Tag Archives: this kid reviews books

Review! Merlin’s Vow by Rosie Morgan

21 Nov

merlinMerlin’s Vow

Series: The Camelot Inheritance #3 (#1, #2)

By Rosie Morgan

281 pages – ages 12+

Published by Liscarret Creations on July 2, 2016

Synopsis- Arthur Penhaligon probably has the world’s best inheritance – he is the new King Arthur, in modern times, and he and his friends are the Guardians of Cornwall. This would be great, if an evil lady didn’t want to rule Cornwall. And, in this book, winter is coming, and the Lady of Clehy, lady of ice, loves the winter. So much, she gets stronger. So much, that it would take an army to stop her. An army the Guardians don’t have…

What I Thought- This was a really good installment in the Camelot Inheritance series! The characters are refined even more, and you learn more about the “legend” behind it all. I really like how Ms. Morgan has a part-time omnipresent narration style, with characters that aren’t characters – the Writer and her Watchers. They look at the story unfolding, but aren’t supposed to interfere. Of course, the narration also switches between the main characters’ points-of-view as well. This style really makes the story a joy to read. There were a few times the h*** and d*** words were used, and they didn’t really need to be put in there. The descriptions are spot-on, and the word choice really makes it an enjoyable read. I really like this, and I cannot wait to read the next book in the series!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

My Latest UBFP Newspaper Article : An Interview With Author Glen Dick

16 Nov

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 November issue! The online version was published. To see the online version of the newspaper, click HERE (It’s on page 16).

Local Father Writes a Children’s Book About Daddy and Daughter Adventures!

Glen Dick father living in Chalfont, PA never lets the fact he is in a wheelchair stop him from going on grand adventures with his daughter Elaina. He recently wrote a compelling story about how he and Elaina incorporates his wheelchair in the games they play. In fact, the wheelchair becomes a necessary part of the games.

wecango

The picture book Mr. Dick wrote is called “We Can Go Anywhere: My Adventures on Daddy’s Wheelchair” was published this past August by  Black Rose Writing Publishers. It is a heartwarming story that shows how the family not only sees past his disability, but also embraces it as part of life. The book’s illustrations by Linda McManus are surreal, which is perfect for a story where imagination is the focus. The story is a retelling of the author’s experiences with his daughter, and all of the things they do together.

I was lucky enough to get an interview with Mr. Dick about why he decided to write this book.

Erik: Can you tell us about what your life was like after your spinal injury, and how it changed when Elaina came into your life?

Glen: After my spinal cord injury in 1995 there were many transitions that I went through. The first was returning home and getting comfortable in my new skin within my old surroundings.  Emotionally I had to let go of my old self, hold on to what I had left to offer and concentrate on even on the most minute positive aspects of my life. What got me through was the unconditional love and attention I got from my nieces and nephews who were all very small children at the time. They did not see my limitations and made me realize I still had a lot to offer. I had to adapt to my new limitations and find ways to get back to a sense of normalcy in my life. I returned to work as a landscape architect within the year and also learned to drive a specially equipped van.  After some time doing what I used to, I found that my life had taken on new meaning and I wanted to find a way to spend my time doing something more meaningful or giving back.  After volunteering at an elementary school I was offered a full-time position as a teaching assistant. I loved working with children since I had none of my own at the time. It wasn’t until 2005 that I got married and my life began to change for the better once again with the hopes of having a child of my own. When Elaina was born four years later I felt I have truly found my purpose. I had always loved encouraging and teaching children and being a child at heart I love spending time with them. Watching Elaina look past my limitations and incorporate them into her life made me forget about my disability and only focus on what we could do together.

Erik: What amazes you the most about the imagination and curiosity of your daughter?

Glen: I think what amazed me most about Elaina was her ability and willingness to incorporate my limitations into her play through her imagination my chair was not something that held us back it was something that added an element to her play. We would make up games that incorporated the chair.

Erik: When did you get the idea to write a book about the adventures that you and Elaina have?

Glen: I got the idea for the Book after realizing the uniqueness of our relationship and how much we could accomplish together as a team. From the time of her birth she all ready had more function in her hands than I and so with me as the brain and her as the hands the two of us became a team. Whether we were playing together or doing a task if we used our imagination there wasn’t much we could not do together.

Erik: Did you write the book more for your family or are you hoping to reach other people who may be in similar situations?

