Tag Archives: childrens books

Bookish Holiday Gift Picks – Part Deux!

14 Dec

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

First up – A HANUKKAH WITH MAZEL!

mazel
A Hanukkah with Mazel
Written by Joel Edward Stein

Illustrated by Elisa Vavouri

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

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

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

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

Next up – COZY CLASSICS – THE NUTCRACKER!

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

Board Book

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

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

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

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

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

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

bunnyslope
Bunny Slopes Hardcover
Written and Illustrated by Claudia Rueda

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

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

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

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

Now how about some kid-friendly Christmas jokes!

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

Illustrated by Gearbox

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

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

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

Why don’t lobsters give Christmas presents?

Because they’re shellfish!

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

Bookish Holiday Gift Picks – Part one!

12 Dec

Hello Blogosphere!

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

I have some great gift suggestions for you!

First up – THE 2017 GUINNESS BOOK OF WORLD RECORDS!

guinness2017

By Guinness World Records

With an introduction by Chris Hadfield and forward by Buzz Aldrin

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next up – PETE THE CAT!

petedraw

Pete the Cat: My First I Can Draw

Written and Illustrated by James Dean

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

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

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

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

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

Next up – BATHROOM SCIENCE!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next up – NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC ENCYCLOPEDIA OF SCIENCE!

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

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

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

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

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

Guest Review by Josie! Natumi Takes the Lead by Gerry Ellis

29 Nov

natumiNatumi Takes the Lead:

The True Story of an Orphan Elephant Who Finds Family

By Gerry Ellis with Amy Novesky

32 pages – ages 4+

Published by National Geographic Children’s Books on November 8, 2016

Summary by Josie: The story tells about an elephant that was orphaned when hunters killed off the rest of her heard. The elephant was rescued by some nice people who run an elephant rescue. Natumi was very shy and wouldn’t come out from behind her human rescuer’s legs. Slowly Natumi got more and more confident and started to be a leader of all the orphaned elephants. It is a nice story about how an elephant can grow up to be a strong leader even after having something terrible happen to her.

What Josie thought: The beginning of the book made me very sad because all of the elephants but Natumi got killed. I wish that things like that didn’t happen. I was happy to see that there are people who care about the elephants enough to run an elephant orphanage. That is very cool. I really like that there are real pictures in the book for illustrations –

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It was interesting to read about how the elephants are cared for at the orphanage. It was also cool to see how they can recover from loosing their family and form new ones. There were some fact pages in the back of the book that showed you where to go if you want to learn more about elephants and it had some information about Africa, the orphanage and elephants. That was a nice part of the book.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Guest Review by Josie – Piper Green and the Fairy Tree: The Sea Pony by Ellen Potter

31 Jul

Today my little sister Josie is here with a review on a book she really enjoyed! Take it away Josie!

seaponyThe Sea Pony

Series: Piper Green and the Fairy Tree

by Ellen Potter

Illustrated by Qin Leng

128 pages – ages 7 – 9
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young People

Will be published on August 16, 2016

Publishers summary: Piper Green is in for another adventure when she finds an unusual whistle hidden inside the Fairy Tree in her front yard. But Piper doesn’t want a whistle… she wants a pony! On a trip with her dad to check the family’s lobster traps, the whistle attracts the attention of an unexpected friend. Could the fairy whistle working its magic after all?

What Josie Thought: The story in the book was very cute. I liked that the chapters were small but I got a good story out of them. I think books like that are good for kids who like to read but sometimes have trouble reading. Piper’s big brother’s name is Erik – I thought that was funny because my big brother’s name is Erik. 🙂 There was a lot of funny lines in the book. I really like Piper and want to read more about her. I liked that Piper was wishing for something and didn’t get exactly what she thought she would but it turned out even better. I liked the other characters in the book too and the town (or the island) Piper lives in. I really like the idea of the fairy tree. I want to read more about that too. The pictures in each chapter were nice. I liked seeing the pictures that go with the story.

I would read the other books in this series!

I give this book 5 out of 5 bookworms. fivebooks

Review! Hildie Bitterpickles Needs Her Sleep by Robin Newman

10 Mar

HildieHildie Bitterpickles Needs Her Sleep
Written by Robin Newman
Illustrated by Chris Ewald
32 pages – ages 6+
Published by Creston Books on February 23rd, 2016

Synopsis- Hildie Bitterpickles loves a good night’s sleep with her cat Clawdia. But recently, she hasn’t been able to get her sleep. It may be because a giant moved in next door and he has a rather loud beanstalk elevator. Or maybe it’s the Old Lady with tons of kids who just parked her shoe right next to Hildie’s house. Honestly, I think it was the fact that a Wolf blew her roof off by mistake. Any way, Hildie needed to do something. But what will work?

