2017

This Kid Reviews Books

Character Interview with Pete, the Dog Catcher

July 21st 2017

​Something to Chew On

Interview with Devra Robitaille

​July 27th 2017

Reading With Your Kids

Visit the Hologram Library Website by clicking HERE!

Check out the book’s trailer –

 

Review! The Fallen Star by Tracey Hecht

19 Jun

The Fallen Star
Series: The Nocturnals #3 (#1, #2)
Written by Tracey Hecht
Illustrated by Kate Liebman
208 pages – ages 7+
Published by Fabled Films Press on May 2, 2017

Synopsis- It was a nice night out, and the Night Brigade (Dawn the fox, Tobin the Pangolin, and Bismarck the sugar glider) were out watching shooting stars. That is, until one star keeps coming towards them. After a big explosion, a big rock is found in a crater – but that’s not the only change! Whenever animals are eating the fruit, they are getting sick to their stomachs, and something is taking the only cure! It is up to the Night Brigade to solve this mystery before it’s too late!

What I Thought- Hecht has a really great series going on here, and this book is no different. The story is one that little kids can read with no problem, while still possessing a conflict – a good bridge into chapter book stories. I definitely like how Hecht includes endangered nocturnal animals in her books, which inspire kids to look them up. There are really nice watercolor illustrations by Liebman at the beginning of each chapter that add to the story. The story is simple and age-appropriate for young kids, and Hecht’s writing style is perfect for an early chapter book. I can’t wait for the next book!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!

Review! The Door in the Alley by Adrienne Kress

6 Jun


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

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

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

I give this book five out of five bookworms!

Review! The Eldridge Conspiracy by Don M. Winn

1 Jun

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

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

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

I give this book five out of five bookworms!

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