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Books for Kids and Teens Book reviews of titles for children and young adults. Books are received from Library Thing publishers and NetGalley publishers. Books are also read and reviewed from the local library. All reviews are subject to reviewer's opinion and not the publisher or author
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1. An Interview with Monster & Boy — Not To Be Missed!

Today I am honored to have two wonderful guests from the Monster & Me series, including the recently released Monster Needs Your Vote (reviewed here). You might remember them from another interview (read it here). There is no better way to get at the story than from the view point of the characters.

monster-banner-1

Monster and Boy cut to the chase as they answer a few of my hard-hitting questions. Of course, you’d expect nothing less from an interview with a political candidate. Monster is vying for President! Yep, he doesn’t play around folks (well, not much), and aims for the top! Monster’s long-time friend goes along on the campaign trail, giving guidance and help as only Boy can. (NOTE:  Kids, any Boy—or Girl—and any Monster can aspire to this relationship, as enviable as it is.)

HOLD ON, HERE WE GO!

Welcome Monster and Boy. Your new book Monster Needs Your Vote is in bookstores now. The author, Paul Czajak, chose an interesting topic for your 5th book:  politics. What did you think, Monster, when you found out you would be running for president?

m1.

“First off thanks for having me, any opportunity to get the message out I am up for!”

“MONSTER 2016!! Turn your voice into a roar!”

b5“Monster we’re no longer campaigning, remember? You already saved the library.”

m4“Oh yeah, I forgot. Sometimes I forget stuff. Anyway I want to point out when I was running I was my OWN Monster and not an imaginary Monster created by Mr. Paul Czajak. I decided to run for President when I found out I wasn’t old enough to vote. Which is not fair!”

I BELIEVE IN MONSTER 2016!!
Capture

True, at first, you simply wanted to vote. Have you ever voted before that day? I know I’m not supposed to ask, but my curiosity is overpowering my good sense. Which candidate did you vote for?

m1“I never voted before. In fact I didn’t even know what it was until that day. Once I heard about it I thought, “How cool is that?! Being able to voice your opinion on how decisions are made! What an awesome responsibility!” Then Boy told me I wasn’t old enough to vote yet, UNFAIR! So I figured I would run for President and help change that rule.”

Boy has always helped you, like when he helped you choose a Halloween costume, find a Christmas tree, and when he helped you go to sleep. How did Boy help you on the campaign trail?

m1“Well, he’s very good at making posters, and he’s great at coming up with campaign slogans. He created “A chocolate cake on every plate, a pie in every pot!” I thought that was very clever.”

b2.

“Thanks, Monster!”

m4“Even though I really liked that slogan, Dessert For Dinner was probably not the best platform, or issue, to run on. Boy helped me figure out that I should stand behind something that isn’t about what I need but what everybody needs, like a library staying open. But honestly who wouldn’t want chocolate cake for dinner?”

b11s

“I like vanilla.”

m3.

“You’re so difficult.”

Boy, I’m curious again. You have a giant amount of confidence when guiding Monster, but he is, like, 100 times bigger than you. Aren’t you afraid Monster might, well, become a monster?

b5

“I don’t get it? Monster is a monster, that’s why his name is Monster. He can’t become a monster since he’s already a monster. Any idea what she’s talking about?”

m4

“Sorry I wasn’t listening, I’m still thinking about chocolate cake.”

In Monster Needs Your Vote, both of you use some odd words and combinations of words, like soapbox (a box of soap?), oratory, platform, grassroots movement (moving grassroots?), “give a voice” (you can do that?) and “all for naught” (who is naught?). What do these words mean and why are these important when running for president?

m3

“This sounds an awful lot like a “gotcha question.” Where’s my agent?”


b5   
“Monster, you don’t have an agent. Plus, I think she just wants to know how you got such a big vocabulary.”

BottomSpot_DONE_REVISED-copy-copy-150x150.

“Oh! Mr. Czajak teaches me lots of big words. No reason not to use them when the opportunity presents itself,

“New Hampshire, then to Iowa he caused a rousing raucous,
“Speaking to the voters at the primary and caucus.”

b11s

“Monster, no one likes a show off.”

m1

“Tell that to Trump.”

People running for president usually have a running mate, why isn’t Boy your running mate instead of your campaign manager? (Did the author veto that idea?)

BottomSpot_DONE_REVISED-copy-copy-150x150

“He was going to be my running mate!”

“Monster needs a running mate, “So who’s it going to be?”
“Monster said, “My only choice is you for my V.P.”

“But I never got to that point since it turns out you have to be 35 to run for President. Which, again, is unfair! I know, I’ll run for President and change that rule too!”

I don’t recall from your first adventure, Monster Needs a Costume, if we found out where you came from. President Obama had to show his birth certificate to prove he was born in the U.S.  Running for President is tough to do. Did anyone ask to see your birth certificate?

m5“It all happened during a debate with one of the other candidates, I think I still have the transcript.”

“A Monster can’t be President, he has no expertise!
“Who is Monster? Where’s he from? I think he may have fleas.”

“Fleas are not the issue, this is just something that misleads
“This country needs a Leader that will focus on the needs.”

“After the debate the officials asked for my birth certificate which showed I wasn’t 35, dumb rule.”

b5.
“Also, I would like to go on record that Monster does not have fleas. That man was just being mean.”

What I really like about Monster Needs Your Vote is all the other monsters Wendy Grieb brought out. There are some interesting-looking monsters. Monster, there is one that sure looks like he/she could be a relative. Do you know any of these monsters?

m7.

“A lot of them came to my Birthday Party this past April! It was such a surprise when I came home from Pirate Land and found all my friends in the house.”

 

I’m so sorry. I missed your birthday party. I bet it was a frightful affair!  Anyway, I think Monster would be absolutely terrific at any sport or getting fit (kids need that—adults, too). Boy, what is next for Monster?

a1

.

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“We will focus on Monsters message of “Reading Turns Your Voice into a Roar!” for the rest of the election. Then I think Monster might go to school next fall… His sports career will have to wait a bit. Though he will definitely get involved in something.”

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m1“Yup, like basketball, or swimming, or tennis, or yoga, or maybe surfing or cheerleading…”

.

Ah, Monster, you are such a dreamer . . . I mean you have great dreams . . . um, what I really mean to say is, “Yes! You go Monster!”  So, is there anything either of you would like to say directly to the readers?

BottomSpot_DONE_REVISED-copy-copy-150x150.

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“Read! Read! Read! And support your local library!”

b2.

“What he said, it’s why he’s the best candidate.”

.

That is a fantastic message! Monster and Boy, thank you for stopping by . . . Oh, wait! I forgot to ask one BIG QUESTION. In Monster Needs Your Vote (you have my vote)—DID YOU WIN?

Capture2

m3.

“Well I guess someone didn’t read the book. It’s only 350 words, it’s not like it would take that much time.”

b5.

“Monster, I think she’s just pretending to have not read the book to build up suspense. You know, a bit of suspended disbelief on the part of the interviewer.”

a2“Suspended what?”

“Suspended Disbelief, when something doesn’t make sense, but you let it go for the sake of the story. You know, kind of like if someone wrote a story about a monster who’s too young to vote but then decides to run for President.”

m4.

“You lost me.”

Monster and Boy, thank you for stopping by Kid Lit Reviews once more. It is always a delight and a surprise!

Boy and Monster, what a pair. You got to love them and I believe you will while reading the Monster & Me series. This is one series that has never disappointed me. The stories and illustrations are full of humor, bold images, and a gentle message no one, not even a Monster, tries to blast at you.

You can start the Monster & Me series with their the latest, Monster Needs Your Vote (reviewed here), as each book can stand on its own (and no, Monster, I do not mean that they actually stand on their own, but that you can read any story without having to read the story before it).

Soon it will be Halloween, a good time to read Monster Needs a Costume (reviewed here). And then Christmas will be upon us and Monster Needs a Christmas Tree (reviewed soon) is the perfect holiday story.

If holidays are not your thing (really, could that be true of anyone?) how about a birthday party story with Monster Needs a Party (reviewed soon), or a story to help you nod off with Monster in Monster Needs His Sleep (reviewed here)?

It sounds like Monster will be heading off to school—for the first time—next Fall and maybe joining a sports team—or the cheerleaders. I cannot wait for those stories. Until then, I hope you have enjoyed this latest interview with Monster and Boy.

And don’t forget to “Read! Read! Read!” Support your public library, and VOTE FOR MONSTER!

#5 needs your vote

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Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

 

Full Disclosure: Monster & Me by Paul Czajak & Wendy Grieb, and published by Mighty Media Kids. Monster and Boy’s interview answers by Paul Czajak. Images copyright © by Wendy Grieb.  The opinions expressed are my own and no one else’s. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monster & Me Series

Monster Needs a Costume

Monster Needs a Costume

Monster Needs His Sleep

Monster Needs His Sleep

Monster Needs a Christmas Tree

Monster Needs a Christmas Tree

Monster Needs a Party

Monster Needs a Party

Monster Needs Your Vote

Monster Needs Your Vote

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Purchase at  Amazon  IndieBound Books  Mighty Media Kids

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A HUGE THANKS to Paul Czajak!


Filed under: 6 Stars TOP BOOK, Books for Boys, Children's Books, Favorites, Guest Post, Interviews, Picture Book, Series, Top 10 of 2015 Tagged: Boy, Mighty Media Kids, Mighty Media Press, monster, Monster & Me series, Monster Needs a Christmas Tree, Monster Needs a Costume, Monster Needs a Party, Monster Needs His Sleep, Monster Needs Your Vote, Paul Czajak, Wendy Grieb

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2. KidLit’ers Help Needed! – Wizard Pickles by Author-Illustrator Chuck Whelon

One of the newer ways for self-publishing authors to get their books out is to start a Kickstarter fundraising campaign. I have helped to fund a couple of these ventures, but never tried to help a book by posting about it here at Kid Lit Reviews.

Well, today I am actually going to do just that. Traditionally published children’s author, Chuck Whelon (Dover Publications, Simon & Schuster, Michael O’Mara Books, SKODA Man Press), and winner of the 2002 Web Cartoonists’ Choice Award for Best Fantasy Comics (The Weird Worlds of Pewfell Porfingles), is publishing a story/puzzle book called Wizard Pickles (which will be reviewed soon). Here is the Kickstarter video about Wizard Pickles:

Wizard Pickles tells the story of young Mazie Pickles and her Aunt Wilma. Aunt Wilma works as a wizard at the local castle. Well, she did, until angering Queen Blackthorne, who is set to award the Golden Cup at the annual Picklefest. For one, Aunt Wilma has lost her wand, which was found by pickle gnomes. The pickle gnomes had a glorious time using the magical wand to reek havoc throughout the village. Now, Mazie needs to help her aunt retrieve the wand before anything worse should happen (hint:  it does!)

Every page in Wizard Pickles is filled with different picture puzzles for readers to solve. They range from simple search-and-find activities to muddling mazes, cryptic codes, and complex logic problems that will keep you baffled for many hours of puzzling fun! More than a puzzle book, Wizard Pickles contains a mystery story that runs throughout the whole book.

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Chuck is looking for a total of $1000, meager by Kickstarter standards. The campaign is open until September 17th and offers many perks to those who pledge from $5 to $500.

WP_00_FrontCover_800px_noBleedWhat I have always liked about Kickstarter book campaigns is the opportunity to help wonderful authors and books you can believe in, and help the book travel from conception to publication. As with Wizard Pickles, most book campaigns give you enough information that you can discern the story and the illustrations, getting a good idea if this is a book you would want your children or students to read. For a small $5—less than a cup of Starbucks coffee—you can help a deserving author’s dream come true.

Here are the Fund “Rewards”
Pledge of $5 or more – a PDF eBook of Wizard Pickles
Pledge of $20 or more – the above, plus a Hardback edition of Wizard Pickles (PDF offers endless solving of the puzzles!)
Pledge of $35 or more – all the above, plus your name (or any name you choose) on the Dedication page of Wizard Pickles
Pledge of $50 – all the above, plus a copy of Chuck’s original game Legitimacy* (Minion Games $40.00)

The “rewards” increase from there. To see them all, and to read more about Wizard Pickles and Chuck Whelon’s plans for publication, go to the Kickstarter link below:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/whelon/wizard-pickles-puzzle-adventure-book

Chuck explained to me that many publishers loved Wizard Pickles, but when the book got to the marketing department, they had a difficult time categorizing his book and this makes any traditional publication all but dead. So Chuck did what any author who truly believes kids will love their book does:  He found a way to get it published.

BIG CVER

*LEGITIMACY
“The kingdom of Legitimant is in turmoil. The old king has died, leaving no legitimate heir… He has, however, left several illegitimate ones.

“Since you were an infant, your mother has told you of the royal blood that runs in your veins. Now the time has come for you and your trusty animal sidekick to set out on an epic quest to fulfil your destiny and claim the throne that is your birthright.

“Whether you choose to follow a path of righteousness or use every dirty trick in the book, you’ll need nerve, cunning and just a little luck as you assemble an assortment of strange creatures and magical objects to out-maneuver and overpower your rivals and prove that you are, indeed, the one true heir of Legitimacy!” [website]

Legitimacy is a fast-paced board game for 2—6 players, who fight to claim their birthright as heir to the throne of a magical kingdom.

chuckheadshot2Chuck explains the game’s creation like this,

“I created and designed the game as a showcase for my illustration and graphic design skills, and as something strategic and fun to play with my 8 year-old son which would not give me a competitive advantage!! It is fun to play and has a unique mechanic where your character can switch from being good to evil, or vice-versa.”

Chuck Whelon is a proficient author and illustrator of many children’s books, comics, and games. Below is a sampling.

Traditionally Published by Chuck Whelon
Where’s Santa?
Where’s the Penguin (in multiple languages)
Word Play: Write Your Own Crazy Comics (also many other editions)
What to Doodle?
Alien Invasion!
Create Your Own Monsters Sticker Activity Book
The Comic Book Guide to the Mission
           . . . and many more, including
Games Published by Minion Games
Legitimacy
Those Pesky Humans
Battle Merchants
Tahiti
         . . . and many more
Comic Book Series
Pewfell
Trogs
Rooftops

⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓Now you have the total scoop!⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓

HELP WIZARD PICKLES MAKE IT TO PUBLICATION.
Even a small $5 pledge goes a long way in this Kickstarter book campaign!

BookAnima_02

Book size: 17″ x 11″ — 26 pages (12 full-color spreads)

Wizard Pickles Kickstarter Campaign Link:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/whelon/wizard-pickles-puzzle-adventure-book

Read more about the Kickstarter Campaign:  https://www.patreon.com/cartoon?ty=h

Here area few ways you can connect with Chuck Whelon.
Website:  http://whelon.com/
Blog:  http://whelon.com/blog/
Blogger:  http://wizardsofur.blogspot.com/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/pewfell
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/chuck.whelon
Linked In:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/whelon
Amazon Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/Chuck-Whelon/e/B0036Q6OQO

Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators:  http://www.scbwi.org/members-public/chuck-whelon
National Cartoonists Society:  http://www.reuben.org/members/
Wikiwand:  http://www.wikiwand.com/en/Chuck_Whelon

Comics Sites:  http://www.stripamatic.com/~pewfell/whelon/  —  http://www.pewfell.com/  —  http://comicfury.com/comicprofile.php?url=pewfell  —  http://tapastic.com/chuck

whelon drawing.