What I Thought- I really liked this book! Ms. Newman has written a great story that is a fun amalgamation of fairy tale/nursery rhyme characters. (**Side note** I love the word amalgamation – it’s fun to say – almost as  fun as onomatopoeia). Kids will love the “cameos” from all of their favorite tales! Mr. Ewald’s illustrations are perfect for the book, and really make the characters come to life. The three dimensional look gives texture to the illustrations. Ms. Newman wrote the book with a lot of humor in it, just like her first book, The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake (see my review HERE). The story is one about working out problems and being resourceful, a good message for anyone! Hildie is a cute character that kids will like. I really enjoyed the book, and finding all the little references in the illustrations (like a mouse running up a clock) – I think that makes the book appealing to adults and older kids too.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Review! Sir Nathan and the Tentacles of Terror by Mark Simon Smith

29 Feb

sirnathan4Sir Nathan and the Tentacles of Terror
Series: Somewhat Silly Stories #4 (See my reviews of #’s 1, 2, & 3)
Written by Mark Simon Smith
Illustrated by Derek K. Gebler
330 pages – ages 7+
Published by CreateSpace on October 6, 2015

Synopsis- Sir Nathan is back! And so is Sir Tupolev, his faithful loyal talking horse! When the kingdom of Mariskatania’s citizens keep on disappearing, and giant meteorites keep appearing, Sir Nathan is called to investigate. He finds the citizens, which are fine, all wearing extremely ugly hats. But does it seem like they are acting strangely?

On the flip side, Mond Thewton and his Flobblobian citizens are planning on invading a world full of a rather primitive beings who haven’t even invented a telescope or shovel. They start the invasion process, and it’s even easier than they thought it would be. But, what if Mond doesn’t want to conquer planets? What if he finds that he is falling in love?

What I Thought- I have loved this series from book one. I mean, Mr. Smith has written the perfect middle grade comedy book. It is absurdly silly, and anything can happen.  And, honestly, I didn’t think that there was any way that the series could get better. And then I read this book. While keeping in line with the hilariousness and wackiness of the characters, Mr. Smith adds in space invaders. And maybe romance. But definitely space invaders. And a [long-dead] king named Erik the Great and Handsome (named after a certain enthusiastic book lover –  Mr. Smith, you are awesome!). Wow! I get to be on currency. 😉 Mr. Gebler’s illustrations are the icing on the cake, adding another dimension to the story. I cannot wait for book 5!

I give this five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Creative Kid Thursday! Meet the Kid Author of Flying Pants: Lola James

11 Feb

Today I have a Creative Kid to introduce to you!

Meet kid author/illustrator Lola James!

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Lola has written and illustrated a book called Flying Pants!

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I got a chance to meet Lola in person at a book festival we were at. I picked up a copy of Flying Pants! and thought it was a great story.

Here is the description (from Amazon): “Flying Pants is a whimsical story about a magic potion gone awry and the pants that got away. Lola James is 9 years old and lives in a small town in Pennsylvania. She enjoys writing, drawing, soccer, and spending time with her family and friends. She is also the youngest member of a local knitters group, and an honor student. When she grows up she would like to be an art teacher or a fashion designer. She wrote the book Flying Pants when she was 8 years old. Lola jotted down a few sketches with words on them and showed her mother who laughed so hard at how funny it was. Lola and her mother took the little book to her art teacher and Color illustrations on premium paper!”

Lola agreed to answer some questions for me.

Erik: What gave you the idea for your book, Flying Pants?

Lola: I have always loved art. When I decided to take art lessons, my teacher showed me some books she was illustrating. One day I decided to write a book and ended up with Flying Pants

Erik: Things you love are a great inspiration! You illustrated the book yourself, with help from your school’s art teacher. What did she tell you about illustrating?

Lola: If there is one thing my art teacher always tells me is that art takes time and lots of hard work, she never gives up and that is the perfect role model.

Erik: She does sound like a good role model. When did you know you wanted to write a book?

Lola: I love to read and draw. There are probably about 200 books at my house and each of them inspired me to write a book. My art teacher Missi also inspired me by illustrating lots of books.

Erik: What was your favorite part about creating your book?

Lola: My favorite part was obviously creating the funny drawings, and I have a really crazy imagination.

Erik: Yes, some of those pictures are very crazy. 🙂 Are you planing on writing any more books?

