Tag Archives: childrens books

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!

pants

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!

fivebooks

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.

bruce2

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.

bruce3

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!

Review! Love for Logan by Lori DeMonia

23 Dec

loveloganLove for Logan

Written by Lori DeMonia

Illustrated by Monique Turchan

26 pages – ages 6+

Published by Halo Publishing International on May 15, 2015

Synopsis- Logan is so excited for her ballet recital tonight! She can’t wait to show her whole family! It’s just that Logan’s sister, Leah, has autism and sensory processing disorder. She doesn’t really like surprising noises. She’s never been to a theater and probably wouldn’t like it the sudden surprises. While Logan understands and excepts it, she is a little sad that her whole family won’t be there.

What I Thought- This was a sweet book. I really like the fact that Leah is the older sibling, as in most of the stories I have read the autistic child is the youngest. It provides a new perspective. Ms. DeMonia wrote another book about Leah before this one (see my review of “Leah’s Voice” HERE), and this one explains another common type of disorder – sensory processing disorder – something which my family is very familiar with but many people aren’t. Ms. DeMonia knows how to write a good story about these topics while explaining them in a child-friendly way. Ms. Turchan’s watercolor illustrations are marvelous, and add a lot to the story!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Debbie Dadey’s Mermaid Tales Wahoo-athon! Review, Giveaway, Release Celebration, Poetry Contest! Wahoo!

8 Dec

Today’s post is PACKED full of fun AND PRIZES!

One of my favorite authors whose books were the first independent readers I started reading (Bailey School Kids) has a new book coming out December 15th. It is the 13th book in her Mermaid Tales series. But before I get to that and the SUPER giveaway/poetry contest – I am going to tell you a bit about this awesome author and the 12th book in the Mermaid Tales series.

The one

The only –

DEBBIE DADEY!

dadey

WHO IS THIS DEBBIE DADEY?!?

“Debbie Dadey used to teach first grade before becoming a school librarian.  She was never a vampire, even though her first book (with Marcia Thornton Jones) was about a vampire teacher and was called Vampires Don’t Wear Polka Dots.  Fast forward a quarter of a century and that book is celebrating twenty-five years in print and Debbie has a new book coming out called The Crook and The Crown.  It is the thirteenth book in The Mermaid Tales series from Simon and Schuster.  Debbie currently lives in Sevierville, Tennessee which is far away from the ocean, but she has heard some rumors of mermaids in the mountains!”

Debbie Dadey is the author and co-author of 162 books, including The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids series and Mermaid Tales.       http://www.debbiedadey.com/    LinkedIn   Twitter   Facebook

Ms. Dadey’s books are perfect for young readers. They are engaging, well-written and have a great message behind the stories. Like I said earlier, her Bailey School Series is one of the first series I read as I became an independent reader. They got my interest and made me want to read more. I see the same quality in her Mermaid Tales series (my little sister Josie LOVES this series).

The 12th book in the series was published in September – here’s what I thought about it –

wishuponWish Upon a Starfish
Series: Mermaid Tales [#12]
Written by Debbie Dadey
Illustrated by Tatevik Avakyan
128 pages – ages 7+
Published by Aladdin on September 1st, 2015

Synopsis from Goodreads-Pearl has always dreamed of being famous: the star-studded stage, the sea flowers, the applause! So when she finds out that her third grade class is performing The Little Human, she just knows she’ll get the leading role. Especially since world-renowned merstar Angelfish Molie is judging the tryouts!

But in a shocking turn of events, Pearl’s best friend, Wanda, gets cast as the little human instead…and Pearl is stuck playing the stinky sea witch. Pearl can’t believe her best friend would steal her dream role from her.

After Pearl tries—and fails—to get Wanda to trade parts, she decides to quit the play. Are Pearl’s dreams of being a sea star doomed? And can she and Wanda patch up their friendship before it goes up in bubbles?

What I Thought- This was a nice book about friendship, and about how good things can come out of things that don’t go exactly as planned. Ms. Dadey has a great writing style that makes you believe that you are actually under the sea with Pearl and the others. I was laughing at the fact that the play was called The Little Human – a play that is a play on The Little Mermaid.😉 There is other such humor in the book that will delight kids. The illustrations are nice black&white line-type pictures spread throughout the story and add a nice touch to the text.  The reading level makes it perfect for young readers, but I think older kids will enjoy the story also. It is nice that the books are a series because you get to follow characters, but each book can be read independently without being lost. The characters are fun and kids can relate to them (even though they are mermaids/men). Don’t let The Mermaid Tales series fool you – boys will like the series too!

I give this five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

 

The next book in the series, The Crook and the Crown, is set to release one week from today on December 15th!

the-crook-and-the-crown-9781481440752_hr

To celebrate, I’m hosting a PRIZE PACK giveaway! Check out what one lucky person can win –

mermaidprize

You can win a signed hardback copy of the Crook and the Crown, a Mermaid Tales T-Shirt, mermaid jewelry craft kit, mermaid Barbie, and a magical swimming mermaid doll! *Prizes courtesy of Debbie Dadey and my mom🙂

This would make an AWESOME present for the upcoming holiday season! I know what you are thinking – ERIK HOW DO I ENTER TO WIN THIS AWESOME PRIZE PACK?!?!

Well I’m going to tell you –

Because in book 11 of the Mermaid Tales series, The Polar Bear Express, poetry is featured, all you need to enter is to write a Mermaid Poem in the comments below! You want an extra entry? Share this post on twitter or Facebook or some social media site and tell me you did in the comments (one extra entry per person).

polar

That’s it – write a poem and share. All eligible entries will be added to a hat and I will randomly pick a name out on December 14th ET (contest closes at 4pm December 14th) and the winner will be announced on December 15th – the release date of The Crook and the Crown.

Here is my example:

Mermaid Haiku

by Erik

Exploring mermaid.

The surface is the limit.

Skylark underseas.

Here’s another –

Mystery Mermaid

by Erik

Waves crash on the rocks

swelling currents at the docks

I steal a glimpse of a mermaid lady

oh wait, that’s Debbie Dadey!

Any type of poem works! Have fun and good luck!

Review! Love, Daddy by Mike Ang

28 Nov

lovedaddyLove, Daddy

Written by Mike Ang

Illustrated by Katherine Killeffer

32 pages – ages 3+

Published by Michael Ang on June 16, 2015

Synopsis- The story follows a loving father as he watches his daughter grow up. Throughout his daughter’s life, all the ups and downs, the dad is always there to assure her that he loves her.

What I Thought- I like the idea of the book. It is very sweet. There need to be more books on dads and daughters and the special bond they have. The story hits the feeling of a dad’s love for his daughter spot on. New fathers will love to have a copy of the book. It is told in a rhyme that seems to work with the story but is a bit choppy in one or two places. The main characters are panda bears, which is a fun touch. I think it’s nice to use animals in stories like this because it helps people of all ethnicities relate to the characters. I really liked the reassuring ending of the book – the (grown up) daughter loves and appreciates her dad.  I think the story is meant for a variety of ages – an older child can read it by themselves but it would make a terrific read aloud for a Dad and his daughter too. The illustrations are bold primary colors with defined lines. I personally don’t think the illustrations worked with the story (they are not at all “bad” but they just weren’t a good fit). Many of the pages were to busy and took away from the story. That being said, I would still recommend the book for a new dad or as father’s day gift or maybe for military dads to give their daughters while they are away. Seeing as how this is Ang’s first children’s book, I’d like to see more.

Three out of five bookworms for this heart-felt story that is worth a read. threebooks

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