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Ask Chuck any question you might have:  chuck@whelon.com

 

 

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Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

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Full Disclosure: Text and illustrations of Wizard Pickles copyright © 2015 by Chuck Whelon, and received from Author/Illustrator/Publisher, Check Whelon for promotional purposes.


Filed under: Author Spotlight, Children's Books, Comics, Digital Book, For Writers, HELP!, Illustrator Spotlight, Picture Book, Special Event Tagged: Chuck Whelon, Kickstarter, Legitamacy, traditionally published children's author/illustrator, Wizard Pickles

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3. #725 – Leo: A Ghost Story by Mac Barnett & Christian

cover
Leo: A Ghost Story
Written by Mac Barnett
Illustrated by Christian Robinson
Chronicle Books    8/25/2015
978-1-4521-3156-6
52 pages        Age 3—5

“Most people cannot see ghosts. Can you?

“You would like being friends with Leo. He likes to draw, he makes delicious snacks, and most people can’t even see him. Because Leo is also a ghost. When a new family moves into his home and Leo’s efforts to welcome them are misunderstood, Leo decides it is time to leave and see the world. That is how he meets Jane, a kid with a tremendous imagination and an open position for a worthy knight. That is how Leo and Jane become friends. And that is when their adventures begin.” [press release]

Review
Leo has lived alone in his house for some time as evidenced by his attire. He spends the time amusing himself with his drawings and taking adventures through the books he reads. Then, much to Leo’s delight, a family moves in, but when Leo tries to welcome them with mint tea and honey toast the family runs into the bathroom, locks the door, and considers their options. The young boy defiantly states,

“I hate tea! And I hate ghosts!”

(I suppose in their fright they forget a locked door won’t keep out a ghost, and it doesn’t.) Leo is floating above the tub. He hears the young boy’s words and decides it is time to leave his home and explore the world. But no one can see Leo. Worse, they walk right through him as he stands on the sidewalk.

Leo_Int 2Fortunes take a good turn the day Leo meets Jane.  Jane is in need of a knight and thinks Leo will fit the bill. King Jane is introducing the new Sir Leo to her royal court—all imaginary friends. Leo is disappointed Jane thinks he is imaginary, rather than real, but Leo does not want to risk scaring Jane with the truth. That night, Leo moves into the living room just in time to see a burglar climbing through the window. The thief does not see Leo, walking right through the young ghost. Leo is not deterred. He finds a way to capture the thief and prove to Jane he is more than imaginary.

Leo_Int_Chalk Drawing_Image OnlyLeo: A Ghost Story begins to impress right from the cover. Underneath an inviting book jacket is a classy blue cover with Sir Leo’s shield. The spine simply says, “LEO.” The acrylic painted cut-out construction paper illustrations are shades of blue and blue-grey, and if you look closely—if you contain the imagination—you can see Leo in nearly every spread.

blank coverThose without the needed childlike imagination get a chance to see Leo on the occasions he chooses to reveal himself. I love that Leo draws and reads books. An adventure awaiting in books is a terrific message to send young children. I also love that Leo and Jane become friends, showing children that friendship does not need to be conventional, just accepting of differences. Leo is a great friend and an inspiring example for young children, as is Jane. I love Jane’s unquestioning acceptance of Leo, the ghost. When Leo tells Jane he is a ghost and her real friend, Jane replies,

“Oh! Well that’s even better.”

Young children will adore Leo and enjoy his friendship with “King” Jane. Many will commiserate with Leo when his “new family” misunderstands his intentions. What young child has not had something they meant one way been taken the other way? What adult, for that matter. Accepting others despite their differences is a good message and very appropriate for today’s world.

The press release for Leo: A Ghost Story states that Leo is a “charming tale of friendship . . . destined to become a modern classic that will delight readers for years to come.” After reading the story and enjoying the illustrations, it is difficult to disagree. Leo is a charming little ghost who easily captures the reader’s heart.

LEO: A GHOST STORY. Text copyright © 2015 by Mac Barnett. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Christian Robinson. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Mighty Media Kids, an imprint of Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA.

Buy Leo: A Ghost Story at AmazonBook DepositoryIndieBound BooksChronicle Books.

Learn more about Leo: A Ghost Story HERE.
An Activity Kit with Discussion Guide can be found HERE.

Meet the author, Mac Barnett, at his website: http://www.macbarnett.com/
Meet the illustrator, Christian Robinson, at his website: http://theartoffun.com/
Find more interesting picture books at the Chronicle Books website: http://www.chroniclebooks.com/

AWARDS
Starred review Kirkus
Starred review Publisher’s Weekly
Junior Library Guild Selection

Mac Barnett and Christian Robinson_BW with Leo

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ALSO BY MAC BARNETT
Extra Yarn (Caldecott Honor Book)
Sam & Dave Dig a Hole (reviewed here)
Telephone

ALSO BY CHRISTIAN ROBINSON
Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker (Multi-Award-Winning Book) (reviewed here)

 

 

Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

Full Disclosure: Leo: A Ghost Story, by Mac Barnett & Christian Robinson, and received from Publisher, is in exchange NOT for a positive review, but for an HONEST review. The opinions expressed are my own and no one else’s. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Filed under: 6 Stars TOP BOOK, Children's Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Picture Book, Top 10 of 2015 Tagged: acceptance, acclaimed, award-winning illustration, Christian Robinson, Chronicle Books, classic illustrations, friendship, ghosts, imaginary friends, Leo: A Ghost Story, Mac Barnett, misunderstandings, New York Times Bestselling author, reading as an adventure

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4. #724 – Fowl Play by Travis Nichols

fowl play
Fowl Play
Written & Illustrated By Travis Nichols
Chronicle Books        8/04/2015
978-1-4521-3182-5
40 pages         Age 7—12

Just what kind of monkey business has befallen Mr. Hound’s shop? Who has broken his window? And most importantly: why?

“Luckily, our team of plucky detectives has been chomping at the bit to take on their first case. When Mr. Hound hires them to investigate, they hoof it to his shop. And once they get sleuthing, wild horses couldn’t drag them away from the scent of a clue. But is it all just a dog and pony show to distract them from the truth

“Idioms are everywhere in the Gumshoe Zoo detective agency’s hilarious first case as they attempt to get to the bottom of Mr. Hound’s mystery.” [inside jacket]

Review
The Gumshoe Zoo Detective Agency has finally received their first case: someone has broken Mr. Hound’s shop window. But why? Each member of the detective agency is on the case, each having something to say:

“Hmm . . . Yes. There’s something fishy going on around here.”

This is said by Quentin, a goat. All of the Gumshoe Zoo detectives are animals. But Quentin’s fishy statement was overheard by Reggie, who happens to be a fish. Quentin quickly saves face.

“”Oh! No offense, Reggie.”
“None taken. But you are right. There is some definite monkey business at hand, my friend.”

Reggie agrees with Quentin, but makes his assessment within earshot of Steve, a monkey. And so it goes through the line-up of detectives, each one making a clichéd remark that indicts a fellow detective, yet none take offense at the off-handed remarks. The detectives are too glued to the case to become offended at these idioms. Then a clue is found that opens up the case and makes an unexpected turn. The detectives are not confused. They immediately figure out what happened at Mr. Hound’s shop. They quickly deduce who threw a can of tomatoes through the shop window. The answer is not a pretty picture.

fowl2

Fowl Play is the first of a series that will have children quickly understanding parts of speech, such as the idioms used in Mr. Hound’s case of the broken window. The story is hilarious, not just because of the witty idioms, but also because the comic book illustrations are terrific. Fowl Play is one unusual book but it does its job. Teachers will have loads of fun integrating this series into their lesson plans. Kids will love the humor and the illustrations of the detectives.

The Gumshoe Zoo detectives are: Josie (a rat), Morgan (a chicken), Sharon (a duck), and Mike (a bull), in addition to the detectives referenced above. Of course, the victim, Mr. Hound, is a dog. The case does not end as one would expect. In the middle of an interview for W-IDM Channel 4, an urgent situation develops downtown . The Mayor, a cat, wants the Gumshoe Zoo detectives on the case. This case will not be as easy as Fowl Play and Mr. Hound’s idiom filled broken window. According to the final page, this case will be a “beast of oxymoronic proportions.” This is one case I am anxious to read and one new series I think will be an educational blast.

fowl1

After the Fowl Play mystery is solved, the definition of “idioms” and the meaning of each idiom used in the story is given in a mish-mash style perfect for this comically fowl story. This section is worth reading for the humor and the explanations. Kids will love the references and may just find themselves using an idiom or two in their speech.

Fowl Play is No Sweat for this Author!

FOWL PLAY. Text & illustrations copyright © 2015 by Travis Nichols. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Mighty Media Kids, an imprint of Mighty Media Press, Minneapolis, MN.

Buy Fowl Play at AmazonBook DepositoryiTunes BooksIndieBound BooksChronicle Books.

Learn more about Fowl Play HERE.

Meet the author/illustrator, Travis Nichols, at his website:  http://iamtravisnichols.com/
Find more children’s books at the Chronicle Books website:  http://www.chroniclebooks.com/

ALSO BY TRAVIS NICHOLS
Monstrous Fun: A Doodle and Activity Book
Uglydoll: My Hero?
The Totally Awesome Book of Useless Information
. . . any many more

 

Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

Full Disclosure: Fowl Play by Travis Nichols, and received from Chronicle Books, is in exchange NOT for a positive review, but for an HONEST review. The opinions expressed are my own and no one else’s. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.


Filed under: Books for Boys, Children's Books, Comics, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade, Series, Top 10 of 2015 Tagged: animals, Chronicle Books, Chronicle Kids, crime, Fowl Play, Gumshoe Zoo Detective Agency, idioms, mysteries, Travis Nichols

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5. #723 – Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton by Don Tate

Layout 1
Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton
Written & Illustrated by Don Tate
Peachtree Publishers      9/01/2015
978-1-56145-825-7
32 pages       Age 4—8

“GEORGE LOVED WORDS. But George was enslaved. Forced to work long hours, he wqas unable to attend school or learn how to read. GEORGE WAS DETERMINED. He listened to the white children’s lessons and learned the alphabet. Then he taught himself to read. He read everything he could find. GEORGE LIKED POETRY BEST. While he tended his master’s cattle, he composed verses in his head. He recited his poems as he sold the fruits and vegetables on a nearby college campus. News of the slave poet traveled quickly among the students. Soon, George had customers for his poems. But George was still enslaved. Would he ever be free?” [inside jacket]

Review
Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton is indeed remarkable. Author and artist, Don Tate, has written an amazing story which he illustrated—with gouache, archival ink, and pencil—beautiful scenes of Chapel Hill, North Caroline, circa mid-1800’s. George Moses Horton is a real person. Young George’s desire to read and write were so strong that he listened in on the white children’s lessons while working long hours for his master. With diligence and hard work, George mastered the alphabet and learned to read and then write. He loved the inspirational prose he found in the Bible and his mother’s hymnal, but most of all, George loved poetry. He wrote poems while working those long hours in the field, but without paper or pen, he had to commit each poem to memory.

Poet-interior-FINAL-page-004[1]At age 17, George and his family were split up and George was given to the master’s son. George found the silver lining in his situation while selling fruit on the University of North Carolina’s campus(where he was teased by students). George distracted himself from his tormentors by reciting his poetry. It was not long before George was selling his poetry, sometimes for money—25c—other times for fine clothes and fancy shoes. A professor’s wife helped George put his poetry onto paper and get it published in newspapers, making him the first African-American to be published. George often wrote about slavery and some poems protested slavery, which made his work extremely dangerous in southern states—some states actually outlawed slavery poems, no matter the author’s skin color. The end of the Civil War officially made George a free man, yet his love of words and poetry had given George freedom since he learned to read,

“George’s love of words had taken him on great a journey. Words made him strong. Words allowed him to dream. Words loosened the chains of bondage long before his last day as a slave.”

Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton is one of those “hidden” gems the textbooks forget about, but history should not. Tate’s picture book portrays George’s life with the grim realities of the era, yet there are moments of hope when the sun literally shines upon a spread. This is more than a book about slavery or the Civil War. Those things are important, because they are the backdrop to George’s life, but Tate makes sure the positives in George’s life shine through, making the story motivational and awe-inspiring.

Poet-interior-FINAL-page-010[1]Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton is about following your dreams and then taking your dream and yourself as far as you can go, never giving up on yourself, regardless of negative influences. For those who dream of a better life, especially writers and poets, George Moses Horton’s story makes it clear that the only thing that can truly get in your way is yourself. Schools need to get this book into classrooms. Stories such as George Moses Horton’s should be taught right along with the stories American history textbooks do cover.

POET: THE REMARKABLE STORY OF GEORGE MOSES HORTON. Text and illustrations (C) 2015 by Don Tate. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Peachtree Publishers, Atlanta, GA.

Buy Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton at AmazonBook DepositoryIndieBound BooksPeachtree Publishers.

Learn more about Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton HERE.
Find a Teacher’s Guide HERE.

Meet the author/illustrator, Don Tate, at his website:  http://dontate.com/
Find more picture books at the Peachtree Publishers’ website:  http://peachtree-online.com/

AWARDS
A Junior Library Guild Selection, Fall 2015
Kirkus, STARRED REVIEW
School Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW
Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

Also by Don Tate
The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch
It Jes’ Happened: When Bill Traylor Started to Draw
Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite
Hope’s Gift
She Loved Baseball
. . . and many more

.

Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

.Full Disclosure: Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton by Don Tate, and received from Peachtree Publishers, is in exchange NOT for a positive review, but for an HONEST review. The opinions expressed are my own and no one else’s. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 


Filed under: 5stars, Children's Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, NonFiction, Picture Book, Poetry Tagged: African-American History, American History, Civil War, Don Tate, George Moses Horton, Peachtree Publishers, Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton, poetry, prose, slavery, University of North Carolina

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6. #722 – (NatGeoKids) Dirtmeister’s Nitty Gritty Planet Earth by Steve Tomecek & Fred Harper

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Dirtmeister’s Nitty Gritty Planet Earth: All About Rocks, Minerals, Fossils, Earthquakes, Volcanoes, & Even DIRT!

