Tag Archives: this kid reviews books

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

Perfect Picture Book Friday! There’s a Giraffe in My Soup by Ross Burach

16 Sep

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.

giraffesoupThere’s a Giraffe in My Soup
By Ross Burach
32 pages – ages 4+

Published by HarperCollins on February 23, 2016

Theme/Topic- Humor/Table manners

Genre-  Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “‘Excuse me, Waiter?

There’s a giraffe in my soup!'”

Synopsis from Publisher: “What if you found a giraffe in your soup, an alligator in your entreé, an elephant on the table, or even an ostrich in your dish?

In this debut picture book from author-illustrator Ross Burach, an assortment of hairy, scary animals pop out from under the lid at a restaurant!”

What I Thought- This is a good, classic, everything-goes-wrong-but-in-a-good-way book. It is a hilarious spin off of the “There’s a fly in my soup!” jokes, starting big, and getting zanier as the book progresses. Kids will beg to have the book reread to them, if the fact that I just read the book five times in a row it is that good! The illustrations are perfect for the story. They are zany and fit in with the mixed-up story.  The book is a perfect read-aloud, particularly for two people (or a teacher and their class) to read the boy’s and the waiter’s lines. Funny voices would be perfect too! I can’t wait to read more from this debut author!

Activities and Resources- Because the book takes place in a “fine-restaurant,” you can talk about table manners with your kids, with topic ideas to discuss at Emilypost.com HERE!

If you want to lead into a discussion about manners with activities, at Childfun.com HERE!
Check out the book’s trailer –

You can read a sample of the book at the publisher’s website HERE

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

Blog Tour! Bjorn’s Gift by Sandy Brehl

14 Sep

bjornBjorn’s Gift

Sequel to Odin’s Promise

By Sandy Brehl

272 pages – ages 8+

Will be published by Crispin Books on October 5th, 2016

Synopsis from Publisher-Set in Norway during World War II, Bjorn’s Gift continues the adventures of Mari, a young Norwegian girl who faces growing hardships and dangers in her small village in a western fjord.
German occupation troops and local Nazi supporters move closer to her family’s daily life, and her classmate Leif becomes active in the Norwegian Nazi youth party. Mari struggles to live up to her brother Bjorn’s faith in her, as she becomes more involved in risky resistance activities, trusting only her family and a few close friends.
Across Norway, oppressive laws are imposed in the months from Fall 1941 to early 1943, with dire local consequences. Difficult decisions force Mari to admit that many things in life are not easily sorted into good or bad, and she begins to wonder if Hitler will ever be defeated and . . . whether the occupation of Norway will ever end.

What I Thought- Odin’s Promise was a wonderful historical fiction novel that I thoroughly enjoyed. I was excited to see a sequel and was equally impressed with Brehl’s writing in this novel. Ms. Brehl’s way of writing down the events makes it very personal, and you can really feel the turmoil that Mari, the main character, is going through. The book is set during WWII in Norway. I really enjoy this because the Norwegian occupation is something glossed over in the history classes I have had so far. It is a part of history that I want to know more about. The imagery Brehl uses is amazing. She paints vivid images in sentences that really makes the reading experience enjoyable. The beautiful descriptions of Norway set against the ugliness of the political time is a striking contrast. This is a riveting historical fiction novel, and I think it really brings to light a different side of the German invasion of Norway. The book is completely appropriate for younger readers.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

author-brehl-copy-1 Sandy Brehl is a retired educator and active member of SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators). When she’s not reading and writing, she enjoys gardening. She lives in the Milwaukee area and invites you to visit her website (www.SandyBrehl.com) to learn more about ODIN’S PROMISE and BJORN’S GIFT. Sign up for quarterly newsletters to stay informed about future releases (including MARI’S HOPE), and special events and offers.

Contacts:

Crispin Books, an imprint of Crickhollow

sandybrehl.com
Twitter: @SandyBrehl
Facebook.com
Email: Sandy@sandybrehl.com
Sandy shares a blog about middle grade historical novels with three other authors: TheStoriedPast.org
Also blogs about picture books at UnpackingPictureBookPower.com and @PBWorkshop on Twitter

Blog tour schedule:

September 1– Interview with Todd Burleson at GROG blog:

Groggorg.com

September 7- Review: Stephanie Lowden at golowd, a blog about teaching and books:

