Tag Archives: childrens books

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!

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!

 

WOO! I’m giving away a #CaptainUnderpants prize pack thanks to @Scholastic!

30 May

Captain Underpants – (the name elicits giggles – doesn’t it?) is the very first series I read when I was a kid. I begged my mom to pick them up for me when I saw the first three books in the series at a yard sale – The Adventures of Captain Underpants – Captain Underpants and the Attack of the Talking Toilets – Captain Underpants and the Invasion of the Incredibly Naughty Cafeteria Ladies from Outer Space (and the Subsequent Assault of the Equally Evil Lunchroom Zombie Nerds) – Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants. Although Mom kind of looked at me a little funny with the Professor Poopypants one, she knows fine literature and got it for me anyway.  I read and re-read these books until they literally fell apart.  I then sought out new additions to the series and loved every one of them. I still am a strong advocate for Captain Underpants. It is a great series to get kids to start reading independently. It is a fun series that will engage all kinds of readers.

I was THRILLED to see that DreamWorks is making a Captain Underpants movie!!! The movie hits theaters on June 2nd. It is my hope that kids will see the movie and want to start reading about Captain Underpants other adventures! To celebrate this Earth shattering event, Scholastic sent me new Captain Underpants books, AND is offering a prize pack for one of you!

One randomly picked commenter from this post will receive:

The Adventures of Captain Underpants (Book 1, now in full color!)

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Official Handbook

Captain Underpants: Wacky Word Wedgies and Flushable Fill-Ins

That’s right – just comment below to be entered to win! Winner will be selected randomly and announced one week from today.

One of the giveaways is the original Captain Underpants book (with some additional content) but in full color!

The illustrations are the same but the color really makes them come alive!

The other two books are complimentary to the movie. These books feature the CGI images of Captain Underpants, Harold and George.

 

I know you all are saying”ERIK, WE NEED TO KNOW MORE!”

So check this out – Visit PilkeyPower.Scholastic.com

Follow Scholastic on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Check out the movie’s trailer!

The Worst Book I’ve Ever Read

1 Apr

Dear  reader – you’ve come to know that I like to talk about books I really enjoy. In fact, if I don’t like a book, I privately tell the author that it wasn’t for me and give him/her my review but don’t publish it. I want my blog to be about celebrating really awesome books to read.

There now has come a time when I have read a book so awful that I feel that I need to warn others not to buy it.

So why didn’t I like this book?

First off there is NO plot. I couldn’t figure out what was going on. From the title I thought it was going to be a story about being lost in the wilderness – kind of a My Side of the Mountain book, but as I started reading I was totally confused.

On the first page we meet the main character – Ariens, he’s a lumberjack. The reader is told he is dangerous and could potentially cause death. So now I am figuring it’s not a My Side of the Mountain book but more of a Goosebumps eerie – creepy tale.

Well as I read on, I learn practically nothing new about Ariens other than he needs to be stabilized -okay I get it, he’s a crazy dangerous lumberjack. Through the rest of the story, he really doesn’t do ANYTHING. I don’t even think he ever leaves his garage.

I suppose it should get points for being multilingual; it comes in French and Spanish.

I seriously had to choke down the rest of the book.

So as a service to you, kind reader; I warn you:

DO NOT BUY THIS BOOK!

APRIL FOOLS!

😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

Image result for april fools

Creative Kid Thursday! Guest Review by Josie: Red-Tail Recovery by Emma J Homes

16 Feb

Happy Thursday!

Today my sister Josie is reviewing a book that she really enjoyed!

What is more awesome is that you can pick up a FREE copy of the kindle book on Amazon TODAY – click HERE!

redtailRed-Tail Recovery

series: Ruthie’s wildlife (Book 3)
by Emma J Homes

55 pages – ages 6+
Published by Spark Street Communications Pty Ltd on December 14, 2016

Publishers summary: Ruthie’s wildlife scientist parents are taking on a new challenge – saving the endangered red-tailed black-cockatoo. For Ruthie this means a lot of exciting firsts: living in a house, and not a bus, starting at a ‘real’ school, and the chance to make some friends. As always, Ruthie will be helping her parents with their work, but will it be enough to make a difference for these rare and beautiful birds? And what will Ruthie and her family find themselves up against this time?

What Josie Thought: I really like this book. I liked the other book in this series I read (The Vanishing Frogs of Cascade Creek) and I want to get the first book too. Ruthie is a nice character. Her parents are scientists they travel around Australia in a bus and study wildlife and figure out how to help them. Ruthie and her brother and sister get to go too. That sounds like a pretty cool life. I like science and nature and this book teaches you about the Red-Tail Cockatoo and their habitat. There is a link in the back of the book for a website where there are people actually doing the work of saving the Red-Tail talked about in the book. This is what a Red-Tail looks like –

redtail2

The chapters in the book aren’t very long so it is a great book for kids who have trouble reading or are starting out. The story is fun to read and I like Ruthie’s smart solution to help the birds when their environment is being destroyed.

I give this book five bookwormsfivebooks

Thank you Josie!

Don’t forget to grab a FREE kindle copy of this book CLICK HERE!

To learn more about Emma J Homes, go to her website – click HERE

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.

mazel1

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!

nutcracker

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.

nutcracker2

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!

slope2

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!

guinness20172

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!

toilet1
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:

toilet

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!

encyclo
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.

science2 science1

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 –

natumi2

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

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