Tag Archives: book review

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!

Creative Kid Thursday! Josie Reviews #PETERRIFIC!

1 Jun

Today is Creative Kid Thursday! YAAAAAAY! A day where I feature other Creative Kids. Today I have a guest reviewer – Josie! I happen to be Josie’s big brother. Josie was excited to review Peterrific as she is a big fan of Pinkalicious and was happy to see Peter get his own book.

Peterrific
By Victoria Kann
40 pages – ages 4 – 8
Series: Pinkalicious
Published by HarperCollins on May 2, 2017

Summary from the Publisher: In Peterrific, readers can follow Peter’s own adventures as he builds a tower of blocks all the way to the moon. Peter loves to build with blocks. One day, he decides to build a tower that will reach the moon, and he wants to do it all by himself. Will the moon be made of cheese? Can he catch a shooting star? As Peter climbs higher and higher into space, he discovers he doesn’t have a way down! He’ll have to figure out what to do next—all by himself.

What Josie Thought:  I really like Pincalicious and am happy that Peter gets his own book! I liked how in the story Pinkalicious is helping Peter build his tower and they are working together. I also like how Peterrific is in gold sparkly letters on the cover of the book. The inside pictures are nice. I really like the ones that show outer space and the one where Peter is looking at the moon is really cool! I think I would have liked to have seen more of Peter in space trying to get a star for his mom. I like that Peter thinks to design his tower before building it. That is smart. I hope Peter gets another book!

I give this book four out of five bookworms!

Go to the Pinkalicious website to find some Peterrific downloadable activities.

You can get a sneak peek of the inside of the book HERE

For those of you in the Philadelphia Area, Victoria Kann will be at the Doylestown Bookshop in Doylestown PA on June 3rd at 2pm for a PETERRIFIC storytime!

 

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!

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! Motley Education by SA Larsen

28 Mar

Motley Education
By SA Larsen
Ages 8+
Published by Leap Books, LLC on September 15, 2016

Synopsis- Ebony Charmed is a student at Motley Junior High in Peru, Maine, and she learns how to be a medium. It’s just that she isn’t that great at speaking to ghosts. So why is it that she, of all people, are suddenly in charge of saving the world? Because now she’s finding out that the Norse mythology isn’t so much myth, and that she is a descendant of some people who guard a magical bridge. Life suddenly just got more complicated. Will Ebony and her friends succeed in saving the world before all is lost?

What I Thought- Larsen has written an entertaining novel that introduces kids to the Norse myths. I like the idea of the school as well, because it’s similar to Hogwarts, without the magic per se, and also with modern assets. The book is a fun read, and I couldn’t put it down once I started. Larsen has a way of putting a lot of emotion into the story so you just get hooked into the story. The characters act like normal kids their age, and you can believe how they react to the situations that occur. At times the phrasing seemed a little too abrupt, where figurative language could’ve eased the wording a little bit, but that was a trivial thing. This is a great debut Middle Grade novel – Larsen knows how to write a story that kids will want to read! All in all, this is a really great story, and I look forward to reading the next book!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!

Review! Cassidy Jones and the Eternal Flame by Elise Stokes

27 Mar

Cassidy Jones and the Eternal Flame
Series: Cassidy Jones #5 (#1, #2, #3, #4)
By Elise Stokes
Word Count: 122,000 – Ages 13+
Published by JACE March 5, 2017

Synopsis- Cassidy Jones is back, and she’s got revenge on her mind. Lily White, the insane woman with indestructible metal molded to her skin, is going on a rampage: robbing banks, killing innocent people, and holding a family hostage. Why? Because she wants something called the Eternal Flame. Cassidy and her friends Emery and Jared have no idea what this Eternal Flame is, but they know that Lily must never get her metal hands on it. Their only hope is to find the object before any more people get hurt. It is also up to them to get Lily under control. After all, it takes a super-heroine to stop a super-villain, you know!

What I Thought- Stokes gives us another edge-of-your-seat adventure with one of the most amazing super-heroine’s I’ve ever read about.  I can’t tell you how much I love this series. Cassidy is a great role model for anyone, as she always tries to do what is right. Ms. Stokes has done a fabulous job of creating a strong female character and fleshing out her personality as the series goes on. The supporting characters are equally intriguing and very well developed. Stoke’s villains are wonderfully frightening – especially Lily White. This book is more written for young adults, seeing as there is some PG-13 content-type referencing. Honestly, it kind of reminds me of the way the Harry Potter books got more adult as the series went on and Harry got older. This makes sense to me because the characters and readers mature as the series goes on. The violence seems a little more real, with more consequences, but again that goes with the story seeming a bit darker – but also more realistic. I really like how the series is evolving into a world with superhero-type beings. I would elaborate, but there would be some big spoilers, so I won’t. The book contains a bit of the philosophy of the line between good/evil, and I enjoyed that. I really liked this addition to the Cassidy Jones saga, and look forward to the next book!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Review! I Love My Grandma by Giles Andreae

26 Feb

grandmaI Love My Grandma
Written by Giles Andreae
Illustrated by Emma Dodd
32 pages – ages 3+
Published by Disney-Hyperion on December 6, 2016

Synopsis- Grandmas are great. After all, they’re like moms, but with more time for you! You can do a lot of things with your grandma, and she will be there for you to teach you about things, and to play with you too! You love your grandma, and she loves you!

What I Thought- This is a really cute book celebrating the relationship between a grandmother and her grandchild. I really like how Andreae kept the book simple, with rhyme that is great for family to read together. The book itself is large, which also lends itself to being a read-aloud book. Dodd’s illustrations are a perfect match with the artwork spilling over the two-page inside spread.

The illustrations add to the warmth of the story. It’s nice that the grandma and child are pictured doing a wide variety of things from baking to playing pirates. This would be a nice Mother’s day gift for a grandmother. This is a part of a series involving the child with titles such as “I Love My Mommy”, “I Love My Daddy”, etc.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Review! The Underground Toy Society by Jessica D. Adams

11 Jan

undergroundThe Underground Toy Society
By Jessica D. Adams
24 pages – ages 4+
Published by CreateSpace on June 8, 2015

Synopsis from the Publisher- What happens to toys when children don’t play with them? Where do toys go when their children grow up? What happens when there are too many toys in one house? Find out when Samantha goes on an exciting underground adventure as she tries to find her best friend after they were separated.

What I Thought- This was a cute story. The illustrations were done by the author’s daughters, and are a nice example of genuine “kid art.” The book is a good happy story that small kids will like listening to as a read-aloud and early readers can manage. There were one or two spots in the story that I felt could have been expanded on, but I think the book is spot on for Adams’ target audience. The story is one kids can relate to and will enjoy reading about Samantha’s adventure. The cover serves its purpose, and gives a good teaser into the book although I would have liked to seen more of the kid art. The story is a good one for introducing kids to early chapter books as it has more words and smaller pictures than a standard picture book. The story has no chapters making it an easy transitional piece from picture books to early readers.

I give this book 4 out of 5 bookworms.fourbooks

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