Glen: I wrote the book purely as a keepsake for Elaina. After a rough copy was printed friends and family encouraged me to put it out there believing it had value to help others in my situation. The thought about being able to encourage others with limitations or even just open up a conversation amongst children and their parents motivated me to seek publication.

Erik: What is your favorite thing to do with Elaina?

Glen: My favorite thing to do with Elaina is go for long rides with her on my lap we’ve been doing it since she was a baby and I had to strap her into a carrier on my chest.  Now she is at the age where she gets to drive the chair and she loves doing that. I dread the day that she outgrows my lap. I guess I’ll just have to put on the side car at that point.

To learn more about the book, visit BlackRoseWriting.com

For more on books and reading, visit my blog ThisKidReviewsBooks.com

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Woodpecker Wants a Waffle by Steve Breen

13 Nov

Susanna Leonard Hill has a feature on her blog called Perfect Picture Book Friday. It is a list of “perfect” picture books recommended by all sorts of people. I chose this book because it is a fun story about perserverance.

I know – I know it’s Sunday – I am so behind! Hopefully with the election being over I will have less reporting to do and can spend more time blogging!

woodpeckerWoodpecker Wants a Waffle
By Steve Breen
32 pages – ages 5+
Published by HarperCollins on June 14, 2016

Theme/Topic- Perseverance/Never giving up/Problem solving

Genre-  Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “One morning, Benny awoke to the best tummy-rumbling smell.”

Synopsis from Publisher: “One day Benny the woodpecker awakens to the best tummy-rumbling smell ever and discovers it’s something called waffles. He must taste them!

He pecks on the door of the waffle house, but he gets the boot.

He tries to sneak in, but he gets swept away.

Each time Benny tries, he just can’t seem to get to those delicious waffles. The other forest animals laugh at him: “Woodpeckers don’t eat waffles!” they say. But Benny has a brilliant plan. . . .”

What I Thought- This is a book that is a great example of one that teaches you a lesson without you realizing it. Benny the woodpecker never gives up! I like that the books shows and doesn’t say that. It shows him working around a problem. It also has a message that teachers/parents can expand on about how that just because someone says something hasn’t been done doesn’t mean it can’t be done. There is a lot of silly humor mixed in too. On a side note, Mr. Breen’s writing style has a way of writing words that roll of the tongue, making for marvelous read-alouds. His illustrations remind me a bit of a comic or cartoon, and kids will love flipping through the pages looking at it all!

woodpecker2

Activities and Resources- There is a great way to teach perseverance to kids at Meaningfulmama.com HERE!

Scholastic.com has a neat resource for teachers to learn how to help children learn problem-solving skills HERE!

There is a good article on developing critical thinking at Brighthorizons.com HERE!

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

Review! The Wishing World by Todd Fahnestock – Blog Tour!

31 Oct

wishingThe Wishing World

By Todd Fahnestock

224 pages – ages 9+

Published by Starscape on October 25, 2016

Synopsis- Lorelei believed in monsters. After all, a monster is what stole her mother, father, and her brother. Yet no one believes her. But when she summons a griffon into her bedroom, she learns that there is an entire world existing within all children’s imaginations. And that in that world she belongs to a select group of people that can create things with their minds. And the monster that took her parents is the most powerful of those people. Sounds like a fun adventure, right?

What I Thought- This was an imaginative book. Quite literally. The characters could create things from their imaginations. Which is awesome. This is definitely a book that you wish you could take place in. The Wishing World within the book is amazing. The characters are ones you can sympathize with, especially Lorelei. Honestly, the book started off kind of dark, but nothing too bad, just plopping you into the action  – a nice hook for the reader. The one thing I had was that the beginning seemed a little bit rushed for my taste (maybe because of the all the action), with a nefarious character suddenly introduced – but the pace is spot on for a middle grade audience. Bonus points for a cool cover too, and small illustrations at the start of each chapter. Mr. Fahnestock’s writing style is exciting, and keeps you reading.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Want to learn more?

Visit Todd Fahnestock on Facebook, or Twitter

BOOK SUMMARY FROM THE PUBLISHER

The Wishing World

****

In the Wishing World, dreams are real. You can transform into your own hero, find wild and whimsical friends, and wield power as great as your imagination. But Lorelei doesn’t know about any of that. All she knows is that a monster took her family.