Lola: Yes, my next book may become a series.

Erik: What do you want to be when you grow up?

Lola: When I grow up, I will definitely stick with art and may become a pastry chef.

Erik: Hmm… Did you know I review food too? 😉

Find Lola on Facebook HERE

Check out her Amazon Author page HERE

Multicultural Children’s Book Day! #ReadYourWorld

27 Jan

Today is Multicultural Children’s Book Day!!!

MCCBD

And I am a Multicultural Children’s Book Day reviewer! Before I get to my review, I wanted to let you know a bit more about this event.

For those that don’t know what that is, Multi Cultural Children’s Book Day was created by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from Pragmatic Mom in 2014. As the official website states:

Despite census data that shows 37% of the US population consists of people of color, only 10% of children’s books published have diversity content. Using the Multicultural Children’s Book Day, Mia and Valarie are on a mission to change all of that. Their mission is to not only raise awareness for the kid’s books that celebrate diversity, but to get more of these types of books into classrooms and libraries. Another goal of this exciting event is create a compilation of books and favorite reads that will provide not only a new reading list for the winter, but also a way to expose brilliant books to families, teachers, and libraries.

The MCCBD team’s mission to spread the word and raise awareness about the importance of diversity in children’s literature. Our young readers need to see themselves within the pages of a book and experience other cultures, languages, traditions and religions within the pages of a book. We encourage readers, parents, teachers, caregivers and librarians to follow along the fun book reviews, author visits, event details, a multicultural children’s book linky and via our hashtag (#ReadYourWorld) on Twitter and other social media.

I’d like to thank all of the sponsors of this years events –

Multicultural Children’s Book day 2016 Medallion Level Sponsors! #ReadYourWorld

Platinum: Wisdom Tales Press * StoryQuest Books*Lil Libros

Gold: Author Tori Nighthawk*Candlewick Press,* Bharat Babies

Silver: Lee and Low Books*Chronicle Books*Capstone Young Readers T

Tuttle Publishing ,NY Media Works, LLC/KidLit TV

Bronze: Pomelo Books* Author Jacqueline Woodson*Papa Lemon Books* Goosebottom Books*Author Gleeson Rebello*ShoutMouse Press*Author Mahvash Shahegh* China Institute.org*Live Oak Media

Multicultural Children’s Book Day has 12 amazing Co-Host and you can use the links below or view them here.

All Done Monkey, Crafty Moms Share,Educators Spin on it,Growing Book by Book,Imagination Soup,I’m Not the Nanny,InCultural Parent, Kid World Citizen,Mama Smiles,Multicultural Kid Blogs,Spanish Playground

Now on to my review!

MCCBDbookGarrett and the Feathered Serpent Quetzalcoatl

Series: Tales from Davy Jones Locker #1

Written by Carl Gundestrup

190 pages – ages 8+

Audio Book Run Time: 2 hours

Published by Davy Jones Publishing on June 4th, 2015

Summary from Goodreads-Garrett Spencer is a boy on crutches, with one good leg, no friends, never been to a real school and lives with his family in a cave… because no one on the island will rent them a room.
The family lives on Shiloh Island, known for pirates, treasure caves and legendary sea monsters. Shortly after they arrive, Garrett rescues the legendary feathered sea creature Quetzalcoatl from the ravages of a hurricane and certain death. For the first time in his life, Garrett has a best friend.

But in order to remain together they will have to battle the bullies of the island – survive multiple attacks by Sea Dragons – attempt to find the hidden treasure beneath the island – save Garrett’s father’s business and unite the people of the island.

What I Thought- This was an interesting review for me. The book is a very cool concept. Mr. Gundestrup produced an audio version of the book (more on that in a bit) as a gateway to get reluctant readers wanting to read the whole story. I was a bit hesitant at first because I much prefer written stories to the audio-version, but the audio book was very thrilling and added depth to the story. I was happy to listen to this amazing audio book with 22 different voice actors, sound effects, and a whole orchestra! That being said, the story itself was very gripping. It is a marvelous story about true friendship. The characters are realistic and well-developed. Garrett is physically challenged yes, but he is stronger than most people his age. He is still bullied, but many of his peers admire him. Quetzalcoatl is an awe-inspiring creature of magnificent splendor that has a marvelous “history”. It can heal anything and anyone, and will not hurt you.  The plot is very driving, action-packed, and does a good job of keeping you hooked. Gundestrup writing is spot on for a middle-grade audience. The book is very cool, and does a great job of making it so that you believe that Quetzalcoatl could be real. I was definitely impressed with the audio-book. Having said that, when I sat down to read the ebook version, I was not disappointed. The written story added some subplots and I have to say I do enjoy reading the words in a book and I personally feel more attached to the characters as I read, but I can see how the audio/written book will have real appeal to kids who aren’t as fond of reading as I am. This one is definitely worth a try!