Golowd.com

September 11- Guest post Unleashing Readers

Unleashingreaders.com

September 14- (TODAY!!!)- Review by Erik at This Kid Reviews Books,

Thiskidreviewsbooks.com

September 19- Review, Suzanne Warr, at Tales from the Raven, for MMGM:

Suzannewarr.com

September 20- Olivia and Oscar- review of ODIN’S PROMISE at Kid Book Reviewer:

Kidbookreviewer.com

September 27- Olivia and Oscar- review of BJORN’S GIFT at Kid Book Reviewer:

Kidbookreviewer.com 

September 29- Alex Baugh review at The Children’s War

Thechildrenswar.blogspot.com

October 3- Jenni Enzor MMGM with review and interview:

Jennienzor.com

October 5- MomReadIt- Review by Rosemary

Momreadit.com

October 7- Trisha P at Mindjacked

Trishap00.com

October 11- Guest post Rochelle Melander

Writenowcoach.com

Review! 101 Things to Do Outside

17 Aug

101outside101 Things to Do Outside

by Susan Hayes

Illustrated by  Shahid Mahmood

Editors Fay Evans, Lydia Halliday

144 pages – ages 8-12

Published by  Walter Foster Jr, (Division of Quatro) on March 1, 2016 (Published by Weldon Owen in  Great Britain 2015)

Synopsis from Publisher- “From animal tracking and survival skills to using a compass and growing vegetables, 101 Things to Do Outside is the perfect guide for young explorers and aspiring adventurers longing for a taste of the great outdoors. Right outside your front door, there’s a world bursting with adventures just waiting to be explored. This pocket-sized book is overflowing with things to try, do, learn, and remember (plus it has a handy checklist!). Includes helpful step-by-step illustrations and plenty of activities and lessons. Actvities include: Outdoor games such as beach basketball and giant chess; Outdoor art projects such as build a hammock and making bark rubbings; Outdoor nature activities such as bug hunting and fossil hunting; Outdoor gardening activities such as planting a boot garden and creating an herb window box; Outdoor exploring activities such as cooking on a campfire and sending message with a flashlight. The fourth installment of the 101 Things series encourages children to step away from the computer screen and experience nature firsthand from their very own backyards.”

What I Thought- This is a decent guide to doing things outside. The instructions are thorough and easy to understand. I really liked the format of the book – it’s spiral bound like a notebook. Each page has a description of an activity along with illustrations to help and a list of materials.  There is also a little check box at the bottom of each activity so you can mark that you’ve done it – nice feature.

101outside1

The pages are colored and have an “outdoorsy” feel about them.  The instructions also point out good times to ask an adult for help. There are games, crafts and some science based activities. Most of the activities are probably good for third graders and younger, with a few things for older kids. I took the book camping with us last week and read it. It gave us some ideas of things to do! I can see parents handing the book to kids who say “I’m bored” or using it as a way to get their kids outside more.  Overall a fun book that is a great boredom buster!

For a full preview of the book, visit the publisher’s website by clicking HERE.

I give this book four out of five bookworms!fourbooks

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Swatch by Julia Denos

23 Jul

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 visually stunning.

swatchSwatch; The Girl Who Loved Color
By Julia Denos
40 pages – ages 5+

Published by Balzer + Bray on March 15, 2016

Theme/Topic- Art/Creativity

Genre- Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “In a place where colors ran wild, there lived a girl who was wilder still.

Her name was Swatch, and she was a color tamer.”

Publisher’s Synopsis: “In a place where color ran wild, there lived a girl who was wilder still. Her name was Swatch, and color was her passion. From brave green to in-between gray to rumble-tumble pink . . . Swatch wanted to collect them all. But colors don’t always like to be tamed. . . “

What I Thought- The art in this book is phenomenal! It really does seem as if the colors are alive! It is a very unique idea, and I think one that has several subtle, underlying messages as well, such as it not being right to cage wild animals. Ms. Denos has a great writing style, reminding me of a fairytale. I enjoyed this book very much, and hope to read more by Ms. Denos!

swatch

Activities and Resources- Funathomewithkids.com has a great activity on ways to finger paint with children HERE. I think the activity will go great with the book!

For a full preview of the book, visit the HarperCollins website HERE.

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

Blog Tour! Ms. Bixby’s Last Day by John David Anderson

8 Jun
160331_blogtour_bixby[1]
bixbyMs. Bixby’s Last Day
By John David Anderson
320 pages – ages 8+
Will be Published by Walden Pond Press on June 21, 2016
Synopsis from Publisher- “John David Anderson, author of Sidekicked and The Dungeoneers, returns with a funny, heartwarming, and heartbreaking contemporary story about three boys, one teacher, and a day none of them will ever forget.
Everyone knows there are different kinds of teachers. The boring ones, the mean ones, the ones who try too hard, the ones who stopped trying long ago. The ones you’ll never remember, and the ones you want to forget. Ms. Bixby is none of these. She’s the sort of teacher who makes you feel like school is somehow worthwhile. Who recognizes something in you that sometimes you don’t even see in yourself. Who you never want to disappoint. What Ms. Bixby is, is one of a kind.
Topher, Brand, and Steve know this better than anyone. And so when Ms. Bixby unexpectedly announces that she won’t be able to finish the school year, they come up with a risky plan—more of a quest, really—to give Ms. Bixby the last day she deserves. Through the three very different stories they tell, we begin to understand what Ms. Bixby means to each of them—and what the three of them mean to each other.”
What I Thought- This was an interesting take for a new genre from Mr. Anderson – he normally writes in a fantasy/superhero genre, not a realistic fiction. AND… this book was pretty darn good. I honestly didn’t know what to expect, I agreed to read it because I liked Mr. Anderson’s other books. I am glad I did so. Mr. Anderson gets into the minds of the three main characters, and he makes them extremely life-like, so much that you believe that they could exist. They act like normal elementary school boys, and that made the book so much more enjoyable. The story is actually quite sad and reserved, but it also has a way of making you feel good about yourself at the same time. Mr. Anderson has written a marvelous foray into realistic fiction, and I recommend it to anyone looking for a good read.
I give this five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

 WHO IS THIS JOHN DAVID ANDERSON???

John David AndersonAuthor Bio:
John David Anderson is the author of many books for young readers, including Sidekicked (See my review HERE) and The Dungeoneers (See my review HERE). A dedicated root beer connoisseur and chocolate fiend, he lives with his wife, two kids, and perpetually whiny cat in Indianapolis, Indiana. You can visit him online at http://www.johndavidanderson.org.

Links:

http://www.johndavidanderson.org/

https://twitter.com/anderson_author

https://www.facebook.com/JohnDavidAndersonAuthor/

There is an excerpt that you can read from the novel HERE.

You can also see a video featuring the book HERE.

MS. BIXBY’S LAST DAY BLOG TOUR LIST
6/2/2016 Nerdy Book Club
6/3/2016 Next Best Book
6/6/2016 Walden Media Tumblr
6/7/2016 Teach Mentor Texts
6/8/2016 This Kid Reviews Books
6/9/2016 Read, Write, Reflect
6/10/2016 Flashlight Reader
6/13/2016 Julie Falatko
6/14/2016 A Foodie Bibliophile in Wanderlust
6/15/2016 About to Mock
6/16/2016 Kid Lit Frenzy
6/16/2016 The Hiding Spot
6/17/2016 Unleashing Readers
6/20/2016 Ms. Yingling Reads
Novel Novice
6/21/2016 Maria’s Melange
Novel Novice
All the Wonders
6/22/2016 Lit Coach Lou
Novel Novice
6/23/2016 Novel Novice
6/24/2016 Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
Novel Novice
6/27/2016 Librarian’s Quest
6/28/2016 Educate.Empower.Inspire…Teach
6/29/2016 Bluestocking Thinking
6/30/2016 Mindjacked
7/1/2016 All the Wonders

 

Review! Great Americans: The Founders by Michael T. Best

6 Jun

greatamericansGreat Americans: The Founders; A Quick and Patriotic Tour Through the Lives of Those Who Changed History

Series: Great Americans Volume 1

By Michael T. Best

132 pages – ages 7+

Published by Crosswick Books on December 17, 2015

Synopsis- Have you ever wondered how our country became what it is? More specifically, who laid the foundation for our nation to rise on? There were several people who did a lot of amazing things, and it took a lot to kick start this country.

What I Thought- It was pretty cool that I didn’t know who everyone was mentioned – I knew a lot, but not all. There are real stories included in the book of real Americans who plotted the course of the country, people such as Benjamin Franklin, Abigail Adams, Robert Fulton, Daniel Boone, and others. The blurbs on each person are quick, and simply sum-up the main points of why they are so important, and also include some fun facts about the person and what they did. The book would make a good addition to classrooms talking about America right after the Revolutionary War (or in that time period, really). It’s a good nonfiction book that is organized rather well. Kids will like reading about important women from this time period in the book too. Although the information in the book makes me think of a history text book, the information is presented in a way that the reader isn’t bogged down with fact after fact. I found it a highly enjoyable read!