It happened during a camping trip one year ago. Hiding inside the tent, she saw shadows, tentacles and a strange creature. By the time she got up the courage to crawl outside, the monster–and Lorelei’s mom, dad, and brother–were gone.

Lorelei is determined to find her family. When she accidentally breaks into the Wishing World, she discovers a way. It’s a land more wonderful than she could have imagined, a land of talking griffons, water princesses, and cities made of sand, where Lorelei is a Doolivanti–a wish-maker–who can write her dreams into existence.

There’s only one problem: the monster is a Doolivanti, too. What he wishes also comes true, and he’s determined to shove Lorelei out, keep her family, and make the whole Wishing World his. To save them, Lorelei must find the courage to face him, or her next wish may be her last.

 

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Wonderfall by Michael Hall

21 Oct

Susanna Leonard Hill has a feature on her blog called Perfect Picture Book Friday. It is a list of “perfect” picture books recommended by all sorts of people. I chose this book because it is just a wonderfulfall book!

wonderfallWonderfall
By Michael Hall
40 pages – ages 5+

Published by Greenwillow on September 6, 2016

Theme/Topic- Beauty in life / Environment

Genre-  Realistic Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening:Peacefall. A gentle breeze is jiggling me.”

Synopsis from Publisher: “Wonderfall follows a single tree through the changing of the seasons. People, animals, and vehicles pass in front of the tree, celebrating holidays, playing in its leaves, and getting ready for winter. Fifteen combined words (thankful + fall = thankFALL, plentiful + fall = plentiFALL) underscore the themes and concepts of the season, while the main attraction—the beautiful tree—drops acorns, loses leaves, and provides food and a home for a pair of scurrying squirrels. Two full spreads at the back of the book offer additional information about the animals featured in the book, as well as the science behind squirrels, acorns, and saplings.”

What I Thought- This is a really neat poetry book. It shows the coming and passing of fall from a tree’s point of view. The poems are mostly free verse, with the occasional rhyming word (probably just coincidence). The illustrations are really neat, as you can see the subtle changes as fall progresses.

wonderfall2

I also really like the collage illustrations. The colors are bold and contrast well. There is also a lot going on in the illustrations. The reader can pick out new details when re-reading the book. The text is easy enough for early readers to read and the book also makes a great read aloud.  I really enjoyed this book.

Activities and Resources- 

I love it when books have their own resources built in! This book has a great end-section with notes on  wildlife and how they get ready for winter.  There is also a description of what happens to trees during the winter. A great addition to the book!

There are some great tree related activities at Fantasticfunandlearning.com HERE.

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

Review! The Bowl and the Stone by Bish Denham

20 Oct

bowlThe Bowl and the Stone: A Haunting Tale from the Virgin Islands

By Bish Denham

109 pages – ages 8+

Published by Bound Post Publishing on October 3, 2016

Synopsis- from the author –
It’s 1962. Sam and her best friend, Nick, have the whole island of St. John, in the U. S. Virgin Islands, as their playground. They’ve got 240 year-old sugar plantation ruins to explore, beaches to swim, and trails to hike.

But when a man disappears like a vapor right in front of them, they must confront a scary new reality. They’re being haunted. By whom? And why? He’s even creeping into Nick’s dreams.

They need help, but the one who might be able to give it is Trumps, a reclusive hunchback who doesn’t like people, especially kids. Are Sam and Nick brave enough to face him? And if they do, will he listen to them?

Their carefree summer games turn into eerie hauntings, and Sam and Nick learn more about themselves and life than they could ever have imagined.

What I Thought- This was a really good book with a solid story-line. I really love the setting and Denham’s description of the Caribbean. The story also teaches you about the culture in the Virgin Islands. The friendship between Sam and Nick (and Trumps) is a highlight of the story. It rings true to the reader and is enjoyable to read about. The story is an intriguing ghost story and mystery that is written well for Denham’s young audience.   The story is slightly scary, with the right amount of tension for a young person’s mystery. This is a good clean read.

fivebooks

I give this book five out of five bookworms!

Who is Bish Denham?

coral-shower-mustache

Bish Denham, whose mother’s side of the family has been in the Caribbean for over one hundred years, was raised in the U. S. Virgin Islands. She still has lots of family living there whom she visits regularly.