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I give “Quetzalcoatl” five out of five bookworms!

To learn more, please visit the Tales of Davy Jones official website by clicking HERE.

Check out the trailer!

BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE!!!

 Classroom Reading Challenge . This very special offering from MCCBD offers teachers and classrooms the chance to (very easily) earn a free hardcover multicultural children’s book for their classroom library. These books are not only donated by the Junior Library Guild, but they are pre-screened and approved by them as well.

What we could really use some help with is spreading the word to your teacher/librarian/classroom connections so we can get them involved in this program. There is no cost to teachers and classrooms and we’ve made the whole process as simple as possible. You can help by tweeting the below info:

​ Teachers! Earn a FREE #Multicultural Kids Book for Your Classroom! #teachers, #books #teacherlife 
http://ow.ly/UUy96

The Classroom Reading Challenge has begun! Teachers can earn a free diversity book! #teachers, #books
 http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/?p=1796

Review! A Tale of Highly Unusual Magic by Lisa Papademetriou

11 Jan

 

highlyunusualA Tale of Highly Unusual Magic

by Lisa Papademetriou

320 pages – ages 8+
Published by HarperCollins on October 6, 2015

 

Synopsis- Kai doesn’t know what to expect when she is staying with her great-aunt in Texas for a while. Her great-aunt is a poet, listens to rap, and wears red tennis shoes. When Kai is looking around the house, she discovers a book that is blank except for one page, called The Exquisite Corpse. On an impulse, she writes a sentence into the book. Strangely, the next time she opens it, the book has more paragraphs written!

On the other side of the world, in Pakistan, Leila is visiting her father’s family. She is walking through the family library and finds a strange book with only one full page, and a handwritten sentence. It is called The Exquisite Corpse. She ends up writing another sentence after the paragraphs ended.

And so the adventure begins connecting two different worlds.

What I Thought- This was a fun book. I really enjoyed reading about how the two girls and how they interacted without realizing it. It was neat seeing how the stories connected to each other as the book unfolded. The characters are realistic, and Ms. Papademetriou does a great job at making it so that it is a believable story. Kai and Leila are both out of their comfort zones – Leila is in a mostly Muslim country with more strict expectations but she was raised in a more liberal environment. Kai’s single mother is slightly protective of her, and Kai’s great-aunt lets her run around the small town after dark. It is a culture shock to both of them and you can see as they both get accustomed to their surroundings a little, and they find out more about themselves in the process. I found it funny that by the end of the book, it turns out that Leila and Kai live in the same city (but the book doesn’t say if they meet) – Awesome ending!!!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Mother Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins #FollowBruce

8 Jan

bruceMother Goose Bruce

by Ryan T. Higgins

48 pages – ages 3+

Published by Disney-Hyperion on November 24, 2015

Theme- Family/adoption

Genre- Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening Lines:

Bruce was a bear who lived all by himself.
He was a grump.”

Synopsis from GoodReads: “Bruce the bear likes to keep to himself. That, and eat eggs. But when his hard-boiled goose eggs turn out to be real, live goslings, he starts to lose his appetite. And even worse, the goslings are convinced he’s their mother. Bruce tries to get the geese to go south, but he can’t seem to rid himself of his new companions. What’s a bear to do?

What I Thought- I LOVED this book. The opening is great – Bruce is a grump – just look at him. Everything about Higgins’ artwork  lets you know how grumpy Bruce is.

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Speaking of the artwork, it is phenomenal! It tells so much more of the story and really conveys the feeling of the whole book. I love how the look of Bruce stays grumpy throughout the whole book, even as his character softens in the story.

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I also like how the goslings don’t seem to care about their “mommy’s”  bad disposition. The story isn’t really about a grumpy bear but more so about family. Being an adopted kid myself, I think it is a nice kind of adoption story too. It is a sweet story that says it doesn’t mater how you came together or what you look like, you are still a family.

Activities and Resources-

Bruce loves to cook so how about cooking something up with Bruce? The Kid Spot blog has some egg recipes that kids can cook. Click HERE to get them.

You can search the internet or better yet your library for books and news articles on animals adopting animals of a different species. HERE is a nice article at TheDodo.com that shows some pretty unusual parings – a tortoise and a hippo???

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

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