Written by Steve Tomecek
Illustrated by Fred Harper
National Geographic Society      6/09/2015
978-1-4263-1903-7
128 pages      Age 8—12

“Geologist Steve Tomecek, aka The Dirtmeister, and his sidekick Digger unearth all kinds of amazing information in this comprehensive book about geology. Clear explanations of geologic processes will teach future geoscientists the fascinating topics while fun facts and simple experiments reinforce the concepts. So grab your shovel and get ready to play IN THE DIRT.” [back cover]

Review
Divided into ten relatively short, but in-depth, color-coded chapters, (such as “The Dynamics of Soil,” “How it (Earth) All Began,” and “Digging Old Dead Things”), Dirtmeister’s Nitty Gritty Planet Earth will teach kids a lot about geology and how it helps answer many questions. While very educational—teachers will love it—the kid-friendly book is equally entertaining. Kids are at the center of Dirtmeister’s Nitty Gritty Planet Earth. In fact, each chapter begins with a question put forth by a middle-grade-aged kid:

“Is that you down there, Dirtmeister?
I thought I recognized your dirtmobile.
My name is Richie and I have a quick
question . . . How did the Grand Canyon
get to be, you know, so grand?”
(Richie, in chapter 6, “What Goes Up Must Come Down”)

Other kids ask questions about such things as volcanoes, earthquakes, the shape of the continents, if can rocks make other rocks, and if dinosaurs are really extinct. The questions are interesting and the answers fascinating and fun. The Dirtmeister adds “cool” facts he calls “Dirtmeister’s Nuggets,” short biographies of important people, and simple experiments that let kids see geology at work. The illustrations are cartoonish and the images of Dirtmeister and his sidekick Digger are quite expressive. The art, especially the first spread of each chapter and its graphic novel layout, help draw in the reader and make the book feel personal, as if Dirtmeister is talking directly to the you. The remaining of the book is filled with photographs, illustrations, diagrams, and text that answers each question and then digs a bit deeper.

introI thoroughly enjoyed reading Dirtmeister’s Nitty Gritty Planet Earth from cover-to-cover. Being a National Geographic Kids publication I should have realized, even before turning to page 1, that I was in for a humorous, engaging, and educational read with incredible illustrations by Fred Harper. Geology, heck science of any kind, was never this easy to understand or could grab me from start to finish. I was amazed at geology’s reach. Topics included not just how to find Earth’s age, but how she came into existence.

The variety of subjects, tied into the Earth’s soil and its importance to humans, makes Dirtmeister’s Nitty Gritty Planet Earth ideal as an adjunct middle grade science text. I think elementary teachers could also find ways to utilize this book in their science classrooms. The entire book is kid-friendly and larger words are defined (in context). Home-schoolers should not miss a page of Dirtmeister’s Nitty Gritty Earth. The author has correlated each chapter with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)* and STEM** Science Standards, both for grades 3 to 8. These follow the final chapter. There is also an extensive Index.

From volcanoes spewing hot lava and earthquakes splitting open Mother Earth, plus experiments such as designing rocks, building sediments, and simulating the Big Chill, Dirtmeister’s Nitty Gritty Planet Earth is probably the dirtiest middle grade book ever written—parents and teachers will approve. Oh, yeah, so will kids!

*NGSS was developed by the National Research Council and are based on the Framework for K—12 Science Education.  Website:  http://nextgenscience.org/

**STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Math. Teachers can find relevant information on STEM at the National Education Association (NEA), PBS, and at Teach.com.

DIRTMEISTER’S NITTY GRITTY PLANET EARTH:  ALL ABOUT ROCKS, MINERALS, FOSSILS, EARTHQUAKES, VOLCANOES, & EVEN DIRT! Text copyright (C) 2015 by Steve Tomecek. Illustrations copyright (C) 2015 by Fred Harper. Photographs copyrights vary and are listed in the book. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, National Geographic Society, Washington, DC.

You can buy Dirtmeister’s Nitty Gritty Planet Earth at AmazonBook DepositoryIndieBound BooksNational Geography.

Learn more about Dirtmeister’s Nitty Gritty Planet Earth HERE.
Information for Teachers and Librarians HERE and HERE.
National Geographic + Common Core is HERE.
More for Kids from National Geographic Kids HERE

Meet the author, Steve Tomecek, at his website:  http://www.dirtmeister.com/
Meet the illustrator, Fred Harper, at his website:  http://www.fredharper.com/
Find more books at the National Geographic Kids website:  http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/

ALSO BY STEVE TOMECEK
Dirt (Jump Into Science®)
Moon (Jump Into Science®)
Sun (Jump Into Science®)
Rocks and Minerals (Jump Into Science®)
Stars (Jump Into Science®)
Rocks and Minerals (National Geographic Kids Everything)

Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

Full Disclosure: Dirtmeister’s Nitty Gritty Planet Earth: All About Rocks, Minerals, Fossils, Earthquakes, Volcanoes, and Even DIRT! by Steve Tomecek & Fred Harper, and received from National Geographic Society, is in exchange NOT for a positive review, but for an HONEST review. The opinions expressed are my own and no one else’s. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Filed under: 6 Stars TOP BOOK, Books for Boys, Children's Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade, NonFiction, Top 10 of 2015 Tagged: Big Bang, Digger, dirt, Dirtmeister’s Nitty Gritty Planet Earth, earth, Fred Harper, geology, National Geographic Kids, National Geographic Society, Steve Tomecek, The Big Chill, The Dirtmeister

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7. #720-1 – My Barnyard! And My Dinosaurs! By Betty Schwartz & Lynn Seresin

barnyard cover

My Barnyard!: A Read and Play Book!
Written by Betty Schwartz and Lynn Seresin
Illustrated by John Bendall-Brunello
Cartwheel Books       6/30/2015
978-0-545-69077-5
10 pages      Age 3—5
dino cover

My Dinosaurs!: A Read and Play Book
Written by Betty Schwartz and Lynn Seresin
Illustrated by John Bendall-Brunello
Cartwheel Books       12/30/2014
978-0-545-69076-8
10 pages          Age 3—5

“A new novelty book featuring six large puzzle pieces that won’t get lost. Learn all about barnyard animals (and dinosaurs), as you match each animal piece to its appropriate spread.” [authors]

Review
My Barnyard will be loved by young children who are interested in animals—and what child is not? The rhyming text tells the story of each animal’s day, starting with the chickens and the sheep.

CHICKENS ‘cluck’ as they go,
With their little chicks in tow.
SHEEP are fluffy and eat grass.
They say ‘baaaa!’ as their lambs pass.”

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The name of each barnyard animal is capitalized and color-coded to match its cut-out and attached ribbon. I love the color-coded ribbons. What a nice addition to My Barnyard and a thoughtful hint for young children as they match each animal into its corresponding space. At the end of the story, the six animals meet up in the final spread. Little fingers will appreciate the colorful cardboard cutouts and the size of the book, which are a perfect fit for little hands. My Barnyard has thick, glossy pages that will stand up to sticky fingers—cleaning off quickly—and rough handling, as young children learn to turn pages.

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Kids will squeal with delight at the sound of each animal’s call, be it the “baa” of the sheep or the “oink-oink” of the pig. The rhyming text is a joy to read and won’t get on a parent’s “last nerve” when read for the tenth time that morning. Having young children “speak” for the animals will increase the joy of this board book for the youngest of beginning readers. My Barnyard is a perfect complement to My Dinosaurs, the first in this board book in this series by the talented team of Betty Schwartz and Lynn Seresin.

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In My Dinosaurs, six different dinosaurs, again with color-coded names and matching ribbons, fit their corresponding cutout spaces nicely. Four of the dinosaurs make-up the cover, just as three of the barnyard animals help make that cover come alive. My Dinosaurs has all the benefits of My Barnyard, as I hope each new book in this series will have. Young boys will especially love My Dinosaurs, but don’t count out the girls. The dinosaurs are realistically brought to life by artist John Bendall-Brunello, who also illustrated My Barnyard.

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Young children and their parents will love this new Read and Play board book series from Cartwheel Books (an imprint of Scholastic). The books are realistically drawn and offer young children the opportunity to learn about animals as they listen to the stories and then place each animal in its correct environment. The rhyming text is expertly written in each book. Young children will want to go through these books on their own, “reading” the words—from memory or imagination—and having a blast with each turn of the page.

MY BARNYARD! A READ AND PLAY BOOK! and MY DINOSAUR! A READ AND PLAY BOOK! Text copyright © 2015 by Betty Schwartz and Lynn Seresin. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by John Bendall-Brunello. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Cartwheel Books (a Scholastic, Inc. imprint), New York, NY.

Purchase My Barnyard! at AmazonBook DepositoryIndieBound BooksCartwheel Books.
Purchase My Dinosaurs! at AmazonBook DepositoryIndieBound BooksCartwheel Books.

Learn more about My Barnyard! HERE.
Learn more about My Dinosaurs! HERE.

Meet the author, Betty Schwartz, at jacketflap:  http://www.jacketflap.com/betty-schwartz/16354
Meet the author, Lynn Seresin, at her twitter page:  https://twitter.com/lynnsere
Meet the illustrator, John Bendall-Brunello, at his website:  http://www.johnbendall-brunello.com/
Find more board books at the Cartwheel Books website:  http://www.scholastic.com/

Cartwheel Books is an imprint of Scholastic, Inc.

ALSO BY BETTY SCHWARTZ & LYNN SERESIN
Hop, Hop Bunny  (A Follow-Along Book)    (reviewed HERE)
Run, Run Piglet (A Follow-Along Book) 
Ten Playful Tigers  (A Back-and-Forth Counting Book)  (reviewed HERE)
Busy Little Dinosaurs  (A Back-and-Forth Alphabet Book)  (reviewed HERE)
You’re it, Little Red Fish  (A Back-and-Forth Colors Book)

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Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

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Full Disclosure: My Barnyard! A Read and Play Book! And My Dinosaur! A Read and Play Book!, by Betty Schwartz and Lynn Seresin & John Bendall-Brunello, and received from Cartwheel Books, (an imprint of Scholastic, Inc.), is in exchange NOT for a positive review, but for an HONEST review. The opinions expressed are my own and no one else’s. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Filed under: 5stars, Board Books, Books for Boys, Children's Books, Library Donated Books, Series Tagged: barnyard animals, Betty Schwartz, Cartwheel Books, dinosaurs, John Bendall-Brunello, Lynn Seresin, matching board book, My Barnyard! A Read and Play Book!, My Dinosaur! A Read and Play Book!, Scholastic Inc.

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8. #719 – Monster & Me #5: Monster Needs Your Vote by Paul Czajak & Wendy Grieb

Yesterday was “National Friendship Day.” To all my cyber-friends and fantastic readers, I am thrilled to know you! I also have a new friend in my life. Her name is Molly, she’s eight-years-old, and her four paws follow me everywhere. (The kitties are adjusting fine to a dog that pays them no mind—except for the occasional nose-to-nose greeting.)

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Welcome to the “Monster Needs Your Vote” Campaign Tour!

Plus, I have wonderful character-friends in Boy and Monster who—with Paul Czajak and Wendy Grieb—have a new picture book in their award-winning Monster & Me series. This new, relevant picture book is entitled Monster Needs Your Vote. So forget about Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton and . . . 

VOTE FOR MONSTER!

#5 needs your vote
Monster & Me #5: Monster Needs Your Vote

Written by Paul Czajak
Illustrated by Wendy Grieb
Mighty Media Kids         8/25/2015
978-1-938063-63-3
32 pages         Age 2—6 +

“Today’s readers are tomorrow’s leaders. Election season is finally here, and Monster can’t wait to run for president. But getting voters to care about his campaign is harder than it looks—until he finds a monstrous cause worth fighting for. Show your kids that whether you’re blue, red, or 9 feet tall and furry, real change can come from the most unexpected places (even if you’re not technically qualified to run for office).” [publisher website]

Review
The Monster & Me series has been one of my favorites since Monster needs a [Halloween] Costume. Always fresh, humorous, and on point, Monster & Boy give children young and old enjoyable stories for anytime of the day, not simply at bedtime. But, if you enjoy giggles, smiles, and sweet Monster dreams, each of the Monster & Me books are perfect for a bedtime reading—night, after night, after night . . .(how many editions are there?)

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Monster Needs Your Vote, the 5th Monster & Me picture book, is a timely story given the beginning of the presidential nominations and soon the 2016 election. Monster runs into a few Presidential candidates while at the fair. He decides he must vote in this election. Boy nicely tells Monster he is not old enough to vote—he’s not yet eighteen! Undeterred, Monster decides if he cannot vote he will participate in the election by running for President of the United States. Boy, Monster’s constant companion, tells Monster he needs a “platform.” (One of many larger-election terms that will have children learning new words.) Monster’s platform is one kids will love and understand but, voting adults just do not comprehend the importance of Monster’s platform—or his next.

Monster’s second platform, a black and white illustration, with period clothes, will remind most adults of the 1930s and a famous election quote. Only when Monster sees a closed sign does he find the issue/platform with the potential to propel Monster to Mr. President Monster. The other Presidential contenders begin to look discouraged, until . . . dear Monster receives horrible news from two dull-looking men—government types. In the end, Monster wins . . . just not the Presidency.

It is clear to me that Monster makes the perfect candidate, given his persistence, comic antics, and Boy’s unwavering support. Like most candidates, Monster runs into a few problems along the way. With each problem, Monster rallies back stronger and more determined. He learns to take a stand for things he believes in, despite all those set-backs. With Boy’s campaign advice and encouragement, Monster finds the courage he needs to persist. Monster is infectious on the campaign trail and is adorable in his organic presidential blue suit.

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Wendy Grieb’s illustrations have remained consistent between books, helping to endear the Monster & Me brand. Her palette is bright when needed, like the stunningly red full-page background that makes Monster and Boy POP! I enjoyed all the wonderful details on each spread. Boy is not the only kid to have a Monster pal. One young girl rides upon an ostrich-like bird with Big Bird-ish legs; an oval, purple body with green feathers; a giraffe-like neck; and a prehistoric-like pelican head. I love this highly imaginative monster, along with all the other new, maybe-old-enough-to-vote monsters that stand among the adults. Sadly, a few monsters are kidless, so I hope there is a matching service for kids and monsters somewhere on the Internet.

Paul Czajak’s newest Monster & Me picture book is perfect for the upcoming elections. Though written for preschool children older kids will enjoy Monster’s political career while learning the basics of U. S. Elections. This means Czajak often used an election-related higher vocabulary: cast, platform, issues, oratory, grassroots, and mission to name a few. Grab a dictionary kids—one you must flip through to find a word—it’s time to expand your vocabulary. Which brings me to what is probably the first negative thing I have ever said about this humorous and often educational Monster & Me series. Given the number of election and campaign words Czajak so deftly included in his story, a glossary would have been a welcome addition.

new no 3

Monster Needs Your Vote is written in rhyme with the sing-song quality I love. Parents won’t mind multiple reads thanks to Czajak’s strong voice, and the words and verses which leave your lips like a perfect melody. Grieb’s art captivates readers’ and their young listeners. Her humor is infectious. Czajak and Grieb are the perfect collaborators for Monster & Me. I hope the pair continue telling Boy and Monster’s story. Is there another Monster political caper coming soon?

“And  Monster’s roar in politics had only just begun.”

Monster Needs Your Vote meets Common Core and many state curriculum standards. Teachers, parents, and librarians can download a free Monster & Me Series Educator’s Guide and Event Kit. Monster Needs Your Vote is appropriately dedicated to “all the librarians in the world.”