She says, “Growing up in the islands was like living inside a history book. Columbus named the islands, Sir Francis Drake sailed through the area, and Alexander Hamilton was raised on St. Croix. The ruins of hundreds of sugar plantations, built with the sweat and blood of slave labor, litter the islands. Then there were the pirates who plied the waters. It is within this atmosphere of wonder and mystery, that I grew up. Life for me was magical, and through my writing I hope to pass on some of that magic.”

The Bowl and the Stone: A Haunting Tale from the Virgin Islands, is her third book and second novel. You can find Anansi and Company: Retold Jamaican Tales and A Lizard’s Tail, at Amazon.com.

To learn more about Bish, you can visit her blog, Random Thoughts, at www.http:/bish-randomthoughts.blogspot.com.

She can also be found on Facebook: www.facebook.com/BishDenham/Author

Twitter @BishDenham

And Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6439315.Bish_Denham

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Enzo’s Very Scary Halloween by Garth Stein

14 Oct

Susanna Leonard Hill has a feature on her blog called Perfect Picture Book Friday. It is a list of “perfect” picture books recommended by all sorts of people. I chose this book because it is a nice not too spooky book for Halloween.

enzoEnzo’s Very Scary Halloween 
Written by Garth Stein
Illustrated by R.W. Alley
40 pages – ages 5+

Published by HarperCollins on July 26, 2016

Theme/Topic- Halloween

Genre- Realistic Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “‘Tell us about Halloween, Daddy,’ Zoë says one fall evening. ‘But tell it the scary way!'”

Synopsis from publisher: “When Halloween comes around, Enzo doesn’t know what to expect. Jack-o’-lanterns light up the streets, giant spiders weave webs on porches, and ordinary lawns become creepy graveyards while every child and dog transforms into a creature of some kind—including Enzo!

Enzo the dragon is determined to protect fairy princess Zoë from the monsters and goblins in their neighborhood, but when things get a little too scary, his family is there to reassure him that everything is make-believe and only meant to be fun—just like the wonderful trick-or-treat parade that ends this spook-tastic night! R. W. Alley’s fantastic illustrations bring Enzo to life as he discovers the frightful fun of Halloween. “

What I Thought- I really like the Enzo books and this one is a nice addition. They are nice stories that have the innocence of a young puppy learning about a holiday. Young kids will like how Enzo misinterprets the idea of Halloween, and is very frightened because of it. The illustrations are perfect for the story, with a sweet almost-cartoon feel. Stein’s writing style is nice for read-alouds, and teachers could use this book to talk with kindergartners or preschoolers. I’ve enjoyed Stein’s middle-grade books and am finding I enjoy is picture books just as much.

Activities and Resources- Activityvillage.co.uk has a good list of Halloween activities and resources HERE.

FamilyEducation.com has a list of Not-Too-Spooky Halloween activities for kids – click HERE.

Read a sample from the book at the publisher’s website HERE.

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

Review! 101 Books to Read Before You Grow Up By Bianca Schulze Blog Tour! AND GIVEAWAY!!!

12 Oct

101books

101 Books to Read Before You Grow Up

Series: 101 series for Kids

By Bianca Schulze

Published by Walter Foster Jr on October 1, 2016

144 pages / ages 8-12

Synopsis from the publisher: 101 Books to Read Before You Grow Up provides a comprehensive list of kid-friendly books for children to read before they grow up. This must-read review list acts as an interactive journal where kids can document the books they read, why they like them, and how they rate them. Divided into sections by subject, from fairy tales and fantasy to sports and nonfiction, 101 Books to Read Before You Grow Up celebrates the importance of reading and encourages family participation to develop lifelong readers. The perfect reference guide for book lovers of all ages, 101 Books to Read Before You Grow Up helps both kids and parents decide which books to read next!

What I thought: This is a nice addition to the 101 Series for Kids. When I first saw the title of this – 101 Books to Read Before You Grow Up – I immediately thought – come on, how can you possibly come up with this list? There are SO MANY books you should read before you grow up! Then I read the following author’s note –

“There are so many amazing books to be discovered and read—and far too many to list in one fun book. The 101 awesome books contained in these pages have one collective message: Be kind, be brave, and make good choices. Remember the struggles of those that came before you and those who will come after you. Be true to yourself, and with every page you turn, live your life like an epic adventure.”

Makes sense.