I give this bookfivebooks five out of five bookworms.

Review! Leaf and Echo Peak by Jo Marshall

5 Jun

leaf#4Leaf and Echo Peak
Series: Twig Stories #4 (#1, 2, 3)
Written by Jo Marshall
Illustrated by D.W. Murray
258 pages – ages 8+
Published by CreateSpace on February 20, 2016

Synopsis- Leaf and the Twigs are back! Twigs are creatures made from living wood that take care of their birth tree, and are gentle, peace-loving “people”. When their entire homeland is threatened by a force that they had never even heard of, it is a desperate dash to get all of the Twigs and animals out of the forest before Echo Peak explodes and erupts with lava. Will they all make it out in time?

What I Thought- The story was good, and kept me wanting to finish the book. The characters are all realistic, and have you cheering them on as their world erupts around them (quite literally). It’s great that there are actual animals represented in the book, with Twigs being the only “unproven” existing creature. There are really neat black-and-white drawings at the beginning of each chapter that really add another dimension to the book. This is a fun story with a unique and subtle way to teach kids about environmental issues. It is able to do so without sounding preachy. It’s important for kids to be able to learn without being pushed away, and Ms. Marshall does a great job of accomplishing this. One thing that threw me off my reading rate was editing mistakes scattered throughout the book. I didn’t see this with Marshall previous books. Errors aside, the Twig Story series is a worthwhile read for kids of any age because of the book’s fun story-lines and environmental message. The book is a nice continuation of the series, and I highly recommend this book!

I give this book four out of five bookworms.fourbooks

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Butterflies Keep Flying by Ali Pfautz

3 Jun

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 book with a nice hidden lesson on accepting others.

butterflyButterflies Keep Flying
Written by Ali Pfautz
Illustrated by Sara Grier
44 pages – ages 5+
Published by Artistic Endeavors Press on March 29, 2016

Theme/Topic- Realizing/finding your inner strength / accepting others

Genre- Realistic Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “Sometimes I imagine I’m an elephant…

…with a huge body that shakes the houses in my neighborhood as I walk to school.”

Synopsis:  Sometimes, the gentle butterfly imagines what it might be like to be other creatures–big, strong, loud animals–those without fragile wings. Those who don’t have to fly. But when she stops daydreaming and starts thinking about how her wings carry her through life’s challenges, the butterfly reminds herself of the great strength within her colorful, breakable wings.  

This tender story was inspired by the courageous spirit and tenacity of the “butterfly children,” the boys and girls battling a rare disease known as Epidermolysis Bullosa, or EB. Children with EB have skin as delicate as butterfly wings. They often have tears and blisters all over their bodies. Many live in constant pain, yet they get up each day and keep flying. In the back of BUTTERFLIES KEEP FLYING, the author lists information about EB and a nonprofit group serving EB families called debra of America. (debra.org)

What I Thought- This is a really sweet story about how sometimes being delicate can create strength you didn’t know you had. The butterfly is easily hurt and damaged, but it must fly, or else its position gets worse. The book is very symbolic, but is a great way to teach kids about what it is like to have to keep going on, similar to what those with EB must do. The illustrations are gorgeous, and full of color. The words are written in such a way that they bounce across the page, bringing the story to life.

Activities and Resources- To find out more about EB, go HERE (The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne and HERE (EBkids.org).

For ideas on how to teach others acceptance go HERE (kidsofintegrity.com) and HERE (Scholastic.com).

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

Everything Robotics by Jennifer Swanson

2 Jun

everythingrobotsEverything Robotics

By Jennifer Swanson (with Shah Selbe)

64 pages – ages 8+

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

Synopsis- Have you ever wondered what makes robots work? Or even, for those that don’t want to say it out loud, what a robot really is? How has robotics progressed? When was it even thought up? If you’ve wondered these questions, then you are in luck, because this book from National Geographic Kids answers these – and more!

What I Thought- This was really cool! I learned a lot about modern robotics, including what makes up robots, along with older robotics of the past. There are several different ways that make robots robots, and Ms. Swanson explained them all very well. I thought it was cool how far robotics has progressed as of late. Ms. Swanson informs what kids can do with robotics, and how scientists, astronauts, and other professionals use robots, or plan to use robots. The format of the book is pretty cool, with real pictures, and fact boxes throughout it. This is another great nonfiction book from National Geographic Kids!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

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