REMEMBER: VOTE FOR MONSTER—IT’S YOUR KIDLIT DUTY! 

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MONSTER NEEDS YOUR VOTE (Monster & Me #5). Text copyright © 2015 by Paul Czajak. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Wendy Grieb. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Mighty Media Kids, Minneapolis, MN.

Purchase Monster Needs Your Vote at AmazonBook DepositoryIndieBound BooksMighty Media Kids.

Learn more about Monster Needs Your Vote HERE.
Schedule a Skype in the Classroom Campaign Stop with Paul Czajak HERE.
Find Monster’s Campaign Kit HERE.  (contains the reviewer’s apology, um, a glossary of election terms)
Download Coloring Pages HERE.

Check out what Monster dreams about HERE.  (short animated story)

Visit Boy & Monster’s Twitter Page:  https://twitter.com/MonsterandBoy

Meet the author, Paul Czajak, at his website:  http://paulczajak.com/
Meet the illustrator, Wendy Grieb, at her twitter page: https://twitter.com/boodlewink 
Find more Monster & Me books at the Mighty Media Kids website:  http://blog.mightymediapress.com/

Mighty Media Kids is an imprint of Mighty Media Press.

AWARDS for the Monster & Me series
A Mom’s Choice Awards® Gold Recipient—2011
A Mom’s Choice Awards® Gold Recipient—2013
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Monster & Me series
#1: Monster Needs a Costume (review HERE)
#2: Monster Needs His Sleep (review HERE)
#3: Monster Needs a Christmas Tree (reviewed soon)
#4: Monster Needs a Party (Unfortunately, I missed this edition—”AW!”)
#5: Monster Needs Your Vote (Well, go to the top and read again!)

#1 - needs a costume

#2 needs his sleep

#3 - needs a christmas tree#4 - needs a party

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Also by Paul Czajak
Seaver the Weaver (illustrated by the Brothers Hilts)

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Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

Full Disclosure: Monster Needs Your Vote (Monster & Me #5), by Paul Czajak & Wendy Grieb, and received from Mighty Media Kids, (an imprint of Mighty Media Press), is in exchange NOT for a positive review, but for an HONEST review. The opinions expressed are my own and no one else’s. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

monster-banner-3

The Preceding Review was an Unpaid Announcement from KLR. — Boy, Campaign Manager


Filed under: 5stars, Books for Boys, Children's Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Picture Book, Series Tagged: campaigning, civics, humor, Mighty Media Kids, monster, Monster & Me, Monster Needs Your Vote, Paul Czajak, politics, United States Presidential elections, voting, Wendy Grieb

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9. #718 – Marvelous Cornelius: Hurricane Katrina and the Spirit of New Orleans by Phil Bildner & John Parra

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Marvelous Cornelius: Hurricane Katrina and the Spirit of New Orleans

Written by Phil Bildner
Illustrated by John Parra
Chronicle Books      8/04/2015
978-1-4521-2578-7
44 pages     Age 3—5

“In New Orleans, there lived a man who saw the streets as his calling, and he swept them clean. He danced up one avenue and down another and everyone danced along—The old ladies whistled and whirled. The old men hooted and hollered. The barbers, bead twirlers, and beignet bakers bounded behind that one-man parade. But then came the rising Mississippi—and a storm bigger than anyone had seen before. Phil Bildner and John Parra tell the inspirational story of a humble man, and the heroic difference he made in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.” [inside jacket]

Review
Marvelous Cornelius, the person, embodies the best of us. Day-to-day he performed his job—one many would consider unglamorous—with dignity, enthusiasm, and a spirit of giving to those he served. People responded positively to this larger-than-life man. Kids enjoyed his spirited antics. When disaster struck in the name of Hurricane Katrina, this French Quarter-New Orléans resident went to work cleaning up his city with the same joyousness as before, only this time, the residents responded not only with enjoyment to see their local “hero,” but pitched in following his lead. Together—including many volunteers from outside of New Orléans—Marvelous Cornelius led his neighbors in cleaning up their beloved city. Just as he did on his daily job, Marvelous Cornelius helped keep New Orléans clean, for he was a garbage man by trade; garbage man extraordinaire.

s2With the use of many writing techniques—alliteration, repetition, and exaggeration—author Bildner keeps the story lively. Children will enjoy Cornelius Washington’s story of how an ordinary citizen can help keep their city or town upbeat, their neighbors friendly and joyous, and their streets clean, making for a wonderful place to live.

Marvelous Cornelius_Int 2At times, the illustrations  portray Marvelous Cornelius as a literal giant emphasizing his larger-than-life persona. He becomes more realistic when portrayed with the residents he served. I would have liked to have seen a more multicultural representation of the residents of New Orléans, though artist Parra may have decided to show a true representation of the resident’s Cornelius Washington actually served. Of note: the illustrations do show a multicultural people once the city is swept clean of the “gumbo of mush and mud.”

s1The art is a delight with its rustic feel and animations of Cornelius “Tango-ing up Toulouse” and “Samba-ing down St. Peter.” I loved the changing text size and font when Marvelous Cornelius sang out his familiar calls:

“WOO! WOO! WOOOOO! WOO! WOO! WOOOOO!”
“RAT-A-TAT-TAT RAT-A-TAT-TAT
“HOOTIE HOO! HOOTIE HOOOOO! SHOWTIME!”

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At story’s end, the author writes more about New Orléans, its people, and Hurricane Katrina (which brought major devastation to this coastal city). Bildner also delves into his writing style, saying his use of alliteration, repetition, and exaggeration helped him write Cornelius Washington’s story as a folktale, similar to that of John Henry. Together with artist Parra, Bildner has succeeded in writing a story every child should read and will most definitely enjoy. Teachers can find many lessons in Mr. Washington’s story of an average person who rose to heroic heights simply by doing his best every day.

MARVELOUS CORNELIUS: HURRICANE KATRINA AND THE SPIRIT OF NEW ORLEANS. Text copyright © 2015 by Phil Bildner. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by John Parra. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA.

Purchase Marvelous Cornelius: Hurricane Katrina and the Spirit of New Orleans at AmazonBook DepositoryiTunes BooksChronicle Books.

Learn more about Marvelous Cornelius: Hurricane Katrina and the Spirit of New Orleans HERE.
Find a Common Core-Aligned Teacher’s Guide HERE.


Read more about Katrina’s Children HERE.
Watch the full length video Katrina’s Children free HERE.

Meet the author, Phil Bildner, at his website:  http://philbildner.com/
Meet the illustrator, John Parra, at his website:  http://www.johnparraart.com/
Find more picture books at the Chronicle Books website:  http://www.chroniclebooks.com/

 

Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

Full Disclosure: Marvelous Cornelius: Hurricane Katrina and the Spirit of New Orleans, by Phil Bildner & John Parra, and received from Chronicle Books, is in exchange NOT for a positive review, but for an HONEST review. The opinions expressed are my own and no one else’s. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Filed under: 5stars, Children's Books, Favorites, Historical Fiction, Library Donated Books, Picture Book Tagged: alliteration, Chronicle Books, community spirit, Cornelius Washington, exageration, folklores, Hurricane Katrina, John Parra, joy, Katrina's Children, Marvelous Cornelius: Hurricane Katrina and the Spirit of New Orleans, Phil Bildner, repetition, writing technique

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10. #717 – If An Elephant Went to School by Ellen Fischer & Laura Wood

After a brief, thankfully, lupus flare-up, I am pleased to bring you a wonderful picture book from the talented team of Ellen Fischer and Laura Wood. I think you will smile and enjoy a laugh with this wonderful follow-up to If an Armadillo Went to a Restaurant 

Cover-Elephant_700
If an Elephant Went to School

Written by Ellen Fischer
Illustrated by Laura Wood
Mighty Media Kids 8/11/2015
978-1-938063-61-9
32 pages Age 3—7

“Would an elephant learn the ABCs if she went to school? No way! She would learn how to use her trunk as a nose, a straw, a hand, and a hose! Through a series of questions and answers, readers learn about animals and their unique behaviors. And in the end, you might find yourself asking what you would learn.” [press release]

Elephant Spread final_2

Review
If an Elephant Went to School utilizes ten different animals to showcase what each would not learn in school, and then what it might learn based on that animal’s abilities, needs, and nature. The back cover asks:

“If a platypus went to school, would she learn to play the violin? NOT LIKELY! But what would she learn?”

“A platypus can’t play a violin,” young readers are bound to say. But what would a platypus learn in school?

“A platypus would learn to dive to find her food. NO SNORKEL NECESSARY.”

Kids will love learning what these animals—elephant, owl, zebra, frog, eel, bee, skunk, caterpillar, and platypus—would learn in school, while laughing at what it would not—could not—learn. Each “not learn” is something that a child will learn in school. For preschoolers, If an Elephant Went to School is a wonderful introduction into what they will encounter when kindergarten and first grade roll around. Older children will enjoy learning about these animals and poking fun at their own education.

Elephant Spread final_1

If an Elephant Went to School is a wonderful read a-loud book that encourages listener participation. With its winsome illustrations, If an Elephant Went to School is a funny, delightful read that children will want to go through on their own after a first reading. I think this charming follow up to If an Armadillo Went to a Restaurant, will have kids wanting to read—or listen to—If an Elephant Went to School several times. Reading this enjoyable, educational, and entirely humorous picture book should not press on any parent’s nerve while reading multiple times. If an Elephant Went to School—a truly fun giggle-book—should be a wild bullseye for booksellers.

I have not had the privilege of reading If an Armadillo Went to a Restaurant (book 1 in the series), though I would love to do so. I am also hoping that this picture book series from Mighty Media Kids (formerly Scarletta Kids), will continue with its fun pokes at the wild kingdom, while teaching youngster about wildlife. For me, If an Elephant Went to School earns an A+!

Wait, you say I only listed 9 animals, not 10?! You are correct. The tenth animal is YOU!

IF AN ELEPHANT WENT TO SCHOOL. Text copyright © 2015 by Ellen Fischer. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Laura Wood. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Mighty Media Kids, an imprint of Mighty Media Press, Minneapolis, MN.

Purchase If an Elephant Went to School at AmazonBook DepositoryiTunes BooksMighty Media Kids.

Learn more about If an Elephant Went to School HERE.
Teacher’s Guide can be found HERE.  (forthcoming)

Read my friend Eric’s excellent review of If An Elephant Went to School  HERE.

If you live near Greensboro, NC, plan to meet Ellen Fischer at the If An Elephant Went to School 08/15 Release Party.
Information can be found HERE.

Meet the author, Ellen Fischer, at linkedin:  https://www.linkedin.com/pub/ellen-fischer/66/640/779
Meet the illustrator, Laura Wood, at her website:  http://laurawoodillustration.com/
Find more interesting picture books at the Mighty Media Kids website:  http://mightymediapress.com/

Mighty Media Kids is an imprint of Mighty Media Press.

If an Armadillo Went to a Restaurant: Learn more HERE.  Purchase HERE.  View Illustration Samples HERE.

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Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

Full Disclosure: If an Elephant Went to School, by Ellen Fischer & Laura Wood, and received from Mighty Media Kids, (an imprint of Mighty Media Press), is in exchange NOT for a positive review, but for an HONEST review. The opinions expressed are my own and no one else’s. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Filed under: 5stars, Children's Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, NonFiction, Picture Book, Series Tagged: animal behaviors, Ellen Fischer, If an Armadillo Went to a Restaurant, If an Elephant Went to School, Laura Wood, Mighty Media Kids, New for Summer 2015, school

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11. #716 – Painting for Peace in Ferguson by Carol Swartout Klein

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Painting for Peace in Ferguson
Written by Carol Swartout Klein
Treehouse Publishing Group      2/21/2015
978-0-9963901-0-1
52 pages       Age 6+

“Painting for Peace in Ferguson is the story of a community coming together, hundreds of artists and volunteers, black and white, young and old, to bring hope and healing to their community using the simplest of all tools—a paintbrush. Written in child-friendly verse, the actual artwork painted on hundreds of boarded up windows in Ferguson, South Grand and surrounding areas illustrates the story. The art ranges from simple, childlike drawings of love and peace to challenging and compelling calls for social change. The effect on the town’s landscape and its people was remarkable: turning fear into hope, frustration into inspiration, and destruction into creation. . . . when people reach out to each other across lines that divide us and work together, remarkable things happen. A single paintbrush can paint one picture but thousands working together can transform a community.” [back cover]

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Review
The paintbrush became a tool of hope in Ferguson. Artists young and old, amateur and professional, armed with a paintbrush came together to transform the boarded up windows of a community that had imploded upon itself in grief and anger. Painting for Peace in Ferguson captures those mostly now gone images inside a children’s book that is not, and should not be just for children.

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The images range from simple black and white messages of hope to murals compelling a need for social change. From single boarded up windows to complete storefronts, (and the broken windows and doors of City Hall), told the story of Ferguson, Missouri uniting behind strong ideals: loving one another and coexisting in peace.

2

With over 140 artworks painted over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, the images in Painting for Peace in Ferguson are powerful testaments to the human spirit and resiliency. Children likely find the events of Ferguson confusing. Painting for Peace in Ferguson possesses the wonderful ability to help foster understanding and discussion, not just with children but also with adults, many of whom are also struggling to comprehend the events that disrupted their lives and communities.

5

300 artists and volunteers created paintings in the City of St. Louis’s communities of Ferguson, Dellwood and South Grand. Such a gargantuan effort showers inspirations of hope, peace, and love among those communities and all who read Painting for Peace in Ferguson.

Painting-for-Peace-Ferguson-website-RyanArcher

If there is any drawback to Painting for Peace in Ferguson it is the text, with inconsistent rhyme patterns and the occasional slanted rhyme. The attempt to rhyme may be based on a false belief that children’s books need to rhyme to attract and hold a child’s attention. The Ferguson story would have been better served in simple and straightforward prose. Still, the message of Ferguson is clear and not easily forgotten, nor should it be.

“In the small town of Ferguson
In 2014
Some people did things that
Were meaner than mean

“Some people were mad
Some people were sad
But everyone, everywhere
Felt pretty bad :(

“But when morning came
Folks took one look around
And said we don’t like
The looks of our town”

7

Painting for Peace in Ferguson has the power to ignite many a discussion from those with elementary children to those between adults. The symbol of hope and peace is one children should learn and embrace, but it began with the hundreds of artists who descended upon Ferguson in a united belief that Ferguson—and the country as a whole—can heal and grow.

9

In this regard, Painting for Peace in Ferguson is a picture book like no other and belongs on the collective landscape for years to come as a reminder that communities need not implode in anger and grief—though greatly justified—when there is a better, more productive and satisfying option of healing in hope and peace—as in South Carolina these past few weeks. Author Carol Swartout Klein is a native of Ferguson.

PAINTING FOR PEACE IN FERGUSON. Text copyright (C) 2015 by Carol Swartout Klein. Illustrations copyright (C) 2015 by Rachel Abbinanti, et al. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Treehouse Publishing Group, St. Louis, MO.

Purchase Painting for Peace in Ferguson at AmazonBook DepositoryBook’s Website.  (Available in paperback 8/04/2015) **Proceeds from the sale of Painting for Peace in Ferguson are donated to youth arts and small business recovery in North St. Louis County.

Learn more about Painting for Peace in Ferguson HERE.
Resources for Parents & Teachers can be found HERE and HERE.
Coloring Pages for Kids can be found HERE.

Meet the author, Carol Swartout Klein, with her biography HERE.
Painting for Peace in Ferguson Website:  http://www.paintingforpeacebook.com/
Painting for Peace in Ferguson Facebook Page:  https://www.facebook.com/paintingforpeacebook
Find more picture books at the Treehouse Publishing Group website:  http://www.amphoraepublishing.com/treehouse-publishing-group/

Treehouse Publishing Group is an imprint of Amphorae Publishing Group

AWARDS
2015 IPPY Outstanding Book of the Year—Peacemaker

ABOUT PAINT FOR PEACE ST. LOUIS
     The riots following the grand jury’s decision in the Michael Brown case left storefronts along the main streets of Ferguson and the South Grand neighborhood of Saint Louis, Missouri with broken windows. When the businesses were boarded up the next day, they appeared closed and unsafe, furthering the economic hardship and community despair.
     Hundreds of local artists responded almost immediately by volunteering their time to help the businesses and beautify the affected blocks. Hundreds of gallons of paint were donated by individuals and businesses as far away as Massachusetts, and an online fund drive quickly raised nearly $1300.
     Tom Halaska, who grew up in North St. Louis and now owns the Art Bar at 2732 Cherokee Street on the Southside of St. Louis City, is the driving force behind the effort known as Paint for Peace StL. He maintains all the donated supplies in storage at the Art Bar and continues to be a matchmaker between boarded businesses anywhere in the region and volunteer artists. (© http://paintforpeacestl.org/)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR, CAROL SWARTOUT KLEIN
     Painting for Peace - 2nd ed. - low res_page31_image202Carol Swartout Klein grew up in Ferguson, got her first set of jacks from the Ferguson Woolworths store (now the Ace Hardware store), got her first driver’s license at what was the Ferguson Department store (now BMI Fitness), graduated from McCluer High School and got married at Ferguson Presbyterian Church.
     She was so inspired by witnessing the spirit of hundreds of volunteers coming together to bring hope to a community in shock, she wanted to capture the story. Painting for Peace in Ferguson is the result. A journalist and marketing professional by training, she saw how healing the process of creating the artwork was for all those involved. As the community came together to help others, the artists, business owners and volunteers helped themselves, creating new connections she hopes will continue to create a positive environment of hope and peace. (©Peregrine Book Company)

Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

Full Disclosure: Painting for Peace in Ferguson, by Carol Swartout Klien, and received from Treehouse Publishing Group, (an imprint of Amphorae Publishing Group), is in exchange NOT for a positive review, but for an HONEST review. The opinions expressed are my own and no one else’s. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Filed under: 5stars, Children's Books, Debut Author, Library Donated Books, NonFiction, Picture Book, Poetry Tagged: artists for peace, Carol Swartout Klien, communities transformed, Ferguson Missouri, Painting for Peace in Ferguson, peace initiatives, racial divides, racism, Treehouse Publishing Group

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12. Candlewick Press Trifecta

Today, I have three wonderful picture books from Candlewick Press, including a Caldecott Medal Honor Book. I really believe you will enjoy these three selections as much as I enjoy them. So, without any further ado–there is still way too many boxes to empty before I can say I’m moved in–her are the three Candlewick Press picture books.

First up:  Sam & Dave Dig a Hole

cover sam dave dig hole
Sam & Dave Dig a Hole
Written by Mac Barnett
Illustrated by Jon Klassen
Candlewick Press      10/14/2015
978-0-7636-6229-5
32 pages      Age 4—8

“Sam and Dave are digging a hole, and they will not stop until they find something spectacular.” [inside jacket]

Continue reading –>

Next:  Yak and Gnu

yak and gnu cover
Yak and Gnu

Written by Juliette MacIver
Illustrated by Cat Chapman
Candlewick Press      6/09/2015
978-0-7636-7561-5
32 pages       Age 4—8

“Yak and Gnu are friends dear and true. Yak has a kayak, Gnu a canoe. Down the river they go, singing:

“No one else
But you and me
Can float a boat
Or sail the sea.”

But wait! What’s that? A goat in a boat, a calf on a raft, and a whole flotilla of gorillas! Now their song is all wrong. With so many other friends afloat, can Yak and Gnu still sing their sea song for two?” [inside jacket]

Continue reading –> 

Finally, but certainly not least:  I Will Never Get a Star on Mrs. Benson’s Blackboard

star on mrs bensons blacboard cover
I Will Never Get a Star on Mrs. Benson’s Blackboard

Written & Illustrated by Jennifer K. Mann
Candlewick Press     6/09/2015
978-0-7636-6514-2
32 pages     Age 4—8

“Rose wants to get a star on Mrs. Benson’s blackboard, but sometimes her mind wanders, she doesn’t always know the right answer, and her reading-aloud voice is too quiet. When it’s time to make a thank-you card for an artist who visited her class, Rose makes an amazing card—but also covers herself and her desk in paint and supplies. Will Mrs. Benson be able to see her creativity and passion through all that mess? Is it possible to get a star for something other than answering questions and having a tidy work space?” [inside jacket]

Continue reading –> 


Filed under: Children's Books

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13. #715 – I Will Never Get a Star on Mrs. Benson’s Blackboard by Jennifer K. Mann

star on mrs bensons blacboard cover
I Will Never Get a Star on Mrs. Benson’s Blackboard

Written & Illustrated by Jennifer K. Mann
Candlewick Press     6/09/2015
978-0-7636-6514-2
32 pages     Age 4—8

“Rose wants to get a star on Mrs. Benson’s blackboard, but sometimes her mind wanders, she doesn’t always know the right answer, and her reading-aloud voice is too quiet. When it’s time to make a thank-you card for an artist who visited her class, Rose makes an amazing card—but also covers herself and her desk in paint and supplies. Will Mrs. Benson be able to see her creativity and passion through all that mess? Is it possible to get a star for something other than answering questions and having a tidy work space?” [inside jacket]

Review
Poor Rose, she tries to answer the questions Mrs. Benson asks the class, she tries to read aloud in a strong voice, and she tries her best to keep her desk neat and tidy—even getting to school early to clean it up. No matter what Rose tries to do, she never gets a star on Mrs. Benson’s blackboard and boy, does Rose want that star. Rose’s attention span is not what it should be. She would rather doodle and daydream. Then an artist named Mr. Sullivan talks to the class about art and being an artist. Afterward, Mrs. Benson asks her students to make thank you cards for Mr. Sullivan. Rose decides to make a “super-gigantic card with paintings on both sides.” It is a beautiful card. But when Rose was finished making her card, her desk was a BIG mess! And Mrs. Benson has just called out Rose’s name in that big, deep voice teachers use when someone is in trouble. Will Rose ever get a star on Mrs. Benson’s blackboard?

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I love this story. Every kid wants that gold star on their paper, or in Mrs. Benson’s classroom, on the blackboard. Rose in no exception, but the harder she tries the more she figures she’ll never see a star beside her name on Mrs. Benson’s blackboard. I Will Never Get a Star on Mrs. Benson’s Blackboard is an inspiring picture book for those kids who find they operate much easier from the right side of their brain. The illustrations are beautiful and capture the classroom setting with a multicultural group of students. The illustrations are a combination of ink, gouache, and digital collages. The gentle humor depicts Rose’s predicament as she tries and tries to please her teacher and get that elusive star. Rose’s thank you card expresses the joy of those children who lean toward the artistic and I Will Never Get a Star on Mrs. Benson’s Blackboard is a testament to the value of being different in a world that values rules and order.
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I WILL NEVER GET A STAR ON MRS. BENSON’S BLACKBOARD. Copyright © 2015 by Jennifer K. Mann. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.

Purchase I Will Never Get a Star on Mrs. Benson’s Blackboard at AmazonBook DepositoryCandlewick Press.

Learn more about I Will Never Get a Star on Mrs. Benson’s Blackboard HERE.

Meet the author & illustrator, Jennifer K. Mann, at her website:  http://www.jenniferkmann.com/
Find more picture books at the Candlewick Press website:  http://www.candlewick.com/

AWARDS
Starred Review—Publishers Weekly

Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

Full Disclosure: Sam & Dave Dig a Hole, by Jennifer K. Mann, and received from Candlewick Press, is in exchange NOT for a positive review, but for an HONEST review. The opinions expressed are my own and no one else’s. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Filed under: 5stars, Children's Books, Library Donated Books, Picture Book Tagged: artistic expression, being different, Candlewick Press, classroom, I Will Never Get a Star on Mrs. Benson’s Blackboard, Jennifer K. Mann, order, value

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14. #714 – Yak and Gnu by Juliette MacIver & Cat Chapman

yak and gnu cover
Yak and Gnu

Written by Juliette MacIver
Illustrated by Cat Chapman
Candlewick Press      6/09/2015
978-0-7636-7561-5
32 pages       Age 4—8

“Yak and Gnu are friends dear and true. Yak has a kayak, Gnu a canoe. Down the river they go, singing:

“No one else
But you and me
Can float a boat
Or sail the sea.”

But wait! What’s that? A goat in a boat, a calf on a raft, and a whole flotilla of gorillas! Now their song is all wrong. With so many other friends afloat, can Yak and Gnu still sing their sea song for two?” [inside jacket]

Review
Best friends Yak and Gnu love to sail the seas. Yak rows a black kayak, while Gnu rows a blue canoe. Together, they row and sing their favorite song. But then, much to Yak and Gnu’s surprise, a goat in a boat yells hello. Yak and Gnu are no longer the only two who sail the seas. The happy-go-lucky pair of friends—best of friends—recover nicely, rationalizing that with the goat in a boat, Yak in his kayak, and Gnu in her canoe, there are only three who can sail the seas. They adjust their song:

“Yippee-ai, Yak!
Who-hoo, Gnu!
There’s nobody else
Like me and you.
(Well, only goat.)”

But then, there on a raft is a laughing calf and in that sail boat is a snail. What is going on? Yak and Gnu find more and more animals who can sail the seas, be it in a sailboat, a raft, an outrigger, cruiser, kayak, or canoe. Each new discovery causes Yak and Gnu to reevaluate and adjust their song. Finally, with the seas afloat with dozens and dozens of sea-worthy animals and their vessels, Yak and Gnu must come to terms with the fact that they are not the only ones who can sail the seas. But what about their wonderful song? What happens to that? You must read Yak and Gnu to find out.

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Yak and Gnu is hilarious. Young children will love all the animals and the way each sails the seas. Along with Yak and Gnu, children can count the number of animals, helping Yak and Gnu adjust their song. The repetitive song will also help young children as they begin to read and phonetically sound out words. Soon, kids will be singing the song, without the book. More likely, kids will be asking for Yak and Gnu at bedtime, story-time, and most every-time it is time to read. The illustrations are beautifully rendered in watercolor and ink. The rhyming text has that sing-song quality that makes reading a picture book a joy. Yak and Gnu was authored by Juliette MacIver who loves to make young children laugh. Her previous book is entitled, The Frog Who Lost His Underpants (also illustrated by Cat Chapman). That title makes me want to read the book. Yak and Gnu is no different. This hilarious tale celebrates the simple friendships of childhood and the joy of laughter.
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YAK AND GNU. Text copyright © 2015 by Juliette MacIver. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Cat Chapman. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA on behalf of Walker Books, Australia.

Purchase Yak and Gnu at AmazonBook DepositoryWalker BooksCandlewick Press.

Learn more about Yak and Gnu HERE.
Classroom Ideas can be found HERE.

Meet the author, Juliette MacIver, at her website:  http://www.juliettemaciverauthor.com/
Meet the illustrator, Cat Chapman, at her website:  http://catchapman.tumblr.com/
Find more picture books at the Candlewick Press website:  http://www.candlewick.com/

Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

Full Disclosure: Sam & Dave Dig a Hole, by Juliette MacIver & Cat Chapman, and received from Candlewick Press and Walker Books, Australia, is in exchange NOT for a positive review, but for an HONEST review. The opinions expressed are my own and no one else’s. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Filed under: 5stars, Children's Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Picture Book Tagged: animals, Candlewick Press, Cat Chapman, counting, friendships, hilarious, joyful, Juliette MacIver, rhyming story, singing, Walker Books-Australia, Yak and Gnu

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15. #713 – Sam & Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett & Jon Klassen

cover sam dave dig hole
Sam & Dave Dig a Hole
Written by Mac Barnett
Illustrated by Jon Klassen
Candlewick Press      10/14/2015
978-0-7636-6229-5
32 pages      Age 4—8

“Sam and Dave are digging a hole, and they will not stop until they find something spectacular.” [inside jacket]

Review
The premise of Sam & Dave Dig a Hole is simple:  the two boys are on a mission to find something spectacular and are determined to dig until they find something. They could find a dinosaur bone or maybe dig all the way to China. Along with Sam and Dave is their dog (no name). When the boys fail to find something after digging a hole “so deep their heads were underground,” Sam and Dave change course and dig sideways, then they split up and dig up on a diagonal, then back down again until, tired from digging, the two boys fall asleep. All the while Sam and Dave find nothing, until . . .

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I enjoyed Sam & Dave Dig a Hole immensely. This is a delightful book young children, especially young boys, will enjoy. The humor is subtle—just under the surface (pun intended). While Sam and Dave dig, with their dog keeping a watchful eye, their cat sits atop the hole looking in at the boys’ progress. You will need to look closely at all the detail, in every item, in each relatively sparse spread, but if you do, the payoff is a huge laugh. The illustrations are engagingly simple, rendered digitally and in colored pencil by Caldecott Medal winner Jon Klassen. Sam & Dave Dig a Hole is about persistence, the willingness to change course, and finding the spectacular where you are and where you go. Sam and Dave exert a tremendous amount of energy trying to find something spectacular. They finally find it, and learn that the journey can be just as spectacular as the “thing” they are yearning to find.

Has something been out of your reach and you wonder if you should keep trying? If so, read Sam & Dave Dig a Hole, because sometimes what seems out of reach is closer than you think. Perfect for story time readings and afternoon fun.

SAM AND DAVE DIG A HOLE. Text copyright © 2014 by Mac Barnett. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Jon Klassen. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.

Purchase Sam & Dave Dig a Hole at AmazonBook DepositoryCandlewick Press.

Learn more about Sam & Dave Dig a Hole HERE.
A Story-Hour Kit can be found HERE.
“Mac Barnett & Jon Klassen Make a Book” transcript found HERE.

Meet the author, Mac Barnett, at his website:  http://www.macbarnett.com/
Meet the illustrator, Jon Klassen, at his website:  http://jonklassen.tumblr.com/
Find more picture books at the Candlewick Press website:  http://www.candlewick.com/

AWARDS
Caldecott Medal Honor Book
E. B. White Read Aloud Award
Irma S and James H Black Award for Excellence in Children’s Literature
Wanda Gág Read Aloud Book Award
New York Times Best Seller
New York Times Notable Book
Washington Post Best Children’s Book of 2014
PBS Best Picture Book of 2014
Guardian Best Book of 2014
Horn Book Fanfare Best Book of 2014
Kirkus Best Book of 2014
Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2014
Globe & Mail 100 Best Books of 2014 Selection
Huffington Post Best Picture Book of 2014
BuzzFeed Best Picture Book of 2014
Association for Library Service to Children Notables Selection
Toronto Public Library First & Best Book of 2014
Reading Today Best Picture Book of 2014
Junior Library Guild Selection

Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

Full Disclosure: Sam & Dave Dig a Hole, by Mac Barnett & Jon Klassen, and received from Candlewick Press, is in exchange NOT for a positive review, but for an HONEST review. The opinions expressed are my own and no one else’s. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Filed under: 6 Stars TOP BOOK, Books for Boys, Children's Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Picture Book, Top 10 of 2015 Tagged: Caldecott Medal Honor Book 2014, Candlewick Press, diligence, Jon Klassen, joy-in-the-journey, Mac Barnett, persistance, Sam & Dave Dig a Hole

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16. #712 -If You Were a Dog by Jamie A. Swenson & Chris Raschka

cover lg.
If You Were a Dog
Written by Jamie A. Swenson
Illustrated by Chris Raschka
Farrar Straus Giroux BYR        9/30/2014
978-0-373-33530-4
40 pages              Age 3—6

“If you could be any kind of animal, what would you be? Would you be a sod that goes ARRRROOOOOOO? Or maybe you would be a sharp-toothed dinosaur that can CHOMP, STOMP, ROAR! Perhaps you might want to be a hopping frog that goes BOING, BOING, RIBBET! But maybe you would want to be the best kind of animal of all. Can you guess what that is?” [inside jacket]

Review
Using sparse text, including exuberant onomatopœia, and characteristics specific to the animal on the spread, Swenson asks young children how they would act if they were a dog, a cat, a bird, a bug, a frog, and a dinosaur. Each two-spread animal begins its question with a recognizable formula:

“If you were a . . . would you be a . . . ?”

For example, the first animal is the dog.

dog am combo “If you were a dog, would you be a speedy-quick, lickety-sloppy,
scavenge-the-garbage,
frisbee-catching,
hot-dog-stealing,
pillow-hogging,
best-friend-ever sort of dog?”

The following spread always asks one final question:

dog 2  combo“Would you howl at the moon?  Some dogs do.”

Youngsters will love the questions, especially each of the activity-type characteristics in If You Were a Dog. While not written in rhyme, the text flows nicely. The individual characteristics are ordered such that the similar suffixes following each other. Raschka’s illustrations are child-like in form, yet lively, and capture the text and the reader’s (listener’s), imagination. Young children will not only contemplate how they would act based on the given charactersitics, but are bound to come up with their own. I like anything that activates and stretches a child’s imagination and If You Were a Dog fits that bill nicely.

The final three spreads in If You Were a Dog acknowledge that we cannot become any animal we want, but we can imitate those around us. Besides, kids are told, the best animal to be is yourself.

IF YOU WERE A DOG. Text copyright (C) 2014 by Jamie A. Swenson. Illustrations copyright (C) 2014 by Chris Raschka. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers—an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, New York, NY.

Purchase If You Were a Dog at AmazonBook DepositoryiTunesMacmillian Children’s Publishing Group.

Learn more about If You Were a Dog HERE.
You can find the CCSS-Aligned Discussion and Activity Guide HERE.

AWARDS
Junior Library Guild selection

Meet the author, Jamie A. Swenson, at her website:  http://www.jamieaswenson.com/
Meet the illustrator, Chris Raschka, at his twitter page:  @ChrisRaschka
Find more children’s books at the Farrar Strauss Giroux BYR website:  http://us.macmillan.com/mackids
Farrar Strauss Giroux BYR is an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group.

Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

Review section word count = 225

Full Disclosure: If You Were a Dog, by Jamie A. Swenson & Chris Raschka, and received from Farrar Strauss Giroux BYR, (an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group), is in exchange NOT for a positive review, but for an HONEST review. The opinions expressed are my own and no one else’s. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Filed under: 4stars, Children's Books, Library Donated Books, NonFiction, Picture Book Tagged: animal traits, animals, being oneself, Chris Raschka, creativity, Farrar Straus Giroux, If You Were a Dog, imagination, Jamie A. Swenson, self esteem

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17. #711 – What This Story Needs Is a Pig in a Wig! by Emma J. Virján

coverWhat This Story Needs Is a Pig in a Wig

Written & Illustrated by Emma J. Virján
HarperCollins Children’s Books
05/12/2015
978-0-06-232724-6
32 pages      Age 1—3

“What this story needs is a pig in a wig on a boat with some friends having fun in the sun–So come on board! Join Pig on an exciting boat ride where she discovers that life is a lot more fun with more friends.”[back cover]

Review
NOTE: This review is a tad unusual. It mixes my traditional review format with interview questions asked of the pig in a wig.
What This Story Needs Is a Pig in a Wig will instantly remind you of dear ole Dr. Seuss. The author employs fast-paced writing combined with simple, but effective, rhymes young children will love to hear and repeat. The narrator sends Pig, wearing a stunning pink wig—what is with that wig—sailing the moat in a boat. Why would a pig wear a wig? Well, I asked Pig and she said (rather emphatically),

“Wigs are fun and I’m a pig that loves to have fun!”

If you venture to Pig’s website—and I do suggest you do—you will find Pig is not simply a pink wig gal.

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Back to the story: One by one, the narrator adds a menagerie of interesting, kid-friendly animals to the boat in the moat. A frog, a dog, and a goat on a log join Pig in her wig. But there are more. A rat, wearing a cool hat, sits on a trunk—belonging to an elephant—with a skunk, who is with a mouse in a house. I was beginning to wonder what other animal could possibly be added to the small boat in the moat, when Pig yelled at the narrator. I asked Pig why she stopped all of the narrator’s fun. I thought it was very exciting having rhyming animals set sail. Pig had a different point of view:

“It was getting crowded, too crowded — a frog, a dog, a goat on a log,
a rat in a hat on a trunk, with a skunk, in a house, with a mouse AND
a panda in a blouse? It was more than my little, pink boat could handle.”

Pig is right, the small boat is crowded. So, beginning with the Panda—she performs a cannonball—the narrator reverses course, sending the animals out of the boat and into the moat. Once they leave, the narrator changes the story:

“What this story needs
is a pig in a wig,
on a boat,
in a moat,
having fun,
in the sun,
on her own . . .”

Now, all alone in her boat, Pig is sailing the moat. I think Pig is lonely and realizes she enjoyed her new animal friends. So the pig in a pink wig called for her new friends to return. Taking charge of the narration, Pig decides what the story needs . . .

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Pig in a Wig, is a fun story young children will love to hear. The rhyming is simple, yet smart and witty. Kids will be reciting Pig in a Wig and, hopefully, figuring out their own rhyming group of friends. The illustrations are clean and engaging. Many pages hold surprises, such as a pig snout rug, Frog doing a hand-stand, and Dog and Goat holding hands. Dr. Seuss would love Pig in a Wig, which happens to be the same size as an iconic Dr. Seuss book. The simple story will charm young children during story time at school or a library. What This Story Needs Is a Pig in a Wig is so much fun to read I hope to see Pig in new stories.

I asked one last question, wondering, with all those charismatic animals on board, who is Pig’s favorite passenger. She said,

“Well . . . none were my favorite at the beginning, as they were all getting
in my way of having fun in the sun! At the end though, ALL of them were
my favorite, with Goat on his log being my extra, extra favorite.”

WHAT THIS STORY NEEDS IS A PIG IN A WIG. Text and illustrations copyright (C) 2015 by . Reproduced by permission of the publisher, HarperCollins Children’s Books, New York, NY.

Purchase What This Story Needs is a Pig in a Wig at AmazonBook DepositoryApple iBooksHarperCollins Children’s Books.

Learn more about What This Story Needs is a Pig in a Wig HERE.
There are Coloring Sheet HERE
An Activity Guide HERE
And a Teacher’s Guide HERE

Pig in a Wig’s website:  http://emmavirjan.com/pig-in-a-wig/
Meet the author/illustrator, Emma J. Virján, at her website: http://www.emmavirjan.com
Find more engaging picture books a the HarperCollins Children’s Books website:  http://www.harpercollins.com/

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Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

Review section word count = 453     

Full Disclosure: What This Story Needs is a Pig in a Wig, by Emma J. Virján, and received from HarperCollins Children’s Books, is in exchange NOT for a positive review, but for an HONEST review. The opinions expressed are my own and no one else’s. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Filed under: 5stars, Children's Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Picture Book Tagged: beginning readers, Dr. Seuss, Emma J. Virján, HarperCollins Children’s Books, phonetics, Pig in a Wig, repetition, rhyming picture book, swimming in a moat, What This Story Needs Is a Pig in a Wig!

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18. Happy Fourth of July! Giveaway winner.

Hi everyone!
Moving day finally arrived this past weekend–one long day that has, thus far, lasted 96 hours (and counting). While everything is moved, my living space is boxish. The cats are not thrilled with all the booms and bangs of neighborhood fireworks, which, strangely, go off all day and night. For a state that has made fireworks illegal, there are a lot of fireworks going off.

Moving is never much fun, but I was fortunate to have hired a company that sent two energetic, polite, and very professional movers. Anyone interested in another’s cannot-fit-into-new-home stuff, a yard sale is . . . wait, I have a garage now . . . a garage sale will be held near the end of August. By then, I should have most of the boxes opened and sorted. Until then, the cats are enjoy climbing the stacked boxes and furniture and tromping in the empty boxes. Lucky cats.

Baby Girl (grey) and Theo (white) enjoy the familiarity of the bedroom.

Baby Girl (grey) and Theo (white) enjoy the familiarity of the bedroom.

Those who made a move after 15 years in one place will understand my current living situation. Those who have not, the pictures should help.

One side of living room.

One side of living room.

Kitchen:  big metal square is a built-in fridge (doesn't work).

Kitchen: big metal square is a built-in fridge (doesn’t work).

New Refrigerator:  ice maker not hooked-up, but still dispenses ice.

New Refrigerator: ice maker not hooked-up, but still dispenses ice.

The house was built in the 1940’s and has plaster walls, not drywall. All new to me and proving to be a challenge. “Just where is that stud?” Love the backyard, which is divided into 1/3rd front and 2/3rds back (fenced in), with the entire yard privacy fenced. Molly, a nine-year-old rescue dog, will be moving in once I have a living room. She loves the fenced in portion. The rescue yard does not have grass, so this was new for her.

Anytime you move into an older home, all sorts of problems seem to surface. This has led to some Bad News/Good News:  Basement leaks/but getting water-proofed. Bathroom is a mess. Last owner actually used double-sided table (Scotch tape) to keep shower wall attached to the wall. It didn’t work. Good news is the bathroom is being made over next week. Old tub out, walk-in shower in. Everything will be changed except the toilet (already new). A built-in oven across from the new fridge (doesn’t work), is getting pulled next week and a pantry built in that space. I even got to start a garden. Nothin fancy this year: tomatoes, peppers, radishes, carrots, and lettuce.

Reviews will be back on track after the July 4th holiday. I have a new writing room.

My new "writing room."

My new “writing room.”

This has been a rough year for me and book reviews have suffered for it. Things are going to turn around. I know it.  Enjoy the weekend’s activities, the food, festivities, family, and friends, and stay safe. See you after the 4th.

Oh, congratulations to Julie Harms Moen! Julie won the Guardian Herds tote bag and all the goodies inside it.


Filed under: Special Event Tagged: bathroom makeovers, boxes-upon-boxes, giveaway winner, moving day, old houses, rescue dogs

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19. #706 – Beach House by Deanna Caswell and Amy June Bates

am cover
Beach House
Written by Deanna Caswell
Illustrated by Amy June Bates
Chronicle Books       5/12/2015
978-1-4521-2408-7
32 pages      Age 4—8

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“A long, long drive.
It’s been a year
of dreaming, waiting.
Summer’s here.
“In a funny and moving celebration of family, vacations, and the joy of the sea, Deanna Caswell and Amy June Bates capture the essence of summer—sand castles, tide pools, starry evenings—and the love that warms every moment.” [book jacket]

Review
Well, if you are not fond of overcrowded pools or swimming deep within them to find fantasy and fish of questionable species (review of Pool here), then maybe traveling to the ocean, staying in a summer home, and breathing in the salt air is more to your liking. If so, then Beach House is the perfect picture book to kick off your summer.

After a long drive—“Are we there yet?—the family arrives at the beach house for their summer vacation. The sea beckons, but the car needs unloaded, and the suitcases unpacked.

“Doors fly open.
End of the road.

“To the beach!”
“Not yet—unload.”

Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Amy June Bates. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA.

So many bags, so much stuff. Amazing one family needs this much for a vacation from daily life. Fun waits as the clothes are hung and shoes arranged. The youngest son and his faithful pal look hopefully out the window at the beach and the water. Then the magic words that get everyone moving. Suits are on, and dad is loaded down with every imaginable beach toy and towels. The family hits the beach. The two kids gleefully run into the water with the puppy right behind them. The toddler plays in the sand, making castles and other sand-filled joys. After a full day of sun, sand, and water, the family cuddles up to a roaring fire for dinner and then the comfort of baths and soft beds. Tomorrow will be another day on the beach. The text, written in rhyme, easily flows off the tongue, fluently rhyming for readers and listeners alike.

bates - dad loaded down

I love the illustrations which overflow with intimate detail. The younger boy, pulling his wagon full of sand toys, has the glimpses of a diaper popping out of the top of his swim trunks. He is obviously a toddler. Another favorite scene has the two older kids—a boy and a girl—in the water playing. Dad is tossing the girl up and into the water. The boy has his hands cupped around his mouth, yelling at mom, who is on the beach with the toddler. I can hear him saying, “Hey, Mom! Mom! Look at me!”

The watercolor and pencil illustrations exude summer on a soft, white, sandy beach that keeps the ocean where it belongs, allowing just a wave or two onto its shore. I am reminded of summer vacations with my family. Five of us crammed into a small cottage, swimming all day, eating ice cream bars on the stoop, and watching my older sister wash the paper plates—a joke I was too young to understand, or even remember without photographic evidence. Beach House brings out memories, or maybe, it will give you pause—a small suggestion—to plan that family getaway.

running into water full spread large

BEACH HOUSE. Text copyright © 2015 by Deanna Caswell. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Amy June Bates. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA.

Purchase Beach House at AmazonBook DepositoryiTunesChronicle Books.

Learn more about Beach House HERE.
Meet the author, Deanna Caswell, at her website:  http://littlehouseinthesuburbs.com/
Meet the illustrator, Amy June Bates, at her website:  http://amyjunebates.blogspot.com/
Find more picture books at the Chronicle Books website:  http://www.chroniclebooks.com/
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Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

Review section word count = 453

beach house


Filed under: 5stars, Children's Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Picture Book Tagged: Amy June Bates, Beach House, Chronicle Books, Deanna Caswell, family time, ocean cottages, relationships, sand castles, summer vacations, swimming

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20. #707 – Oddfrey Joins the Team by Dave Whamond

oddfrey joins team cover HERE

Oddrey Joins the Team
Written & Illustrated by Dave Whamond
Owlkids Books 8/15/2014
978-1-77147-061-2
32 pages Age 4—8

“When Oddfrey decides to join her school’s soccer team, she brings a new and unexpected approach to teamwork! On the day of the big game against the Quagville Crushers, nothing is going right—until Oddfrey comes up with a slightly unusual idea. Never afraid to be herself, Oddfrey devises a plan that gives her teammates the strength to be themselves, too. When they all use their individual talents to work together as a team, the results are extremely satisfying—and highly exuberant!” [book jacket]

Review
Oddfrey Joins the Team is the third Oddfrey book (Oddfrey, Oddfrey and the New Kid). According to the publisher, Oddfrey “marches to the beat of her own drum.” With a daisy sprouting from the top of her head, Oddfrey certainly looks odd. I like Oddfrey for a few reasons. First, she likes sports, although her idea of “sports” is sometimes odd. Oddfrey prefers to combine different sport to make a new game. For example, she kicks a basketball into the hoop, rather than shooting it, and bounces a football off her personal sized trampoline, rather than throw the ball to her helmeted dog. Oddfrey’s dog—spotted with big, beautiful, and excited eyes—sticks by her side, always ready to join in her fun. Which brings me to the second and third reasons I like Oddfrey: she does her own thing and she has a pooch for a pal.

04-05_OddreyJoinsTheTeam

I also like Oddfrey because she thinks outside of the soccer sidelines. I only know the basics of soccer: run back and forth after a ball and kick the ball into opponent’s net, which happens less often than one would think. Maybelline—new kid from book 2—asks Oddfrey to join the school’s soccer team—the Picadilla Bees. Maybelline is the star of the team, mainly because she hogs the ball, leaving the other kids to run back and forth. Oddfrey approaches soccer as she does other sports: in her own way. The players are confused and the coach is dismayed, as Oddfrey combines soccer with ballet. Between sending her shoe flying on an attempted kick, balancing on top of the ball, and cart wheeling down the field, Oddfrey does score a goal—GOOOAL!!!—by butt-bumping the ball into the net. Yes, Oddfrey is her own little gal.

12-13_OddreyJoinsTheTeam

The next game is the BIG GAME against the Quagville Crushers. The Bees practice hard. Milton karate-chops the ball down the field (Maybelline: “Just kick it!”). Earl head-bumps the ball (Maybelline: “Use your head, Earl!”). Maybelline gives everyone advice—where is the coach?—even to her friend Oddfrey. Following rules is not in Oddfrey’s skill-set. Poor Maybelline-the-Star, she cannot get it together in the BIG GAME. The Bees are falling fast to the Crushers. Oddfrey puts on her thinking cap and realizes the team name “Bees” must mean something—and it does. Oddfrey uses this to get her team buzzing. What is “Plan Bee,” you ask. Well, you know I can’t say, but read Oddfrey’s new story, Oddfrey Joins the Team, to find out. You’ll do a lot of laughing as you find the answer and read—and see—the exciting conclusion.

22-23_OddreyJoinsTheTeam

The illustrations are action-packed, with details running from spread-to-spread. But you don’t need to like soccer to enjoy Oddfrey Joins the Team. Oddfrey’s pals are interesting in their own right, and the story has less to do with soccer and more to do with ingenuity, friendship, teamwork, and . . . well, if I said the last feature, you might figure out the ending. Both girls and boys will enjoy Oddfrey and her stories. Older kids will also find much to love and enjoy about Oddfrey. Humor runs in both the illustrations and the text, making Oddfrey Joins the Team fast-paced, deliciously funny, and a great story hour book. Oddfrey’s individuality, imagination, and ingenuity are great traits for a character, real or human. Having read Oddfrey Joins the Team a few times, I am ready to skip to the library, Oddfrey-style, and read the first two books in Oddfrey’s, I mean Mr. Whamond’s quirky series.

ODDFREY JOINS THE TEAM. Text and illustrations copyright © 2014 by Dave Whamond. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Owlkids Books, Berkeley, CA, and Toronto, ON.

Purchase Oddfrey Joins the Team at AmazonBook DepositoryOwlkids Books.

Common Core Guidelines HERE
Learn more about Oddfrey Joins the Team HERE.
Meet the author, Dave Whamond, at his twitter:  https://twitter.com/davewhamond
Find more picture books at the Owlkids Books website:  http://www.owlkidsbooks.com

ALSO BY DAVE WHAMOND

Oddrey_cover_large

Oddfrey —-A 2012 Texas 2×2 Selection

Oddfrey and the New Kid

Oddfrey and the New Kid

My Think-a-ma-Jink ----Won the Blue Spruce Award

My Think-a-ma-Jink —-Won the Blue Spruce Award

Reality Check----Syndicated Cartoon Strip

Reality Check—-Syndicated Cartoon Strip

      

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Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

Review section word count = 594

oddfrey joins the team


Filed under: 5stars, Children's Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Picture Book, Series Tagged: children’s team sports, courage to be yourself, Dave Whamond, friendship, imagination, individuality, ingenuity, My Think-a-ma-Jink, Oddfrey, Oddfrey and the New Kid, Oddfrey Joins the Team, Owlkids Books, Reality Check, soccer, teamwork

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21. #708 – National Geographic Kids Almanac 2016 by Nat. Geo Society & Nat. Geo Kids Magazine

cover2
National Geographic Kids Almanac 2016
National Geographic Society & National Geographic Kids Magazine
National Geographic Society        5/12/2015
978-1-4263-1921-1
352 pages         Age 8—12
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“This New York Times bestseller is packed with incredible photos, tons of fun facts, crafts, activities, and fascinating articles about animals, science, nature, technology, and more. New features include a special section on animal friends; an updated “Fun and Games” chapter filled with all-new games, jokes, and comics; a new “Dino Myths Busted” feature; all new weird-but-true facts, crafts, and activities; a new special “15 Facts” feature in every chapter; updated reference material, and much more! And, this is the only kids’ almanac with mobile media features that allow kids to access National Geographic videos, photo galleries, and games.” [publisher]

Review
National Geographic Kids Almanac 2016—Wow, where do I start? Color blasts out from every page. The photography is as spectacular as National Geographic photography has always been—brilliant, intimately detailed, knock-you-off-your-feet fantabulous. Divided into ten sections, the Kids Almanac 2016 begins with a section on interesting things happening in 2016, and then it explores the usual topics of history, culture, science, geography, nature, and animals. The almanac also includes a section on green technology and its effect on Earth, and a section about exploration and survival. Most likely, a favorite for kids will be the section on games. Actually, the Kids Almanac 2016 contains a game throughout the entire 350 pages. In each chapter is a clue. Find all ten clues and you can open up digital extras.

dino mythsIn reading the Kids Almanac 2016, I think National Geographic has covered all the subjects kids will find interesting and all those they need to know about. Adults can get a lot out of this almanac as well. There is a tremendous amount of information in this relatively small book. I loved the animal topics, of which there are many. Kids interested in dinosaurs will find a prehistoric timeline, nine “Bet you didn’t know” facts, and myths. Each section ends with a quiz on that section’s subject. When you cannot get to a place, or want to know what is happening in different places around the world, the Kids Almanac 2016 is a tremendous aid. Kids can also dig a little deeper in subjects they love and learn about subjects they never thought about or thought were dull. There is not one tedious word or picture in the Kids Almanac 2016. Here are a few subjects I found to be amazing:

“Secrets of the Blue Holes”
Animal photography and how to get the shot.
“The Wonders of Nature: the Oceans”

Worlds Wackiest Houses”

“Worlds Wackiest Houses”

“16 Cool Facts about Coral Reefs”
The jokes and comics in Fun and Games
Orangutan to the Rescue (Survival Story)”

What would a National Geographic book be without its gorgeous maps? The Kids Almanac 2016 has plenty of maps and flags. I think the National Geographic Kids Almanac 2016 is a must read, if not a must have, for kids, especially middle graders who will learn a lot without realizing they are learning. The Kids Almanac 2016 is fun, exciting, and interesting. The pages are colorful, the photographs and images extremely detailed, and the subject matter is diverse.

volcanosThough kids are just now beginning to enjoy their summer school breaks, the Kids Almanac 2016 will keep them reading through the summer, which will help kids during their next school year, make them more informed about their world. Parents concerned about the books their kids read will have not one worry about this almanac. Every word, every subject, and every article is kid-friendly. The National Geographic Kids Almanac 2016 is an interesting read that will keep kids hooked long past summer vacation.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC KIDS ALMANAC 2016. Text and images copyright © 2015 by National Geographic Society. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, National Geographic Society in partnership with National Geographic Kids Magazine, Washington DC.

Purchase National Geographic Kids Almanac 2016 at AmazonBook DepositoryNational Geographic.

Kids! Join the National Geographic Kids Book Club HERE!
Teachers and Librarians can find additional information at: http://www.ngchildrensbooks.org
National Geographic Educational site is HERE.

Learn more about National Geographic Kids Almanac 2016 HERE.
Check out the National Geographic Society website: http://www.nationalgeographic.com
Find other National Geographic books at: http://www.nationalgeographic.com/books
Learn more about the National Geographic Kids Magazine at the website: http://www.kids.nationalgeographic.com

Kids Almanac 2015 
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Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

Review section word count = 496

nat geo kids almanac 2016


Filed under: 5stars, Books for Boys, Children's Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade, Series Tagged: and animals, culture, fun, games, geography, going green, history, liss instructive information, maps, National Geographic Kids Almanac 2016, National Geographic Kids Magazine, National Geographic Society, nature, science

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22. Win—Win—Win A Bunch of Great Guardian Herd Stuff!

CHECK THIS OUT!
GuardianHerd_3_final cover
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NO!

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SERIOUSLY,

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CHECK THIS OUT!!

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GuardianHerd_3_final cover
This is the new Guardian Herd #3: LANDFALL cover.

Landfall is the final installment . . . maybe . . . (I hope not) . . . of The Guardian Herd series.

Unfortunately, you must wait until next February 2, 2016 to get your hands on this beautiful cover.

How cruel, isn’t it, to reveal a cover you can’t touch for 8 months. Well, I cannot wait . . . must not wait . . . I shall not wai . . . okay, I will wait, but only because it is worth the wait and because the story comes with the cover. Ah, the story. What is Landfall all about?

“It has been many moons since Star received his starfire power. He has gone from being born a dud—unable to fly and shunned by the five herds of Anok, including his own—to becoming a strong yearling, ready to lead his own herd as an over-stallion. But now he will face his toughest challenge yet. Nightwing the Destroyer, Star’s eternal rival, is amassing an army to destroy him and all of Anok. The only way for Star to defeat him is to learn how to fight like a warrior—without using his starfire. For if he uses his power, even to heal, Nightwing will know where to find him.

“As the threat of war looms over Star’s head, he can’t help but wonder if the current peace among the united pegasi is strong enough to defeat the powerful Destroyer once and for all.

“With increasingly difficult challenges and brand-new areas of Anok to explore, Jennifer Lynn Alvarez will thrill readers with this epic and exhilarating third installment of The Guardian Herd series.”

WOW!

But hold on—there is more.

The Guardian Herd Series cover has inspired readers all over the country. Here is some of the amazing art fans have created to show their love of the series.

© Danielle A.

© Danielle A.

© Isabella T.

© Isabella T.

© Jennifer D.

© Jennifer D.

© Mary W.

© Mary W.

© Ruby K.

© Ruby K.

© Abby P.

© Abby P.

As if this Guardian Herd cover and those kids’ pictures are not exciting enough, I am pleased as punch-ing herds to have a partial glimpse at Guardian Herd author Jennifer Lynn Alvarez’s interview with the cover artist, David McClellan. Most of you know about Jennifer. Here is a little about David:

david_mcclellan_at_desk.

David grew up near Portland, Oregon. He studied illustration at Brigham Young University in Utah. In addition to illustrating books, David works as an artist for Disney Interactive Studios, where they make the video game, Disney Infinity. David lives in Utah with his wife and four boys.

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Interview and Art Tips with David McClellan

How did you become the cover artist for The Guardian Herd series?

The art director at Harper Collins had hired me before, but on a completely different kind of subject matter. As she considered me for this job, she asked if I was any good at painting animals and asked for some examples, and I told her that I was okay, but that I was probably weakest at horses. Of course, horses were exactly what she needed. And she agreed with me that my horses were not my best work, but for some reason she took a chance on me anyway. I immediately went and got some books on horse anatomy and started trying to figure it out. In hindsight, I think I was probably equally bad at drawing all animals. It’s just that horses are animals that humans are really familiar with, and have such specific proportions and musculature, that people can always tell when artists get them wrong. If you draw a dog wrong, you can just say it’s a different kind of dog.

 Please describe your process, from conception to delivery, for creating a Guardian Herd book cover. 

The art director gives me a description of what they want to see on the cover as far as characters and what kind of setting they want. Then I do several sketches to try and turn all those elements into a composition, taking into account where the title and author’s name will be. Those first sketches are usually so rough that no one else would understand them. Lately I have been doing those kinds of sketches on my phone. I then pick out a few that have the most potential and make more finished sketches of those ideas to send to the art director.  She will then review the sketches with the editor and author and then either ask for changes or give the go ahead on the one that they like best. Then I will do color studies and work out the big picture before rendering any details.  

I will have to do research and gather reference materials, in this case, lots of pictures of horses and wings. I have used toy horses for reference too since the photos usually don’t have the right kind of lighting.  So sometimes I set up the toy horse with some makeshift paper wings to help me figure out what the shadows need to do. Then, from that point on, it’s just a lot of hours of painting time to refine and finish it off.

© 2015 David McClellan

© 2015 David McClellan

Your perspectives on the covers are dramatic! Can you give readers any tips on how to draw interesting pictures?

As far as perspective goes, on both of these Guardian Herd covers so far I have dropped the horizon line lower so it feels like you are looking up at Star, which makes him feel more heroic. There are so many potential answers to the question of how to make interesting pictures. Coming up with an interesting idea that is worth the time spent creating it is certainly crucial. Doing several rough sketches to get at the best possible idea helps. Making your image clear and legible helps. For example, it helps to have a clear focal point that is the most important thing in your picture and then have all the other elements complement rather than compete with that main focal point.

© 2015 David McClellan

© 2015 David McClellan

I believe that contrast is a big key to making things interesting. Our brains naturally look for contrast to make sense of things. And not just contrast of light and dark but just about everything you can think of has an opposite that you can use to set it apart and make it stand out. Of course, not everything should stand out. Only the important things. But if you want something to feel light, surround it with some dark. If you want something to feel big, put something small next to it. Try to keep variety in your shapes and not make everything too similar or monotonous.

Do you have any specific tips/advice on how to draw horses and feathers?

Well, start by getting the best reference materials you can get. You may not be able to see all that you need to understand in a photo of a horse, so a book on horse anatomy or a diagram of the muscles of the horse can be helpful. With feathers, it seems to be a little like drawing fingers or hair. If you are drawing a hand, it works best to mass in the fingers as a group first before trying to depict each individual finger. And with hair, it’s the same thing. You draw the mass of hair and then define only as many strands of hair as you need to in order to show that it’s hair and no more.

With the feathers, start with the shape of the wing as a solid mass with the structure of the bones underneath in mind, and then add the feather detail on top of that foundation. And remember that you don’t have to define each feather with equal importance. Pick a few main ones to be the ones that tell the story.

Can you recommend any software programs that budding artists might want to learn?

I really only work in Photoshop for my illustration work, although I sketch in the Sketchbook Pro app on my phone. I have messed around with the Brushes and Art Rage apps on my iPad. I think the kids probably know better than I do what the cool new painting apps are. I always recommend that kids get really good with real pencils and paints before getting into digital art because I think that foundation really helps.

Partial Interview Reprinted with permission from Jennifer Lynn Alvarez. For more information on The Guardian Herd Series please visit The Guardian Herd series website. To read the entire interview, gallop—or fly—on down to the tour dates and sites. (But don’t go yet, there is “One More Thing.”)

You can see more of David’s work at mcclellanart.com and on Instagram:  @mcclellan_art 

Now for the author of The Guardian Herd series. Just in case you have been living in a WIFI-less barn, here is a little about the author, Jennifer Lynn Alvarez

JenCalvin2.

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Jennifer Lynn Alvarez is the author of The Guardian Herd: Starfire, StormboundLandfall and The Pet Washer indie book series. She lives in Northern California with her husband, three children, and more than her fair share of pets, including horses.

Here is how you can, dare I say must, follow Jennifer:
Author website: www.jenniferlynnalvarez.com
Twitter:  @JenniferDiaries
Facebook    Pinterest    YouTube    Google+
Instagram: @jennifer_lynn_alvarez
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Guardian Herd #3: LANDFALL releases in hardcover, ebook, and audio formats on 02/02/2016.

You can pre-order a copy at Amazon or Barnes&Noble.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
If you would like to see more of the cover reveal tour—who knows what else you might learn—check out these sites:
June 15th—Middle Grade Mafioso  (running entire interview with David McClellan)
June 16th—Kid Lit Reviews
June 17th—This Kid Reviews Books  (Interview with Audio Book Narrator)
June 18th—Beachbound Books  (Interview with Guardian Herd Character)
June 19th—Doodles Doodles Everywhere  (Artist Interview Debut in India) 
June 20th—Jennifer Lynn Alvarez
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
ONE MORE THING.

Really, there is one more thing, and you really need to pay close attention to this part. To be sure you’ll hear, I’ll yell it out:

“HERE IS THE GIVEAWAY MENTIONED IN THE POST TITLE!”

To enter for a chance to WIN a Tote Bag Prize you MUST leave a comment (with your full name and email address IF your name does not link to a website or blog).

Here is the Tote:

FRONT

FRONT

BACK

BACK

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Oh, wait . . . I forgot to open it up. Ooh, inside are the prizes!

The winner will receive:
starfire book 1.

A signed paperback of book #1 STARFIRE (reviewed HERE)
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A poster of the LANDFALL cover. GuardianHerd_3_final cover

Character trading cards (sorry, no image, but Stormbound is reviewed HERE)

AND, to carry home all this swag, you get to keep the actual Guardian Herd Tote!

.        .        Prize Tote Front.
That is one good prize package.

Ready to win? Leave a comment.
(Winner will be announced in a future post.)

Stay tuned, a review of LANDFALL will be here as soon as, well, Ms. Alvarez sends a review copy.


Filed under: Special Event Tagged: cover reveal, David McClellan, giveaway prize pack—tote bag and more, Guardian Herd  fan art, Jennifer Lynn Alvarez, LANDFALL, Starfire, STORMBOUND, The Guardian Herd, The Pet Washer

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23. #709 – Frankie Dupont and the Science Fair Sabotage by Julie Anne Grasso

Frankie-Dupont-and-the-Science-Fair-Sabotage-by-Julie-Anne-Grasso
Frankie Dupont And The Science Fair Sabotage
Written by Julie Anne Grasso
Illustrated by Alexander Avellino
Published by J. A. Grasso       5/11/2015
978-0-9873725-9-8
230 pages    Age 8—12

“Frankie Dupont is less than impressed when he has to attend the Sustainable Science Fair with Kat and Amy. Upon his arrival, he learns that Amy’s brothers have had their robotics chip stolen Keen to recover the chip, Frankie questions the kids in the competition, but everyone seems to have a motive. When baffling clues start rolling in via “Snap-Goss” instant messages, Frankie realizes it will take all of his detective muscles to solve this case.” [back cover]

Review
Frankie Dupont and the Science Fair Sabotage is the third book in the Frankie Dupont series. This time around, mom and dad are going away for the weekend, leaving Frankie in charge of the detective agency. When he is called to the Sustainable Science Fair, he finds Angus and Archie in angst over their robotic chip, stolen sometime after arriving at the fair. Frankie swoops into action. He finds the twins entry into the fair, or rather just the twins, causes equal angst among the other student entries. Angus and Archie have pranked each of the contestants and none of them are friendly toward the boys. Each contestant has a reason to sabotage the twin’s entry, though none will admit they stole the chip. Frankie becomes more confused the longer he tries to figure out the culprit. If each kid had a reason to take the robotic chip, how does he decide which is the guilty party?

Illustration2SFS correction 4 May 2015

The mystery is not terribly complicated, still Grasso, whose writing improves with each new story, does a great job keeping the reader with Frankie. Kids will not figure out the culprit much sooner than Frankie will. After three outings, the characters remain fresh. Frankie has lost the arrogance he had during the Lemon Festival Fiasco, yet he is still clueless regarding Amy’s admiration. Frankie’s best friend and cousin Kat, who has been his sidekick through the first two stories, is less involved in the mystery of the stolen chip. Frankie’s main motivation comes from Inspector Cluesome, whom Frankie is determined to outwit.

Kids will enjoy the Science Fair Sabotage. The science fair projects are interesting. One has a house built out of stevia-made sugar cubes and another using scrap aluminum to build a working guitar. The ideas of conservation and recycling are clear in the science fair entries, though I would have liked to have read more about why this fair came about, which could have lead to an indepth conversation about these important issues.

Illustration3SFS

The Science Fair Sabotage will entertain readers. The short chapters, divided by student entry, will keep reluctant readers interested. The end works out fine, with Frankie finding the culprit, the science fair going on as planned, and a winner announced. The culprit is not who readers will expect, so keep you eyes peeled to the clues. The Science Fair Sabotage is a fine addition to the Frankie Dupont series.

Next up for Frankie, Kat, and Amy (seems they might have become a team), is a luxury cruise in Frankie Dupont and the High Seas Adventure, scheduled to release in September 2015.

Awards for the Frankie Dupont Series
2014 Wishing Shelf Independent Book SILVER for Frankie Dupont and the Mystery of Enderby Manor. (book #1)

FRANKIE DUPONT AND THE SUSTAINEABLE SCIENCE FAIR. Text copyright © 2015 by Julie Anne Grasso. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Alexander Avellino. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Julie Anne Grasso, Australia.

Buy The Sustainable Science Fair at AmazonBook DepositoryAuthor’s Store.

Learn more about The Sustainable Science Fair HERE.
Free Activity Booklet is HERE.
Meat the author, Julie Anne Grasso at her website:  http://whenigrowupiwannawriteakidsbook.blogspot.com.au/
Meet the illustrator, Alexander Avellino, at his website:  http://www.alexanderavellino.com/

Also by Julie Anne Grasso
Frankie Dupont and the Mystery of Enderby Manor (review)
Frankie Dupont and the Lemon Festival Fiasco (review)
Adventures of Caramel Cardamom #1: Escape from the Forbidden Planet
Adventures of Caramel Cardamom #2: Return to Cardamom (review)
Adventures of Caramel Cardamom #3: Stellarcadia
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Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved
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Review section word count = 433
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Full Disclosure: Frankie Dupont and the Sustainable Science Fair by Julie Anne Grasso & Alexander Avellino, and received from the publisher, Julie Anne Grasso, is in exchange NOT for a positive review, but for an HONEST review. The opinions expressed are my own and no one else’s. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonies in Advertising.


Filed under: 5stars, Books for Boys, Children's Books, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade, Series Tagged: Alexander Avellino, conservation, ecology, Frankie Dupont, Frankie Dupont and the Science Fair Sabotage, Julie Anne Grasso, mystery, recycling sustainability, science fairs

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24. #710 – The Korean War: an Interactive Modern History Adventure

cover

The Korean War: An Interactive Modern History Adventure

Series: You Choose Books
Written by Michael Burgan
Consultant: Raymond L. Puffer, PhD
Capstone Press      8/01/2014
978-1-4914-0357-0
112 pages      Age 8—12

“It’s 1950 and the Communist country of North Korea has invaded its neighboring country of South Korea. The United Nations has stepped in to help South Korea by providing weapons and soldiers. Nearly all of these soldiers come from the United States. Will you:

1. Serve as a pilot in Korea with the U.S. Marine Corps?
2. Lie about your age to enlist as a 16-year-old member of the U.S. military reserves?
3. Join in the fight for your country as a young South Korean man?

Everything in this book happened to real people. And YOU CHOOSE what you do next. The choices you make could lead you to survival or to death.” [back cover]

Review
It is June 25th, 1950. Communist leader Kim I1 Sung controlled northern Korea. He wanted the entire country under his rule. Sung crosses the 38th parallel—dividing north from south—to lead a surprise attack on South Korea with China and the Soviet Union’s help. The United Nations agreed to support the south, sending troops from the United States and 15 other nations—but mostly soldiers came from the U.S. You join the fighting, but how? Are you a Marine pilot, a U.S. reservist, or a South Korean civilian? Choose wisely, as your fate depends upon it.

38th parralel korea

Did you choose the pilot?
Your first major decision is an extremely important decision: do you fly the F4U Corsair fighter plane you know how to pilot, or do you learn how to fly the more dangerous military helicopter? If you choose helicopters, your commander, Colonel Morris (not made up), gives you a choice between a copter requiring sand bags to keep it balanced, or one that can experience engine problems and cannot fly as far as the other copter. How brave are you?

Did you choose to trick the U.S. and join up at age 16?
The first year of reservist training is fairly easy and you are looking forward to the next year when the Korean War begins. You are now a full-time Marines, but without the full Marine training. A sergeant gives you a choice: do you get more training or do you think you are ready to fight? Think about this, as the decision could mean you never return home . . . alive.

Did you choose to be a South Korean civilian, ready to fight for your homeland?
You decide to volunteer, a rather rare event as most South Korean soldiers are merely grabbed off the street. You train with the Americans and then partner up when sent to the line. At one point you are captured by the Chinese, lectured on communism and its value for the entire Korean peninsula, and then told you will fight with the Chinese, not against them. Do you join or do you refuse?

Korean War2A good way to get a feel for the fighting and the awful choices—none great—soldiers were forced to make is by reading The Korean War: An Interactive Modern History Adventure. This book is not a textbook-type read in that major facts are given for rote memory. Kids will find this more interesting than mere facts making The Korean War: An Interactive . . . a good adjunct text for teachers. While helping readers understand ground forces and air support decisions and the possible outcomes, the book also includes emotional responses to the fighting and choices of war. Kids will get the usual firing of bazookas, machine guns, and rifles; and the throwing of grenades, the dropping of bombs, and worst of all, napalm, yet the most important are the soldiers feelings and how those feelings affected their choices in these real stories.

Kids will learn the difference between an armistice versus a peace treaty, including North Korea’s instance that the war is not over, though fighting stopped 62 years ago. Up against unbelievable odds, South Korea has kept control of their country. The Korean War may not be the first war kids think of, but it should be in their brain’s history department. I really like these interactive books. I hated history, but these books make history come alive which heightens my interest. I had thought a peace treaty had been made. I also had not realized how influential the Chinese were to the North Korean campaign.

Korean War3

If an old gal of . . . well it’s impolite to ask . . . can enjoy these You Choose Books, kids certainly will enjoy them. And if I can learn a thing or two, so will kids. While not a fun subject, The Korean War: An Interactive Modern History Adventure held my interest, got me thinking, and has me wanting to know more about the Korean War. The same will happen to kids who read this inventive, yet real life, account of the Korean War.

The author included a time-line of the war, a “Read More” section, a glossary, bibliography, and an index.

THE KOREAN WAR: AN INTERACTIVE MODERN HISTORY ADVENTURE. Text copyright © 2015 by Michael Burgan. Reproduced by permission of Capstone Press, an imprint of Capstone, North Mankato, MN.

Purchase The Korean War: An Interactive . . . at AmazonBook DepositoryiTunesCapstone.

Learn more about The Korean War: An Interactive . . . HERE.
Meet the author, Michael Burgan, at his Capstone bio:  http://www.capstonepub.com/consumer/authors/burgan-michael/
Find more You Choose Books at the Capstone Press website:  http://www.capstonepub.com/

You Choose Books
World War II Pilots  (reviewed HERE)
The Vietnam War
War in Afghanistan
The Berlin Wall
Hurricane Katrina
The Making of a Social Network

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Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

Review section word count = 699


Filed under: 5stars, Books for Boys, Children's Books, Favorites, Historical Fiction, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade, You Choose Series Tagged: armisitance, Capstone Press, interactive reading, Michael Burgan, military, Raymond L. Puffer PhD, The Korean War: an Interactive Modern History Adventure, US Marines, War, war planes and helicopters, You Choose Books

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25. Win A Doodle! Hooray!

Sue Morris @ KidLitReviews:

Another chance to win an authentic Mike Allegra doodle. Your cost? One vacation story, preferably a worst vacation story. Check it out!

Originally posted on heylookawriterfellow:

IT IS TIME FOR A CONTEST!

Here’s your chance to win an official Mike Allegra custom made doodle!

But first, a word from Giddy Happy Mike:

This is the cover of the July 2015 issue of Highlights for Children.

Highlights coverIsn’t it great? I especially like this part:

Highlights cover detailThat’s my story!

“Harold’s Hat,” is in the latest issue of Highlights (which is awesome)! And the editors decided to promote it on the magazine’s cover (which is awesomer)!

The issue arrived in my mailbox on Saturday. My son took one look at it, turned to me and said, “You are so cool.”

Best Fathers’ Day Present Ever.

The entire magazine is fantastic, by the way (Highlights is always fantastic). So be sure to pick up a copy for the little ones in your life. OK?

Thank you for indulging me. Now where was I? Oh, yes…

THE WIN A DOODLE…

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Filed under: Children's Books

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