Plus, Schulze is the founder of The Children’s Book Review so she knows what she is talking about. Scanning through the table of contents, yes I did see some books I think should have been listed, but I can’t argue against any of the books Schulze lists (well maybe one). And, she only got to name 101 (although in the “What to Read Next?” section following each book description Schulze got to list a few more).

101books2

As with all the books in the 101 Series for Kids, the pages are well-organized and colorful. Schulze gives a brief synopsis of each book and some comments as to why the book belongs on the list. There is also a section below each book named for kids to record that they read it and write what they thought of it. The variety of books Schulze suggests is wonderful – ranging from classics to adventure, humor to historical fiction. Schulze even gives a nod to graphic novels. There is a nice selection of culturally diverse books and I was happy with the mix of classic and more modern titles represented.

101books3

schulzeABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bianca Schulze is the founder of The Children’s Book Review, a resource devoted to children’s literature and recognized by the American Library Association as a “Great Website for Kids.” She is a reader, reviewer, mother, and children’s book lover. Combined with her love of books and experience as a children’s bookseller, Bianca’s goal is to share her passion to help grow readers.

 

To enter the giveaway to win this book, all you need to do is comment telling us what book you think everyone should read!

Review! Bioengineering by Christine Burillo-Kirch

5 Oct

bioengineerBioengineering: Discover How Nature Inspires Human Designs

Series: Build It Yourself

Written by Christine Burillo-Kirch

Illustrated by Alexis Cornell

128 pages – ages 7+

Published by Nomad Press on August 9, 2016

Synopsis from Publisher- “In Bioengineering: Discover How Nature Inspires Human Designs, young readers explore designs and innovations that come from nature. Leonardo da Vinci studied birds’ wings to draw his design of a man-made flying machine and engineers still look to birds when attempting to make planes more aerodynamic. And a burr on your shirt from walking through a field sticks like Velcro, doesn’t it? The plant and animal world provides engineers and scientists with a host of ideas to apply to the human world to make it a better place to live.

Bioengineering explores different fields, including communication, transportation, and construction, and follows the process of engineering from the raw material of the natural world to the products we use in the human world every day. Activities such as building cantilevers and inventing a new fabric that mimics pinecone behavior require kids to think critically about their own needs and find creative ideas to fulfill those needs using designs from nature. Essential questions and links to digital and primary resources make this book an engaging and illuminating experience.”

What I Thought- This is a really neat nonfiction book. It explains the core concepts of bioengineering in terms that kids can understand. I really enjoyed how it simplified the theories, which I’m sure are actually quite complex, and also included projects to help the reader understand the topics even more. The projects are simple, and use everyday objects that would cost little to nothing to make. There are neat illustrations that help teach the topics and break up the text in an enjoyable way. This is a really nice introduction to bioengineering and its major ideas. The text is not overly complicated which is amazing because of the complex topics it is covering. This is a very well thought out and written book! The binding of the book reminds me of a school workbook, but the colorful illustrations, projects and engaging text makes it so much better than a textbook! Kids and teachers will like reading this book!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Review and book birthday! The Ominous Eye by Tracey Hecht

20 Sep

nocturnals2The Ominous Eye

Series: The Nocturnals #2 (#1)

Written by Tracey Hecht

208 pages – ages 7+

Published by Fabled Films Press on September 20, 2016 (TODAY!)

Synopsis- “Join Dawn, Bismark and Tobin as they set out to investigate the source of a violent jolt that fractures the earth! Along their journey, the Nocturnal Brigade meets an unfamiliar reptile—a tuatara named Polyphema—who reveals that a giant beast caused the destruction and will soon strike again. Polyphema with her special insights, is the only one who can help the Nocturnal Brigade stop this fearsome predator… but can she be trusted? With help from an owl, the jerboas, and some kiwis, the animals set a trap since surrender is not an option against this relentless beast.”

What I Thought- This was a nice sequel to the first Nocturnals book. It still has the same feel, but it also shows the characters changed just a bit, and become more mature. The book gives enough background so that the reader doesn’t have to have read the first book (but do because it was good!). I like that it has a friendship message that kids can follow, while still being an enjoyable book and not preachy. The friends that make up the Nocturnal Brigade are fun and a but zany. The characters are funny and personable, and their personalities develop throughout the story. There are nice watercolor illustrations throughout the book that really add to the overall feeling of the book. Hecht’s writing really sets the readers imagination on fire! I think that this is a great series, and I hope the next books are as great as the first two!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

%d bloggers like this: